Magazine August 2, 2010, Issue

Culture Clash

From the cover of The Next American Civil War (Palgrave Macmillan)
The Next American Civil War: The Populist Revolt Against the Liberal Elite, by Lee Harris (Palgrave Macmillan, 256 pp., $27)

Lee Harris always has interesting things to say. He first came to general attention with his 2002 essay in Policy Review titled “Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology: War Without Clausewitz,” in which he compared American difficulties in understanding 9/11 to those of the Aztecs who first confronted Cortez, a being operating so far out of their norms of motivation and behavior as to be utterly alien.

His point, at a time when most of us assumed that al-Qaeda had a Prussian-style general staff hiding away to plot its next campaign, was that 9/11 was not a strategic move akin to Pearl Harbor.

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