In the November 21 issue of The Weekly Standard, I have reviewedThe Maisky Diaries, edited by Gabriel Gorodetsky. This fine volume covers the personal writings of Ivan Maisky, Soviet ambassador to the United Kingdom during the critical period of 1932 to 1943. Here’s a bit of my judgment of the man:
In the 1930s, British foreign policy was still a matter of balancing the continental powers, particularly France and Germany; and if we avoid the arrogance that hindsight can bring, we should also remember that Neville Chamberlain genuinely thought he was securing a course for peace in Europe. Britain knew how weak its armed forces were—its army, especially—and this knowledge, as Lloyd George told Maisky, was doubtless a factor in Chamberlain’s “deal” with Hitler at Munich.
Maisky, however, had nothing but contempt for such calculations, coming across at certain times here as a kind of thirties neoconservative. Indeed, it’s hard at times to discern that Maisky was a Communist at all, or that he represented a brutal, totalitarian government. His comportment in these pages is measured; his language free of cant. Even his looks—the well-fed, portly body, the kindly eyes, the authentic smile—will strike the reader as very different from the dour, self-defensive faces of that era’s most prominent Soviets.
There are two effects of today’s routine Islamist terrorism, apart from the death and destruction, that are breaking the will of its target countries. One is that the regularity blunts our outrage: when bombings and shootings happen nearly every week, people begin to accept them as part of their new existence. Humans can get used to anything. And when they’re used to something, there’s no longer any will to stop it.
The other effect is that the regularity overwhelms the media, to the point where effective reporting on the attacks isn’t really possible. Let’s assume for a moment that the Western media actually want to report on all the attacks. There’s evidence that they’re more interested in protecting the comfortable lies of multiculturalism than in factual reportage: consider how far Sweden will go to keep migrant crimes hidden from the public. (See here, here, and here for explanation.)
In the August 12 issue of The Catholic Herald, I ask whether Christians in Turkey can stay out of danger in that troubled country. The piece is available only in the print and app editions, but here is a snippet:
In 2010, the Austrian politician Ewald Stadler delivered a rousing speech from the floor of the National Council in Vienna. For more than eight minutes, he harangued the Turkish ambassador, who was present in the chamber, for complaining about the treatment of Turks in Austria. Listing ignored crimes against Catholic clergy in the ambassador’s homeland – the kind of crimes Austrian imams don’t face – Stadler pulled back the veil of hypocrisy that covers any discussion of anti-Christian violence.
Here’s another bit:
Violence against Christians in Turkey may not be endemic, as it is in other Muslim-majority countries. But the periodic glimpses we get are every bit as horrific. One of the crimes mentioned by Stadler, for instance, was the gruesome murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese in 2010. The apostolic vicar of Anatolia was stabbed more than two dozen times and decapitated outside his home in İskenderun. The culprit was the bishop’s driver, a young Muslim man.
All these incidents prove that vile hatred lurks not far beneath the surface. It will only worsen if Turkey further embraces political Islam.
When Pope Francis visited Turkey in 2014, he called for greater tolerance and acceptance of Christians. There is little indication this will happen.
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In my first piece for The American Interest, I write about the amazing career of the late Arnaud de Borchgrave, whom I had the privilege of meeting about a year before his death. Arnaud was one of the last practitioners of a dead age of journalism we desperately need back:
When he talked, he peered at you, his head cocked down slightly so that his eyes, set behind wire-rimmed spectacles, seemed fixed behind rather than on you. It was not a creepy or uncomfortable stare; it was simply the confident gaze of a man born and cultivated in a very different era. I suspect Arnaud was always aware, and always proud, that he was becoming more of an anachronism as the years wore on.