Friday, November 23, 2007

Are Americans bearing external costs for global conservatives?

So I read this story a few weeks ago, and this quote in particular got me thinking:
"At the moment, I don't think Iran takes the threat seriously. We need Iran, and the rest of the world, to realise that this is not just a bunch of crazy Americans on the one side and flaky Europeans on the other - that we are united on this one."
There was a similar game played pre-Iraq, where there was tremendous pressure brought upon the Canadian government to lend Canada's support to the invasion, not because Canada could meaningfully affect the outcome in any way whatsoever, but because it was a useful branding excercise. As it turned out, Tony Blair was sufficient.

But the results of the last few years have intrigued me: other conservative leaders have been elected since 2003, but all of them have been at pains to keep Bush at a distance -- certainly, here in Canada "a Bush-style conservative" is a label our current PM has tried very hard to avoid, even while using many tactics that Bush would be familiar with.

Now maybe conservatives in other countries would never be so radical anyway, though I'm skeptical of that: see Thatcher, Margaret. So here's a question: is the sheer radicalism of the Bush Administration helping to moderate conservatives in other countries? Are the costs of being associated with Bush so electorally toxic in Europe and elsewhere that, in effect, the revulsion ends up benefiting the left?

There's another thing to consider: that America's current loony-tunes right has also been very inviting for wingnuts from other countries (see Steyn, Hitchens and Frum.) Is America's importing of these wealthy, overfed, few removing the worst forms of conservatives from the debate in other countries?


Feynman and Coulter's Love Child said...

the sheer radicalism of the Bush Administration

Unless its being used in the Heidi Fry sense of the term, I doubt there's a single conservative on either side of the U.S. border who would even remotely agree with this term.

Mark said...

I'm not sure what makes Hitchens all that "right wing" other than his support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

john said...

Well, in 2001 he did publicly declare himself no longer of the left, and has spent the intervening years cozying up with every noxious blowhard on the right.