Author and columnist Douglas Murray has spent much of the past few years reporting from battlefields in Ukraine and Gaza. His reporting on the harrowing conditions in those wartorn locations make his journalism a must-read. In this wide-ranging conversation, Murray describes what he has witnessed, why the West must ensure victories in both wars, and his reaction to the campus protests across the United States, as well as his views on the upcoming British elections.

To view the full transcript of this episode, read below:

Peter Robinson: [00:00:00] Around the World with Douglas Murray. Uncommon Knowledge, now.

Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge. Filming today in Fiesole, Italy. I'm Peter Robinson. Educated at Eton and Maldon College, Oxford, Douglas Murray is a journalist based in New York. His books include the bestsellers, The Strange Death of Europe and The Madness of Crowds. Earlier this spring, earlier this year I should say, he spent a month in Ukraine and six months in Israel.

Douglas, thank you for joining me.

Douglas Murray: Pleasure to be with you.

Peter Robinson: Six months in Israel, let's begin there. What surprised you most?

Douglas Murray: I suppose two things stand out. I got to Israel as soon as I could after the atrocities of the 7th of October. [00:01:00] spent the next six months there. I suppose I One thing about the terrorists and one about the victims.

About the terrorists, I would say that although I've covered quite a lot of conflicts and seen quite a lot of human evil, I What the Hamas terrorists did on the 7th of October was a level of depravity which shocked me.

Peter Robinson: How many died? Remind me.

Douglas Murray: Oh, it was 1, 200 people were murdered on the day. more than 300 taken hostage into Gaza.

when I say the level of depravity, it's partly the fact that the, not just the atrocities they committed. the kibbutz, the villages, the communities on the Gaza border and at the Nova party where hundreds of young people were murdered. there's [00:02:00] something about, I've seen all the atrocity videos, not just the 47 minute videos.

I saw. Pretty soon after. But a lot of people have shared with me other things that are unpublishable and unbroadcastable. And I've heard a lot of testimony from survivors and others. And I think that apart from the sheer physical violence of barbarism, the rapes, the shooting women in the genitals of the party, the beheadings, the, cutting off people's heads with them.

Cleaver and so on. I think, aside from that, the thing that strikes me, struck me, is that they were proud of what they were doing. Now that is something that, that an awful lot of people have done an awful lot of evil things. I've very rarely seen one so proud of their evil as they're carrying it out.

The Terrorists of the Seventh broadcast, Go Pro videoed, a lot of what they did. [00:03:00] And they were high on evil. some people have heard the tape, probably, of the young man, the young terrorist, who calls his parents in Gaza and says, Father, father, I've killed ten Jews with my own hands. Get mother on the phone.

I think it's hard to think of many cases in history where people actually not just carried out atrocities like that, but were absolutely jubilant about them. There were two boys whose father was killed in front of them. In their safe room and they, one of the boys lost his ear and the other an eye and they were staggering around the room.

And the terrorist who just killed their father comes in and takes food out of their fridge and one of the boys says to the terrorist, That's my mother's food. And the terrorist said, Where's your mother? I want her too. so a level of evil, which is something that has to be [00:04:00] thought about and of course dealt with.

I suppose the second thing I'd say is the remarkable response of the Israeli public. Israel isn't like Britain or America. it's threats are awfully close. Maybe always were, but the first responders, The people caught up in it in the day were not just victims, but a lot of them were extraordinary heroes.

I'm thinking of people who dropped everything, drove south, picked up some guns and fought for the next 48 hours. A friend of mine who left a farewell message to his wife and his two children on the way south, because He was sure he wouldn't survive, and he saved a lot of lives. people of all ages, and indeed all backgrounds.

The Muslim doctor I've spoken to who was personally held as a human shield by Hamas. Personally held as a human shield, and who saved lives. [00:05:00] I think of the Druze men I spoke with who were at the parties serving food and who managed because they could understand the Arabic. They could overhear exactly what was happening.

They're remarkable men. And the country is filled in my view with remarkable people. so those are the two things that stand out most. I've been in Gaza a fair amount and seen the response of the IDF in the attempt to get back the hostages and to capture or kill all the heads of Hamas. And, I've watched the world lose sympathy with Israel, but they lost sympathy from about day one.

Peter Robinson: I want to come back to that. You've answered the question about the moral calculus over and over again, but I must ask the question because it is a mandatory question. If the Israelis lost 1, 200, what is the number at which they really may not pursue the war any further? It [00:06:00] feels, in the response to Israel, that this is, Let's put it this way, the international response with the ICC, the International Criminal Court, naming charges against Benny Gantz and the Prime Minister Netanyahu for atrocities.

I don't know what the numbers actually are because the press, oddly enough, unreflectively, unchallengingly seems to be giving us Hamas laundered numbers for the number, but it's thousands of people who've been killed in Gaza who are civilians rather than Hamas. All right, just state it one more time, the moral calculus.

Douglas Murray: the first thing is I refute the idea that a war that is started by an enemy like Hamas. Can only be responded to a certain level of casualty. I refute the idea. I don't think it's something which Britain or America has been expected to abide by in our past. I [00:07:00] don't think it's something we've been expected to abide by in our present.

