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Kim R. Holmes

Articles by Kim R. Holmes

University of California at Berkeley students pass out yellow ribbons and educate others  in support for the Umbrella Revolution, a group seeking democracy in Hong Kong, on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, at Sather Gate in Berkeley, Calif. Student leaders of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests warned that if the territory's top official doesn't resign by Thursday they will step up their actions, including occupying several important government buildings. By raising the stakes in the standoff, the protesters are risking another round of confrontation with police, who are unlikely to allow government buildings to be stormed. It also puts pressure on the Chinese government, which so far has said little beyond declaring the protests illegal and backing Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's attempts to end them. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) **FILE**

When free speech is anything but free

What's gone wrong? How did a movement ostensibly dedicated to freedom of speech and expression become its opposite? Published October 13, 2014

HOLMES: Why the world is unmoved by Obama's apologies

Most of the world does not see an earnest moralist struggling with America's complicated past or a humble man admitting his own foibles. Instead, they see a weak leader uncertain about the cause of his country. Published September 29, 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry  leaves after a family photo at the conference intended to come up with an international strategy against  Islamic State extremists in Paris, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. As diplomats from around the world sought a global strategy to fight Islamic State extremists, Iran ruled out working with any international coalition, saying it had rejected American requests for cooperation against the militants. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski; Pool)

HOLMES: Islamic State threat looms as U.S. global influence wanes

It's no secret that threats to American security are increasing. The terrorism we thought had been contained is on the rise again. The Islamic State movement has threatened to take its war to New York. While the administration claims there is no actionable intelligence showing such a threat to be imminent, it's no consolation to remember that we didn't see the Sept. 11 attacks coming either. Published September 15, 2014

FILE - This, July 16, 2014, file photo shows Russia's President Vladimir Putin as he arrives for an official group photo during the BRICS summit at the Itamaraty palace, in Brasilia, Brazil. Months after Russia annexed Crimea and stepped up support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, Europe and the U.S. are still searching for an effective way to persuade Putin to change course. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File )

HOLMES: What's at stake in Ukraine?

What's at stake in Ukraine? If the actions of Western governments speak louder than words, the short answer is "not much." The full range of sanctions on Russia has not yet been imposed, and there is a widespread reluctance to embrace Ukraine too closely. Published July 28, 2014

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2012 file photo, a young Mexican boy, looks at a map of the recorded Arizona border deaths in a well known immigrant shelter in Nogales, Mexico. A major U.S. effort to discourage repeated attempts by immigrants to enter the country illegally by flying and busing them into Mexico hundreds of miles away from where they were caught, but government statistics and interviews with migrants in Mexican shelters suggest the dislocation is rarely a deterrent, especially for immigrants with spouses, children and roots in the U.S. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

HOLMES: Want to solve the border crisis? Stop what's causing it

Want to solve the border crisis? Stop what's causing it. Simply throwing money at programs to absorb illegal immigrants will not end the humanitarian crisis on our border. In fact, without tackling the root causes, more children will be brought by human traffickers to the U.S. Published July 14, 2014

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in an email to employees that bonuses were an appropriate way for taxpayers to reward the agency that polices them. "I believe that rewarding our high-performing employees is a vital investment for our nation's tax system," he said. (Associated Press)

HOLMES: What Obama's power grab says about liberalism

Last week's Supreme Court ruling limiting President Obama's authority to make recess appointments is a victory for constitutional government. But before Americans celebrate too much, they should take heed of the White House spin the next day. Published June 30, 2014

** FILE ** This June 13, 2014, file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation, a White House official said Monday. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

HOLMES: When war-weariness leads to more war

President Obama is fond of saying he was elected to "end" wars, not start them. He clearly is tapping into Americans' well-known weariness of wars and sees himself as merely carrying out their will. Published June 16, 2014

HOLMES: Obama's not-so-indispensable America

Many people think President Obama's speech last week at West Point was all about politics. Setting up straw men and knocking them down, the president defined himself mainly by what he wasn't. He was not an isolationist. He was not a warmonger. Of course, no one seriously claimed he was either one. Nor are these extremes real-world strategic options. Published June 2, 2014

Christian worshipers pray during Christmas mass at a Church in Khartoum, Sudan, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)

