Future historians who try pinpoint a date on which the influence of cyberspace reached its peak would do worse than to settle on Monday night. The popular conservative blog Power Line hosted its first annual book award ceremony, honoring Norman Podhoretz for his volume %%AMAZON=0385522215 World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism%%, in a swank little corner of the Four Seasons Restaurant.
Dinner was served, and so was the following guest list of plenipotentiaries: Podhoretz himself, his wife Midge Decter, his son John (the new editor of Commentary), Henry Kissinger, Paul Wolfowitz, Shaha Riza, Mark Steyn, Andrew Breitbart, and PJM’s own Claudia Rossett.
In his opening remarks, Power Line co-founder John Hinderaker called Podhoretz’s book “not just compelling, but irrefutable.” Well, there would be no mincing of words when the cash prize was the highest in American letters, $25,000. It was donated to Patti Patton-Bader’s charity, Soldiers’ Angels, which provides care packages for U.S. soldiers in the field.
The evening was not characterized by as much mutual appreciation as one might expect at a neo-confab. Steyn in particular, who gave a funny speech, has taken exception to Podhoretz’s numeral, which Eliot A. Cohen, the Director of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University, was actually the first to suggest before the Bush administration decided on the vague “war on terror.”
Steyn shrewdly pointed out that, as distinct from the Cold War – or “World War III” in Podhoretz’s lexicon – jihadist violence has been brought to our own shores, and even when it hasn’t, multiculturalism has allowed for the constant, simmering threat of radical clerics preaching openly their loathing of Western values from perches in Hamburg and Yorkshire. (Communist spies in Europe and the U.S. at least had the courtesy to go underground.)
Whatever the quibbles, all seemed to agree that Islamofascism was a term that required no scare quotes. Although Claudia Rossett later inquired of a “room full of wordsmiths” if there wasn’t perhaps a pithier name that the man-on-the-street might use. None was forthcoming.
One stark irony, however, was the speaking presence of Kissinger at an event ostensibly celebrating the doctrine of interventionism. The architect of realpolitik, the foreign policy legacy undone by the Bush administration, ran long right in front of the man who should have been in his place-Wolfowitz.
Gateway Pundit liveblogged the event. Lots of photos (including the one used on this page) and excerpts from speeches there.
The New York Times sent Jennifer 8. Lee to cover it: “The world is undergoing three types of transformation, Mr. Kissinger argued: the collapse of the state system, the shift of the global center of gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and an emerging set of problems that can only be dealt with on a global basis. And he largely agreed with Mr. Podhoretz’s assertion that the most important global conflict, which was once the cold war, is now the struggle against terrorism by Islamic radicals.”
Mark Steyn blogged about it at The Corner: World War IV “attempts, as almost no other book does, to grapple with both the scale of the present struggle and its relationship to 20th century history – and to ask, as The New York Sun notes, the key questions.”
The New York Sun’s recap here: “‘I don’t know what a blog is. I don’t know how to find a blog,’ Mr. Kissinger said. ‘I use the computer to read newspapers. My assistants put them in my favorites and I click on them.'”.
Michael Weiss is the New York Editor of Pajamas Media. His blog is Snarksmith.