Not many years ago, when we helped to flatten most of Mosul, in order to get Islamic State out of Mosul. The French, British and American forces involved did not worry about the number of casualties and nobody counted the casualties. We do not know to this day how many people were killed in Mosul and northern Iraq and the borders of Syria to get ISIS.

We simply wanted to get them because they'd carried out the Bataclan Massacre and much more. Only Israel seems to be expected to act by this strange standard of What's often called proportionality, I like to think I shot down that idea at the beginning of the war when a journalist asked me about that before Israel had even done anything, and I said, if you believe in this idea of proportionality, it means that the IDF should be allowed to go into Gaza and kill precisely the number of children that Hamas killed, and rape precisely the number of women that Hamas raped, and so on.

Would that be acceptable? No. Would the Israelis abide by such a grotesque idea? Of course not. [00:08:00] What then is the acceptable calculus? As you say, most of the international media have been relying on Hamas figures. There's a reason for that, by the way, which is that no Western media are in Gaza.

Peter Robinson: That, Rory, we'll come to that as well.

Douglas Murray: They're not in there. they lie to their viewers. They fib. They cover up for their own journalistic failings. It's not even a failing. I don't blame a lot of them.

Peter Robinson: So let's come to that right now. Why is the reporting so It runs from thin to biased to non existent. I think back to the Iraq war. When we went into Iraq, John Burns, the great journalist, wrote from the New York Times.

He was on the ground. He was writing. It was military reporting. You understood. Any reader of the Times understood the objectives, understood the progress week by week. No such journalism exists.

Douglas Murray: there's only two ways to be in Gaza. One is to be embedded with the IDF, as I've been. And, the other is to have permission of Hamas.

Hamas are not very good hosts. [00:09:00] And, they're untrustworthy hosts. And so most of the Western media rely on journalists who are Gazans. All of whom are operating under Hamas restrictions at best, and most of whom are going to be Hamas supporters. And Hamas, as a result, has got out its figures. It came out with this figure of 30, 000 people some months ago.

And then they said that, this was a number of casualties. They produced no evidence for it. And the world just repeated this figure. That figure, by the way, has been halved. Has it? Yeah. In the last few weeks, more, more official figures, better figures have come out from a range of sources. Which say that the 30, 000 figure was never true.

But anyway. What, if you follow the IDF's figures on the number of Hamas terrorists that they've killed inside Gaza and the number of innocent civilians killed. If you take even the Hamas figures, you're dealing with roughly, and this is a horrible calculus, but this is war. You're dealing with roughly one terrorist killed to one civilian.[00:10:00]

America in the field, in Afghanistan, managed something like one terrorist to three or four civilians. We don't really know. In Fallujah, How did we do? Not as well as the Israelis. So that bears, lingering on for a second, but the second thing is that the reporting as I've seen too many times now, the reporting is so ignorant because people repeat what Hamas has said within seconds.

at the near the beginning of the conflict, there's a place called the Shifa. It's sometimes called the Shifa Hospital. It should be better known as the Shifa Hamas Command Headquarters. It's a place we know from video footage, CCTV, they took some of the hostages on the 7th and they didn't take them to the Shifa Hospital to treat them.

the Shifa had a rocket land, In its car park, some months ago. And Hamas immediately announced that it was an Israeli rocket that had hit the hospital and killed 500 [00:11:00] people. Note, by the way, that the Israelis have taken, took months to work out the exact number of figures from the 7th of October who'd been killed in Israel.

Because it's extremely hard. I've been to the morgues. I've seen the bodies. I've seen the charred remains. It takes a long time to work out who's dead in a burned out house. Magically, Hamas can do it like that. And can come up with a round figure. Oh, but after the world has said that the Israelis fired a rocket at a hospital and killed 500 people, after some time, sure as anything, we discover the rocket was an Islamic Jihad rocket fired from inside Gaza which landed in the car park of the Shifa compound.

And may have killed some people, not 500. This is the day in, day out reality of reporting on that conflict. Just before we're sitting here, this The Israeli, defense forces are in Rafa, operating in unbelievably complicated situations. very intense fighting. [00:12:00] to get the last remaining hostages out and to find Sinwar, the architect of the Seventh, who's almost certainly hiding in the tunnels under Rafa.

Just before we're sitting here, there's an outrage around the world claiming that the Israelis have been indiscriminately bombing a tent encampment of Palestinians. Now already, after that lie has gone around the world, we discover what happened was that Just yesterday or the day before, Hamas fired rockets from between the tents.

and it seems what happened was a munition of Hamas arms exploded as a secondary explosion. now, who's fault is that? all of these deaths are in my mind very clearly the fault of Hamas. There is a cost to starting a war. And there is no law of war that I know of that says you're allowed to start a war and massacre [00:13:00] civilians in their homes, and then, when you start to lose the war you started, say this is unfair.

We would accept this under no other situation, in no other circumstances. But it's the Jews. So

Peter Robinson: it's different. So from what you saw in Israel to American campuses, to American, we had a congressional hearing with the president of Harvard, the president of Penn, the president of MIT, and all three of them refused to say in a simple, straightforward, forthright way, all moral codes prohibit advocating genocide.

