The projected Biden-Trump rematch is not merely depressing, it is causing policymakers on the left and the right to abandon good sense. The result? A double-whammy Biden impeachment and Trump constitutional crisis as the country heads into the election season. Is it correct that election officials can disqualify Trump based on the 14th Amendment? Was it really necessary or strategic to begin impeachment proceedings against Biden now? Is our Republic unraveling? This is precisely why Marc and Dany called on Biden to pardon Trump. This is why Abraham Lincoln said that a compass that points true north is only useful if one also knows the terrain we traverse.
In a post-Dobbs political landscape, abortion policy has become the great divider. But disagreements over abortion cannot stifle much-needed conversations about what can be done to support American women, mothers, fathers, and children. To nobody’s surprise, WTH co-host Marc is a conservative. His colleague at the Washington Post Alyssa Rosenberg, is liberal. Together, they undertook the critical task that one might expect from our lawmakers, and put their differences aside to write a productive, respectful, and intelligent guideline for family policies that have been proposed by lawmakers, yet to be passed. They selected policies that did not require them to compromise on their respective positions on abortion, and those that have a serious chance of becoming law if the work is done by Congress. It is a model of good-faith hard work, and the kind that is rare among those who actually make policy – we commend you to read it here.
Alyssa Rosenberg writes about mass culture, parenting, and gender for The Washington Post’s Opinions section. Before coming to The Post in 2014, Alyssa was the culture editor at ThinkProgress, the television columnist at Women and Hollywood, a columnist for the XX Factor at Slate and a correspondent for The Atlantic.com.
Marc Thiessen writes a column for The Post on foreign and domestic policy. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush. He is a Fox News contributor.
This summer, several articles aired in mainstream media outlets citing unnamed individuals from the Pentagon, and criticizing the speed and tactics of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. These critiques appear to at once reflect a poor understanding of the military goals and capabilities of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, and also bolster the growing anti-Ukraine, pro-isolationism cohort in America. The lack of humility is even more remarkable: the US has not fought a war against a protracted Russian offense like Ukraine’s, since General Patton and the Metz campaign, in 1944…in France. What’s more, no Western military would ever conduct a counteroffensive without air power or long-range artillery; but by slow-rolling and limiting aid, the Biden administration is expecting Ukraine to do just that. It is also worth noting that since the articles aired, Ukraine successfully punctured Russia’s first line of defense. Why are we not celebrating that, and ensuring a decisive win against our shared enemy, Putin?
General Jack Keane is a retired 4-star general, the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War and Fox News Senior Strategic Analyst. General Keane is a member of the Secretary of Defense Policy Board and has advised four Defense Secretaries and is a member of the 2018 and 2022 Congressional Commission on the National Defense Strategy.
It may not come as a surprise that in much of the developed world, money spent is not necessarily money used well. We have done podcasts on the ideological and political dangers of bad development policy, but the dollar-to-donuts, real practical bent of the conversation is just as important. Because at the end of the day, the international community has come up with many (169) development objectives, most all of them unreachable (we have only met one). Instead of looking at the trajectory of UN sustainable development goals and bemoaning their overreach and underperformance, Bjorn Lomborg presents a realistic re-orientation of priorities. He has whittled the 169 UNSDGs down to 12 actionable steps the international community can take to challenge today’s problems. The goals are straightforward, cost-effective, and good faith – for anyone discouraged by the constant backsliding and bureaucratic stagnation of today, this is a refreshing step forward.
Bjorn Lomborg is the president of the think tank Copenhagen Consensus Center and the former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute. He became internationally known for his best-selling book The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001). Bjorn is listed as one of Time’s 100 most influential people, and his most recent book is Best Things First: The 12 Most Efficient Solutions for the World’s Poorest and Our Global SDG Promises.
Little known fact: the intelligence war between the East and the West started long before 1945. And not only that; it did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 90s either. Indeed, this silent conflict has been lurking in the background of virtually every major historical event since 1917. The intelligence wars of the past century have been defined by theft, driven by fear, and dictated by tyrants from Stalin then to Putin and Xi Jinping now. But today, the age of the traditional clandestine secret service is over, and open source is the coin of the realm. So are we prepared to compete with China and Russia on these new battlegrounds?
Calder Walton is an historian at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He received a doctorate in history from Trinity College, Cambridge, where he also helped to write MI5’s authorized hundred-year history. He is the general editor of the three-volume Cambridge History of Espionage and Intelligence. His previous book, Empire of Secrets, won the Longman-History Today Book of the Year award. His new book is Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West.
The What the Hell crew continues our summer reading series! Our next pick is The Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, and the World on the Brink. The Peacemaker’s focus is Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy, adding to previous research with recently declassified national security documents. But just as importantly, the history presented reminds us why the challenges we face today – socialism rebranded, struggles for sovereignty in Ukraine and Taiwan – are not novel. In fact, it is pretty simple to guess where Reagan might have stood in 2023. Inboden underscores as well that, contrary to popular opinion, the fall of the Soviet Union under Reagan was never inevitable, but required a real US policy shift. It is worth the read (or, if you are like Marc, the audiobook listen) to remember the cold war muscles the US built not too long ago, or even just to remember what decorum and strength in leadership looks like in government.
