Blogs > Cliopatria > Jon Stewart's Short-Term Memory

Mar 3, 2005 9:55 pm

Jon Stewart's Short-Term Memory

Jon Stewart seems worried that Bush et al may actually have been right about the Middle East. Very short-sighted. Does he think that the insurgency will go away? It took 30 years for us to see the result of the Mossadegh coup. And as others have pointed out, there's a line that can be drawn from 1953 to 1979 and 2001. It's not a straight line in my opinion. Other factors account for the rise of extreme Islamism. But without the victory of the Ayatollahs in Iran in 1979 the Islamists would feel the momentum is with them. (Some argue that they resort to terrorism because they are demoralized. I agree with those who say to the contrary that they are the opposite. Listen to Bin Laden. He thinks he toppled the Soviet Union and thinks now he will topple America.)

Stewart should know better than to call the game in the 3rd inning. He did after all write a history book of sorts. And if he can't take a broader, deeper, more historical perspective, what hope is there that his viewers can?

And if his viewers can't what hope is there that the millions who don't watch his show, the smartest on TV--can?

Update: Over on Richard Jensen's list I came across an observation by Alonzo Hamby that is apropos:

"[T]riumphalism is premature because we have not triumphed yet!"

comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:

John H. Lederer - 3/7/2005

"And I would add that the emphasis on freedom as an explanation of the war was something of an afterthought. "

That is why they called it "Operation Iraqi Something Other Than Freedom"

HNN - 3/6/2005

And I would add that the emphasis on freedom as an explanation of the war was something of an afterthought.

Bush did not take us to war in 2003 to establish democracy in the Middle East.

It is conveneient now to support democracy in the Middle East--but only in certain countries.

Saudi Arabia is hardly being leaned on to become more democratic, for example.

Jonathan Dresner - 3/3/2005

First, the question of what it means to be "right"... sure, democracy is a good thing, but what kind of democracy is going to result from regimes destabilized in a climate of fear? What kind of democracy is going to result when the most organized and popular non-state movements are fundamentalist?

Second, I'd like Bush and friends to be right, but even if they succeed (and defining that will be interesting) it doesn't mean that it all redounds to their credit. There are long-term issues, as you point out, that explain their successes as much as they explain the odds that their successes will be short-lived.