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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has dominated the political scene for more than a dozen years, campaigned on behalf of his former party, the Islamist-rooted Peace and Development Party (AKP), appealing to voters to elect at least 300 parliamentarians to help push through a constitution that would expand his powers as an executive. But Sunday's stunning results make that a distant prospect. (Associated Press)

Turkey’s growing instability

Once the eastern anchor of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (geography has little to do with how governments title treaties), Turkey has become a problem, and a large one, for NATO policymakers. The problem contributes to the chaos in the Middle East.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an event commemorating the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Life in a fantasy

Politicians live in a fantasy world of their own invention, where it never rains and the skies are not cloudy all day. There’s always an aide available to fetch and carry, to hold a trembling hand when the wind rattles a window, ready with assurances that the sun is shining at midnight, if that’s what the boss wants to hear.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks in Ankeny, Iowa, on Aug. 26, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

The dirtiest job in town

Hercules was the original man who gets things done. Tales of his 12 labors that included the slaying of monsters are the stuff of heroic legend. Cleaning out the Augean Stables is the stuff of heroic legend. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan can sympathize with Hercules.

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President Barack Obama pauses during a meeting with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. The president said the derailment of Amtrak Train 188 "is a tragedy that touches us all." In a statement, Obama said he is offering prayers to the families who lost loved ones and the passengers beginning to recover.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Democrats put Obama in a stew

A filibuster led by Democrats derailed President Obama's request for the fast-track authority that would require the U.S. Senate to vote up-or-down on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The negotiations, the filibuster and the fix the president has put himself in says everything about the differing Republican and Democratic positions on trade. It says a lot, too, about Mr. Obama's ineptitude in dealing his own congressional partisans.

What GOP must do in 2016

One of President George W. Bush's primary reasons for authorizing the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was to eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Bush's rush to war, known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, was criticized because no WMD ever were uncovered. Still, U.S. forces remained there (and then in Afghanistan) for years.

Whose embassy is this?

Barack Obama's romance with the Castro brothers is rapidly turning into a sour shack-up. That's what happens sometimes to romances under a tropic moon and the rustle of the coconut palms. Cuba wants to redefine the sanctity of embassies, and how they function. The public still doesn't know what concessions the president is making to keep a flame under the romance, but it doesn't sound good for our side.

In this photo taken April 28, 2015, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks in San Juan, Puerto Rico. When Hillary Rodham Clinton takes the stage at fundraisers thrown by a group that wants to elect her president, she’s not a White House candidate. She’s a “special guest.” When Jeb Bush fundraises for a group preparing to run major parts of his all-but-certain presidential campaign, he doesn’t personally ask for money. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Jeb Bush doubles down

Jeb Bush has grave differences with the Republicans who will nominate a candidate for president next summer in Cleveland -- differences on immigration, Common Core, and now on his brother's conduct of the war in Iraq. Mr. Bush winces at the notion that he's the "moderate" Republican that so many in his party think he is.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took issues with key points on the framework of a nuclear deal including sanction relief and inspector access. (Associated Press)

The hangmen of Iran

Hanging is a particularly gruesome method of dispatching the wicked and the addicted, largely abandoned by the civilized world, though it's true that electric chairs, gas chambers, poisoned hypodermic needles and even firing squads are hardly more civilized.

A drone carrying the flag of South Vietnam flies above during a commemoration for the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, at Sid Goldstein Freedom Park in Westminster, Calif., on Thursday, April 30, 2015. (Matt Masin/The Orange County Register via AP)   MAGS OUT; LOS ANGELES TIMES OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

A story of the Vietnam War

The Pentagon is out to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the war in Vietnam, which invites new recriminations and the false story of what happened in Vietnam. There's already a bitter struggle over what to "celebrate" and how to do it.

In this Jan. 23, 2013, file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Hillary Clinton's Benghazi testimony could break her presidential aspirations

"The Clintons" is the longest-running soap opera in American politics. Bill and Hillary have seemed to be immune from the accountability demanded of others. Perhaps they're protected by scandal because scandal is what everyone expects from them. This defense will be put to the test when a judgment day, such as it may be, arrives the week of May 18 and she will be asked to answer questions from Congress about what happened at Benghazi, and her part in organizing the American response.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to the media outside 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, May 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) ** FILE **

David Cameron's majority in Britain gives him an edge to manage

Nothing is more fun for voters than confounding pollsters, and not just here in America. Britain, too, and they gave Prime Minister David Cameron the majority he needs to preside over the government as he thinks fit. While they were at it, they told the pollsters to beat it, and take their computer models, intrusive questions and smug self-confidence with them.

FILE - In this March 17, 2015 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. McConnell and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz are among 57 Republicans in Congress who are calling on the Supreme Court to uphold state bans on same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)

Big Brother takes a hit

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, has made it clear to his colleagues that he wants the USA Patriot Act, including the controversial parts of the legislation scheduled to expire at the end of June, fully extended. He's seems ready to do whatever he can to get his way.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (right) shares a word with Huma Abedin, her personal assistant and trusted confidant. **FILE**

Hillary's Islamic connection

So many lies, coincidences and distractions, so little time. Perhaps the most serious (who can keep count?) of the new Hillary revelations are that Huma Abedin's emails are among the missing from Hillary's private email server. Were Ms. Abedin's emails trashed to cover a conflict of interest when she was taking pay as a private consultant while on the State Department payroll as an aide to Hillary?

