The Corner

National Security & Defense

Issues (of a Major Kind)

Boss of the Kremlin (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

My Impromptus today touches on a slew of subjects, including Churchill, Trump, Erdogan, Museveni, and Roosevelt (Eleanor Roosevelt). I would like to sneak in a few additional items here on the Corner.

This story matters: “Russia has tested an array of new strategic nuclear weapons that can’t be intercepted, President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday.” Putin said that our missile defense had been rendered “useless.”

I have long thought that missile defense — called by us Reaganites “SDI,” ridiculed by the Left as “Star Wars” — ought to be an urgent national project, virtually a crusade, like the moon shot. The moral case for missile defense is as strong as ever, even laying Putin aside: Think of North Korea and Iran.

Another item: Along with the West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, Senator Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) has offered a bill concerning guns.

Trump asked Toomey if his plan to expand background checks included raising the minimum age for young people to buy an assault weapon. Toomey told the president it did not.

“You know why,” Trump scoffed. “Because you’re afraid of the NRA.”

Say you had been asleep since October 2016. You have now woken up and I tell you that the president, whoever he or she is, has scoffed at Pat Toomey, “You’re afraid of the NRA.” Wouldn’t you assume that Hillary had won?

Finally, a headline (over this article): “Mexico Plans Retaliation If U.S. Imposes Steel Tariffs.” Both as a candidate and as president, Trump has been murky, or undeveloped, on many things. But on one thing, he has been absolutely, and unswervingly, clear. I am referring to his stance on trade, and in particular NAFTA.

Elections have consequences, as someone once said.

What is a conservative? This is an old, old question, but it has extra importance in our Age of Trump. Is a conservative a Buchananite? A Reaganite? Both? More and more, I think that the word “conservative” is asked to do too much work. That it is stretched way too thin. You can’t ask “yellow” to refer to yellow, orange, green, and brown. Those different colors need different words.

To be continued (ad infinitum) …

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