If drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” address was a remarkable performance in many ways: It simultaneously marked the zenith of American triumphalism and the nadir, not only of presidential speechwriting, but of U.S. pronouncements on foreign policy. That otherwise intelligent men in the Cabinet allowed this farce to be performed is a very disturbing indication of the depths of cynicism to which our leaders have descended. I had thought Albright and Clinton had reached rock bottom, but I was wrong.
One of the minor annoyances of growing old in a dying civilization is that we are constantly aware of how rapidly downhill everything is headed. Even the conversation about civilizations and empires, their rise and fall, their conflicts, has become steadily more stupid. In our grandfathers’ days, people were talking about Nietzsche and Spengler, and taking up the white man’s burden was the theme of speeches by Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill and poems by Rudyard Kipling; now we are reduced to Benjamin Barber and Samuel Huntington and the editorialists of the Wall...