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Biden seems utterly clueless about Europe’s realities ahead of his trip

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Biden seems utterly clueless about Europe's realities ahead of his trip

“America is back,” said President Joe Biden after he was elected, signaling a reversal of his predecessor’s supposedly isolationist approach. But as he sets out across the pond for a visit with European leaders, Biden’s pitch is likely to fall flat: The new president lacks a coherent plan to convince Europeans that America is still the most desirable ally on the world stage.

Instead of focusing on China’s rise and the Islamist threat on the Continent — two central challenges facing the trans-Atlantic alliance — Biden is set to offer vague platitudes about climate change and a global corporate tax.  

“Can democracies come together to deliver real results for our people in a rapidly changing world?” Biden asked in an op-ed ahead of his visit. “I believe the answer is yes.”

But do Europeans share this optimism? Some two-third of those polled recently by the European Council on Foreign Relations believe the US political system is broken, and a third believe that Americans are “more likely to be so consumed by internal problems and divisions” as to leave little room for foreign affairs.

More alarming still for Team Biden: Nearly 60 percent of Europeans think China will definitely or likely eclipse the United States as the world’s preeminent power, and the same share would like their country to remain neutral in a potential confrontation between the two giants. 

Chinese investment in struggling European economies is growing. Biden claims that “market democracies, not China or anyone else, write the 21st-century rules around trade and technology.” Really?

It’s precisely the West’s market mentality and globalist dreams that made Beijing stronger: The Chinese Communist Party used the opening offered by the United States and Europe to cement its own economic power. The West believed “free trade” with China would be a mutual give and take; Beijing pocketed Western concessions, often at the expense of workers, without opening its own economy to nearly the same degree.

Now China seeks to use investments in Europe as a political weapon, to further its ambitions for global dominance.  

The Belt and Road Initiative, China’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure scheme launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, offers development projects stretching from East Asia through Africa — and into Europe. Biden speaks of offering an “alternative” to China by “upgrading digital, physical and health infrastructure” in Europe. But besides COVID vaccines, what real alternatives is the US offering, in terms of physical and digital infrastructure?

When it comes to next-generation 5G telecom infrastructure, the European Union has resolved that it won’t explicitly ban China’s Huawei, despite intense American lobbying, but rather mitigate security risks. How will Team Biden address this, concretely speaking? Climate babble won’t help.

Europe also has to deal with a potential new security threat, as the rolling migrant crisis resumes after a “break” during the pandemic. Europe’s Mediterranean neighbors in North Africa are a cause for concern: Libya remains a shattered state, and it might continue to be a transit route for migrants seeking to reach European shores.

Since the 2015-16 migrant crisis, Europe has been dealing with a rise in Islamist terrorist attacks and struggling to assimilate more than a million newcomers. The crisis, however, seemingly isn’t even on Biden’s radar, though it’s paramount for millions of Europeans.

Instead, Biden stressed his commitment to NATO. But NATO is struggling with internal quarrels between Turkey and some of its European members. A once secular republic, Turkey has become an Islamist, nationalist country under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with aspirations for a kind of neo-Ottoman imperialism. Greece, also a NATO member, has recently warned it will push for sanctions against Ankara over energy disputes in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Can anyone imagine a divided and exhausted NATO responding seriously to future crises?

Then there’s the Kremlin. Biden stresses that he seeks to address “Russia’s challenges to European security.” But Germany and, by extension, much of Western Europe is deepening ties with Moscow. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline supplying natural gas from Russia to Europe continues to be built, despite US opposition — which, incidentally, was more intense under the supposedly pro-Russia Trump administration.

These and other deals are being negotiated with or without American approval. Is the Biden administration even aware of the new dynamics reshaping the old Continent? Does it know how to offer a renewed sense of US commitment to Europe? The bland talk about climate and “America is back” suggests otherwise.

Alessandra Bocchi is the Joseph Rago Memorial Fellow at The Wall Street Journal.

Twitter: @AlessaBocchi

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Opinion

She’s heard the spirits’ call

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She’s heard the spirits’ call

British psychic Paula Roberts, whose work is archived at the University of West Georgia, says: “The spirit world is close by. To everyone. Sensing I was not alone, I was made aware at age 4. Spiritualist churches are strong in the British Isles. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ fame was founder of Great Britain’s spiritualist association.

“Your friend Joan Rivers believed in spirits and hired me to cleanse her apartment. She sensed something. I, too, felt unhappy, uncomfortable there and needed to be out of the place. I next learned its previous owner, living alone, was removed by undertakers who then dropped her body in the elevator. Joan called a shaman for a cleansing then summoned me. She was obviously a person who attracts spirits. When one is aware of them they jump in to play.”

Yeah. OK. So tell us about New York — and America.

“New York will have a sea shift. With empty office towers converting to apartments, youngsters who couldn’t afford it before will flood us. As to America, ambassadorships, previously awarded to friends, will discontinue. Our embassies will have envoys with specific knowledge of the country to which they’re assigned. It will help in improving relationships.”


