Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Trump’s campaign manager wiretapped. That’s a big deal.
The story was broken by CNN: Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman, starting in 2014 and continuing, off an on, until this year. The tap, authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), would include periods when he was known to speak with Donald Trump. (Manafort also owned an apartment in Trump Tower; that might be relevant because Trump spoke of wiretaps in Trump Tower.)
There is increasingly strong public speculation that Manafort will be indicted by Robert Mueller’s office.
At this point, we do not know who the FISA warrant(s) targeted.
Comment: At this point, we simply don’t know enough about this surveillance. (In fact, the information released to CNN was almost certainly a felony violation of secret proceedings.)
- Anti-Trump people think the fact that a federal judge would authorize surveillance on such a senior figure in the Trump campaign suggests something very bad was afoot and that collaboration with the Russians may have been Manafort’s aim (if not necessarily that of others in the campaign).
- Pro-Trump people think this information vindicates his repeated claims that he was wiretapped.
- And, of course, a lot of people, myself included, want to know more before they reach a conclusion.
I think a lot of people will agree with Dan Drezner (a centrist and no friend of Trump’s):
◆ Trump at the UN: Very tough talk. Threatens to “totally destroy” North Korea, calls Kim “rocket man,” and labels Iran a “rogue nation” (New York Times)
He included terms he had seldom used recently: “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Comment: Trump’s speech was an unusually blunt, full-throated defense of America’s interests, as opposed to globalism, and included particularly sharp and detailed attacks on Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela.
Critical responses to the speech line up as expected.
◆ More censorship calls on campus, this time because a professor wrote a scholarly article called “The Case for Colonialism”
The article, by Prof. Bruce Gilley of Portland State, was published in a peer-reviewed journal that is very anti-colonial, which presumably thought the piece was serious, well-researched, and would spark scholarly debate. The basic argument does not deny the evils of colonialism but says they must be balanced against the benefits and that anti-colonialism has itself carried high costs.
Recently, Gilley publicly resigned from the American Political Science Association for its ideological bias.
Comment: Given the political climate on today’s campuses, especially those on the coasts, what Gilley’s article sparked was not discussion but calls for him to be fired, censured, and tarred-and-feathered.
Mordechai Kedar says “yes” and adds that Iran has now effectively taken over Syria, strengthened Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and given a free hand to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Comment: Iran’s expansion across the region was facilitated by the Obama administration and will cause death and destruction for years to come.