David Frum and the Clash of Civilizations
David Frum is the author of five books, including two New York Times bestsellers: THE RIGHT MAN: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush (2003), and co-author with Richard Perle of AN END TO EVIL: What's Next in the War on Terror (2004).
Frum is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and writes a daily column for National Review Online. He contributes frequently to the editorial pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as the Great Britain's Daily Telegraph and Canada's National Post. He appears regularly on CNN, Fox News, and the BBC. In 2001-2002, David Frum served as a speechwriter and special assistant to President George W. Bush.
Question: Is there really a clash of civilizations?
David Frum: That's a complicated question. I don't know that I'd ever use that particular phrase. I have trouble with the phrase.
I think so much of the inspiration for Islamic terror actually derives from western civilization. The terrorists, the people in al Qaeda are reading as much Franz Phenault, as much Lenin, as they are reading the Koran.
At the same time, it's also true that you inherit from traditional Islamic sources a lot of scriptures that can be cited as proof texts in favor of violence. But mostly I disapprove of the phrase because it blinds us to the reality that the greatest heroes of this transition, the bravest advocates of change and tolerance and liberalism and democracy, are going to come from inside the Islamic world. And any good transition that happens there is going to be the work of these brave souls. And they are going to be the true heroes of this epic struggle for this portion of humanity that affects us.
And so I think when you look out at the world, you should be at least as keen to look for friends as you are to monitor for dangers.
Recorded on: May 5 2008
It is complicated and mostly Frum disapproves.