Seasonally employed

NAMES are sleigh-riding again. Last year was Sarah Brightman’s “Christmas Symphony.” This year she’ll deck Santa’s halls Nov. 26 in Bethlehem, Pa., and end Dec. 21 in New Orleans . . . Sarah’s singing about winter and rapper Flo Rida’s new single is “Summer’s Not Ready.” How about Ella Fitzgerald’s “Autumn in New York”?

The world is awakening. Glenn Close grabbed the lead with Peter Dinklage and Josh Brolin in “Brothers.” A guaranteed comedy . . . Timothée Chalamet and Chloë Sevigny are in “Bones and All.” It’s a horror thing . . . Flat out drama? Gabrielle Union doing whatever’s called “The Inspection” . . . “Paradise City” has Bruce Willis and John Travolta together again after “Pulp Fiction” 27 years ago. It’s “Miami Vice”-ish.


Self-made woman

KHLOÉ Kardashian has admitted she’s had a nose job (plus possibly a few filler fillers). Oh, what a surprise. Oh, be still my heart — also today’s Botox doc, electrolysist, dermatologist, cosmetologist, plastic surgeon, hairdresser, makeup artist, photographer, retoucher, assistant, dresser, stylist, designer, lighting specialist, camera man and her mother-hoverer.


Failing grads

IT’s graduation month. Ted Danson got bored at Stanford . . . Candice Bergen flunked out of Penn . . . John Waters got kicked out of NYU for smoking pot . . . Bill Gates? Like Matt Damon, a Harvard dropout . . . Due to a civil rights protest Samuel L. Jackson was expelled from his eventual alma mater Morehouse College . . . Per biographer Dave MarshBruce Springsteen left from Ocean County Community College. Why? “On grounds of unacceptable weirdness.”


Does DA dare he?

ANSWER to what is Vance considering? It’s RICO (that’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). Aimed at a “criminal enterprise” meaning “a group sharing a common purpose of engaging in criminal conduct,” it was the federal act Giuliani used against the mob. Used against seemingly legit activities — some of which are basically semi not kosher — one element is: “The defendant had knowledge of the existence of a criminal enterprise and the nature of its activities and was employed by or associated with that enterprise.”

Question: Is this a stretch by the questioning DA? Answer: We’ll see.


DUE to NYC’s rising crime problem, Biden’s next Hamptons speech will be about taking control of life, mastering one’s own fate, instructing one’s own child, asserting one’s own place in the home — at least that’s what his own wife told him to talk about.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York. 

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Opinion

Are cosmic black holes racist? Take this Cornell course to find out!

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Are cosmic black holes racist? Take this Cornell course to find out!

Physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and SUNY Stony Brook recently concluded that two black holes maintained their total surface area after merging. While this research was a welcome confirmation of the theory of general relativity, it failed to address a crucial matter: What were its racial implications?

That’s a lacuna that an astronomy course at Cornell University aims to prevent. “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos” poses the question, “Is there a connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness?”

Anyone familiar with academia’s racial monomania knows the answer: Of course, there is. Though “conventional wisdom,” according to the course description, holds that the “‘black’ in black holes has nothing to do with race,” astronomy professor Nicholas Battaglia and comparative-literature professor Parisa Vaziri know better.

Battaglia and Vaziri draw on theorists such as Emory University English professor Michelle Wright, whose book, “The Physics of Blackness,” invokes “Newton’s laws of motion and gravity” and “theoretical particle physics” to “subvert racist assumptions about blackness.” The course also studies music by Sun Ra and Outkast to “conjure blackness through cosmological themes.”

Many scientists, reading about Cornell’s course, might wonder: Is this a hoax?

There’s precedent, after all. In 1996, New York University physicist Alan Sokal published a paper, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” in one of high theory’s holiest of shrines: the journal Social Text. Sokal drew on efforts among comparative-literature and American-studies professors to deploy scientific concepts toward a postmodern end: showing science to be a mere power play designed to silence “dissident or marginalized communities.”

Sokal cited such postmodern giants as Andrew Ross and Luce Irigaray on topics like “oppositional discourses in post-quantum science” and “gender encoding in fluid mechanics,” proposing a new theory of quantum gravity that could serve as the basis for a “postmodern and liberatory science.”

Sokal’s paper was a prank. Clouded in Theorese, it obscured its own scientific illiteracy and was accepted for publication—a mistake which should have triggered an academic reckoning. Instead, postmodern theory continued to fester, particularly in humanities and social-science departments.

In 2017, it happened again. Three academics submitted theory-drenched fake articles to various cultural-studies and social-science journals. Four were published, and three accepted, before the hoax was exposed. “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,” published in the journal Cogent Social Sciences, argued for understanding the penis not as “an anatomical organ, but as a social construct isomorphic to performative toxic masculinity” (with climate change identified as one of its most damaging threats). Another analyzed the rape culture of dog parks.