Exactly. All right. We have that. We have pro Palestine from the river to the sea is the chant. Demonstrations and encampments on one elite campus after another. Earth is going on. [00:14:00]

Douglas Murray: let me do this in the briefest way I can. The people who are currently at encampments in support of Hamas, which is what it is, I've seen those things.

I've heard what they say. They're for Hamas. Even I, with my often jaded glance at the disintegration of thought in the West, was slightly surprised. At the speed with which adults on American campuses were able to rush straight into the arms of Hamas. But fine, there they are. I would put out this question.

I, suspect you'd agree with me, Peter, that the women in particular protesting there on these campuses, probably a few years ago, were holding up signs that said, Believe All Women. Do you remember Believe All Women? I remember that. Wow. Believe All Women turns out to have a [00:15:00] border. Turns out to have a cordon around it.

It turns out to have an exception. It has a subclause. The subclause is, Accept Jewish women. Some of those students, 10 years ago maybe, when was it, 2014, Chibok schoolgirls were stolen from northern Nigeria, where I've also been. And, Hollywood celebrities, students, Michelle Obama, bring back our girls.

Hashtag bring back our girls. Tell me where the demonstration has been anywhere in America, from the campuses to Hollywood, bring back our Jewish children. There's a reason there is no such hashtag. There's a reason why there is no such campaign. Jews don't count. Not in the eyes of these perverted minds on American campuses, Now they don't know that they're bigots, and they may not know that they're [00:16:00] racists, but we've been here before, many times.

A lot of people don't mean to be evil. They don't mean to support evil, but they support evil. And that's what the students at Columbia and endless numbers of other universities across America have been doing.

Peter Robinson: All right, it looks to me, this is a very rough cut, I'm just telling you, I'm speaking now just as somebody who reads the newspapers and looks at the news, Presidents of universities and boards of trustees have figured out how to respond, or figured out at least that they must respond.

So now, encampments are being rolled up, or they're being very tightly limited, we have, oh, here's an example, we have the University of Texas. There was some sort of protest. The president of the University of Texas let it go on very briefly. They were in violation of university rules. He called in the police and had it [00:17:00] ended.

With what result? That more than 700 members of the faculty of the University of Texas signed a statement protesting this brutal treatment of students. Dartmouth College, where there's a new president. I follow that situation closely because I went to Dartmouth. The new president gets a protest on the green in Hanover.

The protesters are in violation of college rules. The president has the police come in and take the protesters away. The president receives a vote of censure from the faculty of Dartmouth College, the first time any president in the more than two century history of Dartmouth College So what I'm saying is it feels as though the kids will get sorted out sooner or later by reality, the job market, their parents.

Presidents and boards understand the need to respond. [00:18:00] But you've got embedded faculties, large proportions of whom are simply, of course and because of tenure, they're just there to stay. But what I don't understand is, what is the intellectual transmission belt here? How do you go from the, senior members of faculties on the great universities today are people who trained in the 60s?

How do you go from anti Vietnam War to pro Hamas? What is the intellectual progression that gets you from there to there?

Douglas Murray: there's an intellectual explanation, there's just also an obvious moral one. The intellectual one is that a lot of these people think their job is to educate students into becoming radicals.

Peter Robinson: I see,

Douglas Murray: alright. Now, a lot of American, I would like clearing out of American academia to such an extent that the job market would be unavailable to them in the future. A lot of these people have nothing to add. They've never [00:19:00] had anything to add. They teach grievance studies. And I always hoped, like a lot of people of my inclination, that these people would discover, the graduates would discover, that there was no, there were no jobs for them after learning how to be bitter and stupid at the cost of about 60, 000 bucks a year.

But the, the faculty encouraged them the idea that first of all, their opinions matter. And secondly, that they're informed. I will say this as strongly as I can. These students are narcissists of the worst kind because they're not just narcissists, but they're ignoramus narcissists. Who thinks that the Israeli War Cabinet, after a massacre of its people, should alter its war policy because of a bunch of ignoramuses in Colombia who've never seen a war and never lost someone in a war.

[00:20:00] Why would any government alter its war plan and get its generals to stop its war to get its hostages back because of some students at Berkeley? It's preposterous. What do they think they're doing? Who do they think is listening to them? Why do they think they're important? Do they know how to clear house to house?

Do they have any idea how to get the remaining hostages back without any civilian casualties? Are they able to clear large areas of ground with a tunnel network wider than the London underground? Do they know how to find tunnel shafts? Do they know how to discern the difference between a tunnel shaft which is booby trapped and one which is not?

None of these things. They've thought of none of them. So that's the narcissism thing and the ignorance thing, but the evil thing, Is that instead of being some banal [00:21:00] peacenik saying something like, Why can't they just have peace? It's brilliant insight. Brilliant. No Israeli ever thought of that.

instead of that, they actually run all the way to supporting evil. But we've seen this before, Peter. We saw this in the 60s. We saw it in the 70s. There were previous generations of people in Germany, across Europe, and in America who had one idea of what not to be. Don't be a Nazi. That was their one political philosophy after 1945.

