Columnist: George Will

Sep. 20, 2014 @ 11:23 PM

Obama needs Congress to approve this war

The United States last declared war many wars ago, on June 5, 1942, when, to clarify legal ambiguities during a world conflagration, it declared war on Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Today's issue is not whether to declare war but only whether the president should even seek congressional authorization for the protracted use of force against the Islamic State.


Sep. 14, 2014 @ 03:51 PM

Scotland's epic vote on independence

Tucking into a dish of Scottish haggis is not a task for the fainthearted. There are various haggis recipes, but basically it is sheep's pluck -- the heart, lungs and liver -- cooked together, then mixed with suet and oatmeal and boiled in a sheep's stomach, then served, sometimes drenched with Scotch. People who pour whisky on oatmeal are not shrinking violets. Remember this on Thursday when Scotland votes on independence from the United Kingdom.


Sep. 10, 2014 @ 08:15 PM

Extremism in defense of re-election

Since Barry Goldwater, accepting the Republicans' 1964 presidential nomination, said "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice," Democrats have been decrying Republican "extremism." Actually, although there is abundant foolishness and unseemliness in American politics, real extremism -- measures or movements that menace the Constitution's architecture of ordered liberty -- is rare. This week, however, extremism stained the Senate.


Sep. 03, 2014 @ 02:27 PM

An eye on the Baltic States?

The Islamic State is a nasty problem that can be remedied if its neighbors, assisted by the United States, decide to do so. Vladimir Putin's fascist revival is a crisis that tests the West's capacity to decide.


Aug. 31, 2014 @ 11:24 AM

Paul Ryan's way forward

To take the measure of this uncommonly interesting public man, begin with two related facts about him. Paul Ryan has at least 67 cousins in his Wisconsin hometown of Janesville, where there are six Ryan households within eight blocks of his home. And in his new book, "The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea," he says something few politicians say, which is why so many are neither trusted nor respected. Ryan says he was wrong.


Aug. 27, 2014 @ 10:42 PM

Navy with a mission in mind

Russia's ongoing dismemberment of Ukraine and the Islamic State's erasing of Middle Eastern borders have distracted attention from the harassment of U.S. Navy aircraft by Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea. Beijing calls this sea, and the Yellow and East China seas, the "near seas," meaning China's seas. The episodes involving aircraft are relevant to one of Adm. Jonathan Greenert's multiplying preoccupations -- CUES, meaning Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.


Aug. 20, 2014 @ 11:11 PM

Fed up with cupcake cops

In physics, a unified field theory is an attempt to explain with a single hypothesis the behavior of several fields. Its political corollary is the Cupcake Postulate, which explains everything, from Missouri to Iraq, concerning Americans' comprehensive withdrawal of confidence from government at all levels and all areas of activity.


Aug. 16, 2014 @ 11:27 PM

In a stew over inversions

Barack Obama, presiding over an unusually dismal post-recession economy, might make matters worse with a distracting crusade against the minor and sensible business practice called "inversion," more about which anon. So, consider his credentials as an economic thinker.


Aug. 13, 2014 @ 08:50 PM

Into a new void in foreign affairs?

This far into the human story, only the historically uninstructed are startled by what they think are new permutations of evil. So, when Russia sliced Crimea off Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry was nonplussed: "You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext." 


Aug. 06, 2014 @ 08:28 PM

The reason for Watergate?

About 5:15 p.m. on June 17, 1971, in the Oval Office, the president ordered a crime: "I want it implemented on a thievery basis. Goddamn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it."


Jul. 30, 2014 @ 08:34 PM

Time for a middle course on foreign policy

With metronomic regularity, there is a choreographed minuet of carnage. Israel is attacked. Israel defends itself. Perfunctory affirmations of Israel's right of self-defense are quickly followed by accusations that Israel's military measures are disproportionate. Then come demands for a cease-fire, and the attackers replenish their arsenals.


Jul. 26, 2014 @ 08:28 PM

In Oregon, a doctor calls

"Are you kidding?" This is Monica Wehby's amiable response to people who wonder whether she will be able to bear the pressures of office if she wins her race as a Republican Senate candidate. For 17 of her 52 years she has been a pediatric neurosurgeon, holding in steady hands sharp steel and the fate of children's brains. She probably can cope with the strains of legislative life.


Jul. 23, 2014 @ 08:05 PM

Goldwater 2.0, redefining conservatism

Fifty Julys ago, up the road near San Francisco, in the unfortunately named Cow Palace, the Republican National Convention gave its presidential nomination to Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who knew he would lose: Americans were not going to have a third president in 14 months.


Jul. 05, 2014 @ 08:18 PM

The court's indispensable role

Two 5-4 decisions last week on the final decision day of the Supreme Court's term dealt with issues that illustrate the legal consequences of political tactics by today's progressives. One case demonstrated how progressivism's achievement, the regulatory state, manufactures social strife, and can do so in ways politically useful to progressives. The other case arose from government coercion used to conscript unwilling citizens into funding the progressives' party.


Jul. 02, 2014 @ 02:00 PM

Curse of judicial minimalism

Even when Supreme Court decisions are unanimous, the justices can be fiercely divided about fundamental matters, as was demonstrated by two 9-0 rulings last week.