– God bless the king of Jordan for trying to break into peace: an offer to create a cross-Arab guarantee Israel’s security in return for a Palestinian state. Bravo on someone for realizing that we can’t untangle the Mideast knot; the Mideast must.
– Benjamin Barber — who wrote Jihad vs. McWorld sometime in the last millenium — is interviewed in Die Zeit (in German) regarding 9/11: “It became clear to the entire democratic world with one blow: We are no longer in control.” The interview gave me flashbacks to my days as a poli sci student with much quoting of Hobbes and Rousseau (vs. Samuel “Clash of Civilizations” Huntington). Barber argues that the conflicting pressures of ethnic, religious, and fundamental Jihad vs. economic and cultural expansion in McWorld endanger democracy. I disagree; democracy is too strong for would-be Hitlers or economic realities to defeat; democracy is on a winning streak. No, instead, this reminds us to reaffirm the civilization we are defending: What is the nature of this civilization, society, and humanity we are fighting for? Finally, poli sci students have something relevant to talk about.
– Bill O’Reilly has done a brilliant job leading the charge against the bureaucratic charities that aren’t doing what they promised to do: get money to the families of heroes and victims. He’s even appearing on competing networks (NBC this morning) to keep the pressure on. Good cause.
– Andrew Sullivan digs up a wonderful Orwell quote on warring against evil this morning. He also gives Bill Clinton a fair shake in the item below. I’m becoming a Sullivan admirer.
– Times of London says Bush considering universal smallpox vaccinations.
– Guardian on cracks in US-UK marriage.
– Mixed agendas: The good news is that Ashcroft is reorganizing the FBI to focus on protection over prosecution — it’s about time. The bad news is that this is a convenient opportunity to drop agendas he and his boss don’t much care about, like civil rights and pollution.