Friday, January 23, 2004


Thomas Friedman writes the following:

God bless the Democratic Party's primary voters in Iowa. They may have rescued our chances of succeeding in Iraq and even winning the war of ideas within the Arab-Muslim world. Go Hawkeyes!

How so? Well, it seems to me that Iowa Democrats, in opting for John Kerry and John Edwards over Howard Dean, signaled (among other things) that they want a presidential candidate who is serious about fighting the war against the Islamist totalitarianism threatening open societies.

"It was a good night for the [Tony] Blair Democrats in Iowa," said Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute. By "Blair Democrats," Mr. Marshall was referring to those Democrats who voted for the Iraq war, and conveyed "a toughness and resolve to face down America's enemies," but who believe the Bush team has mismanaged the project. This is so important because there has been no credible opposition to the Bush foreign policy since the Iraq war. Democrats have been intimidated either by Mr. Bush or by Mr. Dean.

I wonder if Friedman really believes that Kerry and Edwards could win "the war of ideas within the Arab-Muslim world." So far, I have seen absolutely no evidence of it and plenty to the contrary. For example, Kerry chides Bush's foreign policy as an "ideological foreign policy", the inference being that his would not. But, Mr. Friedman, isn't that what Kerry would need in order to win "the war of ideas within the Arab-Muslim world?" Is this a war that can be one without ideology?


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