The Corner


Patriots, Thugs, and Others

Russia’s Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan in Ankara on December 11, 2017 (Umit Bektas / Reuters)

Scott Immergut, the Ricochet maestro, said, “Nice timing, Jay, recording a Q&A with the New England wide receiver!” He was being funny. Julian Edelman is the Patriot; Eric Edelman is another kind of patriot, one of our top diplomats (retired though he may be) and one of our top foreign-policy thinkers. I have indeed done a podcast with him, a Q&A, here.

He was an assistant to George P. Shultz at the State Department. He was ambassador to Finland, and ambassador to Turkey. He has been a great many things. In our podcast, we cover the waterfront, or a fair stretch of the waterfront. Edelman speaks of “Authoritarian International,” which is an echo of the old Communist International, a.k.a. the Comintern. This new lineup features Turkey’s Erdogan and dangerous, thuggish others.

Eric Edelman is a cool thinker in a hot world, and a talk with him is an education.

Switch to music for a moment: I have a review of the New York Philharmonic — led by Jaap van Zweden, with Yefim Bronfman serving as piano soloist — here. Sometimes, the good old days are now. And here is a review of Pelléas et Mélisande, Debussy’s opera, at the Met.

A reader writes to me, “Your review reminded me of the remark attributed to Rudolf Bing [a legendary general manager of the Met]: ‘Pelléas et Mélisande is as long as Götterdämmerung but not as funny.” Ha ha. (Ben Heppner, the Canadian tenor, called P&M “four hours of French Novocain.” It certainly can be, in the wrong hands. But it is a great work nonetheless.)

One more item, for now. A reader writes,

Ticked off and horrified by all the stories coming out of East Turkestan, I ordered a Uyghur flag (it looks just like the Turkish Republican flag but with a very Central Asian sky-blue field instead of the red) to fly in front of my house. One click on Amazon can do a lot. I was a little confused and a lot amused when it arrived … from China.

I asked him to send us a picture. Here it is:

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