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John Hawkins: So how successful do you think the Israeli strategy of walling off the Palestinians will be?
Mark Steyn: I haven’t spent a lot of time in “Palestine,” but, when I have, I’ve never seen any sign anywhere in Gaza or the West Bank of anything remotely resembling a "nationalist" movement. There’s plenty of evidence of widespread Jew-hatred and the veneration of death-cult "martyrdom," but not that anybody’s seriously interested in building a nation for the “Palestinian people.” So if you leave it to the Palestinians there's never going to be a state, only decade after decade of suicide bombings. One can advance reasons for this - it's no coincidence that the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the earth are the ones who have been wholly entrusted to the formal care of the UN for three generations now. But the fact is what Israel is doing is the only thing that will force the Palestinians to get up off their allegedly occupied butts and run a state: the Israelis are walling off what they feel they need, or what they can get away with, and it will be up to the gangsters of Arafatistan to see if they now feel like dropping the jihad and getting on with less glamorous activities like running highway departments and schools.
John Hawkins: Since we invaded Iraq, Qaddafi has given up his WMD's, Syria has left Lebanon which is having elections, the Egyptians are going to have their first multi-party elections although Mubarak is expected to win, women are being allowed to vote in Kuwait, and now Syria is even talking about implementing some democratic reforms. Are we seeing a reverse domino effect in the Middle-East caused by the invasion in Iraq?
Mark Steyn: Yes. The key moment in the Iraqi situation was a couple of hours into the Arab networks' election day coverage: they ran out of snide cracks to make about the American occupation, the stooge politicians, etc., and suddenly fell silent as images of four generations of Iraqi families walking to the polls to vote filled the screens. Those images had a profound impact throughout the region. There's no one-size-fits-all answer and I'm certainly not in favor of that trick many African dictators have learned to master, of holding an election just good enough to get the stamp of approval of Jimmy Carter and the other western patsies. There'll be a lot of two-steps-forward-one-step-back but what’s happening is real and the momentum is all going Bush's way.
John Hawkins: In a recent column, you said: "The 21st century will be an Anglosphere century, with America, India and Australia leading the way." Why don't you see Europe, China, or Russia as likely "leaders" in the 21st century?
Mark Steyn: Russia is diseased and literally dying. Russian men already have a lower life expectancy than Bangladeshis. By 2050 that vast sprawling nation will have a smaller population than tiny Yemen. There’s no precedent for this in a relatively advanced nation not at war, and the only question is how peacefully Russia goes into its long dark night. That’s also a question for Europe, too - how smoothly it manages its transition to a majority Muslim society by the end of this century. On that, I'd bet on form – ie, violent conflagration, mass slaughter, bloody revolution, etc. Russia and Europe will be foreign policy management problems for the United States but not serious economic, cultural, or military rivals. As for China, the present day Communist boomtown is a fascinating anomaly, but in the end its political deformity will cause it serious problems.