Matthew Yglesias

Matthew Yglesias is a senior editor at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a former Prospect staff writer, and the author of Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats.

Recent Articles

The Real Reason Profiling Fails

We have more Muslims who want to cooperate with us than who want to bomb us. That's why profiling will never be an effective tool.

A passenger undergoes a manual security check in Manila. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Conservatives looking to engage in their favorite sport of national-security hysteria got their wish Christmas Day, when a young man named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded an Amsterdam-Detroit flight with incendiary chemicals stashed in his underpants. The would-be bomber failed to destroy the plane and certainly did no fundamental damage to the United States of America. He did, however, get Fox News personalities Brit Hume and Bill Kristol to proclaim the attack a success. Under ordinary circumstances, you would expect the conservative press to avoid acting as al-Qaeda’s hype-men. But with partisan hay to be made, an attack in which only the attacker was injured becomes a victory for America’s enemies. Coupled with the failure-as-success narrative, new calls have come for stepped-up racial or ethnic profiling. Tom McInerney, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, offered an extreme version, proposing that we "be very serious and harsh about the profiling" to the extent...

As the World Turns

Obama's foreign policy approach could hardly be called radical, but it has noticeably improved America's global position all within the short span of a year.

President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak meet at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 19, 2009 (White House/Pete Souza)
As Barack Obama's first year in office comes to a close, grumbling about his alleged shortcomings has become a favorite pastime among liberals. The reality, however, is that a president's room to move on most policy areas is severely constrained by the realities of congressional politics. The major exception to this is foreign policy. Here political constraints are much looser, and it's a good deal fairer to hold the White House responsible for outcomes. And the results have been fairly impressive. Obama may not have reimagined America's role in the world, but he has slowed the deterioration in American influence that had been underway since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Ironically, the quality that's helping Obama here is the very thing that's tended to annoy liberals when it comes to domestic issues -- a preference for a calm and disciplined approach that avoids substantive or rhetorical overreach. The basic story of the contemporary United States involves the slightly awkward...

Nebraska's Sweetheart Deal.

Senior correspondent Matthew Yglesias ' blog at Think Progress is suffering from technical difficulties, so we're featuring a guest post from him this morning. Welcome back to TAPPED, Matt: Perhaps the weirdest concession Ben Nelson extorted from his fellow Democrats was a few bonus years of 100 percent federal funding of Medicaid ... but only for Nebraska. The actual amount of money involved in this is small, but the policy justification is impossible to find. So it's natural that this is attracting criticism, like this bit from Lindsey Graham : KING: Are you confident the Republicans can say no, make all those points you just made, and benefit politically next year, or do the Republicans need to do more? GRAHAM: We need to offer solutions. But the Medicaid deal, for Senator Nelson -- there's one state in the union where new enrollees for Medicaid will be signed up, and it won't cost anybody in that state money. It's not my state. I've got 30 percent African-American population, a...

One Hot Mess

It isn't called "global warming" for nothing. Hesitance from the United States to join the rest of the world in the fight against climate change could have far-reaching consequences.

This week offered a typical example of the disconnect that’s emerged between the United States and the rest of the globe. The eyes of the world are on the climate talks in Copenhagen, while the American political establishment instead watches Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry offer testimony on Afghanistan to Congress. The simple fact of the matter is that what happens -- or doesn’t -- in Copenhagen is much more likely to be remembered in history books than the details of America’s effort to stabilize Afghanistan. Either concrete progress will be made toward a global effort to forestall catastrophic climate change or else we risk slipping backward down the slope and undoing all the effort of recent years. And given how daunting the task is, it’s worth emphasizing how far we have come. For years, the idea that the European Union could keep with the Kyoto protocol and reduce emissions was treated as fantasy. Conventional wisdom held that the...

Obama Makes the Case for Attending Copenhagen

By lowering the expectations for what will be accomplished in the December meeting, the president has made a strong case for his own attendance.

(AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer)
Barack Obama's concession on Sunday that the upcoming Copenhagen meeting on climate change will not result in a comprehensive climate deal is little more than an official acknowledgment of what everyone already suspected. Simply put, there's no time. The combination of the economic crisis, which sucked up an enormous amount of time at previous multilateral meetings and the exceedingly slow pace with which the U.S. Congress has moved to address health care made it, in practice, impossible to imagine an agreement emerging. Indeed, though the downgrading of Copenhagen makes for a bad headline, it counts as good news. This is born out by the fact that neither environmental groups nor the Danish government is upset. Indeed, they'd been trying to accomplish precisely this lowering of expectations for a couple of months. The Danes would like, in essence, to host a conference that counts as a success. And greens recognize that high expectations would be counterproductive. The risk was that a...