Jonah, re the intrusion of foreign policy, what’s interesting is how far adrift the rhetoric of bigshot Democrats, Republicans (McCain, Condi at the convention) and independents (Lieberman) is from the reality on the ground. An RPG was fired at the British Ambassador to Libya as he drove through Benghazi in June. This followed the smashing of a quarter of the headstones in the Commonwealth war graves cemetery in Benghazi, a site that had survived four decades of the Qaddafi dictatorship without being desecrated.
We are now in a surreal situation. When the British Embassy in Iran was sacked a few months back, no individual was harmed, but nevertheless the U.K. expelled every Iranian diplomat in London. As David Blair wonders in the Telegraph, what’s America going to do after the murder of its ambassador and four others in Libya? Expel the Washington staff of a regime it installed and bankrolled?
Many on the right remain entirely deluded about this. Reviewing Robert Kagan’s book The World America Made in NR back in April, I wrote:
The Arab Spring may be the bleak dawn of the post-western Middle East, and the Coptic Christians are fleeing in terror, and the al-Qaeda flag’s flying in Benghazi, and the only viable alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood is the Even More Muslim Brotherhood, and they’re holding the son of an American cabinet secretary in detention, but for Kagan it’s all nevertheless “an essential attribute of the American world order”, and therefore even the booming burqa sales and state-of-the-art clitoridectomy clinic are in their fashion a tribute to American influence.
Unfortunately, the chaps on the street in Cairo and Benghazi don’t seem to read a lot of Kagan. So they don’t know that what they’re doing is the next exciting development of “the American world order”; they see it as the sharp end of the world that comes after American order. As I say in Chapter One of my own book, “When money drains, so does power.”
I was flying for much of yesterday and only fitfully checking in with the Internet. But at an airport somewhere along the way, and without having heard a word about what was unfolding in Cairo, I found the U.S. embassy had started putting my Twitter handle in their prodigious and pathetic Twitter feed for Volume One of The Decline And Feed Of The American Empire. This was a fairly typical exchange:
US Embassy Cairo @USEmbassyCairo
@ahmose_i @MarkSteynOnline We believe in respecting religion
Jim Simpson @jamesmsimpson
@USEmbassyCairo @ahmose_I @MarkSteynOnline What about respecting yourselves? What about respecting the country you represent?
This is so embarrassing. We are tweeters in the heart of darkness. The Taliban, the Muslim Brothers, the Ayatollahs and most other fellows paying attention already understand American impotence, the lack of will and strategic honesty, all too well. We could at least cancel the Twitter account and stop advertising it quite so explicitly.