Auteursarchief: Bruce Thornton

Redemption for the NeverTrumpers?

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Redemption for the NeverTrumpers?

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

For two years a group of Republican pundits and “wise men” have vehemently criticized Donald Trump. Their complaints range from Trump’s alleged insufficient fealty to Republican and conservative principles, to flaws of manners and decorum, and violations of “democratic norms.” As the president’s first term progressed, many critics continued to snipe at Trump’s tweets and braggadocio even when they grudgingly had to acknowledge his achievements. What started as reasonable criticism quickly turned into the neurosis of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Sober and judicious commentators turned into peevish cranks.

Now, however, we are seeing perhaps the beginning of a cure for TDS. The economic and foreign policy improvements, and particularly the success of putting a second originalist on the Supreme Court, have many NeverTrumpers walking back their scorched-earth criticism, at least for now. Maybe the Democrats’ violent, childish, and hypocritical rejection of all the “norms” of democracy and rights of the accused have been the shock-treatment needed to turn NeverTrumpers from fifth-columnists to partisans. 

Can the NeverTrumpers be redeemed?

Last week reliable NeverTrumper Matthew Continetti, after cataloguing Trump’s successes, wrote, “Donald Trump is putting the finishing touches on one of the most remarkable weeks of his presidency. For Republicans, it doesn’t get much better than this.” Red State’s Eric Erickson, a self-proclaimed “original” NeverTrump conservative, now can vote for Trump in 2020, because “he is a safe harbor in a progressive storm that seeks to both destroy my values and upend our constitutional republic.” One can ask why it took so long to realize this truth, since that progressive “storm” has been brewing since 1968.

No NeverTrumper, however, has been as obsessive and morally preening as Bret Stephens, who left the respectable Wall Street Journal for the progressives’ Pravda, The New York Times. A few examples: After Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen pled guilty to several charges in August, Stephens tweeted, “The president is clearly guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. He should resign his office or be impeached and removed from office.” Given that impeachment starts in the Republican-controlled House, and tried in the Republican-controlled Senate, this wish full of begged questions served no useful purpose other than virtue-signaling, the NeverTrumpers’ consistent symptom of their disease.

Not that Stephens hasn’t given Trump his due on issues such as ditching the appeasing nuclear deal with Iran, or attacking a Syrian airfield with missiles. But for every acknowledgement of a president’s decision, there were rote condemnations of his style and manners, another tic of the NeverTrumpers. And the content of Stephens’ criticism usually comprises egregious question-begging epithets favored by the left. Before the 2016 election, for example, Stephens chastised the Republicans for ignoring “Mr. Trump’s unrelenting and apparently irrepressible bigotry, misogyny, bullying and conspiracy-mongering,” as long as Trump mouthed “pieties about appointing more Scalias to the court or cutting corporate tax rates.” In other words, Trump supporters will sell their conservative birthright for a mess of originalist and fiscal pottage.

In June of this year, in an interview with Hugh Hewitt about putting originalists on the Supreme Court, Stephens doubled-down on his rejection of Trump no matter his many conservative achievements. When asked by Hewitt, “So just to be clear, you would still not vote for Donald Trump knowing what we know?” Stephens answered, “Of course, not. I think he’s a terrible president who daily does damage to the fabric of American society.”

These examples show the fundamentally irrational flaws of the NeverTrump stance: style trumps substance, words trump deeds, feel-good clichés like “the fabric of American society” or “democratic norms” trump concrete actions that benefit the security and interests of the people the president serves. 

Such phrases, moreover, ignore the fundamental structure of the Constitution. Except for times of war, the Constitution was not concerned with bipartisan unity or “reaching across the aisle” to solve problems––the credo of the centralized, concentrated power of the technocratic oligarchy––but with dividing and balancing and checking the ambitions of self-interested factions attempting to monopolize power. The Founders knew better than to expect a flawed human nature to consistently practice the decorous deliberations and high-flown rhetoric and manners that the NeverTrumpers extoll. Except for elites, the Founders understood that the riotous diversity of America’s regional cultures, folkways, and mores made such courtly politesse impossible.

