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October 12 2019
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Well, you can scratch “mandate of Heaven” from the Chosen One’s résumé. Thanks to his latest deft diplomatic maneuvering, President Trump has forfeited that accreditation in the opinion of someone who ought to know: Pat Robertson, the televangelist with a direct line to you-know-Who.

Trump was scolded—for his impulsive, potentially catastrophic plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria—pretty much across the board, by Republicans as well as Democrats. Even Marco Rubio. Even Lindsey Graham. The Kurds were none too pleased, either. So, the Pentagon and the White House lurched into familiar damage-control mode. But as usual, it was left to the president himself to assuage everyone’s fears with a simple tweet: “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

Phew! In his great and unmatched wisdom—and to think that just seconds ago we were virtually inconsolable.

These remain unsettled times. Sure, the photos and videos of Vladimir Putin taking a very manly 67th-birthday trek through the Siberian woods in fetching activewear cheered us more than a little (especially since he kept his fleece on), as did all the subpoenas flying around Washington (doomed though they were to be ignored by an administration determined to stay above the fray and the law). And there is the inevitable frisson of anticipation as the passel of Democratic candidates bears down on the next presidential debate, which will be the most crowded in history, though the total number of candidates has diminished by one. (Albeit a very tall one: if you were to lay them end to end, and compare before and after the announcement of New York’s six-foot, five-inch hobby mayor, Bill de Blasio, you’d find that the field has in fact been reduced significantly.) According to a new poll, the front-runner is Elizabeth Warren, even though she’s had to interrupt talking about her views on health insurance and climate change in order to discuss a 1971 pregnancy.

It’s all enough to make you reach for a whiskey—except now that’s apparently coming in edible, walnut-size capsules, courtesy of Glenlivet. Sorry, we prefer ours in a glass.

So, where to turn for solace? We at AIR MAIL—in our great and unmatched wisdom—recommend the issue you see before you. In it you will find accounts of an uncrushable Russian oligarch turned Gulag survivor, uncensored letters from Garbo (Greta), a screenplay by a defiantly untucked Boris (Johnson), an unexpected take on the life of Marie Antoinette, and unforgettable photographs by the great Sebastião Salgado. And so much more.

If that’s not a mandate of Heaven, we don’t know what is.

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