Peggy Noonan Would Like America To Be Great Again, Perhaps By Pounding Its Chest And Hooting Like A Drunken Biker
The sun shone for an hour later every day now, and with it the renewed energy of springtime. Sister Peggy Noonan of the Order of Glenlivet With a Splash of Water sat in her favorite saloon, examining the numerous tiny plastic swords, usually used for spearing martini olives but now olive-free and scattered all around her place at the bar. The mighty sword, a symbol of power, of strength, of that martial beat to which a soldier's inner ear tuned itself as he marched off to war, to fight for Mom, apple pie, and Old Glory. Welladay! Ranks of American soldiers, snappy in their uniforms and ready to force democracy and freedom and American-ness down the throats of the rest of the world, filled her mind's eye. The lines stretched to the horizon, an undulating field of the finest crops the country had to offer - its people. If the last century had truly been the American Century, surely this century could be the Even More American Than the Last One Because America You're Darn Tootin'! American Century. America, Peggy thought as she waved her empty cocktail glass in the direction of the beleaguered barkeep. Time to be great again!
If only the slovenly pussy currently occupying her beloved Ronnie's Oval Office would allow it. Peggy's mood darkened faster than the White House in January of 2009. Another rhythm filled her head, another martial beat. Only this one had heavy bassoon notes and accompanied black and white images from an Eisenstein film, the frames full of dour-faced men in heavy coats and fur hats sweeping off the taiga, marching relentlessly forward...and forward...always and forever forward...while America sat weak and vulnerable, having abrogated its responsibility to be a beacon of freedom, a shining city atop some geographical protuberance or other...
Exactly 100 years ago, in August 1914, the facts that would shape the 20th century gathered and emerged in the Great War. History doesn't repeat itself; you can't, as they say, step into the same stream twice. But it does have an unseen circularity.
Sounds as if someone has been watching True Detective. Yr Wonkette watched it as well, and our lasting thought was not "How can we incorporate McConaughey's pseudo-Aleister Crowley gibberish into a column about the geopolitical ramifications of the situation in Ukraine?" Of course we were not also blitzed out of our skulls on Jager bombs at the time. Maybe we should have been.
We are learning that history isn't over in Europe, that East-West tensions can simmer and boil over, that the 20th century didn't resolve as much as many had hoped.
Only idiots ever thought the 20th century resolved anything beyond "Capitalism good! Communism nyet!" Countries all over the world still feud over little parcels of land, and these feuds stretch back hundreds or even thousands of years. If anything, the end of the Cold War brought more of these conflicts out into the open, as anyone who remembers the wars in the Balkans during the Clinton presidency knows. This occupation of Crimea is just the latest step in a dance that has gone on since the Russians and Ottomans were fighting over the tiny peninsula since at least the 1700s. Sorry the Russians missed the memo that this sort of thing simply isn't done nowadays.
A Mideast dictator last year used poison gas on his own population and strengthened his position. He's winning. What does that tell the other dictators? What does it suggest about our future?
Dunno, Pegs. What did it tell that Mideast dictator who famously gassed his own people back when Saint Ronnie of Reagan was still president? Though to be fair, at that point Ronnie was so deep into the Alzheimer's he might have thought Saddam Hussein was a pita sandwich in an Egyptian restaurant. We're guessing Bashar al-Assad knew the chances that the United States could convince the rest of the world to put together an invasion force to occupy a country full of ardent Syrian nationalists and warring factions of Islamic radicals were pretty much nil. If history is any guide, Assad has about fifteen years until we invade Syria and overthrow him, by which point God help us if we're still reading Peggy Noonan columns.
The street in Cairo, say, is full of young men who are jobless and unformed. They channel their energy into politics and street passions. If they had jobs they'd develop the habits of work—self-discipline, patience, a sense of building and belonging—that are so crucial to maintaining human society. But they don't, so they won't.
Yeah, Egypt will settle down as soon as we open a Cairo Wal-Mart and get all those lazy Arabs jobs stocking its shelves. Did Paul Ryan ghostwrite your column this week, Pegs? Young people channeling their energy into politics - why we never!
Mr. Putin doesn't move because of American presidents, he moves for his own reasons. But he does move when American presidents are weak. He moved on Georgia in August 2008 when George W. Bush was reeling from unwon wars, terrible polls and a looming economic catastrophe that all but children knew was coming.
Also might have had something to do with Georgia launching an attack on Russian-controlled South Ossetia, killing a few Russian peacekeepers in the process, in order to reclaim territory it had lost in a war with the Ossetians back in 1991. Lord knows we loathe giving Vladimir Putin any credit for anything, but strictly in terms of who fired the first shot in that one, it was not the Russians.
Mr. Putin moved on Ukraine when Barack Obama was no longer a charismatic character but a known quantity with low polls, failing support, a weak economy. He'd taken Mr. Obama's measure during the Syria crisis and surely judged him not a shrewd international chess player but a secretly anxious professor who makes himself feel safe with the sound of his voice.
Paging Mr. bin Laden, Mr. Osama bin Laden to the white courtesy phone. Oh right. Then paging Mr. Gaddafi...dammit! Perhaps one of their numerous widows is available to take the call?
The most obvious Ukraine point has to do with American foreign policy in the sixth year of the Obama era.
Not being George W. Bush is not a foreign policy. Not invading countries is not a foreign policy. Wishing to demonstrate your sophistication by announcing you are unencumbered by the false historical narratives of the past is not a foreign policy. Assuming the world will be nice if we're not militarist is not a foreign policy.
What is our foreign policy? Disliking global warming?
Jesus H. Christ leading the Sixth Fleet through the Bosphorus Strait, is that a lot of stupid. Not being George W. Bush was about the only foreign policy open to America in 2009 after Dubya had just spent most of his presidency stomping around the rest of the world like a Japanese actor in a Godzilla suit stomping around a model of Tokyo. Obama pretty much won a Nobel Peace Prize just for not being George W. Bush. And it's not as if the guy turned out to be a pacifist -- see the aforementioned Mr. Gaddafi and his country's fate if you think otherwise. Also we're pretty sure that Afghanistan troops urge sent a couple of former Wonkette writers spinning off out of the Earth's orbit.
Not invading countries is not a foreign policy? We think that's a pretty goddamn good foreign policy, and we're betting many of the soldiers who did nineteen tours in Iraq and Afghanistan would agree, not to mention all the uninvaded countries. As for global warming, it's probably good to dislike it, considering it's going to result in Peggy's multi-million-dollar apartment on the Upper East Side being at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in a few years. Since the rest of the world seems to take it seriously as an actual problem, us disliking it might go a long way towards getting back some of that respect Peggy is so sure America has lost with President Mom Jeans at the helm.
Congratulations, Peggy. You have written the stupidest sentences of your career. Until next week.