Skip to comments.A MUST READ: The Lunacy of Relations between the Suicidal West and Fanatical IslamoFascists
Posted on 02/04/2006 3:53:51 AM PST by quesney
February 03, 2006, 8:07 a.m.
Three Pillars of Wisdom
Finding our footing where lunacy looms large.
Public relations between the so-called West and the Islamic Middle East have reached a level of abject absurdity. Hamas, whose charter pledges the very destruction of Israel, comes to power only through American-inspired pressures to hold Western-style free elections on the West Bank. No one expected the elders of a New England township, but they were nevertheless somewhat amused that the result was right out of a Quentin Tarantino movie.
Almost immediately, Hamas's newly elected, self-proclaimed officials issued a series of demands: Israel should change its flag; the Europeans and the Americans must continue to give its terrorists hundreds of millions of dollars in aid; there will be no retraction of its promises to destroy Israel.
Apparently, the West and Israel are not only to give to Hamas some breathing space ("a truce"), but also to subsidize it while it gets its second wind to renew the struggle to annihilate the Jewish state.
All this lunacy is understood only in a larger surreal landscape. Tibet is swallowed by China. Much of Greek Cyprus is gobbled up by Turkish forces. Germany is 10-percent smaller today than in 1945. Yet only in the Middle East is there even a term "occupied land," one that derived from the military defeat of an aggressive power.
Over a half-million Jews were forcibly cleansed from Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, and other Arab cities after the 1967 war; but only on the West Bank are there still refugees who lost their homes. Over a million people were butchered in Rwanda; thousands die each month in Darfur. The world snoozes. Yet less than 60 are killed in a running battle in Jenin, and suddenly the 1.5 million lost in Stalingrad and Leningrad are evoked as the moral objects of comparison, as the globe is lectured about "Jeningrad."
Now the Islamic world is organizing boycotts of Denmark because one of its newspapers chose to run a cartoon supposedly lampooning the prophet Mohammed. We are supposed to forget that it is de rigueur in raucous Scandinavian popular culture to attack Christianity with impunity. Much less are we to remember that Hamas terrorists occupied and desecrated the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in a globally televised charade.
Instead, Danish officials are threatened, boycotts organized, ambassadors recalled and, yes, Bill Clinton steps forward to offer another lip-biting apology while garnering lecture fees in the oil-rich Gulf, in the manner of his mea culpa last year to the Iranian mullacracy. There is now a pattern to Clintonian apologies they almost always occur overseas and on someone else's subsidy.
Ever since that seminal death sentence handed down to Salman Rushdie by the Iranian theocracy, the Western world has incrementally and insidiously accepted these laws of asymmetry. Perhaps due to what might legitimately be called the lunacy principle ("these people are capable of doing anything at anytime"), the Muslim Middle East can insist on one standard of behavior for itself and quite another for others. It asks nothing of its own people and everything of everyone else's, while expecting no serious repercussions in the age of political correctness, in which affluent and leisured Westerners are frantic to avoid any disruption in their rather sheltered lives.
Then there is "President" Ahmadinejad of Iran, who, a mere 60 years after the Holocaust, trumps Mein Kampf by not only promising, like Hitler, to wipe out the Jews, but, unlike the ascendant Fuhrer, going about the business of quite publicly obtaining the means to do it. And the rest of the Islamic world, nursed on the daily "apes and pigs" slurs, can just scarcely conceal its envy that the Persian Shiite outsider will bell the cat before they do.
The architects of September 11, by general consent, hide somewhere on the Pakistani border. A recent American missile strike that killed a few of them was roundly condemned by the Pakistani government. Although a recipient of billions of dollars in American aid and debt relief, and admittedly harboring those responsible for 9/11, it castigates the U.S. for violating borders in pursuit of our deadly enemies who, while on Pakistani soil, boast of planning yet another mass murder of Americans.
Pakistan demands that America will cease such incursions or else. The "else" apparently entails the threat either to give even greater latitude to terrorists, or to allow them to return to Afghanistan to destroy the nascent democracy in Kabul. American diplomats understandably would shudder at the thought of threatening nuclear Pakistan should there be another 9/11, this time organized by the very al Qaedists they now harbor.
