Snakes, Russians, and Naiveté

It's not personal.

Donald Trump is especially fond of illustrating his apprehension toward refugees fleeing violence, repression, and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa by citing the lyrics of Al Wilson’s “The Snake.” His most recent citation occurred just 11 days ago. The tune tells a tale of a duplicitous serpent in dire circumstances: The instinct-driven snake bites a kindhearted woman who came to care for it. The lesson is clear: it will be by your own naiveté in embracing obvious threats that you are undone. It’s clear that Trump never took the lesson in this fable to heart.

54
Shares
Google+ Print

Snakes, Russians, and Naiveté

Must-Reads from Magazine

Injustin Trudeau

Both sides of the issue.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is “appalled.”

12
Shares
Google+ Print

Politics, Not Paranoia

When Washington works.

It’s understandable that cynicism has become the default approach for average Americans navigating the political environment. Interpreting events as the product of a raw power contest rather than a clash between competing principles is not only simpler but often correct. Occasionally, though, a purely cynical understanding of how politicians conduct themselves can lead observers astray. Sneering pessimism alone would not have led anyone to conclude that bipartisanship would be breaking out in Washington in an election year. But, to a degree, it is.

23
Shares
Google+ Print

PODCAST: Philip Roth, RIP

The Life and Legacy of Philip Roth

On a special edition of the COMMENTARY podcast, we discuss the life and legacy of Philip Roth, whose work we both admire and find wanting. Give a listen. Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

3
Shares
Google+ Print

The EU Picks Iran and Hamas

Process for its own sake.

European Union bureaucrats love to speak of “European values,” and their media allies on both sides of the Atlantic take it for granted that the EU stands for all that is good and just on the international scene. For a certain type of journalist or NGO worker, if the EU does or says something, that act or statement must be admirable by dint of the fact that it originated in Brussels. Yet too often, the EU stands for diplomacy for its own sake, process for its own sake, bureaucracy for its own sake–even when insisting on diplomacy, process, and bureaucracy for their own sake ends up empowering murderous enemies of European values.

50
Shares
Google+ Print

The Limits of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Usefulness

A transactional theology.

To understand the liberal worldview, the contrived campaign to make Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg into some kind of a folk hero is a useful object of study. She has been the subject of a variety of hagiographical portraiture, ranging from fawning magazine profiles and sycophantic treatment in film to illustrated children’s books. She inspires her followers to get her image tattooed onto their bodies, to mimic her fitness routines, to feel as she felt and to weep as she wept.

21
Shares
Google+ Print