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Bret Stephens On “America In Retreat”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens was my guest Tuesday, discussing his new book, America in Retreat:




HH: In Jerusalem today, five rabbis at prayer slaughtered by Islamist militants, three of them Americans, five dead in that attack. I’m joined today by Bret Stephens. Bret is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. In 2013, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his commentary. He’s the foreign affairs columnist there, also the deputy editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal. He previously was the editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. I’m sure he’s been following events today. We’re going to talk mostly about, this hour, his new book, America In Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder. But I would be obtuse if I did not ask you, Bret, for your reaction to this, and how ominous it is that this sort of viral, random violence is spreading.

BS: Well, the first point to make is the attack is just extraordinarily barbaric. I mean, to attack people in prayer with axes and knives and guns has a quality of brutality that is unique, even if there are all kinds of ways of dying. I just felt, quite frankly, when I saw the scenes of it, I felt sick. But it’s also a reminder, Hugh, that the problem that Israel confronts in the Middle East, and the problem that the United States confronts is not a question of territory borders, settlements. It’s a question of political culture and ethical culture, because almost as disturbing to me, I’m sure you felt the way, wasn’t just what was done. It was the scenes of jubilation in Palestinian streets that these two cousins had gone in there and butchered peaceful people in prayer in Jerusalem. And when you have a culture that is like that, you have a much larger set of problems on your hand, and you have to look that culture in the face. You have to understand what it’s about, and you have to be clear-eyed about how you can engage it. I don’t know what the proper response to this kind of barbarism is, but it certainly can’t be demands for Israeli retreat. Continue Reading

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Bret Stephens and Mark Liebovich

Tuesday, November 18, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens opens the program today.  Stephens received a Pulitzer for Commentary last year, and you can see why from his new book America In Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder.     It Is a riveting look at the excalating “storm” of chaos around the globe, and not to be missed. Today I’ll also be talking with Mark Leibovich about his newbook  Citizens of the Green Room, which is as funny as Stephens’ book is serious.  Together they paint a picture of a fundamentally unserious America at just the moment the opposite is called for. Read them both.  There will be a test. Lots of tests.

A Terrible Day In Israel, Including Three Dead Americans. Where’s The President?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The murders of four Jews at prayer will no doubt excite the barbarian Islamists but the rest of the world, especially our president, should be denouncing these butchers just as he denounced the ISISL beheaders.  I am hopeful he will but by no means certain.  We are at this point because this president has been feckless in the face of the rising Islamist tide, as feckless as his predecessor was firm.

George W. Bush knew the threat and countered it.  Barack Obama pretended it (1) didn’t exists and pulled out of Iraq and that (2) in Israel, it is Netanyahu’s fault.


The four victims were all rabbis, one born in England and three in the United States, including Moshe Twersky, 59, part of a celebrated Hasidic dynasty.

John Kerry issued a statement, not the president:

“The Palestinian leadership must condemn this,” Mr. Kerry said in London, after speaking by telephone to Mr. Netanyahu, “and they must begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement that comes from their language, from other people’s language, and exhibit the kind of leadership that is necessary to put this region on a different path.”

If President Obama can put aside his hatred for Netanyahu and who knows who else, he will make a similar condemnation, in person and at length, and soon.

And, in case you had any doubt:

Hamas praised the synagogue attack, saying it was a “response to continued Israeli crimes, the killing, desecrating Al Aqsa [mosque],” a reference to a recent incident at the holy site.

Senator Lindsey Graham On Iran, The Benghazi Committee, Immigration Reform, The Filibuster And 2016

Monday, November 17, 2014  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham joined me on today’s show and we covered a half-dozen key subjects:




HH: Hour two of the Hugh Hewitt Show begins with United States Senator Lindsey Graham of the great state of South Carolina. Senator Graham, welcome back, congratulations on your reelection victory.

LG: Well, thank you, Hugh, for helping me in the primary, and we did very well in the general election. And I’m excited about being in the majority.

HH: Not today, there’s an article about your speech to the question of what to do about Iran. I have a piece in the Washington Examiner that says I hope the first thing the new Congress does is repudiate any bad deal and reimpose sanctions. I don’t think we’re too far apart on this.

LG: Well, I think we’re dead on. I have a simple request of the Congress. Take any deal that we may negotiate with the P5+1 regarding the Iranian nuclear deal and bring it to Congress for review, debate and vote.

HH: Do you have the votes to override a presidential veto of a law repudiating it?

LG: That’s the magic question. Number one, I want to take the vote before November the 24th. So last week, I made a unanimous consent request to bring up the Iranian Nuclear Negotiations Act that would require any deal would come to Congress for a review, debate and a vote. It was blocked by Democrats. They will continue to block it. I will call it up again tomorrow. And then in January when we take over, I am confident that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner will make this legislation one of the priorities of the new Republican controlled House and Senate, and that we will get 90% at least of Republican votes, and that if Democrats had to vote on a deal with Iran, that gave them thousands of centrifuges to only be controlled by the U.N., in terms of becoming a weapons program, that we would get enough to override a veto. Continue Reading

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