Who in his right mind would take the unfortunate death of Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, may he rest in peace, a campy wildlife enthusiast known to us all (and genuinely beloved by some) as a segue into an an object lesson in international politics and the need for vigilance in the long, twilight struggle? Well, Cliff May would, if he is in fact in his right mind:
You’re right, Kathryn, pace CNN, most Americans probably are not in imminent danger of death by stingray. But I do wonder if Irwin, having taken risks so oftten in the past, having cheated death on so many occasions, may not have gradually become over-confident in the face of danger.
Nations, as much as individuals are susceptible to such thinking. Kissinger said â€“ I wish I could find the exact quote â€“ that past victories can lead to defeat because those past victories can appear to have been inevitable.
I worry that because Americans proved equal to the task of defeating the Axis is the 1940s, and because the Communists lost the Cold War, too many of us have come to think we will of course defeat the Militant Islamists or the Islamo-Fascists or Radical Jihadis or whatever term you prefer. But the outcome of those other pastwars was not inevitable. Nor is the outcome of this one. Every stingray is a very real and present danger.
Poor Steve Irwin. He not only died in a horrible accident, but something far worse has happened to him: his death has become a kind of cautionary tale for neoconservative foreign policy. Leave the poor man alone, for goodness’ sake! What does it say about people like May that one of the first things to come out of their mouths on hearing of some freakish accidental death is not, “That is a terrible shame” or a more melodramatic, “O cruel Fate!” but a statement that seems to channel Olivares about being on the lookout for unexpected foreign threats. It’s just plain strange.