Max Boot and Eliot Cohen: Intellectually and Morally Bankrupt

The unbounded corruption of our foreign policy establishment was on full display this week in an interview two dedicated NeverTrumpers, Max Boot and Eliot A. Cohen, gave to Politico Magazine.

In a rambling, embarrassing, and hysterical display, they demonstrate exactly why the American people rejected their so-called expertise in favor of Donald Trump. The dismissal of their self-professed wisdom and accumulated experience in making a mess on the world stage has clearly left them in a psychologically precarious state. In the interview, each tries to outdo the other in knee-jerk stridency and the ad hominem nature of the insults they level at the president and his voters—a galaxy-sized irony completely missed by Messrs. Boot and Cohen, who claim to be principled men of decency appalled by our vulgar president.

Eliot A. Cohen

Cohen says Trump is “a narcissist, “lacks empathy,” and “has an adolescent male fascination with the military.” Not wanting to be outdone, Boot has a phalanx of slurs at the ready: Trump’s “very ignorant” and “kowtows to dictators and undermines American support for freedom and democracy around the world.” He’s “a bully” and “likes to beat up on people who are weaker than him.”

Boot rehashes the baseless and well-worn charge of “tyrant” and claims that “Trump, as a personality type, is probably not that different from a Mussolini, a Peron, a Chavez. And if you were operating in Argentina or Italy, he would probably be a dictator by now.” Boot’s cheap invocation of Theodor Adorno’s discredited authoritarian personality theory—which Adorno invented to show that anyone who leaned right was a Mussolini in waiting—frames his complete denial of reality.

On policy after policy, Trump has gone out of his way to defer to Congress—perhaps even sometimes to his detriment. From healthcare to taxes, he has given Congress free rein to enact the wishes of Republican leadership. And as the travel ban makes its way through the federal court system, Trump has abided by each and every decision the courts have meted out—no matter if he agrees with the ruling or not. He has honored the constitutional principle of the separation of powers more than any president since Ronald Reagan.

Domestically, Boot declares that Trump is “undermining the rule of law. He’s actively obstructing justice. He’s backing—he’s lending the support of the presidency to monsters like Roy Moore. He is exacerbating race relations. He is engaging in the most blatant xenophobia, racism, and general bigotry that we have seen from the White House.”

Apparently, pointing out that citizens and their property in our inner cities need to be protected from rising violent crime is abominable—though curiously, it seems not to have troubled him when the Bushes did it. Boot explains later that by “actively obstructing justice” he means that Trump is “undermining Robert Mueller and his special counsel investigation.” No, Mueller’s team is undermining their own scandal-plagued investigation just fine by themselves—they don’t need any help from Trump. It wasn’t Trump who likely illegally obtained emails from the transition team. And it wasn’t Trump who demoted Peter Strzok, a rabidly anti-Trump top agent at the FBI, but then didn’t tell Congress until months later.

Boot’s rhetoric would fit right in at the editorial meetings at Salon. Parroting DNC talking points and hoping for Republicans to get crushed in 2018 (Boot says that he is “actively rooting for Republicans to lose the congressional elections next year”) is what True Conservatism™ has come to mean, it seems. Evan McMullin, eat your heart out.

Max Boot

We know of Boot’s and Cohen’s jealous hatred of Trump. What do they think about those who serve in his administration, such as respected generals James Mattis, John Kelly, and H.R. McMaster? Boot claims that “they’ve probably felt compelled” to “lie” on Trump’s behalf. Cohen, one-upping Boot on the insults, appallingly likens these decorated and honorable men to “senior civil servants during the Vichy period in France”—you know, the French government during World War II that collaborated with the Nazis and helped to ship Jews to concentration camps like Auschwitz. For radical NeverTrumpers like Cohen and Bill Kristol, comparing those they disagree with to Nazis is just who they are.

Hilariously, Boot and Cohen pine for “real conservatives” like Jeb Bush, the “leadership” of “Jeff Flake and John Kasich,” and politicians like Emmanuel Macron, France’s “centrist” technocrat president. Yes, Jeff Flake, whose principles led him to give money to the radical pro-abortion candidate Doug Jones and exclaim that “decency wins” after Jones beat Roy Moore. This should destroy whatever shred of intellectual and moral authority Boot and Cohen have left.

The careers of Max Boot and Eliot Cohen are prime examples of the bankruptcy of our bipartisan neoconservative foreign policy establishment, which has overseen nothing but disaster and defeat for the U.S. on a global scale. Their policies helped set the Middle East ablaze by constant interventions (Boot has argued for intervening in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen—and that’s just for starters) and ramped up potential hostilities with North Korea, China, and Russia.

But they have the gall to claim that Trump will stumble into starting an “accidental” and “unnecessary” war with North Korea. This is from the same men who ask not whether we should invade countries but which ones we should invade next. Their record of advocating for endless war has created enemies, emboldened existing ones, hurt our allies as we involve ourselves in their internal affairs, and has made the world far less safe. Cohen was one of the chief architects of the Iraq War, one of the greatest military blunders of our time (and a war Boot has said he will not apologize for supporting, even in hindsight). Yet Cohen has the nerve to say that the Trump administration is “increasingly detached from reality.”

Boot, Cohen, and their globalist pals demonstrate that the real danger to our country comes from the dangerous groupthink that has captured our foreign policy elites. Their inability to come to grips with their failures and their lashing out at anyone who questions their dismal record shows that they should not have influence on U.S. foreign policy ever again.

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