The Water’s Edge


It used to be said that America’s domestic politics stopped at the water’s edge. That doesn’t seem to be true today. Angelo M. Codevilla has a post over at America Greatness examining that failure in the context of the recent Helsinki summit and the event’s press conference.

This led to the final flourish. The Associated Press reporter demanded that Trump state whether he believes the opinions of U.S. intelligence leaders or those of Putin. It would be healthy for America were it to digest Trump’s answer: The truth about the charge that Russia stole the contents of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server is not to be found in the opinions of any persons whatever. The truth can be discovered only by examining the server in question—assuming it has not been tampered with since the alleged event. But, said Trump emphatically, those making the accusations against Russia have refused to let the server be examined by U.S. intelligence or by any independent experts. What is the point of accusations coupled with refusal of access to the facts of the matter?

The classic texts of diplomatic practice teach that diplomacy advances the cause of peace and order only to the extent that its practitioners avoid contentious opinions and stick to demonstrable facts.

The AP reporter, who should be ashamed, is beyond shame. Then again, so are the ruling class representatives who have redoubled their animus against Trump. Cheap partisanship is not all that harmful. It is the transfer of domestic partisan animus to international affairs, however, that has the potential to start wars.

Not so long ago, American school kids had to read George Washington’s farewell address, which warned in the most emphatic terms at his command to avoid that sort of thing for the sake of peace with other nations as well as among ourselves.

What that ignorant “journalist” was demanding of Trump—precisely what the credentialed experts should know better than to have demanded—was that the president of the United States scream at the president of Russia for all his evils. Competitive “virtue signaling” has become the way of political life in America. To the extent that it bleeds into America’s foreign policy, we are all in big trouble.

The post also has an interesting analysis of what the two leaders may have actually accomplished. Read the whole thing.