The list of hypocrisies could be expanded. The locus classicus, of course, is bin Laden's fanciful fatwas. Oil pumped for $5 a barrel and sold for $70 is called stealing resources. Tens of millions of Muslims emigrating to the United States and Europe, while very few Westerners reside in the Middle East, is deemed "occupying our lands." Israel, the biblical home of the Jews, and subsequently claimed for centuries by Persians, Greeks, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Ottomans, and English is "occupied by crusader infidels" as if the entire world is to accept that world history began only in the seventh century A.D.
The only mystery is not how bizarre the news will be from the Middle East, but why the autocratic Middle Easterners feel so confident that any would pay their lunacy such attention.
The answer? Oil and nukes and sometimes the two in combination.
By any economic standard, most states in the Middle East whether characterized by monarchy, Baathism, dictatorship, or theocracy have floundered. There are no scientific discoveries emanating from a Cairo or Damascus. It is tragic and perhaps insensitive, but nevertheless honest, to confess that the contemporary Arab world has lately given the world only two new developments: the suicide-bomb belt and the improvised explosive device. Even here there is a twofold irony: The technology for both is imported from the West. And the very tactic arises out of a desperate admission that to fight a conventional battle against a Westernized military without the cover of civilian shields, whether in Israel or Baghdad, is tantamount to suicide.
Meanwhile, millions of Africans face famine and try to inaugurate democracies. Asia is in the midst of economic transformation. Latin America is undergoing fundamental political upheaval. Who cares? our attention is glued instead on a few acres near Jericho, the mountains of the Hindu Kush, the succession patterns of Gulf Royals, and the latest ranting of an Iranian president who seems barely hinged, and without petroleum and a reactor would be accorded the global derision once reserved for Idi Amin.
So take the dependency on oil away from Europe and the United States, and the billions of petrodollars the world sends yearly to medieval regimes like Iran or Saudi Arabia, and the other five billion of us could, to be frank, fret little whether such self-pitying tribal and patriarchal societies wished to remain, well, tribal. There would be no money for Hezbollah, Wahhabi madrassas, Syrian assassination teams, or bought Western apologists.
The problem is not just a matter of the particular suppliers who happen to sell to the United States after all, we get lots of our imported oil from Mexico, Canada, and Nigeria. Rather, we should worry about the insatiable American demand that results in tight global supply for everyone, leading to high prices and petrobillions in the hands of otherwise-failed societies who use this largess for nefarious activities from buying nukes to buying off deserved censure from the West, India, and China. If the Middle East gets a pass on its terrorist behavior from the rest of the world, ultimately that exemption can be traced back to the voracious American appetite for imported oil, and its effects on everything from global petroleum prices to the appeasement of Islamic fascism.
Without nuclear acquisition, a Pakistan or Iran would warrant little worry. It is no accident that top al Qaeda figures are either in Pakistan or Iran, assured that their immunity is won by reason that both of their hosts have vast oil reserves or nukes or both.
The lesson from all this is that in order to free the United States from such blackmail and dependency, we must at least try to achieve energy independence and drive down oil prices and see that no Middle East autocracy gains nuclear weapons. Those principles, along with support for democratic reform, should be the three pillars of American foreign policy.
Encouraging democracy is still vital to offer a third choice other than dictatorship or theocracy especially when we now recognize the general Middle East rule: The logical successor to a shah is a Khomeini; a Zarqawi wishes to follow a fallen Saddam; a propped-up Arafat ensures Hamas; and a subsidized Mubarak will lead to the Muslim Brotherhood. Puritanical zealotry always feeds off autocratic corruption as if lopping hands and heads is the proper antidote to military courts and firing squads.
And we also know the political blame game at home: Past realist failures at propping up dictators are postfacto reinvented as sobriety, while the messy and belated democratic correction is derided as foolery. Even the election of Hamas and the honesty it brings are welcome news: Support the process, not always the result, while stopping the subsidy and dialogue if such terrorists come to power. Let them stew in their own juice, not ours.
In the meantime, until we arrive at liberal and consensual governments that prove stable, there will be no real peace. And if an Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Syria obtains nuclear weapons, there will be eventually war on an unimaginable scale, predicated on the principle that the West will tolerate almost any imaginable horror to ensure that one of its cities is not nuked or made uninhabitable.
Yet if billions of petrodollars continue to pour into such traditional societies, as a result they will never do the hard political and economic work of building real societies. Instead their elites will obtain real nuclear weapons to threaten neighbors for even more concessions, as they buy support at home with the national prestige of an "Islamic bomb." Saddam almost grasped that: Had he delayed his invasion of Kuwait five years until he resurrected his damaged nuclear program, Kuwait would now be an Iraqi province, and perhaps Saudi Arabia as well.
