Why is the United Nations siding with Hamas in its war on Israel? An exaggeration? Nope. The examples are endless. The United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), devoted to the question of Palestinian refugees in name, but de facto a front for Hamas; leadership on the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council from China and Iran, setting the anti-Israel agenda; UN employees teaching antisemitic propaganda, promoting Hamas on their personal social media accounts, and blocking condemnation of terrorism. What’s more, all this is paid for, in large part, by the American taxpayer. It’s time to reform the United Nations, or, absent the necessary changes, to cut off their cash.

Brett D. Schaefer is the Jay Kingham Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. From 2019 to 2021, Schaefer was appointed by the U.N. General Assembly to serve on the Committee on Contributions, which advises the General Assembly on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations among member states. He worked at the Pentagon as an assistant for International Criminal Court policy from March 2003 to March 2004.

Why is the United Nations siding with Hamas in its war on Israel? An exaggeration? Nope. The examples are endless. The United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), devoted to the question of Palestinian refugees in name, but de facto a front for Hamas; leadership on the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council from China and Iran, setting the anti-Israel agenda; UN employees teaching antisemitic propaganda, promoting Hamas on their personal social media accounts, and blocking condemnation of terrorism. What’s more, all this is paid for, in large part, by the American taxpayer. It’s time to reform the United Nations, or, absent the necessary changes, to cut off their cash.

Brett D. Schaefer is the Jay Kingham Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. From 2019 to 2021, Schaefer was appointed by the U.N. General Assembly to serve on the Committee on Contributions, which advises the General Assembly on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations among member states. He worked at the Pentagon as an assistant for International Criminal Court policy from March 2003 to March 2004.

Since the events of October 7, the Chinese Communist Party has been spreading virulent antisemitic memes in the U.S. via its favorite information warfare tool: Tik Tok. We have had episodes on Tik Tok before, but the urgency of this issue has reached a fever pitch, culminating with the celebration of Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America” on the app last week. Tik Tok is pervasive – around a third of young adults use it for news – and it is incredibly effective. It is not just the propaganda that is convincing young Americans to hate America and ally themselves with bin Laden, Iran, and antisemites everywhere. And it is not even the losses on Xi Jinping’s “smokeless battlefield.” It is the question of the easy control of young American hearts and minds – which apparently march to the TikTok algorithm’s orders – and the consequent control the Chinese Communist Party has over American opinions and American politics. Bonus: There are also transgenic mice.

Congressman Mike Gallagher has represented Wisconsin’s 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2017. In the 118th Congress, Representative Gallagher serves as Chairman of the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, as Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Information Technologies, and Innovation, and on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

What do Critical Race Theory and antisemitism have in common? A lot, actually, from the roots of each movement, to the ideology, to the way they are weaponized by the left today. The overarching philosophy linking these movements together is a Manichean ordering of peoples into groups of oppressed or oppressor – usually, but not always, based on the color of one’s skin. Indeed, it is no mistake that in the aftermath of WWII, Jews sought to categorize themselves as white, a move that has now fed the bizarre oppressor/colonizer trope so popular on the left. First Jews weren’t white enough for the white supremacists, but now are too white for the CRT crowd. Not to mention the shifting ideological assaults on Jewish groups, once accused of being communists now accused of being capitalists. Yes, donors are pulling out of universities that harbor pro-terrorist groups; yes, the support of Hamas the past few weeks has been a PR disaster for wokeism. But it will take a lot more than that to root out the antisemitic and real race-based discrimination that has gripped America.

David E. Bernstein holds a University Professorship chair at the Antonin Scalia Law School, where he has been teaching since 1995. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, Georgetown University, William & Mary, Brooklyn Law School, the University of Turin, and Hebrew University. Professor Bernstein teaches Constitutional Law, Evidence, and Products Liability. His most recent book is Classified, The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America.

