• E. J. Dionne on How Obama Changed The Right "One of his presidency's major legacies," muses the Washington Post columnist, "may be a revolution on the American right in which older, more secular forms of politics displace religious activism." While Obama's election may have polarized extreme elements of the conservative movement, Dionne notes that the conservatism embodied by the Tea Party movement is a throwback to the old school libertarianism of the New Deal era. "What's remarkable is the extent to which the Tea Party movement has displaced the religious right as the dominant voice of conservative militancy."
  • David Ignatius on Afghanistan and Trade Partnerships  Pondering the dire situation in Afghanistan, David Ignatius recommends an economic strategy to supplement the United States' current military and diplomatic maneuvers. "Instead of being a lawless frontier, this post-conflict Afghanistan would be a transit route for Eurasia, providing trade corridors north and south, east and west," writes Ignatius, envisioning an Afghanistan bound to her neighbors by trade agreements. "To make this transport-led strategy work, Afghanistan would need to build more roads, railways and pipelines. A hypothetical railway map shows routes that connect Iran with India, Russia with Pakistan, China with the Arabian Sea. It knits together the rising powers of this region and makes Afghanistan a hub rather than a barrier."
  • Nicholas Kristof on His Father's Gift In an op-ed yesterday, the New York Times columnist visits the importance of Father's Day by telling the story of the life of his own father who passed away just days before. Driven from Europe after World War II, Mr. Kristof came to the US, learned English, earned his doctorate and settled on a farm. The columnist says, "Because he never forgot what it is to be needy, my dad was attentive to other people's needs. Infuriatingly so. He picked up every hitchhiker and drove them miles out of his way; if they needed a place to sleep, he offered our couch." He adds, "Celebrate the bequest of fatherhood with something simpler, deeper and truer than an artificial verse on a store-bought card. Speak and hug from your heart and soul -- while there is still time."
  • Emanuele Ottolenghi on Europe's Imperatives Against Iran  In a column for The Wall Street Journal, Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, urges the various nations of the European Union to take a harder line against the Iranian regime. Various factors stand in the way of unanimity on this issue, Ottolenghi notes, from economic concerns to philosophical conflicts. Yet in the face of a demonstrably untrustworthy regime like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's, unanimity is what's called for. "Europe no longer has a valid excuse not to act," notes Ottolenghi, "and its responsibility to do so has never been greater."
  • Nancy Bauer on Lady Power "There is nobody like Lady Gaga in part because she keeps us guessing about who she, as a woman, really is," says the Tufts University professor in a New York Times column today. Bauer uses Gaga as an example of how young women in the hook-up culture define 'feminism.' She says, "On the one hand, they have been raised to understand themselves according to the old American dream... On the other hand, there is more pressure on them than ever to care about being sexually attractive according to the reigning norms. The genius of Gaga is... explicit in her insistence that, since feminine sexuality is a social construct, anyone, even a man who's willing to buck gender norms, can wield it."