Despite Stephens’ long history of Trump Derangement Syndrome, he recently published a column that repudiates his earlier criticism of Republicans for tolerating Trump in order to get an originalist on the Court. Now he expresses his “gratitude” for Trump’s presence in the White House during the Kavanaugh auto-da-fé, even though the president “mocked Christine Blasey Ford in his ugly and gratuitous way,” another good example of the old virtue-signaling tic. Pointing out the gaping holes in an accuser’s charges is fundamental, not “gratuitous.”

After that throat-clearing, Stephens seems finally to be aware that the “any means necessary” imperative of the left leaves no space for gentlemanly decorum. 

I’m grateful because Trump has not backed down in the face of the slipperiness, hypocrisy and dangerous standard-setting deployed by opponents of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. I’m grateful because ferocious and even crass obstinacy has its uses in life, and never more so than in the face of sly moral bullying. 

After ticking off the obvious hypocrisies and underhanded machinations of the Senate Democrats, Stephens’ concludes with yet another NeverTrump tic: He’ll “admit to feeling grateful that, in Trump, at least one big bully was willing to stand up to others.” Once again, Stephens can’t discriminate between subjectively defined rhetorical “bullying” and the malicious, bullying actions of the Democrats. Screaming protestors physically accosting and verbally abusing Senators, Dianne Feinstein’s calculated and mendacious withholding of Ford’s letter and then leaking it, the public characterization of Judge Kavanaugh as a serial rapist, and many other offenses polluting Constitutional procedure and an individual’s right to the presumption of innocence. That’s quite a difference from Trump’s transient tweets and their miniscule shelf-life.

The big question, then, to ask all these apparently “woke” NeverTrumpers is, what took you so long? The behavior of the Democrats on display during the Kavanaugh hearing was new only in its intensity. Go back to the hearings on Robert Bork’s nomination, a root-and-branch offensive characterized by lies and grotesque rhetoric from Senator Ted Kennedy. His 1987 speech against Bork, at that time one of the country’s most esteemed jurists, is much more despicable and dishonest and serious than the tantrums of Cory Booker or the conspicuous rudeness of Kamala Harris:

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.

Moreover, this vile character assassination did not derail Kennedy’s career or lower his estimation in the eyes of the mainstream media, his party, or even some Republicans who put bipartisan comity and Senate cloakroom bonhomie ahead of truth and principle. 

If the Bork nomination is not ample evidence of how low Democrats will go, they repeated this display of gutter politics with Clarence Thomas’s nomination to the Court in 1991, when Anita Hill was produced at the last minute to accuse Thomas of sexual harassment. Only Thomas’s righteous anger, commanding dignity, and memorable phrase “high-tech lynching” saved his nomination. 

With those two precedents, how is it that now the similarly contrived and equally vicious attack on Kavanaugh has finally opened the eyes of the NeverTrumpers to the perfidy and ideological fanaticism of the Democrat Party? Throw in the savage attacks on Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and even sometime-heart-throb John McCain. Add a media willing to libel Republicans on behalf of the DNC, and besmirch its own journalistic ethics for political gain. Why would NeverTrumpers now be shocked, shocked that Democrats play dirty? 

Progressives are the people who preach “by any means necessary,” and better resemble Ted Kennedy’s lying catalogue of Bork’s alleged tyrannical intentions: censors of opposing points of view by enforcing politically correct taboos, purveyors of vicious libels and unconfirmed charges in the media, enablers of disruptive demonstrations and violent attack on conservative speakers and rallies, promoters of resegregation through illiberal identity politics, and practitioners of new types of bigotry like the one directed at “privileged white males,” whom one may now harass and slander and abuse with all the gusto and stupidity of a drunken Klan Klavern.

Long before Trump, the debasement of the Democrat Party had become obvious, and the two terms of Barack Obama made it crystal clear. It was embodied in the career and candidacy of Hillary Clinton, the epitome of the unholy alliance of rank careerism, socialist cronyism, and big-government tyranny. It was clear from her own words that Clinton would advance the process begun in the Sixties and culminating in Obama’s administrations. Illiberal technocracy, foreign policy retreat, globalist encroachment on national sovereignty, a more redistributionist and less productive economy, and the further erosion of the Constitution’s safeguards of political freedom and individual autonomy––all would strengthen and expand under Clinton. Those were the stakes in 2016.

