March 13, 1950 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Education||McGill University (BA)
Balliol College, Oxford
Harvard Medical School (MD)
|Occupation||Columnist, Author, commentator, journalist, physician|
|Notable credit(s)||The New Republic (1981–2011)
The Washington Post (1985–present)
Time magazine (1983)
Inside Washington (1990-2013)
|Spouse(s)||Robyn (Trethewey) Krauthammer|
Charles Krauthammer (//; born March 13, 1950) is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, author, political commentator, and physician. His weekly column is syndicated to more than 400 newspapers worldwide. He is a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and a nightly panelist on Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier. He was a weekly panelist on the PBS news program Inside Washington from 1990 until it ceased production in December 2013.
- 1 Personal life
- 2 Opinions and ideas
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Krauthammer was born on March 13, 1950, in New York City and raised in Montreal. "My father was a naturalized French citizen. He lived in France most of his life and moved to the United States after the war and got involved in real estate. A friend of his took him on a business trip to Montreal and he was enchanted by the idea of living in a place where French was spoken" . His parents were Orthodox and he went to a Hebrew day school. "I got a rigorous Jewish education. I know what it is to be a Jew. There's a difference between being nominally Jewish or sentimentally Jewish and being grounded in Jewish learning". In 1970, he graduated from McGill University with First Class Honors in political science and economics. The following year, he was a Commonwealth Scholar in politics at Balliol College, Oxford, before returning to the United States and entering Harvard Medical School. During Krauthammer's first year of medical school, he was paralyzed in a diving-board accident and was hospitalized for 14 months. He has been confined to a wheelchair ever since the accident. He continued his medical studies at Harvard, however, and graduated with his class, earning his M.D. in 1975. From 1975 to 1978, Krauthammer was a resident and then a chief resident in psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1984, he became board certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. During his time as chief resident, he discovered a variant of manic depressive disease which he called "Secondary Mania". He also co-authored the path-finding study on the epidemiology of mania.
In 1978, Krauthammer moved to Washington, D.C., to direct planning in psychiatric research under the Carter administration. He began contributing articles about politics to The New Republic and in 1980 served as a speech writer to vice president Walter Mondale. In January 1981, Krauthammer joined The New Republic as both a writer and editor. In 1983, he began writing essays for Time magazine, one of which first brought him national acclaim for his development of the "Reagan Doctrine". In 1984, his New Republic essays won the "National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism". The weekly column he began writing for The Washington Post in 1985 won him the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1987. In 1990, he became a panelist for the weekly PBS political roundtable Inside Washington, remaining with the show until it ceased production in December 2013. For the last decade[vague] he has been a political analyst and commentator for Fox News.
In 2013, Krauthammer published Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics, an immediate bestseller that remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 22 weeks, 10 weeks in a row at number one.
In 2006, the Financial Times named Krauthammer the most influential commentator in America, saying "Krauthammer has influenced US foreign policy for more than two decades. He coined and developed 'The Reagan Doctrine' in 1985 and he defined the US role as sole superpower in his essay 'The Unipolar Moment,' published shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Krauthammer's 2004 speech 'Democratic Realism', which was delivered to the American Enterprise Institute when Krauthammer won the Irving Kristol Award, set out a framework for tackling the post-9/11 world, focusing on the promotion of democracy in the Middle East." In 2009, Politico columnist Ben Smith wrote that Krauthammer had "emerged in the Age of Obama as a central conservative voice," a "kind of leader of the opposition...a coherent, sophisticated and implacable critic of the new president." The New York Times columnist David Brooks says that today "he's the most important conservative columnist." Former congressman and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough called Krauthammer "without a doubt the most powerful force in American conservatism. He has [been] for two, three, four years."
Krauthammer's other awards include the People for the American Way's First Amendment Award, the Champion/Tuck Award for Economic Understanding, the first annual Bradley Prize, and the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism, an annual award given by the Eric Breindel Foundation.
Krauthammer is a member of the Chess Journalists of America and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is co-founder of Pro Musica Hebraica, a not-for-profit organization devoted to presenting Jewish classical music – much of it lost or forgotten – in a concert hall setting. On September 26, 2013, Krauthammer received the William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence.
Krauthammer has been married to Robyn, an artist, since 1974. They have one child, Daniel.
