Dangers and Opportunities | National Review

Dangers and Opportunities | National Review

John R. Bolton (left), who at the time was President Trump’s national-security adviser, and William B. Taylor, who was acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, lay wreaths at the Wall of Remembrance in Kyiv, August 27, 2019. The wall commemorates soldiers who have died in the war against Russia in eastern Ukraine. (Gleb Garanich / Reuters)

“Andrew Cuomo, you will have noticed, is still in office — still governor of New York. And his sex-harassment scandal is barely in the news. Cuomo has brazened it out.” I begin my Impromptus column today with this thought, and elaborate on it. I go on to Afghanistan, the Republican Party, a free economy, Broadway, and other topics. Give it a scan, see what you like, and dislike.

My latest Q&A podcast is with John Bolton, the veteran foreign-policy analyst, diplomat, attorney, etc. You can learn a lot from him, no matter your views. He is a keen and dogged student of the world, with its dangers and opportunities. He also has a ton of experience.

We begin our conversation by talking about the late Donald Rumsfeld. Within this context, we talk about missile defense and the Iraq War, in particular. We further discuss the lawsuit that President Trump’s Department of Justice brought against Bolton — a suit that the DoJ recently dropped.

Other topics: China, the pandemic, Russia, cyberwar, Ukraine, NATO, Central America, immigration, Iran, nukes — a brisk and bracing tour, and a highly substantive one, too.

At the end, I ask Bolton whether he has anything else to say — anything else that presses. Venezuela has been on his mind. There was a moment, a window, where change was possible in that country. Yet the chavista regime is firmly in the saddle, perpetuating the catastrophe of the Venezuelan people.

Maybe two pieces of mail today. In my column on Tuesday, I wrote the following:

In my observation, July 4 this year produced some really good writing (which has to be preceded by really good thinking, of course). Let me cite a few pieces — and forgive me if I leave out your favorite (or, indeed, your piece).

Michael Smith, of Georgetown, Ky. — David French’s hometown, by the way — wrote me a humorous note, saying that I had, in fact, left out his piece. It was published in the Louisville Courier-Journal. I will paste the final paragraphs:

The left deplores America’s economic and political systems as well as its history and culture. Flag waving would seem odd in a crowd that can’t find a kind word for anything the flag represents. The hardliners are cheerfully candid: they’ll love their country when it reflects their ideology, and not a moment sooner.

The far right, meanwhile, wraps itself in the flag and spouts patriotic babble. “Real Americans” who accuse their opponents of stealing elections while trying their best to steal an election? “Real Americans” who yearn for a modern-day Caesar?

Sorry, but if the cornerstones of democracy look like obstacles to you, you haven’t gotten the idea of America at all.

Last week, I had a post touching on “quality time” and “quantity time.” Here is part of a note from a thoughtful lady down South:

When I was growing up, my mom was a stay-at-home mom and my dad was a teacher. I always loved that. I knew that Mom would be there when I got home from school, even if I just said “Hi, Mom” and headed for my room. She was there when I needed her. Sometimes the most mundane chores would turn into the most memorable stories. The best thing about Dad being a teacher is that, with just a few exceptions a year, he was home when we were home. Not that we did much. He was just around, to wrestle with, to answer our questions — anything, really. . . .

I do not think quality time can be scheduled. It just happens, when you’re scrubbing the dishes, being silly, or what have you. The more “quantity time” you spend with someone, the more likely the “quality” moments are to occur.

Yes. I think of a phrase, which I think I mentioned before: “Life is in the daily.” I also think of another phrase, from Ira Gershwin: “Nice work if you can get it.” Even the fact of a two-parent household — what a luxury.

Anyway, my thanks to all readers and correspondents. Again, today’s Impromptus is here.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.