Yet how many NeverTrumpers, including those now seemingly undergoing a conversion, joined the Democrats in trying to destroy Trump once he secured the nomination? Worse yet, how many publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton, preferring her crony statism to Trump’s promise of a “cowboy capitalism” freed from the dead hand of regulation? By what moral or rational calculus could Trump’s violations of some people’s notions of civility, decorum, “democratic norms,” or “acting presidential” outweighed the risks of a Clinton presidency? Are Trump supporters so out of line to think that the NeverTrump animus reflected the tastes and preferences of a bicoastal privileged elite that looked down on the cultures and mores of flyover states?

Even if the NeverTrumpers are sincere in their new-found appreciation for Trump’s willingness to fight fire with fire, they still owe those who knew the stakes of the election an explanation for how blind they were to the nature of the progressive ideology that logically led to the character assassination of Brett Kavanaugh and the defilement of the Senate’s duty to provide advice and consent. 

But more important is what happens going forward. I’m not calling for self-censoring one’s criticism of the president. He should be held to account for his policies, particularly for his indifference to the growing hurricane of debt, deficit, and entitlement spending, and for his clinging to the Israeli-Arab “peace process” and “two states living side-by-side in peace” magical thinking. But sniffing at his brash style and crude straight-talk does nothing except encourage and legitimize those who correctly see Donald Trump as the greatest impediment to their transformation of America from a democratic Republic to a “democratic socialist” tyranny. 

By their fruits ye shall know them, as the Bible says. NeverTrumpers will be redeemed by directing their energy toward protecting freedom rather than some class-bound code of manners.

Redemption for the NeverTrumpers?


Dangerous Times for the Constitution and Freedom

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Dangerous Times for the Constitution and Freedom

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

While We the People distract ourselves with porn stars and royal weddings, the cracks in our Constitutional order continue to multiply and widen.

Evidence continues to mount that a sitting president, Barack Obama, colluded in using the nation’s security and surveillance apparatus to subvert the campaign and then presidency of a legitimately elected candidate and president. This effort consisted of numerous illegalities: a mole planted in Donald Trump’s campaign; a FISA warrant granted on the basis of false opposition research paid for by his rival; the outgoing president’s expansion of the number of people allowed to unmask the identity of Americans mentioned in passing during surveillance; a rogue FBI director, James Comey, who illegally usurped prosecutorial powers to exonerate a felonious Hillary Clinton; and other FBI agents colluding in the plot to damage Trump. And don’t forget a Deputy Attorney General appointing the close friend of the fired and disgraced Comey as a special counsel to investigate the non-crime of “collusion,” an investigation that has gone on for a year with nothing to show but a handful of indictments resulting from dubious perjury traps.

To quote Bob Dole, “Where’s the outrage” at these attacks on the Constitution?

Outrage is surely warranted. These assaults on the rule of law and accountability to the people are akin to the catalogue of “repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States,” published in the Declaration of Independence. Yet our “watch-dog” media in the main have become the publicists for this attack on the foundations of our freedom, as they flack for the political party that long has resented the limitation of power enshrined in the Constitution. Only a few Cassandras, notably FOX News’ Sean Hannity, are trying to alert the citizenry to the coming conflagration that if unchecked could leave the architecture of our freedom in smoking ruins.

In fact, what we are witnessing in the deep-state Democrats’ undermining of divided government, check and balances, and government accountability, is the culmination of a process begun over a century ago. Addled by the false knowledge of scientism and secularism in the 19th century, the progressives took aim at what they scorned as the archaic political structures based on the permanence of a flawed human nature’s susceptibility to corruption by power. Divided and balanced power, the progressives argued, is inefficient and incapable of solving the new conditions and problems created by industrialization and modern technology.

Instead, power must be concentrated, centralized, and expanded. The deliberations and votes of citizens in their towns, counties, and states must give way to the technocrats housed in bureaus and agencies, and trained in the latest discoveries and techniques of the “human sciences.” In 1925, Progressive publicist Herbert Croly expressed this hubristic and question-begging optimism for a “better future” that “would derive from the beneficent activities of expert social engineers who would bring to the service of social ideals all the technical resources which research could discover.” All they needed was the power and authority to create and apply the mechanisms of this new knowledge.

