Paul Greenberg

Well, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, or DSK as he's known to those who follow politics in France or the doings of Big Money anywhere, did promise to give the International Monetary Fund a "totally different" face.

Henry Kissinger, the former everything in American foreign policy, has a new book out, this one on China. If he's as right about far Cathay as he was about the prospects for an enduring detente with an enduring Soviet Union (remember it?), then his latest tour of the cloudy horizon should be a hoot. And as equally far-seeing.

The man who would be Metternich, the prince who restored the old order of Europe after Napoleon, has turned out to be ... only Henry Kissinger. Talk about a letdown. Once again the great and powerful Wizard of Oz is revealed as just the little man behind the curtain.

But the good doktor has never let his mistakes, especially those on a grand scale, get him down. He's all-American in that way. We all may have our failed dreams, but most of us eventually make our peace with reality. Dr. Kissinger's response is different. He writes a memoir. And in it he explains, if not very convincingly, how he was right all along. Much to his own satisfaction, if not to those burdened by human memory.

Henry Kissinger is not alone in that regard. Every former immortal from Bill Clinton to Britain's Gordon Brown seems to do it. And each such book is as boring as the other. And as predictable in its self-regard.

The biggest gap in Dr. Kissinger's political (semi)philosophy, though there are many nominees for that dubious honor, is obvious. Our own Dr. Strangelove fails to take into account one minor detail in human affairs: the influence of moral principle. Which may be only natural. We all tend to project our own values -- or lack of them -- onto others.

It's not just himself that Dr. Kissinger impresses. He's still a big hit on the Chicken (Kiev)-and-Peas circuit, where dilettantes in good suits can be counted on to nod sagely at his witticisms. But whatever Weltanschauung he's peddling this year, it's hard to believe that he himself swallows it all. He's much too intelligent.

Ending his presidential bid and publicity stunt, Donald Trump, known to followers of showbiz and Big Money less formally as The Donald, did make one more campaign promise, though it sounded more like a threat:

"I make you this promise: that I will continue to voice my opinions loudly and help shape our politicians' thoughts."

I believe him -- in part. If past is prologue, he will indeed continue to voice his opinions loudly. Also frequently, rudely and inconsequentially. Isn't that what all bores and boors do?


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.