Opinion Journal: Total Rubbish

The Wall Street Journal editorial page has always been an embarrassment, but lately it's turned into a proper cesspool. Today's offering, care of Ion Mihai Pacepa (who, the author note explains is "the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the Soviet bloc. His new book, Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination (Ivan R. Dee) will be published in November.") is titled Propaganda Redux and bluntly subtitled "Take it from this old KGB hand: The left is abetting America's enemies with its intemperate attacks on President Bush."

My oh my! I guess "old KGB hands" don't pull their punches.

There are a lot of problems with the ensuing article, which I'll leave to you to hash out in comments, but I will point out this one bit from the opening section:

I spent decades scrutinizing the U.S. from Europe, and I learned that international respect for America is directly proportional to America's own respect for its president.
That's probably right, though it's an issue of correlation, not causation. Pacepa is asserting that America's global reputation is influenced by how much domestic respect Americans give our president, but, realistically, America's global reputation and America's own respect for its president are directly proportional because Americans and non-Americans respect presidents who do well by America and the world, and don't respect presidents who don't—and non-Americans increasingly conflate their views of the American president with America. (Though they mostly afford the American people a more generous separation from our leaders than we sometimes deserve.)

If anything, Pacepa isn't making an argument that Americans need to withhold criticism from their president; he's making the argument that America would benefit from a separation of offices between the head of state and the head of government. (And we do.)

Although, coming from someone who also notes that "It is America's leader that counts. Let's return to the traditions of presidents who accepted nothing short of unconditional surrender from our deadly enemies," I'm quite certain that argument was unintentional.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus