• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Americans No Longer Have Neighbors!

JUNE 4, 2022 BY JOHN HINDERAKER at PowerLine:


I haven’t written much about the latest round of gun control hysteria, mostly because I have said everything I have to say on that topic many times over the years. The liberal solutions to mass shooting incidents, which are very rare, are every bit as silly and ineffective as their solutions to crime in general, which is ubiquitous and therefore vastly more important. Defunding the police makes about as much sense as banning some arbitrarily selected category of firearm. Neither measure will do anything to stem the tide of crime and violence that has swept over us.

The National Rifle Association has a great deal more expertise on these issues than left-wing politicians, and as you might expect, the NRA’s proposals make much more sense. The NRA’s response to Joe Biden’s televised gun control speech includes this:

The NRA has long supported securing our schools so that our teachers and children will be safe. We support strict enforcement of all our nation’s laws that target violent criminals. We support prosecution and punishment of criminals who break these laws. Indeed, the NRA supports the arrest, prosecution and punishment of any violent criminal or other dangerous prohibited person who tries to purchase or possess a firearm.

The Obama administration whined about gun crime, but actual criminal prosecution of crimes involving firearms sank like a stone, compared with the Bush administration, when Obama took office.

We support fully funding law-enforcement agencies. And, we wholeheartedly support the right of any law-abiding American to defend themselves and their loved ones. Even though it’s rarely reported, more than a million law abiding Americans use firearms in self-defense every year – most without ever firing a shot. What we don’t support are senseless policies like no-cash bail that create a revolving door justice system that only endangers good citizens. And, we will fight any proposal that will disarm law-abiding Americans.

This is perhaps the most important point, which for some reason we don’t hear much about:

And, America does have a critical mental health crisis. Many are sick, too few people are able to recognize their illness, and even less get help. The sad reality is there are too few resources for those who need it. Over the last 60 years, the number of beds available at psychiatric hospitals in America has dropped by 96 percent. In 1955, there were an estimated 340 beds per 100,000 people with mental health illnesses. In 2016, that number fell to 11.7 beds per 100,000 people. We must find a way to reach these people before they hurt themselves or others. And, we must fund places for these people to find refuge and treatment.

Emphasis added. The U.S. once had a mental health care system, but it was dismantled after a couple of unusually stupid movies portrayed closing down mental hospitals as a species of liberation. Now the mentally ill are either tossed out onto the streets or remitted to the care of their families, who often are entirely unable to deal with them. The Sandy Hook murderer killed his mother; the Uvalde murderer shot his grandmother. The liberals’ idea that families can cope with the seriously mentally ill is delusional.

Until this country develops an actual, functioning mental health care system that includes identification and hospitalization of the dangerously mentally ill on a reasonably consistent basis, we will continue to see high crime rates as well as occasional explosions of mass violence by the deranged.


Washington state drivers don’t have to pull over for the cops anymore, so they aren’t

by JAZZ SHAW at HotAir:  Jun 04, 2022  

Scott Terrell

Last July, a new law went into effect in Washington state that was described as “police reform.” House Bill 1054 made significant changes in how the police are allowed to do their jobs. Police unions had been protesting the measure, saying that it would negatively impact their ability to control crime, but the state’s Democrats cheered the bill as a way to bring more “equity” into the system. One of the changes put in place by the bill was a rule saying the police officers were no longer allowed to engage in high-speed chases except in very limited circumstances. In other words, if the cops see a driver doing something wrong and turn on their sirens and flashers but the motorist doesn’t pull over, there isn’t much they can do about it. To the great surprise of nobody with an IQ higher than tepid water, motorists have begun ignoring the police in increasing numbers and simply refusing to pull over. (KING5 News)

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) said drivers are increasingly refusing to stop for troopers – and other law enforcement agencies also said this is becoming a common occurrence.

The Northwest News Network reports that from January 1 to May 17 of this year, the agency logged 934 failure-to-yield incidents. While the patrol didn’t track this in the past, veteran troopers said there’s been a dramatic uptick in drivers fleeing traffic stops.

“Something’s changed. People are not stopping right now,” said Sgt. Darren Wright, a WSP spokesperson with 31 years on the job. “It’s happening three to five times a shift on some nights and then a couple times a week on day shift.”

