I bumped into Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister and man of letters. He was just back from Egypt, where he’d been profoundly moved when he’d been asked to convey the gratitude of the Arab people to President Chirac for working so tirelessly to prevent a tragic war between Christianity and Islam. You don’t say, I said. And, just as a matter of interest, who asked you to convey that? He hemmed and hawed and eventually said it was President Mubarak. Being a polite sort, I rolled my eyes only metaphorically, but decided as a long-term proposition I’d bet Wolfowitz’s address book of real people against Villepin’s hotline to over-the-hill dictators. The lesson of these last weeks is that it turns out Washington’s Zionists know the Arab people a lot better than Europe’s Arabists.
Islamism, with its plans to destroy America, take back Europe, colonize Australia and set you up with 72 virgins, may be bonkers but it’s a big idea. And you can’t beat it with a small, shriveled idea like another decade or three of Mubarak or Assad or some such. The Bush administration decided the only big idea they had to sell was liberty. On Jan. 30, Bush’s big idea squared off against the head-hackers’ big idea — you vote, you die — and we know which one the Iraqi people chose, and which the rest of the region, to one degree or another, is following.
Read the whole thing, because the conclusion is delightfully cruel.