First, though, the Constitution’s antique structures must be altered. This “increased amount of centralized actions and responsibility” required, as progressive historian Charles Beard wrote in 1913, the discarding of the “strong, almost dominant, tendency to regard the existing Constitution with superstitious awe, and to shrink with horror from modifying it even in the smallest detail.” And it required discarding as well the notion of “inalienable” rights that precede government and lie beyond its power, a belief that Beard called “obsolete and indefensible.” Rights can be created by government in order to suit its own ideological and political aims, as FDR promised in his 1944 “Second Bill of Rights,” which expanded rights to include health care, recreation, and a good job, to name just a few of the gifts government would bestow on the people.

So given this long history, why are we surprised that today many of us believe we have a right not to have our feelings hurt, our opinions contradicted, or our sensibilities wounded even by statements of fact? Or that calls for weakening the Bill of Rights, particularly the First and Second Amendments, are made openly and taken seriously by substantial numbers of people? Or that agents of the government armed with all its coercive powers can violate our privacy and command our participation in politicized “investigations” that ruin our reputation and drive us to bankruptcy? Or that petty clerks across the land can force their way into our homes, businesses, schools, and churches in order to impose their visions of “social justice”?

Today we live in the world the progressives created, and that too many so-called conservatives have endorsed and enabled. The deep-state technocratic apparatus has encroached ever more deeply into citizen autonomy and freedom. Its millions of faceless, nameless functionaries are insulated from accountability to the citizens. Even when their politicized debasement of their responsibilities become known, they escape accountability and punishment, as have the IRS’s Lois Lerner and her enabling boss John Koskinen, disgraced FBI director James Comey, deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, and of course most egregiously, quondam Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who endangered classified materials on her rogue server, and turned the State Department into the bait for attracting donations to her private foundation.

The result has been a serious erosion of the bedrock principles of equality under the law, and accountability to the sovereign people––violations whose scope and gravity have become more obvious and numerous.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. Over the decades the preconditions of today’s excesses have multiplied and become more accepted. Few of us question any longer the deep state of unelected bureaucrats, a surveillance regime empowered to run wild through our private lives, the unholy alliance between big government and big business, and government agencies usurping the power to direct and manage our lives and our opinions. We now take for granted that government should expropriate wealth and redistribute it to political favorites, the very activity that political philosophers from Athens to our own Constitutional Convention warned is the modus operandi of the tyrant. We shrug off the abuses of power that currently are manifest in the machinations of the previous administration to empower its chosen successor, and the skullduggery of its minions still infesting agencies like the DOJ and the FBI.

In short, we have accepted the progressive “fundamental transformation” of the government’s role from protecting our freedom to “solving problems” that, with few exceptions like war, a free people are supposed to solve themselves through families, civil society, and city and state governments. We have been seduced by the promise of freedom without that responsibility and the accountability that make our choices potentially tragic. And now we see the federal leviathan rampaging in our most powerful agencies, and we are surprised? As the Founders were wont to say, “power is of an encroaching nature.” No human being or human institution is immune from the temptations of power, or satisfied with whatever power has been obtained. We are witnessing the truth of this wisdom right now, as criminals run free, the innocent are hounded, federal agencies are emboldened to defy the representatives of the sovereign people, and a special counsel is unrestrained by any limits on the scope of his power, even as those like Representative Devin Nunes––who is fighting against this cardinal sin of allowing or even enabling power to burst through its Constitutional restraints––are slandered and demonized.

For a century, progressives have been undermining the Constitution as they seek to expand and concentrate government power at the cost of freedom. Their rage at Donald Trump in part reflects their disappointment at seeing the success of Obama in accelerating their achievement of their goal thwarted by a blunt-talking indecorous outsider. Now they have called on all their deep-state powers to destroy the usurper who has snatched from them the victory Hillary Clinton promised to consummate.

This continuing scandal of government agencies corrupting their Constitutionally delegated powers is one of the most important threats to ordered liberty at least since World War II, one far more dangerous than the farcical cover-up of a two-bit robbery that was the Watergate scandal. If we allow those guilty of abusing the power of the state for partisan gain to get away with it, we will embolden even more enemies of freedom to do the same as soon as they get the opportunity. It is up to we the people to demand that Mueller’s inquisition come to an end, and that the true miscreants who have abused their power be investigated, indicted, tried, and punished. Only then will the fabric of the Constitution begin to be restored, and our freedom rearmored.

