Steyn on Ports

Sunday, March 19, 2006
Mark Steyn reminds us that not all Muslim nations are alike. It seems to me that since the cartoon riots there has been a growing sense of Eff them concerning any and all Muslims everywhere. More and more I think that was the point of the burning flags and signs in English, if you can't beat them...make them walk away in disgust.

Whatever the reason it seems to me that people are ignoring reality. Islam is a fact of life like it or not and we can not just pretend they do not exist nor can we opt for a 21st century Final Solution. It also seems to me that given the fact that most of the victims of terrorist attacks are Muslims it might just be the case that we have more in common with a lot of the Muslim than we realize. The terrorists want to control us all.

But Congress decided to opt for political expedience instead of doing the right thing and looking at the long term. After all it is an election year.

And yes, DPW is a "state-owned" bauble, just as King Willem III of the Netherlands was a founding shareholder of Royal Dutch Shell petroleum, just as Prince Maurits of Orange founded the Dutch East India Company, the original Royal Dutch shell company and the Halliburton of its day. In monarchical societies, economic innovation often begins with royal protection.

So saying "Get lost, Dubai" isn't a new steeliness so much as a retreat into an unsustainable bunker mentality more sentimental than Bush's liberty promotion. My National Review comrade John Derbyshire has been promoting the slogan "Rubble Doesn't Cause Trouble." Cute, and I wish him well with the T-shirt sales. But, in arguing for a "realist" foreign policy of long-range bombing, he overlooks the very obvious point that rubble causes quite a lot of trouble: The rubble of Bosnia is directly responsible for radicalizing a generation of European Muslims, including Daniel Pearl's executioner; the rubble of Afghanistan became an international terrorist training camp, whose alumni include the shoebomber Richard Reid, the millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam, and the 9/11 plotters; the rubble of Grozny turned Chechen nationalists into pan-Islamist jihadi. Those correspondents of mine who send me e-mails headed "Nuke Mecca!" might like to consider the broader strategic impact on a billion Muslims from Indonesia to Yorkshire, for whom any fallout will be psychological rather than carcinogenic. Rubble is an insufficient solution, unless you're also going to attend to the Muslim world's real problem: its intellectual rubble.

Arab Muslims fought in Afghanistan, British Muslims took up arms in Bosnia, Pakistani Muslims have been killed in Chechnya. When you're up against a globalized ideology, you need to globalize your own, not hunker down in Fortress America. Right now the Arab world's principal exports are oil and Islamism. Ports management is a rare diversification and long overdue.

Hey by God... we showed them didn't we?

read it all.


Pastorius said...

Mark Steyn is great. John Derbyshire is a bizarre dude. I don't know how he has a job.

I agree with you, Terrye, that people are increasingly just saying "eff them," when it comes to Muslims. I think this started after the London Bombings, when there was almost no reasonable response from the Muslim community. It increased with the Paris riots, and has really gained strength with the Cartoon Jihad.

The unfortunate, but understandable fact is that there are no large organizations representing the moderate Muslim voice. Therefore, we don't here from the moderates. And all we are then left with is the voice of the radicals bellowing in our collective ear.

Recently, I have begun inviting moderate Muslims to become commentators on the Infidel Bloggers Alliance. So far, Eteraz is the only contributor, but he has been helping. The debate over what to do to "fix Islam", as Eteraz puts it, needs to be handled by Muslims, but it will help if us Infidels can watch it take place. It's compforting to know that someone is trying.

David Thomson said...

“It appears," huffed Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), "that the divestiture announcement from DPW last week may have been nothing more than a diversion designed to deflect attention away from this outsourcing of American port security.”

Behind the scenes, the more sensible Democrats and Republicans realize that the Dubai Ports World agreement should be approved. There is likely no American company who can handle these chores---and earn a suitable return on their investment. I still expect DPW will be managing the disputed terminals before the end of the year.

Many Americans tend toward isolationism. They fail to realize that this option is foolish in today’s world. Improving technology has made the planet smaller. Our economy and general well being requires good relations with the rest of the world. There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims. Whether one likes it or not, they are not going to disappear anytime soon.

terrye said...


