« Commentary Magazine Podcast

Commentary Podcast: North Korea and the Never Trumpers

2017-08-10 | 🔗
On this week's second podcast, the COMMENTARY crew takes on the bad choices in North Korea and—gasp—offers a defense of Donald Trump against his knee-jerk critics on the matter. After that, we wonder at the ongoing insistence by fans of Trump that the conservatives and Republicans critical of him should and must bend the knee to the president or be complicit in the ruination of the country. Give a listen.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to the commentary magazine, podcast, I'm John Podhoretz, the editor or commentary magazine. This is Thursday August tenth. Two thousand and seventeen commentary is the seventy two year old monthly of ical analysis, intellectual property and cultural criticism from a conservative perspective join us. A commentary magazine dot com. Where we give you a few free reads, and then ask you to subscribe. One thousand nine hundred and ninety five get to a digital switch, two thousand nine hundred and ninety five gets you in all access subscription, including are beautiful, monthly magazine in your way box eleven times a year today we close our September issue. Full
of glories or remarkable piece by Peter Fever and how brands on the actually of realism? A remarkable piece by Harvey Mansfield of Harvard on Trump's vulgar manliness and a host of other great stuff so subscribe today and you'll get that magazine in your mailbox with me is always a Greenwald. Our senior editor hi, Abe, hi, John and Noah Rothman are associated or high. Now, hi John so, nothing. Much is going on except a nuclear threat to the island of Guam. Uh it's a slow summer,
and said, Guam will be under nuclear threat. If that was, if that had been in the pool, you know the person who would have guessed it would have gotten twenty five, thirty thousand dollars for guessing it correctly. And yet here we are North Korea with a miniaturized warhead that can be, if conveniently fit onto one of its the icbms that is now successfully tested, meaning that North Korea is a we now a fully nuclear power with the ability to threaten other nations at a significant distances, no Noah Rothman as a as a student, despite your extreme you as a student of the dynamics of the Cold war, one.
What do you make of the idea that is being proffered by, for example, our own max boot on the Commentary magazine blog that North Korea as a nuclear power, can be contained rather like the Soviet Union was contained, the full of theory of containment, of course promulgated in nineteen, forty seven by George Kennan, the idea being that you don't you did you don't have to go at. Soviet Union and disarm it and destroy it that if you contain its ambitions that eventually this is where, having proved to be more prophetic than anybody really thought pop possible that it would. It would dissolve of its own contradictions and fall to pieces, which in fact it did forty two years later. Does the same hold true of North Korea. Can we contain N Korea without military engagement?
in the interim in the forty two years that elapsed between the X telegram and the collapse of the Soviet Union. There was quite a lot of violence. There was known there were no limited or full scale nuclear exchanges. You know ravalli there too, but there was quite a bunch of old bit of violence and North Korea is meaning the korean war. I mean the Vietnam WAR it in the invasion of Afghanistan, the crushing of the Warsaw Pact. It wasn't a peaceful, go over Cuba, the takeover Nicaragua, civil war, I'd rather a world war is set a goal. Uncle of that was Cuba, but it was a soviet anyway. The bottom line is it's not a bloodless philosophy.
And I mean North Korea is a very unstable regime that the the idea that that MAX has put forward is that this is a regime that has one objective and that's its survival. It is not especially threatening towards its neighbors. It is not expansionist, it's rogue, but it is containable based on the theory that it will preserve its stability.
At any price, and I think that's a dangerous philosophy, because the history of North Korea is such that you have a series of sudden provocative violent acts against its neighbors against the United States in american military personnel, rather frequently, even in the course of the very young Kim Jong own regime. You've had not just missile tests, but artillery fire it on populated and south korean islands, killing people the sinking of a S korean war ship. These sort of things happen and the camera team is interested in his own survival. But it's not above arming and supporting terrorist organizations and the notion that
impose costs on North Korea sufficient to deter it from. That course seems like a fantasy. If you were to say well, we will we're guard x activities, a provocation to the extent that we would respond to it, the same as we would respond to conventional military attack that would ring absolutely hollow and young and because it's a high, an empty threat. So the the idea that this is a terrible power is, is, I suppose, possible, to understand. But it's it's that's not the Soviet Union and if it
or to do something, dangerous and aggressive. It would be totally within the character of the of the of the canyon reaching a grandma yeah. I have two concerns with MAX's analysis of this, and one is that, even with the Soviet Union, aside from the violence that no talks about, there were also several near misses of tremendous catastrophe taking place. I mean things like leave during cuban missile crisis and and then they were, they were sort of mixed signals where, where, where missiles were almost launched accidentally and at the last second pull back, that's what the Soviet Union that kind of miscommunication and and recklessness with with the the Kim regime is far more. I would, I would add, to that, the the Soviet Union had it a survival,
all nuclear deterrent. So if you were to launch a limited strike on the Soviet Union, they would be a short of the fact that their retaliatory response was intact. They had what we call a second strike capability and they had just as we have a try at that is to say they could attack from the air they could attack from the land and they could attack from the sea and all no Korea has at the moment, is land based missile right. They might have a sub capability soon enough, which is terrifying to believe but they they largely just have a handful of missiles and they use it or lose it doctrine, so the second they feel threatened those birds going: okay, now
So since this is where I want to point out how much my second point was that and once again, even with the Soviet Union, that system lasted the better part of a century b, call and and finally collapsed because of its internal contradictions right. What are the internal contradictions in North Korea? It's all the rules of of Kim. So the union there was a with the with the there was a an enlightened enough frustrated citizenry that can chip away at what at at the government No, so well, there was that right. There was that in their forces in order I'm a here of the Soviet Union. Exact knowledge of personality around Stalinism and denounced Stalinism, and one wasn't just that. It was also that it was also that the you know the most grievous miscalculation in the
history was Mikhail Gorbachev's, believing that somehow he could manage, innovation and a certain open this without destroying without destroying the regime. That was what he didn't: eight thousand four hundred and eighty five with perestroika, and it turned out to literally be the he smashed his own regime from the inside without meaning to he thought you could the Chinese seem to have broken this code about how to liberal is while maintaining extreme. You know, total political control, but. Well economically. There was economic liberalization with no political liberalization right and when, when and and the difference between, and the Soviet Union was that when the people, when there was a uprisings throughout the Soviet Bloc, the regimes blinked an when there was an uprising in Beijing, the regime smashed it. You know
and Tiananmen Square was the end of the democracy movement in China. So with you know, basically it in the same true with the sorry, although remaining eventually collapsed. So anyway, it doesn't really matter. That's that's cold war. That's you know classic communist history, but since MAX, is not here to defend himself. I will defend his view, which is that um N Korea, unlike S Korea, N Korea of course, exist as separate countries as a result of the armistice after the korean WAR in one thousand nine hundred and fifty three, the goal, all of reunification on the Korean Insula is not North Korea's goal of the South Korea's goal. North korea- the entire religion state, rolet political religion of North Korea is based on the job.
