The Nobel Peace Prize keeps missing

Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Columbia, negotiated a peace deal with the left-wing rebels known as FARC, which has been conducting a guerilla war for 52 years.  But on October 2, the people of Columbia voted down the agreement.  Five days later, Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize.

I suspect the votes had already come in before the election.  The committee never dreamed that Columbians would refuse to approve a peace deal.  (Reportedly, voters thought the agreement was too lenient with the guerillas.)  Nevertheless, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to someone for making peace, even though he didn’t actually make peace.

But as Jay Nordlinger shows, this isn’t the first time the Nobel Peace Prize has missed its mark. [Read more…]


Michael Barone says that many in our cultural and political elite follow the tenets of “Lennonism.”  Not “Leninism,” but the philosophy of John Lennon in his song Imagine:

“Imagine there’s no countries. . . .Nothing to kill or die for. … Imagine all the people living life in peace. … And the world will be as one.”

“And no religion too.”  But Barone defines Lennonism as the desire to eliminate distinct nations.  Thus the impulse for global government, a global economy, unlimited immigration, and multiculturalism. [Read more…]

U.S. no longer makes the “free country” top 10 list

The United States is no longer in the top 10 of the world’s most free countries.  We are number 15.  However, despite our obesity rates and bad eating habits, we are number 1 when it comes to health.  We are #33 in safety and security.  The United States is #11 in economic strength and overall prosperity.

Scandinavian countries take most of the top spots, with Norway winning the top marks when all of the categories are considered, making it the most prosperous of nations.  All of this is according to the Legatum Prosperity Index.  See details after the jump. [Read more…]

Overriding Obama’s veto so victims can sue Saudi Arabia

Congress passed a bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for enabling some of its citizens to carry out the attacks.  But President Obama vetoed the measure, saying that it would violate the principle that sovereign nations are immune from foreign lawsuits by private citizens and will open the United States to similar suits.

Yesterday, in a rare show of bipartisan unity, Congress overrode the veto.  That requires 2/3 of the vote, but this override was 97-1 in the Senate and 348 to 77 in the Senate, as Democrats voted against their own president.

That’s satisfying emotionally, but is it wise for Congress to interfere in foreign relations, traditionally the domain of the Executive Branch?  And is it wise to throw out sovereign immunity?  Won’t this jeopardize American military, intelligence, and diplomatic operatives, as well as claims from foreign citizens who don’t like us against the nation as a whole?  Or is it worth the risk to get back at Saudi Arabia? [Read more…]

Scandinavian welfare state reform

As I reported from my recent sojourns in Scandinavia, the vaunted “welfare state” the Nordic states are known for is much more complex than we Americans realize, with the generous government benefits co-existing with extraordinarily free economies and a culture fixated on hard work and personal responsibility. (Might all of this be due to the Lutheran doctrine of vocation?)

Nima Sanandaji, the son of Swedish immigrants, has written a book on this subject, including a treatment of recent attempts to reform some of its dysfunctions, especially in the way it has sapped the initiative of immigrants who do not share the work-and-responsibility culture.  Sanandaji sums up his book in an essay excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

Trump may not defend NATO allies

Donald Trump said that he may or may not come to the defense of a NATO ally if it were attacked.  Never mind the treaty commitment that an attack upon one is an attack upon all.  He said that the US action would depend on whether or not the country “fulfilled their obligations to us.”

He was referring specifically to what he would do if one of the Baltic Republics (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) were invaded by Russia.

Remember that Trump and Vladimir Putin have something of a mutual admiration society.  What would the international scene be like if the United States allies itself with Russia, instead of Western Europe?

[Read more…]