The gulf between political opinions and perceptions in the West just keeps widening. Here are two opinion pieces, each on the subject of hawkish liberals. Tony Judt, who speaks from the perspective of the European left, writes of “Bush’s Useful Idiots.” Not only does Judt revile liberals hawks, he actually believes that American liberalism as a whole has abandoned the task of speaking out against the president. Meanwhile, over at the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens wonders why only a very few liberals are willing to speak out in support of a war that advances and protects their own values. It would be tough to find two articles on the same topic coming from more radically different perspectives.
Judt’s notion that America’s liberals have become Bush poodles seems bizarre. From Judt’s perspective, failure to loudly denounce even the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is tantamount to collaborating with Bush. Couple this with calls for a Papal apology by the New York Times, and much of NATO’s refusal to contribute troops to Afghanistan, and you have a snapshot of a West more divided than ever. Note also that these divisions go way beyond the war in Iraq.