Today is based entirely on the notion that there is something special and magical and powerful about N Korea itself and its regime and its people, and it's you know in this divine semi divine leadership and they have territorial ambitions? That's not that's not what they're about, unlike the Soviet Union, which was an expansionist military and imperialist power, And that everything that they do, which is wildly aggressive, including having this gigantic mass of artillery shells that are aimed directly at soul, where fourteen million people live, is defensive, they're just trying to prevent themselves from being taken over by the south. And so developing a nuclear weapon is the ultimate in defensive efforts on their part, and they won't. It will make
sense for them to use one because they would be leveled and destroyed if they did so and so they have it in order to make sure that everybody remains. You know, know Lima Android leaves them alone, doesn't touch them so that that's that's the logic of the MAX boot position? An the Elliott Komposition remember MAX and Elliot are both the interventionist people and would not ordinarily be expected to take the view that we can live with a nuclear North Korea and I think the this in their position is not that it's not that We can't tolerate N Korea, heavy weapons, 'cause they'll, destroy Guam or they'll, hit San Francisco, it- is that this at this, along with the you know that the IRAN situation and whatever the IRAN deal ends or whatever that
twenty five years from now. If North Korea is allowed to have nuclear weapons, forty countries will have nuclear weapons. That's and people are going to start using them. We we we, it's not within our memory, but it was seventy. Two years ago the United States used to nuclear weapons, an the the blowback from that was so. It was not only a thing that ended Second, world war, but the horror that was greeted by the kind of destruction that these weapons did has prevented their use. Afterward and. Remember you know it was not as though the idea of using a battlefield, nuclear weapon wasn't in the general conversation in the 1950s, but the has moved on since then, we could be moving a hundred years in two thousand twenty forty five will be a hundred years since the use of nuclear of atomic ends in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and that's a long time, and so, if
three a sells technology to soar. Nominee. Who knows you know I don't even need to envision guinea Bissau scenarios. Now it's it's! It's totally believable, because the logic of nonproliferation is already collapsing right before our eyes. Then the the vogue notion now even on the right in order to prevent North Korea from continuing its nuclear pace and compel China to force that upon them is two x consent and the nuclear nation of Japan and possibly s Korea. When we saw denuclearisation in the 20th century, South Africa, Argentina and Brazil, they dissolved their nuclear programs because they're in the regional environmental threats disappeared. As a result of that, that's the only way you get a lack of nuclear weapons is when the compelling rationale for bourbons disappears along
at the more of read more elaborate, so to do nuclear weapon or, of course, we strike Iraq and blue market Ophie in Libya says: oh I'm. Next, I'm going to get rid of my nuclear program, which of course turned out to be a mistake on 'cause, obvious part, because he L7, seven or eight years later, not that the North Koreans. Don't don't know that I'm not saying I by the way the nuclear ization of Japan and South Korea doesn't frighten me, Japan and South Korea let's presume are. You know are now stable. Democratic states and stable democratic seats. Don't use nuclear weapons to resolve disputes. I think it's pretty fair to say it is not they that are the fear. The fear is that if you're you know Yemen and and You know, I don't know, somebody threatens you on your border if you're gonna and some we threaten to on your border in your you know again that we're talking to twenty five years from now. Yes, I have any compunction,
about destroying their cities, but they're, not they're, not they're, not beholden to stern values about it and and the Geneva convention? I don't want to blow up the other guys. I would caution you know wearing this there, because it's not as though we're afraid of Japan or South Korea, India having nuclear weapons, but it's Japan and South Korea and India and Pakistan and China all having nuclear weapons, all of whom have interlocking alliance structures and all of whom could try over something that we don't foresee in the future and what that's why you don't want nuclear pro proliferation, but there is but there it's there. It's there are variants of nuclear proliferation. Other words like gas was to use this. Okay, wheeler anymore, but the civilized world having nuclear weapons is different from the uncivilized world having nuclear weapons and that's just and the problem is the North Korea ultimate uncivilized country on the planet, earth now and it has spent
thirty years developing this technology, it's ruined it, I'm sure it's economically ruinous and it makes no makes no sense from a you know from a certain stand, Point because they already have the deterrent against South Korea, I'm in the pot they can already kill a hundred thousand South Koreans. Should South Korea, you know cut the triple, here in March N, so they already have. They already have the deterrent that they need, but they were out of these weapons, and they apparently have gotten these weapons now in a rare move on Commentary Magazine podcast. I now wish to defend President Donald Trump against a lot of the things that have been said this week and I want to bounce off you. So Trump said this. You know purple thing on Monday about how we know we will visit fire in fury upon them and all that first, all in policy terms, what Trump said was no different from what any american president has said so from the time
