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Thursday, April 05, 2007



What do you mean by the American version of multiculturalism, and the UK version?

George Arndt

If they had drawn their guns, they would have died. Apparently Derbyshire wanted them to commit suicide by proxy. Not to mention spark a war between Britain and Iran. This must be part of the “culture of life” the American right likes to promote..

Will Grigg

As an American who fits comfortably into the "paleo-conservative" camp, I'm constrained to say that the American Right isn't a conservative movement in any sense I can recognize: It's a militant political cult.

Bush's movement could be considered a variant of the deeply embittered, totalitarian-minded nationalism that infested certain parts of the Continent between the world wars.

It defines "patriotism" entirely in terms of unquestioning support for the Chief Executive, and considers warfare to be the defining responsibility not only of the State, but of society.

And its chief spokes-creatures are vituperative bullies who display all of the viciousness of their Nazi forebears, while possessing none of the physical courage exhibited by some of them. Such people -- I call them Bu'ushists -- aren't patriots; they put the Party uber alles.

A genuine American patriot understands and appreciates the fact that people from other nations love their respective homelands as much as we love ours, and can respect genuine patriots of other nations. And he's not obsessed with showing other countries (in the words of Newt Gingrich) that "they are tiny, and we're not" -- because real American patriots are in love with our country, not with power.


I think what Clive means is that racism is still very much alive in both the U.K. and the U.S. (and elsewhere) despite having a very richly diverse population. The difference being that the U.S. is more about the melthing pot and becoming "American" while the U.K. (and Canada for that matter) seems more about accepting "otherness" and living hyphenated lives. Perhaps as a consequence of this, Brits (and Canadians) are more likely to practice racism with a smile even while we trumpet our multicultural superiority (Look! Our Governor General is a French-speaking Haitian! We broadcast shows about Muslims on network TV! We eat poutine! etc.). Americans, I believe, are much more blunt (more honest) about the pitfalls of integration.


"If they had drawn their guns, they would have died."

1) On what do you base this? My understanding from what I have read is that, during the "arrest", the odds were 15 to 5.

2) Derbyshire is upset that the soldiers aided Iranian propaganda efforts. On that score, unlike most, I'm totally with him. That's what military codes of conduct are for. If they had not done so, the Iranian claims that the soldiers wandered into Iranian waters would be laughable, but by doing so, they have given it totally undeserved credibility.

3) Please ignore posters claiming to be American "paleocons". They embarass everyone except themselves. The poster above, in particular. They seem to get a thrill out of Godwining threads before there's even the remotest call for it.

4) I would like to know what is more "complicated" that invalidates the Right's perception of the above affairs. I know the Brit's view of how this went down is now "all's well that ends well"... and my view is that if one believes that this entire enterprise counts as a "success of diplomacy", there is very little scorn such a one would not deserve.

Dennis Castle

Come on, Clive, did you notice how mighty Europe came running to their fellow EU nations assistance during the crisis? No? Did the UN step up and call Iran out demanding an immediate surrender of the hostages? No? Does that matter to you at all? No, because you are too busy insisting that multicultralism is the solution (Star Trek, anyone?) to notice that it's a fraud. Communism is bad, the Islamic terrorists (who are faithfully following the Koran, by the way) are bad, European and Canadian Socialism is bad, and we in America do not have to genuflect to any of them. If Iran brings that shit our way we'll light them up like the 4th of July.


"that woman wearing a headscarf, and the young man apologizing to the Iranian gangster-rulers, should be court-martialed for dereliction of duty when they get back to Blighty, with shooting definitely an option."

Qwinn, if the soldiers didn't confess, I imagine you'd expect the Iranians to use torture to get it out of them than, right?

That's really the implication being drawn here. Derbyshire and company would sacrifice the welfare of their sailors in order to preserve their view of national pride, which in this case is maintaining where a boat was.

This is a pathological line of thinking.


Will Grigg, I blame Reagan's 11th commandment, "thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican." With a compliant Congress and a cult of personality surrounding Bush, Neocons felt as if they could do no wrong. Whatever they favored was inherently right. They've internalized that mind set so deeply, they're unable to see disasters happening in front of their noses. The sense of denial on a lot of those blogs is astonishing. There is nothing that the Bush administration can do that blogs like RedState, Townhall, or Powerline won't defend.


Yeah, those Brits should have kicked ass like GWB did when the Red Chinese forced down our spy plane!

Uh, nevermind.


I'm sorry, I think there's a couple people here who would be worth having a conversation with, but I seriously can't take -anywhere- seriously that maintains people who think there's a "cult of personality" around GWB, or that the "Right" and "neocons" are slavishly loyal to him and never criticize him. This is pure freaking fantasy. If you seriously believe this, you need medication, badly. And there's absolutely nothing that could make me want to stay in a conversation with people who are so deluded that every single argument devolves to their continuing to reiterate this one absurd, in fact moronic, fiction. That is all that "paleocons" seem capable of, and there seem to be lots of them here, so... see ya.



OMG, we are about to be denied the presence of Qwinn! What SHALL we do?!?!

A practitioner of these type of infantile antics is lecturing us--how compelling.


