The Plank

The Godfather Will Show Us The Way

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John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell have a fun and smart article in The National Interest comparing the Corleone family's response to the attempted assassination of Vito to America's response to 9/11. Tom Hagen counsels prudence and negotiation, and therefore represents the "liberal institutionalism" of the Democratic Party. Sonny Corleone wants vengeance and conflict, and thus represents today's neocons. And then there is Michael, the realist, who saves the Corleone family, and also presents a good model for the United States to follow in the post-9/11 world. (Just in case you think this isn't a thorough enough conception, Enzo the baker even has a role as today's Poland!).

Still, I was left wondering: Do these guys know that The Godfather movies are a tragedy? That the entire point of the story is that Michael sells his soul? Considering the fact that certain "realists" have been happy to sell their souls for a long time now (Henry Kissinger somehow comes to mind), this might have been an interesting direction for the piece.

Regardless, whether you agree with the essay or not, definitely check it out. 

--Isaac Chotiner 

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