from Bill Clinton onward, which is that if North Korea deploys a nuclear weapon either, if it you is it or even in the case of Obama, if it deploys one we will respond in kind and has been the american policy now for five presidencies and simply reiterated at and the ocean that, because he said it in a way that sounded kind of pulpy that it was just evil is ridiculous, he's in office six months he's not responsible for North Korea nuclear eyes, it is not responsible for North Korea nuclear miniaturizing and is not responsible for North Korea, ICBM Ng, who was it who counseled quote strategic patience,
which is which was the Obama policy toward N Korea, and I think, if you actually think grammatically or you know about what strategic patience mean means, let's kick the can down the road. It doesn't mean anything else, counseling strategic patience. This is not. His fault and every option is bad here right so seeing them as bad, because it could have unbelievably terrible consequences in the form of north letting loose its material on South Korea. Not hitting them as bad, because of all the reasons that we've laid out down trump. Administration has already secured a diplomatic breakthrough that no
this administration or anti north korean effort has done so far, which is the Security Council wrote resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea with a vote of fifteen ten zero, including the Chinese, and the and the Russians so so far I don't think he's doing so badly. It's just that anything now so focuses on Trump that it's just total default. Now for everybody, people don't like him, and then Democrats and liberals, and all that to say: oh, my God, spread on my god. This is terrible. We're going to go to nuclear war. Trump has talked about nuclear war before oh, it's. This is so hideous awful. So I was on Meet the press daily yesterday and Christopher Hill, the Bill Clinton's ambassador to South Korea, who was was on, and he started talking about how well we made a dip, that process and there's no process and look at least,
so we had a process back in the day yeah the process for four years, and then in two thousand and two N Korea went nuclear like So at least we had a process, then so that's a fantastic process. All these guys have had right Clinton, Bush Obama. Just great process so that there appears to have been basically a steady march with a couple of years pause toward the Possession of a nuclear weapon it sure is ation an ICBM and Trump is getting blamed. I agree with you, don't think it down from so anything wrong. That said what he said, whether he said or someone else would have said it is a gamble because it's directed toward North Korea and also toward China trying to try to put some pressure on them to to get more involved as well, but whether or not.
Talking about visiting fire and fury on North Korea makes him stand down or ratchets up his belligerence that it that's that's a gamble, but but you you have to take risks in in situations like this. There's there's not there's no other way. It was a game and out the other way. What happened? What what what would happen if he had done the Obama game or what Rex Tillerson did in response to what he said his own secretary of state, which is to go everybody take home, you know no reason to go Do a bomb, shelter, can be managed, don't worry, strategic patience, blah blah blah, that's also a risk yeah, because the risk is okay. Well, he's not taking us seriously. Well, we better move. You make sure he takes us seriously. What would Kim want? What is the history tell us it's thirty years of history of western behavior toward north korean,
legends and what has happened over time has been just out now: bribery, food, a direct financial payments in thieves, in the form of not attacking them, not not trying to help create political change, stuff that we haven't talked about, which includes like getting the South Koreans to ratchet down their own pressure on North Korea. All of that
maybe once a giant bribe, so so maybe the west is supposed to. If he's like doctor evil, he wants, you know one million dollars and then so is the West going to write a big check to the world's most oppressive regime, which has been starving and torturing its people now, for you know for decades, that's what we've done and then what happens is that he needs another. He needs more money and more, and so we ratchets up the threat again larger and that we pay a larger bride. I don't think that's on the table right now. What what Secretary teller Sin and said is that one of these days in the near future, we're going to have to provide assurances to the north korean regime that their security will be preserved?
and that there will be no attack by South Korea or the United States or Japan of the allied nations that we had nothing to do with sanctions relief, though they want sanctions relief, that's not on the table. What I think that refers to was a peace treaty, a formal peace treaty, diplomatic recognition and possibly a draw down in South Korea, said something to the effect that could be relatively painless, and I think that that's something that american policy makers would and perhaps should take very seriously in the event that there are reciprocal concessions from the room, the deep Rk, I don't think that sanctions relief is something that would constitute a a draw down from this current condition. I am very suspicious of this from this perspective, which is, I think, Taylor some. I think we have had private conversations with the Chinese and that this is.
