George F. Kennan–Architect of Containment

George F. Kennan, who died last week at age 101, was not a household name to most Americans. As a matter of fact, he may be almost completely unknown to most American evangelicals, most of whom were born long after Kennan had made his major impact on American foreign policy. Nevertheless, Kennan’s thought–and the approach to foreign policy that flowed from his arguments–framed American policy during most of the Cold War. His death provides an opportunity to review the impact of his ideas and the worldview he expressed.

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Natan Sharansky Makes the Case for Democracy

President George W. Bush is recommending a book these days, and the President’s new literary interest has caught the attention of the world press. President Bush is recommending Natan Sharansky’s new book, The Case for Democracy, and he has made frequent references to Sharansky and his book, telling audiences that Sharansky’s argument represents “how I feel” and how he thinks.

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Does Liberalism Have a Future?

Martin Peretz is worried that liberalism has no future in America. Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic, Peretz writes of his concern in a major article published in the 90th anniversary issue of his magazine. “Not Much Left,” is a cry from the heart, offered by Peretz to what remains of a liberal movement in America. Peretz begins by arguing that, in the 1960s, it was conservatism that was devoid of ideas and facing a dismal political future. In the words of economist John Kenneth Galbraith, conservatism was “bookless” and intellectually bankrupt. Now, Peretz argues it is liberalism “that is now bookless and dying.” Peretz has good reason for alarm. He–and the magazine for which he writes–represent a form of liberalism that is now largely without constituency in the Democratic Party and the political left. Peretz longs for the day when the progressivism of Theodore Roosevelt and the liberalism of Franklin Delano Roosevelt ruled the left and served as a fertile greenhouse for the incubation of potent political ideas.

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Democrats Turn to Dean–Will It Work?

“Howard Dean’s energy and passion will add to the political discourse in this country, and he will be a strong leader for his party.” That comment came from Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, in a statement congratulating former Vermont governor Howard Dean on his unanimous election as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. What Mr. Mehlman could not say is that his party is relishing the opportunity to watch the Democrats self-destruct under their hyperventilating new chairman.

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Was Abraham Lincoln Gay? Homosexuality and History

What are we to make of Abraham Lincoln? This larger-than-life figure that has cast such an enduring shadow over American history continues to defy historical analysis. The so-called “Lincoln Myth” that emerged shortly after his assassination in 1865 continues as the nation’s central memory to this day. The most interesting debate over Lincoln and his legacy has been conducted by a cadre of conservative scholars who have debated Lincoln’s real convictions on slavery and his real goal in preserving the union.

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The Courage of Citizenship–A Day of Hope in Iraq

“Do you hear that, do you hear the bombs?” asked Hassan Jawad, a 33-year-old election worker at Lebanon High School in Baghdad. As the shells exploded in the neighborhood, fired by insurgents trying to intimidate Iraqis from voting, Jawad made clear that Iraq would not be intimidated. “We don’t care. Do you understand? We don’t care. We all have to die. To die for this, well, at least I will be dying for something.” As The New York Times then reported, Mr. Jawad then went back to his task, helping an Iraqi woman to cast her ballot.

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The Iraqi Elections–A Test for Democracy

The leaflets tossed out of car windows in Baghdad leave no room for interpretation: “This is a final warning to all of those who plan to participate in the election. We vow to wash the streets of Baghdad with the voters’ blood.”

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Inaugural Observations–Democracy on Display

“On this day, prescribed by law and marked by ceremony, we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep commitments that unite our country. I am grateful for the honor of this hour, mindful of the consequential times in which we live, and determined to fulfill the oath that I have sworn and you have witnessed.” With those words President George W. Bush accepted the nation’s trust and began his second inaugural address.

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Inaugural Observations–The Day Before

The District of Columbia just can’t help admitting a sense of excitement this week–but it’s sure not about the weather. For some reason known only to God, the weather for presidential inaugurations seems to turn extraordinarily nasty. Washington enjoyed unseasonably warm weather last week, but what is known here as an “Arctic Clipper” has the nation’s capital in a cold grip. Thousands of travelers to the city–including the Mohler family–waited in distant airports for the weather to clear sufficiently for landings at Reagan Washington National Airport to resume.

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Politically Correct Prayer–The Secular Left Goes Berserk

Michael Newdow is at it again. The California atheist, best known for trying to get the words “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, is now trying to make certain that no one prays at the inauguration of President George W. Bush later this month–at least no one on the program.

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