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Vindicating Preemption


If the Chinese really do get rid of Kim Jong Il, it will be a dramatic vindication of the Bush administration’s policy of selectively preventing proliferation through preemption. We are already seeing a cascading effect from Iraq that might get us real traction against proliferation worldwide. The negotiate-at-any-price policy of the Democrats is bankrupt. It cannot succeed against the deadly combination of terror and weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration’s policy of selective preemption is the only way to go. And right now, it’s working.



As Rich Lowry pointed out yesterday on The Corner, nearly every prominent Democratic critic of the administration was wrong to insist that we negotiate bilaterally with the North Koreans. The Bush administration has been right to push for a multilateral approach, and the war in Iraq is what’s caused the recent breakthrough toward multilateral negotiations on the Korean crisis. But the truth is, because of the verification issue, even multilateral negotiations won’t work–unless they turn in to a vehicle for Chinese imposed regime change in North Korea. You can read more about the possibility of Chinese imposed regime change by reading Jasper Becker’s piece at TNR’s website. (subscribers only)


Regime Change in North Korea


I can’t see any conceivable solution to the North Korean crisis short of regime change. The reason for that is the near impossibility of verifying any agreement that puts a halt to North Korea’s nuclear program. I discussed this recently in, “An Ominous Cloud.” But it is just possible that we might be able to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, without a war. The solution would be for China, not simply to pressure North Korea, but literally to bring about (peaceful) regime change. Thanks to the success of the war in Iraq, that solution is now conceivable.

Web Briefing: October 31, 2014

Taxing Image of The Day


That Family Research Council ad on the homepage on tax policy is just perfect today.


Andrew Sullivan


Lighten up folks. I wasn’t trying to say anything profound about Andrew Sullivan (and no I won’t switch teams just to pick up more of his market share). Opinions differ on the guy, but I’m a fan and a friend.

Fyi - The Sure Thing


Yes, yes, I know my post late yesterday about “talking to you wireless” was a misquote from the Sure Thing. The actual line was “I’m talking to you cordless.” I realized the goof on the plane. For the record, John Podhoretz was the first to call me out on this. Still I do know one thing, Lance sure does drink a lot of beer.

Re: Reality Tv


We would have to have a Cosmo-cam.

Married by The Corner


K Lo, This marriage proposal on The Corner makes me think we should branch into reality TV. Do you think Fox would give us a show?

Internal Division


I remain internally divided on question of whether to make a systematic and long term effort to transform Middle Eastern culture. In ordinary circumstances, I would stand with Theodore Dalrymple’s pessimism, and dismiss such a challenge as quixotic and implausible. Yet, given a world in which nuclear terror is a real and lasting threat, I am moved by the argument that the effort to bring liberal democracy to the Middle East must now be made. In any case, for the ultimate in pessimism, have a look at Dalrymple’s wonderful essay.

Imperial Failure


Despite its pessimism, Theodore Dalrymple’s great new article on the failure of even the most well motivated and plausible imperial plans for social reform is well worth a read. I think Dalrymple hits on the central issue–the real block to modernizing reform in the non-Western world. Dalrymple’s account of the networks of extended family obligation in non-Western nations tells us much of what we need to know about why countries like Iraq can accommodate modern education and professionalism, yet still produce a monster like Saddam Hussein. I’ve treated these issues myself in my extended review of Bernard Lewis’s, What Went Wrong? and in an earlier piece for NRO, “With Eyes Wide Open.”

Mr. Pessimism


Theodore Dalrymple has a superb article in the latest City Journal on the experience of empire. Dalrymple is, I think, too pessimistic about the possibility of drawing hopeful and practical lessons for our current challenge in the Middle East from the British imperial experience. Nonetheless, Dalrymple’s article is a useful corrective to my new piece on “Democratic Imperialism.” Of course, my own piece is a corrective to the excessive optimism of democratizing enthusiasts. So Dalrymple is about as pessimistic as you can conceivably get.

Re: Market Share


We could just take a vacation, too. Sounding very tempting.

