Jay Nordlinger reports on Gary Kasparov's speech at the Oslo Freedom Forum:
Garry Kasparov, the chess great and democracy activist, is onstage. He is a physically robust and quick-moving fellow. You think the mind is quick, too?
Kasparov says, "Putin has engaged with and co-opted the West." Also, "we have more leverage than we think." "We"? Kasparov means democrats and well-wishers to democracy.
He says that Russia exports more than 80 percent of its oil and gas to the EU. And just a third of the EU's oil and gas comes from Russia. So who has the leverage? "Sellers need buyers," notes Kasparov.
He further says, "The Free World must break all forms of dependency on dictatorships. Engagement has failed." The Free World "holds many winning cards in this game of global poker." Yet "we fold our hands when Putin bluffs."
Kasparov wants people to wake up, it seems to me.
He cites this frequent caution: "Putin is too dangerous to challenge." Then he points out that, when President Truman launched the Berlin airlift, Stalin was in the Kremlin! He also brings up the Cuban Missile Crisis and KAL 007.
"It's all about us," he says. "Do we have the political will? The courage? Too many of us have forgotten how to fight dictatorships."
He gives a stirring speech, Kasparov does.
I wish Mr. Kasparov could give that talk in the Oval Office. Continuing with another post from the effusive Mr. Nordlinger, this time on Arkansas Senator-Elect Tom Cotton:
Finally, Nordlinger yet again:
He was expected to win in Arkansas. But that should not dim the joy of it, for the likes of me: He is one of the most impressive people in American politics. He is an officer and a gentleman, and an intellectual. He also turns out to be an adept politician. He should be a superb representative of Reagan-style Republicanism for years to come.
Covering his race for the House two years ago, I met a woman at a Cotton luncheon. She said to me, "He's perfect." I later related this to Cotton's mother - who said, "No, he isn't."
He is still awfully good, and his election to the Senate is wonderful.
In Maine, Governor Paul LePage was reelected. He may be the most interesting politician in America. He may also be the most unusual. He is fantastically blunt. He is almost anti-political, in his bluntness, his political incorrectness. He was born in the mill town of Lewiston in 1948. His family was Franco-American. Paul did not really speak English until he was in college. He was the first of 18 children. His father was a mill worker and a drunk. A violent drunk. He beat Paul so bad, the boy left home at the age of eleven. He lived in the streets for two years - seeking shelter here and there. He saw everything, at that tender age. Finally, a couple of families sort of looked after him. And he rose. He became a success in business and politics. He and his wife adopted a black kid from Jamaica.
Ladies and gentlemen, if Paul LePage were a liberal Democrat, he'd be celebrated across the country. He would be on the covers of magazines, and there would be movies about him. His story would be sung in folk songs. But he's a conservative Republican. So . . .