Opinions and ideas
Foreign policy and interventionism
Krauthammer first gained attention in the mid-1980s when he first used the phrase "Reagan Doctrine" in his Time magazine column. The phrase was a reference to the American foreign policy of supporting anti-communist insurgencies around the globe (most notably Nicaragua, Angola, and Afghanistan) as a response to the Brezhnev Doctrine and reflected a U.S. foreign policy that went beyond containment of the Soviet Union to rollback of recent Soviet influence in the Third World. The policy, which was strongly supported by Heritage Foundation foreign policy analysts and other conservatives, was ultimately embraced by Reagan's senior national security and foreign policy officials. Krauthammer's description of it as the "Reagan Doctrine" has since endured.
In "The Poverty of Realism" (New Republic, February 17, 1986), he developed the underlying theory "that the end of American foreign policy is not just the security of the United States, but what John Kennedy called 'the success of liberty'. That means, first, defending the community of democratic nations (the repository of the liberal idea), and second, encouraging the establishment of new liberal policies at the frontier, most especially in the Third World." The foreign policy, he argued, should be both "universal in aspiration", and "prudent in application", thus combining American idealism and realism. Over the next 20 years these ideas developed into what is now called "Democratic Realism".
In the lead article in Foreign Affairs, titled "The Unipolar Moment" Krauthammer coined the term "unipolarity" to describe the world structure that was emerging with the fall of the Soviet Union. Conventional wisdom of the late 1980s was that the bipolar world of the Cold War would give way to a multipolar world in which the U.S. was one of many centers of power, equal to the European Union, Japan, China, and others. Krauthammer predicted that instead, a unipolar world would emerge dominated by the United States with a power gap between the most powerful state and the second-most powerful state that would exceed any other in history. He also suggested that American hegemony would inevitably exist for only a historical "moment", lasting at best for three or four decades.
Hegemony gave the United States the capacity and responsibility to act unilaterally if necessary, Krauthammer argued. Throughout the 1990s, however, he was circumspect about how that power ought to be used. He split from his neoconservative colleagues who were arguing for an interventionist policy of "American greatness". Krauthammer wrote that in the absence of a global existential threat the United States should stay out of "teacup wars" in failed states, and instead adopt a "dry powder" foreign policy of nonintervention and readiness.
Krauthammer opposed purely "humanitarian intervention" (with the exception of overt genocide). While he supported the 1991 Gulf War on the grounds of both humanitarianism and strategic necessity (preventing Saddam Hussein from gaining control of the Persian Gulf and its resources), he opposed American intervention in the Balkan wars on the grounds that America should not be committing the lives of its soldiers to purely humanitarian missions in which there is no American national interest at stake.
9/11, Iraq, and the War on Terror
He laid out the underlying principle of strategic necessity restraining democratic idealism in his controversial 2004 Kristol Award Lecture: "We will support democracy everywhere, but we will commit blood and treasure only in places where there is a strategic necessity—meaning, places central to the larger war against the existential enemy, the enemy that poses a global mortal threat to freedom."
The 9/11 attacks, Krauthammer wrote, made clear the new existential threat and the necessity for a new interventionism. On September 12, 2001 he wrote that, if the suspicion that al Qaeda was behind the attack proved correct, the United States had no choice but to go to war in Afghanistan. He supported the Iraq war on the "realist" grounds of the strategic threat the Saddam regime posed to the region as UN sanctions were eroding and of his alleged weapons of mass destruction; and on the "idealist" grounds that a self-sustaining democracy in Iraq would be a first step towards changing the poisonous political culture of tyranny, intolerance and religious fanaticism in the Arab world that had incubated the anti-American extremism from which 9/11 emerged.
In October 2002, he presented what he believed were the primary arguments for and against the war, writing, "Hawks favor war on the grounds that Saddam Hussein is reckless, tyrannical and instinctively aggressive, and that if he comes into possession of nuclear weapons in addition to the weapons of mass destruction he already has, he is likely to use them or share them with terrorists. The threat of mass death on a scale never before seen residing in the hands of an unstable madman is intolerable – and must be preempted."
"Doves oppose war on the grounds that the risks exceed the gains. War with Iraq could be very costly, possibly degenerating into urban warfare".
"I happen to believe that the preemption school is correct, that the risks of allowing Saddam Hussein to acquire his weapons will only grow with time. Nonetheless, I can both understand and respect those few Democrats who make the principled argument against war with Iraq on the grounds of deterrence, believing that safety lies in reliance on a proven (if perilous) balance of terror rather than the risky innovation of forcible disarmament by preemption."
