EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece appears in the December 19, 2005, issue of National Review.
My enemy’s enemy is my friend. But America has so many enemies they must occasionally feel they’ve got way too many friends. Consider, for example, Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s President-for-Life, at least for another week or two. Back in his dad’s day, Syria got the kid-glove treatment from the world’s A-list suck-ups: When Hafez al-Assad expired, President Clinton said he was “saddened” by it, and offered his “condolences” to “the Syrian people.” At least he didn’t go to the funeral–Jacques Chirac did.
Alas, things have changed since Pop Assad’s day. Baby Assad, before his present eminence, was a London eye doctor, but you don’t have to be an ophthalmologist to see the writing on the wall. Instead of Clinton, Chirac, et al., he attracts George Galloway, British Member of Parliament and Saddamite shill. Speaking at the Assad National Library in Damascus in July, the British MP did his best to perk Junior up. In an interview afterward, Galloway said, “Syria is lucky to have Bashar al-Assad as her president.” All this went down so well they asked him back last month. And, speaking this time at Damascus University, he cooed, “All dignified people in the world, whether Arabs or Muslims or others with dignity, are very proud of the speech made by President Bashar al-Assad a few days ago here in Damascus.” I guess I missed that one.
But look who was also in town: my old friend David Duke. When I say “my old friend,” I don’t mean I’ve ever met the chap. But for some years I had several e-mail correspondents of a lefty persuasion who began with the assumption that I and other notorious right-wing extremists–John Ashcroft, Rush Limbaugh, George Bush the Elder, Olympia Snowe, David Gergen–were all buddies of David Duke’s, if not attached to him in a somewhat more vigorous manner.
Au contraire, he seems to have gone over to the Harold Pinter/Michael Moore side of things. . .