It is unclear whether Iran chose the exact date and time of the Hamas attacks, but the detail is irrelevant. The Islamic Republic of Iran has funded, coordinated, trained, and armed Hamas and other proxies for years. Should Israel not definitively succeed in eliminating Hamas, Iran will learn a critical lesson: its strategy works. What does Iran want from this war? Eventually, hegemonic control of the Middle East; in the meantime, derailing normalization between Israel and the Arab states, eliminating any moderate Palestinian political players, and total control of the revitalized Palestinian question in the region. Iran’s influence isn’t limited to its proxies in the Middle East either – it has an unprecedented strategic alliance with Russia and a growing partnership with the People’s Republic of China. So, why the international equivocation on Iran? Sanctions are needed, tightening the loopholes for Iranian financing of terrorist proxies is needed… Iran must pay a price for fomenting this war.

Kenneth M. Pollack is a senior fellow at AEI, where he works on Middle Eastern political-military affairs, focusing in particular on Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf countries. Before joining AEI, Dr. Pollack was affiliated with the Brookings Institution, where he was a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Before that, he was the center’s director and director of research. Dr. Pollack served twice at the National Security Council, first as director for Near East and South Asian affairs and then as director for Persian Gulf affairs. He began his career as a Persian Gulf military analyst at the CIA, where he was the principal author of the CIA’s classified postmortem on Iraqi strategy and military operations during the Persian Gulf War.

There are Charlottesvilles happening every day in America. This time, they’re everywhere, driven by an explosion of antisemitism. And these Charlottesvilles are happening at Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford among other elite havens of academe. This is not the alt-right, fringe antisemitism of years past. The modern version has taken on the flavor of the leftist elite: it equates Zionism with racism; it coalesces the extreme aspects of BLM, feminism, and other groups against a common enemy; it is pro-nothing and entirely anti. The Nazi movement had its roots in professors, Nobel Prize winners – this too, is finding roots in elitist bodies who can intellectualize their way around the pernicious evil of the Hamas attacks. The only way to stand up to a culture of hate? Intolerance of it, and imposing consequences on those who profess it.

Ruth Wisse is the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Comparative Literature Emerita at Harvard University. She immigrated to Canada from Romania in 1940 and is a preeminent scholar of Yiddish and American culture, literature, and politics. She is the author of several books, including her memoir Free as a Jew.

It has been over 20 days since the House of Representatives ousted, and then successively failed to re-elect, a speaker of the House. The dysfunction could not be coming at a worse time: war in Europe, war in the Middle East, rising danger in the Pacific. Budgets are not getting passed, much less additional aid packages for Ukraine and Israel. The House cannot even convene to condemn the Hamas terrorists – what the hell is wrong with our country? One infuriating piece of information from our podcast today: a large portion of representatives voting against aid to Ukraine are “voting no, hoping yes,” an indication that partisanship has truly eroded the very fabric and efficacy of government. America desperately needs intellectual consistency, good-faith politics, and honesty. How can we right this sinking ship?

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick represents Pennsylvania’s first district. In the 118th Congress, Congressman Fitzpatrick sits on the Ways and Means Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In addition, he co-chairs the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and Congressional Ukraine Caucus, while also serving on the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force and NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Prior to serving Congress, he was an FBI Special Agent and a Federal Prosecutor.

The monstrosity of Hamas’ attack on Israel is hard to fathom. This podcast, with Times of Israel reporter Haviv Gur, shares some insight into developments on the ground in Israel, tragedies that Israelis are experiencing real-time, and analysis of the political, religious, and military aspects of the conflict.

He also gives us a glimpse into Israel’s calculus following the attack – what do Israelis think Palestinians are thinking? Where are the roots of Palestinian extremism, how do the majority Arab Israeli population view the behavior of their neighbors? How has the fundamental understanding of regional cooperation changed, and where are we beginning to have clarity on the real aspirations of Palestinian leaders and other Middle East actors in the fall-out?

