Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Whatever works

On the most recent episode of Madam Secretary -- all right, it's the chick version of The West Wing -- Elizabeth, the title character, has to explain to a Gold Star mother why her son was killed in Ukraine.  She does this with a brief, concise history of NATO (which she calls, with only a little hyperbole, "the most important agreement since Magna Carta"), and how it has prevented another arms buildup, another European war, and not incidentally Russian aggression in the West.  "An attack against one is considered an attack against all."  When she has finished the mother (and the audience) have the basic outline of this organization they may know, if at all, from history classes long ago.

The timing may be intentional; it may not.  Tomorrow a president who does not read, knows nothing of his own country's history much less Europe's, and gets all his information from television (or ten minutes with the president of China) will arrive in Brussels, which he called a "hell hole," to take part in a meeting of NATO, which he called "obsolete."  If there is anyone around him who is not one of Putin's puppets, if there is even one person who cares about liberal democracy and world peace, he or she should try hard to screen this episode for him prior to the meeting.  Make sure he has a caffeine buzz from Coca-Cola, and hint that Tea Leoni is still plenty hot.

It can't hurt.


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