Thursday, March 01, 2007

'Intellectual escapism'

While I strongly disagree with the writer's assertion that "President Bush’s incompetence has made things worse" in the struggle against Islamism, much of the rest of this editorial column from the London Times is spot on.
Somewhere, deep down, tucked away underneath their loathing for George Bush, in a secret place where the lights of smart dinner-party conversation and clever debating-society repartee never shine, the growing hordes of America-bashers must dread the moment he leaves office.

When President Bush goes into the Texas sunset, and especially if he is replaced by an enlightened, world-embracing Democrat, their one excuse, their sole explanation for all human suffering in the world will disappear too. And they may just find that the world is not as simple as they thought it was.

It’s been a great ride for the past six years, hasn’t it? George Bush and Dick Cheney and all those pantomime villains that succour him — the gay-bashing foot soldiers of the religious Right, the forktailed neoconservatives with their devotion to Israel, the dark titans of American corporate boardrooms spewing their carbon emissions above the pristine European skies. Having those guys around for so long provided a comfortable substitute for thinking hard about global challenges, a kind of intellectual escapism.

[ ... ]

Does anyone really think the election of President Hillary Clinton will be greeted with a sudden surge of German and French troops to Kabul and Helmand, routing al-Qaeda militants in the name of multilateralism?

President Barack Obama will find that when he wants to make good on his promise to win the war in Afghanistan, EU leaders will be much happier explaining how their new constitution will enlighten the world.

President John Edwards will discover, when he seeks a united front to tackle an enemy that would happily incinerate every European city and its inhabitants tomorrow, that the Europeans would much rather take urgent action to address the risk that global warming will produce a possible 18cm increase in sea levels by 2100.

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