Yes, I’m going to introduce a new annual award, to sit alongside the Tony Abbott Award for ‘No true Scotsman …’ errors and the Catherine Burn Prize for Slothful Induction.
This will be the Zbigniew Brzezinski Prize for Myopia, in honour of this superb contribution from 1998, a time just before the western world’s unprecedented peace and prosperity was to be destroyed by the September 11 attacks and the inchoate, murderous, pointless and counter-productive thrashing about that they invoked from the neo-cons:
Interviewer: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?
Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Interviewer: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Interviewer: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.
Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.
Brzezinski’s last answer is also a textbook example of a justification which has nothing to do with the question asked.
It will be harder to find daily/weekly examples of myopia than of slothful induction and the ‘No true Scotsman …’ error, as myopia tend to play out over years, if not decades, while the others are hourly occurrences. But I’ll see what I can do.