On October 7th, Israel suffered the worst attack it has experienced in its history at the hands of the terrorist group Hamas. 900 casualties in Israel, including at least 11 American citizens – not to mention around 150 hostages taken by Hamas, most back to the Gaza Strip where they will be held as bargaining chips. The shocking adjectives being used are spot on: heinous, evil, unconscionable. And one lesson has emerged crystal-clear: weakness on Iran does not lead to moderation and bonhomie, it leads to bloodshed and paves the path for terror. Obama’s nuclear deals; Trump’s tougher but ultimately unsustainable approach; Biden’s inattention and subsequent $6 billion bribe to Iran – and people wonder why the Iranian regime thought that now might be a good time to push the envelope even further. What happens next will be decisive. We have watched Biden slow roll aid to Ukraine while Congress tears itself apart. We have watched successive administrations hope that pivoting to Asia will put the Middle East in the rear-view mirror. It won’t. When tyrants and terrorists are persuaded the US is weak, they act. The time has come to change their minds.

Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, DC. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House, and as Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela in the administration of Donald Trump.

Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown last week when it passed a continuing resolution – a stop-gap spending bill that finances the government for a little over a month. What does this really mean? It means that we are spending at previous levels of government while important investment bills for the future are frozen, hamstringing the federal government in carrying out its number one job: to provide for the common defense. But the problem is bigger, and goes back further, than this week. Our Defense Department is underfunded and spending priorities are misaligned; multi-year appropriations are wildly out of touch with real inflation numbers; Congress treats weapons contractor behemoths like they are a de facto member of the bureaucracy. And the proverbial icing on the cake? The Pentagon is not only lagging in relation to prior output, it is lagging behind China. The investment in military and defense preparedness with our number one threat should never be inverse, but China is steadily investing, while the US is stagnating and slipping.

Mackenzie Eaglen is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute where she works on defense strategy, defense budgets, and military readiness. She is a member of the board of advisers of the Alexander Hamilton Society, a member of the steering committee of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security, one of the 12-member US Army War College Board of Visitors, and a member of the Commission on the Future of the Navy.

Gallup, Pew, and other reputable polling institutes have been lock-step in reporting the precipitous decline of American trust in the country’s institutions over the past few years. Every survey examining public faith in our institutions to do what is right, to provide for the common good, or to simply function at all has hit rock bottom. Surprising? Not really – these dropping percentage points coincide with upticks in intense partisanship, erosion in our political process, and culture wars. And this is not, as the media would portray it, solely an income inequality issue; social mobility and opportunity issues yes, but the biggest factor in this mistrust is the widening cultural gap between the new elites, and the rest of the US’ population. What can be done? It is imperative that students are educated in civics and history and maintain a respect for the institutions that are meant to provide for them. And most importantly, it is high time for real leaders to step up, recognize and fix these corrosive problems.

Download the transcript here.

The projected Biden-Trump rematch is not merely depressing, it is causing policymakers on the left and the right to abandon good sense. The result? A double-whammy Biden impeachment and Trump constitutional crisis as the country heads into the election season. Is it correct that election officials can disqualify Trump based on the 14th Amendment? Was it really necessary or strategic to begin impeachment proceedings against Biden now? Is our Republic unraveling? This is precisely why Marc and Dany called on Biden to pardon Trump. This is why Abraham Lincoln said that a compass that points true north is only useful if one also knows the terrain we traverse.

Download the transcript here.

In a post-Dobbs political landscape, abortion policy has become the great divider. But disagreements over abortion cannot stifle much-needed conversations about what can be done to support American women, mothers, fathers, and children. To nobody’s surprise, WTH co-host Marc is a conservative. His colleague at the Washington Post Alyssa Rosenberg, is liberal. Together, they undertook the critical task that one might expect from our lawmakers, and put their differences aside to write a productive, respectful, and intelligent guideline for family policies that have been proposed by lawmakers, yet to be passed. They selected policies that did not require them to compromise on their respective positions on abortion, and those that have a serious chance of becoming law if the work is done by Congress. It is a model of good-faith hard work, and the kind that is rare among those who actually make policy – we commend you to read it here.

