Sunday, April 08, 2007

Soft underbelly

An Iranian "diplomat" (a k a Mister Terror Kingpin) suddenly resurfaces in Tehran after having been reported in American detention, his release purely coincidental, we're told. But it's the kind of coincidence that ensures more of your men will be kidnapped and ransomed in the years ahead. And, just to remind the world who makes the rules, six more British subjects were killed in southern Iraq even at the moment of the hostages' release. The Iranians have exposed America's strongest ally as the soft underbelly of the Great Satan.
Europeans and more and more Americans believe they can live in a world with all the benefits of global prosperity and none of the messy obligations necessary to maintain it. And so they cruise around war zones like floating NGOs. Iran called their bluff, and televised it to the world. In the end, every great power is as great as its credibility, and the only consolation after these last two weeks is that Britain doesn't have much more left to lose.
Mark Steyn

He's wrong, though. America's strongest ally is Australia.

UPDATE: Also Steyn:
the language you deplore - "Some of the Iranian sailors were becoming deliberately aggressive and unstable", "Throughout our ordeal we faced constant psychological pressure" - seems less a reflection on these men than yet more evidence of how therapeutic psychobabble has become the default mode of our culture - even unto the military. Indeed, insofar as you can use martial talk, it's only for the bloodless pseudo-battles of politics - Clinton's "War Room", etc. A year ago, I reviewed a book on this very topic:
From the bloody battles of history, strategies for winning the subtle social game of everyday life.
So Alexander the Great and the Duke of Wellington can teach you strategies for beating Darlene in Accounts to the big promotion, but our fighting men talk like they're guesting on Oprah.
If you're wondering where the psychobabble comes from, wonder no more.


rightwingprof said...

"He's wrong, though. America's strongest ally is Australia."

I agree, though Steyn is a Canadian and they're like that (Brit-centric, I mean). He lives in New Hampshire, but I don't think he's a naturalized citizen, though I could be wrong.

Peter Risdon said...

Well, I also have an Australian passport. I might be living in the wrong one of my two countries...

Steyn is especially anglophiliac. He lived in London, and got his media breaks over here.

rightwingprof said...

Anglophiles are far more common in Canada than here (though we have some here too). That doesn't mean we are anti-UK. Interestingly, that's something you never run into--about the most negative thing you'll encounter here about the UK is the stereotype that British men are effete or even prissy, yet that is surely the flimsiest stereotype we have, since all you have to do is look at a list of the most well-known Brits here: Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Churchill, Blair.

Anti-Europeanism? Certainly. But anti-Britain? It's nearly nonexistent.

Peter Risdon said...

I've certainly found a lot of friendliness when I've visited over there. Especially in country areas. I lived in Alaska for a while, and found it hard to buy my own drinks sometimes.