The paradox of Donald Trump's bombastic presidential campaign is that his rise may ultimately benefit the rival he has attacked most vociferously.
With his rambling and belligerent speech in Phoenix last Saturday, Trump signaled again that on the sprawling list of targets that inspire his antagonism, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ranks near the bulls-eye. "If you people go with Bush," Trump insisted flatly during the speech, "you are going to lose."
And yet, while he is creating some risks for the nominal front-runner, many Republican analysts predict that Trump eventually could prove more asset than obstacle to Bush's bid for the party nomination. "If you were a total evil-conspiracy theorist, you'd think the Trilateral Commission got Trump to run because … it helps Jeb more than anybody," says longtime Republican strategist David Carney.
The surge of interest in Trump could threaten Bush in one important respect: by radicalizing opinion within the party on immigration issues where Bush has taken a relatively moderate position.
But Trump's ascent could inadvertently help Bush, both by providing him a foil in the immigration debate, and also by dividing the populist conservative voters who are least likely to ever support an establishment favorite like the former Florida governor
As the Iran nuclear talks neared the endgame, some observers worried that President Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, in their eagerness for a deal, would give away the store with last-minute concessions.
Those fears turned out to be misplaced, notwithstanding Tuesday’s howls of protest from Israeli and GOP critics. The agreement is a well-crafted pact that maintains the framework reached in Lausanne, Switzerland, in April. Rather than softening the Lausanne terms, the final language firms up some squishy items. It also adds important new restrictions on Iran’s ability to develop the exotic triggering mechanisms needed to build a nuclear bomb.
The problem isn’t the agreement but Iran itself. Its behavior remains defiantly belligerent, even as it signs an accord pledging to be peaceful. Its operatives subvert neighboring regimes, even as their front companies are about to be removed from the sanctions lists. The agreement welcomes Iran to the community of nations, even though its leader proclaims that Iran is a revolutionary cause.
More politics and policy below the fold.
On one thing, at least, both sides in the fierce debate over President Obama’s nuclear accord with Iran agree: He will go down in history because of it. The disagreement relates to how. As a peacemaker or an appeaser?
For all of the focus on details like the number of centrifuges or the scope of inspections, the emerging battle represents a larger conflict of visions between Mr. Obama’s faith in diplomacy as the most rational way to resolve differences and his critics’ deep skepticism over the wisdom of negotiating with what they see as an adversary that cannot be trusted.
It reads like a dry, 1,184-word memorandum about fiscal projections. But the International Monetary Fund’s memo on Greek debt sustainability, explaining why the I.M.F. cannot participate in a new bailout program unless other European countries agree to huge debt relief for Greece, has provided the “Emperor Has No Clothes” moment of the Greek crisis, one that may finally force eurozone members to either move closer to fiscal union or break up.
The I.M.F. memo amounts to an admission that the eurozone cannot work in its current form. It lays out three options for achieving Greek debt sustainability, all of which are tantamount to a fiscal union, an arrangement through which wealthier countries would make payments to support the Greek economy. Not coincidentally, this is the solution many economists have been telling European officials is the only way to save the euro — and which northern European countries have been resisting because it is so costly.
Republicans are very, very confident that they have the political advantage in the coming battle in Congress over the historic Iran deal announced yesterday. Multiple news reports today tell us that Republicans are gearing up their “attack plan,” and those reports are overflowing with GOP bravado.
For instance, the Hill tells us that Republicans may hold a preliminary vote to approve the Iran deal, on the theory that this will divide Democrats, since some of them will see this as a “tough vote.”
But here’s the question: Once all the procedural smoke clears, do Republicans really want an endgame in which they succeeded in blocking the deal? Do they actually want to scuttle it?
Are these double-digit rate increases the new normal? Not exactly.
I've spent the past few days talking to experts about what to expect from Obamacare rates in 2016. And they do expect premiums to rise faster this year, largely because health-care costs are going up faster, too. But they caution against reading too much into the little information currently available — and they don't expect the huge rate increases making headlines now to be the norm.
On Iran, no need to speculate about the alternative. We’ve already lived it.
In the 13 years that critics, and Israeli leaders, complained and threatened, Iran gained significant expertise in precision engineering, centrifuge construction, enrichment and research and development. They took great pride in building a fully functioning nuclear fuel cycle, in scaring the world with its scientific prowess.
Just imagine what another 13 years could have given them.
Donald Trump now seems to be leading the GOP presidential field, and even if no one expects that situation to be permanent, most sentient Republicans agree that it’s terrible for the party. Apart from making the party look bad with his enthusiastic buffoonery, Trump finds new ways to alienate Latinos almost every day, and there is simply no way for Republicans to win the White House if they don’t improve their performance among Latino voters.
Yet the other GOP candidates can’t seem to bring themselves to utter a word of criticism toward Trump. Not only that, they’re barely criticizing each other. What’s going on here?
with a long read worth reading:
In truth, it is not so much a banner for rebellious spirits as it is a symbol of unthinking submission to exploitation. Few flags in modern history so clearly represent what the French call “the logic of war,” when people are aroused to the point of hysteria, and the real and obvious costs of a conflagration are not calculated, while the imagined benefits are fabricated. And few people saw that sort of madness taking hold more clearly than Robert Bunch, the central figure in Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South, to be published next week.
From 1853 to 1863, this young and cynical—but quite sane—British consul served in South Carolina as the representative of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. While he worked to ingratiate himself with the local slave-holding gentry, his secret dispatches to the Foreign Office in London and to his superiors at the British legation in Washington conveyed his horror at what he saw around him.
Like one of those conflicted, ambiguous figures in a John Le Carré novel, Bunch was not outwardly heroic, his motives could be ambiguous, and he operated in what the historian Amanda Foreman has called “the grey area where diplomacy ends and spy craft begins.” But all of that makes his non-ideological reporting all the more useful as we try to make sense of what happened more than 150 years ago, and indeed what has happened over the last month since Dylann Roof walked into Emanuel AME Church.