Alyssa Rosenberg writes about mass culture, parenting, and gender for The Washington Post’s Opinions section. Before coming to The Post in 2014, Alyssa was the culture editor at ThinkProgress, the television columnist at Women and Hollywood, a columnist for the XX Factor at Slate and a correspondent for The Atlantic.com.

It may not come as a surprise that in much of the developed world, money spent is not necessarily money used well. We have done podcasts on the ideological and political dangers of bad development policy, but the dollar-to-donuts, real practical bent of the conversation is just as important. Because at the end of the day, the international community has come up with many (169) development objectives, most all of them unreachable (we have only met one). Instead of looking at the trajectory of UN sustainable development goals and bemoaning their overreach and underperformance, Bjorn Lomborg presents a realistic re-orientation of priorities. He has whittled the 169 UNSDGs down to 12 actionable steps the international community can take to challenge today’s problems. The goals are straightforward, cost-effective, and good faith – for anyone discouraged by the constant backsliding and bureaucratic stagnation of today, this is a refreshing step forward.

Bjorn Lomborg is the president of the think tank Copenhagen Consensus Center and the former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute. He became internationally known for his best-selling book The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001). Bjorn is listed as one of Time’s 100 most influential people, and his most recent book is Best Things First: The 12 Most Efficient Solutions for the World’s Poorest and Our Global SDG Promises.

The What the Hell crew continues our summer reading series! Our next pick is The Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, and the World on the Brink. The Peacemaker’s focus is Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy, adding to previous research with recently declassified national security documents. But just as importantly, the history presented reminds us why the challenges we face today – socialism rebranded, struggles for sovereignty in Ukraine and Taiwan – are not novel. In fact, it is pretty simple to guess where Reagan might have stood in 2023. Inboden underscores as well that, contrary to popular opinion, the fall of the Soviet Union under Reagan was never inevitable, but required a real US policy shift. It is worth the read (or, if you are like Marc, the audiobook listen) to remember the cold war muscles the US built not too long ago, or even just to remember what decorum and strength in leadership looks like in government.

Bonus: Reagan’s legacy lives on at the Reagan Institute; listen to our podcast on their summer survey here.

This August, the What the Hell crew brings you a summer reading series! Our first pick is Chip War, a book the NYT hailed as a cross between Mission Impossible and the China Syndrome. Nominally, this is the story of the semiconductor industry, but it is really a forecast of modern grand strategy, great power conflict, and the security of the global economy. It is no mistake that the book’s author, Chris Miller, set out to write a book about military strategy – and then realized that military strategy today is defined by applying advanced chips to systems. Beyond just military however, advanced chips make the world as we know it work. They are in your iPhone, your dishwasher, your car… the list goes on. The clincher? Almost all of these highly technical chips are made in Taiwan – one of the most geopolitically tense areas in the world.

Chris Miller is an Associate Professor of International History at Tufts University and a Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Fellow at AEI. He is also the co-director of the Fletcher School’s Russia and Eurasia program and the director of the Eurasia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. In addition to Chip War, Miller’s books include We Shall Be Masters: Russian Pivots to Asia from Peter the Great to Putin (Harvard University Press, 2021), Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), and The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy: Mikhail Gorbachev and the Collapse of the USSR (University of North Carolina Press, 2016). Chris is an alumnus of Harvard College and holds an MA and PhD from Yale.

