Watching (and participating in) the intense Iraq War and War on Terror debate both in the United States and in Europe -- and the politics that flows from it, a sense of futility is increasingly hard to resist. Our nation and Europe seem to have hardened in their divisions on those topics.
It would appear that the great divide in both public opinion and between politicians is not Republican-Democrat, liberal-conservative, pro or anti-Bush, or even pro or anti-war (or, in Europe: pro-or anti-American). Rather, the great divide is between those, such as me, who believe that the rise of radical Islam poses an existential threat to Western Civilization; and those who believe it is a nuisance, if, episodically, a very dangerous nuisance.
For those in the latter category, the great thrust of modern history exemplified in Francis Fukuyama's concept of "The End of History" continues onward. The great secular triumph of (more or less) free markets, a world economy, democracy, individual rights, socialized economic security, and their management by merit-based technocrats will be an inevitable continuity in human affairs. The episodic terrorist violence, so far killing far less people than die in car crashes or from lung cancer each year, does not justify re-ordering our social priorities. It does not justify any significant intrusions into civil liberties. It does not justify a major shift of tax revenues from social spending to war and homeland security programs. It certainly does not justify fighting wars on the other side of the world that kill and grievously wound painful numbers of American and European soldiers -- and even greater numbers of local residents in the war zones.
For the people holding that view, George Bush and Tony Blair (and their supporters) are not only seen as wrong, nor merely incompetently wrong -- but are seen as cynically exploiting an obvious lie to crassly enhance their political power and enrich their corrupt friends. Conceptual opposition has evolved into personal contempt for the antagonist (as it often does in fights over big issues -- e.g. the fight between capital and labor of the late Nineteenth and first half of the Twentieth Centuries).
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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