I had the extraordinary opportunity to interview with Mark Steyn here last Thursday in what proved to be one of the most informed and decidedly grim conversations on the state of the geopolitical/religious landscape. It seems this intensely bright young man, a virtual beacon of truth and light, is as prolific as he is brilliant. Fresh on the heels of his new book America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It , he writes this editorial in today’s NY Sun;
Getting Aggressive Again Mark Steyn
[…] what I thought of President Bush and I replied that, whatever my differences with him on this or that, I thought he was one of the most far-sighted politicians in Washington.That’s to say, he’s looking down the line to a world in which a radicalized Islam has exported its pathologies to every corner on earth, Iran and like-minded states have applied nuclear blackmail to any parties within range, and a dozen or more nutcake basket-case jurisdictions have joined Pyongyang and Tehran as a Nukes R Us one-stop shop for all your terrorist needs. In 2020, no-one’s going to be worrying about which Congressional page Mark Foley is coming on to. Except Mark Foley, who’ll be getting a bit long in the tooth by then.
But if it really is, as Democrats say, “all about the future of our children,” then our children will want to know why our generation saw what was happening and didn’t do anything about it.They will despise us as we despise the political class of the 1930s. And the fact that we passed a great prescription drug plan will be poor consolation when the entire planet is one almighty headache.
The jihad’s still there. Kim Jong-Il’s still there.The Iranian nukes are still there. The slyer Islamist subversion from south-east Asia to the Balkans to northern England goes on, day after day after day. And one morning we’ll switch on the TV and the smoke and flames will be on this side of the Atlantic, much to President Rodham’s surprise. Bush hatred is silly and parochial and reductive: history is on the march and the anti-Bush crowd is holding the telescope the wrong way round.
“We’re in this grand ideological struggle,” said the President two days later.“I am in disbelief that people don’t take these people seriously.” He was sitting in the Oval Office with a handful of columnists including yours truly. At the risk of making that C-SPAN caller’s head explode, it was a great honor. I wasn’t the only foreigner in the room: there was a bust of Winston Churchill, along with those of Lincoln and Eisenhower. A war president, a war prime minister, a war general.
President Bush was forceful and informed, and it seems to me he performs better in small groups of one-night-only White House correspondents than in the leaden electronic vaudeville with Helen Thomas,David Gregory and the other regulars. (You can judge for yourself: Michael Barone has posted the entire audio at US News & World Report’s web site.) He dismissed the idea that going into Iraq had only served to “recruit” more terrorists to the cause. (General Pace told me last week that, if anything, the evidence is that Iraq has tied up a big chunk of senior jihadists who’d otherwise be blowing up Afghanistan and elsewhere.) The President’s view is that before it was Iraq it was Israel; with these guys, it’s always something. Sometimes it’s East Timor — which used to be the leftie cause du jour. And, riffing on the endless list of Islamist grievances, President Bush concluded with an exasperated: “If it’s not the Crusades, it’s the cartoons.”That’d make a great slogan: it encapsulates simultaneously the Islamists’ inability to move on millennium-in millennium-out, plus their propensity for instant new “root causes,” and their utter lack of proportion.
“We need to be on the offense all the time,” said the President. I pointed out that, when the military are obviously on offense — liberating Afghanistan, toppling Saddam — the American people are behind them. But that it’s hard to see where the offense is in what to most TV viewers has dwindled down to a thankless semi-colonial policing operation with no end in sight. How about a bit more offense? Syria’s been subverting Iraq for three years. Why not return the favor?
“We are on the offense,”he insisted,sounding sometimes as frustrated as us columnists that so much of the wider momentum had become (in Charles Krauthammer’s words) “mired in diplomacy.”
The invaluable Brussels Journal recently translated an interview with the writer Oscar van den Boogaard from the Belgian paper De Standaard. A Dutch gay “humanist” (which is pretty much the trifecta of Eurocool), Mr. van den Boogaard was reflecting on the accelerating Islamification of the Continent and concluding that the jig was up for the Europe he loved. “I am not a warrior, but who is?” he shrugged. “I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.”
Read it all. Most excellent.