Monday, July 28, 2008

Nick Cohen: Why Bush has been a liberal's best friend

A good column by Nick Cohen on what I think we'll be the start of the great crack up Cohen once wrote would come for the left.
By building him [Bush] up into a great Satan, the oil man who invades countries to seize their reserves and the Christian who orders bloody crusades, they have hidden the totalitarian threats of our age from themselves and anyone who listens to them. Bush allowed them to explain away radical Islam as an understandable, even legitimate, response to the hypocrisies and iniquities of American policy. Even those in the European elites who do not buy the full 'America has it coming' package believe that Bush is a cowboy who doesn't understand that the postmodern way to end conflict is to compromise rather than fight.

In January, Bush will be history, leaving liberals all alone in a frightening world. Little else will change. Radical Islam will still authorise murder without limit, Iran will still want the bomb and the autocracies of China and Russia will still be growing in wealth and confidence. All those who argued that the 'root cause' of the Bush administration lay behind the terror will find that the terror still flourishes when the root cause has retired.

In their book, After Bush, professors Timothy J Lynch and Robert S Singh highlight the obvious truth that the West is in a new Cold War. Whatever his disagreements with Bush on detail, the new President will have to stop radical Islamist movements and regimes gaining nuclear, chemical or biological weapons because he will know, as we already know, when we are honest with ourselves, that they will use them. Even if we have a President Obama, the continuities in American foreign policy will be more striking than the contrasts.

Obama made their point for them in his Berlin speech. Repeatedly, he emphasised that the resolve that had won the Cold War had to be applied to the war against terror. 'Partnership and co-operation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity,' he declared.

Not all Europeans will want co-operation. A minority will never escape from the slogans and attitudes of the Bush years and Obama and his wife must expect the same treatment as Condoleezza Rice. However, now that the majority of liberals seems likely to get the American President of their dreams, they will have to offer him their support, won't they?
Be interesting to see if they do. I'm not as certain as Cohen they'll have the test although it would be exactly what's passing for Liberalism these days needs.

No comments: