The Corner

The Price of Greatness

My guest on a new Q&A podcast is John Hillen — who is a soldier, scholar, businessman, athlete, etc. The word I use for him is “hombre.” He is chairman of National Review. He was an assistant secretary of state under George W. Bush. He was an Army officer. He has degrees out the wazoo. Etc.

I always say, “I want to be John Hillen when I grow up, but time’s a-wastin’.”

In this podcast, we talk about America and the world after the election of Trump. We touch on Russia, Ukraine, Europe, NATO, Syria, the Far East, our military, NAFTA, freedom, and so on. Crucial and core issues, in the realms of foreign policy and defense policy.

After our podcast, John noted to me something that Churchill said, to Harvard students in 1943. I will quote you a chunk:

The price of greatness is responsibility. If the people of the United States had continued in a mediocre station, struggling with the wilderness, absorbed in their own affairs, and a factor of no consequence in the movement of the world, they might have remained forgotten and undisturbed beyond their protecting oceans: but one cannot rise to be in many ways the leading community in the civilised world without being involved in its problems, without being convulsed by its agonies and inspired by its causes.

If this has been proved in the past, as it has been, it will become indisputable in the future. The people of the United States cannot escape world responsibility. Although we live in a period so tumultuous that little can be predicted, we may be quite sure that this process will be intensified with every forward step the United States make in wealth and in power.

Again, our podcast is here.

P.S. If you’re in a mood for music — a couple of reviews, that is — go here and here. These are links to posts of mine at The New Criterion. The first deals with the New York Philharmonic, with Daniil Trifonov, piano, and Vladimir Jurowski, conductor. And the second deals with a recital by Joshua Bell, violin, with Alessio Bax, piano.

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