It’s not just the State Police reporting this trend. Local cops are reporting the same thing. The Puyallup Police Department reported 148 drivers fleeing from patrol cars from July 26 of last year through May 18, 2022. The Police Chief in Lakewood, Washington told reporters that they are seeing this happen on average at least once per day.

The police believe that many people who hit the gas rather than pulling over are either drunk drivers or people in stolen vehicles. In other cases, there is no clear indication of why the suspects decided to flee.

The police aren’t allowed to give chase unless there is an increased bar of “reasonable suspicion” that the driver is impaired or there is “probable cause” to believe that the driver had committed a violent crime or sexual assault. This has basically put an end to high-speed pursuits because if they guess wrong, they won’t wind up getting a conviction anyway and the department could be tied up in endless lawsuits.

This was all entirely predictable and, in fact, state Republicans and police unions did predict it last year. This shouldn’t have required a rocket scientist to figure it out. Your average, law-abiding citizen who may have committed a minor traffic infraction is probably still going to pull over when the police hit their lights. But if you know you are driving while intoxicated or you’ve stolen a car or have outstanding warrants, why would you pull over for the cops when you know they can’t chase you? Criminals will clearly be happy to risk hitting the gas and making a clean getaway rather than being hauled off to jail.

This is yet another item in a long list of examples of “police reform” going on around the nation. When you reduce the disincentive for committing a particular crime, you get more of that type of crime. When you announce that the cops can no longer chase you, criminals will flee since they have nothing to lose. And we’re talking about a lot more than just your random person who had a few too many beers. Seemingly random traffic stops are one of the most common ways that people with outstanding warrants wind up being taken into custody. That tool is now unavailable to the police in Washington in most cases, so there are going to be more wanted fugitives out there roaming the roads.

Is There Anything Good About Putin’s Russia?

‘It Became Necessary to Destroy the Country to Save It’

BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN MAY 30, 2022 at PJMedia:

AP Photo/Andrew Marienko

Peter Arnett’s celebrated quote — “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it” — was a fabrication during the Vietnam War but has a macabre application to Ukraine. American fecklessness and Russian rapacity together will leave a grease spot where Ukraine used to be. It was all tragically, idiotically unnecessary.

I argued in 2008 and on many subsequent occasions, including the February 2014 note in PJ Media reposted below. The obvious course of action in Ukraine was to permit its people to vote for a divorce, as the Czechs and Slovaks did. Instead we elected to keep the NATO option open for Ukraine, knowing that this was a red line for Russia. Never mind that Putin is a wicked fellow; he is a predictably wicked fellow with a well-defined understanding of Russian national interest, and his response to Ukraine’s prospective NATO membership was entirely predictable.

After three months of nearly-unanimous media predictions of the collapse of Russia, it now appears that the Russian army is close to controlling the Donbas. Extricating it will be difficult if not impossible. The result, as Henry Kissinger suggested at Davos last week, will be (eventually) a peace in which Ukraine cedes territory to Russia. All the “don’t appease Putin-Hitler” rhetoric will simply make us feel shabbier when we make the deal. We should feel shabby. We screwed this up on the grand scale.

Our bathetic outpouring of sympathy for Ukraine served mainly to obscure the ugly fact that Russia has better strategic weapons than we do (hypervelocity missiles and the S-400/500 air defense systems). No doubt the Russian army is corrupt, as Western commentators aver, but not so corrupt by orders of magnitude as our Pentagon, which pays top dollar for obsolete weapons while Russia and China innovate. The Javelin and Switchblade and Stinger are fine toys, but the West remains in fear of Russian nuclear weapons–as well we should. The Biden Administration won’t sent long-range missiles to Ukraine because it fears, correctly, that Ukraine might use them to attack targets deep inside Russia and start a broader war.

Below is what I posed in February 2014, with citations from a “Spengler” essay in Asia Times in 2008. We could have partitioned a peaceful and intact Ukraine. Now we get to divide up the smoking ruins. Shame on us.

Ukraine Should Vote on Partition

Western governments are jubilant over the fall of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, a Russian ally. They may be underestimating Vladimir Putin: Russia has the option to hasten Ukraine’s slide into chaos and wait until the hapless European Union acquiesces to – if not begs for – Russian intervention. 

