Category Archives: Bruce S. Thornton

Still Blind to the Costs of Illegal Immigration

What really explains Trump’s rapid climb to the top of the polls.

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FPM

Photo via FPM

Donald Trump’s blunt and clumsy comments about illegal immigration sparked the usual firestorm of criticism from the well heeled of both parties. Particularly vocal were those Republicans who think that an amorphous, make-believe category comprising “Hispanics” or “Latinos” will vote Republican if only Republican meanies like Trump would stop insulting them by complaining about illegal aliens. As usual, willful ignorance or blindness about the costs of illegal immigration underwrites these dubious ideas.

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The Truth About Western “Colonialism”

How the misuse of a term legitimizes the jihadist myth of Western guilt.

by Bruce S. Thornton // Defining Ideas

Photo via Front Page Magazine

Photo via Front Page Magazine

Language is the first casualty of wars over foreign policy. To paraphrase Thucydides, during ideological conflict, words have to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which is now given them.

One word that has been central to our foreign policy for over a century is “colonialism.” Rather than describing a historical phenomenon––with all the complexity, mixture of good and evil, and conflicting motives found on every page of history––“colonialism” is now an ideological artifact that functions as a crude epithet. As a result, our foreign policy decisions are deformed by self-loathing and guilt eagerly exploited by our adversaries.

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More Sanctions Wouldn’t Have Stopped Iran

But one measure would have.

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

iran-nuclearCritics of President Obama’s recent deal with Iran have rejected the president’s assertion that the only alternative to his deal is war. They think that more aggressive sanctions could have changed Iran’s behavior, given the economic costs the current sanction regime has inflicted. A corollary to this argument assumes that the majority of Iranians are pro-American and sick of the puritanical and corrupt mullahcracy and its willful isolation of the country from the global order. Increase the pressure of sanctions, and this mass of discontent could ripen into regime change or at least a moderation of its behavior.

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The Iran Failure Has Many Fathers

The dangerous belief that words alone can transcend an eternal truth of human nature.

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Everybody knows the deal with Iran is a disaster. Why is equally obvious: Iran will get $150 billion to spend on weapons and its terrorist proxies, will keep its enrichment facilities, will continue to develop missiles, will easily avoid the laughably pusillanimous inspections regime, and will end up a nuclear power with malign consequences for the stability of the Middle East.

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THE PRESIDENT’S LOOKING-GLASS ISLAMIC WORLD

Obama may have forgotten about “war with Islam,” but war with Islam has not forgotten about him.

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

rfrPresident Obama recently gave a speech at the Pentagon about our efforts against ISIS that confirmed he has little awareness of the real world our enemies inhabit. The talk reprised the usual received wisdom and unchallenged orthodoxy that comprise most of the foreign policy establishment’s ideas about Islamic jihadism and how we should fight it. Consider the following particularly egregious examples:

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ISLAM THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

The latest volume of J.B. Kelly’s essays shows how little we’ve learned about the Middle East.

by Bruce S. Thornton // Defining Ideas 

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

From the 1960s to the late 1990s, John Barrett Kelly was one of the most influential advisors, writers, and commentators on the Middle East. In 1980 his book Arabia, the Gulf, and the West was prophetic in its analysis of the strategic importance of the Middle East and the need for a Western “forward policy” in the Gulf in order to protect U.S. and European interests, particularly oil and its transport, against both Soviet adventurism and the greed of Middle Eastern potentates. Like all his writing, his advice was based on an intimate knowledge of the region and its culture, especially the tribal mentality intertwined with Islam, a faith historically hostile to Western civilization.

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The Postcolonial Rot Spreads Beyond Middle East Studies

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

middle-east-scholarshipsIn theory, Middle East Studies programs are a good idea. One of the biggest impediments to countering modern jihadism has been the lack of historical knowledge about the region and Islam. But even the attention and urgency that followed the terrorist attacks on 9/11 have not led to such knowledge. The result has been policies pursued both by Republicans and Democrats that are doomed to fail, as the current chaos in the region attests.

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Progressive Academics Shocked That Their Creatures Turn on Them

When the cult of sensitivity begins to eat its children.

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Recently several progressive professors have publicly complained that their students are hounding them for failing to consider their tender sensibilities by straying beyond the p.c. orthodoxy on sexual assault, sex identity, linguistic correctness, and a whole host of other progressive shibboleths. Northwestern “feminist” professor Laura Kipnis found herself in a Title IX star chamber for an article she wrote decrying the immaturity of her legally adult students. Over at Vox, another progressive confessed (anonymously, reminding us that academics are an invertebrate species) he was so “scared” and “terrified” of his “liberal” students that he self-censors his comments in class and has changed his reading list.

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We’re Still Dumbing Down the Iraq War

The truth about the danger of Saddam Hussein and why we went into Iraq.

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Jeb Bush tangled himself up recently when he tried to answer a dumb question on the intelligence failures about Iraq’s WMDs and their role in going to war with Saddam Hussein in 2003. I’m not interested in the media’s usual pointless chatter about the incident, or in the other Republican hopefuls who circled to plunge a spear in Jeb like the Greeks jabbing the dead Hector. More troubling is the continuing dumbing down of the context and circumstances that surrounded the decision to go to war.

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Hillary Can’t Win. Or Can She?

Can a person with no experience, no achievements, and no likability fool a majority of voters?

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Hillary Clinton has formally announced she is running for president. Thus begins one of the most interesting and consequential political experiments in American history, one that will unfold over the next year and a half. We are going to see if a candidate for president with no real-world experience, no notable achievements, and no charisma or likability can fool 62 million voters into making her president.

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