This isn't a "clash of civilizations" so much as two clashes within civilizations -- in the West, between those who believe in the values of liberal democracy and those too numbed by multiculturalist bromides to recognize even the most direct assault on them; and in the Islamic world, between what's left of the moderate Muslim temperament and the Saudi-radicalized death-cult Islamists. Those Westerners who still believe in Western values have no problem supporting reform elements in Islam. As the old song says, I dug Musharraf when Musharraf wasn't cool. In this space on October 21st 1999, I hailed the General's coup as the best news from Pakistan in years. As far as I can tell, Mr. Gwyn never said a word about Musharraf until March this year. But back in October 1999 his newspaper was, like our former Foreign Minister Lloyd Softpower, huffing and puffing about expelling Pakistan from the Commonwealth. Had Softworthy and The Toronto Star got their way and restored Nawaz Sharif to power, this year's nuclear stand-off with India might have gone very differently.Exactly what I've been trying to say in my own modest way, summed up in three paragraphs. (Link via Little Green Footballs.
As a matter of fact, most of us warmongers are quite happy to side with moderate Islam against psychotic Islam. We backed Hamid Karzai over the Taliban. In early October, I argued for the overthrow of the House of Saud and the division of their phoney "kingdom" between the Hashemites and the less wacky Gulf Emirs, including Qatar's. In November, in the British press, I called on the EU to admit Turkey as a member. Last month, I wrote approvingly of the anti-Ayatollah demonstrations in Iran.
In fact, for a year we warmongers have been doing what the singalong left keeps urging us to do: address the "root causes." If poverty breeds desperation breeds hopelessness breeds clichés, then the best way to address it is not by increasing humanitarian aid to Saddam and Boy Assad and thereby merely adding to their pension funds, but by overthrowing 'em.
Friday, September 13, 2002
Update: The Green jackanape quoted in this FT article muttering about the "supreme decision-making power of the UN Security Council" makes me want to yarf. Endorsement of bogus, invented authority for purely political reasons.
Thursday, September 12, 2002
"Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance," Bush said. "All the world now faces a test ... and the United Nations, a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced ... or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding ... or will it be irrelevant?"
No other superpower in history has been so multilateral and modest about its status, says Donald Kagan, a professor of classics at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. "It's very important to understand that the ancients were very different from what we are today," he says. "I would say that [America] is the great exception in the history of the world. It hasn't been so long that everybody held the same view that the ancients did, which is: 'Empire is natural, empire is glorious; there's no reason to apologize, one should be very proud of it.' "The article mention's Geoffrey de Villehardouin's description of Constantinople. Of course, Villehardouin, a Frenchman, would shortly be involved in the sack and destruction of Constantinople, which would despoil forever the wonders he gazed upon, in an attack made out of envy, spite, and greed masqued behind claims of pious moral superiority. Plus la change as they say in France.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.
Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it. When distant cities are hit by earthquakes, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.
The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans. I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States Dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar, or the Douglas 10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American planes?
Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon - - not once, but several times - and safely home again.
You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.
When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the American who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.
I can name you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.
Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those.
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
- a) They should then be supporting a vast increase in military spending to train and equip the new inductees and expand the force-structure.
- b) If, like Hesiod, they make the "see someone with their legs blown off" retort, they should volunteer to be the ones (or have their loved ones be the ones) who are blown apart, burned, or pulverized (like most of the casualties on Sept. 11th) when the position they advocate results in death and destruction. Because it's not a question where their position will avoid people getting killed and the pro-war position will. Not at all. That's one reason why many of us are pro-war. Like Patton said, a battle, even a bloody one, is often the only way to limit and reduce the total killing. Getting it over with sooner saves more lives in the long run.
Monday, September 09, 2002
I am not particularly a war lover, and on the occasions when I have seen warfare as a traveling writer, I have tended to shudder. But here was a direct, unmistakable confrontation between everything I loved and everything I hated. On one side, the ethics of the multicultural, the secular, the skeptical, and the cosmopolitan. (Those are the ones I love, by the way.) On the other, the arid monochrome of dull and vicious theocratic fascism. I am prepared for this war to go on for a very long time. I will never become tired of waging it, because it is a fight over essentials. . .Only a complete moral idiot can believe for an instant that we are fighting against the wretched of the earth. We are fighting, as I said before, against the scum of the earthToo bad the reflexive anti-Americanism and hostility to Western Civilization which drives so many on the Left blinds them to what Hitchens sees. I would echo this as well:
Last September is commonly said to have "changed everything," but it hasn't done so yet. As it does, we will move closer to a cause, and a country, that is already well worth fighting for.