The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Word Fitly Spoken Is Like Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver

What we say necessarily lives in the shadow of what we do.

The democracies could not beat Hitler without a hecatomb of Soviet soldiers, so FDR and Churchill made nice with Stalin. When Ike wanted to lessen tensions with Stalin’s heirs, he invited Khrushchev to the United States. Nixon sought to exploit the wedge between the Soviet Union and Communist China, so he toasted Mao. Now Trump saw an opening to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, so he went to Singapore.

But experience teaches us that in making such overtures and alliances we tend to go overboard in ways that forfeit reserve and self-respect.

President Trump’s Kim video will be edited and shown to Kim’s helots repeatedly, probably (especially?) also in their prison camps. Trump’s spoken and tweeted praise of Kim exceeds even the praise that Trump’s admirers here heap on him. As dessert before the meal, Trump tossed yet another favor to Putin before going to Singapore, suggesting Russia make the G-7 a G-8 again.

Trump’s policies often contradict his words. But when he opens his mouth in the vicinity of despots, a toad jumps out.

Trump is supposed to have learned his politicking from Roy Cohn. Roy Cohn was a man of many sins, but he disliked Communism, and the Russian secret service. Can we have a president with the moral discernment of Roy Cohn?

Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Elections

A Reckoning Is in Store for Democrats

The crisis of the Democrats is becoming more evident each week. Those of us who have been loudly predicting for years that the Russian-collusion argument would be exposed as a defamatory farce, and that the authors of it would eventually pay for it, are bemused at the fallback position of the Trump-haters: that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar: A Hostage Situation

‘It has to stop,” says Representative Ilhan Omar. No, it does not. Representative Omar, the Jew-hating Minnesota Democrat, is engaged in one of her usual games of misdirection, a pattern of hers that by now is familiar enough to be predicted: She says something outrageously stupid, offensive, ... Read More
Elections

Why ‘Stop Sanders’?

'Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?” T. S. Eliot asked. “Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” And where is the intelligence we have lost in cleverness? Cleverness is the plague of our political classes, an influenza of the intellect. The consultants are always trying to ... Read More
Immigration

Trump Is Hell-Bent on ‘Owning the Libs’

President Trump is looking into giving a free trip to San Francisco, New Orleans, or other great American cities to tens of thousands of refugees from Central America. All so he can own the libs. “Owning the libs” is one of those phrases to have emerged over the past few years that vacillates between ... Read More
Film & TV

Everyone Is Wrong about The Searchers

The greatest Western of all time . . . isn’t. Though The Searchers is regularly hailed as the finest exemplar of its genre and one of the best movies of any kind (seventh-best of all time, according to the decennial Sight & Sound poll), John Ford’s 1956 film is mediocre for most of its run time. Nearly ... Read More