The chinese line at a chinese line is it's between you and them, and if you make nice with them, they'll they'll they'll stand down, and why and with our line has been now for fifteen years and properly that you that China is the because it's it's North Korea's. Basically, it's only real trading partner. China can kill the GM in a month by choking off that China says were so worried you see because of that happens, then the Korea will unify and then they'll be a will, have a threat from Korea on our border, and that is nonsense like this is this is just you know, okay, and that's where you start saying the Chinese think in terms of centuries, not in terms of decades- and you know, they know that the Korean or so they yeah the Koreans are incredibly dangerous, kriens of an enormous threat to China forever this is the Vietnamese are a bigger threat in the Korea, no me know if they were worried about Japan. They would have don't reason
within living memory to be worried about you know, japanese aggressive conduct toward you know or China, but not Korea. So the whole thing is this is all of this is always such a sham and there's rex to listen. The man was no what ideas on foreign policy and knows nothing about anything and it's going to be gone by twenty eighteen, almost certainly just being a purveyor of you know, Blatter, Sky nonsense. Now there there are no good options so that may there may be some kind of option in which we yeah we sort of make some kind of a separate peace with North Korea and the end result will be that in twenty five years forty nations will have nuclear weapons. That's the point. If we make peace with N Korea, make peace, just as Obama made peace with the with the the notional conception of IRAN as a nuclear power. Just just ten years from now,
so ten years from now it'll be a nuclear power and then but it's, what does he care he'll be sitting in his library? Is the commissioner of baseball and making a billion dollars speaking and writing books? So will he care he key? he counts, he got strategic patience out of a run to what that's, but that's, that's were sort of Bill Clinton is today with North Korea. I mean he. He made his nominal peace bid with with North Korea. He would he made these. You know announcements about how he's made the world safer and that that he sort of you know got things under control now. This is this. Is the end result of all that process. I mean look. The the the tragic, dreadful, tragic thing here, which is really a dreadful tragic thing is that in two thousand, seven to the Two thousand and nine whenever it was the north korean Nuclear program, was concentrated as single site. We knew where the site was, and twice now in the lat twice in the last thirty five years.
Israel, knowing that its enemies had their nuclear programs concentrated at single sites took the bit in their teeth and flew over and blew up OC and blew up the reactor in Syria and both those countries did not go nuclear as a result, and we had a chance to take out this. Ram or retarded in a way that you know we could add, just as we could have with IRAN. You know it's a bit them in the late nineties, early two, thousands and we never did and the world. The question will be whether Three thousand and forty years from now the world will curse us because we did not do it was necessary to destroy these programs aborning before they before they ended up changing the face of world history, but the threat to soul was still in place. Then I know So that was the worst right, an obvious, but it was, but it was cute, although.
Israel hitting a rock in nineteen. Eighty one was not without was not with that geopolitical risk like they still have. Every every arab country The Middle EAST was hostile to Israel and they could have formed one of those multi purpose armies to take Israel out or try to take his real real outdoor, or given Syria, the green light to go to war again or whatever, very conceivably. So anyway, that's the so. And then you have to ask the question like okay, so we're all very you know everybody who series the stuff, even people who are inclined to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt one of the places in which he is clearly not entirely deserving of the benefit of the doubt as foreign policy. In the sense that He isn't paying attention. The state department is and staff the Pentagon isn't staffed all we
we hear about about foreign policy is in turf wars inside the National Security Council, and so how are we supposed to? How are we supposed to sort of trust that he can manage this unbelievably ticklish and complicated situation? That is also probably informing at least Elliot, Cohen's, very acid piece in the Atlantic yesterday about why it is that we have no choice but kind of to maintain a posture of strategic patients toward N Korea, because we are in no position to conduct a serious foreign policy effort or military and foreign policy effort against it and the problem with that thesis is, we got no choice like we have the president we have, and if you think that you know it's, if you think he'll he'll he'll be worried, he's worse than Kim Chung on in the sense that you know
Kim Jong IL is a response with Donald Trump. Is you know, stupid and and and does a dilettante doesn't know what he's doing? None the less you go with the president you have. This is with the american people picked, and- and you know it is the case that the time and again, presidents, that you never expected to rise to these kinds of occasions from Harry Truman to George W Bush in September, two thousand one like who fought the George W Bush would bring the country together again in the we would be it would be. Sixteen years later in, there would not have been another major terrorist attack on american soil after nine eleven. You know which was that serve light weight guy. Who was talking about no child left behind? He wasn't. You know he wasn't the military president that but here's what Donald Trump is facing he's facing, leaving a legacy behind for his predecessor, his successor, rather with a and North Korea that can execute within ninety seconds, an attack
on american troops in american allies that they cannot prepare for, cannot defend ands, which will shape the american security concerns on a deterrence posture in Northeast Asia. For a generation or more, that's is gonna be his legacy. Is legacy will be leaving this behind and we can argue as much as you know. This belongs to bill. Clinton at this belongs to George W Bush. This belongs to Obama, but it will be on Donald Trump's watch in which North Korea develop the capacity to launch a survivable reentry vehicle. I CBM within minutes, rise. Nuclear warhead on it now will be his own and he has to come to terms with that. Well, you know he he's such a long term thinker that you know I'm like no. I think he thinks about things like this in a very serious way. I think you thanks his If it is very soon, I know I think he thinks about his perception. His self perception in in very serious terms. Maybe that's the only thing you think
but I think he only thinks about them in five hour increments. They say things about whether or not he won the new cycle, or he had some twitter battle with Jim Acosta than do. He won or something like that. Yeah and I don't even think the read the results of any particular skirmish are important to him. It's it's! It's how he you can shape the aftermath that he he can lose in factual terms, and then have to go on a terribly ok. Well, let's! So, let's talk a little bit about what about what's been going on between in the political wars in Washington, because the political wars in Washington are now entirely Intro Republican Oregon, assuming you can call Trump a Republican, but ok he's one the presidency on the on the republican ticket, but of course he became a republican pretty much in twenty sixteen or two thousand and fifteen or whenever it was.
