I like Melanie Phillips. What’s not to like? She is firmly pro-Israel. Her writing is clear, informed, direct and she takes no prisoners. In Melanie’s world Israel is an oasis of democracy, innovation and sanity beset by left-wing nincompoops, liars, anti-Semites and Islamic extremists who simply cannot come to terms with the reality of a Jewish state in what they regard as their backyard. She is a Helen Zille of journalism who never has to say “I’m sorry”.
I’m quite sure in private, MP would admit that Israel has its share of bigots and fanatics, but so what? Everyone has these and they’re kept largely in check by a functioning democracy, free media and judicial system as well as by civilised cultural norms. Who would disagree with this basic assessment, especially when set against what is going on in the region.
But her remit is broader than Israel and her basic POV is summed up in these words which appear on the Amazon blurb to her book ‘The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth, and Power’ published in 2010:
“Worst of all, asserts Phillips, this abandonment of rationality leaves the West vulnerable to its legitimate threats. Faced with the very real challenges of spiraling demographics and violent, confrontational Islamism, the West is no longer willing or able to defend the modernity and rationalism that it once brought into being.”
In a recent article she takes on leftwing tribal warriors in the USA and the West in general who, in response to Trump’s bellicose tweet warning the blubbery maniac Kim Jong Un of North Korea to back off on the nuclear provocations, have gone ballistic. Here is a typical headline from the liberal and generally thoughtful UK publication’ Prospect’: “Trump’s “fire and fury” threat plays straight into Kim Jong-un’s hands“.
For goodness sake! North Korea is sitting on a doomsday machine playing chicken with the world and idiots like Isobel Hilton on Prospect uses it to stoke up a bit of anti-Trumpian heat. If you want to get some idea of the basic architecture of that hair-raising, stand-off go and read Michael Totten at World Affairs Journal.
But it is worse than even Totten depicts it. While the USA and the rest of the world is deciding between Armageddon minor now rather than Armageddon major and\or on-going nuclear blackmail in a couple of year’s time and while the tribal warriors of the left are trying to make political capital out of Trumps tweets, the other geopolitical flashpoints of the world – Russia, Iran and Venezuela – are also unstable.
What is more the leaders of all these countries, and don’t let’s forget China, are well aware of both the geopolitical and domestic challenges being faced by the USA right now and see ample scope for some mischief-making of their own to advance their own interests. So when we consider the global political world and it’s interaction with domestic politics never underestimate the sheer mind-boggling complexity of the issues faced by serious leaders.
But let’s go on as if the world as we know it is not actually a runaway truck speeding along a sheer and wholly uncharted mountain pass with a gaggle of partially blind drivers pulling on the steering wheel simultaneously with all their might.
So if you want a conservative, skeptical and honest voice you cannot do better than read Melanie Phillip’s writing here. And if you want to know how the MSM is messing with your brain go here. Don’t let the interviewer put you off; it’s the interviewee, MP, who is the one to listen to.
Having praised Ms Phillips let me also say that the world is often bigger and more complex than she is willing to acknowledge. I quoted Mark Twain in a previous post basically to the effect that simple answers to complex issues were understandable and attractive but invariably wrong. In essence, that is correct but sometimes simplicity is necessary to point out absurdity and dishonesty and MP does it to perfection.
But I want to introduce two articles before I end this post. One I have referred to in a previous post and the other is a more detailed look at the actual complexities of Jerusalem. Both are interesting and both have the potential to underpin a long and very tricky path to co-existence.
They are not quick reads but are worth at least skimming through for those who wish to get beyond the trench warfare that situations like the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate get bogged down in. Even if they do not point the way to easy (or even realistic) solutions they both treat the Palestinians as something more than a uniform mass of bloodthirsty fanatics. That is a good thing. There will be nothing worse for Israel than becoming the mirror image of Islamic tribalism.
To end on a lighter note; if we are all on the road to oblivion let’s enjoy the ride. So here is a really upbeat item of news: ” Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science Ranked Sixth Worldwide in Annual Innovation Index“. Yay!!
That is a wonderful achievement.