Iran desk: Why Tehran Is Winning

Israel’s “short-term tactical victories don’t fundamentally alter the Islamic Republic’s advantages,” argue Reuel Marc Gerecht & Ray Takeyh at The Free Press. Like “Israel getting bogged down in Gaza”: “If tens of thousands of IDF soldiers get tied down in the Strip,” Iran can win in Lebanon more easily. “Despite the still-fervent hopes of many,” Israeli-Saudi normalization “is probably dead.” And “Iran’s ‘axis of resistance’ has proven impressively resilient.” Don’t forget that “Biden surely will be no more bold against the Islamic Republic than George W. Bush was against North Korea.” The result? There’s now no “other avenue than military action against Iran” that “has a chance of checking an Islamist nuclear-threshold state that is close to dominating the Middle East.”

Libertarian: Biden’s Gift to Railroad Unions

In response to last year’s train crash in East Palestine, Ohio, “the federal Department of Transportation announced on Tuesday a new policy requiring freight trains to operate with at least two-person crews—a mandate that the Biden administration says will enhance rail safety,” reports Reason’s Eric Boehm. But that train was “operated by a crew of three men, none of whom were able to prevent. . . the unfortunate accident.” And “these days. . . it is automation and not a backup engineer that is responsible for a dramatic decline in railway accidents and injuries.” This policy “looks a lot like a giveaway to the labor unions representing railroad employees,” but it “will create some real costs for anyone shipping or receiving products via rail.”

Liberal: Don’t Make a Religion of Politics

Since 2005, the number of “liberal democracies” — i.e., those “built on political and personal liberty” — has fallen even as religiosity has declined, notes The Wall Street Journal’s William A. Galston. Some argue the fix is “infusing liberal politics with moral meaning.” Galston disagrees: A simpler explanation is that people have been “ill-governed for the past two decades.” Besides, “if the decline of religion is contributing to the weakening of liberalism, it is dangerous to look to politics as the solution.” The “natural longing for perfection shifts from heaven to a realm that resists it.” And a “religious-like fervor” for certain political values only undermines “the spirit of conciliation that makes peaceful common life possible.” A safer bet? “Better governance.”

Culture critic: Joe Flaherty, RIP

“Some of my readers will no doubt know him best as the heckler who shouts ‘Jackass!’ in Happy Gilmore,” mourns Colby Cosh in the National Post about the passing of SCTV alum Joe Flaherty, 82. The comedian, “already pushing 40 when SCTV got underway, was the brainy litterateur of the cast.” He wrote “original, fully fleshed satirical creations of the highest order and the lowest comic appeal all at once.” He was “the funniest of the bunch.” When Flaherty “was on camera, you almost always had the sense that he wasn’t taking himself or anything else too seriously.” “Flaherty didn’t possess the tragic grandeur of a John Candy or the vicious leprechaun energy of a Martin Short” but he “was the soul of a great institution.”

Neocon: Schumer’s Moral Failure on Israel

“The predictably vile consequences” of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s “public attacks on Israeli democracy are here,” thunders Commentary’s Seth Mandel. “I’m 100% with Senator Schumer,” declared Rep. Jamaal Bowman as he called Bibi a maniac. Sen. Jeff Merkley joined “a long tradition of using Christian holy days like Easter to scapegoat the Jews” when he accused Israel of “indiscriminate bombing” on Easter. “Schumer has helped normalize and legitimize” all this by “certifying the political version of porkchops and pepperoni” as kosher. “The Jamaal Bowmans and Jeff Merkleys of the world are bothered by the fact that survival is popular with the Israeli public. And Chuck Schumer has given all such demagogues the green light to continue preaching against the legitimacy of the Jewish state.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Page

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