So he's a pretty Johnny come lately republican, but his entire passion and his focus and his attention is entirely Leon, crushing, extirpating and and couch and forcing other Republicans to count out to him, I mean every now and then the he throws out a tweet, the tack and Chuck Schumer. You said something about the Democrats, but that that that's not where the that's not where the force of his attention lies right, so force of its intention lies and in trying to bring Republicans to heal and Mitch. Mcconnell, the Senate Majority leader this week said relatively mildly that you knew that it was going to get a response that the president had had unrealistic expectations about how quickly major legislation could be passed. He said he's not been. This is not been in this business
long. It is and know how hard it is to get legislation through legislative bodies- and this is their rules about in his expectations, were unrealistic, realistic and then, and then Trump fired back by saying all of heard for six years. Repeal replace and you didn't do it. So why were my locations on realistic. But, of course they work, as he said things like will do it in three days and there's nothing easier than reforming healthcare and getting rid of Obama CARE, and that was a preposterous thing to say, but general, it is we were worried. The people were worried in twenty. Sixteen that, if Trump lost the Republican Party would fracture like, I think we began this podcast with the when we started. Doing this. Podcast we talked about this. Almost every podcast that Trump would lose. The party would split right. There would be a trump. Either be non from party and the would be the end of everything will be just a brutal war of all against all so
Trump won an it's not brutal, but it's kind of happening anyway. Right now. Well, yeah, I mean, I think, the flip side to that was Trump wins, and then he corrupts conservatism the idea of conservatism to become something more kinder republicanism, which is a much more malleable philosophy and that would be trumpism and then Republican ISM would be Trumpism, which would be retrenchment, protectionism, ethnic anxiety that sort which is stuff. We were generally hostile towards, or at least suspicious of um. What we're seeing now is, as you say, sort of a cult of personality uh enforcing its primacy. We don't really have a whole lot of policy disagreements here. Donald Trump isn't saying: I want x policies saying I want you to do this for me and give me a health care bill on the fact that you haven't given me a health care bill is an embarrassment to me and I'm embarrassed- and this is your fault.
Well as I wrote today or yesterday, rather on the blog post, it's not like he's pun Mcconnell in a way that will hurt him. He endorsed the endorsed Luther strange. The sitting, Senator appointed Senator, who replaced attorney General Jeff sessions in Alabama, he's running a race, against. It was special election for the permanent sentence Supreme, Alabama Supreme Court Justice, Roy Moore, who kind of an eccentric Ann, so. More is famous for having spent years fighting over putting a representation of the ten commandments in front of the Supreme Court in Birmingham and Representative MEL Brooks, who is a true tea, partier a hostile force against Mcconnell doesn't like Mcconnell Mcconnell, doesn't like him and eight trump skeptic, a guy who is very critical of Donald Trump during the primaries and said some very harsh things about him. After the access
so there's a lot of cult of personality there Mitch Mcconnell doesn't like either of those two guys. His forces have been working. Overtime to push the strange over the top and also to go after Brooks's house seat. So the Lines were drawn and Donald Trump cited with Mitch. Mcconnell Mitch Mcconnell feels no heat. He doesn't feel heat because of these tweets. He already won. He who won the more important battle, which is to keep his majority in line. Well, that's interesting! SIRI I'm sure that he would prefer not to have the tweet tend to have the tweet pinpricks. Okay, it's not nothing It's not nothing, and the point is that the leader of the part of the President, United States is constantly political attention is concentrated on the potential disloyalty of his own troops. And not on
winning over people in the middle who might come over to his side or making the argument against the other guys. It's not his interest, interest is rather like, I know I'm not supposed to talk about game of thrones and I'm not going to talk about game of thrones, but as those of us who are watching it, no diner to Gary, and has come to Westeros and is demanding that her people who want to fight with her bend the knee bend the knee bend, the knee bend, the knee she says and that's what Trump wants Trump wants all republic since, to bend the knee and he doesn't like it when they don't Jeff flake. Who of course, is now come out as the anti Trump Republican with his book conscience of a conservative? is the first guy that Trump said in his first meeting with the Senate.
Flake said you know, I don't like the way you talk. I don't like the way you behave and he said I hope you lose your election next year. Trump said to a republican senator, to which flake said I'm not up next year so there's flake and flake is running in twenty eighteen and trump out outside Trump gins are the more Sir family is giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kelli Ward, who is a kind of flake as a flaky candidate against flake in Arizona who ran against John Mccain John Mccain and said some vile, filthy things about Mccain when he, when he got his when he got his diagnosis of brain cancer, just a rotten rotten human being but that's the trumpian affect right right. It's just to be really obnoxious.
