In listening to and reading Fareed Zakaria, my neck is beginning to hurt. April 7th:
Now, today, comes this whiplash:
The administration’s basic foreign policy is coming into view, and it is not a reassuring sight — bellicose rhetoric, hollow threats, contradictory voices and little coordination with allies…. There is a pattern to Trump’s approach so far. It begins with bravado, the repeated use of rhetoric that is not backed up by much….
Tough talk is supplemented by aggressive military reflexes…. [E.g.] more bombs in Syria will not answer the question of how to defeat the Islamic State without abetting President Bashar al-Assad.
However a mere 14 days ago, according to Zakaria, what amounted to simply dropping more bombs in Syria was Trump's decisive, "big" presidential debut.
Still, in the commentary arena, another's flipping and flopping troubles me little. I can't let others' cerebral acrobatics get to me much, for I do the same; contradiction is an inescapable part of writing political commentary seven days a week, years on end, in changing circumstances. No scribbler could be, or should want to be, entirely consistent for consistency's sake — that would be only a sign of dogmatism. And of course any flip-flopping writer can always comfort himself via the written sentiment of America's most dynamic poet, Walt Whitman: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself…. I contain multitudes."
But I've got to add in the way of displeasure refinement, Mr. Zakaria, that your prevailing multitudes seem less like a blazing contradiction than a subtle apology for having blubbered favorably, two weeks ago, about Trump. Here, I encourage manly honesty instead. Just say flatly you got it wrong, you were too eager in praise, in short, you fucked up — and move on. That we'd forgive more readily than a too-shifty apology.