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Eugene Robinson

Stories by Eugene

ROBINSON: On Ebola in US, candor needed

Let’s make a deal: We’ll all promise not to panic about Ebola if the experts — especially those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — agree to get their stories straight.

ROBINSON: We are all Liberians now

The Obama administration needs to be much better at communicating a simple fact: Right now, you and I are essentially in no danger of contracting Ebola. But if we don’t act, there will be a danger — and it won’t go away.

ROBINSON: Secure the people’s house

Put a taller fence around the White House complex and lock the doors. Then get rid of the dry rot in the Secret Service bureaucracy, restore staffing to reasonable levels, adopt the latest technology and develop new protocols to replace the ones that didn’t work. But don’t use the recent shocking lapses in presidential security as an excuse to further separate Americans from the symbols of their government.

ROBINSON: Bookends of a presidency

The speech Obama gave in Cairo in 2009 and the address he gave at the United Nations on Wednesday can be seen as bookends. In the heady months after his election, Obama hoped to be remembered as the president who forged a new peace between the Western and Islamic worlds. Now, while not completely abandoning that hope, Obama says there first must be war against jihadist “killers” who understand no language but “the language of force.”

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ROBINSON: Obama may have to send troops

President Obama is adamant that the war against the Islamic State will not escalate to the use of U.S. ground troops. But the more I see and hear of his strategy, the more I fear that “mission creep” — even if the president resists it — is baked in from the start.

ROBINSON: What if Obama’s plan to take out ISIS doesn’t work?

President Obama has committed the United States to another open-ended Middle East war in which the potential for doing harm rivals the possibility of doing good.

ROBINSON: Our challenge with Islam

Political Islam cannot be bombed away. If it is not somehow allowed constructive expression, it will make itself heard, and felt, in more tragic ways.

ROBINSON: Have we gone to war again?

I’d like to know whether the United States is at war with the Islamic State.

Spousal secrets no more

How far would you go to stay out of jail? Would you publicly humiliate your wife of 38 years, portraying her as some kind of shrieking harridan? Would you put the innermost secrets of your marriage on display, inviting voyeurs to rummage at will?

ROBINSON: Our selective outrage

The killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown has rightly provoked widespread outrage, drawing international media attention and prompting a comment from President Obama. The same should be true — but tragically is not — of the killing of 3-year-old Knijah Amore Bibb.

ROBINSON: What ‘war on whites’?

If there really were a “war on whites,” as a Republican congressman from Alabama ludicrously claims, it wouldn’t be going very well for the anti-white side.

ROBINSON: Give John Kerry a break on Gaza

As far as U.S. interests are concerned, it is obvious that our policy should be to fight Islamist terrorist groups such as the Islamic State. But we should not lose sight of the fact that radical Islam, as a regionwide phenomenon, is an ideological force that cannot be bombed out of existence.

ROBINSON: Israel losing moral high ground

I support Israel. I abhor Hamas. But unleashing such devastating firepower on a tiny, densely crowded enclave in which civilians are trapped — and thus destined to become casualties— is wrong by any reasonable moral standard.

ROBINSON: Peace may never be at hand

Israelis and Palestinians may someday make peace. But the assumption should be that it won’t happen soon — perhaps not in our lifetimes.

ROBINSON: Republicans rant but offer no solutions

Apparently there’s a contest among Republicans to see who can be more shameless and irresponsible in criticizing President Obama’s foreign policy. So far, Chris Christie is winning.

ROBINSON: Immigration reform needed right now

What should the president and Congress do? The answer could not be more obvious: comprehensive immigration reform. The system is broken. We need to fix it. Now.

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EUGENE ROBINSON: The joy of the World Cup

The world’s game has taken center stage and had many surprises.

ROBINSON: GOP overdosingon the tea party

The GOP has to decide whether it intends to participate responsibly in the enterprise of government or stand on the sidelines, shouting invective and throwing stones. One of which just hit the majority leader of the House of Representatives in the head.

ROBINSON: Hillary’s pre-campaign campaign

The curse of inevitability isn’t likely to ruin Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions, assuming she has them. Not this time

ROBINSON: Six points concerning Bergdahl

Bringing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home was the right thing to do, and President Obama did it in a mostly reasonable way.

ROBINSON: Right step on coal plants

We can try our best to ensure that the next industrial revolution — the one that ends dependence on fossil fuels — happens here. Or we can watch it happen in China.

ROBINSON: GOP still swallowing the tea

Democrats must not let voters be fooled. Yes, tea party candidates are going down. But the tea party’s extremism and obstructionism live on.

ROBINSON: Hillary Clinton gets the GOP treatment

Republican panic at the prospect of facing Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race has suddenly reached Godzilla-nearing-Tokyo proportions.

ROBINSON: The consequential Obama

Obama can be reserved and introspective. Usually, however, I find him energized, confident, determined — and fully aware that he is shifting the ground.

ROBINSON: A victory lap for Obamacare

In the long run, no matter what happens in the election, I’m more convinced than ever that the Affordable Care Act will be seen as landmark legislation.

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ROBINSON: Tilting at windbags

If Putin is laughing, it’s at the windbags who want Obama to replace serious policy with empty threats.

ROBINSON: Into the Twilight Zone

Let me go out on a limb: The Malaysian airliner did not get sucked into a black hole, vanish over the Indian Ocean equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle or crash-land on the spooky island from “Lost.”

ROBINSON: The American story of slavery

Scholars digging through public, commercial and family archives are unearthing facts and stories that have long been swept under the rug. Hollywood’s recognition of “12 Years a Slave” announces an uncomfortable truth: Slavery’s story is America’s story.