That leaves the West with a limited number of choices. The first is to do nothing and watch the country spiral into chaos, with Russia as the eventual beneficiary. The second is to dig deep into its pockets and find US$20 billion or more to buy near-term popularity for a pro-Western government – an unlikely outcome. The third, and the most realistic, is to steer Ukraine towards a constitutional referendum including the option of partition. 

Judging from Russian press coverage, Moscow already has washed its hands of the feckless Yanukovich. Russia Today whimsically observed on February 22 that Yanukovich lacked the sangfroid of Mikhail Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia and an ally of the West:

Yanukovich could also have dispersed the protesters and maintained public order in the country, whatever criticism it might have brought. This is how the then Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili, acted in 2007. He brutally suppressed a peaceful protest and called an early presidential election, which he won, instead of an early parliamentary election, which the opposition demanded and which his party could well have lost. Unlike the Georgian leader, Yanukovich hesitated even when the Ukrainian protest turned Kiev into a battlefield. [1]

Moscow has no need of allies with weak stomachs. But it will withdraw the offer of $15 billion worth of Ukrainian debt purchases and subsidies for natural gas exports to Ukraine and leave the nearly bankrupt country to the ministrations of the West. Careful what you wish for, Russia is telling the West. 

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that Ukraine should get money from the International Monetary Fund: “We consider that such a situation would meet the interests of Ukraine, would put the country on the path toward major structural reforms. We wish them success in this undertaking and in the rapid stabilization of the political and social situation.” 

Siluanov is being mischievous. Twice in the past six years, the IMF suspended promised loans to Ukraine after the country refused to cut salaries and pensions and raise energy prices. Russia had offered a loan without conditions; any money the West offers will require austerity measures that no Ukrainian government is capable of enforcing. 

I’ve argued for years that partition is the best solution for Ukraine, which never was a country but an amalgam of provinces left over from failed empires–Russian, Austrian, Lithuanian, Ottoman–cobbled together into a Soviet “republic” and cast adrift after the collapse of Communism. Lviv (Lemberg) was a German-speaking city, part of Silesia; before World War II a quarter of its people were Jews. Jews were two-fifths of the population of Odessa.

A fifth of the population, mainly in the East, are ethnic Russians; a tenth, mainly in the West, are Uniate Catholics, who have a special place in Catholic policy since the papacy of John Paul II. Ukrainian nationality is as dubious as Byelorussian nationality: neither of them had a dictionary of their language until 1918.

The country also is a basket case. At its present fertility rate (1.3 children per female), its 47 million people will shrink to only 15 million by the end of the century. There are presently 11 million Ukrainian women aged 15 to 49 (although a very large number are working abroad); by the end of the century this will fall to just 2.8 million. There were 52 million Ukrainian citizens when Communism fell in 1989. Its GDP at about $157 billion is a fifth of Turkey’s and half of Switzerland’s.  Ukrainians want to join the European Union rather than Russia so they can emigrate.  It is of no strategic, economic, or demographic importance to the West.

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, whose “F*** the Europeans” remark earned her 15 minutes of fame recently, ought to be fired for being plain dumb. I am no admirer of European diplomacy, but Europe will have to pay a good part of the bill for Ukraine’s problems one way or the other. I don’t see Congress offering $15 billion to support Ukraine’s foreign debt as Russia did last month. The Russians won’t abandon Ukraine, which they consider part of their territory, and they certainly won’t abandon Russian-speakers “orphaned” by the collapse of the Soviet Union. What does Ms. Nuland propose: land paratroopers? Just what are we offering to the Ukrainian opposition? American policy has alternated between indifference and impotent posturing. The Nuland tape was painful to hear for its sheer stupidity.

We cannot ignore a humanitarian disaster in a European country. But the idea that we can influence matters by promoting one or another opposition leader, as in the Nuland tape, is ridiculous. There is something we can do, however: Propose a referendum in which the people of Ukraine can choose constitutional alternatives–partition, confederation, or status quo. And the person who should act for the West is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for several reasons. First, she has credibility; second, she has guts (she came into politics through the democracy movement in East Germany); third, she speaks Russian and understands Vladimir Putin; fourth, she has more brains than anyone in Washington (a doctorate in quantum chemistry).

