Battlepanda: In praise of the Drumstir


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In praise of the Drumstir

This is the kind of post that makes the Drumstir great. The whole post's good. Here's a few snips:

Matt Yglesias notes that "Giving Bush the benefit of the doubt is not a sound policy as a general matter." That's an excellent point. And causing Bush some political pain is a worthy goal.

But there are limits, and encouraging the xenophobic jingoism that's driving this controversy is a little too much for me. Unless there are serious substantive reasons to oppose this deal, I'm not willing to jump on the bandwagon solely because it's an opportunity for some righteous Bush bashing.[snip]

In the end, there's nothing left to this controversy except the raw question of whether the government of the United Arab Emirates is sympathetic to international terrorism and therefore likely to implement policies that would make it easier for al-Qaeda to infiltrate ports in the U.S. — something most analysts seem to think is pretty far-fetched. God knows I wouldn't mind some congressional oversight on this question, especially if it prompted some serious action on actual port security, but if turns out that the UAE is really untrustworthy then I'd like to find someplace else for the Navy to park their ships too. The port of Dubai is the busiest port of call for the United States Navy outside the continental United States.

In the absence of serious evidence of untrustworthiness, though, I'd prefer to walk the liberal internationalism walk instead of jumping ship for short term political gain. I've said before that engaging seriously with the Arab world is the best way of fighting terrorism, and I meant it. This is a chance to do exactly that.[snip]

[T]he whole thing feeds on a mindless anti-Arab jingoism that's genuinely dangerous, and that's why I'm not joining the fun unless I hear some really good reasons for doing so. As liberals, we're either serious about engaging with the Muslim world in a sensible, non-hysterical way or we're not. Which is it?

"Level-headed" and "sensible" are not usually high praises. But I think it is in the arena of political commentary. The temptation to hyperbolize to strengthen your case is great, yet what is much more valuable is an ability to cut through the morass. This is why the best Kevin Drum posts often ends with a either/or scenario followed by "Which is it?" as in the quote above.

Despite his occasional inexplicable lapses in judgement, Kevin Drum remains my favorite of the "A-list" bloggers. In fact, I would go as far to say that he is the guy that inspired me to start blogging and whose style I try hardest to emulate.

What does he get in return from me? A stealth campaign to get the nickname "the Drumstir" to stick in the internets. What can I say. Pandas are not grateful creatures.