This is nothing new. I remember that by the time we left Viet Nam people were saying we should just have "nuked the gooks".

Believe it or not it was not just the lefties who bailed on that war.

I can also remember back when the mullahs put a fatwa against Rushdie and people had the same screw them attitude...but it paled next to the reaction of the taking of the embassy.

Remember that old song Barbra Ann.?

Well I can recall people singing bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran to the melody.

And you know what? Complaining that moderate Muslims are not braver than the editorial staff at WaPo and NYT and the Indpls Star and don't just get out there and mix it up with the crazy people is damn easy for us to say.

This is their religion and if we force them to choose between a bunch of folks who would just as soon shoot them as look at them and another bunch of folks who would just as soon shoot them as look at them, my guess is they are going to respond by keeping a very low profile.

I dunno I am just tired of this constant bellyaching from people.

Pastorius said...

I think we can expect the Iranians and other Muslims around the world to stand up and fight for human rights. Why? Because , it is the right thing of them to do. We certainly have enough of a track record of doing it, so, we are the perfect people to call them out on it.

If Muslims around the worlddo not stand up and do the work to fix the problems, then things will get worse.

What do you think is going to happen then?

I don't think you were saying I was bellyaching, but let's be clear, calling for Muslims to stand up and do the right thing is far from bellyaching.

terrye said...


In Iran they will hang you for that kind of thing.

Of course I think the Muslims need to stand up for themselves, but if they do they can die. I mean die.

Now I grew up in the south and I can remember black people being scared to stand up and they had less to fear. Fear is a disease, once it takes hold it permeates every part of a society.

My point is it is very difficult for people to speak out against their culture and religion when that is all they have. And when doing it can you killed it is even more difficult.

The people I see and hear bellyaching the most are people who have already decided that all Muslims are evil or bad or weird or hopeless and if I had to worry about my family and their safety I would not be trying to please those folks either.

I guess to my way of thinking a moderate Muslim is someone who is not trying to kill anyone or give aid and comfort to someone who is. To some other people a moderate Muslim is someone who will go on TV and say that Islam is a death cult or something. I just don't think that is realistic.

Pastorius said...

You're fun to argue with, because I only barely disagree with. (Yes, for me, it is no fun to argue with a person with whom I totally disagree - but I digress).

I agree with your definition of moderate Muslim, AND, I agree that many seem to define only people like Wafa Sultan as real moderates.

I think that may be misleading in a way, though.

I know, for instance, that I believe that in the U.S. the vast majority of Muslims are moderate. However, they have no discernable political voice. In fact, by not speaking for themselves, they allow groups like CAIR to speak for them.

So, I, for instance, one time ran a post on my blog entitled "Moderate Muslim Watch 2006". This post had a big white space under it. Because, of course, we haven't seen or heard from them.

One might conclude from this that I don't believe there are moderate Muslims.

That wouldn't be correct.

Instead, the truth is, I have begun to be angry with moderate Muslims for subjecting us to a situation in which radicals are speaking for Muslims, and in which there is no credible Muslim voice speaking up for the Islamic Democraces that we are going to great expense to provide for their brothers and sisters of the Umma.

Since, I feel pretty justified in my anger over this issue, I have no problem making fun of the Muslim community for their cowardly behavior.

At the same time, I am in the midst of making a concerted effort to explore, via my blog, the potential for Islam to reform itself.

My point is, what you may see as people "bellyaching" may, in fact, be people who do nuance when you aren't looking.

On the other hand, I am with you on this, we have to find peace with Islam, because we can't kill all of them. And, the best way to peace is to promote Western style Democracy.

terrye said...


Some of them may be doing some nuancing but if you hang out in the comment section of Little green footballs for long you might get the idea that the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. And those folks are not all that exceptional.

I do know what you mean however when you talk about getting moderates more involved. Imagine Christians being divided between Quakers and the Army of God.

But I remember last year the millions of people who turned out in the streets in prodemocracy marches. Just a few weeks ago thousands turned out in Bahrain of all places. And in Iraq, Muslims die every day at the hands of extremists.

I think that here in America and much of the west moderates just want to be left alone. This might not be good, but I think they are afraid to appear less than pious. It is a fear they need to overcome.