Democrats spent the first two decades of the post-Cold War era rather relaxed about Russian provocations and revanchism. President Obama famously mocked Mitt Romney in 2012 for suggesting that Russia was our principal geopolitical adversary. Yet today the Dems are in high dudgeon over the closeness of secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson, to Vladimir Putin.
The most amusing part of the Trump transition has been watching its effortless confounding of the media, often in fewer than 140 characters. One morning, after a Fox News report on lefty nuttiness at some obscure New England college -- a flag burning that led a more-contemptible-than-usual campus administration to take down the school's own American flag -- Donald Trump tweets that flag burners should go to jail or lose their citizenship.
Twenty-five years ago -- December 1991 -- communism died, the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union disappeared. It was the largest breakup of an empire in modern history and not a shot was fired. It was an event of biblical proportions that my generation thought it would never live to see. As Wordsworth famously rhapsodized (about the French Revolution), "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive/ But to be young was very heaven!"
One of the more salutary outcomes of the recent election is that Democrats are finally beginning to question the wisdom of basing their fortunes on identity politics. Having counted on the allegiance of African-Americans, Hispanics, gays, unmarried women and the young -- and winning the popular vote all but once since 1992 -- they were seduced into believing that they could ride this "coalition of the ascendant" into permanent command of the presidency.
Donald Trump won fair and square and, as Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech, is owed an open mind and a chance to lead. It is therefore incumbent upon conservatives (like me) who have been highly critical of Trump to think through how to make a success of the coming years of Republican rule.
Last week, the U.N.'s premier cultural agency, UNESCO, approved a resolution viciously condemning Israel (referred to as "the Occupying Power") for various alleged trespasses and violations of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Except that the resolution never uses that term for Judaism's holiest shrine. It refers to and treats it as an exclusively Muslim site, a deliberate attempt to eradicate its connection -- let alone its centrality -- to the Jewish people and Jewish history.
The case against Hillary Clinton could have been written before the recent WikiLeaks and FBI disclosures. But these documents do provide hard textual backup.
The second presidential debate -- bloody, muddy and raucous -- was just enough to save Donald Trump's campaign from extinction, but not enough to restore his chances of winning, barring an act of God (a medical calamity) or of Putin (a cosmically incriminating WikiLeak).
And now, less than six weeks from the election, what is the main event of the day? A fight between the GOP presidential nominee and a former Miss Universe, whom he had 20 years ago called Miss Piggy and other choice pejoratives.
If you are the status quo candidate in a change election in which the national mood is sour and two-thirds of the electorate think the country is on the wrong track, what do you do? Attack. Relentlessly. Paint your opponent as extremist, volatile, clueless, unfit, dangerous. Indeed, Hillary Clinton's latest national ad, featuring major Republican politicians echoing that indictment of Donald Trump, ends thus: "Unfit. Dangerous. Even for Republicans."