Today's Blogs

Ayaan’s American Enterprise

Some bloggers are thrilled at the news that controversial Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali is moving to the United States; others are pondering the Bush administration’s decision to renew diplomatic ties with Libya or poring over a New York Times list of the best works of modern American fiction.

Ayaan’s American Enterprise: Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali has accepted a position at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. A Somali Muslim who became a fervent critic of her religion after being granted asylum in the Netherlands, Hirsi Ali has been pilloried  in recent weeks by her own anti-immigration party, the VVD, for lying in her asylum application.

Many conservatives insist that it doesn’t matter that she fudged her asylum application.

At Hot Air, the conservative network launched by Michelle Malkin, Allahpundit writes, “Hirsi Ali is arguably the greatest champion of western values on the international scene right now; in refusing to tolerate Islamist intolerance, she’s … doing a job Europeans won’t do. Call it ‘earned citizenship.’ ” Combs Spout Off’s R.G. Combs points out that Ali had disclosed that she’d lied on her asylum application in 2002, when she was running for office. Liberty and Justice’s Michael Galien, a Dutch student member of Ali’s party, criticizes a recently aired documentary that sparked scrutiny of Ali’s asylum status and bemoans, “She will be welcomed into the US and she will get the respect she deserves there, but it is a crying shame that we force people like her to leave our country.”

But right-leaning blog Riehl World View demurs: “If Ali wasn’t under specific threat and was just like millions of others who didn’t qualify for asylum at the time, she manipulated the system by breaking the law. Aren’t conservatives supposed to be against that, particularly when it comes to immigration?”

DailyKos diarist Dearkitty, who lives in the Netherlands, slams Ali, claiming she’s been “exposed as a fake,” and that the AEI is “one of the most prominent pro Bush pro war neocon spin factories in the USA.”

On Reason’s blog Hit & Run, David Weigel provides some perspective: “Under different circumstances this would have been a survivable scandal. But Hirsi Ali’s party, the Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie, has a draconian stance on illegal immigration which includes deportation for anyone who lies in their citizenship or asylum applications. The irony is delighting Hirsi Ali’s enemies - it might give pause to Dutch politicians who have swung wildly to the right on immigration policy.” He also links to this Guardian profile of Ali.

Read more about Ayaan Hirsi Ali. ViewSubmission, the film she wrote—and that led to the death of Theo van Gogh—about how Islam affects women. Christopher Hitchens recently decried the Netherlands’ treatment of Hirsi Ali in Slate.

Ob-Libya-gations: Citing Libya’s willingness to give up WMD and its cooperation in anti-terrorism efforts, the United States is rekindling diplomatic ties with Libya after 25 years.

Some welcome the gesture. RussBlog’s libertarian-leaning Russel Newquist calls it “a really brilliant move against Iran. It casts the US in a good light globally, by allowing us to say, ‘See, we’re more than capable of making nice with an Islamic nation that denounces terror and decides it doesn’t need to intimidate its neighbors with nuclear weapons, even though we’ve had problems with that country (and even its current leader!) for a quarter of a century.’ “ Ninth State’s conservative Alex Athans agrees but asks, “[W]ill this country have the testicular fortitude to again revoke diplomatic and trade relations with Libya should that country resume terrorist activities?”

Many frown upon it. Conservative Debbie Schlussel writes, “With the price of oil being so high, President Bush must do something, and one of the ways to alleviate that price pressure is to increase the oil supply. Libya has tremendous oil output and reserves.” For Alex Young at Web Developer Notes, the renewed diplomacy is “a handy illustration of corruption.” He links to this BBC article from March about Shell’s decision to re-enter Libya. And Clarity & Resolve’s Patrick wonders whether Libya has renounced its ties to militant Palestinians: “Why is it okay all of a sudden to get chummy with those who help to hurt our friends?”

Read more about Libya.

The great American novel: The New York Times Book Review asked modern writers, critics, and editors to vote for the best American novel of the last 25 years. Toni Morrison’s Beloved won, and several works each by John Updike, Don DeLillo, and Philip Roth made the list. 

The list has provoked much criticism. The Literary Saloon’s M.A. Orthofer gripes about the decision to consider only American literature. BrightStupid Confetti’s Chris exclaims, “[I]t looks like the New York Times Book Review has officially lost its mind… I must warn you that there are numerous Updike and Roth novels on the list, and that, in-and-of-itself should be an indication of its overall preposterousness.” And Jewschool’s Mordy writes, “I wonder how a list born out of active creation, and not a response to the cultural trends of institution, would read.”

Read more about the NYT list. 

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