On the eve of the invasion, Krauthammer wrote that "[r]eformation and reconstruction of an alien culture are a daunting task. Risky and, yes, arrogant." In February 2003, Krauthammer cautioned that "it may yet fail. But we cannot afford not to try. There is not a single, remotely plausible, alternative strategy for attacking the monster behind 9/11. It's not Osama bin Laden; it is the cauldron of political oppression, religious intolerance, and social ruin in the Arab-Islamic world—oppression transmuted and deflected by regimes with no legitimacy into virulent, murderous anti-Americanism." Krauthammer in 2003 wrote that the reconstruction of Iraq would provide many benefits for the Iraqi people, once the political and economic infrastructure destroyed by Saddam was restored: "With its oil, its urbanized middle class, its educated population, its essential modernity, Iraq has a future. In two decades Saddam Hussein reduced its GDP by 75 percent. Once its political and industrial infrastructures are reestablished, Iraq's potential for rebound, indeed for explosive growth, is unlimited."
On 22 April 2003, Krauthammer wrote that he would have a "credibility problem" if WMD were not found in Iraq within the next five months.
In a speech to the Foreign Policy Association in Philadelphia, he argued that the beginnings of democratization in the Arab world had been met in 2006 with a "fierce counterattack" by radical Islamist forces in Lebanon, Palestine and especially Iraq, which witnessed a major intensification in sectarian warfare. In late 2006 and 2007, he was one of the few commentators to support the surge in Iraq.
Krauthammer has been called a conservative;. Krauthammer is a supporter of legalized abortion; an opponent of the death penalty; an intelligent design critic and an advocate for the scientific consensus on evolution, calling the religion-science controversy a "false conflict;" a supporter of embryonic stem cell research using embryos discarded by fertility clinics with restrictions in its applications; and a longtime advocate of radically higher energy taxes to induce conservation. Meg Greenfield, editorial page editor for The Washington Post who edited Krauthammer's columns for 15 years, called his weekly column "independent and hard to peg politically. It's a very tough column. There's no 'trendy' in it. You never know what is going to happen next."
Hendrik Hertzberg, a former colleague of Krauthammer's at The New Republic during the 1980s, said that when the two first met in 1978, Krauthammer was "70 per cent Mondale liberal, 30 per cent 'Scoop Jackson Democrat,' that is, hard-line on Israel and relations with the Soviet Union;" while in the mid-1980s, he was still "50-50: fairly liberal on economic and social questions but a full-bore foreign-policy neoconservative." Hertzberg now calls Krauthammer a "pretty solid 90-10 Republican."
Krauthammer's major monograph on foreign policy, "Democratic Realism: An American Foreign Policy for a Unipolar World," is critical both of the neoconservative Bush doctrine for being too expansive and utopian, and of foreign policy "realism" for being too narrow and immoral; instead, he proposes an alternative he calls "Democratic Realism." In a 2005 speech (later published in Commentary Magazine) he called neoconservatism "a governing ideology whose time has come." He noted that the original "fathers of neoconservatism" were "former liberals or leftists". More recently, they have been joined by "realists, newly mugged by reality," such as Condoleezza Rice, Richard Cheney, and George W. Bush, who "have given weight to neoconservatism, making it more diverse and, given the newcomers' past experience, more mature." In "Charlie Gibson's Gaffe" in The Washington Post, September 13, 2008, Krauthammer elaborated on the changing meanings of the Bush Doctrine in light of Gibson's controversial questioning of Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin regarding what exactly the Bush Doctrine was, as if there was a single definition. Palin was criticized for her response. Krauthammer states in the article that "The Bush Doctrine" has had "four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of" the Bush Administration. Krauthammer states that the phrase "Bush Doctrine" originally referred to "the unilateralism that characterized the pre-9/11 first year of the Bush administration." He states that "There is no single meaning of the Bush Doctrine. He also states "the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of the Bush approach to foreign policy and the one that most clearly and distinctively defines the Bush years: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world."
Krauthammer is Jewish, but "not religious." In a Jerusalem Post interview he reflected on how he had been influenced by his study of Maimonides at McGill with Rabbi David Hartman, head of Jerusalem's Hartman Institute and professor of philosophy at McGill during Krauthammer's student days.
