Thursday, 5 April 2007

"...the arrogance of a cream puff and a 'has been' paper lion"

In his recent "Desert Sands" commentary author Ed Cline highlighted "the West's polices of vacillation, conciliation and accommodation when dealing with Islamists and virtually every other brand of totalitarianism, including Vladimir Putin's Russia, Kim Jong Il 's North Korea, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran," and he did it with reference the creator of Sherlock Homes, Arthur Conan Doyle. It's quite some read, and throws quite some light on all the Jimmy Carter-like hand wringing over the captured British marines (including Faye Turney, left).

Following on from that, today he asks,
What can account for the difference in Western policies concerning Islam between the 19th century and the present? Is there some integral relationship between a blind toleration of Islamic fundamentalism and the West's own drift toward statism and totalitarianism? Even in the 19th century, which was governed, as Ayn Rand observed, by an "Aristotelian spirit," the moral sanction men repaired to was Christianity and a derivative form of secular moral altruism that spawned the elements of statism. This was evident in Doyle's novel; it is a phenomenon that occurs in most 19th century literature. . .

[Now, in the present day,] Iran has seized fifteen British sailors and marines. What has been Prime Minister Tony Blair's response to it other than a faint baring of teeth? In a recent TV interview, he stated that he doesn't understand why Iran keeps doing these things, because such actions are only making Iran unpopular. The only "justice" he can think of in the way of an ultimatum or retaliatory response is to apply economic sanctions against Iran - with the approval of the U.N. and the European Union, of course. That, and "quiet," behind-the-scenes "diplomacy" or compromise to "tone down the rhetoric."

God forbid that he propose unilateral action, such as ordering the British Navy in the Gulf to defend itself and remove a few Iranian ships or other military targets by way of persuasion.

God forbids? Or "world opinion"? With Blair's urging, Britain has progressively surrendered its sovereignty to the bureaucrats and parasites of the European Union, which explains Blair's tepid and arguably impotent "anger."

Ahmadinejad has called "arrogant" Britain's refusal to "apologize" for the alleged violation of Iran's waters. He knows, however, that it is the arrogance of a cream puff and a "has been" paper lion.
Both Blair and Bush have been disarmed, argues Cline, and disarmed specifically by bad philosophy.
Both Bush and Blair have refused to acknowledge irrational nature of Iran, of Iraq, of Saudi Arabia - of virtually everything that imperils Western civilization, because they refuse to acknowledge the irrationality of their own policies. They have closed their minds to correction. Witness Bush's willingness to "stay the course" in Iraq, as though loyalty to an irrational, fruitless policy will somehow transform a quagmire into victory. This is how they jeopardize the existence of the West and allow Frankenstein monsters to exist, and be sustained, and set the terms of our existence.

It is not Ahmadinejad and Putin and Mugabe who are dangerous. It is the premise of Western leaders that the best morality is to be non-judgmental, to "love" (or tolerate as a difference in opinion or culture) totalitarians and sanction every brand of irrationality, including religious doctrines, and to surrender pro-life values in exchange for non- or anti-life values, such as "peace at any price," or environmentalism, or wealth -consuming foreign aid.
Surrender is not a winning strategy. Never has been.

UPDATE 1: The Times mentions that "Tehran bloggers see through the smoke and mirrors," saying this is all about Ahmadinejad.
Iran analysts believe that President Ahmadinejad is relishing the crisis because it deflects attention from his political setbacks at home and criticism that he has failed to make good pledges of a better lot for Iran’s poor.
UPDATE 2: In an hour long press conference, Ahmadinejad has said he will set the servicemen and women free. No timetable for their release was announced, but is this his way of appearing to be a statesman? To appear to take the moral high ground?

LINKS: The spreading desert sands of Islam - Ed Cline, The Rule of Reason
The fatal art of turning the other cheek - Ed Cline, The Rule of Reason

RELATED: World Politics, US Politics, UK Politics, War, Philosophy, Religion, Objectivism, Ethics


  1. Looks like the Iranians have caved in. I wonder what the secret military delegation to Teheran said to them?

    This looks like a successful outcome for Blair and even Bush although it does seem like a military strike against Iran is now off the table as last week was the ideal time, being right in the middle of a border incident. Normally one has to engineer such a "crisis" before engaging in hostilities. Or was it an Iranian plan to defuse the tension by holding onto the hostages just long enough to make themselves look reasonable?

    Time will tell which side made the best move here.

  2. "Or was it an Iranian plan to defuse the tension by holding onto the hostages just long enough to make themselves look reasonable?"

    I suspect it was this. Just long enough to look reasonable, and to demonstrate that when it comes to it, both Bush and Blair are less bellicose than they might appear -- or to put as Maharey might, that they're all piss and wind.

  3. The latter. They now look reasonable.

    As to the 'leaders of the West', this is what happens when a culture that has questioned itself into a post-modern, all-is-equal, philosophical corner meets a culture without doubt.

  4. I am surprised that darling Ruth who has a salary of more than NZ $500,000, drives a BMW and whose lawyer is Mai Chen, hasn't popped in this discussion to defend the Iranians action.

  5. A great many Middle East watchers may believe that things were more forcefully put by the British behind the scenes but the public won't even think of it themselves. So to them, Blair's softly softly approach looks to have worked.

    I suspect that Teheran are also happy to let the West think that dhimmiplomacy can obtain a successful result.

    It gives the expiring Western leaders' (Bush, Blair, Howard) more time to be pragmatic and to not have to confront Iran's evil.

  6. "I am surprised that darling Ruth who has a salary of more than NZ $500,000, drives a BMW and whose lawyer is Mai Chen, hasn't popped in this discussion to defend the Iranians action"

    Well 2 out of 3 ain't bad - I don't drive a BMW.

    I have always found that those who claim to find me annoying, and send lively rhetoric proposing to acquaint me with the unsatisfactory nature of my views are the first ones to start waving their arms about trying to get my attention if I don't post for a day or two. What a laugh.

    Re Iran - I have always loved the mista's sophisticated take on foreign policy options PaulaS. You can always read the items I have shared from my feed aggregator if the withdrawal symptoms get too much for you.


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