Police in riot gear line up to enforce a curfew imposed in the aftermath of rioting following Monday's funeral for Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, Friday, May 1, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The war on the police

Of all our wars, those declared and undeclared, the real ones and the made-up ones (such as the "war on women"), it's the war on the police that worries society most. A war on the established order, and those who protect it, is a war on ourselves.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a native of Detroit,  lays out his presidential platform Monday, May 4, 2015, at Detroit's Music Hall that he is running for president. I'm Ben Carson and I'm a candidate for president for the United States," Carson said, before declaring — incorrectly now — that "I'm not a politician." Carson will now visit Texas, where his mother is gravely ill, before flying to Iowa to campaign. (Regina H. Boone/Detroit Free Press via AP)

The coming presidential debate

The Republicans have an excess of riches for the 2016 campaign, diversity that the Democrats can only envy. But all riches do not have equal value. Experience in politics, the most valuable item on any chief executive officer's resume, looks like an afterthought on certain resumes. Carly Fiorina probably wouldn't have appointed someone with no business experience as her deputy at Hewlett-Packard. Ben Carson, the eminent neurosurgeon, would not have recruited a Starbucks barista as his chief surgical nurse.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers his speech during a press conference with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Platitudes, bromides and ‘tipping points’

Cliches get attention, and fearmongers have christened a new one that's already turning credulous heads: "Tipping point." There are so many warnings about the danger of climate change tipping the balance of nature that to hear the "experts" tell it, Planet Earth has become one large canoe.

President Barack Obama speaks at the launch of My Brother's Keeper Alliance at Lehman College in the Bronx borough of New York, Monday, May 4, 2015. My Brother's Keeper Alliance is an outgrowth of Obama's year-old My Brother's Keeper initiative, which has focused on federal government policies and grants designed to increase access to education and jobs. (Susan Watts/The Daily News via AP, Pool)

A trap for Mr. Obama's negotiators

President Obama and his negotiators talking to Iran frighten the rest of us not only for what they're willing to accept as a deal, but for the way they negotiate. They clearly don't understand how to negotiate with rogues.

Demonstrators cheer in the intersection of West North and Pennsylvania Avenues in Baltimore on Saturday, May 2, 2015, one of the sites of Monday's rioting, as they march a day after charges were announced against the police officers involved in Freddie Gray's death. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Sticks, stones and thugs

The reputation of the police in Baltimore has taken a beating in the wake of the rioting. Six policemen have been charged with crimes, though it is important to remember that they are charged — not indicted, and not yet convicted of anything. Nevertheless, some people with nothing better to do are eager to dispatch the Word Police to make further arrests.

The North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un does not appear interested in holding sincere talks on giving up his nuclear arms. (Associated Press)

The powder keg in Northeast Asia

The world's attention is focused on the chaos of the Middle East, but a time bomb is ticking in northeast Asia. Mysterious, heavily armed North Korea is a threat that at the moment seems out of sight, but it cannot be out of mind.

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, delivers a keynote speech during a press conference in Glasgow, Scotland, as the Scottish National Party leader insisted Wednesday April 29, 2015, that the General Election is "not about independence" for the party. Britain goes to the polls in a General Election on May 7. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT  NO SALES  NO ARCHIVE

Scots wha hae!

Voters in Britain go to the polls again next week, and our correspondents say the race is too close to call. Scotland, which rejected independence in a bitterly fought referendum only six months ago, may hold the key to whether the Labor Party replaces the Conservatives to govern the United Kingdom.

Samples of Bolivar cigars sit on display at a cigar club shop in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. The Cuban cigar is set to make its first legal appearance in the United States in years, with relaxed guidelines allowing travelers to return with a few of the once-forbidden items in their suitcases. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Going after a good cigar

The only surviving trace of Thomas Riley Marshall, the vice president of the United States under Woodrow Wilson, is his observation that "what this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar." A nickel of 1916 would buy a lot more tobacco than a nickel would buy in 2015, but a cigar would still be a stogie. The bureaucrats at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who never let opportunity to nag and scold go to waste, are eagerly plotting to seize cigars of any price.

FILE - In this June 15, 2012, file photo, a group of tourists from China take in the sights of the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall National Memorial, in New York. Chinese tourists, already among the fastest-growing and highest-spending groups of international visitors to the United States, are poised to make an even bigger impact, thanks to a rule change that would allow visitors to get visas valid for 10 years. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The Ugly Chinese

In times more innocent than these, Eugene Burdick and William J. Lederer wrote a best-seller, "The Ugly American," circa 1958, about a well-meaning American bureaucrat who set out to repeat the success of the Marshall Plan in what were accurately called, with no intention of hurting anyone's feelings, "the undeveloped countries." Good intentions were not enough. The new plan didn't work, foiled by hubris and pretension in the new class of American bureaucrats. The unattractive hero understood, but couldn't turn the tide. He was dismissed as "the Ugly American" of his book.

A plane flies over the mountains in south of the Strait of Hormuz as the trading dhows and ships are docked on the Persian Gulf waters near the town of Khasab, in Oman. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

Mullahs against the mouse

The cat and mouse game playing out in the waters of the Middle East has profound consequences, not only for the United States, but for the rest of the world. It's part of the clash of civilizations, whether the West likes it or not — the mullahs in Tehran against the Katzenjammer Kids in the White House. It's not yet clear who's the cat, and who's the mouse, but the mullahs think they know.