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July 02, 2008


Chris Clark

I'm sure that you could do a lot worse than send some of your books to the American University of Iraq, as Hitchens suggests. I bet that Oliver Kamm's cast offs would be more useful than mine.

For my part, however, my desire to keep most of my books (all except outdated computer manuals) even when I recognise that they are cluttering up the house and may never be read by me again is motivated by having children. I don't want them to have to start from scratch.

Philip Hunt

There is a public service in drawing attention to the fact that Creationist mumbo-jumbo is a force in modern Islamic intellectual life

I disagree. Anyone who is a creationist doesn't have much of an intellect, and therefore isn't an intellectual. I think you meant to say "Islamic pseudo-intellectual life"


Lieber's critique of those he calls 'Declinists' is not as convincing as you suggest.Just because America's critics have cried wolf repeatedly down the years doesn't mean they lack a valid point (or several points)about the present day situation.
Some examples of where Lieber is less than convincing- 'America continues to lead the rest of world in competitiveness, technology, and innovation'. This is a good example of what Eamonn Fingleton has rightly called 'America's creativity conceit'.Recently released data on broadband penetration, and average broadband speeds available to US households, supports Fingleton and not Lieber in this regard.
'Japan has moved into a closer embrace with the US than ever before'. The prime cheerleader in Japan for this embrace, the LDP, is languishing in unpopularity levels approaching those of New Labour in the UK.The Japanese also appear to be patching things up with China over contested drilling rights in the South China Sea. Do the consequences of this on future Japan/US relations support Lieber's thesis ?- I don't think so.
Lastly, Lieber points to the election of 'Atlanticist' leaders such as Merkel of Germany as evidence that Europe is showing 'less inclination to stand in America's way'. Merkel's refusal to accept American proposals to push NATO into premature negotiations with Ukraine and Georgia shows how misleading that statement is.


I've spent years of my life in India and interacting in South Asian spheres.

I think this term "frivolous demagogue" you coined has potential to describe a widespread sociopathy there.


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