Tuesday, June 12, 2018

History May Not Echo -- But It Rhymes... In A 46 Year Old Vintage -- Buckley, On Nixon/Mao.

More than a generation ago, William F. Buckley (someone I almost universally disagreed with, save this) quite elegantly (and rightly) excoriated then President Richard Nixon for granting legitimacy to a brutal regime, while gaining essentially nothing. . . for the cause of western style democratic ideals.

He was right to do so. And for the record, it was not Nixon who modernized China's thinking. It was a global economy that threatened to leave the Chinese behind -- stuck in a dark underworld of 19th Century agrarian industry. [So China moderated -- and modernized. . . itself. And thus became a global economic superpower.]

So too, with Trump and his Lil' Rocket Man stunt: never mind that Fox, Rove, Hannity and Malkin were screaming -- a scant four years ago -- that Mr. Obama was a traitor for even considering any meeting with the same man. Never mind that Trump brought a pot-bitcoin shilling Dennis "The Worm" Rodman with him, on TV at right, as if to viscerally underline the notion that 45's entire life is a singularly sad farce -- and never mind that he has already left, without securing. . . anything, other than a self-scripted tribute to his fat ego. Trump was. . . Kim Jong Un's lil b!tch.

Even an idiot may readily see that Buckley was right about Nixon, just as we are right about. . . Trump. He has debased American ideals -- by praising a monster. Let's slip back, to 1972, then:

. . . .“That should dispel the last suspicion that there is a trace of ideological conviction left in Richard Nixon.” He wasn’t suggesting that Nixon is not committed, within the United States, to the usual ideals — self-government, a private sector, a bill of rights. Merely that he is utterly indifferent to whether these ideals are practiced elsewhere in the world: indeed, that he apparently cares not at all if these ideals are persecuted in other parts of the world. . . .

As long as human beings are free to use the language, they will find elegant excuses for depriving other human beings of their freedom. And [by implication, Nixon], as I have said, makes no bones about freedom’s end. “Turning back towards the hotel, I pass a Protestant church -- its closed gates bearing the banner, ‘Carry through the Cultural Revolution to the end. . . .'”

It is in a season that receives cordially the theoretical works of B. F. Skinner and the journalism of Ross Terrill, that Richard Nixon is operating, toasting Chairman Mao, who by material standards has yet to do for his country as much as Adolf Hitler did for his. Somehow the generic incantation, which used instantly to collapse such analyses -- Mussolini made the trains run on time -- doesn’t have its ancient power to restore instantly the focus. . . .

The reason is that the West, so far gone these days in a rare combination of satiety and self-abuse, is indifferent in part to freedom, in whole to the cause of freedom. By contrast the Chinese Communists are not indifferent. They are proof against Western derision because they know what they want, are utterly outspoken in their consecration to human debasement as a means of achieving Communism, lucid and unswerving in their designs, insouciant to the resentment we used to feel, at the corruption of the terms that used to designate our ideals: justice, liberty, individual rights, government as the servant of the people. Richard Nixon -- his glass raised high to Mao Tse-tung, toasting to a long march together, he and we, likening our two revolutions to each other, landing at Andrews to impart the information that the Chinese people greatly esteem their government -- may yet emerge as the most flexible man of the century, perhaps even as the most deracinated American who ever lived and exercised great power. . . .

I think overnight Trump has eclipsed him. And that is. . . horrifying. Trump has become a comical dancing bear -- for the most brutal still-living dictator of this century. All without any net gain -- for anyone. Save of course, Trump himself, and his (imagined potential, but not likely) Nobel. Disgusting.

And all of this may overshadow the fact that Jared and Ivanka made about $82 million in their first full year in the West Wing, by trading favors and emoluments that their odious brand of lawless White House operations afford -- to their outside business contacts. Was North Korea all a distraction -- to create cover for this? I dunno. But perhaps that credits this crew of crooks with too much savvy -- too much foresight -- by half.

Onward, just the same, on a warm, wet, cloudy Tuesday.



Anonymous said...

Wow. Simply wow.
And what of Obama's Iranian "deal"? Millions in cash sent to Iran, with Obama's administration actively seeking a way around its own US law that prohibited Iran from accessing the US banking system, all for what payback? A "signature legacy" for Obama, one that no longer exists, because Obama went the unilateral route instead of putting the agreement through the Senate as an official treaty? (Which it never would have achieved, because it was deeply deeply flawed.)
Please be a bit more honest. Your bias is showing (as on most days).

condor said...

Thanks for your perspective, Anon.

We will just have to disagree about all ... of what you wrote.

“What about-ism” a particularly illogical form of rebuttal, just FYI.

