3:35 PM, Aug 9, 2012 • By LEE SMITH
The hostage crisis ended with Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, but as Blum points out, “the five presidents in the White House since then”—Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama—“faced the consequences of Carter’s policies.”
It is the last name in the series that occupies the second part of To Hell in a Handbasket, and Blum argues that Obama doesn’t really understand the 30-year war that he’s inherited. Focusing on his 2009 Cairo speech, Blum writes that the president has evinced a Carter-like disposition, “showing the rest of the world that he understood their gripes against America, and that he would listen and learn from them.”
Like her father Norman Podhoretz, author of World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism, Ruthie Blum sees the current landscape as a civilizational war, not between the West and Islam but, rather, between the values sustaining the United States and other Western nations, including Israel, and Islamic fundamentalism. For Blum, then, the Arab uprisings that empowered Islamist parties “poses a serious threat to the very ideals that the United States and Europe insist are at its root.”
If our claim on those ideals is to have any validity, Blum concludes, we will have to reassert them in a few months. “When Americans go to the polls in November 2012,” she writes, “they will have a serious choice to make: whether to adhere to Obama’s dim view of American greatness, or to reclaim their place as beacons for the rest of the world—and as saviors for those who would emulate that light if given a genuine chance to do so.”
Lee Smith is a senior editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.