In the long-term, democratization in the framework of constitutional government has the best chance of bringing relief. But for the foreseeable future the United States and its allies must also ensure that Iran, and states like it, are not nuclear, and that we wean ourselves off a petroleum dependency to save both ourselves, the addicts, and even our enemies, the dealers of the Middle East.
Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His latest book is A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Click to Add Topic
I hope they are reading VDH at the white house.
ping for later reading
i gotta tell you, no author could create such a story out of whole cloth. the west seems to be walking thru bad neighborhoods with a sign on its back that says, please kill me, i dare you. islam is more than willing to oblige.
I believe the best analogy to apply to the West and its "asleep at the switch" mentality and posture is similar to the "Sitzkrieg" during the winter of 1939-40 when the British and French had both declared war on Germany but were doing nothing. This gave the Germans time to regroup, prepare and strategize thier Western blitzkrieg through the low countries and France in 1940.
Is there any other parallel to compare us to now?
We know war has been declared, we say we're in a war but what, really, is being done? The march in London yesterday absolutely shocked me. How can authorities allow such a thing to take place with no action or reaction?
The West isn't borderline suicidal it is the equivilent of sheep lined up in pens for slaughter looking at the open gate that would take them to freedom but too afraid to run.
The only mystery is not how bizarre the news will be from the Middle East, but why the autocratic Middle Easterners feel so confident that any would pay their lunacy such attention.
He's absolutely correct that they feel they can get away with it because of US reliance on oil and our track record, except for Iraq, of never responding to their threats or provocations and their long standing proclamation that they are about to go nuclear.
However, I think even the nutcases there know that at some point, we are going to have to bite the bullet and respond, oil be damned. The point is that they don't care, because they are members of an insane death cult and it's all the same to them whether they get wiped out, as long as they manage to take all life on this planet down with them.
I like VDH, but one of his problems is that he never identifies the fundamental problem: Islam. This has created the most irrational and dangerous enemy we have ever had, and the most difficult to deal with precisely because of its irrationality.
Muslims had given up the idea of ruling the world after their last great loss, Now with money coming in from oil and after breeding like rabbits , after interposing themselves all over the world they feel strong enough to give world dominance a new try. With the cowardice shown by most Europeans they feel even stronger.
We are in a religious war now with these cult members only they know it and most other countries dont. We had better win or surely it wont be the meek who inherit this earth.
The heart of it all is Saudi Arabia and their funding of the crazy schools. Aren't they even sending money for schools in America?
what im not exactly clear about is that in europe, if you mock a gay, you go to jail for a hate crime. in austria, a man is sitting in jail in austria at this time due to his contention the holocaust never happened. yet, you can threaten terrorism in public and be protected by the police? huh?
So now Mr. Hanson has joined the Left?
It is we, the dreaded "voracious" Americans who are the main problem to the world?
So ... the "go back to living in caves and eating bug & berries" crowd was right?
Well, let's see if that plays in Peoria.
I suspect you're right. The Japanese were every bit as mindlessly fanatical toward the end of WWII as the Mudslimes are today. Two nukes provided superb psychotherapy and shocked them out of their madness. Iran would be an excellent first candidate for the same therapy.
His name is Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich gave testimony in congress a couple of months ago that focused on this issue. He labeled it "The Long War", because he believes that we will require 50-80 years of combined military action, intelligence gathering, and diplomacy combined to transition the culture of the ME into something we can live with.
Gingrich is one of the few that has the historical knowledge and intelligence to see this, and communicate it.
But unfortunately, Gingrich no longer even gets the support of "conservatives" around here. I guess the fact that his private life isn't quite perfection is enough to dismiss the man as a total failure. It's like dismissing Churchill because he liked wiskey.
Just as Churchill was ignored before the war, and put out to pasture as soon as it was over, Gingrich is someone that apparently his own "conservative" base won't accept, even though he's the guy they really need.
"I like VDH, but one of his problems is that he never identifies the fundamental problem: Islam."
I think he does. His approach is to strip Islamic areas of their influence on the rest of us through their oil, and to prevent them from getting nukes by any means necessary. After we accomplish that, there will still be Muslim areas, but they will be a culture apart, powerless to hurt us, and free to stew in their juices until they undergo some sort of Reformation and agree to tolerate non-Muslims.
