National Columns

Opinion: Dreams run into reality in Syria

In 1992, not long after the Soviet Union collapsed, I wandered through the massive Russian Embassy compound in Damascus.As a center of Soviet power off limits to Westerners, it had been a beehive of activity, with about 5,000 civilian and military advisers. Now it was virtually deserted.As news ...

Opinion: U.S. Navy facing new demands

Washington ? The Navy’s operations, on which the sun never sets, are the nation’s nerve endings, connecting it with the turbulent world. Although the next president may be elected without addressing the Navy’s proper size and configuration, for four years he or she will be acutely aware ...

Opinion: Boehner’s departure doesn’t help

Wonderful.That’s just what the conservative movement needs right now. Less adult supervision.But with the fall last week of House Speaker John Boehner — more accurately, with his decision to resign because life is too short for Ted Cruz — that is precisely what conservatives now have. It ...

Opinion: GOP divisions hamper compromise

When Republicans won the Senate last November and increased their majority in the House, GOP leaders made clear they intended to end the gridlock of recent years.“We’re going to function,” vowed the new Senate majority leader, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell. The goal, House counterpart ...

Opinion: Colombia celebration premature

The Obama administration, Pope Francis, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and the presidents of Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela and many other countries enthusiastically applauded Colombia’s preliminary agreement with FARC guerrillas to end the five-decade armed conflict that has caused ...

Opinion: Pope, Chinese leader are worlds apart

When Chinese President Xi Jinping’s handlers arranged his flight from Seattle to Washington, D.C., on Thursday, they made sure he would land after Pope Francis had left. Xi didn’t want to be overshadowed by the rock-star pope.As it turned out, the Chinese leader was unable to avoid the ...

Opinion: Boehner’s exit not so surprising

By Doyle McManusLos Angeles TimesHouse Speaker John A. Boehner’s sudden decision to resign Friday came as a thunderclap in Washington, but it shouldn’t have surprised anyone who witnessed Boehner’s frustration grow with his fractious Republican caucus.“Here’s the attitude,” he ...

Opinion: Trump even loopier than the left

Washington ? America’s loopy left is enamored of someone who becomes cranky about bobblehead figurines. Sober Democrats are queasy about nominating Hillary Clinton, who has much to apologize for but no aptitude for apologies. Those Republicans who hope she is denied the nomination are perhaps ...

Opinion: U.S. has long history of racial injustice

It was the road sign that made it real.Josh Venkataraman was returning to the University of Florida, where he is a senior, from Orlando earlier this year when he saw it. “Groveland,” it said.He had read what happened there in Gilbert King’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Devil in the ...

Opinion: Early campaigning anything but dull

Washington ? Meanwhile, on the Democrats’ side:• They are running a presidential campaign decrying wage stagnation, income inequality and widespread economic malaise — as if they’ve not been in office for the past seven years.• Their leading presidential candidate is 27 points ...

Opinion: Pope teaches about nature of power

Washington ? Pope Francis and Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in America this week the same way, making a slow descent down an airplane ramp toward a waiting entourage. Watching the two, you couldn’t help wondering: Which man is more powerful in the world today?Francis is arguably the ...

Opinion: Yogi part of baseball’s melting pot

Washington ? The 18-year-old U.S. Navy enlistee, thinking it sounded less boring than the dull training he was doing in 1944, volunteered for service on what he thought an officer had called “rocket ships.” Actually, they were small, slow, vulnerable boats used as launching pads for rockets ...

Opinion: Bigoted language no longer coded

A quick lesson in political language.In 1958, Democrat George Wallace, running as a candidate for governor of Alabama and racially moderate enough to be endorsed by the NAACP, was swamped by a strident white supremacist whose campaign played shamelessly to the basest hatreds of the electorate. ...

Opinion: An ally poised to strike the Islamic State

Washington ? While the Obama administration haggles over its Syria strategy, a Kurdish militia that claims more than 25,000 battle-hardened fighters is poised several dozen miles north of the Islamic State's capital of Raqqa — ready to roll toward the extremists' sanctuary.U.S. special ...

Opinion: The pope as global diplomat

Any pope who travels from Havana to the United States on a mission to persuade Congress to uplift the poor and address global warming has to be pretty audacious. So on his coming trip, Pope Francis will no doubt spark speculation about his potential for diplomatic miracles.The Vatican is no ...

Opinion: Fiorina now playing in the majors

To invoke a baseball metaphor, Carly Fiorina has been called up from the minors to the major leagues. After her widely praised debate performance last week, she can expect “fastballs” to be thrown at her head, not only by some of her Republican opponents, but by Democrats. It has already ...

Opinion: Latin America faces economic malaise

At a conference in Chile last week, I heard a statement that left me thinking: “Latin America has always been the land of hope, and the land of frustration.”The line, by former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, couldn’t be more timely, as much of the region is facing a perfect ...

Opinion: America’s not a brave nation

America is not a brave nation.Yes, that’s a heretical thing to say. Yes, our military is the world’s finest and our servicewomen and men provide daily examples of incontestable courage. Yes, police officers brave bullets, firefighters rush into burning buildings and ordinary Janes stand in ...

Opinion: Pope’s rhetoric lacks factual basis

Washington ? Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert’s indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak — if his policy ...

Opinion: U.S. blind to obvious Russian objectives

Washington ? Once again, President Obama and his foreign policy team are stumped. Why is Vladimir Putin pouring troops and weaponry into Syria? After all, as Secretary of State John Kerry has thrice told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, it is only making things worse.But worse for whom? ...