Insights – Week of January 7th, 2019

TCG INSIGHTS for Week of January 7th, 2019

‘We struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit.’ So says Gadi Eisenkot about the Jewish state’s undeclared and unfinished military campaign against Iran and its proxies in Syria and Lebanon….Eisenkot’s central intellectual contribution in fighting that campaign is the concept of ‘the campaign between wars’ — the idea that continuous, kinetic efforts to degrade the enemy’s capabilities both lengthens the time between wars and improves the chances of winning them when they come…This thinking is what led Eisenkot to become the first Israeli general to take Iran head on, in addition to fighting its proxies in Lebanon and elsewhere. And it’s how he succeeded in humbling, at least for the now, Qassim Suleimani, the wily commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, which has spearheaded Tehran’s ambitions to make itself a regional hegemon.” – Bret Stephens [TCG Past Speaker], New York Times, MORE

Julián Castro [TCG Past Speaker], the former mayor of San Antonio and housing secretary in the Obama administration, on Saturday joined the increasingly crowded field of candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. As Castro, 44, stood in the working-class neighborhood where he grew up, he promised to expand prekindergarten programs, make the first two years of college more affordable, expand Medicare to all Americans, overhaul the criminal justice system and immigration laws, increase the minimum wage and make housing more affordable. If elected, he would be the nation’s first Latino president.” – Jenna Johnson, Washington Post, MORE

I’ll throw in something else I think we agree on. Governing by shutdown is ignorant, cowardly and destructive. It is unjust to the innocent, who are forced to deal with reduced services, closed agencies and missed paychecks. It’s dangerous: Something bad will happen with air security, food inspection—something. It’s demoralizing: It makes America look incompetent in the world, unstable, like an empty adversary and incapable friend. It harms the democratic spirit because it so vividly tells Americans—rubs their faces in it—that they’re pawns in a game as both parties pursue their selfish ends.” – Peggy Noonan [TCG Past Speaker], Wall Street Journal, MORE

Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters. A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. The researchers also concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years…As the planet has warmed, the oceans have provided a critical buffer. They have slowed the effects of climate change by absorbing 93 percent of the heat trapped by the greenhouse gases humans pump into the atmosphere.” – Kendra Pierre-Louis, New York Times, MORE

The most interesting thing in conservative politics right now is not the government shutdown and Donald Trump’s flailing attempt to claim victory while being defeated on all fronts. Instead it’s an ideological battle over Tucker Carlson’s [TCG Past Speaker] recent Fox News soliloquy, in which he accused his fellow Republicans of building an anti-family, finance-dominated economic system that might be ‘the enemy of a healthy society.’…But in expanding on those themes he went somewhere that Fox hosts rarely go — from culture into economics, from a critique of liberal cosmopolitanism into a critique of libertarianism, from a lament for the decline of the family to an argument that this decline can be laid at the feet of consumer capitalism as well as social liberalism.” – Ross Douthat, New York Times, MORE