The immediate answers to dependency on Mideast Oil, at least for the U.S. is coal and nuclear power. I use about 600 gallons of gas a year, but over 1200 gallons of heating oil. We will need liquid fuels for transportation for the foreseeable future and could derive a lot of domestic supply from coal gassification and (maybe) shale oil. If we could get the price of electricity down (or the price of oil up) enough, I would convert to electric heat, saving 2/3 of my personal petroleum use (ignoring my proportional share of trucking, airplane, and rail fuel use). I hear the idea of cutting back on foreign oil dismissed as sure to produce an instant depression, but I'm not so sure. Still in a depression, we spent like never before at the start of WW II because we thought our lives were at stake, and instead of a worse depression, we got the greatest boom in history. If our lives are really at stake again and we spend what's necessary to move toward energy independence, maybe it'll be good for the economy again like it was that time, but even if not, if we accept that we are in mortal danger we should try for it.
I agree. The problem is that every time the US tries to do something like that (a massive gassification project, shale oil, even drilling where we know we have the good old fashioned type of oil - Florida Gulf Coast, for example) the leftist nuts run out and stop it.
What is it going to take for us to be serious about this and really do it? Many of our current problems could have been prevented had we done this years ago.
What it's going to take is that the vast majority in this country become convinced that our lives are literally at stake and for that motivation to sweep aside barriers to rapid adoption of whatever corrective measures promise to help. A large number of people continue to minimize the dangers, to deny that it's a real war, and we probably couldn't, politically, take steps now that will be wrenching, at least in the short term, to reconfigure our economy away from oil dependence. It's a shame that Sadaam managed to get rid of his weapons before we could find them because the lesson that a lot of people are deriving is that we're not really in danger (because the dangers in that case appear to have been overblown).
I think you're right. Unfortunately, it's probably going to take a second major attack to do that.
One of the biggest problems is that the press has virtually erased 9/11 from our collective memory and has confused things so that people cannot even remember what they saw or how they felt and what happened.
Oddly enough, I think Bush's success in keeping the economy going and keeping up American spirits is also partially responsible for this. He did a great job, and of course received no credit from the media and information sources for this.
So now people use this to think, eh, what's the problem, we came through that just fine and nothing happened to us.
I think from Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday, he has read them and is trying to implement what VDH recommended discreetly. Bush is running a very tight rope here: he has to fight off the complaency and multiculti fetish on the part of the Left, links with past Middle East autocrats realism on the parts of the US State Department and Republican realpolitikers.
Note that the supposedly libertarian CATO Institute, who normally pounds on the United States for pursuing realpolitik policies with various friendly autocracies, suddenly turns around and attacks Bush for trying to implement energy independence from the oil-ME-shah special interests group. With friends like these, Bush can only move discreetly one step at a time.
Bump for later
v, Gingrich is the man primarily responsible for wresting Congress from the control of the Donks.
The sliming by the Donk media was the only way they could get back at him.
Must reading?? Hardly.
Next he'd say we were running out of trees.
Any idiot that repeats the "no WMDs" argument to me is instantly dismissed. My counter-argument is this: If your neighbor shot up your house, and the police refused to investigate when notified, and you then gave a couple of months of public notice that you were going to invade your neighbor's house to PROVE that he had the weapons used to shoot up your house, what do you suppose the chances of finding the weapons in your neighbor's house would actually be?
Either your neighbor is a moron, and leaves the weapons to be found, or the person who accepts the "no WMDs" argument is a moron.
Meanwhile, buy their stinking oil and keep the association strictly business. If they want to sell it fine. If not that's fine too. We will last longer with our reserves than they will without our money. If they can't keep order in the oil fields, take them over by force.
Enough is enough. Stop playing into their insanity. Nothing good will come from it.As for the muslims in this country, behave, get out or die. Make your choice. We're sick of your crap too.
'the person who accepts the "no WMDs" argument is a moron.'
I agree that there is something wrong with people who accept that argument, but I'm not sure if it's a simple matter of stupidity. Instead, I think the problem is more psychological than intellectual, more a lapse into wishful thinking than lack of brainpower (coupled with a hatred of anything Bush does). To use your example of the neighbor, some might think that he shot up the house with just a weapon or two, while others might believe he had a massive arsenal. If he succeeds in getting rid of his weapons before the police can search, it leaves room for those who are too afraid to admit that the neighbor really was a danger to say, "Those who thought he had an arsenal have been proven wrong."