National Columns

Opinion: Financial expertise should be valued

Washington ? The revival of the U.S. financial system after the crash of 2008 is arguably the Obama administration’s biggest domestic policy success. But Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in her jihad against Wall Street, seems determined to devalue this accomplishment — and to make financial ...

Opinion: U.S.-Cuba saga likely to continue

President Barack Obama’s new policy of seeking a normalization of ties with Cuba may have been a good decision in light of the failure of the six-decade-old U.S. embargo, but one of the biggest — and least talked about — lingering questions is whether the Cuban regime will allow it to ...

Opinion: Obama makes cautious foreign progress

Washington ? The nadir for President Obama’s foreign policy was probably last April. His Republican critics were calling him “weak” and “indecisive” after Russia’s invasion of Crimea. A deflated Obama responded meekly that sometimes the best a president can do is to hit ...

Opinion: Rules of war need an update

The attack on a cafe in Sydney, Australia, by a self-described Islamic cleric with a long police record, left two hostages dead, along with the cleric, one Man Haron Monis. He was an Iranian refugee who enjoyed the hospitality and protection of the Australian government.That incident, which was ...

Opinion: States try to constrain federal power

Okklahoma City ? Scott Pruitt enjoyed owning a AAA baseball team here, but he is having as much fun as Oklahoma’s attorney general, and one of the Obama administration’s most tenacious tormentors. The second existential challenge to the Affordable Care Act began here.In the first, decided ...

Opinion: Lone-wolf terrorists pose varied threat

Washington ? The lone wolf is the new national nightmare, dramatized and amplified this week by the hostage-taking attack in Sydney, Australia. But there are two kinds of lone wolves — the crazy and the evil — and the distinction is important.The real terrorists are rational. Maj. Nidal ...

Opinion: Massacre should motivate Pakistan

Pakistanis, and sympathizers the world over, are mourning the Taliban’s horrific massacre of at least 132 schoolchildren and 13 staff in a crowded school in Peshawar.On the surface, this obscene assault — in which the Pakistani Taliban hunted down children cowering under desks and burned a ...

Opinion: U.S.-Cuba shift may not be ‘historic’

While President Barack Obama’s announcement Wednesday that he will normalize relations with Cuba is the biggest diplomatic breakthrough with the island after six decades of hostilities, his speech may have been less “historic” than he portrayed it, according to numerous U.S. congressional ...

Opinion: Plates spur Texas-sized dispute

Washington ? The Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas, on May 13, 1865, is called the last battle of the Civil War, but the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) might consider that judgment premature, given its conflict with the state’s Department of ...

Opinion: China, U.S. resetting relationship

Beijing ? This year began with some Chinese and American foreign-policy analysts looking back a century to World War I and wondering if confrontation was inevitable between a rising power and a dominant one. But now there has been progress on climate, trade and security issues and what seems a ...

Opinion: Bipartisanship not always pretty

The trillion-dollar spending bill that the House of Representatives passed last week had something for everyone to hate. But it was still a step, however awkward, toward making the United States governable again.What was not to like? Plenty. Tea party conservatives hated the bill because it ...

Opinion: Iraq minorities plead for help

In August, President Obama authorized air strikes to prevent the Islamic State from carrying out a genocidal slaughter of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, tens of thousands of whom had fled their besieged city and villages into barren mountains.The Yazidi struggle continues. The Islamic State is ...

Opinion: Details doom federal tax reform

Washington ? “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”     — Mr. Micawber in “David Copperfield”Washington — If America’s long-term ...

Opinion: Safety concerns justified CIA tactics

Washington ? The report by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding CIA interrogation essentially accuses the agency under George W. Bush of war criminality. Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein appears to offer some extenuation when she reminds us in the report’s preamble of the ...

Opinion: Overcriminalization a national plague

Washington ? By history’s frequently brutal dialectic, the good that we call progress often comes spasmodically, in lurches propelled by tragedies caused by callousness, folly or ignorance. With the grand jury’s as yet inexplicable and probably inexcusable refusal to find criminal ...

Opinion: Banning torture is a moral choice

Washington ? A CIA medical officer who was assigned to monitor the interrogation of an al-Qaida operative named Abu Zubaida sent a message to his superiors on Aug. 4, 2002, the day the CIA first used the technique known as “waterboarding.” He hauntingly titled his cable: “So it ...

Opinion: Police cases hold U.S. focus

“There’s something happening here.”— Buffalo Springfield“Can you feel it?”— The JacksonsThey have not stopped.That’s one of the most heartening things about the demonstrations against police brutality that began with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August and ...

Opinion: Interim agreement buys time in Iran

Some of the world’s leading diplomats, including Secretary of State John F. Kerry, worked right up until their self-imposed deadline of Nov. 24 trying to reach agreement with Iran on limits to that country’s nuclear program.But when the latest round of talks was over, they couldn’t point ...

Opinion: Progressivism a drag on U.S. economy

Washington ? Intellectually undemanding progressives, excited by the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — advocate of the downtrodden and the Export-Import Bank — have at last noticed something obvious: Big government, which has become gargantuan in response to progressives’ ...

Opinion: Case defines ‘cruel and unusual’

So what does “cruel and unusual” mean?I once asked that of a law professor. The Eighth Amendment prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment, but I figured there had to be some technical definition I, as a layperson, was missing. I mean, from where I sit, it’s pretty “cruel and ...