2 readers online now  |  69 million page views
Join Daniel Pipes' trip to Dubai & Abu Dhabi, Nov. 4-11. Click HERE for details.

From "Not a Crook" to "Not a Liar": A Potted History of Political Denials

June 9, 2017

It's a handy rule-of-thumb that when a politician – usually in a press conference, where he's annoyed repeatedly with the same question about his judgment – announces that he is or is not something, well, he is that thing.

Richard Nixon set the gold standard in 1973 when he announced, "I'm not a crook," which the Watergate scandal then established he exactly was. Now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House deputy press secretary, referring to Donald Trump, kept this tradition alive when she yesterday refuted James Comey's Senate testimony by stating, "I can definitively say the president is not a liar."

Nixon solemnly declaring "I'm not a crook."

In the 44 years from not a crook to not a liar, a number of other politicians have inadvertently acknowledged their faults by using the same or similar words. Here's a sampling of their denials, in chronological order:

Continue to full text of posting...


The Six-Day War: Personal Recollections

June 5, 2017

For my interpretation of some consequences of the fighting in June 1967, see today's article, "What If: Fifty Years After the Six-Day War."

On a personal note, I have three memories of those six days, which I experienced at the age of 17 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

First, I watched television late into the evening the day the war broke out, June 5, and went to sleep thinking that Egyptian aircraft had bombed Tel Aviv and that the Jewish state was in grave peril. That's because, in the words of the authoritative Middle East Record1967, "In view of the dearth of information given by Israeli spokesmen during the first day of the war, there was a preponderance of news from Arab sources in the Western press on 6 June." Only the next day did I learn how the Egyptian air force had been destroyed in place. It was a unique moment of shock and exhilaration.

Continue to full text of posting...


American Know-Nothing Diplomacy [blog]

by Daniel Pipes  •  May 25, 2017

The Washington Post informs us in an article titled "For Mideast Envoy, Rookie Status May Be an Advantage," that the "lack of experience in the Middle East" of the new U.S. presidential Middle East envoy (or more formally, "Chief, U.S. Coordinating and Monitoring Mission for the Middle East peace process"), John S. Wolf, "is actually an advantage because it is difficult for either side to believe he approaches the conflict with a preconceived bias."

Continue to full text of posting...


Bibliography – My Writings on Israel Victory

April 26, 2017

As the Oslo process unraveled, starting in 1997 I developed an alternative approach: Not more counterproductive negotiations but a return to the classic scenario of defeat and victory. I wrote often on this topic over two decades. I collect them here, a day ahead of the launch of the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus devoted to promoting these ideas:

Continue to full text of posting...


[Symposium] What Conservative Historians Are Saying about Trump's First 100 Days

April 23, 2017

History News Network introduction:

Donald Trump's first 100 days have seen the appointment and termination of decorated general Michael Flynn from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the eclipse of former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon, a steady decline in the relationship with Russia, the bombing of Syria, a failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, and two failed attempts to impose a ban on certain groups of immigrants. This wasn't exactly what Trump promised.  On the plus side he succeeded in appointing a religious conservative to the Supreme Court, fulfilling his commitment to evangelicals, while issuing executive orders that many conservatives approved.

We wondered what conservative historians make of Trump's debut.  Here's what they [Larry Schweikart, Daniel Pipes, Victor Davis Hanson, Paul Gottfried, Brad Birzer, and Robert Merry] told us.

Continue to full text of posting...


A Parent's Guide to College Visits

April 14, 2017

My youngest child is in 11th grade, so it's time to strap on the sandals again and tour some colleges. After immersing myself in several this week in the Boston area, I offer some impressions:

Continue to full text of posting...


No to Bombing Syria

April 6, 2017

The Obama Administration rightly stayed out of Syria through six painful, grisly years of civil war there. Yes, the fighting has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions. Yes, the uncontrolled migration of Syrians to Europe caused deep problems there. Yes, the Kurds are sympathetic. Yes, Barack Obama made a fool of himself when he declared the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons a "red line" and proceeded not to enforce it.

Continue to full text of posting...


Historians Run Amok

April 4, 2017

The eminent historian Niall Ferguson has devastatingly skewered his (and my) field of study in a talk for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, subsequently published as "The Decline and Fall of History."

He starts with the empirical fact that undergraduates are running away from studying history: compared with 1971 (coincidentally, the year I got my A.B. degree), "the share of history and social sciences degrees has halved, from 18% in 1971 to 9%. And the decline seems likely to continue."

Niall Ferguson delivering ACTA's Merrill Award at the Folger Shakespeare Library on Oct. 28, 2016.

Continue to full text of posting...


Another Attempt at "Extreme Vetting"

April 4, 2017

Donald Trump first coined the phrase "extreme vetting" in July 2016, in the aftermath of the truck attack in Nice, France. For nine months, he and his advisors have been trying to figure out what this means in practice.

Their first iteration, announced on Jan. 27, just days after their coming to office, focused on countries, not individuals. This approach has twice been shot down by the courts; further, it inherently makes no sense: some Iranians are friends and some Canadians are enemies. Looking at countries is crude and ineffective.

Continue to full text of posting...


Bibliography – My Writings on the Caliphate

April 1, 2017

The caliphate was a key political institution of early Islam that withered over the centuries and by the 940s ce had become a vestige of its former self. For the next near-millennium, the institution continued in an attenuated form, eventually becoming one title among many for the Mamluk and Ottoman rulers. In 1924, Kemal Atatürk abolished even that remnant. The umma lacked a khalifa until 2014, when the self-declared Islamic State came to existence with a Caliph Ibrahim at its head, reviving an ancient and moribund institution.

I have covered several aspects of this topic in my writings, listed here in chronological order.

Continue to full text of posting...

Archive Listing

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List


eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2017 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes