A conversation with Tom Cotton, round 3

In between his conversations with Mark Helperin in October and with Roger Zakheim this month, Senator Tom Cotton sat for a wide-ranging interview with our friend Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution on November 14.

I’m so old I remember riding the elevator with Pennsylvania’s courtly Senator Hugh Scott when I worked as a Senate intern in the summer of 1969. Now Peter’s interview with Senator Cotton takes place in the Capitol’s Hugh Scott Room.

Peter has just posted here at NRO and on the Hoover Institution’s YouTube channel. The interview covers a variety of issues, including the wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, the looming conflict with China over Taiwan, and matters closer to home.

Among other things, Senator Cotton serves on the Senate’s Armed Forces Committee as well as the Senate’s Intelligence Committee. Peter takes up the letter of the Deep State 51, the Russia collusion hoax, and his own role identifying the source of the Covid virus at 35:00 of the video. Peter asks: “How can an American repose any trust in the intelligence operations of the United States…?” I’ll take that question for $50,000.

As I have mentioned when posting videos of the other interviews, Senator Cotton enlisted in the Army following 9/11. He subsequently served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division and in Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team. Between combat tours he served with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment (“the Old Guard”), an experience that inspired him to write Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery.

I first met Senator Cotton via email in 2006 when he was serving in Iraq (see “A word from Lt. Tom Cotton”). Jay Nordlinger told the rest of the email story in part II of his 2012 National Review profile of Senator Cotton that I posted verbatim in “A fateful letter to the editor of the Times.” (NRO seems to have taken down the expanded four-part version of Jay’s profile that was abridged when published in the magazine.) I first met him face to face in 2007 when he was serving in the Old Guard (see my “Sacred Duty” post).

Senator Cotton is a student of American foreign policy and the author, most recently, of Only the Strong: Reversing the Left’s Plot to Sabotage American Power. There is no one in our public life whom I respect more greatly than Senator Cotton. At 51:30 of the video, Peter asks what makes him tick. Hearing him out, one (I) can always listen and learn.

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