Let's Get Even More Depressed About Cuba: Hoisted from the Archives

LftRSMG: Super-good on how Bret Stephens does not know that he is not only Dr. Frankenstein but the Monster too:

Zach Beauchamp: Sean Hannity Called a Columnist an Asshole. What Happened Next Explains Donald Trump:

Bret Stephens and his ilk really did help create Trump--and they’re completely blind to the way in which they did it....

Stephens bemoans the way that "too much of the Republican Party became an echo chamber of itself".... This reads like a devastating indictment of Hannity and the rest of Fox News. But it functions equally well as an indictment of Stephens himself. Stephens wrote an entire book called America in Retreat, attacking Obama for bringing on a "new isolationism" in American foreign policy. This--there’s no way for me to say this kindly--is an utterly ludicrous thesis. We know what a "new isolationism" looks like: It’s Donald Trump, with his skepticism of the bipartisan commitment to NATO and alliances in East Asia that have formed the bedrock of American foreign policy since World War II.

By contrast, Obama has maintained... a military presence in about 76 percent of the world’s countries... pledged to defend NATO and East Asian allies repeatedly... intervened in several foreign conflicts, toppling Muammar Qaddafi and launching a major air campaign against ISIS. The idea that this is some kind of "isolationism" is laughable. Yet Stephens wrote a whole book premised on the idea that "America’s retreat... is the central fact of this decade." He wasn’t criticized for this inside the conservative movement. In fact, his book was widely praised by his peers.... Its core argument wasn’t especially original... a repetition of the constant refrain among conservatives writers and politicians that Obama was withdrawing from the world because he refused to intervene in every conflict. As if America’s globe-spanning military commitments would disappear if the US weren’t incrementally more involved in the Syrian civil war.

This is hardly the only time that Stephens has said something like this and been praised for it. Perhaps the most infamous example (there are many) is a 2013 column about the interim nuclear deal with Iran. Stephens called it "worse than Munich," a reference to the 1938 accord that ceded part of Czechoslovakia to Hitler.... Stephens’s column was, at the time, praised by conservative foreign policy elites. The "worse than Munich" line proved so popular that Commentary writer Rick Richman recycled it last year....

Stephens himself is in the echo chamber he decries.... There is no bright line between Bret Stephens and Sean Hannity. They can both only exist in a conservative informational environment where independent intellectual authorities are disregarded and a certain set of politically convenient but indefensible ideas are treated as catechisms. The key difference is that Hannity is less pretentious about it....

Rank-and-file voters bought into movement conservatism as an expression of cultural grievance and racism, not deep commitment to limited government principles. When someone better at manipulating those grievances came along, conservative elites couldn’t stop him by calling him out of touch with the expert policy consensus. They had spent years delegitimizing that criticism.... What we’re seeing now is a lot of purveyors of crank ideas, like Stephens, wondering how a purveyor of a different set of crank ideas could hijack their movement.... The irony is inexpressible.

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