Monday, April 13, 2015

Charles Krauthammer Interview (Updated)

Several days ago, Bill Kristol interviewed today's preeminent conservative pundit, Charles Krauthammer. It is a fascinating look at both Krauthammer's personal journey from left to right as well his opinions on American politics of this day:

0:00 - Discussing his political journey to the right over the issues of national defense and foreign policy. He mentions his time as a writer at TNR and as a speech writer for Walter Mondale.

2:52 - Krauthammer found that he agreed with Reagan "from the start."

4:42 - Democrats lost all touch with of reality after they lost power in 1980. They agitated against taking any actions to counter the Soviets. "On every strategic issue," the left completely lost the plot. Krauthammer has some nice things to say about Pres. Carter.

10:00 - Krauthammer did not foresee the fall of the Soviet Union. It was a complete surprise. He describes it as "biblical." Their system was illogical, inhuman and overstretched. In hindsight, it's fall was inevitable. Pat Moynihan and Reagan are the only two who foresaw it.

13:55 - Describing Reagan. Krauthammer coined the phrase "the Reagan doctrine" in one of his columns as a way to clarify it for the Reagan administration itself, so that they could pursue it with coherence.

18:00 - Meets with Reagan for lunch. It took him years to realize that Reagan was a brilliant man who preferred to present himself as a simple man.

22:30 - George Bush was a man of tremendous courage. He was a man of convictions who was always willing to listen. In the end, he achieved his objectives in Iraq.

24:45 - A unipolar world emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We were the sole power left in the world, a situation not seen since the days of ancient Rome. The issue now is how to deal with challenges that are asymmetric. We tried to do it with the nuclear non-proliferation treaties, but that is now shredded.

31:00 - Nuclear proliferation among states is the great threat of our time. And we do not have an adequate answer yet. The Obama administration is hastening our step down from the top position in a unipolar world, inviting foreign adventurism and aggression.

32:50 - 9-11 marked the end of our "holiday from history" that began after the fall of the Soviet Union. For a time, during that period, we imagined that peace and prosperity are part of the air we breath, but every period of peace is in reality the result of a great nation imposing its will on the world.

36:58 - Bush responded effectively to jihadism, creating our response from scratch. Then we elected in Obama a President who believes that America is not exceptional and has no moral authority to act as the world's arbiter - a very dangerous proposition in a unipolar world. Iraq was won by Bush. It fell apart under Obama and the absence of any American influence.

40:20 - Decline as a nation is a choice. Clinton was wobbly about American power. Obama is ideologically opposed to American power. We are, in his eyes, a nation intrinsically flawed. Obama wanted an America diminished. We are not diminished in Krauthammer's eyes, though we are on that trajectory. We can come back. It is why the 2016 election is so important.

45:56 - Krauthammer doesn't know whether Hillary will continue the Obama "path of decline" should she become President. He doesn't know where she stands on any of the issues. Americans, other than the hard left, do not like America on this path. America has liberated more people, on more continents, than any other nation in the history of the world. We are seeing now, in 2015, the effects of the Obama's decision to retreat and withdrawal from our position of power beginning in 2008.

51:00 - Our nation can survive Obama domestically. We are stronger than our domestic problems make us seem. It only takes a strong leader to reverse the narrative. We get the leaders we deserve. Americans are rejecting Obama's European social model for our economy. 2016 election may well be a pivotal one in American history.

55:00 - Discussing his life growing up in Quebec. It was a European political culture. He was cleansed of political romanticism in a radicalized university and learned to love John Stuart Mills at Oxford. He discovered the history and politics of America through self study. There a reason America is still with its original Founding documents while France is on its Fifth Republic. Our Founders were practical and pragmatic men.

1:12:50 - Discussing his time in medical school and his practice of medicine. Seven years practicing in medicine gave him real world experience with humanity and human suffering. Marxism and Freudianism are the two great intellectual derangements of the 20th century. Both are completely discredited. The only place Marx is regularly taught today is in college English departments.

1:21:45 - Discussing Judaism, the Talmud and American law. The Talmud, commentaries on the Torah, shows majority rule and respect for dissenting opinions.

1:30:03 - Discussing Israel and Zionism. Jews have always been in Israel. The creation of Israel was not an act of colonization. It is a return. Jews are the only people who did not disappear from history after their exile. Hebrew is the only dead language restored. Zionism predated WWII by a hundred years. Krauthammer "doesn't believe in God but fears Him greatly." He rejects atheism as a religion, and a false one.

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