Krauthammer is a critic of intelligent design, and wrote several articles in 2005 likening it to "tarted-up creationism". He also stated that "atheism is the least plausible of all theologies. I mean, there are a lot of wild ones out there, but the one that clearly runs so contrary to what is possible, is atheism."
He has received a number of awards for his commentary related to religion, including the People for the American Way's First Amendment Award for his New Republic essay "America's Holy Wars" in 1985, and the Guardian of Zion Award of Bar-Ilan University in 2002.
Krauthammer opposed the Park51 Islamic community center project in Manhattan for "reasons of common decency and respect for the sacred. No commercial tower over Gettysburg, no convent at Auschwitz—and no mosque at Ground Zero. Build it anywhere but there."
Krauthammer was appointed to President George W. Bush's President's Council on Bioethics in 2002. He supported relaxing the Bush administration's limits on federal funding of discarded human embryonic stem cell research. But he has opposed human experimentation, human cloning and euthanasia. He has warned that scientists were beginning to develop the power of "creating a class of superhumans." A fellow member of the Council, Janet D. Rowley, insists that Krauthammer's vision is still an issue far in the future and not a topic to be discussed at the present time. In March 2009, he was invited to the signing of the executive order by President Obama at the White House but declined to attend due to the "door being left open" as to the cloning of human embryos and the creation of normal human embryos solely for purposes of research. He also contrasted the "moral seriousness" of Bush's stem cell address of August 9, 2001 with that of Obama's address on stem cells.
When my father was dying, my mother and brother and I had to decide how much treatment to pursue. What was a better way to ascertain my father's wishes: What he checked off on a form one fine summer's day years before being stricken; or what we, who had known him intimately for decades, thought he would want? The answer is obvious.
Krauthammer criticized President George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to succeed Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. He called the nomination of Miers a "mistake" on several occasions. He noted her lack of constitutional experience as the main obstacle to her nomination.
On October 21, 2005, Charles Krauthammer published "Miers: The Only Exit Strategy", in which he explained that all of Miers' relevant constitutional writings are protected by both attorney–client privilege and executive privilege. This presented a unique face-saving solution to the mistake: "Miers withdraws out of respect for both the Senate and the executive's prerogatives". Six days later, Miers withdrew, employing that argument. She stated her respect for "the strength and independence of our three branches of government" and noted that the "protection of the prerogatives of the Executive Branch and continued pursuit of my confirmation are in tension." Therefore, "I have decided that seeking my confirmation should yield."
The same day, NPR noted that "Krauthammer's scenario played out almost exactly as he wrote." Columnist E.J. Dionne wrote that the White House was following Krauthammer's strategy "almost to the letter." A few weeks later, the New York Times reported that Krauthammer's "exit strategy" was "exactly what happened", and that he "has subsequently gotten credit for giving [the Bush administration] a plan."
White House apology
On July 27, 2012, Krauthammer wrote a column that stated that Barack Obama "started his presidency by returning to the British Embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office." The White House Blog posted a message that Krauthammer's statement was a "ridiculous claim" and "patently false" and that the bust was still in the White House. However, the British Embassy in Washington confirmed that the bust had been temporarily loaned to President Bush for the duration of his presidency from the British Embassy's art collection, and returned when Bush moved out of the White House. The bust has since been returned to the British ambassador's residence in Washington.
On July 30, Krauthammer demanded a retraction and apology from the White House. He initially received a private apology, but, upon his request, it was made public in the White House Blog on July 31. Krauthammer later said he was "the only entity on earth, other than rogue states, that has received an apology from the White House."
Krauthammer strongly opposed the Oslo accords, predicting that Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat would use the foothold it gave him in the West Bank and Gaza to continue the war against Israel which he had ostensibly renounced in the Israel – PLO Letters of Recognition. In a July 2006 essay in Time, Krauthammer asserted that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict was fundamentally defined by the Palestinians' unwillingness to accept compromise.
During the Israel–Lebanon war in 2006, Krauthammer wrote a column, "Let Israel Win the War," saying: "What other country, when attacked in an unprovoked aggression across a recognized international frontier, is then put on a countdown clock by the world, given a limited time window in which to fight back, regardless of whether it has restored its own security?" He later criticized the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's conduct, arguing that he "has provided unsteady and uncertain leadership. Foolishly relying on air power alone, he denied his generals the ground offensive they wanted, only to reverse himself later."
