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Still in denial on Ebola

WASHINGTON — It is such a relief about that Ebola thing. The threat of an American outbreak turned out to be overhyped. A military operation is underway to help those poor Liberians. An Ebola czar (what is his name again?) has been appointed to coordinate the U.S. government response. The growth of the disease in Africa, by some reports, seems to have slowed. On to the next crisis.

The ‘red line’ gets dimmer in Syria

One grim indication that the regime of Bashar Assad has been emboldened by the U.S. air campaign in Syria is the fresh reports of chemical weapons attacks on civilian areas. The Institute for the Study of War has compiled 18 allegations by Syrian sources of chlorine gas attacks by the regime since U.S. strikes against the Islamic State began in August. The first strike was reported Aug. 19 — the same day that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said it had completed the neutralization of the chemical weapons stockpile surrendered by the regime. The most recent was reported last week, when government forces allegedly used chlorine gas against rebel positions in the suburban Damascus area of Jobar.

Ebola, pandering and courage

BOSTON — Seth Moulton, an Iraq veteran and Democratic congressional candidate on Massachusetts’ North Shore, has done something with little precedent in political campaigning: He was caught underplaying his war record.

Parents — It’s time for that talk

October marks Let’s Talk Month, aimed at getting families talking about sexual health and relationships. A survey out this month, commissioned by Planned Parenthood and New York University’s Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health, shows that while most parents are talking about sexual health and relationships with their children, too many aren’t talking often enough or clearly enough about critical topics to help young people make healthy decisions.

The Islamic State’s appeal

Western leaders sometimes suggest that the Islamic State is its own worst enemy, so extreme in doctrine and practice that it will galvanize opposition within the Islamic world. While that is proving true to some extent — Muslim governments, senior clerics and even other jihadist groups have joined the fight against the would-be caliphate — the sobering truth is that the Islamic State also has picked up popular support and the allegiance of other militants in countries as far away as Algeria and Pakistan.

In Kentucky, a constitutional moment

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Barack Obama lost Kentucky in 2012 by 23 points, yet the state remains closely divided about re-electing the man whose parliamentary skills uniquely qualify him to restrain Obama’s executive overreach. So, Kentucky’s Senate contest is a constitutional moment that will determine whether the separation of powers will be reasserted by a Congress revitalized by restoration of the Senate’s dignity.

For GOP, no victory lap

WASHINGTON — On the theory that chickens should not only be counted before they hatch but killed, let us consider the downsides for Republicans of winning both houses of Congress.

Holding firm on Ukraine

Western leaders boast that the sanctions slapped on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine are inflicting real pain, and that’s true — even if Russia’s macroeconomic indicators still don’t look worse than those of France, Italy or even Germany. But there’s no indication that the punishment is having a salutary effect on Vladimir Putin. In a quick but high-profile trip to meet leaders in Milan last week, the Russian ruler was no more disposed than he has been to retreat from Ukraine or his larger neoimperialist agenda.

Gillespie’s plan would be worse than Affordable Care Act

Republicans calling for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are a dime a dozen. Fewer offer a plan to replace the law with something they claim would work better. To his credit, Virginia’s Ed Gillespie, a GOP Senate candidate, is in the more select group. Meanwhile, his Democratic opponent, Sen. Mark Warner, favors tweaking the law without upsetting its framework.

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Putin should worry about the price of oil, not ‘blackmail’

Last week, as falling oil prices have hammered the Russian economy, President Vladimir Putin has warned repeatedly that his country, a nuclear superpower, must not be “blackmailed.” He was talking about economic sanctions, but there is a different lesson he should be drawing right now and it has nothing to do with the United States or the European Union.

Ebola is no one’s ‘fault’

The ebola virus reached this country at the height of the 2014 campaign, so perhaps it was inevitable that the political parties would try to exploit it. To Republicans, the situation proves once again that President Barack Obama has failed to protect Americans. In one of the milder versions of this allegation, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal published an op-ed faulting Obama for spending Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resources on grants for exercise and healthy diets rather than fighting infectious disease. Some Democrats say, meanwhile, that we wouldn’t have to worry about Ebola if not for budget cuts to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, for which the GOP alone is to blame. As one especially inflammatory TV ad puts it: “Republican cuts kill.”

The fictitious ‘war on women’

DENVER — One of the wonders of this political moment is feminist contentment about the infantilization of women in the name of progressive politics. Government, encouraging academic administrations to micromanage campus sexual interactions, now assumes that, absent a script, women cannot cope. And the Democrats’ trope about the Republicans’ “war on women” clearly assumes that women are civic illiterates.

Yemen unravels

President Barack Obama cited Yemen as a model for U.S. operations against the Islamic State last month, not long after he told an interviewer that the intervention in Libya was his greatest foreign policy regret. In fact, the two countries offer similar lessons in the deficiencies of Obama’s strategy. By backing local forces with airpower in Libya, the United States and its allies were able to overthrow a murderous regime — but, as Obama acknowledged, the failure to assist with building a state afterward has facilitated Libya’s collapse into chaos.