Dangerous Times for the Constitution and Freedom


Let Our Stale Foreign Policy Dogma Leave with Tillerson

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Let Our Stale Foreign Policy Dogma Leave with Tillerson

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Rex Tillerson’s departure from the State Department is an opportunity to correct the fossilized received wisdom that for years has hampered our foreign policy. His replacement, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, seems likely to rejuvenate State by bringing a more realist philosophy to our relations with the world.

From the start Tillerson was a dubious pick to implement the president’s policies, and his differences with Trump were predicated on the same assumptions evident in Barack Obama’s two terms. Obama is the epitome of the globalist idealism that dominates Western political and business elites. In their view, interstate relations and conflicts are best managed with “supranational constraints on unilateral policies and the progressive development of community norms,” as Oxford professor Kalypso Nicolaides put it. This “security community” favors “civilian forms of influence and action,” rather than military, and the “soft power” international idealists regularly tout to create “tolerance between states” and to “move beyond the relationships of dominance and exploitation” by mean of “integration, prevention, mediation, and persuasion.” 

Obama’s disastrous foreign policy mirrored these utopian goals, what the New York Times at the beginning of Obama’s presidency identified as a “renewed emphasis on diplomacy, consultation, and the forging of broad international coalitions.” The Times was quoting Obama.  In a 2007 Foreign Affairs article, he highlighted the “need to reinvigorate American diplomacy,” and to “renew American leadership in the world” and “rebuild the alliances, partnerships, and institutions necessary to confront common threats and enhance common security.” These goals, moreover, required toning down expressions of American exceptionalism, which he recommended in 2009, and participating in global affairs “not in the spirit of a patron but in the spirit of a partner–– a partner mindful of his own imperfections.”

Obama’s two terms reflected these recommendations. His foreign policy was one of American retreat and “leading from behind.” The results were disastrous. The abandonment of Iraq created a vacuum which was filled by Iraq, Russia, and ISIS, followed up by the gruesome civil war in Syria and the ongoing slaughter and refugee crisis continuing today. The misguided “multinational” NATO adventure in Libya, ostensibly to protect civilians, instead led to the collapse of political order, the proliferation of jihadi outfits, and the flooding of the region with weapons from Gaddafi’s arsenals, which in turn set the stage for the murder of four Americans in Benghazi. Most dangerous was the nuclear deal with Iran, the fruit of Obama’s emphasis on “diplomacy, consultation, and the forging of broad international coalitions.” The outcome of this leap of faith has been the financing of Iran’s terrorist regime, and enough breathing space for the mullahs to move closer to their goal of nuclear-armed missiles.

Trump was elected in part because he rejected this shop-worn internationalism and its shibboleth of “soft power.” It was strange, then, that he made Tillerson his Secretary of State. As CEO of Exxon-Mobil, Tillerson comes from a world of global business and political elites, where consultation and negotiation––deal-making, not violence––are the mechanisms of doing business. There is no indication from his words and deeds that Tillerson grasped the immense global diversity in cultures, mores, values, and beliefs that are the roots of state action, and that make the “international community” a delusion useful for global commerce and the dogmas of collectivism. He seemed not to take into account that agreements and treaties are not expressions of international “community norms,” but of national self-interest and ideological passions. For most nations, even our so-called “friends and allies,” diplomacy is weaponized in order to serve interests and passions that are radically different from, and often inimical to, our own. 

On Tillerson’s departure he said something that expressed this misguided idealism: “U.S. leadership starts with diplomacy.” No, U.S. leadership starts with prestige, our credibility with friends and enemies alike that we will use our immense military and economic power to help our friends and hurt our enemies. Diplomacy without “swords,” to paraphrase Thomas Hobbes, are “mere words.” The sincere belief that we will use mind-concentrating force against those who seek to damage our own security and interests is the necessary precondition for successful diplomacy. Without that belief, diplomacy, negotiated agreements, talks, and summits become the means for our rivals and enemies to achieve their own aims on the cheap––and for feckless politicians to create the illusion of doing something when the political cost of action is too high.