ROBINSON: GOP sheds crocodile tears over jobs

Obama and the Democrats still believe that no one who works full time should have to be poor. Despite their new rhetoric, Republicans obviously disagree.

ROBINSON: The out-of-step GOP

The GOP’s failure to come to terms with immigration reform has two big implications.

ROBINSON: We’re losing the war on drugs

Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman is yet another victim of the war on drugs. Prohibition is not working. It is time to try something new.

ROBINSON: Science is telling us something

The day will come, I predict, when world leaders are willing, even desperate, to curb greenhouse gases. But by then, I’m beginning to fear, it will probably be too late.

ROBINSON: Silence over a spill

Officials knew that the coal industry uses dozens of chemicals that have never been thoroughly tested for their effects on human health. Officials also knew this was true of the segment of the industry that Obama and others call “clean coal,” which, I have argued, should be considered an oxymoron.

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ROBINSON: Where is the Democrats’ outrage?

But while Congress inches forward, probably toward some kind of extension, lives are falling apart. All day, every day, Democrats ought to be making a loud and righteous noise over this disgraceful state of affairs.

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ROBINSON: How will voters treat Gov. Chris Christie after bridge-gate?

If Christie is truly in the mood for soul-searching, asking how his aides could tell him such lies should be secondary. The more urgent question is what Christie might have said or done to make these loyal lieutenants conclude it would be appropriate — and a lot of fun — to torment the people of Fort Lee because of the mayor’s refusal to pledge fealty.

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ROBINSON: The ACA is here to stay

Any existential threat to the Affordable Care Act ended with the popping of champagne corks as the new year arrived. That was when an estimated 6 million uninsured Americans received coverage through expanded Medicaid eligibility or the federal and state health insurance exchanges. Obamacare is now a fait accompli; nobody is going to take this coverage away.

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ROBINSON: A different choice for Person of the Year

I can’t think of any individual who had more influence in 2013. Edward Snowden is person of the year.

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ROBINSON: The Republican mainstream strikes back

If the Republican Party really intends to get back in the game, voters will be presented with two competing visions of how to move the nation forward — instead of one vision and one cartoon. If the progressive vision is to prevail, it needs to be fresh, vivid and clearly relevant to the moment. Same-old, same-old used to be good enough. It’s not anymore.

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ROBINSON: Nelson Mandela, the conscience of the world

After his tenure as president, Mandela acted as a global elder statesman, an adviser, mediator and honest broker in times of crisis. In his later years, he suffered from dementia. As long as he drew breath, however, he was a living symbol of hope and triumph. He will be desperately missed.

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ROBINSON: Drones morally questionable go-to weapon

In Afghanistan, it is hard to attempt a count because there is an actual war going on, with no agreement on who qualifies as a civilian. The Los Angeles Times wrote recently about a Sept. 7 drone strike in Kunar Province. U.S. officials told the paper that 11 people died, most of them Taliban fighters; grieving local residents, however, insisted that 14 civilians had been killed. When does a village cease being a village and become a “Taliban stronghold”? When we say so, apparently.

ROBINSON: The benefits of a deal with Iran

It may be that Iran is incapable of becoming a responsible actor on the world stage as long as it is led by the mullahs. But there was a time when it was hard to imagine China being anything but a pariah as long as it was led by the Maoists — yet now, Beijing is the capital of one of the world’s economic superpowers, with Mao’s picture still watching over Tiananmen Square.

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ROBINSON: Our good old todays

This is not to say that the Obama administration hasn’t made mistakes. But by historical standards, the United States is doing well domestically and internationally. And by any objective measure, the trend lines are positive, not negative.

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ROBINSON: The out-of-control NSA

To me, all this is consistent with the NSA’s apparent goal of knowing, basically, everything. The agency collects information as massively and indiscriminately as possible on the theory that if you assemble a database of all the world’s communications, the few you seek — those involving terrorists — will be in there somewhere.

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ROBINSON: It's time for growth

Another target for economic growth is the energy sector. Because of the natural gas boom, the United States may soon be the largest producer of hydrocarbons in the world. Intelligent rulemaking can ensure that as the industry expands, parallel industries dedicated to safety, cleanup and alternative fuels grow with it.

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ROBINSON: The reality of ACA

Medicare guaranteed health care for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor. Obamacare begins to fill the remaining gaps. It will get better over time, but already — crashing websites and all — it’s a beautiful thing.

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ROBINSON: Warm enough for you?

Sea levels will continue to rise because of warming — water expands as it heats — and because of glacial melting. This has implications for coastal populations not just in places such as Calcutta or Dhaka but also in rich and powerful cities such as New York: Witness the massive flooding and storm-surge damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

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ROBINSON: Obama's reality check

I don’t mean to suggest that Obama would hesitate to order an attack on Iran, if all else failed, because preventing the mullahs from obtaining the bomb is one of his “core interests.” But the overwhelming public rejection of military action in Syria has to be seen as an instruction to explore every avenue of negotiation before resorting to force.

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ROBINSON: Obama needs to stand his ground

Republicans in the House are like a bunch of 3-year-olds playing with matches. Their hapless leaders don’t have the sense to scold them and send them to their rooms — which means President Obama has to be the disciplinarian in this dysfunctional family.

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ROBINSON: Not in the national interest

Are we really going to do this? Are we going to wade into a struggle we don’t really want to fight? Are we going to mire ourselves in a senseless, grinding conflict whose possible outcomes range from bad to worse?

ROBINSON: Assad must be punished

It will be difficult to design a missile strike that hurts Assad without drawing the United States into the war. But that is the thin line Obama must now walk.

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