Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Future of the Left: The Tar Pits

Click here for AmazonIncredible essay by Victor Davis Hanson. Read the whole thing.

The old critique of American policy in the Middle East was driven by charges of petro-imperialism — that we would do any and all things to secure fuel for our gas-guzzlers. But China now satisfies most of its skyrocketing oil appetite from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Oman. Unlike the United States, there is no internal Chinese opposition to question the new superpower's oil politics, which are heating up global energy markets. The so-called Peoples Republic cares only about price and availability. It worries not at all about its petro-trade’s subsidizing Wahhabism, theocracy, or Islamic extremism.

We may still rant about the American rejection of Kyoto. But is anyone alarmed over the hundreds of coal plants sprouting up in India and China to ensure billions of people that there will be enough energy for a possible future lifestyle of the type we now take for granted in Santa Barbara and Nantucket? In short, we will soon enter an age in which China may well change the world's environment, affect the price of oil, and govern the world's trade as much as the United States — and will care almost nothing about what Western liberals say, secure either that its fraying socialist veneer or sheer size and power will earn it a pass from the censure of Western intellectuals.

If we thought indigenous liberationist movements of the Islamic world — who have beheaded and killed to be free of Western religious tolerance, equity for women and homosexuals, and voting and human rights — put an enormous strain on the ossified Left, wait until Mao's old socialist utopia begins to send ultimatums to the democracies of the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. What will Earth First do when this socialist behemoth sprouts its oil rigs in the Arctic tundra and pristine seas?

...Consider further: The United States runs staggering trade deficits with most of the world. Its dollar is at an all-time low. Its postwar international protocols — from the World Trade Organization to the United Nations — either favor the non-West or look unkindly toward the United States. The American military, at great risk and cost, alone in the world saved Kosovars, Afghans, and Iraqis from tyranny. For all the Vietnam-era rhetoric about American meddling, the elected Karzai and the provisional Allawi are a far cry from the Shah, Pinochet, or Somoza. We are doing things in the Middle East that make no sense in terms of traditional economic or political advantage — and yet still bring out 1960s-era stegosauruses alleging imperialism and hegemony...

Victor Davis Hanson: Into the Tar Pits

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