Radio Derb Is On The Air: Realism On Syria, And Bush's IQ
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This weekend's broadcast is up on iTunes, on Taki's Magazine, [MP3] and there's a transcript here.

In it I go Kissingerian-realist on Syria:

Radio Derb's basic approach to the Syrian civil war is to hope that Bashar al-Assad wins it.  

Assad is certainly a nasty piece of work, a cruel dictator;  but from the point of view of American national interests, that's the best thing to have in charge of an Arab country.  There was one in Iraq; We got rid of him; and now the place is an Iranian satrapy roiled by ethnic conflict.  There was one in Egypt; We helped get rid of him; now the place is a lawless Road Warrior state heading down the Somalia path.  There was one in Libya who, at least over the last decade or so, behaved himself reasonably well; We helped get rid of him, and now the place is in chaos, with radicals fanning out to spread the gospel of nutso Islamism among the Negroes to their south.

The lesson I take from this is to stick with the dictator you've got.

I also offer approval for Ralph Peters' To Hell With Them column on Afghanistan, wrapping up my commentary with:

This futile, stupid, pointless war has been kept going as a political convenience for Barack Obama.  For this alone he ought to be impeached.  It's true that George W. Bush kept it going long after he should have pulled out; but Bush was merely stupid, while Obama is calculating.  As Col. Peters said, a terrific political athlete.  Pity about those dead American servicemen, but hey.

This has already brought in a comment from a listener:

So JD, I take it you don't believe those reports that Bush 43 has an IQ of 130? Must admit I have deeply ambivalent views on him. On the one hand I think he is a decent, honest, sincere and honorable man. On the other hand, he did a lot of damage to his country and party. Given my working class roots I also somewhat resent the fact that if his name wasn't Bush he never would have gotten into Yale or become President.

This I was expecting.  I regretted "stupid" about a picosecond after hitting the Send button.  "Deluded" would have been a better choice.  Probably GWB is in the top decile (i.e. IQ 120 plus) of smarts.  Probably you need to be in order to make it to the Presidency.

GWB was, though, in thrall to some very stupid ideas about human nature and society, as wellnigh all the upper classes of the West have been for half a century.  So "stupid" isn't too bad as a first approximation.  Smart people can believe very stupid things.  My overall view of GWB is close to my listener's, just a tad to the skeptical side.

This weekend's RD also has a greater-than-average number of literary references:  Finnegan's Wake, Fanny Hill, and Chesterton's "Lepanto."  Check it out.

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