A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Monday, October 11, 2004

Belmont Club:

"Bai's article reminds me of one of those products which are described on the packaging as being a new space age, high-technology, portable illumination aid which on closer inspection turns out to be a flashlight. When the newfangled description of terrorism as a "blended threat" is subtracted, the entire program consists of the policies of the late 1990s. Bilateral talks with North Korea. Oslo. G-8. The United Nations. Warrants of arrest. Extradition requests. Not a single new element in the entire package, except the fancy rationale. There is nothing wrong with that, any more than there is anything objectionable about a flashlight, but a more candid characterization of Kerry's proposals is not a voyage into uncharted waters so much as return to the world of September 10; in Kerry's words "back to the place we were". It has the virtue of producing known results, and suffers only from the defect that those results do not include being able to prevent massive attacks on the American mainland. ...

"I cannot help but think that September 11 was far more tragic to Liberalism than to anyone else. Over time it will be represented as a kind of Fall, the moment Eden was stolen, in a way that an earlier generation saw the Kennedy assassination as the end of a dream and the way some undefined instant in the 1970s marked 'the day the music died'. The United Nations, the photo opportunities with Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn, the outward solidarity with Europe must seem so tantalizingly close, an election away; just a month distant, but it may be already past, even with a Kerry presidency. In reality even Kerry will be forced to live in a changed world. He may mount the United Nations podium again, but it will not be the same podium; and revive the same policies only to discover they have acquired strange, new and unpredictable effects. Bai's most revealing exchange with Kerry is about water, the kind that you drink."
This is a most thoughtful and important blog. The world changed in more ways that a lot of people understand on that day.
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