National Columns

Opinion: Cruelty is the point, but is it evil?

We meet, my friends, in the face of evil. In popular culture and historical memory, of course, evil has many faces. It is Darth Vader raising a lightsaber and Dr. Doom glowering from behind a metal mask. It is Charles Manson grinning his lunatic’s grin and Adolf Hitler ranting himself into ...

Opinion: Trade war shows reality of ‘America First’

Washington — In a trade war, as in a real one, people are wounded by friendly fire from their side. Consider some casualties in Donald Trump’s “easy to win” — his promise — trade war. Begin with the company whose green machines bear the name of the blacksmith who, in the 1830s in ...

Opinion: The Trump presidency is not just unfolding; it is unraveling

Washington — Historians studying the Trump presidency will have a prodigious amount of digital material that demands examination but defies explanation. The president’s Aug. 21 half-hour South Lawn press availability deserves to be at the top of that list. With the whir of a helicopter ...

Opinion: A proviso for letting Russia back in G-7

Washington — As the G-7 gathers this weekend in Biarritz, President Trump has expressed hope for the return of Russia, the missing guest at the table. But any consideration of this issue requires dealing with Trump’s least favorite subject — Russian cybermeddling in U.S. elections. The ...

Opinion: The notion that education is the enemy

You’d think it would be the one thing we could all agree upon. Life grows ever more complex. Planetary overheating threatens a future of floods, food shortages and mass migration. We carry supercomputers in our pockets. Robots are taking our jobs. So you’d think, for all the partisan ...

Opinion: Novel a searing reminder of what’s not unthinkable

Washington — Because of the investigation led by three University of South Florida researchers, and because of exemplary journalism by the Tampa Bay Times, we now have an intensely discomforting but welcome enrichment of American literature. It requires artistry to write beautifully about ...

Opinion: The wit and wisdom of McCain, other Arizonans

It approaches a year since Sen. John McCain departed these earthly precincts. He is rightly missed for his principled leadership, for his maverick ways and for his — now increasingly rare — ability to reach out and collaborate effectively with senators across the partisan divide. I miss ...

Opinion: The quest to save capitalism from itself

Washington — “Evolve or die,” wrote hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio in a manifesto published in April titled “Why and How Capitalism Needs to be Reformed.” With each passing month, more business executives have been joining this unlikely crusade to save capitalism from itself. The ...

Opinion: Climate denial could hasten Trump empire’s demise

Washington — Someday, in the not-so-distant future, sea-level rise could claim Mar-a-Lago. Perhaps President Trump — by then no doubt disgraced, shunned and all but forgotten — would still be around to see his beloved Florida resort wiped out by a “Chinese hoax.” Of all the ...

Opinion: The slow burn of Congo’s Ebola outbreak

Washington — Meanwhile, in the semitropical vastness of eastern Congo, a killer is loose. The second largest Ebola outbreak in history has entered its second year. It has taken more than 1,900 lives and shows no signs of abating. Compared with West Africa’s outbreak in 2014-2015 that ...

Opinion: For the survivors of gun violence, we remember

In two weeks’ time, three mass shootings killed 34 people and left dozens more injured. We were outraged and in shock, and for a few days we managed to sustain a collective call for new laws that would make our country safer. Now, we are moving on. This is our human nature, to search for ...

Opinion: What Hong Kong really means for us

The protests in Hong Kong are heartbreaking to witness. I recall the gloom that accompanied the handover of sovereignty ceremony in 1997. Prince Charles was there. So was Tony Blair. Only eight years had passed since the communist Chinese government had mowed down an estimated 10,000 democracy ...

Opinion: ‘Peculiar institution’ shaped today

Perhaps you’ve heard of white fragility. The term was popularized by sociologist Robin DiAngelo in her 2018 book of the same name that seeks to explain why white people often find it so hard to discuss race, why the subject frequently makes them angry and defensive. Well, a textbook example ...

Opinion: Amash shows that it’s not just a binary choice

Grand Rapids, Michigan — It is difficult to discourage and impossible to manage Justin Amash because he, unusual among politicians, does not want much and wants nothing inordinately. He would like to win a sixth term as congressman from this culturally distinctive slice of the Midwest. He ...

Opinion: White evangelicals risk the reputation of the gospel

Washington — I have a confession to make. I am one of the five remaining Americans who is uncomfortable with vulgarity, put off by profanity and offended by blasphemy. Swearing is now generally taken as a sign of authenticity; it is more often the expression of anger and aggression. I don’t ...

Opinion: Land of the free and home of the rent-seekers

Chicago — Given its surplus of violence and scarcity of resources, Chicago surely has bigger things to worry about than the menace, as the city sees it, of Laura Pekarik’s cupcakes. Herewith redundant evidence of regulatory government’s unsleeping solicitousness for the strong. Pekarik, ...

Opinion: The ‘moral hazard’ in Hong Kong

Washington — Watching videos of Chinese protestors singing the U.S. national anthem in the streets of Hong Kong, or hearing the tear-jerking chorus of "Les Miserables" during a sit-in at the Hong Kong airport, only someone with a heart of stone wouldn't want to assist these brave people who ...

Opinion: Credibility needed in Epstein case

Jeffrey Epstein didn’t commit suicide. He was murdered by Hillary and/or Bill Clinton. Or he was assassinated by the Russians. Or Donald Trump killed him. Or he isn’t dead at all, having been spirited into the Witness Protection Program, where he presumably now shares an island mansion ...

Opinion: America’s new Sputnik moment

La Jolla, Calif. — One of the weirdest aspects of this year’s Democratic presidential campaign is that foreign policy, potentially one of President Trump’s most vulnerable issues, has been nearly absent from the debate. Trump is steering the country into a foolish trade war with China ...

Opinion: Passing laws, passing taxes and passing the buck

What do the French digital services tax, the employers’ share of payroll taxes and the corporate income tax all have in common? They are rarely shouldered by those entities and individuals targeted by legislators. In fact, one of the most important things to know about taxes is that the ...