Russia never will permit the integration of Ukraine into NATO; were it to come to that, Russia would use force, and the West would stand by cursing. But Russia will settle for half a loaf, namely a Russian-allied Eastern Ukraine. Whatever we do, Ukraine will continue its slow, sad slide into oblivion. The diplomats have the dour duty of managing this decline with the minimum of friction.

I have been making this argument for years. From my 2008 essay, “Americans Play Monopoly, Russians Chess“:

On the night of November 22, 2004, then-Russian president – now premier – Vladimir Putin watched the television news in his dacha near Moscow. People who were with Putin that night report his anger and disbelief at the unfolding “Orange” revolution in Ukraine. “They lied to me,” Putin said bitterly of the United States. “I’ll never trust them again.” The Russians still can’t fathom why the West threw over a potential strategic alliance for Ukraine. They underestimate the stupidity of the West….

I will offer the assertion that partition is the destiny of Ukraine….

Russia’s survival depends not so much on its birth rate, nor on immigration, nor even on prospective annexation, but on the survival of the principle by which Russia was built in the first place. That is why Putin could not abandon the pockets of Russian passport holders in the Caucusus. That Russia history has been tragic, and its nation-building principle brutal and sometimes inhuman, is a different matter. Russia is sufficiently important that its tragedy will be our tragedy, unless averted.

The place to avert tragedy is in Ukraine. Russia will not permit Ukraine to drift to the West. Whether a country that never had an independent national existence prior to the collapse of communism should become the poster-child for national self-determination is a different question. The West has two choices: draw a line in the sand around Ukraine, or trade it to the Russians for something more important.

My proposal is simple: Russia’s help in containing nuclear proliferation and terrorism in the Middle East is of infinitely greater import to the West than the dubious self-determination of Ukraine. The West should do its best to pretend that the “Orange” revolution of 2004 and 2005 never happened, and secure Russia’s assistance in the Iranian nuclear issue as well as energy security in return for an understanding of Russia’s existential requirements in the near abroad. Anyone who thinks this sounds cynical should spend a week in Kiev.


Biden, who ran on competence, struggles to manage multiple crises

LA TIMES Jun 04, 2022 3:20 PM ET

“You can’t control the hand you’re dealt, and this is one of the worst hands any president has ever been dealt,” said Chris Whipple, the author of a book on White House chiefs of staff and another on the Biden administration to be published later this year. The formula shortage, he continued, “is really a political problem because he took a real hit with the Afghanistan withdrawal, and this is not helping.

“Only the toughest decisions get to the Oval Office, and they don’t always get there that quickly,” Whipple said. “I don’t blame Biden for not knowing sooner. Somebody should have told him sooner. But he owns it, because it’s happening on his watch.”

The president’s approval rating still hasn’t recovered from the rough exit from Afghanistan. And nearly 10 months later, with Democrats’ slim congressional majorities in jeopardy this November, questions of competency persist as the White House is working strenuously to address domestic concerns about inflation and public health while managing a plethora of foreign policy complications, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Voters expected the world would calm down when Biden became president, that the chaos would be replaced with competence. If you look at the last year and a half, the world is still upside down,” said Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster in Washington. “Trump’s chaos was personal chaos. This is mostly world chaos. But [Biden’s] ratings are low, and there’s not a sense that this is an administration in command. They’re a reactive administration instead of a proactive administration.”

What Do Dems Really Have Against Iowa?

Iowa Dems offer changes to caucus system

JAZZ SHAW Jun 04, 2022   

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

It’s still almost two years until the 2024 presidential primaries kick off, but Democrats in Iowa are already getting nervous and suggesting some “reforms” to their caucus process. That’s probably understandable when you consider what an unmitigated disaster the 2020 caucuses were. (It’s fair to argue that we still don’t know what the final margins were and we likely never will.) The DNC has already been looking at shuffling around the rotation and letting some other states go first, an idea that Iowans still hate vehemently. So to address the concerns of national Democrats, the Iowa Democratic Party is currently putting forward a proposal to make changes to the caucus process with the intent of making it less chaotic and fairer. But as you’ll see in a moment, the sweeping nature of the changes would turn the system more into a primary than a true caucus. (Associated Press)

In a last-ditch effort to salvage their leadoff presidential selection position, Iowa Democrats are proposing two key changes that they hope will increase participation and avoid the chaos that marred their 2020 caucuses.

