Pete Spiliakos is a columnist for First Things.

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Incoherence, Petulance, and Obama's Middle East Policy

From Web Exclusives

The Obama administration's Middle East policy is becoming something worse than a failure. It is turning into a combination of ideological tics and irritable gestures even as the worst actors gain power.Ross Douthat argues that the Obama administration is shifting the U.S.’s foreign policy strategy from a Pax Americana model (where the U.S. uses military force to impose order) to one of offshore balancing (where the U.S. strategically sides with one local power or another while keeping U.S. commitments to a minimum). If only that were what the United States was doing. A thoughtful policy of offshore balancing would be a dramatic improvement over policies that Obama is pursuing. Continue Reading »

Conservative Con Artistry

From Web Exclusives

A breach has opened between the Republican party’s business interests and the party’s activists. It has always existed, of course, but not so widely as now. While the issue of immigration might be the most significant policy consideration that divides them, there is also a very important institutional divide. The Republican business establishment, from K Street down to the local Chamber of Commerce, has functioning institutions, while the party’s populists do not. This is why conservati Continue Reading »

Why I’ll Miss Mitt Romney

From Web Exclusives

Mitt Romney was an unprincipled politician. He was an opportunist and a pragmatist. Still, it’s a pity that Romney won’t be running for president in 2016. A Mitt Romney­­–Jeb Bush fight might have split the Republican “establishment” and allowed an anti-establishment candidate to win. But Romney could have done more than split one faction of the Republican party. He could have nudged the platform of the Republican party’s establishment faction closer to the beliefs of grassroots conservative voters—and closer to the views of the general public. Continue Reading »

Remembering Conservative Reformers

From Web Exclusives

Liberals are enjoying a moment of confidence. Across the board, there is a sense that the salient political issues are evolving and that demographic shifts are weakening the center-right political coalition. It’s true that the challenges have changed, but more than ever it’s the right, not the left, which has the resources to address the problems of today. Continue Reading »

Avoiding the Identity Politics Trap

From Web Exclusives

A Mike Huckabee presidential campaign could be the Republican establishment’s nightmare. His candidacy would combine upfront social conservatism with an economic message targeted at the middle-class and struggling wage-earners rather than at the party’s lobbyist and donor elites. Unfortunately, it seems more likely that Huckabee will emerge as an ally of the establishment—though one disguised as a critic. Continue Reading »