The Corner

A Happy New Year Abroad

Watching the debate over whether Huckabee’s withdrawn “attack” ad is over the top, and other assorted Iowa psychodramas makes interesting contrast with the rest of the world’s electioneering outside the Great Satan.

In Kenya they’re burning churches and rioting; in Pakistan riots lead to murder and arson. Hamas and Fatah are at it again in Gaza. At some point, someone might wonder how such a crass hyper-power can rather peacefully conduct voting in a way most abroad apparently cannot.

In the case of Pakistan, however, we are starting to see a disturbing pattern:  the rioting and violence continues, the conspiracies mount, and the three general factions square off (the al-Qaeda/Islamists “death to the West” clique; the military/dictatorship “at least we provide order and secure the nukes” bunch; and the “reform” and democracy Bhuttoites [“forget our past corruption”]).

The common denominator is that it is somehow America’s fault  for: either “propping” up a dictator,” or not pressing him enough to reform, or naively backing him up against a wall, or demanding he fight terrorists, or giving him a pass not to fight terrorists, or rigging an American-backed Bhutto return, or exposing a brave heroine to the clutches of her enemies without proper security, or this or that or that or this.

And these endless, and self-contradictory indictments are often voiced by Pakistani elites of two types. They are either opposition figures whose past careers are ample proof of corruption and lost opportunities-or expatriate intellectuals in European capitals and American universities (who sound like they had a little bit more opportunity at the good life than those who grow up in El Paso or Bakersfield), endlessly faulting some aspect of U.S. foreign policy–always forgetting why they are here and not over in Pakistan, and why perhaps they might do more good to match their idealistic and often vituperative rhetoric by returning to the land of their birth to enact real change on the ground, a country that sorely needs those with such international experience and expertise.

The media usually, but unknowingly, provides some exegesis: they have shown now for the nth time the shrieking rioter who serially beats the skeleton of a completely burned out and utterly destroyed bus with a long wooden stick–then cut away to the typical interview with some government grandee, ensconced in a beautiful home of tile and gardens, defending the indefensible of the government in mellifluous English.

Meanwhile, we are daily reminded that Pakistan’s 1998 detonation of a nuclear weapon remains the greatest foreign policy lapse of the last quarter-century…

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More