Five Best Monday Columns

Rand Paul on his foreign policy beef with Rick Perry, Dana Milbank on political theater, Mort Zuckerman on the jobless recovery, Jochen Bittner on Germany's complicated surveillance history, and Charles Krauthammer on immigration.

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Rand Paul in Politico on why "Rick Perry Is Dead Wrong" on his recent criticism of Paul's libertarian foreign policy. The spat between two potential front runners for the Republican presidential nomination continued on Monday, with Rand Paul responding to Rick Perry's criticism in a Washington Post op-ed on Saturday. "There are obviously many important events going on in the world right now, but with 60,000 foreign children streaming across the Texas border, I am surprised Governor Perry has apparently still found time to mischaracterize and attack my foreign policy." The divide between Perry and Paul represents a larger clash over foreign policy in the Republican Party, that pits a growing libertarian wing against Bush-era neo-conservatism. "I ask Governor Perry: How many Americans should send their sons or daughters to die for a foreign country — a nation the Iraqis won’t defend for themselves? How many Texan mothers and fathers will Governor Perry ask to send their children to fight in Iraq?"

Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on America's ADD politics.  When people criticized President Obama for not visiting the Texas-Mexico border last week he pushed back, telling the media "This is not theater." Actually, Milbank says it is. "The terror, abuse and suffering of children shouldn’t be theater, but it is. All the political world today is a stage. Our national dialogue has become a series of one-act plays: Each runs for a week or two, the critics volunteer their reviews of the president’s performance, and then it closes just as quickly — perhaps, like Benghazi, Libya, to be revived for a second run at a later date." In Milbank's opinion, the President would do best to embrace our attention-deficit disorder politics, rather than trying to run away from it or rise above it. "A top Obama adviser, justifying the decision not to send the president to the border, told me that the hubbub would dissipate in a couple of weeks, even as the crisis, and the administration’s response, continue. That’s probably so, but it does the president no good to piously shun theatrics. If he embraces his potential as writer, producer and director, he can stage a better production."

Mortimer Zuckerman in The Wall St. Journal on why the U.S. economic recovery is really "jobless." (subscription) The unemployment rate is dropping, but only because part time jobs are now replacing full time jobs. Meanwhile, a record number of Americans are dropping out of the workforce. "At this stage of an expansion you would expect the number of part-time jobs to be declining, as companies would be doing more full-time hiring. Not this time. In the long misery of this post-recession period, we have an extraordinary situation: Americans by the millions are in part-time work because there are no other employment opportunities as businesses increase their reliance on independent contractors and part-time, temporary and seasonal employees." Obamacare is partially to blame, says Zuckerman. "These businesses' hesitation to hire is part of a larger caution among employers unsure about the direction of government policy—and which has helped contribute to chronic long-term unemployment that shows no sign of easing. Unlike those who lose a job and then find another one in a matter of weeks or months, fully a third of the currently unemployed have been out of work for more than six months."

Jochen Bittner in The New York Times on the history of Americans spying on Germany, and the fundamental difference between the country's views on espionage. (paywall) "American and German intelligence agencies have worked together closely since the beginning of the Cold War. But because that relationship emerged out of the American postwar occupation, there has always been a certain asymmetry to it, one that has both papered over and exacerbated the profound differences between the two countries about the very idea, purpose and limits of intelligence work." Germans, who remember the Gestapo and the Stassi are wary of government spying. They have also long disliked the CIA, which they associate with Cold War coups in Latin America. "All of this has practical implications, both legal and political. Legally, the German intelligence services are not allowed to share information with the Americans that might be used for drone strikes, interrogations that might involve torture and wars without a United Nations mandate. Politically, it means that whenever cooperation is exposed between the C.I.A. and the BND, the public reacts furiously."

Charles Krauthammer in The Chicago Tribune on why President Obama should treat Central American immigrants the same way he treats Mexican immigrants. The author says the president should ask congress to repeal a 2008 law that was designed to deter sex trafficking, not deal with tens of thousands of immigrants. "Stopping this wave is not complicated. A serious president would go to Congress tomorrow proposing a change in the law, simply mandating that Central American kids get the same treatment as Mexican kids, i.e., be subject to immediate repatriation. Then do so under the most humane conditions." He argues that we must pass comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible, but for now, the only way to stop the flow of immigrants across the border is to send them back. "For the immediate crisis, the answer is equally, blindingly clear: Eliminate the Central American exception and enforce the law."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.