The Buzz

The Flaws in International Justice

Sometimes it seems that hawks have so overwhelmed the liberal internationalist camp that there is little room left for another of their mainstays: tribunals for international justice. But a recent New York Times op-ed shows that advocates of robust international institutions are still around--and want to bring their theoretical models to the crisis in Syria.

The Other Tragedy of Trayvon Martin

Among America’s most probing thinkers on race is Shelby Steele, senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and author of numerous books, including a 2007 volume called White Guilt. His April 5 Wall Street Journal piece on the Trayvon Martin episode cuts through a lot of the cant that unfortunately has surrounded that human tragedy in Sanford, Florida.

Defining Terrorism Down

Daniel Pipes is a man of strong opinions. But the ones he shares in his latest National Review Online piece are more than strong. They’re potentially dangerous.

Pipes accuses Western authorities of “[conjuring] up . . . lame excuses for Islamist terrorism.” He sees a “recurring problem of politicians, law enforcement, and the press with Islamist terrorism: their unwillingness to stare it in the face and ascribe murder to it.”

Moralism Meets Realism in Afghanistan

The April issue of Commentary is further proof that there is no problem that neoconservatives believe can’t be solved by military force applied in the service of moral values. In an essay grandly titled “Reclaiming the Moral Case for Afghanistan,” Jamie Fly contends that in addition to the national-security benefits, the Obama administration should emphasize the moral reasons for the Afghan war.

Amateur Hour on the Open Mic

Martin Peretz’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed is the latest screed to weigh in on the implications of President Obama’s now-infamous “open mic” moment. Peretz, the longtime New Republic editor-in-chief, calls the incident “a moment of political contempt,” and draws from it the lesson that Obama cannot be trusted because he is unwilling to be honest with the American public about his true intentions.

Mayhem and Marigolds

It’s a big week for Iraq. Leaders of the Arab League are descending upon Baghdad for their annual summit, a meeting that has studiously avoided the Iraqi capital for several years.

The Economist effectively points out the importance of this occasion to Iraq. If all goes well, the summit could “draw a curtain over the country’s battered image as occupied, violent and dysfunctional” and mark “a triumphant return to the Arab fold.”

Cherry Picking in Hong Kong

The Washington Post editorial board’s analysis of the recent contest for Hong Kong’s chief executive is nothing short of a “mess”—the word the Post also uses to describe the election results.

After presenting myriad evidence to the contrary, they conclude that “In the end, the election served only to underline the unsustainability of China’s attempt to limit the democracy it promised to Hong Kong.”

A Caricature of Righteousness

According to longtime Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, “it’s hard to point to a single priority of the Republican Party these days that isn’t steeped in moral failing while being dressed up in moral righteousness.” And she knows a thing or two about being dressed up in moral righteousness.

Burying the Truth about Trayvon Martin

We don’t know what happened in Sanford, Florida, on the night of February 26. The facts in the case involving seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, in which Martin was shot dead, are sketchy. But now we do know, based on reporting by the Orlando Sentinel, that the facts in the case are in dispute.