And it's not a bad place to start. Not a bad place to start. Don't be a Nazi. These people even now call themselves quite often anti Nazis, anti fascists. in 60s, a lot of the people who orientated themselves that way, in that way alone, found themselves, for instance, supporting the PLO, the PLA, the PFLP, even when they were hijacking [00:22:00] planes.

And some of the people, very interesting book about this, by Paul Berman, some of the people involved in that, whose one orientation had been, don't let's be Nazis, don't let's do what our parents did in Germany, ended up separating Jews from non Jews on hijacked planes. So when these students today at American campuses who believe they're anti fascist, they believe they're anti racist, this is their one idea.

And they behave as if it's an extraordinary idea and available only to them. When they decide that in order to be anti Nazi and anti oppressor and anti white colonialist and much more, end up supporting or covering for or trying to ignore the rape and massacre of Jews, they're the Nazis.

Peter Robinson: Europe. [00:23:00] Ukraine. Again, I'm just going to give you a layman's reaction from California. I'm as far away from Ukraine as can be. You were there. very hard to see how to get Russia out of the roughly one sixth to one fifth of the country that Russia has taken.

Douglas Murray: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: And every day the war continues, even with American armaments.

More and more of Ukraine gets smashed. They're able to do a little bit of damage to Russians here and there. They send in a drone, they attack a ship, I think they've bottled up the Russian Black Sea Fleet, that's fine. But Russia continues to live, more or less, As it was before the war. Whereas Ukraine, city by city, the Russian population, I confess that I don't understand the Russian chain of command, how they can squander so many men.[00:24:00]

Douglas Murray: It wouldn't be the first time in Russian history that the people in power haven't cared how many of their own citizens they killed.

Peter Robinson: that is true. But it looks to That's the Russian way of war. but even at that, even at squandering, they still have that much larger a population. They can afford to get ground down at a faster rate than the Ukrainians because they can replace their numbers.

It's the

Douglas Murray: same plan as Stalin had.

Peter Robinson: all of that, grind down the Ukrainians, all of that. Shouldn't Ukraine simply cut the best deal it can right now? It worked out all right over time to be South Korea. You take the bit of the country that you can. You integrate entirely into the West, you establish free markets, you permit foreign investment, and 10, 20, 30 years later, you become a model to the world.

isn't some option like that available to Ukraine and oughtn't they to take it?

Douglas Murray: it's not for me to advise them, I, keep out of [00:25:00] giving advice like that. because they've got, of course, more skin in the game than I do. That's true,

Peter Robinson: but now you're talking to, and this is, they have far more skin in the game than I do.

I do, but they rely on American aid, which is another question we can come to, which is why Europe hasn't stepped up more, but they rely on American aid. So America has some role to play here. All right. But what is your judgment? What is your, answer that thought. I

Douglas Murray: find it difficult. I find it, let me say it, but I find it painful because I was with the Ukrainian army when they retook Mikhail and Kirsan from the Russians.

Peter Robinson: The morale was soaring. The morale was soaring. Yes. They surprised

Douglas Murray: the world. I. I really did think then, if they can keep pushing like this, I might get to marry a Pole. The spring offensive last year did not. It just didn't work. Didn't work. And, there's a lot of self searching military [00:26:00] responsibility and much more.

I would think at this point, and I don't want to betray my Ukrainian friends who, many of whom just say, it's not going to stop until we get everything back. Nevertheless, I pretty much agree with you that at some point there will have to be a negotiation because the counter offensive has just not been successful enough.

And at the moment, the, Russian forces are still laying siege in a very brutal way to Kharkiv and, the, energy seems to be on their side. the point you make, I would agree with, but there's a proviso Which is the thing that the Ukrainians understand better than either of us, which is, it's not clear that any settlement that was made and any new carve up that was agreed to would be agreed to for very [00:27:00] long.

Because we don't know with 100 percent certainty how much land Vladimir Putin wants to take. He has said he wants all of Ukraine. And he's made an awful lot of running to try to get it. Killed a lot of young and old Ukrainians, a lot of young Russians. But we don't really know, in my view, with enough certainty, how hungry he is for the rest of the region.

I've been to Moldova. The Moldovans seem to be very agitated. I was in the Baltic states last year. They're very worried. Now, my impression is, probably like yours, surely Vladimir Putin wouldn't break into NATO countries. I don't know. I was in [00:28:00] Georgia some years ago, and of course, he was happy to invade Georgia in 2008.

So when people say things like, this is, there are some people, particularly on the right in America, who say things like, he doesn't do this sort of thing. I've seen him do it before.

Peter Robinson: yes.

Douglas Murray: so yeah, he does do this kind of thing, but the question of, is it, would West and East Ukraine remain I don't know, West and East Germany or North and South Korea?

Or would he settle there and then move on and then move on?

Peter Robinson: He wouldn't move on if there were an American guarantee or if the Europeans pulled themselves together and provided a guarantee. If Germany showed. I'm putting this in the form of a question. I'm saying something that you may find completely outrageous.

So respond. Don't say. Yes, of course. Shy. You can rely on me. Yes, exactly. Exactly. But if the Germans pulled themselves together to demonstrate half the seriousness that the [00:29:00] Poles have demonstrated, half the seriousness small country have, half the seriousness that the Estonians have demonstrated, that the Finns have demonstrated.