To be fair, you should mention most of Europe's disdain for the U.S. and how that might create the kind of animosity you speak of with the American right.


Most of these posts miss the point about what is disturbing to many about the behavior of the British soldiers.
1) They apparently offered NO resistance whatever when they were initially confronted by hostile action from the Iranians. No one expects them to commit collective suicide, but you would have thought that armed soldiers (not diplomats) would have made SOME effort not to be captured. They did not.
2) Once captured, not only did they not attempt to with hold information from their captors, at least some of them actively participated in a public briefing about their activities, including pinpointing their location on a map.

I assume that the British armed forces have a code of conduct similar to ours. Relative to that code, the behavior of these soldiers looks disgraceful.

BTW, not only am I NOT a Bushie conservative. I'm not a conservative at all.


The spy plane is different because it was over Chinese airspace. This was the might Royal Navy that went to war over Jenkin's Ear. This was a disgrace.


I expected a lot better out of Clive Davis than the assumption that there is some sort of Stalinist personality cult around the Jesus Figure of George W. Bush in the Republican Party. There are several reasons why Republicans stayed home in 2006, among them disagreements with Bush over domestic politics and anger that the Iraq war was being waged so inconclusively.

Clive Davis simply set up a straw man to knock down. How convenient, and how cheap. And he ignores what Derbyshere was so painful in pointing out: the episode was a humiliating disgrace for the Royal Navy and for Britain. As it is, the captain of HMS Cornwall should be brought before a general courts martial for deriliction of duty in sending his men out without proper security and overwatch. British Rules of Engagement apparently allowed for the men to be siezed without contest, making these men and one woman easy pickings for the Revolutionary Guards.

Contrast this with the actions of the "clumsy, oafish" Americans back in September of 2006 along the frontier when confronted by the IGRC. Not only did the American infantry squad and the Iraqi unit they were with fight back, but a couple of Pasdaran they were being encircled by were killed in the bargain. This is no slight against the British: the RN and the Royal Marines Commandos were hamstrung by hideously unrealistic Rules of Engagement handed down by backside covering politicians in Whitehall.

We shall get a clearer picture of the reasons for the conduct of the sailors in question as a result of the Debrief. Nevertheless, one is not struck by any resemblance to men made so famous by the late Sir Alec Guinness' portrayal in the Bridge over the River Kwai.

Finally, please: the debate is rather over concerning British (or should I say European) versus American approaches to multiculturalism-the American model of assimilationism works, yours doesn't. You have practised Balkanization and have allowed a violent death cult to metastasize on your continent that does not accept the legitimacy of your form of government, and indeed, wishes to replace it with Sharia Law. We would never tolerate that here in any way, shape or form, but respect people's right to practice religion any way they please, provided that loyalty to the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence is respected. Oh, and in America, citizens, including Muslim citizens, have the right to keep and bear arms.

You people don't even demand that minimal loyalty. Instead, you are indulging an entire generation of Islamic seperatists, whose radical imams speak the language of terror and conquest. And you question whose approach to multiculturalism works better?

BTW, is Paris burning again?


I'm a bit embarrassed (as a Yank) at the reaction of some of these right wing cretins (and I say that as a conservative). Bottom line: the British sailors came home in one piece, and after a relatively short ordeal. Contrast that with Jimmy's Carter's situation in '79-'80.

Still, I can't help but think that perhaps, now that the UK has its people back, Britain should destroy an Iranian refinery or two (or take some sort of retaliatory reaction). Rather like Reagan and the bombing of Libya. I'm completely serious. They could do so, of course, with a maximum effort to minimize casualties. I just think that a rich western state simply can't allow the Iranians to do what they did and not pay any price.


Section 9: Amen. I would just add that parading foreign captives (whether lawfully detained or not) before cameras to recite scripted apologies or denunciations is a criminal act on its face, and the fact such behavior continues to be not only tolerated but rewarded says much about the true value placed on international law by so many who constantly preach to us about it.

Frank Lee

Does no one else find it odd that the one example Clive cites of a crazed American is actually a Brit?

And does no one else consider it ironic that Robbie Millen, a European journalist, is criticizing Americans for making sweeping, all-inclusive judgments about Europeans? That's like the French calling Americans arrogant. European journalists, heal thyselves!

It seems to me that a culture advances only when its elites are diverse in opinion and keen to examine and criticize their own culture. Since the Enlightenment, Muslim cultures across the board have contributed next to nothing to science and economic advancement, probably for that reason: they do not permit their elites to critique Islam and Islamic culture. Are the European elites falling into the same trap? Or do they engage in honest self-examination and self-critique? If so, I never see the result. Granted, American academics do this to silly excess (with American feminists citing the very culture that gave rise to feminism as the worst culture in the world). But shouldn't we see more of this in Europe? The safe return of the British servicemen seems like an appropriate moment to reflect on the frustrating impotence of their recent situation, not a moment to cast one's attention to what some (European) American conservative writes on his blog.


With respect to intellectuals criticizing Islam, there is plenty of action in Europe. From the headscarve prohibition in France to Nordic feminists demarcating the limits of tolerance, European intellectuals are doing more than their American counterparts to demand that pluralism be a two way street.

