National Columns

Opinion: Taiwan’s delicate balancing act

Taipei, Taiwan — If you like betting on embattled underdogs, President Tsai Ing-wen is worth a look. She’s tempting the wrath of her powerful neighbor in mainland China by arguing that Taiwan must maintain its own open culture, democratic values and, yes, its sovereignty. Tsai is a petite ...

Opinion: Pathogens don’t care about politics

Florence, Italy — It was here in 1614 that Tommaso Caccini preached a sermon in the church of Santa Maria Novella denouncing Galileo and other scientists who held the heretical view that the Earth circles the sun. This was one of the main triggers that brought Galileo to the attention of the ...

Opinion: Information war led to murder

Washington — When Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, he didn’t know he was walking into a killing zone. He had become the prime target in a 21st-century information war — one that involved hacking, kidnapping and, ultimately, murder — waged by Saudi Crown ...

Opinion: Let’s revive simple decency, as well as civility

There is not much to say about President George H.W. Bush that has not already been said in the days celebrating the late man’s heroic and honorable life. But as the nation mourned, one could sense a great longing for a return to the civility and integrity of a previous era. More than ...

Opinion: Vision of kinder, gentler nation gone

On the last night of the Republican National Convention in 1988, the candidate sought to impart to the country a vision of the America it could be. “Some,” he said, “would say it’s soft and insufficiently tough to care” about troubled children. “But where is it written, that we ...

Opinion: Movie tells ignored story of ‘biggest serial killer’

Washington — A word can be worth a thousand pictures. In the movie “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” the mild word “snip” describes what the camera, demonstrating the eloquence of reticence, does not show in gory detail: Kermit Gosnell’s use of scissors to ...

Opinion: Survival of the witless

Washington — They wander the halls of public buildings and haunt receptions like the ghosts of the GOP past — the cohort of Republican senators and House members who will be leaving office with the arrival of the new Congress. Some chose retirement because they did not want to do what is ...

Opinion: Michelle and Sheryl and that little cuss word

Fifteen days after her memoirs went on sale, Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” became — I love saying those two words together — the biggest-selling book of 2018. I’m leading with that spectacular piece of news because I think it explains why those few angry people took offense to her ...

Opinion: Michael Flynn comes full circle

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn appears to have come full circle, if you read carefully the sentencing memo released Tuesday by special counsel Robert Mueller recommending that Flynn serve no jail time despite pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI. The Trump campaign warrior of ...

Opinion: What election tampering looks like

I said it before, I’ll say it again. “As this country becomes blacker, browner, gayer, younger, more Hispanic and more Muslim, it is increasingly the case that the GOP cannot win if all voters vote. It cannot win, in other words, without cheating.” That observation, made in this space a ...

Opinion: George H.W. Bush was summoned by events

Washington — At the beginning of his long and well-lived life, George Herbert Walker Bush, who in politics was always prosaic, acquired, by way of a grandfather, the name of a British poet and priest (George Herbert, 1593-1633). He acquired much else from family inheritance. The future 41st ...

Opinion: Trump’s foolishness not working

Washington — All of the leaders assembled at the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires committed their nations to the fight against climate change, except one — President Trump, of course. But pay him no mind. As the proverb says, “The dogs bark but the caravan moves on.” We don’t have ...

Opinion: Bush’s life sets a glorious example

Washington — All the talk about the attributes of this or that generation is usually overblown. But there is an exception when a cohort of young Americans shares a massive, overwhelming experience of depression or war. A certain view of their country is often formed and fixed. This can be ...

Opinion: It’s time to drop out of the Electoral College

In spite of continued attempts, either misguided or malevolent — or both — by national leaders to undermine public trust and confidence in the American free press and free elections, the United States’ model of political and individual freedom has inspired billions around the planet. ...

Opinion: Why are we so sad and lonely?

The Centers for Disease Control has delivered sober news — average life expectancy at birth in the United States has declined for a third straight year due to extremely high rates of death from drug overdoses and suicide. As The Washington Post reports, this is the longest sustained decline ...

Opinion: A lesbian kiss and a parade of trauma

Well, it was just the sweetest thing. It happened during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. All these happy cast members of the Broadway musical “The Prom” were dancing and singing, when — three minutes and 15 seconds into the performance — two of the actresses kissed. Holy ...

Opinion: It’s called child sex trafficking

No one even knows how many girls there were. Federal prosecutors identified 36. In “Perversion of Justice,” a stunning piece of investigative work by Julie K. Brown that was published last week, the Miami Herald reported that it has found 80. But accounts given by the girls themselves ...

Opinion: High court jumps to unanimity on frog case

Washington — Unanimity is elusive in today’s America but the Supreme Court achieved it last week. Although the dusky gopher frog is endangered, so are property rights and accountable governance. Both would have been further jeopardized if the frog’s partisans in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ...

Opinion: Trump’s inner circle has always been a cesspool

Washington — President Trump recently tweeted: “Did you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?” It is usually a bad idea to raise a rhetorical question when the answer is both obvious and unfavorable. In the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, there are at ...

Opinion: Winning wars without fighting

Washington — Listen to the voice barking orders on a Russian ship last Sunday as it drove straight toward a Ukrainian tug: “Crush him from the right. ... Do it! Do it! [Expletive] cut him off!” And then, just before the deliberate collision, a satisfied: “Hold on, everyone.” What you ...