National Columns

Opinion: U.S. terrorism threat may be rising

Washington ? Warnings from U.S. officials about the terrorist Islamic State that has established a safe haven in Iraq and Syria sound ominously like the intelligence alerts that preceded al-Qaida’s attack on Sept. 11, 2001.Richard Ledgett, the deputy director of the National Security Agency, ...

Opinion: Kerry blunder legitimizes Hamas acts

Washington ? John Kerry is upset by heavy criticism from Israelis — left, right and center — of his recent cease-fire diplomacy. But that’s only half the story. More significant is the consternation of America’s Arab partners, starting with the president of the Palestinian Authority. ...

Opinion: U.S. struggles with foreign policy

Washington ? With metronomic regularity, there is a choreographed minuet of carnage. Israel is attacked. Israel defends itself. Perfunctory affirmations of Israel’s right of self-defense are quickly followed by accusations that Israel’s military measures are disproportionate. Then come ...

Opinion: Ryan plan breaks silence on poverty

Cover your eyes and hide the kids: A Republican is talking poverty.This has not been a pretty picture in the recent past. Who can forget then-South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer likening poor people to animals one feeds from the back door and Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning calling them ...

Opinion: Human toll too great in Gaza

On my refrigerator door I keep a photo of an exceptional Palestinian woman who ran kindergartens in Gaza in the 1990s for the Philly-based American Friends Service Committee. Mary Khaas, who died more than a decade ago, would drag her teachers from their refugee-camp homes to visit her Jewish ...

Opinion: Kerry error hampers long-term pact

Washington ? Secretary of State John Kerry has made a significant mistake in how he’s pursuing a Gaza cease-fire — and it’s not surprising that he has upset both the Israelis and some moderate Palestinians.Kerry’s error has been to put so much emphasis on achieving a quick halt to the ...

Opinion: Oregonian doesn’t fit GOP image

Portland, Ore ? “Are you kidding?” This is Monica Wehby’s amiable response to people who wonder whether she will be able to bear the pressures of office if she wins her race as a Republican Senate candidate. For 17 of her 52 years she has been a pediatric neurosurgeon, holding in steady ...

Opinion: Inappropriate selfies: It’s all about me

In a place haunted by ghosts, on a thoroughfare of the damned, standing upon ground once watered by blood, Breanna Mitchell lifted a camera to take her own picture. She smiled a sunshine smile.And the Internet exploded.The image the Alabama teenager captured of herself at Auschwitz, an earbud ...

Opinion: Kerry registers small successes

Washington ? The world has been so chaotic lately that it was easy to overlook two U.S. diplomatic maneuvers — involving the turbulent nations of Afghanistan and Iran — that avoided what could have been dangerous ruptures.The architect of these two agreements was Secretary of State John ...

Opinion: Obama too passive in world arena

Washington ? The president’s demeanor is worrying a lot of people. From the immigration crisis on the Mexican border to the Islamic State rising in Mesopotamia, Barack Obama seems totally detached. When he does interrupt his endless rounds of golf, fundraising and photo ops, it’s for some ...

Opinion: Court needed to fight corruption

The more I read about the massive government corruption in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela and other countries where top officials have been accused of stealing fortunes with near total impunity, the more I like a new proposal that is making the rounds in world legal circles — creation ...

Opinion: Calif. Republican fights uphill battle

Menlo Park, Calif. ? Fifty Julys ago, up the road near San Francisco, in the unfortunately named Cow Palace, the Republican National Convention gave its presidential nomination to Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who knew he would lose: Americans were not going to have a third president in 14 ...

Opinion: Bus misstep funny but sad

It’s a revealing video.Not in the sense of physical nakedness. No, what is naked in that clip is a kind of political opportunism that has become all too common.Our scene is a roadside in Oracle, Ariz., where protesters have gathered. Word is, a busload of children from Central America is ...

Opinion: U.S.-German relations need repair

Berlin ? I arrived in Berlin last week hoping to see something rare: a country that’s prosperous, well-governed and even happy, if only because it was just crowned champion of soccer’s World Cup.Germany is all those things, and Germans know they are doing well. They need only look around to ...

Opinion: Europe must stand up to Putin

Vladimir Putin has become a global menace.There is an irrefutable link between the Russian leader’s reckless policies on Ukraine and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. This tragedy is the direct outgrowth of his decision to train and arm Ukrainian separatists with heavy weapons in an ...

Opinion: Mideast peace won’t come soon

Washington ? Israelis and Palestinians may someday make peace. But the assumption should be that it won’t happen soon — perhaps not in our lifetimes.How often have we seen this movie? Palestinian atrocity, Israeli reaction escalating into overreaction, rocket attacks aimed at civilian ...

Opinion: GOP can’t get out of its own way

So, Todd Akin is back and he’s talking rape again.You remember what happened last time. The would-be Missouri senator torpedoed his campaign two years ago after suggesting in a TV interview that if a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” she is unlikely to get pregnant because her body ...

Opinion: Russia wields energy hammer

Washington ? Energy politics underlie the explosive Ukraine crisis, as Europeans weigh U.S. calls for tougher sanctions against the ability of Russia to disrupt gas supplies this winter.The dilemma for European governments increased this week, as the Obama administration announced strong new ...

Opinion: Mideast differences couldn’t be more clear

Washington ? Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.“Here’s the ...

Opinion: Hillary’s pre-campaign hits, misses

Hillary Clinton reportedly plans to spend most of the summer in relative seclusion, after a month-long pre-campaign road test promoting her qualifications from being secretary of state and testing her stamina for a potential marathon ahead.But frenzied events where enthusiastic supporters ...