I am wondering if Mr. Lee has ever heard of Oriana Fallaci?

Since Mr. Lee appears to be unaware of what is actually happening in Europe, I have to assume that he knows just enough about "European intellectuals" to get himself into trouble.


"European intellectuals are doing more than their American counterparts to demand that pluralism be a two way street."

You mean like stopping all lessons on the Holocaust out of concern that it might offend some Muslims who prefer to believe it never happened? Yeah, real success story there. A shame we can't ask Theo Van Gogh about levels of tolerance and political correctness in Europe.


According to Andrew Sullivan, Clive Davis emailed him the following:

"It's amazing how US conservatives have managed to alienate so many of us over here."

With David Cameron as the standard bearer for "conservatism" in the UK these days, its amazing the word even remains in dictionaries over there any more!

Gilman Grundy

I'm really disappointed to see the reaction of the American right to anything European replayed once again. Here it is, as far as I can understand it:

1) Europeans are weak

2) Europeans are selling out to Islamic terrorism

3) Europeans hate America

4) Europe will soon be ruled by the Moslems

5) America is the one true home and guardian of democracy

6) America should go it's own way (which somehow still gives those who support this postion the right to complain when people from other countries don't support it)

I used to think that these non-sensical arguments were only made by the most extreme among the American right, but the simple volume of these kind of postings on every British website that discusses American and European issues would seem to prove otherwise. Until some simple realism reigns in America there seems little reason trying to discuss these issues. But please understand -

1) Europe includes two nuclear powers with a total of 1,000 nuclear weapons, four countries with a total of seven aircraft carriers and more than 1.7 million men under arms, it is disunited and indecisive, but it is hardly 'weak'

2)European governments have varying positions toward the war on terror, but none of them is even close to 'selling out'

3) Yes, there are those, especially on the left for whom anti-Americanism is a kind of religion, but this is a fringe view. In 2005 German voters chose a pro-American Angela Merkel over anti-American opposition, French voters seem likely to choose the fairly pro-American Nicholas Sarkozy over any anti-American alternative and British voters will have two pro-American candidates to choose between. In light of this the scribblings of people like Tariq Ali and Jean-Marie Le Pen hardly seem important.

4) Perhaps the most idiotic of all the arguments one sees made, how exactly are 20 million most non-fundamentalist Moslems supposed to seize power in a continent of more than 450 million people?

5) America has a fine history of defending liberty, a shame that its current government's wanton disregard for all morality and law has brought shame upon this reputation. There is no other way of putting this.

6) 'America Alone' would be the greatest victory that the terrorist could hope for, don't even think about it.

As for the issue of the sailors captured by Iran, just try to understand this, The fifteen sailors were ambushed by the Iranians, not five of them, but five boat-loads of them, armed with RPGs and heavy machine guns. There might be some case to be answered by those in charge and I'm sure there'll be an enquiry, but until then give it a rest. As for the government's response, no military action that the British government could have taken would have ensured an early release. Those Americans who think it might have should remember Operation Eagle Claw: enough said.

Frank Lee

Helmut offers Oriana Fallaci as proof that European intellectuals are engaging in a healthy amount of self-criticism. But Fallaci faced criminal prosecution in Europe simply for expressing her intemperate views. She fled to New York in part to escape extradition within Europe. Doesn't that support my point that Europe is inhospitable to self-criticism from the European elites?

Reality Man

"They apparently offered NO resistance whatever when they were initially confronted by hostile action from the Iranians. No one expects them to commit collective suicide, but you would have thought that armed soldiers (not diplomats) would have made SOME effort not to be captured. They did not."

Every situation in which someone gets a gun pointed at them is different (the angle of the gun, how close your hand is to your own gun when you realize you are under attack, etc.). Criticizing them for saving their own lives is callous.

It is also very apparent that much of the American right has spent little time learning about the history of various Muslim societies. They paint a picture in which the societies of what is now Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, East Turkestan, Morocco, Sudan, Libya, Senegal, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, northern Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Somolia, Niger, Chechnya, Azerbaijin and the former Mughal Empire (among others) are all the same thing with a single culture and way of life called "Islam." Claiming that Muslims have contributed nothing in 800 years is simply not true. Just because you don't read the books of other countries or study its art and architecture doesn't mean they contributed nothing. Korea and Japan today are dynamic liberal democracies, but the majority of Westerners don't even know who the most popular Japanese author in the West (Murakami) even is. Does that invalidate what they contributed? No. Does that make glib people ignorant? Of course.

Mike Doughty

If the "safe return" of military personnel is the goal of the British, they really shouldn't be there in the first place (yes, I know most British would agree). They're more of a liability than a help.

The Iranians knew quite well that they could do this and score a great propaganda victory as well as completely divert the attention of the western press away from their nuclear weapon activities. The actions of the military personnel involved was just a bonus for them. The Carter hostage crisis was likewise a disgrace and emboldened Middle East terrorists to this day. A firm response at that time may well have cost the lives of hostages, but many others might be alive today.

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