The humanities and much of the social sciences have been beyond parody for a long time. What’s different about “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos” is its co-listing in an actual science department. The course fulfills Cornell’s science-distribution requirement, touching as it does on such concepts as the electromagnetic spectrum.

Astronomy departments have been on the forefront of campus identity politics — and so has Cornell. Cornell’s astronomy department won’t even allow prospective graduate students to submit the physics GRE since female, black and Hispanic students score lower on average. Meanwhile, Cornell’s engineering department accepts female undergraduates at over two and a half times the rate of male students, even though the average male math SAT score is significantly higher than the average female score.

Today’s academic charlatans mistake rhetoric for knowledge and words for things. This sleight of hand is particularly prevalent in matters relating to race. Hunter College professor Philip Ewell argues that the concept of tonal and harmonic hierarchies in music theory is a stand-in for pernicious racial hierarchies. Black business school students at USC protested in 2020 that hearing a professor use the Mandarin phrase for “that” — “nèi ge” — constituted racial harassment, since the Mandarin expression can sound like the N-word. The professor was sent on leave.

For decades, science has stood guard against the racial hysteria and postmodernism besetting the rest of the academy. Bit by bit, it is succumbing.

Heather Mac Donald is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal, from which this column was adapted.

Twitter: @HMDatMI

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Opinion

Kudos to black AND white parents mounting an uprising against race theory

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Kudos to black AND white parents mounting an uprising against race theory

The headlines call it “parents erupting” at school-board meetings. But what we’re seeing is an inspiring surge in parents across the country sticking up for kids, and their education, in unprecedented ways.

These parents are fighting the critical race theory being implemented in schools. The left argues parents don’t actually know what CRT is, that an unwashed rabble is blindly opposing something it doesn’t understand.

Liberal talking heads and politicians are trying to pretend these parents want to stop schools from teaching about slavery or Jim Crow. That’s simply untrue. Every viral speech of a parent speaking out against CRT shows how clearly they understand what CRT is and why it’s a threat to their children.

Some of the most powerful speeches have come from black parents, such as Keisha King in Duval County, Fla., who argued, “Telling my child or any child that they are in a permanent oppressed status in America because they are black is racist.”

Illinois father Ty Smith went viral for saying, “How do I have two medical degrees if I’m sitting here oppressed? . . . How’d I get where I am right now if some white man kept me down?”

It’s true that CRT isn’t a curriculum, it’s a framework. Christopher Rufo, the nation’s preeminent critic of CRT, defines it as “an academic discipline that holds that the United States is a nation founded on white supremacy and oppression, and that these forces are still at the root of our society.”

In this framework, all the academic subjects are taught through the lens of race.

Math, for example, long considered a strictly egalitarian subject, is now racist. That isn’t a bad joke — it’s America’s grim reality. The Oregon Department of Education sent a toolkit to middle-school teachers in February alleging that the focus on getting the right answer, and making students show their work, was “white-supremacy culture.” California took things a step further in May, introducing a draft framework for teaching math that prioritizes “equity” over, you know, quantitative reasoning.

Then parents in California rose up, forcing the state to drop the equity language in the draft framework.

Parents also fought back in Southlake, Texas, with anti-CRT candidates winning the mayoralty and sweeping the city council and school board. CNN framed them as opposing efforts “to incorporate cultural awareness into the curriculum.” Parents are seeing through this mendacious jargon. Thanks, but no, thanks, on that “cultural awareness,” CNN.

Loudoun County, Va., has been in the national spotlight because of its explosive school-board meetings. Parents there are trying to recall six members of the board who support CRT.

Cherokee County, Ga., banned CRT after a particularly contentious board meeting. So did Cobb County, Ga. (with the Democratic members of the board notably abstaining from the vote). The Gallatin County School District board of education, in Kentucky, voted unanimously to ban CRT. The uprising is spreading.

Why is this happening now? It could be because parents had a front-seat view into what their kids were learning during the pandemic. And why are they responding so ferociously? Adults may stay quiet as they are told they are inherently racist or oppressed based on the color of their skin. But they won’t allow the same fiction to be sold to their 4-year-olds.

CRT advocates and their media defenders are gaslighting parents when they claim parents don’t “get” this curriculum. That’s insulting. Parents are talking to their children, and they aren’t liking what they are hearing. They know what is being taught and, most important, how it’s being absorbed by their children. It’s professors in liberal ivory towers and their media epigones who don’t “get” this.

We get it. And we care about our children more than ourselves. These school-board battles prove it.

Governments are catching up. At Gov. Ron DeSantis’ urging, Florida’s Department of Education has banned CRT in schools. The Georgia State Board of Education also passed a resolution prohibiting CRT in schools. Twenty other states are considering such bans. In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little has signed such a law, as has Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds.

But to really defeat this insidious framework, parents will have to keep paying attention to what their kids are learning in school and continue to speak up and fight the good fight. America’s kids deserve nothing less than our vigilance.

Twitter: @Karol

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