The Swedes. That the Swedes of all people. Who imagined that? Yeah. That the Swedes have demonstrated. Then if Europe stood up for Ukraine and said, that's it, Vladimir, that's it. He would have no choice, or at least we'd have, okay. So the question then is, why hasn't this happened? Olaf Scholz, Putin invades Ukraine, Olaf Scholz, the new chancellor of Germany, gives remarkable speeches that shock all of us in the Thrill all of us in the United States.

These, we're going to get serious. There's an emergency addition to the defense budget. We're going to increase our defense budget. I,

Douglas Murray: some years ago, I was at a conference in Berlin. It was a sort of trilateral. I think it's an, it's, Long enough in the [00:30:00] past that I can tell this story. It was an off record.

Peter Robinson: Your secret is safe with me.

Douglas Murray: Exactly. It was an off record thing, but there was a German minister who gave rather encouraging speech in which he said, and of course none of us hear this sort of rhetoric without a certain amount of chill in our spine, but nevertheless he said, Europe and Germany will have to at some point realize, we have enemies and we have to at some point be able to get to the stage where we not only are willing to die for our way of life, but to kill for it.

And I went up to this minister afterwards and I said, I wonder if, if you don't mind, I could quote you on that. Without attribution, obviously. But I said, if I could just, he said, absolutely not. Absolutely not. Terror in his eyes. And I said, let me get this right. There are values you're wishing, willing to kill for, to die [00:31:00] for, but only off the record.

look, a Ukrainian told me when I was there that they use the same number of bullets every day as France makes in a year. there is a global problem, a Western problem. of arms supplies. This is a case Israel. It's a case for Ukraine. They fire both conflict. They are firing with extreme precision and care, not just because they certainly in the case of Israel particularly want to minimize civilian casualty,

Peter Robinson: but because they don't have

Douglas Murray: that much skit.

So the reason I mentioned this is because every country, Apart from America, even America, look at Russia, Russia is on war footing like it was in the 40s. It has turned around its economy onto a wartime economy footing, which means it can do [00:32:00] what it wants for as long as it wants. America, to be an ally of America today is a, is not that easy a thing.

And the Europeans, you I'm afraid that we in Europe are, to an extent, like the kids in Berkeley. We can no longer fathom the idea of war.

Peter Robinson: We can't believe

Douglas Murray: it.

Peter Robinson: Oh, okay, again, here's your American cousin. This is the way it looks to me. Europe has two problems. One of them is Vladimir Putin. Poles, good looking, the Poles, the Baltics.

Amazingly enough, the Swedes. But Germany can't move without, I beg your pardon, Europe can't move without Germany and France and, alright. So that's one problem. The second problem is the one you wrote about in The Strange Death of [00:33:00] Europe, which has not abated. Europe is depopulating very rapidly. Every country in Europe, every single nation in Europe is well below replacement birth rate.

Douglas Murray: And at the same time the Muslim population rises and illegal migration rises and the society changes all the time.

Peter Robinson: correct. The statistic I read the other day that just shocked me is that by 2050 the population of Africa, some, hard to know how much of this is a Muslim population, but probably 60 percent of the gain, is projected to rise by 1 billion people.

There are going to be many empty villages in Italy and France that look very attractive to poor people. From Sub Saharan, well from any foot anywhere in Africa. Are there not? This is predictable. It's in the press. Vladimir Putin is there. we have to make some decisions about how to protect our culture.

Is it worth [00:34:00] protecting? How do we handle immigrants? What are the correctness? And I just don't see. None of them

Douglas Murray: are serious. None

Peter Robinson: of

Douglas Murray: them are serious.

Peter Robinson: So, here I had a, to me, a shocking conversation with an, I will then shut up because this is for you to speak and not me, but this one just startled me.

And I'm wondering if it was a representative. I had a conversation with an Irish friend and I said, what? I put all this to him. What about immigration? And the reply was, El Andalus wasn't so bad. When the, in the Muslim kingdom of Granada, when they ruled the Southern third of Spain, the Christians lived in peace.

The Jews were permitted to live there and the Muslims ran a rather tolerant society. And maybe that option will be open to us.

Douglas Murray: So

Peter Robinson: has elite European opinion already in effect surrendered to its own? [00:35:00] All right, so what's going on? What is going on?

Douglas Murray: you can tell your Irish friend the following message from me.

If he doesn't mind it so far, turn him to focus on some of the negatives. Let me give one negative. The Muslim migrant to Ireland who, last year, tortured and beheaded three gay men in Ireland.

Ireland has often In the Republic? In the Republic. Ireland has had a fair share of violence in its time. If it wants to import more, it should tell the public that's the aim. And your friend might say, on the one hand, you get a bit of Al Andalus, good luck with that dream. And by the way, it wasn't a good dream anyway.

Al Andalus was not great for Christians and Jews. We were second class [00:36:00] citizens. Yes. but okay. If you're happy to live as a second class citizen in your own country, do just explain to the public that every now and then one of them will be beheaded. Okay, deal. Is he going to be happy with that? Maybe.

