A widening war. American forces bombed Iraq and Syria over the weekend, and more strikes are likely in the coming days. The attacks come in retaliation for a drone strike late last month that killed three American soldiers and wounded dozens of others.
The weekend attacks targeted at least 85 locations linked to the Iranian military and various militia groups supported by it. In a call with members of the media, National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby promised “additional action” in the coming days to further degrade Iran’s ability to target American troops.
“The goal here is to get these attacks to stop,” Kirby said. “We are not looking for a war with Iran.”
Iran likely doesn’t want a direct war with the United States either. But the two countries are already in a low-level conflict that could accelerate in ways that neither intends, warns Michael Hirsh, a journalist with extensive foreign policy experience, in an excellent piece at Politico. The combination of an overextended American military and Iran’s inability to directly control the groups it funds means that “events are on a permanent hair trigger that is constantly threatening to explode at the slightest pressure. Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken, appeared to acknowledge this this week when he suggested ‘that we’ve not seen a situation as dangerous as the one we’re facing now across the region since at least 1973, and arguably even before that.'”
Separately, American and British forces carried out a series of strikes Saturday in Yeman that “hit 36 Houthi targets in 13 locations,” according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani—the leader of the country that American troops are supposedly protecting, at American taxpayers’ expense—visited some of the militia fighters wounded by those U.S. strikes and issued a statement condemning America’s “new aggression against Iraq’s sovereignty.”
What are we even doing here, you guys?
Immigration deal? Probably not. A bipartisan group of senators unveiled a bill Sunday that would spend $118 billion on a combination of border security and military aid to Ukraine.
The deal would not grant amnesty to anyone who has already entered the United States illegally, would erect additional barriers to future amnesty claims, and would hike funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) so it could keep up to 50,000 migrants in custody. (The figure is about 34,000 today.) The proposal also calls for “effectively shutting down the border to new entrants” if the average number of migrants per day exceeds 5,000 in a given week, The New York Times reports, or if more than 8,500 try to cross the border in a single day.
Much of the spending in the bill would be directed overseas. Politico reports that the deal would send about $62 billion in military aid to Ukraine—more than the entire annual budget of the U.S. Marine Corps, Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah) notes. It would also send about $14 billion in military assistance to Israel, while setting aside $10 billion in humanitarian aid for Ukraine and Gaza. Another $5 billion would be sent to various countries in the Indo-Pacific region, and about $20 billion would be directed to the immigration issues addressed in the bill.
The specifics of the deal may not matter much, as House Speaker Mike Johnson (R–La.) and several other prominent Republicans have declared the bill a dead letter.
You can’t afford fries with that. Several fast food chains, including McDonald’s and Chipotle, will respond to a hike in California’s minimum wage for restaurant workers by raising menu prices, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Starting in April, that new law will require paying fast food workers at least $20 per hour, a 25 percent increase over the state’s baseline minimum wage of $16 per hour. It will add an estimated $250,000 in annual labor costs for each McDonald’s restaurant, and that means more expensive Happy Meals. Chipotle has announced plans to raise menu prices by up to 9 percent, while the California-based Jack in the Box is eyeing an 8 percent increase.
Scenes from Miami: I’m in South Florida for a few days to attend a conference about the future of free markets within the conservative movement. It’s hard to imagine a better place for such a gathering than a city that reflects the wonderfully chaotic potential of immigration and relatively unfettered markets.
“If politicians are right about what people want, Miami should be a ghost town,” writes National Review‘s Dominic Pino. Instead, the city is thriving as a crossroads of cultures and an example of what’s possible when government gets out of the way:
- Some parts of California are facing a risk of historic floods and devastating mudslides after getting months’ worth of rain in just a few days.
- Former President Donald Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping as “brilliant” because he “runs 1.4 billion people with an iron fist.”
- The powerful House Rules Committee will take up two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas later today, setting the stage for a full House vote possibly as soon as Tuesday.
- The lower house of Argentina’s legislature has approved President Javier Milei’s extensive package of free market reforms.
- Taylor Swift’s Midnights won Album of the Year at the Grammys, making her the first artist to claim the top prize four times. Miley Cyrus (“Flowers”) and Billie Eilish (“What Was I Made For”) won Record of the Year and Song of the Year, respectively.