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Must-Read Op-Eds: Tuesday, August 20

Updated

SAYING GOODBYE TO MY CHILD, THE YOUNGSTER

MICHAEL GERSON

WASHINGTON POST

I put on my best face. But it is the worst thing that time has done to me so far. That moment at the dorm is implied at the kindergarten door, at the gates of summer camp, at every ritual of parting and independence. But it comes as surprising as a thief, taking what you value most. … There is no use brooding about it. I’m sure my father realized it at a similar moment. And I certainly didn’t notice or empathize. At first, he was a giant who held my hand and filled my sky. Then a middle-aged man who paid my bills. Now, decades after his passing, a much-loved shadow. But I can remember the last time I hugged him in the front hallway of his home, where I always had a room. It is a memory of warmth. I can only hope to leave my son the same.

THE EGYPTIAN DEBACLE

ROGER COHEN

NEW YORK TIMES

For the United States and Europe, this amounts to a colossal strategic failure. Nothing — and certainly not the outcome in Afghanistan or Iraq — was more important than getting Egypt right. President Obama, who began his presidency with an attempt to build bridges to the Arab and Muslim world through a speech in Cairo, has seen his greatest failure in that very city. Post-Tahrir Egypt stands now as a monument to America’s declining influence in the world… What now? A knee-jerk reaction would be to cut off U.S. military aid. That, however, would only increase the possibility of internal and regional mayhem. It is tempting, given the Egyptian military’s unconscionable attack on its own citizens, but should be resisted. The real lesson in Egypt is of America’s dwindling power under a wavering president whose hesitancy reflects that of most Americans after a decade of interventions. The price Egypt will pay has only just begun to be reckoned.

A POLICY ON EGYPT-SUPPORT AL SISI

BRET STEPHENS

WALL STREET JOURNAL

On the subject of Egypt: Is it the U.S. government’s purpose merely to cop an attitude? Or does it also intend to have a policy? … An attitude is a gorgeous thing. It is a vanity accountable to a conscience. But an attitude has no answer for what the U.S. does with or about Egypt once the finger has been wagged and the aid withdrawn. … Our diminished influence in Egypt may soon be reduced to nil, but at least our hands will be clean. Or we could have a policy, which is never gorgeous. It is a set of pragmatic choices between unpalatable alternatives designed to achieve the most desirable realistic result. … What’s realistic and desirable is for the military to succeed in its confrontation with the Brotherhood as quickly and convincingly as possible. Victory permits magnanimity. It gives ordinary Egyptians the opportunity to return to normal life. … It settles the diplomatic landscape. It lets the neighbors know what’s what.

POSITIVE STEPS ON ‘STOP AND FRISK’ DRUG ARRESTS

EUGENE ROBINSON

WASHINGTON POST

Blacks and Hispanics make up about half of New York City’s population but were targeted in 87 percent of the 532,911 “stops” last year under Bloomberg’s policy…. In nine out of 10 cases, the person is stopped — and sometimes frisked — but no evidence is found of any offense. Bloomberg argues that this kind of proactive policing actually prevents crime, and he credits stop-and-frisk for making New York the safest big city in the country. I’m all for safe streets. I’m also aware that there is no consensus crediting stop-and-frisk with any impact on the crime rate, but I’m willing to accept the premise that an active police presence can deter criminals. My problem is that African Americans and Hispanics are being singled out disproportionately for these arbitrary searches.

THE REAL COSTS OF POLICING THE POLICE

JOHN F. TIMONEY

NEW YORK TIMES

No one, of course, should be stopped by a police officer on the basis of skin color or ethnic origin. The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan, found that the benefits of ending what she considers to be unconstitutional stops would far outweigh any administrative hardships.  Still, the reforms she has laid out are sweeping in their impact on the department and its 35,000 officers, who have been excoriated and vilified in the months leading up to the trial and in the aftermath of the ruling… The prolonged controversy over stop-and-frisk has chilled officers’ enthusiasm and initiative. As a result, the number of stops has dropped sharply, from 203,500 in the first three months of 2012 to fewer than 100,000 stops over the same period this year. Cops have gotten the message.

Must-Read Op-Eds: Tuesday, August 20

Updated