If he is happy with it, he should say it. He should stand up and be a man and say it. He should say, we get such great things from diversity, we get more beheading than we used to have in Ireland, but, swings and roundabouts, chaps.

Peter Robinson: Britain. I'm leaving, I'm treating Britain separately from Europe, which should please you in the first place, because after Brexit, it is at least formally separate from Europe.

Fourteen years of a Tory government. There's going to be an election this summer. The present Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who is the How many? David Cameron Bor One, two, three The fifth Tory in Fifth Tory Prime Minister in these fourteen years has called an election. [00:37:00] I put it to you, my Tory friend.

Douglas Murray: Careful. Smallty conservative. Do not Stick me with the grotesque thing that is the Tory party.

Peter Robinson: Oh, is it that A That the Torys won two historic victories. They got Brexit through and then they returned. They went to the country and returned with a majority of, what was it, 88 seats? 80,

Douglas Murray: yeah, 80 seats. Boris Johnson, Madison, 2019.

Yeah.

Peter Robinson: And after four. And they had not the slightest idea what to do with either one. And after 14 years, even every Tory, I know it can't be every Tory full stop, but every Tory I know is sick of the Tory government. And willing to take a chance on labor, which is, whatever else it is going to be cooler toward free enterprise.

We can't expect great leaps and bounds in the British economy. We can't expect Britain to ascend to new heights in its role in the world. [00:38:00] The United Kingdom is about to go into a boom. Deep freeze.

Douglas Murray: Is this fair? Yes, it's generous. the Labour Party is led by, Kirstein, a man whose idea of leadership is to say he's a leader.

His, deputy Angela Rayner. Remind

Peter Robinson: me never to cross you.

Douglas Murray: His deputy Angela Rayner is a person of zero distinction. his shadow cabinet includes people like David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary at the moment. Might be foreign secretary. Some years ago on a chat show, on a quiz show, David Lammie was asked who, I think I've got this right, which monarch, he was asked which monarch succeeded Henry the fourth, and he said Henry the third.

So he has a problem even understanding which direction history goes in, and in an interview on the radio last year he said that he understood that it was possible for a man to become a woman because of A man could, with the right medical help, grow [00:39:00] a cervix. we are not dealing with the brains of Britain here.

And, in fact, there's nobody of distinction that I can see in the shadow cabinet that's about to become the cabinet. Every country in Europe, and maybe America, is moving to the right. And particularly in Europe, inevitable, with the immigration. The one exception is Britain, and the one exception is Britain because for 14 years the Conservative Party has made a great horlicks of government.

the contempt, the loathing, that many people who ought to have the Conservatives, sorry, who ought to be supporting the Conservatives actually have the Conservatives is not possible to exaggerate. they wasted their time. I said in an article in the Spectator recently that, Boris Johnson reminded me of Dr.

Faustus in Christopher Marlowe's version. Because Dr. Faustus, if you remember, after selling his soul to Mephistopheles, wastes his [00:40:00] time, pinches the nose of the Pope, and plays practical jokes on Japes. And then your time is up, and you go. Sells

Peter Robinson: his soul to the devil for nothing. For nothing!

Douglas Murray: Why did Rishi Sunak Climbed the greasy pole of politics.

Stabbed Boris Johnson, just as Boris Johnson has stabbed other people, and Theresa May has stabbed people, and Liz Truss has stabbed people, and David Cameron, and everyone else. Why did Rishi Sunak climb through politics, become Prime Minister, in order, as far as I can see, his flagship policy is to ban vaping?

I like to think that a country could have more ambition than that.

Peter Robinson: Alright, Douglas, the United States of America. It was a dozen or 15 years ago that Mark Stein wrote a book. Entitled, America Alone, and I confess, [00:41:00] although the book was brilliantly written and quite tightly argued, I thought, and, Mark, we did an interview on the show about the book, and, but I thought, oh, this is a little bit, you're being a provocate, a provocateur here, but that's what it comes down to.

I, you tell me if I'm right or wrong, but we have China, we have Putin, we have who knows where this is going to go. In the Middle East, the ultimate problem is not in Rafah, the ultimate problem is in Tehran.

Douglas Murray: Yes.

Peter Robinson: Europe is in disarray, not all of Europe, and not probably permanently. You just said yourself the electoral situation has to change, the continent is moving to the right.

Goethe Wilders

Douglas Murray: is the most popular politician in the Netherlands.

Peter Robinson: Alright, there you have it. The polls are, we've already been through this, the polls, there are impressive governments. France, Germany, France, Spain, alright. So what do [00:42:00] we make of the present state of American politics?

Douglas Murray: I think a lot of what you've just described in the world is, I'm sorry to say this, but is the absence of American leadership.

Not a total absence, it has to be said. I'm not the greatest fan of Joe Biden, but Joe Biden has armed his allies and has occasionally made strong noises on the world stage. However, I think it's without doubt that neither Vladimir Putin nor the mullahs in Tehran fear Joe Biden. Not really. Before Joe Biden came to office, Donald Trump had almost completely bankrupted the Iranians.

