The Euston Manifesto — a statement of principles by a new coalition from the left in the U.K., with an American version here — got a ringing endorsement this weekend from Roger Cohen of the International Herald-Tribune, writing in The Times (behind the damned pay wall). He says:
These outlines of liberal principle – liberal in its best Enlightenment sense rather than in its debased Fox- News guise of insult – constitute a solid foundation for debate of Iraq and the struggle against terrorism that the White House now calls “The Long War.”
The statements are signed by backers and opponents of the Iraq war who, despite their differences, are united by strong support for freedom of speech and ideas, democracy and pluralism, as well as by unqualified opposition to all forms of terrorism and totalitarianism. . . .
The American supporters of the manifesto, who include the historian Walter Laqueur, several journalists from The New Republic and Michael Ledeen of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, reject “the ossified and unproductive polarization of American politics.”
They deplore the tendency on the left to substitute hatred of Bush for thought about fighting jihadism. Why, they ask, is the left more incensed by America’s errors in Iraq than “terrorist outrages by Islamic extremists?” . . .
Taken together, the two statements set out core principles of the Anglo-American liberal tradition, bringing Europe and the United States together at a time of apparent ideological divergence. As the U.S. signatories note, the Euston Manifesto hews to “the traditions of American liberal anti-fascism and anti-totalitarianism.”
If you’re tired of sterile screaming in the wilderness, tired of the comfortably ensconced “hindsighters” poring over every American error in Iraq, tired of facile anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism masquerading as anti- Zionism, try the Euston road in 2007. It might actually lead somewhere.
I agree and wrote a Guardian column about the Euston Manifesto here.