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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn sees evolution from ape to pumpkin to weak horse.

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HH: I’m joined now by Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, and I’ve been waiting to talk to him since Friday’s news that Iran’s got a super-duper secret site in a mountain, and then Monday’s news that we’re not going to do anything about it. Mark Steyn, appeasement?

MS: I don’t think that’s too strong a word. I agree with the general thrust of what you and Max Boot were talking about the other day. I think basically, what happened is that the three European powers decided a couple of years ago that in effect, they could live with the Iranian, a nuclear Iran. And I’m afraid the United States has pretty much concluded the same thing, too.

HH: Do you think Israel will go along with that, Mark Steyn?

MS: Well, I think the clock is ticking on Israel. And the question now is whether it can do the rest of the world a favor and take these things out. I think we’d see the usual posturing if that did happen. I can already write the speeches of the parade of European foreign ministers who’d be lining up on TV to denounce Israel’s lack of proportion. But I think actually we’re approaching the stage where it may be even too late for Israel. Oddly enough, the Saudi Arabian government has given Israel the go ahead to go and take out these things. And when the House of Saud are more realists than the so-called realists back in charge in Washington, it does make you wonder about the state of affairs of the last superpower.

HH: There was reporting this week, Mark Steyn, in Le Monde and in the Wall Street Journal, that French president Sarkozy has reached a boiling point with President Obama and his unreal virtual world, and the policy pursuit at the U.N. Do you imagine there might be a situation developing, sort of a replay of ’56, where the French and the Israelis, and maybe even the Brits get together and do what America will not do?

MS: I find that hard to imagine. But I think here’s what’s really underlying Sarkozy’s remarks. I think the Europeans finally got the American president they claim always to have wanted, you know, not the swaggering Texan cowboy, but in fact Mr. Multilateral, a guy who superficially at least downplays American power in the world today. And they’re beginning to realize that it’s one thing to talk that stuff, but if he really means it, the Europeans in particular are going to be living in a much more dangerous world. And although the American left, the Democratic Party and the media love to mock Bush as a unilateralist, in fact Bush had terrific relations with allies who counted, including Australia and the United Kingdom, and latterly, Angela Merkel’s Germany. So I think there is going to be a severe deterioration of transatlantic relations, and other relations with India and Israel, and the new Eastern European democracies under this presidency. It’s already underway.

HH: Mark Steyn, we’ve also seen an amazing story in the Washington Post yesterday. It had to have been leaked with the aid and comfort of Obama people, that we’re winning against al Qaeda, not to worry, we’re decimating them with offshore missile strikes. And as I talked about it with Bill Kristol yesterday, it seems to both of us to be the sort of article that would be useful to setting up a disengagement from Afghanistan, a sort of declare victory and go home, a Senator Morse approach. What do you think?

MS: Yeah, I think they’re looking for an excuse to get out of Afghanistan. Really, this is the cynicism of the Democratic Party, when all through the difficult times in Iraq, the position, particularly of Barack Obama, was that Iraq is a distraction from the real war, which is Afghanistan. Well now, Iraq has improved, has stabilized for whatever that’s worth, and Afghanistan needs his attention. And he’s come to understand that in fact, whatever he feels about it, his party was basically just using the Afghanistan theater as a distraction with which to cudgel Bush. They don’t mean it. They never do mean it. As I think I said on this show years ago, no matter what cup you pick, you can never find underneath it the shriveled pea of the war that the Democratic Party is prepared to support at the time it’s going on. So I think they are looking for any excuse, including pathetically the most recent Afghan elections, as an excuse to skedaddle out of there.

HH: Mark Steyn, years ago you talked about al Qaeda’s statement, and bin Laden’s statement that the strong horse wins. The variety of actions we’ve seen in the first nine months of the Obama administration, any doubt in your mind as to what our enemies think about the horses in the race right now?

MS: Oh, no. I think when you have a representative of the United States government, our emissary to Sudan, saying that cookies work with nations as with children, in other words, when he says cookies, he means like chocolate chip cookies, he’s saying explicitly, you can’t even parody this, that the United States government has a kindergarten approach to the world. It thinks of rogue nations in the same way it thinks of little Jimmy being naughty in nursery school, and you give him a cookie, and his behavior will improve. Well, sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. But for a grown man, not just a grown man, but a man supposedly representing the last grown up government in the Western world, to say that in the middle of Sudan as genocide is unfolding around him, I think communicates to the planet that this is a weak horse, that President Obama is the weak horse personified.

