Some years ago my friend and neighbor Baron Philip Lambert had my wife and me to dinner in his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, and the talk turned to Belgian history.
The 21st century is a return to the Age of Walls. As historian and archeologist David Frye writes in his important new book, Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick, few have noticed that a new era of wall building is now upon us . . .
As a second-year West Point cadet in March 1969, I was returning to my room after chemistry class midafternoon on a Friday. As I stepped inside Pershing Barracks, I saw a number of cadets huddled around a note posted on the stairway railing.
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It’s always the oil. While President Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent U.N. report about the prince’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the Middle East, pleading with foreign leaders to support “Sentinel.” The aim of that administration plan: to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.
When Sir Kim Darroch's secret cable to London was leaked to the Daily Mail, wherein he called the Trump administration "dysfunctional ... unpredictable ... faction-riven ... diplomatically clumsy and inept," the odds on his survival as U.K. ambassador plummeted.
When President Donald Trump's tweeted retort called Darroch "wacky," a "stupid guy" and "pompous fool" who had been "foisted on the US," the countdown to the end began.
The sensationally miscast Sir Kim Darroch, H.M. Ambassador to the United States, has now gone, followed by a grieving cortège of the Foreign Office. Their clan spirit is that of Macbeth. Even Sir Christopher Meyer, a pretty good Ambassador in his day (his memoir DC Confidential is highly readable), went in hard for Darroch within the hour after Theresa May announced his departure.
There are many things wrong with this book, beginning with its title. The Liberal Mind is not what this book is about. (Nor were the 1940's and 1950's really a Conservative Age—but let this pass.) It is about the intellection of the New York left. Liberality of mind is a desirable condition—yes, also (and perhaps especially) for political conservatives. It is an overall desideratum and not a term properly applicable to the designation of specific conventicles of intellectuals.