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‘Axis of Evil’ architect David Frum blasted after lamenting Germany ‘sitting in America’s chair’ for treating Navalny

‘Axis of Evil’ architect David Frum blasted after lamenting Germany ‘sitting in America’s chair’ for treating Navalny

Bush speechwriter turned Never-Trump liberal hero David Frum is wringing his hands over Germany taking over from the US to play nursemaid to Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny. It hasn’t been received well.

Germany, by airlifting Navalny to a Berlin hospital after he fell ill on a flight to Moscow and treating his alleged poisoning, was “sitting in what used to be America’s chair,” Frum complained in a tweet on Thursday. 

Frum made it clear that he wasn’t condemning Germany – “whose doctors saved Navalny’s life and whose chancellor has championed him” – but mourning the US’ place on top of the world, which he implied had been abdicated by President Donald Trump and his poor policy choices.

His nostalgia for empire was widely mocked on social media, however. Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald reminded him that it was his own work in the Bush administration that had triggered a death-spiral of US credibility in the world, sarcastically suggesting the country “return to the time when Americans like [Bush defense secretary] Don Rumsfeld & [Bush deputy defense secretary] Paul Wolfowitz were the globe’s moral beacons.

The idea of “America’s chair” was a particular target. “We started losing that chair with the Iraq war. You might remember,” one commenter snarked, while others suggested the “chair” was of the electric variety.

Others questioned whether the US’ moral authority had ever existed in the first place.

Frum’s followers, however, eagerly lapped up the posturing, embracing the chair metaphor and commiserating on Trump’s disrespect for geopolitical furniture. “Trump threw that chair out with the trash,” one said, suggesting it wasn’t “surprising that someone else picked it up.”

While Frum declined to respond to the majority of his critics, he did take a shot at Greenwald, accusing him of not being sufficiently horrified by Navalny’s alleged poisoning – eliciting further sniping from the journalist. The pair have debated publicly on issues related to the war, torture, and foreign policy.

Once the neoconservative brain tasked with writing George W. Bush’s speeches, Frum reinvented himself as a “moderate Republican” after his successor Barack Obama took office, warning against extremism in the party and ideally positioning himself for his more recent transformation into Atlantic senior editor and liberal icon. 

However, as Bush’s speechwriter, Frum’s cheerleading for the War on Terror – best epitomized in the phrase “Axis of Evil,” the label used to condemn Iraq, North Korea, and Iran as enemies of America – helped the US abdicate its “chair” to squander decades of international goodwill and its domestic prosperity on a disastrous never-ending conflict. 

Also on
Charite clinic in Berlin, where Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is being treated, where he was taken in a coma from a hospital in Omsk.
Associates of ‘poisoned’ opposition figure Navalny’s team could face 7 years in prison for taking evidence out of Russia

The German government declared earlier this month that Navalny was poisoned by a Novichok-family nerve agent, claiming French and Swedish scientists had supported their findings. Russian doctors who initially treated Navalny in Omsk found no evidence of poison, however.

Russia has accused Berlin of being uncooperative and not sharing evidence, while some in Germany and the US appear to be rushing to leverage the incident to impose another round of punishing sanctions on Moscow.

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