And Joe Biden has brought them back in, they've been flushed with cash, sometimes literally, with the cash. And, that's why they can afford to play with their proxies like Hamas and things like the 7th of October can happen. Funded, armed, trained by [00:43:00] Iran. Why has Southern Lebanon got 15, or 150, 000 Iranian rockets pointed at Israel because after the 2006 conflict, which I was there for then as well, the, UN Security Council passed a resolution 1701.

Which said that the area in the south of Lebanon that Hezbollah were in, they must retreat from and take their rockets with them. And for the whole 18 years since the rockets have just come back, they've just built up the rocket supply and it's deadly. I've seen many of these rockets being shot over Israel in recent months.

I've been up to the northern border a lot. There's a lot of activity and it's a. As one, Israeli said to me, Israel and Hezbollah are on a tandem bicycle going downhill. And the question isn't when, isn't whether we crash, but when. Now, this would not have happened if America in [00:44:00] particular had put its foot down with Iran.

Peter Robinson: And you're telling me that what we Americans are raised with, or what we used to be raised with, what my generation was raised with, which is that the world Needs a strong America. Oh, you are telling me it's

Douglas Murray: true. It's true. It's lethal without, and even, the isolationist Republicans in America, I have great criticisms of yes, but it does interest me that they both want nothing to do with the world and yet to be the dominant power in the world.

Even the sort of Republican that is

Peter Robinson: the position I'd like myself, I don't think it's available, but it's not available. It's not

Douglas Murray: available. the you can't do it. Other people step in. Okay. Look at, look at the fact in the last four years, Russia, Iran, and China have stepped in everywhere. And I'm not just talking militarily.

look at the way that Africa is being brought up. Look at the way in [00:45:00] which mineral resources are brought up across Africa. The Americans on top of that are the Europeans to anything like the stent. The Chinese are, no, we're not on top of any of this. and this goes back to this central thing, which is do the students on American campuses realize?

That whilst they are being expensively educated into idiocy and uselessness, for each of them, there's a dozen students in China working their socks off to get a lifestyle that these kids in America seem to think is their birthright. It ain't their birthright. It's not inevitable. They only have these rights because better men than them fought for them.

And if this generation of Americans want to sit out The world. Ha! They can ask the people of Israel what happens, what it's like when reality comes and hits you as hard as anything.

Peter Robinson: Let me ask [00:46:00] you one last question about the United States. And, but give me a moment to set it up. We, the United States, used to have armed forces.

It used to be American military doctrine that we ought to be able to fight in two major theaters at once. Jim Mattis, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense in the first couple of years of the Trump administration recognized that we just didn't have the forces to do that anymore, so it's now doctrine.

One major theater, one minor theater. That's where we are now. Theater one, Ukraine and the North Atlantic. Theater two, Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, and the Eastern Mediterranean. Theater three, China, Taiwan, and the Pacific. All of this could go bad very fast. That's item one. Here's item two. I've done, I'm going to try to be [00:47:00] non partisan here, but correct me if I move in one.

We have oddly enough, two incumbents in some strange way running. President Biden in his eighties, let's put it as charitably as possible. He's not quite as quick off the mark as he was some years ago.

Douglas Murray: It's sad.

Peter Robinson: Your word. And then we have Donald Trump who's been indicted in one jurisdiction after another, who is himself 77 years old.

And who seems erratic, unpredictable, all right. But these seem to be the twelve who you could, if you want to toss in Robert Kennedy Jr. there is this strange, I feel, there's a kind of free floating anxiety in the United States. This is a really dangerous Moment. Yeah. [00:48:00] And these are the choices. wait, let's, withdraw from the world and get, just get rich.

Oh, there are all kinds of strange. let's find some third party camp. So what would your word be? As we enter the presidential? This is springtime. It'll be summer. The election is in the autumn. what would, what advice would you give to American voters? How should they weigh the reality as you see it and make their decisions?

Douglas Murray: Yeah, I don't I don't like advising people in countries I don't have a vote in about how to vote.

Peter Robinson: there are some of us who hope that's only a matter of time before you apply for your, you apply for your citizenship. But go ahead. Yeah, I came as a signer. I take the point.

Douglas Murray: but, there's one thing I just mentioned beforehand that you're, completely right about these.

The idea that there could be three theaters of operation in the coming years, that, that is when American dominance is completely tested and America has to decide [00:49:00] whether or not it's serious. And there are a lot of people in America who are not serious, left and right, Republicans and Democrats. But there's one other thing that has to be said about that, which is a lot of the energy on the right now is taken up by people saying, why can't we even secure the southern border?

And why don't we do that before looking after other countries borders? And I actually think, although it's a cheap rhetorical trick, nevertheless, there's something in it. There's something in it. And I sometimes refute them by saying, do you honestly think that if America weren't supporting our allies in Ukraine and Israel, the money would be going to the southern border?

I think not. It's not a lack of resources. It's a lack of will. But that thing of the southern border, by the way, is the extension of what I wrote about in The Strange Death of Europe, which is, of course, not just about Europe, but also about the whole of the developed world. Which is that the great challenge of this century will be [00:50:00] precisely what you referred to earlier, which is billions of people who do not have our lifestyle, they do not have our advantages.