One change would allow Iowa Democrats to submit presidential preference cards by mail or in person before caucus night. Critics have long argued that the caucuses, held in the dead of winter at the dawn of a presidential election year, have prevented older adults, disabled people and shift workers from being able to take part.

The second change would eliminate the often confusing and time-consuming process of realignment, where supporters of a candidate who does not reach a minimum threshold of support in a precinct are allowed to choose another candidate. The new plan eliminates a second choice.

This proposal was submitted to the Democratic National Committee’s rule and bylaws committee this month as Iowa seeks to retain its first in the nation status. But the changes detailed above would essentially turn Iowa’s caucus into an inefficiently structured primary. One of the main features of the caucus system is the in-person voting requirement. These changes would allow people to submit their preferences by mail or drop them off in advance at the caucus site. That’s pretty much the same as early voting and mail-in ballot voting.

Also, the caucus system allows voters to cast their ballots additional times with different choices if their first choice is knocked out of contention. The proposed changes would eliminate that part of the process entirely. Once again, that makes it look increasingly like a standard primary election. What’s the point of calling it a caucus?

Long-time readers likely know that I’ve never been a fan of the caucus process and I feel that it should be done away with. Forcing people to go stand up in public – frequently in view of their friends, neighbors, and even their employers – to cast their votes removes the secrecy of the ballot. Allowing people to vote multiple times for different people also strikes me as rather undemocratic. Why not just do away with it and run a primary using the same infrastructure that they have in place for the general elections?

Even these changes might not save Iowa’s bacon, however. The DNC has been complaining about Iowa for other reasons over the past several years. For one thing, they claim that Iowa “doesn’t reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party.” That’s a nicer way of saying that Iowa is just too white to reflect the party. (More than 90% of Iowa Democrats are white.) They also haven’t exactly been on a hot streak in terms of picking the eventual winner. In 2020 they basically split the vote between Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, with Joe Biden being little more than an afterthought.

Iowa and New Hampshire have been going first for far too long and for reasons that don’t make any sense. Both the DNC and the RNC would do well to just set up a rotating schedule of states that wind up going first. Or maybe just do all the primaries on the same day and get it over with. That’s how we do the national general elections, so it’s obviously logistically possible.

PowerLine Becoming Loony Tunes?

JUNE 4, 2022 BY SCOTT JOHNSON at PowerLine:


Taking a look back at what I have written about the Republican senatorial primary in Pennsylvania, I see I will have to retire my adaptation of the famous translation of one of the Roman poet Martial’s epigrams. When the outcome of the primary was still in doubt, I commented:

I do not love thee, Dr. Oz.
The reason why? Well, because…
Reasons — plural. I draw straws.
I do not love thee, Dr. Oz.

Yesterday afternoon David McCormick conceded to the Trump-endorsed Oz. The AP covers yesterday’s developments here. Politico here.

With Trump’s endorsement Oz edged McCormick by some 972 votes (out of 1,340,000) when the initial count finally came to rest. McCormick’s concession anticipates the outcome of the recount, which will conclude next week.

Both Oz and McCormick drew about 31 percent of the vote. Given the Trump endorsement, I thought that was a particularly weak performance on Oz’s part. Even Trump supporters weren’t necessarily sold on the merits of Dr. Oz.

Oz’s Democratic opponent is the unfettered leftist John Fetterman. Fetterman is fettered only by health problems that landed him in the hospital after his decisive win over Conor Lamb in the Democratic primary. I have posted a physician’s update on Fetterman’s health below. RedState’s Nick Arama explores the weirdness here.

Having chosen Fetterman, Pennsylvania Democrats are in a fightin’ mood. With any luck I will find the man behind the curtain of the Oz campaign and handicap this critical race a little further down the line.


“Fortunately, the U.S. Seventh Fleet prevented Mao from invading Taiwan in 1950”

June 3, 2022

Bret Stephens Says Biden Should Channel Truman on China-Taiwan – Really?

