- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Who is George Soros and why is he saying such awful things? Most Americans do not know this billionaire investor, but, using his vast wealth, he has become a force in left-wing political circles. In some ways, he is the litmus test for Democratic politics.

Mr. Soros usually concerns himself with foreign affairs, pointing out what he considers the failures of the Bush administration. In interviews with the press, Mr. Soros claims President Bush’s war on terror “is really exploitation.” Moreover, he urges European leaders to adopt a stance different from the United States.

Writing in the London-based Independent, Mr. Soros contends the Bush foreign mission shamelessly exploits fears generated from September 11, 2001. As he sees it, “Fear is a bad counselor; we must resist it wherever it comes from.” He maintains that with the Bush policy terror will never end. “The terrorists are invisible; therefore they can never disappear. It is our civil liberties that may disappear instead.”

That position is the sine qua non of leftist thought. Terrorism is merely a cover for a subtle coup d’etat in which civil liberties are imperiled.

According to Mr. Soros, we exaggerate the threat al Qaeda represents and underestimate the risk to civil liberties. For him, terrorism is an abstraction representing different forces and groups that require correspondingly different means of engagement.

On the issue of Iraq, Mr. Soros takes a pass. He expresses concerns about minority groups in that country but doesn’t know how we should help them. That doesn’t translate into a diatribe against using military force, but when force is mentioned it is accompanied with the caveat “where appropriate.” Of course, where it is appropriate is rarely, if ever, explained.

Mr. Soros believes there are “nefarious psychological reasons” for the behavior of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, but these also are never specified. But Mr. Soros called erstwhile Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton a member of a group of “rabid American supremists.” Does that mean they are patriots?

Mr. Soros seems to take great pleasure in attacking members of the Bush administration in a manner reminiscent of Michael Moore. For example, on one occasion he said, “You don’t have a Karl Marx, you have only a Karl Rove who has been successful in creating a coalition of fundamentalists.”

Mr. Soros’ book, “The Age of Fallibility,” notes that after September 11, when President Bush said, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists,” Mr. Soros was reminded of Nazi propaganda. Although he attempted to backpedal on this outrageous claim, he did say, “The Bush administration has been able to improve on the techniques used by the Nazi and the communist propaganda machines by drawing on the innovations of the advertising and marketing industries.”

In a recent article in the New York Review of Books, Mr. Soros asserts that America should pressure Israel to negotiate with the Hamas-led unity government in the Palestinian territory regardless of its refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish state to exist. Mr. Soros adds that the overarching reason the United States has not embraced this policy is the insidious influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an argument reminiscent of the Walt-Mearshimer thesis.

The Soros article puts Democrats in the awkward position of having to choose between Mr. Soros, a major funder of its causes, and the pro-Israel lobby whose members are disproportionately represented in the Democratic Party.

In a sense even Karl Rove, as bright as he is, couldn’t have invented George Soros. He is the leftist who keeps giving, not only to the causes he wants to support but to those he detests. Imagine a megalomanical billionaire intent on destroying a democratically elected president with well-oiled propaganda institutions he subsidizes and with outrageous commentary he glibly delivers to the press.

Mr. Soros thinks he funds public interest organizations, but in fact they are ideologically driven propaganda enterprises designed to foster his belief system.

Some on the left have denounced Mr. Soros and his campaigns, but one shouldn’t underestimate the lure of Soros money and what it can buy. He has become the principal philanthropist for radical groups and, if money talks, Mr. Soros should be heard from for a very long time.

Herbert London is president of Hudson Institute and professor emeritus of New York University. He is the author of “Decade of Denial” (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2001).

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