- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Classic spy
"There are many reasons for the immense adhesiveness of [author Ian Flemings] 007 classics, and one of these reasons is certainly the loving attention paid to what we now term the 'designer' aspect of culture: the brand name and logo and product-placement element. …
"The staying power of the books … is … partly and paradoxically attributable to their departure from standard Cold War imagery. [British agent James] Bond confronts not just the unsleeping evil of Moscow-directed communism, but also a metastasized sub-species of monsters in human form who are, in some sense, in business on their own account.
"This is the case most obviously with Dr. No and Auric Goldfinger, but it applies also to the psychopathic killer Donovan Grant in 'From Russia With Love.' He is a twisted former Sinn Feiner who fails all his party exams in ideological matters and is eventually classified as 'Political value Nil. Operational value Excellent.' By some latent intuition, Fleming was able to peer beyond the Cold War limitations of mere spy fiction and to anticipate the emerging milieu of the Colombian cartels, Osama bin Laden and, indeed, the Russian Mafia, as well as the nightmarish idea that some such fanatical free-lance megalomaniac would eventually collar some weapons-grade plutonium."
Christopher Hitchens, writing on "How Does Bond Keep It Up?" March 17 in the London Observer

Islamic conquest
"To reduce radical Islamism to terrorism or to the deliriums of a psychotic … is to insult both Islam and our own intelligence. Radical Islam is an interpretation that is coherent and widely spread through the world of Islam. It may not be the majority opinion, but it is strong precisely because it is radical and coherent, and it will, therefore, expand within Islam, which even in its modern version has always had as its goal derived from the Koran the subjugation of the entire world to the word of Allah. This is a teaching that characterizes all Islam. …
"Islamic terrorism is simply a strategic variant of the broader project of conquest whose ultimate goal is the Islamicization of our society. …
"The 'clash of civilizations' was not invented by Samuel Huntington; it is a reality, whether we wish it or not. To acknowledge its existence is not the same as to desire it, and if we were to eliminate the phrase from our language, we would not so easily eliminate the reality.
"It would be wonderful if we could avoid war by simply refusing to label an aggressor as 'the enemy.' Unfortunately, in a war of defense, it is not up to us to choose the enemy: The enemy chooses us."
Roberto de Mattei, writing on "Lepanto: A Category of the Spirit," in the April issue of Chronicles

Political women
"Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Dole, and Tipper Gore share one thing in common: A dead husband. Not literally, of course. Blood still pumps through Al's and Bob's and Bill's veins. But their husbands' elective careers are dead, though each man may be in a different stage of grief: denial (Al), bargaining (Bill), and acceptance (Bob). Hillary, Liddy and Tipper aren't just political wives. They're political widows.
"These New Widows are accomplished, talented women who still waited until their husbands' careers were over to launch electoral lives of their own. …
"Only once their husbands had either succeeded to death (Bill), failed to death (Al), or were simply near death (Bob) could the New Widows hit the trail in support of themselves."
Chris Suellentrop, writing on "The Politician's Wife," March 22 in Slate at www.slate.com

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