By Francis P. Sempa at American Thinker:

Bret Stephens is The New York Times’ resident “conservative” – which roughly translates into an opinion columnist who isn’t part of the Times’ far-left stable of writers. In his most recent column on China’s threat to Taiwan, he suggests that President Biden should “model” his policy on Harry Truman’s containment instead of FDR’s New Deal.

One wonders if Stephens has reflected enough on Truman’s policies in Asia – they were disastrous.

On Truman’s watch, China fell to the communists and formed a strategic alliance with the Soviet Union. Truman sent George Marshall to negotiate an end to the civil war between Mao Zedong’s Communists and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists – the latter was an American ally in World War II. Marshall failed, but that failure was due to Truman’s decision to gradually reduce aid to Chiang at the same time that Soviet aid to Mao increased. Instead of fully supporting an imperfect ally, Truman – whose administration was staffed with Far East advisers who were communist sympathizers and viewed Mao as an agrarian reformer instead of a brutal totalitarian – positioned the United States as an impartial mediator in the conflict.

Shortly after proclaiming the People’s Republic of China in October 1949, Mao formulated plans to invade Taiwan and conspired with Stalin and North Korean leader Kim Il-sung to launch the North’s invasion of South Korea. A few months before that invasion, Truman’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson publicly declared that the Korean peninsula was not part of the U.S. defense perimeter in East Asia. In his column, Stephens mentions Acheson’s “infamous mistake,” but as Truman himself once said, the “buck” stops at the president’s desk.

Then after committing the United States to fighting the communists in Korea without a congressional declaration of war (calling it a “police action”), and appointing a general – MacArthur – who wanted to achieve victory, Truman, after China massively intervened in the war in October-November 1950, suddenly discovered that Korea was, in the words of his Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. Truman expended the lives of nearly 40,000 U.S. soldiers in the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. That is not a “model” for any president to follow.  

Mao’s communists also provided sufficient assistance to enable Ho Chi Minh to defeat the French in the first Vietnam War, which set the stage for the communization of South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the 1970s. And Truman’s Korean War paradigm – fighting a war with a goal of something less than victory – served as a “model” for our defeats in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Fortunately, the U.S. Seventh Fleet prevented Mao from invading Taiwan in 1950 – Truman deserves credit for that. But Truman’s weakness and vacillation in East Asia undoubtedly persuaded Mao that he could eventually take Taiwan – which he tried to do twice in the 1950s. Only the strong leadership of President Dwight Eisenhower prevented that during the Taiwan Strait crisis of the mid and late 1950s. 

Truman left the White House with a well-earned and unpopular reputation. His worthy achievements in postwar Europe have rightly received applause from historians, but even there his seemingly unlimited global commitments announced in the Truman Doctrine were rightly criticized by such luminaries as George Kennan and Walter Lippmann.

Stephens writes that President Biden’s recent statements that the United States will militarily defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack were “prudent, necessary and strategically astute,” and demonstrate a “sense of history.” But instead of emulating Truman, Biden would have been better to channel Theodore Roosevelt – speak softly and carry a big stick. The problem, however, is that the stick isn’t big enough, and Joe Biden has never been mistaken for a prudent, strategically astute statesman. We can only hope that in East Asia and the western Pacific, Biden’s policies will not be as bad as Truman’s.

Jeffry Rogers

11 hours agoBret Stephens is a private school elitist and as most of these folks sometimes you want to say what. Like most such people they are somewhat disconnected from the real world in which most live. China is both beginning to implode and on the march. This is a dangerous combination. China has a military where the leaders are all jockeying for fame. On the other hand their strength may be an illusion. Their leader is a self interested megalomaniac who would fit in well with the progressive garbage that infects the world. The question is first can he be stopped and second if he can be what is the next step.

That comes down to the question of whether our military is capable. GWB wasted a lot of it on poorly executed adventures which accomplished little. It certainly was in the Gulf War but HW stopped them too early. Had they not been stopped Iraq may not have been necessary. The comes Obama who gives Iran. a nuke force and pallets of money while decimating the military. Biden is clueless about what time it is and so with that great brain made a disaster of the Afghan withdrawal and the aftermath. Even as we withdrew Taliban leaders needed to fear. They agreed to certain conduct and just gave us a finger. We needed a few Solemini treatments, instead we projected