View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Sunday, March 30, 2003
Deacon of Powerline claims the conservatives and liberals alike are deluded by the mirage of changing our image in the Arab world by doing good deeds. Instead, he claim, as the major power in the region, we'll just get blamed for everything that goes wrong, even after we've been gone for generations.

The Inestimable Bernard Lewis (it's part of his name now, like "The Indispensible MEMRI" or "Panamanian Strongman Manuel Noriega"), in his latest book, The Crisis of Islam, draws a distinction between alliances of interest and alliances of values. Our alliance with Egypt is of the first variety, that with Israel of the second. He hopes that by building democracy in, say, Iraq, we can develop some of the second flavor in the Arab world.

This is a little different from hoping to "do good deeds," although I don't doubt that some conservatives have allowed themselves to be deceived by the mirage you describe. Mr. Lewis's goals are more durable, more grounded, but not necessarily more modest.

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