Mark Danner is Chancellor’s Professor of English and Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and the Humanities at Bard. His most recent book is Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War. His work can be found at www .markdanner.com. (March 2017)
Until I arrived at the Review as an editorial assistant, I had never met anyone who so rarely engaged in idle pleasantries as Bob. His daily language was pared down, accurate, and sincere. I found his example revelatory, and I would ponder his usage and elisions like a giddy college freshman. Bob would never, for instance, wish us a good weekend. Presumably he had no particular investment in the quality of our weekends, and possibly he didn’t even know when his assistants’ weekends were, since we took turns working Saturday and Sunday shifts with him. But was he also, I wondered, rejecting the implied value of a good weekend? Is the goal of leisure time pleasure? Edification? Novel experience? If we couldn’t settle on criteria, we couldn’t possibly arrive at a valuation, in which case why bother asking on Monday morning how someone’s weekend had been?
Trump uses chaos to shock his opponents into varying crouches of outrage and contempt and then lunges forward amid the tumult wherever he sees an opportunity presenting itself. It is against this reality that we must see the likelihood of a crisis as the vital springboard of a Trump presidency, especially an increasingly shaky, unpopular, and unstable one.
Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power
by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher
Donald Trump offers such consummate political theater—his gargantuan narcissism makes him so mesmerizing to watch—that it is to wake abruptly from an all-enveloping dream to realize that much of what he says has no…content behind it. His assertions, framed in simple, concrete, direct language, are not policy statements so much as attitudes.
All American elections tend to be touted as historic, for all American culture tends toward the condition of hype. Flummoxing, then, to be confronted with a struggle for political power in which, for once, all is at stake. We have long since forfeited the words to confront it, rendering superlatives threadbare, impotent.
Observe the celebrity known as Donald Trump saunter onto the stage at Boca Raton, twenty minutes after his helicopter swoops in. The slow and ponderous walk, the extended chin, the pursed mouth, the slowly swiveling head, the exaggerated look of knowing authority: with the exception of the red “Make America Great Again” ball cap perched atop his interesting hair the entire passage is quoted whole cloth from the patented boardroom entrance of The Apprentice.
The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture: Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program
by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Mark Danner has been writing in these pages about the use of torture by the US government since the first years after September 11, 2001. Following the release in December 2014 of the Senate’s report on the CIA torture program, Hugh Eakin spoke to Danner for the New York Review …
From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War
by Robert M. Gates
As I had told President Bush and Condi Rice early in 2007, the challenge of the early twenty-first century is that crises don’t come and go—they all seem to come and stay. —Robert M. Gates Early 2007: American troops are pinned down in the fourth year of a losing …
One of the main findings of the Senate investigation of the CIA’s torture program was not simply the abuse, or the law-breaking, or the moral reprehensibleness of it. It was that there was a fundamental corruption of governance, in which the CIA persistently lied, not only to Congress but to the executive branch to which it ostensibly reported.