The Corner

Treating Spring Fever

I’ve been more scarce than I was hoping to be around these parts lately. About four weeks ago, we released my new book, Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, which fully develops the argument I’ve long been making: The “Arab Spring” is not an outbreak of democracy; it is the ascendancy of Islamic supremacism, meaning “freedom’s cold, dark winter.” I confess to being hopeful that the book is relevant to the campaign debate about Middle East policy. But when some of what I predicted began to come true — i.e., when the government’s failure to come to grips with reality resulted in deadly perils for Americans — it seemed almost unseemly to be hyping a book.  

If you’re going to write books, promotion is part of the deal — unless they’re read, what’s the point? But the book is either good or it’s not; that’s a matter of whether it accomplishes what I set out to accomplish, not of how much I talk about it. Of course I hope people will read Spring Fever and decide that it has something valuable to add to our understanding of what is happening in the Middle East. Yet, what is happening in the Middle East is causing real pain for a number of our fellow Americans and their families. While I am talking about the web of governmental recklessness and dishonesty, they’re paying the personal price. Exploiting that so I can say, “See, I told you so,” is not what I want to be doing … even if I can’t help saying it to myself about a hundred times a day.

Anyway, I’m grateful to Investor’s Business Daily, which recently interviewed me about the book and about why the issues it addresses should weigh heavily in the upcoming presidential election. That interview is here.

I also appreciate Barton Swaim’s thoughtful review of Spring Fever for the Wall Street Journal. Like Mr. Swaim, I supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, but we have a difference of opinion about the democracy-promotion rationale for the mission. That being the case, he is remarkably fair in relating and grappling with my views rather than dismissing them, as many dissenting reviewers might have. And here is the only really negative part of his critique: “The author’s lack of interest in appealing to centrists is a disappointment in an otherwise powerful book.”

I can live with that.


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