But has there been a worse moment for American power since Ronald Reagan celebrated morning in America almost a quarter of a century ago? I can’t think of one.
9/11, Mr. Mallaby, 9/11.
I find this column to be a perfect expression of the MSM’s combination of historical amnesia and contemporary paralysis. Mr. Mallaby writes about Somalia, for example, that “it is assumed that the world’s sole superpower can’t do much but watch.”
By whom is it assumed, exactly, and why? The left assumes nothing can be done because the left assumes the projection of American power cannot work because, in the left’s view, America has failed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Is that Mr. Mallaby’s opinion?
Pass the column on to your friends and explain that here is the left’s sign off, penned not by an “activist” by a weary journalist: A sigh and a shrug of the shoulders, an acknowledgement of eclipse and an invitation to retreat and hope for the best, as though there has never been an enemy this fierce, or a foe so indomitable. How the enemy must celebrate essays of this sort.
In the face of a staggering economic expansion, Mr. Mallaby blithely tosses off a series of cliches that bounces from the murder of Russian journalists to Darfur and then the need for a gas tax and tort reform.
It is a perfect mess of a column, a 10th grader’s civics paper thrown down an hour before bedtime dressed up as a WaPo column.
Sebastian Mallaby grew up in Britain and has been a correspondent in Japan and Southern Africa. He joined the Washington Post editorial page in 1999 after 13 years with The Economist of London, and is the author of “The World’s Banker: A Story of Failed States, Financial Crises, and the Wealth and Poverty of Nations,” to be published in September 2004. His column appears on Mondays.
Mallaby has bopped around the world, including such wonderful places as Zimbabwe, but the British born Oxford grad has decided to put down roots in D.C., from which he can proclaim the decline of the West from fairly secure environs.
I contrast his world-weary pose with the realism of my young friend, USMC Captain Ronny, recently returned from his second tour in Iraq. Ronny loves the Iraqi people, understands their difficult situation, and has also heard again and again and seen first hand the desperate desire for these people to be free from the terrorists and the secret police. Presumably Mr. Mallaby wants us to leave them to their fate. After all, he’s got his, doesn’t he?
But we really can’t be sure because in classic MSM style, Mr. Mallaby doesn’t suggest what should be done about a messy world of failed states, WMDs and a killer ideology. Perhaps in future columns he might, say, offer an opinion on what is to be done in Iraq or Afghanistan: Cut and run, stay the course, dramatically increase troops strength and march to Tehran and Damascus?
America is trying to do something no other superpower in the history of the globe has attempted: To liberate its enemy’s people rather than just crush them as part of crushing that enemy. Behind the long and hard struggle in Afghanistan and Iraq is the certain ability to destroy both countries, to level their cities and kill for as long as is necessary to bring about the harsh sort of peace that history details as routine until the West rose up in this century to reject such slaughter.
Now the defeatists want this approach abandoned, and apparently are too dense to realize that if the U.S. fails in this effort, our retreat from the war will be short lived.
And when we are hit again –as we have not been since 9/11, the day Mr. Mallaby cannot recall– what does he and his like-minded expect us to do? Absorb the casualties, or as Lileks put it, go Roman?
Mr. Mallaby is proof that a fine education, long stays in exotic locales and an enormous frequent flyer balance don’t bring wisdom of even the elementary sort.
His column is also the best sort of reminder of the choice that looms in two weeks (or earlier if you vote absentee), for Mr. Mallaby is a veritable man of steel compared to Nancy Pelosi and the gang.