Our Best Stuff From Last Week, All in One Place
Justin Amash 2020, the necessity of the U.S. as a superpower, and the problem with negotiating with the Taliban.
|Rachael Larimore||Jan 18|| 16|
In another era, it might have been surreal. (Of course, in another era, we got our news when the paper landed on the front porch.) But on Tuesday, our phones buzzed twice within minutes, first with the news that Nancy Pelosi had signed the articles of impeachment and then that Senate had given Donald Trump a rare legislative victory by passing the USMCA. And … it felt about typical for these times.
One of our goals at The Dispatch is to give you meaningful news that takes a step back from the hustle and bustle of the Twitter-driven news cycle. But we know that you might not be able to drop everything and read it the moment we publish. So we are introducing a Saturday email that will let you catch up on the best of what we’ve done the previous week. We’re sending this edition to you because you’ve signed up for one or more of our other newsletters. If you want to continue to receive this, please opt-in here.
For all the calls for a GOP or third-party challenger for the 202 election, no serious candidates have emerged (no offense, Bill Weld). Could that change? Michigan Rep. Justin Amash formally left the GOP in July, but he’s always had a bit of an independent streak. And in 2016, he won re-election to his congressional seat by 203,000 votes—well more than the 77,000 across three states that gave Donald Trump the edge in the Electoral College. Declan Garvey profiled Amash on Wednesday, and during their interview, Amash asked: “Is there any better time to have a president who might be not from either party?”
Americans have long debated our nation’s role on the world stage, and now we have a president who has, at different times, taken both sides. He’s vowed to end our “forever wars” (and shown a willingness to make terrible deals to do so) while also sending troops into conflict zones and escalating tensions with our rivals. Avi Woolf makes a compelling argument that there is no one else qualified, or willing, to serve as a “beacon of democratic and Western values at their best.”
Last September when word got out that the Trump administration had disinvited Taliban negotiators from a meeting at Camp David, the common reaction was, “What do you MEAN that he invited the Taliban to Camp David?” But despite all the evidence that the Taliban is still working closely with al-Qaeda, the administration is still seeking an arrangement that would call the Taliban our “counterterrorism partner.” Tom Joscelyn breaks down all the reasons this is a terrible idea.
Other highlights from The Dispatch this week:
Tom Joscelyn launched his weekly newsletter, Vital Interests, covering national security and foreign policy. He kicked it off with a discussion of the China threat. Please subscribe!
Jonah Goldberg had an all-star lineup on The Remnant this week—and there’s even a bonus third episode. He talked to Jake Tapper about 1990s Gen-X stuff, Ross Douthat about religion (and also just how one is supposed to pronounce “Douthat), and David Brooks about the story of the “Kosher killer.”
David French has bad news for people on both sides of the aisle. In one edition of his French Press newsletter, he explained why, even if elected, Bernie Sanders would not be able to pull off the socialist revolution for which he yearns. And in another, he makes (yet another) case for why Donald Trump is unfit for office.