Bonus: Reagan’s legacy lives on at the Reagan Institute; listen to our podcast on their summer survey here.
William Inboden is the Professor and Director of the Hamilton Center for Classical and Civic Education at the University of Florida. He previously served as William Powers, Jr. Chair and Executive Director of the Clements Center for National Security, Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and Distinguished Scholar at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, all at the University of Texas-Austin. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Texas National Security Review. Inboden’s other current roles include Associate with the National Intelligence Council, member of the CIA Historical Advisory Panel, member of the State Department’s Historical Advisory Council, and Senior Fellow with the Trinity Forum.
This August, the What the Hell crew brings you a summer reading series! Our first pick is Chip War, a book the NYT hailed as a cross between Mission Impossible and the China Syndrome. Nominally, this is the story of the semiconductor industry, but it is really a forecast of modern grand strategy, great power conflict, and the security of the global economy. It is no mistake that the book’s author, Chris Miller, set out to write a book about military strategy – and then realized that military strategy today is defined by applying advanced chips to systems. Beyond just military however, advanced chips make the world as we know it work. They are in your iPhone, your dishwasher, your car… the list goes on. The clincher? Almost all of these highly technical chips are made in Taiwan – one of the most geopolitically tense areas in the world.
Chris Miller is an Associate Professor of International History at Tufts University and a Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Fellow at AEI. He is also the co-director of the Fletcher School’s Russia and Eurasia program and the director of the Eurasia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. In addition to Chip War, Miller’s books include We Shall Be Masters: Russian Pivots to Asia from Peter the Great to Putin (Harvard University Press, 2021), Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), and The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy: Mikhail Gorbachev and the Collapse of the USSR (University of North Carolina Press, 2016). Chris is an alumnus of Harvard College and holds an MA and PhD from Yale.
With the incessant politicization of real foreign policy issues, sometimes it is helpful to go back to the numbers. And in this case, the numbers are detached from the reality that anti-Ukraine Republicans are trying to sell. In fact, a new summer survey from the Reagan Institute finds that a 76% supermajority of Americans, including 71% of Republicans, agree that it is important to the US that Ukraine wins the war. This is not the “Ukraine fatigue” story we have been told. Moreover, support for aid increases substantially when respondents are given more information – where aid to Ukraine is going, how Ukraine has performed on the field. Knowing this, why are our leaders failing to give the America First case for aid to Ukraine?
Roger Zakheim serves as the Washington Director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. He previously practiced law at Covington & Burling LLP where he led the firm’s Public Policy and Government Affairs practice group. Before joining Covington he was General Counsel and Deputy Staff Director of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee where he managed the passage of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. He was also the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.
One of America’s greatest engines of growth is fossil fuels – cheap, reliable energy that jumpstarted the industrial revolution and paved the way for the security and prosperity we enjoy today. Others will not be so lucky. Many African countries lack energy security and are reliant upon foreign aid and international organizations that impose environmentally correct conditions on assistance. Indeed, rather than affording African nations the same pathway to prosperity that Western countries used, the left has decided that ‘what is for me is no longer acceptable for thee’ and is pushing green energy on the African continent. Africans like clean energy as much as the next guy (Kenya has geothermal, Ethiopia has hydro) but others (Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria…) are forced to rely on natural gas. But the future of Africa and engines of growth are uninteresting to climate crusaders, who embrace neocolonialist conditions for aid to Africa, all the while jetting about in private planes. Instead of forcing climate terms on critical Africa assistance programs, as John Kerry is intent upon doing, or degrading the efficacy of the Power Africa initiative, perhaps the US and Europe should focus on alleviating poverty, truthfully.
Todd Moss, formerly Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, is the Executive Director of the Energy for Growth Hub, a fellow at the Center for Global Development, and a nonresident scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute and the Colorado School of Mines. He has a substack called Eat More Electrons.
Last week at the NATO summit in Lithuania, the world watched as Ukraine was denied an actionable plan for membership in the alliance. It was almost a rinse and repeat from 2008, when Ukraine and Georgia pushed for membership, and were offered a similarly passive statement – save for one major exception: today, Ukraine is actively fighting for its life. In fact, Ukraine is doing NATO’s job for it: defending Europe, upholding sovereignty, and keeping Russia’s imperialist ambitions at bay. And, notwithstanding the ire of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan – who has labeled Ukraine ungrateful — nobody (much less Zelensky) is arguing for membership during a hot war. Ukrainians want a secure plan forward, not a vague and gauzy set of commitments that amount to “maybe.” A roadmap is not actually hard to formulate (Marc and former Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun wrote one for Washington Post) so what is the hold-up? Are we really going to let Putin bully 31 (soon to be 32) countries into icing out a staunch ally?
Ambassador Kurt Volker is the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, the former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine. He’s now a distinguished fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and a founding partner of the American University in Kyiv.