March 16, 2007


Bush's Book List Gets More Islamophobic (Jim Lobe, Mar 16, 2007, IPS)

Accounts of a Feb. 28 "literary luncheon" at the White House suggest that President George W. Bush's reading tastes -- until now a remarkably good predictor of his policy views -- are moving ever rightward, even apocalyptic, despite his administration's recent suggestions that it is more disposed to engage Washington's foes, even in the Middle East.

The luncheon, attended as well by Vice President Dick Cheney and a dozen hard-line neo-conservatives, was held in honour of visiting British historian Andrew Roberts whose latest work, "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900", Bush reportedly read late last year and subsequently sent to Prime Minister Tony Blair. Cheney took the book with him on his recent trip to Pakistan.

Roberts, an avowed Thatcherite who proudly declared himself "extremely right-wing" in a recent Financial Times interview, repeatedly advised the president, according to Irwin Stelzer, one of the neo-conservative attendees, to ignore rising anti-U.S. sentiment abroad and opposition at home in pursuing his war on terrorism -- or what the historian has called "the Manichean world-historical struggle" against fascism, of which "Totalitarian Islamic Terrorist Fascism" is only the latest. [...]

In his article, Stelzer, an economist at the Hudson Institute and London Sunday Times columnist, disclosed that Bush had also recommended that his staff and friends read another, even more apocalyptic, analysis of the current war on terror, "America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It", by Toronto-born neo-conservative columnist Mark Steyn.

Steyn's book, which, unlike Roberts', actually made the New York Times bestseller list, sees Europe's demographic trends and its multicultural, "post-nationalist" secularism -- of which his native Canada is also guilty -- as leading inevitably to the "Eupocalypse", the "recolonisation of Europe by Islam", the emergence of "Eurabia", and the onset of a "new Dark Ages" in which the United States will find it difficult to survive as the "lonely candle of liberty."

Steyn, who admits that he would have to drive three hours from his home in thankfully "undiverse" New Hampshire to find a Muslim, sees Islam itself -- and not just "Islamist radicals" or "jihadis", such as al Qaeda -- as a unique threat that cannot be reconciled with "free societies".

So after six years as president, Mr. Bush's reading list suggests the lesson that the Anglosphere is handy in a fight and continental Europe useless. Shocking....

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 16, 2007 5:36 PM

Mark Steyn a neoconservative? Gee, he doesn't look neoconservativish.

Posted by: at March 16, 2007 7:16 PM

Well, the beard does make him look Orthodox, rather than secular....

Posted by: oj at March 16, 2007 8:41 PM

Orthodox what? He's not even Jewish!

Posted by: obc at March 17, 2007 6:17 AM

The US government hopes to 'engage' its enemies? I don't think they are using 'engage' in quite the limited meaning the other hopes they are.

You keep using that word; I don't think it means quite what you think it means.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2007 8:29 AM