Yeah. Well, that's. The other thing is you against our? I know right so anyway, so he wants Trump. I mean the Trump Trump Ian's want, flake out in a way that could very well win that seat. For a Democrat, that's a weird state it's not. You know it's not. It's not exactly purple. It's still a red state, but there are trend lines toward purple them. There, an Civil WAR inside the Republican Party could well toss The two to a Democrat in twenty eighteen. Unnecessarily there's also the war against Dean Heller. There's a war it's dean, Heller of Trump Miss Tarkanian, the Son of Nevada's, most decorated sports figure. Is going to run against Dean Heller, this sort of
vacuous empty suit. Republican senator from Nevada two thousand and eighteen and again, that is a purple state and that really you could really possibly throw. If you have a republican party that totally fractures, you could throw that seat to a Democrat if they and they have a sort of a not a great candidate, but not a terrible candidate, the democratic, the one that the parties that Nevadas is going to run against teller, and that is all that's all the effects of Trump. Is you know to sort of deep in the divisions and whatever there aren't that many divisions in the party it is Trump's party, it's got eighty percent republican support, Blah blah blah, but you know he wants to exacerbate those divisions. If you don't bend the knee, that's the worst thing you can do it's better to be Elizabeth Warren in Trump's eyes than be a conservative Republican who isn't kowtowing to him, but the concern
Republicans workout owning are getting things done, big things, for example like keeping sanctions on Russia. Well, yes, but the but yeah. So they did that and that's not something he wanted right. Okay, but it's not like that was, and I never trump initiative. No, ninety! The point: ninety eight to two in the Senate isn't never trump initiative. There are, By the way, so we should it's sort of well yeah, and this is what we're going to get to is, like the you know, might maybe the apocryphal Stalin quote about the Pope? How many divisions does the Pope happen is just his moral influence was something that that was feared by of those who appreciate the value of that sort of thing in the hard power calculation was. This is silly and we should ignore it. We're doing the hard power calculation and the trumpian wing is not they. Maybe they do This is an actual genuine threat to Trumpism
right. So there are two interesting examples of this two articles this week, one by my old friend, Conrad Black in National review, another by Dc Mcallister in the Federalist, both of which represent full throated attacks on this ok. Never trumper. Now I we would divide. I do not for myself. Nor do I think that the term never Trump fits Abre GO commentary that is not what we were. We were opposed trump's securing the nomination, but not part of any political movement to do anything and I thought that some of the efforts that were made by the so called never term crowd like to attempted to deny him. The nomination at the convention were silly
but there is now this fight in the it is. The constant evocation of never trump is by Trump cans, and what they're trying to do is create the conditions under which they can s communicate, conservatives and Republicans who don't like Trump from both the conservative movement and the republican movement by declaring them elitists saying that there are objectively serving the interests of the enemy and should be destroyed. Well, I think we should identify that by. We should define by virtue of the terms they use. What is meant by never Trump conservatives Dc Mcalister's article in particular, was very poorly timed because she had vice Republicans to hold their fire against Republicans and go after our against conservatives, use the word conservatives and go after
the the true enemy, which is that the liberal left amid a week in which conservatives are under fire by Donald Trump and Mitch Mcconnell, when what she says, the fines, the the apostate, never trump conservative is someone who cannot accept anything good that this president does when he does. It cannot praise him for fear of diluting their brand as a no. Trump Republican that doesn't fit anybody. I know in who was a quote: unquote, never trump Republican in the primary it's a couple of people I know, but I'm not going to, but not not not not actual politician But then I think of one even there's, there's been opportunities for of well David from. I think it would be perfectly fair to say that if, if of Donald Trump, it turned out were the risen Christ, David from you know, I think David from with final from when it was appropriate and high is one that has
Not no. You can't, but I'm just saying, but but but David certainly doesn't daily many a consistent, and he has also been you know, he's not at he's a rate on the orthodox conservative figure and has been for a long time. What I will say is it that, in both Dc Mcalister's Callister's case case and Conrad Black's case that the that the the urgency to them of everyone getting on board, it's a very interesting thing, because, according to them trump the mold broke. Cody code is changing. All the rules has, connection to mystical connection to voters all of that. So what do we count? whoa in their eyes we're yesterday's news where we know we got it wrong and there're was there in the vanguard, and you know
lead, follow or get out of the way. The right thing to do is to say you got it on you lossed. We won an were charging ahead. So what? Why? Are they so insistent? An it's like piece after piece after piece why are they so insistent that we must bendy, music, if they believe what they themselves preach about. Trump's Evolutionary effect on american politics? Please no game of thrones right now what we should be in the wilderness, right and and and and who cares? What happens? You know the end. In the wilderness yeah and I are according to them, we all right in the wilderness. I mean I I think they are in this is what we're taught So they don't really think we're in the wilderness all right at the they they they feel laughed at and their smarting from that and they are taking on the sensitivities and defensiveness of trump. This is become their larger calls. Look it's hard in
Here's the problem, which is Conrad in his piece, says you, then I'm bored everything that's going at Trump. Everything is illegitimate. Mullers, illegitimate justice department is illegitimate. Anybody who was attempting to suggest that there's this didn't see, is you know should end early. Is the illegitimate and terrible at, but here's the task for the president. He should tweet less, he should end all the hijinks in the White House and focus he should prepare a killer Tax bill, and he should. Do something on North Korea. Okay, now. That's what we're saying like that's what I say like you know, if, if the White House, if we Stop reading these insane stories about the White House and his press secretary being idiot and he didn't hire Anthony Scerra Muchi and he stopped tweeting moronic
hostile illiteracy is every day and proposed good policy. One would say, my god. This is a transform presidency, that's great so Conrad, back is obviously a never trumper, I mean you know who who is who would say different if you became a different type. President who actually pursued policy and and and suppressed the preposterous, this of his own presidency than we would then every we would be in a different position. So what is his objection? Wheaties he's complaining about the same stuff, we're complaining about that, but that is the essence of anti Anti Trump ISM. It's not pro trump ism, they're, not super pro trump, or is there they're skeptical of Donald Trump? The old they'll be the first to tell you that they have some problems with the way this White House is operating, but it's the people who are critical of Donald Trump for the real problem left right center doesn't matter. Those people deserve to be tamped down a little bit and there's
