Boris Johnson is both the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the author of a respectful book on Winston Churchill. He holds himself out as a conservative to boot. Yet Walter Russell Mead captures BoJo in an emission of pandering pap that ought to embarrass him.
In his weekly Wall Street column today Mead quotes Johnson speaking to German media between the Group of Seven and NATO summits late last month: “If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn’t, but if he were, I really don’t think he would have embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has. If you want a perfect example of toxic masculinity, it’s what he is doing in Ukraine.”
Mead deconstructs the sentiment expressed in the remainder of his column. To adapt the gibe that haunted Churchill’s career, what about Catherine the Great? Mead makes me wonder if it is really necessary to say more.
I should like to add in a facetious spirit that Johnson’s uncertain grasp of the subjunctive is even worse than the pap. Of course, Churchill himself observed the proper use of the subjunctive. To take one example, he is occasionally quoted responding to female antagonists who expressed the desire to poison him under hypothetical marital circumstances: “And if I were your husband I would drink it.” There you have it.
BoJo’s claim that Putin’s war reflects his ‘toxic masculinity’ is as our UK cousins like to put it, ‘nonsense on stilts.’ He wants to be more like Catherine the Great, who overthrew a weak pro-western czar then conquered the Crimea. https://t.co/JmBnCAS1Hy
— Walter Russell Mead (@wrmead) July 4, 2022