Three Punchy Views on Western Civilization and Democracy November 5, 2023November 4, 2023 Bill Maher on Western Civilization. (Spoiler alert: he’s for it.) John Adams: “There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” He wrote that in 1814. I found it in the introduction to John Avlon’s Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations. Here we are two centuries later — with a former president who plotted a coup and a MAGA Republican Party that seems willing, if not eager, to perpetuate it. Globally, Tom Friedman gives us the big picture: Step back far enough, and you can see exactly what is driving so much geopolitics today: Ukraine is trying to join the West. Israel is trying to join a new Middle East. And Russia and Iran have teamed up to try to block both. Unfortunately, the new G.O.P. House speaker, Mike Johnson, is either too inexperienced or too ideological (or both) to see this (or to care). . . . If it sounds like an utterly incoherent worldview that would undermine the American global leadership that has shaped a world we’ve thrived in for the past century, it’s because it is. And if it feels as if House G.O.P. leaders are small thinkers in a big time, it’s because they are. They are shameless, shameful and dangerous. Please do our country a favor and audition for Fox News on some other issue. Because this IS a big moment — comparable to 1945 or 1989. If Ukraine is able to escape Russia’s grasp and eventually join NATO and the European Union — with its formidable army, agricultural exports and technology prowess — it would be a giant boost for a Europe whole and free. And if Israel can be maneuvered back to the bargaining table for a two-state solution with the Palestinian Authority — to pave the way for normalization between the Jewish state and Saudi Arabia — it would be a huge boost for a new, more pluralistic Middle East built around Palestinians, other Arabs and Israelis focused on strengthening their people’s resilience for the future and not their resistance to each other and to the West. If these tectonic shifts can happen, the post-post-Cold War world has a far greater chance to handle other global challenges, like climate change, than if these shifts are stymied. But you don’t need to speak Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Russian or Ukrainian to understand that Iran-backed Hamas launched its war to stymie the Saudi-Israel normalization and prevent Tehran from being isolated and that Vladimir Putin launched his war to stop Ukraine from expanding a Europe whole and free and prevent Moscow from being isolated. . . . Worth reading in full. Have a great week.