10:27 AM, Feb 21, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Matthew Continetti writes at the Washington Free Beacon on the consequences of a feckless foreign policy. He channels Thomas Hardy and his 1915 poem, "The Convergence of the Twain." Here's an excerpt:
Hardy’s poem begins with the image of the Titanic “in a solitude of the sea / Deep from human vanity.” It is a ruin. Frigid waters flow through the “steel chambers” of the engine room, which once “late the pyres / Of her salamandrine fires.” Beasts of the sea—“grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent”—crawl “Over the mirrors meant / To glass the opulent.” The ornamentation of the cruise liner is dimmed, “bleared and black and blind.” Where human beings once walked, “Dim moon-eyed” fish swim instead. Hardy anthropomorphizes them, has the fish ask, “What does this vaingloriousness down here?” What caused the wreckage?
Hardy’s answer is “The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything.” As the engineers, mechanics, and builders fashioned the Titanic in Belfast Harbor, they had no awareness of that “Immanent Will,” which unbeknownst to them “prepared a sinister mate / For her—so gaily great— / A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate.” The ship and her nemesis were intimately connected: “And as the smart ship grew / In stature, grace, and hue, / In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.” In retrospect the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the christening of theTitanic was pitiable. The iceberg was always out there. It was always waiting.
Watching the strange mix of clumsiness and insouciance with which Barack Obama and John Kerry approach the world, the abstract and aloof manner in which they comment and posture on foreign affairs, it is hard not to recall Hardy’s metaphor of growing dangers distant from the center of civilization. The recent news of a possible terrorist plot against airliners flying to the United States, and of a threat against the U.S. embassy in Uganda, remind us of the durability of the ideology and menace of Islamic terrorism. The ability of non-monarchical Arab governments to control their populations has collapsed, creating an arc of stateless space that begins in Libya and Egypt, is briefly interrupted by the tiny, embattled, belittled, and bullied Jewish State, and extends through Lebanon into Syria and western Iraq.
This is our iceberg.
Read the whole thing here.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:15 PM, Oct 25, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with contributing editor Matthew Continetti on his recent editorial and why the GOP needs to learn the lesson of Healthcare.gov's failure.
Jun 3, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 36 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
"We provided horrible customer service,” outgoing acting commissioner of the IRS Steven Miller told the House Ways and Means Committee on May 17, referring to evidence that his agency had targeted Tea Party groups for special scrutiny in determining tax-exempt status. The passing remark, which so neatly captured the attitude of condescension and entitlement Miller brought to the hearing, was part of an apology. As grovels go, it wasn’t the best.
Mar 25, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 27 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
"With Obama-care entrenched, Democrats feel free to gripe,” read the headline in Politico. And gripe is the word. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington gripes that the administration won’t subsidize Americans “just above the poverty level.” Senator Bill Nelson of Florida gripes that the administration “negotiated away” funding for insurance co-ops. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland gripes that Obama-care doesn’t address the national crisis in pediatric dentistry.
What stands in the way of a Republican revival? Republicans.Mar 18, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 26 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
I doubt John Boehner has read much feminist theory, but it’s never too late for him to start. He and other GOP leaders, not to mention the Republicans who want to run for president in 2016, might want to familiarize themselves with the concept of the double bind. They are in the middle of one, and it will be difficult for them to escape.