The two main points of disagreement between Tillerson and Trump focused on differences in foreign policy philosophy. Tillerson and others wanted to stay in the Paris Climate Accords because “we” had agreed to them, and it would hurt our credibility if we withdrew and thus appeared indifferent to the coming global-warming apocalypse. This is the stale and dishonest argument the Democrats used against George W. Bush when he didn’t sign the Kyoto Accords. But such executive decisions are not made by “We the people.” A treaty confirmed by the Senate, those more directly accountable to the people, creates a binding obligation. And even then, any sovereign nation can leave any treaty, which is why NATO and the EU have in their treaties provisions for withdrawal. 

And Trump had good reasons for withdrawing. Like its numerous ineffectual predecessors, the Paris Accords had little to do with alleged catastrophic global warming. Its modest goal of a 2˚ Celsius reduction in temperatures by 2030 was already out of reach by the time Trump took office, and even if achieved would have barely reduced the projected warming. This will not surprise anyone who knows that the whole history of “global warning” has been driven by political and economic interests that came before the “science” (see Rupert Darwall, The Age of Global Warming). And those interests are inimical to our own, especially the hit to our economy that such policies would inflict, as Obama’s “war on carbon” illustrated during his tenure.

That’s why Obama didn’t present the Paris Accords as a treaty requiring two-thirds of the Senate, who being subject to the ballot-box had no more interest in such a costly fraud than the Senate did in 1997, when it voted 97-0 not even to consider the Kyoto treaty. Nor is Trump’s withdrawal damaging to our “strength” or prestige, but rather the opposite: a signal to allies and enemies that we will not damage our own interests just to get some international plaudits for hewing to the global received wisdom about the dubious theory of human-caused catastrophic climate change.

Much more dangerous is Tillerson’s support for the nuclear agreement with Iran that Trump during his campaign roundly denounced and promised to scuttle. Tillerson publicly expressed his preference for the option to “stay in the deal and hold Iran accountable to its terms,” which he said would require Iran to act as a “good neighbor,” a bit of naïveté dangerous in a Secretary of State. The Iran “agreement” also was not submitted to the Senate as a treaty to be approved or rejected by the people’s representatives, bespeaking Obama’s distrust of the citizens. As a result, an anti-Semitic, genocidal, theocratic regime, the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism and up to its elbows in American blood, was given in cash and sanctions-relief a multi-billion-dollar reprieve from accelerating economic collapse, and a clear road for achieving its aims of acquiring nuclear weapons deliverable by long-range missiles. 

This suicidal act of appeasement was justified, at least publicly, by the same old nostrums of idealistic internationalism that motivated Neville Chamberlain in Munich. In a 2015 speech justifying the deal, Obama employed all the worn-out tropes of a “postmodern” foreign policy and its fetish for “soft power.” He praised “our ability to draw upon new U.N. Security Council resolutions” and “hard, painstaking diplomacy––not saber-rattling, not tough talk”; and he decried “military action” which “would be far less effective than this deal in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” relying on the specious argument that all-out war is the only effective use of force. 

And he promoted the goal of reintegrating Iran into the international community, claiming that “the majority of the Iranian people have powerful incentives to urge their government to move in a different, less provocative direction––incentives that are strengthened by this deal.” If Iran takes that chance, “that would be good for Iran, it would be good for the United States.  It would be good for a region that has known too much conflict.  It would be good for the world.” Of course, this is the same Obama who in 2009 sat on his hands when brave Iranians protested against the corrupt, brutal mullocracy, and who thinks that giving fanatics and murderers nuclear weapons will normalize their government rather than empower their aggression.

Tillerson’s replacement, Mike Pompeo, has been clear in his hawkish public statements that the Iran deal is failing and should be rejected: “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism.” Unlike Tillerson, he has a good relationship with the president, with whom he communicates frequently. One hopes that he will remind Trump that “deal-making” prowess in the business world is light-years from negotiations with state rivals and enemies, where force or a credible threat of lethal force is the sine qua non. He may also encourage Trump to make his policy actions match his campaign rhetoric, and unlike Tillerson, discard a failed foreign policy idealism predicated on naïve internationalism and a fetish for verbal processes. His appointment will be a big step toward undoing the manifold foreign policy failures Obama left in his wake.

Let Our Stale Foreign Policy Dogma Leave with Tillerson