Friday, August 20, 2010

Max Rodenbeck: a fine Middle East correspondent

You want a good Middle East correspondent?  Max Rodenbeck is an excellent example.  And he writes for the best magazine there is, the Economist.  Read his review here of Berard Lewis' latest collection of speeches and pontifications:  "Take Lewis’s remark that democracies do not make war, and dictatorships do not make peace. This glib elaboration of a neoconservative mantra is easily challenged. The strongmen who ran Grenada, Panama and Iraq may have been bad guys, but there is no disputing that it was the United States that attacked them, not the other way around. The Egyptian dictator Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel, not the democratically elected Hamas party...In other words, democracies must clobber every dictator. And that’s not all. Giving a more specific nudge to policy makers, Lewis pretends to have discerned “deep roots” of democratic traditions in Iraq and Iran, of all places. Democracy might easily prevail there, he opines, and inspire others in the region, “given the chance.”
It might be argued that it is hardly Lewis’s fault if some in the Bush administration took such expert advice a little too literally. Yet Lewis himself makes his intentions pretty clear in another essay: “Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us.”  I mean it is legitimate to ask why no mainstream journalist in the US dared to take Lewis to task yet.