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Jed Babbin: Well, Leonard Bernstein isn’t around to be mau-maued anymore, but Chris Dodd acts in his stead. The lefties love Castro because he — like Dodd, Kennedy, Jane Fonda and the rest — is one of the '60s love children. They remember their glory days, the fun they had at Woodstock smoking pot and wearing Che Guevara T-shirts (and nothing else). Fidel was part of all those glory days. It’s gonna be really hard on them when he dies: the end of their youth. It must seem like just yesterday that they were joining him in screaming for Nixon’s downfall.
BC: You quote Sout Al-Khalifa who said, “Broken and completely humiliated, George Bush, a fool who is being obeyed, announced his obvious incapability to deal with the wrath of Allah that visited the city of homosexuals.” This sentence made me think of the arguments of Dinesh D’Souza’s in The Enemy at Home. What do you make of the idea that our culture, and not our foreign policy, is what inflames the Islamofascists the most?
Jed Babbin: I dismiss both halves of that question — the premise and the suggestion — because they are both truly laughable. The only thing that is necessary for the Islamofascists to declare war against us is the fact that we aren’t yet enslaved by them. Two points: first, radical Islam is an ideology, not a religion. It provides for conquest, terrorism, death and — at best — poverty. It is a Middle Eastern version of Nazism; second, the Islamofascists have been at war with non-conforming Muslims — killing them as quickly as they can — since at least the 1920s when the final death-throes of the Ottoman Empire disturbed the Middle East. This ain’t our fault, no matter how you slice it.
BC: The Chinese have been issuing hate speech about us for many years. Is there anything we can do about it? Should we not treat China with excessive caution?
Jed Babbin: We do. But China, unlike the Islamofascisti, can be contained. Japan, unlike Taiwan, has awakened and is acting responsibly to defend itself. No nation — including us — has risen to superpower status except on a tide of war. If we can contain China and manage its emergence without war it will be a first.
BC: Chapter 9 concerns Vladimir Putin’s Russia and references an interview he did for Al Jazeera. I guess my question here kind of mirrors the one with China. The transcript reveals him putting forth the position that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. There’s no question that Mr. Putin meets well the definition of the phrase “two-faced,” but what can any U.S. politicians possibly do about his machinations?
Jed Babbin: U.S. pols are indisposed to do anything about Putin, politically or otherwise. The best thing would be for the Prez to admit he misjudged Putin. That won’t happen. But wouldn’t it be refreshing for one of the Republican presidential wannabes to mention Bad Vlad and say something like, “There — but for the grace of God — goes Brezhnev”? Bet you a box of Cuban cigars no such thing happens. Meanwhile, all we can do is make sure Raoul goes when his older brother expires. Because the CIA is such a mess, we ought to subcontract the job to the Israelis or the Brits.
BC: Do you buy Mark Steyn’s premise in America Alone that the democracies of the west may soon face extinction due to demographic decline? Do you see any way in which Europe can avoid becoming Eurabia?
Jed Babbin: Mark makes a convincing case. The numbers don’t lie, and unless the trend is reversed France — for example — won’t be French in another generation or two. Surprisingly, that won’t be good news.
BC: Lastly, do you have a favorite story with which to entertain our readers from your days at The American Spectator? Any tale ranging from mildly distasteful to truly irreverent will suffice.
Jed Babbin: Wow. There were so many great moments it’s hard to choose among them. So many dinners at R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s home (at which you never really knew who would pop in), the many times my loving wife would look at a draft column and say, “YOU CAN’T SAY THAT IN PRINT,” and — best of all — the reader mail from all over the world. The Spectator’s audience is wonderful. Some day I will be able to tell the story of the bent key, the wired letter, and the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime. But not today.