Please read Mark Steyn's new essay in the Telegraph: "I hate to rain on Europe's parade, but....". It's fabulous, especially the end:
Now I take the point that "democracy" - as in elections - isn't every thing. In the development of successful nations, the universal franchise is usually the last piece of the puzzle, as it was in Britain. Anyone can hold an election: Mugabe did; so did Charles Taylor, the recently retired Psycho-for-Life of Liberia. The world's thugocracies have got rather skilled at being just democratic enough to pass muster with Jimmy Carter and the international observers: they kill a ton of people, put it on hold for six weeks and then, when the UN monitors have moved on, pick up their machetes and resume business as usual.
I prefer to speak of "liberty" or, as Bush says, "freedom", or, as neither of us is quite bold enough to put it, capitalism - free market, property rights, law of contract, etc. That's why Hong Kong is freer than Liberia, if less "democratic". If I had six or seven centuries to work on things, I wouldn't do it this way in Iraq or Afghanistan. But the "war on terror" is more accurately a race against time - to unwreck the Middle East before its toxins wreck South Asia, West Africa, and eventually Europe. The doom-mongers can mock Bush all they want. But they're spending so much time doing so, they've left themselves woefully uninformed on some of the fascinating subtleties of Iraqi and Afghan politics that his Administration turns out to have been rather canny about.
Will the naysayers continue forcing their ever more strained dribble of urine over the Bush landscape? Well, the Parisian journalist Frederic Royer has just launched a new weekly tabloid called L'Anti-Americain. The first issue includes a parodic diary by George W Bush with the entry: "Ask the CIA: Where's China?"
Hilarious! Bush is so dumb he can't even find the real 21st-century superpower on a map! As it happens, it was the Canadian prime minister, a renowned sophisticate and indeed a fluent franco-phone, who last year declared in public that China was the most important nation in the southern hemisphere.
If that 1999 New Hampshire primary-season gag is the highlight of M Royer's first issue, it seems to me that Europe's vast anti-American pissoir is coming down with a bad case of intellectual cystitis.
It is really worth your while to read the paragraphs that precede this conclusion, since Steyn is at his humorous/pithy best and starts out with a remarkable analogy. Let's just say it will piss some people off.
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