They come from countries which are very badly run, horribly run, corrupt, impoverished, violent, and much more. Not all of them, but that's pretty much the norm in the developing world. And they would like to live in our countries. Can we say no? Now, Europeans are not very good at saying no. In the last 14 years, the Conservative Party came to power in 2010 with a promise from David Cameron that he would bring the hundreds of thousands of migrants a year, net, coming into the UK, down to the tens of thousands, which shouldn't be impossible.

It was where we were in the 1990s. And you are an island, after all. We're an island. It's not as if we don't have some natural advantages. Yes. and, I The immigration figures for last year, in the last year of a Tory government, [00:51:00] were almost a million, net. Fourteen years later. Fourteen years later.

They were off by scales. And, it's the same in America. And people don't, a lot of people outside America don't understand this, but I understand it inside America, as I know you do, and I think a lot of Americans do. People coming across the southern border, flooding across the southern border, millions of people coming to America illegally, is responded to with the same inevitability, as Europe has done.

And it'll lead to the same thing. It's

completely divorced from reality. And it's it's not just weak, what the politicians are letting happen to our societies. It's [00:52:00] positively treacherous. Because what they're doing is setting up an ever more unstable society for their successors. And some of the Democrats have said to me, the people coming from Central and South America are very like us.

They're Christians. You want to see the footage? Thank you. Of who's coming across the southern border now. I was watching the other day and I was going through one of the photos and everybody here seems to be a Sub Saharan African. the whole world is what I it's cheaper to get into America from Sub Saharan Africa today, illegally, than it is to get illegally into Europe.

If you take a flight to Mexico from Africa, that's maybe a thousand bucks. Maybe you spend 5, 000 bucks to a cartel to get you over the southern border. That's a bargain. And you're in America. And America [00:53:00] seems to be weaker than Europe even now on the illegal migration. So it's cheaper. It might be 10, 000 to go to Europe.

So is America to steal Chris Caldwell's title? Is America going to be the same with different people in it? you all just hope yes. And the problem about that, it's like the old, the old fallacy of the, turkey, The turkey is, had a good life and enjoys itself in the field, wanders around.

One day after the next, seems charming. People come and feed the turkey and the turkey has a good life. And then one day it's Thanksgiving. And, so when, people say to me, and I've got to hear these incredibly self satisfied people all the time. When they say things like, it's inevitable. Or, It's just going to be the same as what it was, Douglas.

What [00:54:00] you're saying is alarmist, like what Mark Stein has said was alarmist. It's just all going to be the same. One day, it's Thanksgiving.

Peter Robinson: Last question. The last time we recorded a program, just the two of us, we were talking about the strange death of Yoruba, and I closed with a question. And I'm going to repeat the same question, because here we are, some years later.

Things have changed, generally for the worse, but let me ask you the same question. In 2024, given the state of the world, we haven't even talked about the disruptions of artificial intelligence that are going to be barreling at us. How does one lead a good life?

Douglas Murray: I think I answered that before in this very room by saying by leading what was regarded as being a good life until yesterday.

And I would repeat that. I'd add something to it. [00:55:00] I've changed a bit in the last six months, and some of my viewers and readers have noticed it. And I've changed because of what I've seen in Israel, and the response, and specifically the response of young Israelis who have, there was a sort of view among older Israelis that the young generation was a bit weaker, a bit soft, the years of peace had done what years of peace always do.

And, they want to just party in Tel Aviv. They want to go out to the clubs. They want to be on Instagram and TikTok and that sort of thing. And, when the moment of test and trial came for that generation, as it did on the seventh.

They'd be magnificent. Magnificent. I've seen them up close, I've seen them in the field. I've [00:56:00] seen people who've just lost, their comrades and they go straight from the battlefield to a funeral and straight back to the battlefield. These are remarkable young men and women. Now, they understand something, which is very important.

And I said this a few weeks ago at a speech in Manhattan. But life, isn't just given to you. Life is something you have to fight for. You have to fight for the right to be at the club in Tel Aviv, or somebody else has to fight for you. If you want to live a good life, either you fight for it, or you expect somebody else to.

I believe very strongly today that people in America, Europe, Britain, the rest of the West, are going to have to get serious very fast, because something is [00:57:00] going to happen. I don't know what. But something is going to happen in my lifetime that is going to bring the kind of reality that the people of Israel saw on the 7th to the people of America, to the people of Europe, to the people of Britain.

And we should prepare for that, and we should prepare a generation for that, and we should encourage them, not, they've got to break out of the thing they're in, these ignoramuses, the narcissists, the navel gazers. We've got to tell them that the age of grievance is over. The age of grievance will be over with an age of heroism and courage.

And we should encourage that, everybody. And if these other people who want to hold us all back and want to make us talk about things that are so banal and boring, like gender woo and I'm feeling non [00:58:00] binary, no, don't have time for you. Get out the way. Life's too serious.

Peter Robinson: Douglas Murray, thank you.

Douglas Murray: Thank

Peter Robinson: you. For Uncommon Knowledge, the Hoover Institution, and Fox Nation, shooting today from Fiesole, Italy, I'm Peter Robinson.

Expand
overlay image