"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Steyn on 2006 v 2001

It had been a long time since I read a piece penned by Mark Steyn - since his replacement as token North American right-winger in the Irish Times by Charles Krauthammer, if not beforehand. Steyn is a wittier writer than Krauthammer; on some occasions he can be superficial; other times, simplistic; others again, overly dismissive of other viewpoints. Today I checked out his website (www.steynonline.com) for the first time in a good while. And I found a piece published by him in the Chicago Sun-Times on August 20th. Steyn contrasts September 2001, when the U.S. twisted arms in Islamabad and Moscow in order to allow the Afghanistan operations to get under way, with the situation five years, on with unsuccessful negotiations with Iran and the month-long Israel-Hizbollah conflict ending without a decisive blow against Hizbollah. He makes one point that is worth thinking about, in typically combative style:
"At one level, the issue is the same as it was on Sept. 11: American will and national purpose. But the reality is that it's worse than that -- for (as Israel is also learning) to begin something and be unable to stick with it to the finish is far more damaging to your reputation than if you'd never begun it in the first place. Nitwit Democrats think anything that can be passed off as a failure in Iraq will somehow diminish only Bush and the neocons. In reality -- a concept with which Democrats seem only dimly acquainted -- it would diminish the nation, and all but certainly end the American moment."


Blogger Kevin Breathnach said...

I broadly agree with the bolded statement. It's a thread which is touched on heavily in Michael Gove's new book Celsius 7/7. He argues that it is the West's irresolution, rather than its zeal, that is provoking Islamic terror: the first Gulf War is the example he cites which is most aligned with Steyn's view here. I should have a review of Celsius 7/7 up on DL by this evening, so I'll touch on that note further.

As regards Steyn, I don't read him unless I'm pointed towards him - like now. The list of writers whom I would regularly read is laughably small, and has become smaller since I switched back to the Irish Times from the London Times. With the presence of the internet, it seems more difficult to focus on a few set writers. Whereas in the paper, like the Londonm Times, I read Aaronovitch, Pollard, Baker and Finkelstein a few times a week. I've digressed, so my apologies there.

Tue Aug 29, 01:58:00 PM GMT+1  

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