Krauthammer supports a two-state solution to the conflict. Unlike many conservatives, he supported Israel's Gaza withdrawal as a step toward rationalizing the frontiers between Israel and a future Palestinian state. He believes a security barrier between the two states' final borders will be an important element of any lasting peace.
When Richard Goldstone retracted the claim in the U.N. report on the 2008 Gaza war that Israel intentionally killed Palestinian civilians, including children, Krauthammer strongly criticized Goldstone, saying that "this weasel-y excuse-laden retraction is too little and too late" and "the original report [was a] blood libel ranking with the libels of the 19th century in which Jews were accused of ritually slaughtering children ... [Goldstone] should spend the rest of his life undoing the damage".
2012 presidential election
A few days before the 2012 United States presidential election, Krauthammer predicted it would be "very close", with Republican candidate Mitt Romney winning the "popular [vote] by, I think, about half a point, Electoral College probably a very narrow margin". Although admitting his incorrect prediction, Krauthammer maintained that "Obama won but had no mandate. He won by going very small, very negative."
Krauthammer, writing in The Washington Post on February 20, 2014, said, "I'm not a global warming believer. I'm not a global warming denier." Objecting to declaring global warming settled science, he pointed out that much that is believed to be settled turns out not to be so.
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-  Charles Krauthammer: Prize Writer, Dr. Mitchal Bard, Director of American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE)
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- Chapman, Steve (October 26, 2003). "Bush faces credibility showdown". chicagotribune.com (Chicago Tribune Company, LLC). Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Past the Apogee by Charles Krauthammer, Foreign Policy Research Institute, December 2006.
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- "Giuliani's Abortion 'Gaffe'" by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, May 11, 2007.
- "Roe v. Roberts" by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, September 16, 2005.
- "Federalism's New Friends" by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, November 8, 1999.
- "Silent Executions," by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, June 14, 1985.
- "The Court is Just Doing its Job" by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, June 30, 1989.
- "Without the Noose, Without the Gag" by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, April 24, 1992.
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- "Stem Cell Miracle?" by Charles Krauthammer Washington Post, January 12, 2007.
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- "The Oil-Bust Panic" by Charles Krauthammer, The New Republic, February 21, 1983.
- "Pump Some Seriousness Into Energy Policy" by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, November 11, 2005.
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- 11, 2009 "The unfashionable Charles Krauthammer". The Jerusalem Post. April 20, 2014.
- "Phony Theory, False Conflict; 'Intelligent Design' Foolishly Pits Evolution Against Faith" by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, November 18, 2005.
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-  "Build the mosque anywhere but Ground Zero", New York Daily News.
- "Cell Lines, Moral Lines; Research Should Expand—With a Key Limit" by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Friday, August 5, 2005.
- Krauthammer: "The Great Stem Cell Hoax" by Charles Krauthammer, Weekly Standard, August 13, 2001.
- "Bush's Advisers on Ethics Discuss Human Cloning" by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, January 18, 2002.
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- "Is the Churchill Bust Controversy a Total Bust?" ABC News, July 27, 2012.
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- Dan Pfeiffer, "The Churchill Bust & Charles Krauthammer", White House Blog, July 31, 2012.
- Krauthammer: "I'm The Only Entity On Earth, Other Than Rogue States, That Has Received An Apology From The White House" Real Clear politics Video, August 1, 2012.
- Krauthammer, Charles (July 10, 2006). "Remember What Happened Here". Time 168 (2). p. 76. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
- "Let Israel Win the War" by Charles Krauthammer, www.realclearpolitics.com, July 28, 2006.
- Krauthammer, Charles (August 4, 2006). "Israel's Lost Moment". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
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- Bronner, Ethan; Kershner, Isabel (April 2, 2011). "Richard Goldstone Regrets Saying Israel Purposely Killed Gazans". The New York Times.
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- Krauthammer, Charles (20 February 2014). "The myth of 'settled science'". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- Miller, A. B.; Wall, C.; Baines, C. J.; Sun, P.; To, T.; Narod, S. A. (2014). "Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: Randomised screening trial". BMJ 348: g366. doi:10.1136/bmj.g366.
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- Column archives in The Washington Post
- Column archives at Jewish World Review
- Biography at The Washington Post Writers Group website
- Works by or about Charles Krauthammer in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Appearances on C-SPAN