HH: ...Mark Steyn, now let's turn to the Danish cartoons. Hundreds of thousands of Shiite Muslims turned out in Beirut today to protest the cartoons. The head of Hezbollah told George Bush to shut up over Syria and Iran fueling protests. And in Gaza, a quaint little story of entrepreneur Ahmed Abu Daya, who has laid in a hundred hard to find Danish and Norwegian flags for sale to flag burners.
HH: What's going on?
MS: Well in a sense, that sums up the economic energy in the Muslim world, that they're actually great for...if you want to start a flag business for people to burn flags, that's a viable business in the Muslim world. Not a lot of other things are. That's one of the problems. You know, I disagree with the line you've taken on this, Hugh, and I do accept that in the simple politics of it, there's something actually quite useful in the United States detaching itself from Europe's position. But from Europe's point of view, the problem is that the basic narrative here in all these stories, the French riots, the murder of the Dutch filmmaker, the banning of Pooh and Piglet mugs in English municipal government offices, all these little nothing stories all basically derive their energy from the same point, that the fact that the Europeans are weak and elderly and fading, and their Muslims populations are young and surging. And in all these clashes, they're basically putting down markers for the way things are going to be the day after tomorrow, in the way that if you're a new owner, you may buy a house and have the kitchen remodeled before moving in. I mean, a lot of the things they're putting in place now, the Muslims are demanding, the Muslim lobby groups are demanding. They're basically putting in place the remodeled kitchen before they move in and take over.
HH: So I've not persuaded you with my analogy to Churchill's treatment of Franco during the War, that we've got to worry about Pakistan's stability, we don't really want Danish newspaper editors making these calls for the Pentagon. We would...I want our government to engage this world and these fanatics on their terms and their timing, not the timing of Danish out of touch cultural editors, which is what this all began with.
MS: Well, I wouldn't actually call those guys out of touch, because in some ways, they're living with far...in a far worse situation than people are in parts of the Muslim world. And again, I would slightly disagree with you there, because I think Muslims in the Muslim world are actually far more culturally reformable than Muslims in Europe are, because they're living in relatively homogenous societies that can be shifted culturally in significant ways. The problem in Europe is that Muslims feel alienated, because they regard Western culture as an abomination, it's all around them. They regard them as soft, decadent, narcissist fornicators and sodomites, and they loathe the society they're living in. And I think in a sense, that's a much more problematic thing. You know, whether there...I think there are moderate Muslims in Jordan. Whether there are moderate Muslims in the Netherlands is a much more problematic question.
HH: You know, I asked Dennis Prager this week. I don't know if you had a chance to read that interview with Prager, Medved and Joe Carter.
MS: Yeah, that was a great show, actually.
HH: Well, I thought so, too, but I was a little stunned when Dennis said he thought 20% of the Muslim world was radicalized, and that it would go to more than 50%. Do you agree with those numbers?
MS: Well, I think the thing is you have to distinguish between...the proportion of Muslims who are prepared to fly planes into skyscrapers is incredibly small. But when you take polls...they took a poll in Britain this week of British Muslims, and basically found that 2/5ths of British Muslims regard Jewish civilians as legitimate targets. Now that provides a huge comfort zone for Muslim terrorists to operate in.
MS: It means that they can go and set up in Manchester or Birmingham or Rotterdam or Copenhagen or Buffalo or Seattle, knowing that within those communities, there's a very huge comfort zone for them to be able to operate in. And in that sense, I think Dennis may be, in fact, underestimating the number a little.
HH: Now what do you make, though, of hundreds of thousands of Hezbollah followers in Lebanon? Is this conflict unavoidable with Hezbollah?
MS: Well, I think that is part of something that's slightly more calculated. Spontaneous demonstrations don't erupt in that part of the world.
HH: That's right.
MS: They're basically as stage managed as the opening ceremony at the Moscow Olympics. And what is happening is that Iran is putting pressure, because there's this parallel situation going on with Iran's nuclear program being referred to the U.N. Security Council, and Iran is basically calling some of its client groups out into the streets to remind some of the weaker members of that Security Council that in fact, if they want a clash of civilizations, bring it on, baby. That's the message these groups are making.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Hugh Hewitt had Mark Steyn on his radio show to talk about the Danish Cartoon crisis: