Monday, December 12, 2005

Wingnuttery Straight From The Igloo

Canuckistan Wingnutien Mark Steyn dismounts from his moose just long enough to dispense some wingnutty badness:

So let's see: We have a Holocaust denier who wants to relocate an entire nation to another continent, and he happens to be head of the world's newest nuclear state. (They're not 100 percent fully-fledged operational, but happily for them they can drag out the pseudo-negotiations with the European Union until they are. And Washington certainly won't do anything, because after all if we're not 100 percent certain they've got WMD -- which we won't be until there's a big smoking crater live on CNN one afternoon -- it would be just another Bushitlerburton lie to get us into another war for oil, right?)

How much wingnuttery to pack into one column? This is good stuff, Steyn's condensed batshittery:

1. Paint the EU as incompetent, and hint that such incompetence may be willful. Appeasement? Complicity?
2. State that if stronger action against Iran is indeed required, such action is impossible not because of the Bush-led quagmire in Iraq, but because of Liberals who
3. "Unfairly" hold Bush, and his enablers like Steyn, accountable for the lies he told, and they repeated and swore by, that caused the Iraq War.

Ahmadinejad is, like Steyn, a creep, a bastard, a menace to civilisation. But of a whole other magnitude. Ahmadinejad, if I read him right, didn't outright deny the Holocaust, he did something worse, he admitted that it may have happened only to diminish it by saying that if it did happen, it doesn't follow that Europe didn't take responsibility for it, therefore it didn't happen. This is more subtle (if somewhat contradictory) than the outright Holocaust denial practiced by the likes of Neonazis, skinheads, and Steyn's ideological chums like Mel Gibson's Dad. Plus, Ahmadinejad is obviously arguing in bad faith: he just wants Israel wiped from the map, as per his earlier statement. Anyway, none of this excuses Steyn, who must have broken a record here for how much of the lips and assholes of wingnutisms he's managed to cram into the html sausage casing the Sun-Times, for some reason, has provided.

Really? But wait, the world's superpower wasn't done yet. The State Department moved to a two-adjective alert and described Ahmadinejad's remarks as "appalling" and "reprehensible." "They certainly don't inspire hope among any of us in the international community that the government of Iran is prepared to engage as a responsible member of that community," said spokesman Adam Ereli.

You don't say. Ahmadinejad was speaking in the holy city of Mecca, head office of the "religion of peace," during a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. There were fiftysomething other heads of government in town. How many do you think took their Iranian colleague to task?

See? "Religion of peace." How droll. This tired sneer is what passes for comedy in LGF circles. But before he could smear all muslims, he had to set up the point, such that it is, of the piece: the White House response, too, was insufficient. See, anything less than, say, Rich Lowry's cheerfully insane "let's nuke Mecca" proposition is too tepid a response for Steyn's tastes.

Well, what's new? But, that being so, it would be heartening if the rest of the world could muster a serious response to the guy. How one pines for a plain-spoken tell-it-like-it-is fellow like, say, former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali? As he memorably said of Iran, "It's a totalitarian regime." Oh, no, wait. He said that about the United States. On Iran, he's as impeccably circumspect and discreet as the State Department.

What's a wingnut column without a stupid, irrelevant attack on the UN? The irrelevancy of Steyn's UN bashing is extra special, though: he has to quote a former Secretary-General. But the UN bashing is but a means to slag the real target, the State Department, for not being insanely wingnutty enough! Shorter Mark Steyn: Fuck diplomacy!

No, really. Diplomacy is teh suck! For Steyn, a government that speaks to Iran in terms less harsh than Ann Coulter or Rich Lowry is an atavistic govenment, from back before the stone age. See, diplomacy is, somehow, at odds with democracy:

"Diplomatic" language is one of the last holdovers of the pre-democratic age. It belongs to a time when international relations were conducted exclusively between a handful of eminent representatives of European dynasties. Today it's all out in the open -- President Ahmaddasanatta proposed his not-quite-final solution for Israel on TV. McLellan and Ereli likewise gave their response on TV. So the language of international relations is no longer merely the private code of diplomats but part of the public discourse -- and, if the government of the United States learns anything from the last four years, it surely ought to be that there's a price to be paid for not waging the war as effectively in the psychological arenas as in the military one. What does it mean when one party can talk repeatedly about the liquidation of an entire nation and the other party responds that this further "underscores our concerns," as if he'd been listening to an EU trade representative propose increasing some tariff by half a percent?

Awesomely wingnutty. You got here:

1. Puerile and witless mockery of a difficult name. Fine, Steyn, make fun of his name, but do it where it's at least funny.

2. Casual slagging of the EU.

3. The proposition that diplomatic responses to crazy statements by dangerous people is anti-democratic.

4. The proposition that anything less than a Coulterish retort to Ahmadinejad is munichappeasementhitler.

Well, it emboldens the bully. It gives him an advantage, like the punk who swears and sprawls over half the seats in the subway car while the other riders try not to catch his eye. The political thugs certainly understand the power of psychological intimidation... [snip]

We assume, as Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax and other civilized men did 70 years ago, that these chaps may be a little excitable, but come on, old boy, they can't possibly mean it, can they? Wrong. They mean it but they can't quite do it yet. Like Hitler, when they can do it, they will -- or at the very least the weedy diplo-speak tells them they can force the world into big concessions on the fear that they can.

What? He couldn't fit the umbrella reference in there somewhere? Well, I guess it doesn't matter; Halifax and Chamberlain were mentioned, so wingnut mission accomplished, I suppose.

The Hudson Institute's lively "Eye On The U.N." Web site had an interesting photograph of how the "international community" marked Nov. 29 -- the annual "International Day Of Solidarity With The Palestinian People." Kofi Annan and other bigwigs sat on a platform with a map flanked by the "Palestinian" and U.N. flags. The map showed Palestine but no Israel. The U.N., in other words, has done cartographically what Iran wants to do in more incendiary fashion: It's wiped Israel off the map.

There has always been a slightly post-modern quality to sovereignty in the transnational age: We pretend the Syrian foreign minister is no different from the New Zealand foreign minister, and in so doing we vastly inflate the status of the former at the expense of the latter. But with Ahmadinejad we're going way beyond that. If a genocidal fantasist is acceptable in polite society, we'll soon find ourselves dealing with a genocidal realist.

Pure wingnut gold! The UN is of a piece with Ahmadinejad! The evil, evil UN. And Steyn even managed to bash the Palestinians in the process! But it's more than that -- I told you this was a particularly condensed offering of insanity from Steyn -- he is saying that Syria and Iran are not soveriegn nations. Prepare for invasion! There's no need to mince words with these nations -- fuck diplomacy -- because they're there to be conquered anyway! Yes, yes, we must call for nuking Mecca or something just as insane, and then invade them, kill their leaders, and Christianize them, but Steyn doesn't say how that's possible when we can't even hold Iraq.

It's funny that Steyn, throughout this column, also neglects to mention that Israel and Iran, despite a long history of incendiary rhetoric, have often found ways of helping each other.

Ahmadinejad's overt "genocidal fantasies" are bad, then, but Mark Steyn's implied "genocidal fantasies" are, like, sensible. Yeah. Actually, Steyn and Ahmadinejad deserve each other. Steyn, pickled in Molson, then mounts his moose and returns to the igloo, to dream at night of sweet things, like clubbing terrorist baby seals, to spite the pinniped-appeasing Liberals no doubt.

**Added: Ahmadnejad is bad, yes. What he said was bad. It was also designed as red meat for a constituency: his own fanatics. Not to imply equivalence, but the other day Sharon also warned that Israel would do a "first strike" on Iran if it wished. As the Iran Contra link shows, however, these countries can be pretty pragmatic (if, jointly, deviously so); and if you think that Iran stopped the public anti-semitism or Israel stopped the more nuanced public anti-persianism through that period, you have my sympathy.

***Edit 12/14/05: I'm still not happy with this post. Lemme ammend it like this: Steyn refuses to deal with the fact that we have to let some people, with whom we have to negotiate, talk shit. Because we can't, if push comes to shove, do anything else about it right now, thank you very much Dubya King of Iraq.