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on 26 September 2007
George W Bush really does polarize people. Liberals and leftist extremists despise him with a passion, whereas his conservative allies defend him meekly. The liberal media, and the pretty much everyone in the middle, doesn't much care for him either. As the Iraq war descended into sectarian barbarism in 2006, before the Petraeus `surge', his natural allies were beginning to jump ship too. Who would have thought liberal hawk politicians and conservative cheerleaders were so opportunistic and cowardly?

Well now we a this fantastic new book by Norman Podhoretz which gives an unapologetic defense of the Bush Doctrine and a razor-sharp rebuke to his sneering critics. World War IV is the fight against Islamofascism (with the Cold War being World War III). Podhoretz believes it will require heavy sacrifices and patient resolve. President Bush has demonstrated tremendous resilience. Yet a massive failure of nerve and defeatist mentality, seems to afflict most of the opinion-making elite in America. Considering the level of defeatism in the liberal press, among public intellectuals and among the political leadership, it is perhaps even more amazing that so many young Americans have answered the call and donned the uniform in the post 9-11 era.. Podhoretz writes: "In their determination, their courage, and their love of country, they are by all accounts a match, and more than a match, for their forebears of World War II and World War III."

Defending Bush against the claim that he `failed to make the case' for removing Saddam, Podhoretz carefully documents the many instances in which Bush did exactly that. Was Saddam Hussein contained within his `box', as Clinton was fond of arguing? Bush answered this argument in 2002. "Containment is not possible," he told West Point officers, "when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver these weapons or missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies."

Did Bush claim that the threat from Saddam was "imminent"? No, he said the exact opposite, "If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long. . . The war on terror will not be won on the defensive."

Did Bush fail to appreciate the wisdom of the `realist' school of foreign policy? No, he looked at and considered their approach. But ultimately rejected it. "For decades free nations tolerated oppression in the Middle East for the sake of stability. In practice, this approach brought little stability and much oppression, so I have changed this policy." This is part of the neoconservative philosophy which he adopted - the Freedom Agenda.

Podhoretz replies to those who have accused Bush of naivete in promoting democracy in the Middle East. Yes, elections have brought Hamas to power in the Palestine, gave the Muslim Brotherhood seats in the Egyptian parliament and provided Hezbollah a share of power in Lebanon. However, the Arab dictatorship stranglehold is over in the region and other leaders are fearful. Podhoretz adds on the Hamas-Brotherhood question, that "bad as this option may have been by certain political standards, it was -- and still is -- marked by more than a touch of nobility." Natan Sharansky has eloquently stated the case for freedom in the Middle East too, in his classic book, which has had a profound influence on Bush and others.

This superb book is a lightning-bolt of moral clarity and a call for resolve and patience in this new World War. No doubt it will be lambasted and attacked by the hard Left, soft Left and isolationist right, who just don't see the threat, understand the threat or in some cases, sympathize with the threat. I suspect the John Bolton, Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani endorsements are enough to make some people cringe but as far as I can see, these people can see totalitarian evil when it faces them and are willing defend civilzation - unlike some other Moveon.org backed politicians I could mention.
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on 21 July 2010
To day the Western civilization is once again threathend by religious/political totalitarian ideologies. The challence is as overwhelming as it was seen in the fourties, when democraties stood face to face with the most evil force the world had seen yet.
Nazism was defeated thanks to a generation of Americans and Brits who throwed in their lives in the course of human dignity.
Soviet Communism collapsed at last. The internal contradictions were too huge to comprehend for the system at large. - To help the system on its way to the "ash heap of history" were the firmness of the U.S., expressed through President Ronald Reagan.
The third World War came to an end in 1989. It's Podhoretz' term for the longlasting "Cold War" which at times were quite hot.
World War IV began in September 11, 2001. Once again an allover war started with an unprovoked attack on the United States. "War On Terror" was President Bush's initial message to the world and the West's enemy number one: the Islamofascists.
The attacks on Western capitalist democracies have displayed various colors as a signal banner: red, black/brown, and green. But they all. Communists, fascists, National Socialists, and Islamofascists display an absorbing contempt for human life.
Norman Podhoretz calls in this superb analysis for an awakening to soberness. Can the generation, in the free world to day, live up to their forebears in their determination to fight evil? Or has defaitism overruled all conscience? Are the Europeans on their way to surrender to dhimmitude? Are America alone in her fight against humanity's enemies? The answer is blowing in the wind.
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on 26 February 2008
If you want a searing defense of Bush and his doctrine, whether you believe it has failed or not, then this book is for you. Otherwise, it Podhoretz's message is basically "I'm right, and if you disagree with me you are worse than wrong, you are immoral!" The problem is that he thinks he knows all the answers for everybody, even if he tries to convince you otherwise. And his answers, the panacea to the world's problems?: "The good ol' American way of life!" Too often, to 'prove' his point he cites that "future historians will prove me right". So not only is this a moral guide to politics, but a guide to future events also, by the leading clairvoyant in the world!
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