February 22, 2006


I'm very disappointed in the manner in which a number of conservatives have opposed the ports transfer. Partly because they aren't very interested in facts, and don't feel compelled to present much in the way of evidence to back up their assertions. But even more, it's the ungenerous flavor of their discourse that I don't like.

Even if--let us stipulate for the sake of argument--that it's true that the deal is a security risk to our ports. None of the anti-Dubai crowd has suggested in any way that we should do anything else to encourage the friendship of the United Arab Emirates, or to reward them or thank them for the help they have given us, or to compensate them for the loss of this deal. They have nothing generous or warm-hearted to offer. No alternative plan to extend the hand of friendship to these people. They only think about us. OUR security is all-important, the rest of the world is uninteresting and uninspiring.

This is particularly galling to me, because it's similar to the cold-hearted selfishness that seems to me to be the chief characteristic of today's leftists...

Dennis the Peasant is even harsher in his judgment than I am...

...I am afraid we are coming to the moment of the Great Divide within the Conservative Movement. It is increasingly apparent to me that a substantial number of ‘Conservatives’ have never shared the noble impulse of President Bush’s vision of a democratic, secular and prosperous Muslim world. Instead, that has been co-opted by those whose vision begins and ends with the application of brute force, and who have come to the belief that subjugation or destruction are the only option available to us when dealing with the 'Other'... Our final solution, as it were...

Well, probably it was always thus. I don't think this is a "Great Divide," because we were always divided. Think back to the Cold War. Back then there were conservatives who dreamed of liberating the oppressed victims of socialism, and other conservatives who just hated commies, and cared only for our safety. That's just basic human nature. Not many people are going to sign on for a noble and idealistic (but difficult) cause at any time.

And it IS a "noble impulse." And one that has deep roots in conservative culture. The idea of fighting communism by promoting democracy was more-or-less invented within the Reagan Administration, and applied with great success. And many of the same people are still working in the same cause, this time against the Islamists. (They are labeled "Neocons." And no, they are not running things, and weren't in Reagan's time either. We just use them.)

After 9/11 a lot of people signed on for war against Saddam or the Taliban. But that doesn't mean they signed on for years of patient effort to make these people friends and equals...Nuh uh. I think a lot of people on the right never actually "got" the idea. Probably thought it was just happy talk, fit to be ignored.

I'm in the camp of the idealists and dreamers. And I'm very disappointed in that section of conservatives that has never been warm-hearted about Bush's vision for the Moslem world and other needy parts of the globe. Hey, I rather like those people of the Middle East, and Central Asia, though I only get to meet them vicariously via the Internet. (And yes I'm perfectly aware that the Islamic world, especially the Arab world, has LOTS of pathologies and horrible flaws and shortcomings. But think this is a difference of degree, and not of kind.)

And if we conservatives of America and the Anglosphere don't try to build a better world, who else is going to do it? Leftists? Europeans? It is to laugh.

Posted by John Weidner at February 22, 2006 9:24 PM
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