Liberal Relativists Inherited 'A Blind Eye To Misogyny' From Their Imperialist Ancestors.
In a particularly bracing essay about the way the fashionable punditti have greeted Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom's latest book, Does God Hate Women?, my comrade Nick Cohen concludes that "what the world needs now is an uncompromisingly militant feminist movement."
"It is deplorable but unsurprising that the past 20 years have seen a cooling of a belief in the need for universal emancipation. Most women at the top of society are dependent on cheap and usually foreign labour. So, too, are their partners, who enjoy the benefits of a dual income. In these circumstances, going along with the belief that culture condemns certain women to servitude is a domestic convenience, the more so when speaking out against it is dangerous.
"For at the root of the weird twists in liberal opinion I have been arguing against lies physical fear: the fear of provoking accusation of racial or religious prejudice; the fear of provoking trouble; the fear of provoking violent retribution. Generally, people do not own up to cowardice. They prefer to dress up it up in fine clothes and call it 'respect for difference' or 'a celebration of diversity'. . . They smugly declare that ‘we haven't got the right to impose our values on another culture' and think themselves liberal when they do it."
A tremendous essay. Every last sentence of it.
Here, Peter Bergen relates some useful facts about what we are all constantly berated to sneer at as a failed "imperialist" adventure: You were more likely to be murdered in the United States in 1991 than an Afghan civilian is to be killed in the war today; More than five million refugees have returned home since the fall of the Taliban - one of the most substantial refugee repatriations in history, and little noticed, mainly because it has gone so smoothly; One in six Afghans now has a cell phone, while under the Taliban there was no phone system; Millions of kids are now in school, including millions of girls, when under the Taliban girls were not allowed to be educated; Etc. etc.
Here, meanwhile, Bergen shreds Stephen "The Israel Lobby" Walt's attempts at constructing an argument to support the fashionable "troops out" position. Troops out? Scale back? We tried these things before, Bergen points out:
"Twice. In 1989 the U.S. closed its embassy in Kabul and then effectively zeroed out aid to one of the poorest countries in the world; meanwhile Afghanistan was racked by a civil war, which spawned the Taliban who then gave safe haven to al Qaeda.Then in the winter of 2001 the Bush administration overthrew the Taliban, and because of its aversion to nation-building rebuilt the country on the cheap and quickly got distracted by the war in Iraq. . . . So the U.S. has already tried the Do Nothing approach and the Do It Light approach in Afghanistan, the results of which are well known. The Obama administration is now attempting a Do It Seriously approach, which has a real chance of success."
I'm convinced that Bergen is right. Obama's new approach is cause for much optimism, especially now that Stanley McChrystal in ISAF's wheelhouse. The main obstacle is not the Taliban, though. The big problem isn't even in Afghanistan. It is what Cohen calls "a cooling of a belief in the need for universal emancipation" in the rich countries of the world.