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December 3, 2011


Mark Steyn on the Arab Spring and the Islamist Winter

by RogueOperator

Earlier this week, I posted on the rising caliphate ascending across the Muslim crescent, and Mark Steyn reinforces this point of view, while pointing out the effects of technology on radicalism, and making controversial remarks on the follies of isolationism.

The following are a few excerpts from Steyn’s article, followed by a few parting comments.

Egypt and the Islamist trends in the Middle East:

I’ve been alarmed by the latest polls. No, not from Iowa and New Hampshire, although they’re unnerving enough. It’s the polls from Egypt. Foreign policy has not played a part in the U.S. presidential campaign, mainly because we’re so broke that the electorate seems minded to take the view that if government is going to throw trillions of dollars down the toilet they’d rather it was an Al Gore-compliant Kohler model in Des Moines or Poughkeepsie than an outhouse in Waziristan. Alas, reality does not arrange its affairs quite so neatly, and the world that is arising in the second decade of the 21st century is increasingly inimical to American interests, and likely to prove even more expensive to boot.

On technology and radicalism:

Since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact two decades ago we have lived in a supposedly “unipolar” world. Yet somehow it doesn’t seem like that, does it? The term Facebook Revolution presumes that technology marches in the cause of modernity. But in Khartoum a few years ago a citywide panic that shaking hands with infidels caused your penis to vanish was spread by text messaging. In London, young Muslim men used their cell phones to share Islamist snuff videos of Westerners being beheaded in Iraq. In les banlieues of France, satellite TV and the Internet enable third-generation Muslims to lead ever more dis-assimilated, segregated lives, immersed in an electronic pan-Islamic culture, to a degree that would have been impossible for their grandparents. To assume that Western technology in and of itself advances the cause of Western views on liberty or women’s rights or gay rights is delusional.

On isolationism:

I am not a Ron Paul isolationist. The United States has two reasonably benign neighbors, and the result is that 50 percent of Mexico’s population has moved north of the border and 100 percent of every bad Canadian idea, from multiculturalism to government health care, has moved south of the border. So much for Fortress America. The idea of a 19th century isolationist republic holding the entire planet at bay is absurd. Indeed, even in the real 19th century, it was only possible because global order was maintained by the Royal Navy and Pax Britannica. If Ron Paul gets his way, who’s going to pick up the slack for global order this time?

Read the rest here.

But whether or not Americans are isolationist in sentiment, they are going to be forced to curtail their proclivity to occupy nations abroad and attempt to civilize democratize barbarians at the point of the sword. Dire financial straits are already upon us, and if we do not get our own house in order by restoring our foundations, the balconies, porches, and other additions will crumble along with the rest. Trying to “Occupy the World” is a Money Pit, just as surely as sitting in the basement corner with a flashlight hoping no bogeymen gets you is delusional.

Read more from World Politics
4 Comments Post a comment
    Dec 5 2011

    I agree with the sentiment that technology does not equate to progress. If conservatives are so against central planning, why are they so willing to centrally plan the world’s politics? It seems to me that we could combat militant islam with police and intelligence without stepping on individual rights or getting into endless, pointless wars. However, we must never let an emergency go to waste!

    I get tired of Ron Paul being labeled “isolationist” just because he doesn’t want to flush our tax dollars down the toilet known as “nation building”. Which, by the way, is exactly what we’re doing in Afghanistan.

    • Dec 5 2011

      Ron Paul is looking better now that Gingrich is the frontrunner. A lot of the “unelectable” charges go out the window when the guy in front is the ultimate Washington insider, with baggage to boot. My one concern is that Paul doesn’t stand up very well optically to Obama.

      A lot of the neocons (pretty much mainstream on the Republican right), and to define that, neoliberal interventionists, are really scared shitless by Ron Paul. I say it is high time the rest of the world start paying it’s “fair share” and owing the United States some gratitude for any and all interventions. This concept of maintaining “global order” is an excuse for states to free ride off the U.S. They can maintain their own order where their own interests are concerned.

  2. Dec 5 2011

    “Trying to “Occupy the World” is a Money Pit, just as surely as sitting in the basement corner with a flashlight hoping no bogeymen gets you is delusional.”
    Brilliant. Two words – Freshly Pressed!

    • Dec 5 2011

      Thanks for participating on the site, Hook. Keep in the loop, and link up your blog below so I can blogroll it, if you like. Best, RO


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