1. In 1994, you wrote the book Dead Right; it was described by Frank Rich as ‘the smartest book written from the inside about the American conservative movement.’ Did you expect your first published book to be so successful?
I think that when you look back on the books you write, you can sometimes see a unity in them. The power of that book for me was that it stated a set of problems that I would be working on for much of the rest of my life. 'Dead Right' presented the problems but it didn't have a good answer; the ending of the book is the weakest part because I didn’t know what the answer was. I then spent much of the next 30 years rethinking that last chapter and trying to come up with better answers than I had in that first book.
2. You recently wrote a second part to your book Trumpocracy called Trumpocalypse. After the book was published, you had an interview with MSNBC and you said that at the time of writing you expected Trump's 'apocalypse' to be something along the lines of a trade war with China or a military war with Iran- not something like the pandemic we're living in. Do you still expect, as a long term repercussion of a Trump administration, something like a severe trade war with China, a major military war with Iran or something along those lines?
I think we're in the safety zone on both those things. In terms of a war with Iran, I think that with Trump gone we are in no danger: the Iranians do not want one, we don't want one, no one should want one. With Iran, we are looking at a huge country with a great and ancient civilization, the majority of whom probably want the same things: a democratic government and a prosperous economy. The task is to help us move Iran from what it is now to what it could be an and I have no doubt that they will, in the future, be a successful, democratic, thriving country as they have been in the past; we want them to get there peacefully and without anger at the United States and other countries. Unfortunately, we have had a trade war with China and it has been very costly. One of my criticisms of the new Biden administration is that they are maintaining many of the Trump trade policies against China for their own reasons; this is going a little out of style these days. I remain a believer in old fashioned free trade. For all our problems with China, none of them are going to be made better by trading less; trading more is always the answer.
Want to hear more about Frum's opinions on foreign affairs, including China and Israel? Come back to 'The Last Word' Tuesday to read more.