HH: Let’s turn to what President Obama is doing at this hour, which is jetting off to Copenhagen to bid for the Olympic games that many people assume they’re going to get, otherwise he wouldn’t go. First of all, are you that cynical to believe that the International Olympic Committee would have tipped the president?

MS: Well, the International Olympic Committee is one of the most disgusting and corrupt organizations on the face of the planet. And I say that in comparison with the government of Cook County, Illinois. So in a sense, this is a match made in Heaven. Look, I personally wouldn’t want the Olympics in my town. I remember the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. The property taxpayers of the city of Montreal finished paying that off on their 2007 tax bills. It was a financial disaster for the city. The one thing you can say about the kind of people Obama’s pals who run Chicago, is that at least a few of them will figure out a way to make money off of it.

HH: Just a few. I’m going to be talking with Michelle Malkin in the third hour about her wonderful new book, Culture Of Corruption. I figure this could give graft an entire new dimension. It could be like an Obama stimulus package when we’re done if the Olympics go to Chicago.

MS: Oh, no. I know, if there was an Olympic gold medal for graft, I think you’d have to put these, I think you’d have to put the government of Chicago and other selected parts of Illinois up there with the gold medal ahead of the Russian mafia and the Nigerian e-mail scammers, and the best that the planet can throw at them. They should scrap the Olympics, you know, the shot puts and the hurdling and all the rest of it, and just have synchronized corruption in the Olympic pool. That would make much more sense.

HH: Well, we cannot let this day pass without recognizing two important things. First of all, we’ve discovered a primate that’s 1.2 million years older than Lucy, and apparently a competition between ancient bones has broken out, Mark Steyn. Are you indifferent as to which is the older and allegedly part of our family tree?

MS: Yes, I am, really. I never get terribly excited about so-called evolution stories, because it seems to me that it’s the tiny little bit of us, I can’t remember what it is now, I think it’s not just that we’re, whatever it is, 97% ape, but we’re supposedly 86% or something pumpkin. And clearly, if that’s true, then there’s something not terribly useful about the scale. It’s the tiny little percentage that separates us from the rest of this stuff that makes the difference.

HH: Well, that pumpkin stuff explains radio producers. I’d never thought of that before. Now let me ask you about the other story of the day – China Celebrates 60 Years of Communist Rule. That’s the headline in the New York Times. What do you think the odds are, Mark, that they mention the number of people murdered by Mao in the course of that anniversary article?

MS: Absolutely zero.

HH: You’re right.

MS: …because communism, for some reason, remains the good totalitarianism. If you were to stand up and say that you used to be a member of the Nazi Party, but it’s okay now, you’re running for Congress in North Dakota, you would be finished. You would be done. But if you’re a communist like Van Jones, you can be sitting two doors away from the president in the White House. It’s the tyranny, it’s the totalitarianism that no matter how high the pile of corpses grows, you never have to apologize for. It’s truly shameful.

HH: And we have one last story of the day. Congressman Grayson of Orlando, Florida, over the last two days, making a series of statements saying the Republican health care plan is death, and comparing what is going on to the holocaust. Your comments, Mark Steyn?

MS: Well, I don’t see it as any comparison between health care and the holocaust. The Holocaust happened because the German state decided that the Jewish people were not individuals, and did not have the same rights that other German citizens did. I’ve come more and more to the conclusion that what matters is not identity group rights, what happens is not the largesse of the state. What matters is that we have the same individual rights as everybody in society, and are allowed to exercise as great a degree of liberty as possible, including over our health care choices.

HH: If a Republican had done anything like Grayson, Mark Steyn, would they be on the receiving ends of demands for resignation?

MS: Yes, I think so. Apart from anything else, it’s utterly contemptible. You know, there are millions of people walking around this planet today who know the difference between real tyranny and a policy difference. We had all through the last eight years, too many glib and insulting comparisons to the dead between the Bush administration and Hitler, and that they’re now doing it now that they run everything, is even more pathetic.

HH: Mark Steyn from, a pleasure as always.

End of interview.


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