Tim Garton Ash, in the Guardian today, concludes by saying:
At this pivotal moment, we who live in the rest of the world, beyond the Washington beltway, also face a choice. We can watch like spectators in the cinema, as a real-life Terminator 4 unfolds before our eyes, and then walk home, at once titivatingly appalled and self-huggingly reassured in the certainty of our own moral superiority – until, that is, we are blown up by a jihadist bomb. Or we can try to reinforce the nascent shift in Washington by ourselves helping to develop better ways than guns and missiles of dealing with a militant Iran, the awful consequences of the misbegotten Iraq war, home-grown terrorist cells and the other real dangers that threaten us even more directly than they do the current inhabitant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
And who are this “we” he addresses? If anything I could say or do or write had any influence in Washington I’d feel a little better. But of course it doesn’t. So perhaps the piece is addressed to the British governing classes. But they are of course doing whatever is in their power to find a way of coping with the consequences of the Iraq disaster; and they are very well aware of the threat of Jihadi terrorism. Nor, in any case, does Washington take any notice of them, either. I like Tim, and admire him greatly. But he’s not very realistic about the power of intellectuals in modern America.