Five Best Monday Columns
Eliot Cohen presses for a strong military response to Syria, Lauren Collins profiles tennis star Novak Djokovic, David Carr opposes journalist-on-journalist attacks, Ron Fournier explains how Millennials are rejecting ineffective government, and Masha Gessen on the impact of Russia's anti-gay laws on her life.
Eliot Cohen in The Washington Post presses for a strong military response against Syria Cohen argues that, in order to end the Syrian civil war and the government's alleged use of chemical weapons, the U.S. will need to do more than launch a few simple air strikes. "A bout of therapeutic bombing is an even more feckless course of action than a principled refusal to act altogether," Cohen writes. A series of targeted and painful military strikes on Syria would lead to civilian and U.S. casualties and could lead to a larger war, but "not to act would be, at this point and by the administration’s own standards, intolerable," Cohen concludes. "Spot on and thoughtful analysis," writes Salman Shaikh, the director of the Brookings Doha Center, which focuses on international relations with states in the Middle East. But Said Arikat, a former UN spokesman for Iraq and current Washington bureau chief for the Palestinian-based Al-Quds newspaper, tweets against Cohen's idea, asking, "Will anyone stop the #madness before it happens? #Syria will require more than #cruise #missiles. Bad 4 everyone."
Lauren Collins in The New Yorker on tennis star Novak Djokovic's increasing importance Despite a ranking as the #1 tennis player in the world, Djokovic has been rejected by fans unimpressed by his outsider status in the stereotypically posh, upper-class sport. As Collins explains of the Serbian star, "His entourage did not exude dignity. ... He could be annoying, with his bluster and his cheesy pranks. ... His sensibility recalled the soccer stadium rather than the country club." But with the decline of the Roger Federer/Rafael Nadal rivalry that captivated tennis for a decade, Collins writes that "the love [Djokovic] craves is within his reach. This week, at Flushing Meadows, where he was once booed, Novak Djokovic will attempt to assert his sovereignty," she argues. "Deep read on #Djokovic in the @NewYorker. I'd quibble with some of it but the detail is terrific," tweets Christopher Clarey, a tennis reporter and columnist for The International Herald Tribune. "Fellow tennis fans will love this profile of Novak Djokovic. Wacky, goofy, good," writes Heidi Moore, The Guardian's finance and economics editor.
David Carr in The New York Times on journalist-on-journalist attacks Some of the most vitriolic attacks on WikiLeaks' Julian Assange and The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald are coming not from the government but from other writers, who question how Assange's and Greenwald's activism squares with the norms of traditional journalism. Carr cautions against such attacks. "The reflex is understandable, but by dwelling on who precisely deserves to be called a journalist and legally protected as such, critics within the press are giving the current administration a justification for their focus on the ethics of disclosure rather than the morality of government behavior," Carr writes. "Great NYT column by @carr2n on journalists who attack and want to criminalize journalism," tweets Greenwald, the target (and source) of many of these attacks. "Brilliant, both in perspective and logic," writes David McCumber, the Washington bureau chief for Hearst Newspapers.
Ron Fournier at The Atlantic on young people casting aside an ineffective government Millennials are increasingly mindful of inequalities and injustices in the world, Fournier writes, but they reject the idea that politics is the way to solve those problems. As one Harvard Kennedy School grad student tells Fournier, "Results are important to us, and sadly, politics isn’t a place for results." Instead, Millenials are leaving D.C., casting aside two-party divisions, and focusing on social entrepreneurship to fix problems. "...in a Millennial world, nothing will be sacred," Fournier predicts. "Have millennials given up on DC completely? @ron_fournier thinks so and it could be a good thing," writes NBC News White House correspondent Chuck Todd. Alicia Menendez, a host and commentator for HuffPost Live, notes that the two-party system could be in trouble, and tweets, "Two parties thinking they are in the trenches dueling it out, & a generation who reject trench warfare altogether."
Masha Gessen at Slate on the personal impact of Russia's anti-gay laws Russia's rhetoric against "homosexual propaganda" and the country's new anti-gay laws have threatened to separate Gessen from her adopted son because of her LGBT activism. In response, she has moved her family from Russia to the United States, leaving behind her son's only known home. "Great, scary piece," writes editor Anna deVries of Picador, which publishes memoirs and novels for MacMillan. "Masha Gessen kicks off new LGBT blog at Slate, nice work," tweets Michelle Dean, a freelance journalist writing for FlavorWire, Slate, and The Nation.