HOLMES: Christian persecution — an injustice for all

We are asked every day to show solidarity with women and with racial and ethnic minorities around the world. Yet some of us too easily dismiss discrimination against and even persecution and murder of Christians as merely a "religious" problem that concerns only Christians. Published May 19, 2014


HOLMES: Zero tolerance writ large

America no longer openly tolerates racism. We should be proud of the swift condemnation of Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling for his racist remarks. It took years of struggle, but racism has been greatly diminished. (Yes, it still exists, but not as much as before.) And the struggle was won only because people drew a line in the sand. Published May 5, 2014

This undated photo provided by Mozilla shows co-founder and CEO Brendan Eich. Eich is stepping down as CEO and leaving the company following protests over his support of a gay marriage ban in California. At issue was Eich's $1,000 donation in 2008 to the campaign to pass California's Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriages. (AP Photo/Mozilla)

HOLMES: Liberalism's illiberal intolerance

Forget the Hunger Games. Welcome to the Intolerance Wars. Every day, it seems, someone tries to silence someone else in the name of some higher cause. The forced resignation of Brendan Eich as CEO of the popular Web browser Mozilla Firefox is only the tip of the iceberg. Published April 14, 2014


HOLMES: Obama fails the Crimea Rorschach test

Think of the Ukraine crisis as a Rorschach test. Russia has shown President Obama an inkblot that looks like a bear, and all he sees is a frightened rabbit. Published March 31, 2014

FILE - This Jan. 29, 2014 file photo shows Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Capitol Hill in Washington. U.S. intelligence officials are planning an electronic monitoring system that would tap into government, financial and public databases to scan the behavior patterns of many of the 5 million government employees who hold secret clearances, according to current and former officials. The system draws on a Defense Department model in development for more than a decade, documents reviewed by the Associated Press show. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

HOLMES: Gambling with national security

President Obama is shrinking America's armed forces, and his admirers say: "Why not?" The U.S. always draws down its military forces at the end of wars. Just look at what happened after World War II, Vietnam and the end of the Cold War. Mr. Obama, they say, is merely adjusting America's defense posture to the "strategic realities" of postwar peace. Published March 17, 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry briefs the media after a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. Kerry is on a stopover in the German capital en route to the Munich Security Conference. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

HOLMES: U.S. needs to stand firm against Chinese aggression

China's rise has the Obama administration looking as uncertain as the proverbial deer in the headlights. Caught between the unappealing alternatives of embracing or containing China, it largely chooses inaction. Published February 5, 2014

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about National Security Agency (NSA)surveillance, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Justice Department in Washington. Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, the president called for ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court's permission before accessing the records. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

HOLMES: America a model no more

America's famed free market economy is under siege. For the seventh year in a row, the economic freedom score of the United States dropped on the Index of Economic Freedom, compiled by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. is now the 12th freest economy in the world, down from 10th last year, and ranks as a second-tier "mostly free" economy. Published January 22, 2014

HOLMES: Why government is so hard to reform

Why is it so difficult to reform government? The easy answers are well-known. Too many people depend on it for Social Security checks and other benefits. Too many businesses profit from its contracts, subsidies and tax breaks. Any reform means pain for someone. And, of course, politicians get elected by delivering its services. Published January 8, 2014

HOLMES: A holiday wish for a more trusting America

Looking back on 2013, it's striking how politically polarized America has become. Political divisions often are attributed to politicians, but beneath all the sound and fury is a deeper problem: Americans do not trust one another as much as they used to. And the reasons are not as simple as some people think. Published December 25, 2013

HOLMES: Why the fear of American exceptionalism?

Those who believe in American exceptionalism don't reject foreigners. They recognize what's unique about our history: a distinctive confluence of culture, government and economy, and an ethos of personal responsibility that tamed the economy's wild horses and tempered the potentially anarchic tendencies of free people. These, not government action, gave rise to the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. Published November 13, 2013

HOLMES: Two souls of Obama's foreign policy

One of the most puzzling things about President Obama's foreign policy is his inconsistency. He'll draw red lines in Syria and threaten military strikes, then call off the strikes and convene diplomatic conferences. If he's not killing terrorists with drones, he's bringing them to New York for civilian trial. He'll bypass the United Nations Security Council to take military action against Syria, but demand its approval before bombing Libya. Published October 30, 2013