Namaste, just the same... all perspectives are welcome here.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, this is not a "Tu Quoque" fallacy. I am not saying that Obama did the same kind of deal, therefore Trump's deal is not so bad. Trump's deal (although it is still early and time will tell if is a good one) is in fact better than Obama's, since for the "promise" of ending war games (a decision that can easily be reversed, costs nothing, and in fact saves money), N Korea "promises" to denuclearize. If N Korea reneges, war games come back.
In Obama's case, for cold hard cash (NOT reversible), Iran "promised to promise" to denuclearize. "Promised to promise" since they never actually signed the agreement.
So whose deal was better? If you can show me an old column of yours where you berate Obama for making the much worse Iran deal, I'll apologize.

condor said...

Oh Anon. -- I seek no apologies. None are needed -- from either of us.

We are politely disagreeing here. That's all.

You still offer a straw man of some other (largely debunked) claim, about a prior President -- as a suggestion that 45's "deal, to deal" with the indisputably most brutal dictator still alive on the planet is preferable to (even if we accept as true, your account -- and I don't) Mr. Obama having made any trade agreement. . . with Iran.

Comparing the two is like comparing fish. . . to bicycles. Let's try to stay on topic shall we? The topic is 45 not even mentioning the 50 years of atrocities Un and his family have committed against his own people -- the peasants of North Korea.

Thus my recalling W.F. Buckley, on Nixon, who said on arriving at Andrews, that the "Chinese people love Mao, and Mao loves them". He loved them so much he slaughtered them by the millions, as has Kim Jong Un.

On topic, that's the central argument, and analogy, you should try to rebut.

[Hint: you cannot.]

BTW, everything 45 claims he "got" was already in prior sanctions, and in more forceful language with North Korea, in any event -- previous agreed UN Security Council resolutions, etc. -- so he won. . . nothing new. Whatever -- and he sullied (forever) our flag, by flying next to that madman's. [Did you see 45 said he "didn't have time to write down" that supposed one new silo destruction, he claims NK agreed to? Didn't have time?! -- Is this a third grade book report?! Holy crap. Just. Wow -- to use your turn of phrase.]

But, being a sporting man -- let's make a friendly wager: we will see how Mr. Trump's "deal to deal" ages, shall we? One year from today, I will reload this as a new post, and (assuming 45 is not impeached for crimes by then), we will discuss his presidency.

For example, since you wish to stray from the topic, here: Let's see how he does on human rights, on his own: will the children ICE is detaining still be in cages? Will families still be ripped apart, at the border?

Let's agree to mark this down, on his quarterly report card -- like everything Trump -- INCOMPLETE.

[Just for fun -- and extra credit -- a year from now, let's compare Mr. Obama's ACTUAL Nobel achievement -- to the "OOPS!" -- NO Nobel for 45, okay?]

Namaste, man. . . .

Anonymous said...

Sure, let us politely disagree, and agree to revisit in a year. Two civilized gentlemen can certainly do that. This country is in dire need of honest and polite discourse (without F Bombs and name-calling).
However, let me show one of your bicycles to actually be a fish:
Pictures of children in ICE cages were taken in 2014 when Obama was president:
And if the central argument here is that an American president should not speak highly of an evil dictator, then a lot of presidents have crossed that line:
Franklin Roosevelt about Josef Stalin: he is “truly representative of the heart and soul of Russia” and was a leader who was “thoroughly conversant with the provisions of our Constitution.” And let us not even talk about Obama and Fidel Castro and opening up trade with Cuba; I thought presidents weren't supposed to talk with evil dictators??? ;-)
And you do yourself a disservice by citing Obama's "ACTUAL" Nobel prize. Even though Snopes (which leans a little left) debunks the claim that the Nobel committee "regrets" giving Obama the Peace Prize, former Nobel Committee secretary Geir Lundestad stated in his memoir: ""Even many of Obama's supporters believed that the prize was a mistake," he says. "In that sense the committee didn't achieve what it had hoped for"."
And what was Obama's peace achievement that would qualify him for the award? During his presidency, ISIS gained strength in the Middle East, half a million dead in Syria, and Russia invaded the Ukraine, all of which were events where peace was lost but America did nothing. And then of course, there is the bigger problem of Domestic peace: race relations got progressively worse during Obama's tenure - there is no questioning that.
I am a registered Independent. Although I lean right of center, I do not wish to be associated with any of the political parties (including Libertarian - limited government great idea, but they take it a bit too far), because the parties lie to cover their own and have selective memories and are hypocrites (President Clinton and JFK sexcapades: Dems say not so bad, GOP says horrible; President Trump sexcapades: Dems say horrible, GOP says not so bad). I get my news from both sides of the aisle (MSNBC, CNN, FoxNews, National Review, BBC, among others) so I can escape my own echo chamber and think critically on the arguments from both sides. I highly encourage you to do the same.
See you in a year :-)
Pax Tibi back at you, man...

condor said...

Um. . . Okay. See you then.


Anonymous said...

well, not related but just to weigh in on (against) 45:



and finally:


I know..more emotional than factual but, c'mon....no, Obama was not perfect but he's no where near as bad as Trump and his ilk.

condor said...

Perfectly put, Anon.!