Charles Lipson

Peter B. Ritzma Professor Emeritus

University of Chicago

Frequent contributor: 
Real Clear Politics
Spectator | World
The Telegraph
Wall Street Journal

How Henry Kissinger Helped Shape the Cold War World

The next weeks will be filled with remembrances, fulsome appreciations, and harsh criticism of Henry Alfred Kissinger, who died Wednesday at 100. His prominence is well deserved. The only modern Secretaries of State who rank with him are George C. Marshall and Dean Acheson, who constructed the architecture of Cold War containment in the late 1940s.

Kissinger’s central achievement was updating that architecture to include China, less as an American ally than as a Russian adversary. Until the lat

Why hasn’t Hamas freed its American hostages?

Hamas’s most valuable assets are the American hostages it holds. That simple fact means the terrorist organization will demand the highest value in return.

What can America give Hamas in exchange?

Not prisoners, since the US doesn’t hold any Hamas fighters. That means the US cannot follow the Israeli pattern of giving Hamas three Palestinian prisoners in exchange for every one held by Hamas.

Nor can America provide boatloads of cash, as the Biden administration has for Iran. Biden could conti

Daniel Cameron and the cost of racial mudslinging

Racial slurs are being hurled at Daniel Cameron, the Republican candidate for Kentucky governor. That’s despicable. It doesn’t matter what race the victim is or what race his accuser. Those slurs should be called out loudly and promptly.

They would be despicable if a black candidate faced them from a white opponent, or vice versa. They are no less despicable when a black candidate, like Cameron, faces them from other blacks. The epithet in this case is “Uncle Tom” and it has been leveled agains

Virulent Antisemitism and the Rot at Our Universities

It is time for blunt talk. Jewish students at universities are being harassed and threatened in unprecedented numbers, with disturbing vitriol. That’s more than a danger for those students. It is a profound danger for a liberal, tolerant democracy. It is time to call it out and oppose it. It’s time to end it.

The attacks and violent demonstrations shine a particularly harsh light on the sorry state of higher education. The public has watched mass demonstrations against Israel on campus after ca

America’s Hamas double failure

Did American failures contribute to Hamas’s war of terror — its unprovoked attack, its total surprise, its horrific butchering of innocent civilians simply because they are Jews? Yes, but a lesser one. The failures to discover the plans, deter the attack and, having failed at deterrence, to defeat it promptly are Israel’s. The secondary actor here is Iran, not the United States. It was the Islamic regime in Tehran that supplied its terror partner with funds, plans, intelligence and weapons.

Biden must rethink US policy in the Middle East

Responsibility for the catastrophe now unfolding in the Middle East belongs to Hamas and its sponsor, Iran. The atrocities we are now discovering — the deliberate killing of innocents, the capture of hostages — were an integral part of Hamas’s military strategy and grew directly out of its vicious hatred of all Jews — and of Western civilization. These are acts of true evil and, in committing them, Hamas has the full backing of Iran. President Biden spoke for America when he said, bluntly, “The

Matt Gaetz pulls the fire alarm

Matt Gaetz pulled the alarm but, unlike the stunt by fellow House member Jamaal Bowman, there really was a fire. Gaetz set it himself, with help from seven other Republicans on the party’s populist right. Now the whole party has to deal with the smoking ruins.

Because the majority party has only a slim edge, any small, cohesive group among them can wield huge leverage. They can threaten to sink legislation or oust the Speaker by voting “no,” knowing their party doesn’t have enough votes to carr

The second GOP debate was furious and messy — with no clear winner

The worst job in America on Wednesday was trying to moderate the second Republican debate. With seven candidates on stage struggling for airtime, moderators Dana Perino, Stuart Varney and Ilia Calderón did a creditable job under impossible conditions. They asked the right questions, but couldn’t stop the candidates from talking over each other, or returning to previous questions which they wanted to answer but hadn’t been asked. The moderators’ job was like being the referee with seven boxers in

It’s time for President Biden to grant Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Secret Service protection

Presidential candidates don’t normally receive Secret Service protection until the summer before the election. But these are not normal times. They are dangerous ones — for candidates, elected officials and federal judges. When candidates face lethal threats, as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. did last week, it’s time to give them protection.

The decision is up to President Biden. If he orders the Secret Service to protect Kennedy, it’s done. If not, not. And “not” is Biden’s current decision. It’s a dan

Like mercenaries throughout history, Prigozhin became a threat to his client

“Never strike a king,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “unless you are sure you shall kill him.” Good advice, but it comes too late for Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russian leader of the Wagner mercenary army. Vladimir Putin, that old KGB man, already knew Emerson’s message, deep in his guts. He also knew the unstated part: if you try to kill the king and you fail, you will be the dead one.

Why does Hunter Biden matter?

Democrats constantly downplay Hunter Biden’s troubles and any felonies he might have committed. The legacy media avoid them entirely. What do they say when they can’t bury the story?

Their most common defense is also their most important: Hunter Biden’s troubles matter only if they can be linked directly to his father and specifically to Joe’s official position. So far, they say, those links are weak and unproven.

What other defenses do they put forward?

First, they say that whatever money Hu
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