As Roger L. Simon notes at the Tatler, “Why liberals are reactionaries — part 4006:”
Harvard political “scientist” Stephen Walt — co-author of “The Israel Lobby” — had this to say about Libya approximately one year ago:
Although Libya is far from a democracy, it also doesn’t feel like other police states that I have visited. I caught no whiff of an omnipresent security service—which is not to say that they aren’t there. . . . The Libyans with whom I spoke were open and candid and gave no sign of being worried about being overheard or reported or anything like that. . . . I tried visiting various political websites from my hotel room and had no problems, although other human rights groups report that Libya does engage in selective filtering of some political websites critical of the regime. It is also a crime to criticize Qaddafi himself, the government’s past human rights record is disturbing at best, and the press in Libya is almost entirely government-controlled. Nonetheless, Libya appears to be more open than contemporary Iran or China and the overall atmosphere seemed far less oppressive than most places I visited in the old Warsaw Pact. . . .
The remarkable improvement in U.S.-Libyan relations reminds us that deep political conflicts can sometimes be resolved without recourse to preventive war or “regime change.” One hopes that the United States and Libya continue to nurture and build a constructive relationship, and that economic and political reform continues there. (I wouldn’t mind seeing more dramatic political reform—of a different sort—here too).
How about this reform? How about blinkered bigoted fools like Walt lose their tenure at Harvard? [Why don’t they abolish the term “political science” into the bargain?-ed. Good idea.]
Shades of Ted Turner’s bizarre defense of North Korea a few years ago:
And of course, during the 1980s, seemingly only President Reagan (and maybe the writers on SCTV) understood that the Soviet Union was a third world economy shackled with a massive army and a technology base trapped in about 1947. In contrast, the conventional wisdom amongst “liberals” who should have known better was that the Soviet Union was both on par with America, and its power would last indefinitely:
In retrospect, Reagan’s point that the Soviet economy was on life support seems obvious to the point of banality. In fact, that’s one of the arguments his critics use against him: that the Soviet economy would have imploded anyway, even without Reagan’s defense buildup. But that’s not the way foreign policy intellectuals saw it in 1982.
“It is a vulgar mistake to think that most people in Eastern Europe are miserable,” declared economist Lester Thurow, adding that the Soviet Union was “a country whose economic achievements bear comparison with those of the United States.” (I wonder if Thurow had ever flown on a Soviet airliner?) John Kenneth Galbraith went further, insisting that in many respects the Soviet economy was superior to ours: “In contrast to the Western industrial economies, it makes full use of its manpower.”
Arthur Schlesinger, just back from a trip to Moscow in 1982, said Reagan was delusional. “I found more goods in the shops, more food in the markets, more cars on the street — more of almost everything,” he said, adding his contempt for “those in the U.S. who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of economic and social collapse, ready with one small push to go over the brink.”
Chip Diller would understand.