Market Share


I see that Andrew Sullivan has gone on vacation for the week. In an effort to steal his market share, er, I mean as a service to his customers, I think the Corner should make special efforts to denounce the New York Times, respond to articles in Slate, scrutinize the BBC and annoy the gay left. Any volunteers?

Inside The Classroom


Young people who see themselves as gay have a right to expect safety, tolerance, and fair play at school. Yet legitimate demands for tolerance have too often shaded over into the promotion of a radical cultural agenda in our schools–an agenda most parents would reject. In “Queering the Schools,” Marjorie King offers a disturbing account of the movement to bring the spirit of “queer theory” to K-12 education. This movement is already well advanced. With gay marriage, it will be unstoppable.

The Trend


From a reader:

Mr. Goldberg,
Your trend is stronger than you think. I, a Cornerite, had convinced my 38 week pregnant wife to accompany to your Williams College speech. After a way too expensive dinner in Williamsburg, MA, I asked the waiter how to get to the college. After checking around with the restaurant staff, he informed us that there was a Williams College in Williamstown, only an hour and a half away. We only caught the last two questions of your Q&A. Cornerites support their own.

I Love You Guys


Thanks again to all the wonderful Cornerites and NROniks who showed up for my Denver talk. Some feedback from our customers: Everyone is looking forward to meeting the Derb when he heads out to Colorado. People seemed to like my beard. Yes, I have a beard — or beard-in-progress. I don’t think I’m going to keep it, it’s just that I started to believe that Iraqi Minister of Information guy and thought the invading Arab army heading my way would respect me more if I had a beard. Actually, I did grow it because of the war. I’ve gotten in the habit of only shaving to go on TV, and with the war preempting everything I normally do on the tube, I just stopped shaving. Anyway, enough about that. More feedback: several ladies asked that we recognize the fact we do in fact have a “massive female readership.” I asked them to clarify that we’re talking numerically massive here, and they said yes. But “enough talk about ‘guys’ without talk of the ‘gals’ too.”

And, last, I have to give a special shout out to an NR subscriber. He brought me a copy of his print NR to examine. Why? Because the adressee on the subscriber label reads “Give A Bigfatraisetojona”

I love that stuff.

Michael Kelly & The Palestinians


Peter Beinart has the best obituary for Michael Kelly so far. Alas, it’s not on the web yet. When it is I’ll link and quibble a bit. But if you have the DT-TNR around, you should read it. Also the current issue of The New Republic has an outstanding — astoundlingly long — piece by Benny Morris on the history of the Palestinians. It’s a gloomy piece, but a great primer. Also, not available in ones-and-zeros format.

A Smoking Gun


It was U.C. president Richard Atkinson, by the way, whose threat to drop the SAT led to the recent gutting of that test. Now that he has undermined merit-based testing in an attempt to circumvent the elimination of affirmative action by California’s voters, Atkinson is out to make our universities safe for political propaganda. This is a smoking gun admission that modern higher education has become a tool of political indoctrination. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it. Scroll down to the bottom of this post and you will find three e-mail addresses where you can register a protest. I hope the story of this outrage rings throughout the blogosphere.

No Preaching


Why has University of California president Richard Atkinson moved to eliminate the prohibitions on political preaching from the University of California’s statement on academic freedom? He has almost surely done so because of the new website,, which has prominently posted the university’s statement on academic freedom, and used it to hold professors throughout the country to account for imposing their politics on their students. You can read more about in my NRO piece, “Students Fight Back.”

Academic Freedom On The Exit Ramp


In a damning and dramatic move that would formally ratify the corruption of the ideals of liberal education by today’s campus radicals, University of California president Richard Atkinson and U.C. Berkeley Law School professor Robert Post are proposing to gut the University of California’s statement on academic freedom. The current U.C. statement on academic freedom contains several strong provisions which prevent professors from preaching a political viewpoint, or otherwise imposing political views on their students. Atkinson and Post now propose to eliminate these essential protections of every student’s academic freedom. You can read about the proposal here.


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