With the incessant politicization of real foreign policy issues, sometimes it is helpful to go back to the numbers. And in this case, the numbers are detached from the reality that anti-Ukraine Republicans are trying to sell. In fact, a new summer survey from the Reagan Institute finds that a 76% supermajority of Americans, including 71% of Republicans, agree that it is important to the US that Ukraine wins the war. This is not the “Ukraine fatigue” story we have been told. Moreover, support for aid increases substantially when respondents are given more information – where aid to Ukraine is going, how Ukraine has performed on the field. Knowing this, why are our leaders failing to give the America First case for aid to Ukraine?

Roger Zakheim serves as the Washington Director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. He previously practiced law at Covington & Burling LLP where he led the firm’s Public Policy and Government Affairs practice group. Before joining Covington he was General Counsel and Deputy Staff Director of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee where he managed the passage of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. He was also the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.

One of America’s greatest engines of growth is fossil fuels – cheap, reliable energy that jumpstarted the industrial revolution and paved the way for the security and prosperity we enjoy today. Others will not be so lucky. Many African countries lack energy security and are reliant upon foreign aid and international organizations that impose environmentally correct conditions on assistance. Indeed, rather than affording African nations the same pathway to prosperity that Western countries used, the left has decided that ‘what is for me is no longer acceptable for thee’ and is pushing green energy on the African continent. Africans like clean energy as much as the next guy (Kenya has geothermal, Ethiopia has hydro) but others (Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria…) are forced to rely on natural gas. But the future of Africa and engines of growth are uninteresting to climate crusaders, who embrace neocolonialist conditions for aid to Africa, all the while jetting about in private planes. Instead of forcing climate terms on critical Africa assistance programs, as John Kerry is intent upon doing, or degrading the efficacy of the Power Africa initiative, perhaps the US and Europe should focus on alleviating poverty, truthfully.

Todd Moss, formerly Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, is the Executive Director of the Energy for Growth Hub, a fellow at the Center for Global Development, and a nonresident scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute and the Colorado School of Mines. He has a substack called Eat More Electrons.

Last week at the NATO summit in Lithuania, the world watched as Ukraine was denied an actionable plan for membership in the alliance. It was almost a rinse and repeat from 2008, when Ukraine and Georgia pushed for membership, and were offered a similarly passive statement – save for one major exception: today, Ukraine is actively fighting for its life. In fact, Ukraine is doing NATO’s job for it: defending Europe, upholding sovereignty, and keeping Russia’s imperialist ambitions at bay. And, notwithstanding the ire of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan – who has labeled Ukraine ungrateful — nobody (much less Zelensky) is arguing for membership during a hot war. Ukrainians want a secure plan forward, not a vague and gauzy set of commitments that amount to “maybe.” A roadmap is not actually hard to formulate (Marc and former Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun wrote one for Washington Post) so what is the hold-up? Are we really going to let Putin bully 31 (soon to be 32) countries into icing out a staunch ally?

Ambassador Kurt Volker is the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, the former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine. He’s now a distinguished fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and a founding partner of the American University in Kyiv.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the private military company Wagner Group, staged a rebellion against Putin’s regime in Russia on June 24th. For a brief moment, the Wagner forces took over Rostov-on-Don, and came within 125 miles of Moscow before coming under heavy fire by the Russian military, and turning back. Putin struck a deal with Belarus president Lukashenko wherein Prigozhin was exiled to Belarus in exchange for amnesty. But who is Prigozhin? None other than Putin’s former caterer. If it sounds ludicrous, that’s because it is – and the media is still abuzz with theories as to what happened. Are there cracks in Putin’s regime? What were Prigozhin’s motives? Why the hell did Putin meet with Prigozhin a week after the purported coup attempt? Most troubling of all, US intelligence appears as perplexed as it was on day one.

Yaroslav Trofimov is the Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent of the Wall Street Journal. He covered the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021 and has been working out of Ukraine since January 2022. He previously served as Rome, Middle East, and Singapore-based Asia correspondent, as bureau chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as a Dubai-based columnist on the greater Middle East. He is the author of two books: Faith at War (2005) and Siege of Mecca (2007).