that's the you know, that's the that's the ideology that the that the fines just about every move, tenets that as as its head, is something very yeah? Well, I mean, I guess ill defined and write a you know. Something worthy of suspicion is that you have to project that we're sort of them, but let's try to It is more than a rhetorical question. Let's actually try to answer it, why do they care? Why? Let's try to Why is it so important that that that we or or who they whatever they perceived as never traversed gonna, get on board? I mean, I think, there's something to John's point that they don't think were relevant. Obviously I think that's something your point where is that in in inadequacies that they are projecting that other well, the other way of looking at it is that you could say, look in the end in policy terms and everything like that. Trump will end up being a relatively conventional president. You know so he's got a deregulatory agenda. He was he'll he'll end up if he ever ends up with the health care bill, it'll be a modest health care bill that will
honestly revise Obamacare the tax bill will be relatively modest. It'll, be it'll, be a conventional right of center president who, who regulates and uses the power of the presidency, to limit the outreach of government into the economy right or you want to think that he is a revolutionary flight. Ninety three figure, who is the person who is who is who is saved America from its fate as a European socialist communist Marxist, then you know Proto Venezuela yeah, if it, if you really are revolutionary, you think, is a revolutionary figure that it is all the history of revolutionary movements are. The revolutionary movement goes after the apostates inside its own movement. Right I mean why the Stalin spend fifteen years trying to get an ice pick into Trotsky's head. Trotsky's on the run he's running from me theories. There is like hiding in Mexico somebody finally finds them and ice picks them in the
and kills them Trotsky had been out of power for, one thousand two hundred and thirteen years. It was nothing he was nobody so revolutionary movements have to extirpate the others. I happen not to think that is the story of the United States. There are no revolutionary movements in America. You don't need to extirpate anybody win the election. You get to run things and you can suffer your critics on your own side by being contemptuous of them. Now with funny part? Is you say that they think they we're making fun of them and they don't like us, for it will It should be the other way around there. They won you know we didn't win, they won in the proper view. Them is sort of arrogant contempt. Even Trump could have arrogant content as opposed to acting as though he's incredibly bruised and needs to sort of like his dukes up and punch all the time, but Trump swing of the media environment has not since day one acted like he want Hillary
is still an existential threat. Her server scandal is lead news on Fox primetime every night, nine months after election ten months after the election is. That is that is that out of conviction, or is simply a distraction no, I don't think we're distraction either. I think they genuinely believe that this is a serious news story, but there were no right. If there were no Russia investigation, you think we'd be talking about Hillary. Yes, I don't. I do I do I do I do because when we wouldn't have anything else to talk about, we don't have any accomplishments for this administration to talk about. That's the problem right. Well, I agree with that, but again. The joke is it's one thing to focus on Hillary, which I think is you know silly, but obviously still has some. You know still has some focus or,
but yeah, this notion, ministration and its allies- need extra external enemies because to otherwise focus on this administration is to see abject incompetence and dysfunction. Ok, I just think that again it gets to the question If you look at Trump's victory, an what you see is, he is a transformative figure who was going to alter tire dynamic of american politics in the direction that you want, then all efforts that are made particularly on your own side, to prevent that from happening must be extirpated. If you do, on the other hand, believe that he is a republican president who won. You know you're you're, disturbed that he might have that effect right, that he might be coursing american politics and lowering it and turning it into reality. Tell original that, but in the end
We believe that american politics has an equilibrium and that. The equilibrium is asserting itself in the sense that you know he thought he could just get health care by wishing and it turns out, he can't and he'll fit and that same thing with a tax bill and he'll have to like deal with political reality. The Your sense is that he's not a revolutionary. There aren't revolutionary figures. We don't do revolutions in the United States that we love to use the word. The way we like to use martial metaphors for things that have nothing to do with war, we're fighting he fight she's, a fighter. You know it's like this. Guy who's got twelve deferments from Vietnam. You such a fight, or you know. It was my favorite thing, horrendous disgusting thing, so bright, Bart, uh yesterday did a story about Hr Mcmaster, the National Security advisor about how his firm as the as the headline called it, the International Institute for to strategic studies got
five million dollars from the EVIL Gulf country of Bahrain? The Muslim Brotherhood monster that this piece by Aaron Klein, Breitbart Hr Mcmaster, is an active duty. Officer. He works for the United States government and the people of the I did states he does not have a firm. He does not work for the International Institute to do strategic studies. He won the battle of Tal afar. He is a great. Military hero and to trash him in this way just gives you a sense of the of the pro verse incentives for character assassination that have been created by this atmosphere. I'm trying to get that keep the a terming master story straight so he's in the pocket about rain.
But he's which is also under threat by IRAN, which wants to re integrate that into its sphere. That he's also a friend of IRAN because he supports the IRAN deal and he hates Israel, which is also supporting efforts to eject around from the rain. Well, the whole point is that what he did. Was fired their friends. He fired the people who leaked to them. That's you know these, these Ezra Cohen Watnick, and these two other guys, and so And so they hate Mcmaster 'cause, he let their friends go which by the way is I mean it's not even that I don't understand that as a as a motivation, but you know to take, somebody was dedicate.
Is life to the service of the United States and putting his life on the line to do so, and then you know slandering him. That way, just you know, is another sign of the disgusting depths to which you can go when you, when you are trained when your, when your entire way of looking at the world is distorted and transfigured by raw political, ideological hunger. I mean it's: it's really self aggrandizing and you know kind of ominous sticks, but I'll indulge anyway We are allowed to be honest. You know we at this table are very fortunate in so far as our our our professional livelihood is not based upon making excuses for this guy. We can say whatever we want whenever we but not everybody's Prague, and that may be something that people are a little frustrated by an even dare say, jealous of.
