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Must Read Op-Eds for August 19, 2011

BAD LUCK? BAD FAITH?  BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POSTObama accuses Republicans of acting for nothing but partisan advantage.

BAD LUCK? BAD FAITH?  BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POSTObama accuses Republicans of acting for nothing but partisan advantage. This from a man who has cagily refused to propose a single structural reform to entitlements in his three years in office. A man who ordered that the Afghan surge be unwound by September 2012,... a date whose sole purpose is to give Obama political relief on the eve of the 2012 election. And Obama dares accuse others of placing politics above country? A plague of bad luck and bad faith... Our president wrestles with angels. Monsters of mythic proportions. A comforting fantasy. But a sorry excuse for a failing economy and a flailing presidency.

 

 


 

THE WRONG IDEA  EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESEurope’s post-2008 economic problems have differed from America’s in many important ways. Washington has mercifully never had to cope with the problem of a dollar torn apart by the separate taxing and spending policies of 17 sovereign governments. But as the crisis moves toward its fourth year, there are disturbing common threads...  Elections are approaching in Spain, France, Germany and other European countries over the coming months. The campaign will soon gear up here. Voters on both sides of the Atlantic need to demand more from their leaders than continued austerity on autopilot.

TRUTH ABOUT SYRIA  EDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESAny fantasies that Mr. Assad is a guarantor of Syrian stability or could lead a peaceful transition have been rightly jettisoned. His killing spree has become too much even for the absolute rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to stomach. They, along with the somewhat more enlightened Kuwaiti government, withdrew their ambassadors. Such gestures are welcome but not enough. These and other Arab governments should impose sanctions.

RUNNING FROM BEHIND  BY MICHAEL GERSONWASHINGTON POSTObama’s cause is far from hopeless. His support has declined but not collapsed. A weak Republican opponent would help. And this emerging strategy — proposing symbolic measures on jobs, bashing an unpopular Congress and discrediting rivals — may be Obama’s only option... This strategy must be a comedown for at least some of the idealists who elected Obama in the first place. Following expectations few presidents have raised as high, Obama has transformed into the most typical of politicians. And this adds an unwanted accomplishment: the further political disillusionment of a nation.

AN UNCERTAIN ARAB TRANSITION  BY DAVID IGNATIUSWASHINGTON POSTViewing events in the Arab world, President Obama has talked often of being “on the right side of history.” But frankly, that’s an incoherent concept. History doesn’t have a side; it isn’t a straight line that moves inexorably toward progress. Movements that start off calling for liberation often produce the opposite. What should guide U.S. policy in this time of transition is to be on the right side of America’s own interests and values. Sometimes those two will conflict, requiring difficult choices, but they coincide powerfully in the departure of Syrian President Assad.

WHAT SYRIA PLAN?  BY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTThe call for Assad to go... appears more symbolic than substantive. You can’t call it pure theater, since it does put additional pressure on the regime and lays the groundwork for further sanctions. But if everyone knows that Assad won’t leave — and that we won’t make him — the demand from the White House sounds like an extremely tardy statement of the obvious. What we need is something the president has refused to provide: an Obama Doctrine governing the use of force to defend civilians against their own despotic governments, or at least spelling out how the United States views its role in the unfolding Arab Spring.

ON THE SIDELINES OF FREEDOM?  BY STEPHEN J. HADLEYWASHINGTON POSTWe have [an] opportunity in the Middle East and North Africa. It will be turbulent and sometimes threatening. The Arab Awakening will give rise to seasons of hope and periods of despair. But there is no going back. The region’s experiment with authoritarianism — which our nation and many others supported in the name of stability — has failed... Americans, of all people, should support the search for greater freedom, democracy, justice and human dignity in the region. Our great challenge — and opportunity — is to help the people of the Middle East and North Africa transition to freedom, democracy and prosperity.

 

THE TEXAS JOBS PANIC  EDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNALRick Perry is not the subtlest politician, but he looks like Pericles next to the liberals falling over themselves to discredit job creation in Texas. We'd have thought any new jobs would be a blessing when 25 million Americans are looking for full-time work, but apparently new jobs aren't valuable jobs if they're created in a state that rejects Obamanomics... Mr. Perry inherited a well-functioning economy and has managed it well, mainly by avoiding the kind of policy disruptions that his liberal critics favor in the name of this or that social or political goal. This achievement may not earn a Nobel prize in economics, but it does help explain why Texas is outperforming the nation.

THE PRESIDENT'S ISLAND RETREAT  BY PEGGY NOONANWALL STREET JOURNALHow could [Obama] not be depressed? He has made big mistakes since the beginning of his presidency and has been pounded since the beginning of his presidency. He's got to be full of doubts at this point about what to do. His baseline political assumptions have proved incorrect, his calculations have turned out to be erroneous, his big decisions have turned to dust... Nothing worked! And nothing's going to work. He's the smartest guy in the room, but he's got the reverse Midas touch. Everything he touches turns to—well, unsatisfying outcomes.