Chicago Tribune - - EDITORIALS -

The United States has not al­lo­cated the re­sources, po­lit­i­cal and fi­nan­cial, to stem the wave of il­le­gal im­mi­grants into this coun­try that is now ris­ing again, or to en­able gen­uine asy­lum cases to be ad­ju­di­cated fairly and ex­pe­di­tiously. Our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem — in­ca­pac­i­tated by trib­al­ism — has been in­ca­pable of ad­dress­ing the in­ten­si­fy­ing prob­lem since the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion. Pres­i­dent Obama was trapped by the same im­passe as Pres­i­dent Trump now is, and de­tained fam­i­lies in camps. And the prob­lem is acute. There are al­most a third of a mil­lion asy­lum cases pend­ing in the sys­tem; and, as David Frum has noted, it now takes up to nine months to process a sin­gle one.

As in every­thing, Trump makes things worse. His rhetoric, his cal­lous­ness, his wan­ton lies all make a com­pro­mise harder. It’s com­pletely un­der­stand­able that Democrats do not wish to let him off the hook in any way be­fore Novem­ber. But there’s a big con­flict here if you ac­tu­ally want to end the suf­fer­ing, or get at the real prob­lem. If you do not want to jail kids with their par­ents in­def­i­nitely, or to main­tain the in­cen­tive for il­le­gal mi­grants to bring kids along for the har­row­ing ride, you need some sort of con­gres­sional ac­tion and soon. …

The Democrats need to ac­cept that they lost the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion for a rea­son, and that their op­po­nent’s main cam­paign pledge was to tackle il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, with a wall at the south­ern bor­der as the cen­ter­piece.

An­drew Sul­li­van, New York Magazine

For two years now I’ve been try­ing to per­suade my­self that I could at least pre­tend to have a soft spot in my iron-clad heart for Ben Rhodes, the Obama for­eign­pol­icy ad­viser whose new mem­oir, “The World As It Is,” has lately been mak­ing noise. My strug­gle be­gan in 2016, when The New York Times Magazine ran a pro­file of him. …

Rhodes, ac­cord­ing to the au­thor of the pro­file, had “a healthy con­tempt for the Amer­i­can for­eign-pol­icy es­tab­lish­ment, in­clud­ing edi­tors and re­porters at The New York Times, The Wash­ing­ton Post, The New Yorker, and else­where.” Rhodes called this es­tab­lish­ment the Blob, and among its stal­warts he named Hil­lary Clin­ton and Robert Gates. Even bet­ter, Rhodes turned his at­ten­tion to the Wash­ing­ton press corps, which he de­scribed as eas­ily ma­nip­u­lated — by him. “The av­er­age re­porter we talk to is 27 years old,” Rhodes said. “And their only re­port­ing ex­pe­ri­ence con­sists of be­ing around po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns. That’s a sea change. They lit­er­ally know noth­ing.” …

His book ap­pears just as the sig­nal at­tain­ments of Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion are be­ing dis­man­tled, with great clum­si­ness but also, as these things go, al­most cer­tain fi­nal­ity. … Rhodes con­tin­ues to see the Trump as­cen­dancy as an aber­ra­tion and not as the na­tional up­chuck it was, the re­vul­sion a large part of the coun­try felt to­ward the ad­min­is­tra­tion — to the class — he typ­i­fies. “The World As It Is” is a good book, an in­sider ac­count of those who would be kings (and queens). I put it aside with ad­mi­ra­tion, and also with a para­phrase from Rhodes him­self: They lit­er­ally learned noth­ing.

An­drew Ferguson, Commentary

Re­la­tions be­tween Rus­sia and the United States have de­te­ri­o­rated to their most dan­ger­ous point in decades. … The quan­ti­ta­tive nu­clear arms race is over, but Rus­sia and the United States have be­gun a new qual­i­ta­tive arms race in nu­clear de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles, mis­sile de­fenses, and dig­i­tal weapons. The two coun­tries are no longer en­gulfed in proxy wars, but over the last decade, Rus­sia has demon­strated less and less re­straint in its use of mil­i­tary power.

The world­wide ide­o­log­i­cal strug­gle be­tween cap­i­tal­ism and com­mu­nism is his­tory, but Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has anointed him­self the leader of a re­newed na­tion­al­ist, con­ser­va­tive move­ment fight­ing a deca­dent West. To spread these ideas, the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment has made huge in­vest­ments in tele­vi­sion and ra­dio sta­tions, so­cial me­dia net­works, and in­ter­net “troll farms,” and it has spent lav­ishly in sup­port of like-minded politi­cians abroad. The best de­scrip­tion of the cur­rent hos­til­i­ties is not cold war but hot peace.

Michael McFaul, For­eign Af­fairs

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