Newsweek gave Fareed Zakaria front-page treatment to a very sensible and long-overdue essay on what’s degrading America’s greatness: Fear. And he takes our drooling fear-monger of an ex-Governor to the woodshed:
The presidential campaign could have provided the opportunity for a national discussion of the new world we live in. So far, on the Republican side, it has turned into an exercise in chest-thumping. Whipping up hysteria requires magnifying the foe. The enemy is vast, global and relentless. Giuliani casually lumps together Iran and Al Qaeda. Mitt Romney goes further, banding together all the supposed bad guys. “This is about Shia and Sunni. This is about Hizbullah and Hamas and Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood,” he recently declared.
But Iran is a Shiite power and actually helped the United States topple the Qaeda-backed Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Qaeda-affiliated radical Sunnis are currently slaughtering Shiites in Iraq, and Iranian-backed Shiite militias are responding by executing and displacing Iraq’s Sunnis. We are repeating one of the central errors of the early cold war — putting together all our potential adversaries rather than dividing them. Mao and Stalin were both nasty. But they were nasties who disliked one another, a fact that could be exploited to the great benefit of the free world. To miss this is not strength. It’s stupidity.
I have to imagine the voting public would like to hear a strong, courageous, positive alternative to the fear-drenched hysteria of BushCo and its heirs. And that means calling fear-mongering just what it is. Call it by its name, and ask why we can’t do any better than this. Ask why our leaders are so quick to consent to being terrorized.
Edwards has come along somewhat in rejecting the “war on terror” trope; I look forward to the other candidates following suit.