I know I think it may not be their professional, Prague it. It may be, their professional profit, we'll see, we'll see how this goes, their short term and long term things. You know here, which is say. Commentary for home, which we work is a nonprofit that is supported by a we have we have a lot of subscribers and we aren't. We weren't Irma can several the money, but we are supported by donors who believe in the mission of the publication who have supported us through this period, which was not necessarily going to be the case when we did not provide an orthodox position about who should be elected and who should be, you know, would dominate rule the country, yes, and they clearly believe in the mission of the organization and they and they are not so I'm happy with the way that we are below for pursuing at the
They are limiting their gifts, us and and and and cutting us off. And yes, so we are very fortunate in that and we're very grateful for it. That said, I do it's Pennywise and it could be penny wise and pound foolish, to throw your hand in with a failure. That's part of what you're saying, though, like keep your powder dry a little like don't go. All you know you go all in and what is story about you know. Trump is not Trump's record of how he treats his partners and his investor. Is pretty lousy. Like you know, he goes bankrupt, their left holding their left holding the bag and he it's off to do something else. Well, you know if this not a successful presidency in right now, there's very little reason to think that it's going to be a successful presidency absent any of the changes the Conrad Black would like and that we would like, even though we're evil and he's wonderful.
You know if you went all in with him you're going to suffer the consequences of being all in with him people are you know, people on your own site, they're, going to turn it's like imagine There have been a pro Carter Press in nineteen, seventy seven that you know that wanted nothing and was dedicated to the maintenance in furtherance of Jimmy Carter. You think that the democratic parties- you know populous grassroots after his humiliating defeat in one thousand nine hundred and eighty would have you know like gone to those places and assumed that they were going to and what leverage does Conrad Black possess at this point, to effect any change or this administration he demonstrated he's with them, come hell or high water, His support is not you know it. It doesn't hinge on any sort of change in behavior from this White House. How do you know where their wing of the party as it were, have any effect over this administration? They are the phalanx no, but nobody has any level
bridge over the administration and that's only the delete button, nobody, but nobody does because it's not his that's, not Trump's. That's not true. This met so so either he is going to you know, even in terms of policy right. So if You were, if you were Chris Christie becoming President or Marco Rubio becoming president. You were facing, you were president and you were facing the situation in North Korea. You would be have the same hand to play and your options would be exactly the same and ice who's. Your knee your manner in your comportment. All of that would you know, would be better or would be more suited to the moment or Hillary Clinton's. The same thing manner would be better would be more suited to the moment at least openly or publicly. When comes down, this is what's going to happen, you know and- and saying he should have a really good policy in North Korea
either. Will re won't he'll, either listen to John Kelly and Madison the Mcmaster, or he won't, and they may not have a good policy on North Korea. There may not good pool. There may not be a good policy in North Korea and the problem is once you deploy one in this, I think, is where we can end this once you deploy one Everything else becomes a counter counter factual, in other words like, if you don't go in, if you don't do something and it those nuclear and, as I say twenty five years from now, there's gigantic nuclear proliferation. Then the world will look back and say you should have done something. Then. But if you do go in and then they, then they fire on south korean fifty thousand or a hundred thousand people died. Then that's like a look. He started a world war. You know, we see he got a hundred thousand people killed and you won't get credit for having destroyed the nuclear program. That's what it means to be a Hobson's choice and that's why a lot of people shouldn't want to be president and that's why Dylan
should want to be president, because you know like me, maybe being a narcissist who you know only thinks about himself. Is the only way to get through this, because how would anybody be able to sleep? Imagine you know that thing that shakes verses in Henry the fifth. You know an easy lies, the head that wears the crown. You know that that Henry the fifth before the battle of Agincourt cannot sleep for days, because he can only think of everything that can possibly go wrong. That's a normal reaction! So hi- I don't know, I don't know the only thing that's keeping me going is that every at we have three more Sunday nights with episodes of game of thrones. But I'm not
going to talk about game of thrones, there's only three there's only three more this season and then there's this episode season, yeah and then there's another six next year I know look knows knows very upset. This is why I stopped watching, because I watched the first three seasons when they were on and then I'd lose. All the back story in between But and then I started watching it, but you can go to just go to Wika Pedia and you can read you can catch yourself up in like five minutes, why Is it really so good? I I it's also a battle scene. This we we was so good. It was such a fantastic battle scene anyway. It was really great, but we were episode. What, Is a boring you're, the only one of things it was everybody on the earth things. It was a great episode except you you're, just being perverse. That's. What I have to say is a great episode, and this is been a good season and I am, as you know, I am not exactly the sort of person because it's like
Divorced from the books now so here that's the best yeah, because the pokes cut so bad anyway,. We we are hybrids. There was an interesting thing on twitter, this last night. Somebody just said, but I pick your five favorite books and just think about it, Think about it. Just pick them it's really fun to. If you can find. If you can find people, I did it and Terry Teachout did it in a bunch of other people that and- and it really will provide you with a great reading list. I'm saying that to elevate this, be on the pole, for violence and of game of thrones, both the book and the tv series, because I don't want you to think that we hear commentary one of the most intellectually formidable magazines in american history. Simply, you know, simply engage in pulp and aren't sitting around reading hi, hi literature, literature of of of high seriousness.
It was always got a bill for it- you always got some will be, but you know I I I I always I'm always scared of those lists, because my taste in literature isn't exactly conservative, I mean so. It is, but I like so I can post soviet soviet realism. No, no! You know you know who I like in the ads that there I I always get pushed back. You know so yeah, although he like standalone Cormac Mccarthy installed yet, but Mccarthy I was are you is it is? It is a conservative right now the little nameless conservatives? Okay, you don't using might be anyway, I'm just saying that there are How are things in game of thrones? But if you want a little entertainment on a Sunday night and you can deal with the violence in the sex uh, it's pretty great, even though no said it was boring, but if it's full, okay, well, we're now.
No spoilers, no spoilers, so you could walk will be back on Monday and we won't talk about the Sunday night episode of Game of thrones. I promise you, except maybe for about five minutes so for no Crosman. Andy Greenwald, I'm John Podhoretz keep the candle burning.
Transcript generated on 2019-11-17.