The demonstrations are thus unlikely to have a lasting impact on Anglo-American relations. Once the dust has settled, Bush's visit may well be remembered for two things only.
The first is Bush's speech at Whitehall, in which he repeated his earlier linkage between U.S. national security and the spread of democracy in the Middle East with greater clarity.
It is interesting that much of the British media decided to treat it as nothing more than a clever speech to impress an audience of foreign-policy buffs. And yet the idea that the democratic nations cannot be safe for as long as there are tyrannies that sponsor and shelter terrorism is beginning to attract the attention of the average British voter.
The slogan "war against terrorism" told only half the story. Bush's idea of putting the spread of democracy at the top of the agenda tells the other half. Now the average Briton knows that he is not asked to fight only against something, but also for something.
This is a position that the traditional anti-American forces of the totalitarian left, and their new Islamist allies, will find increasingly hard to challenge.
The second thing that the Bush visit is likely to be remembered for is that it helped draw a clear distinction between two visions of the world.
One vision belongs to those who blame the Western democracies for all the ills of mankind and hate the United States for a variety of reasons. These are people who never protested when Saddam was filling all those mass graves in Iraq or when the Taliban were massacring the Hazara in Bamiyan. You will never see them demanding the release of political prisoners in Cuba itself, but find them crying their hearts out for the al Qaeda operatives held in Guantanamo Bay.
Another vision is defended by those who believe that fighting against tyranny and terror is the fundamental political duty of all human beings, and that the most noble principles are ultimately meaningless unless defended by force if and when necessary.
The Marxist-Islamist alliance may well have done all of us a service this week in London. It has put the fight between open societies and their enemies into focus.
Friday, November 21, 2003
Amir Taheri highlights what the results of the President's trip to England were.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 6:29 AM