Journal Entry

S.FREEPORT, MAINE—The biggest even in foreign affairs of the past week or so, trumping (as it were) even Schumer’s capitulation to the Israeli lobby on the Iran accord, is the Republican debate sponsored by Fox News in Cleveland last week. I found it hard to look at the glitzy set without flinching away from time to time, ever a reminder, as it is, of the transformation of American politics into sheer spectacle. And none of the candidates had a damn thing to say of any worth as to how they would conduct American policy abroad. But in the sheer detachment from reality came the simulacrum of the G.O.P line. No matter who in that lineup runs on the Republican ticket, we will be in for a dangerous time should he win the final race.

My own take, to be developed in a column I’ll write this week, is that we’re watching the real-time destruction of the Republican party. One couldn’t be happier, though the struggle against the end will be bloody, surely. The outstanding question is whether Americans will choose, via the presidential election next year, to take the nation down with the G.O.P.

All to be explored in days to come.

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WITH THIS NOTE I post three columns done most recently. They concern two policy questions—climate change and Iran, through which Obama has (and good for him) faced us with fundamental questions; the above-noted G.O.P. Show last week, and the most recent news on Ukraine and the attendant confrontation with Russia. This last reminds me of (and disturbs me as such) the “phony war,” that weird interim in late 1939 and early 1940, when there was a calm across Europe from which no one drew serenity. I gathered up a lot of small sweepings here; taken together they make a formidable pile of rubbish. I’m uneasy with things as they stand, as Europeans were during the months of the phony war.

The breeze off Casco Bay, where we stay with friends a few days, beckons.

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