Commandments O’ Logic
The other week, I had the pleasure of attending a speaking engagement highlighted by the brilliant and well-spoken journalist, Bret Stephens. Short, sweet and to the point, Stephens engaged his viewers while also offering wonderful and thought-provoking insight into the … Read More
The other week, I had the pleasure of attending a speaking engagement highlighted by the brilliant and well-spoken journalist, Bret Stephens. Short, sweet and to the point, Stephens engaged his viewers while also offering wonderful and thought-provoking insight into the incredible yet labrynthine world of politics and always-shifting alliances. And if that wasn’t enough, plenty of humorous bits were sprinkled throughout the speech, including his tongue-in-cheek wish to "see Hillary Clinton walk around in a shirt" with the message "events happen." (This of course, in reference to the cleaned-up saying that "things" happen, rather than more a more risque phrase.) The speech was so engaging, and now, without further ado, the wisdom of the Wall Street Journal’s Mr. Bret Stephens! The backbone of the speech was a handful of commandments:
1.) "Thou shalt nt succomb to the lore of the so-called inevitable." Basically, he reasoned, there is nothing that is unstoppable, there is nothing that cannot be changed. Stephens focused on the idea of Iran holding a nuclear weapon, and how such a prognostication should not signal our acquiescence to such a dangerous proposal.
2.) "Don’t succumb to temptation of negotiation for negotiation’s sake." Stephens noted that negotiations is "simply a tool of statecraft," but it would be "foolish to think we have to" negotiate over just anything.
3.) "Thou shalt not forget human rights activists and supporters of democracy in Middle Eastern states." Too often, the unsung heroes of freedom are overlooked in the Middle East, which is a terrible shame.
4.) "Thou shalt not forget about Egpyt and Pakistan." This point noted that there are serious problems facing both of these large countries, including the Taliban in Pakistan and a weak (and elderly) Egpytian leader, and the impending issue of who will rule Egpyt next.
5.) "Thou shalt take the Iranian regime at its word." If the Iranians and Ahmadinejad are saying they want to wipe Israel off the map and destroy the "Great Satan" of the U.S.A., don’t take it lightly.
6.) "Thou shalt not let the name of Israel and the Jews be traduced." [Isn’t traduced a great word? SAT vocab!] Namely, don’t stand by as the minority is unjustly slammed.
7.) "We need to start making a much better case for Israel." (Start thinking about the "total case for Israel.") Stephens noted that unfortunately, "the main thrust of criticism of Isrsael is coming from the left. This is sad, as only decades ago, the "liberal" Democrats of yore (such as President Harry Truman, Scoop Jackson and Jeane Kirkpatrick, among others) were the staunchest supporters of the state of Israel, because they felt it was right to support the underdog, and had special personal convictions to support Israel as well.
Listening to Mr. Stephens, one is reminded of the youthful and hip college professor who seems to have a very good understanding of all facets at hand. The best part? No one fell asleep… nor were they even tempted, as all stayed awake, engaged and responsive. I’d call that a rip-roaring success, especially on a Tuesday evening. I would go again anytime, and recommend as much to anyone else interested in learning more about current international relations and statecraft, particularly in such a tumultuous environment. Overall, a 5-star speech by an erudite scholar of our time.