For years I have enjoyed Mark Helprin’s novels – “Winter’s Tale” is specifically quite good. What many may not have known is that Helprin is a pretty prolific and uncompromising political opinion writer – and I believe that for many of my readers he may come off as strident and absolutist. In other words, his writing not the typical dreamy political ramblings of an arts-oriented observer.
This is from his latest in the Wall Street Journal, which is sure to raise some objections among some of you, myself included:
What we have here is an inadvertent homage to Lewis Carroll: We are going to cancel a defense that takes five years to mount, because the threat will not materialize for five years. And we will not deploy land-based interceptors in Europe, because our new plan is to deploy land-based interceptors in Europe. (…)
Not OK. When Neville Chamberlainreturned from Munich at least he thought he had obtained something inreturn for his appeasement. The new American diplomacy is nothing morethan a sentimental flood of unilateral concessions–not least, aftersome minor Putinesque sabre rattling, to Russia. Canceling the missiledeployment within NATO, which Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian ambassador tothat body, characterizes as “the Americans . . . simply correctingtheir own mistake, and we are not duty bound to pay someone for puttingtheir own mistakes right,” is to grant Russia a veto over sovereigndefensive measures–exactly the opposite of American resolve during theEuro Missile Crisis of 1983, the last and definitive battle of the ColdWar.
Stalin tested Truman with the Berlin Blockade, and Truman held fast.Khrushchev tested Kennedy, and in the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedyrefused to blink. In 1983, Andropov took the measure of Reagan, and,defying millions in the street (who are now the Obama base), Reagan didnot blink. Last week, the Iranian president and the Russian primeminister put Mr. Obama to the test, and he blinked not once but twice.The price of such infirmity has always proven immensely high, even if,as is the custom these days, the bill has yet to come.