Friday, July 28, 2006

Fifty Years of Appeasement

It was fifty years ago that the American government went down the road of appeasing our Arab and Islamic enemies. The Weekly Standard explains Eisenhower’s fatal mistake. (Hat Tip Atlas.) As I said last summer:

What grievances do Muslims have against us? We’ve backed Egypt in the Suez Crisis, helped Egypt get back the Sinai and give them $2 billion a year, liberated Kuwait from the Saddam, protected Saudi Arabia from becoming the next Kuwait, helped Afghanistan fend off the USSR, intervened on the behalf of Bosnians, prevented genocide in Kosovo, … we are constantly helping Muslims! There are no people we help more than Muslims!
I argued that it is our altruism--not any alleged harm--that is the cause of Arab and Islamic contempt. And as we continue to try to “win the hearts and minds” we wonder why it isn’t working. As I suggested in last summer’s article, one should learn about the enemy’s culture, values, and religion.

Update1: Frum on Suez: "Here's an alternative lesson to draw from Suez. What Westerners think of as goodwill, Middle Easterners often interpret as weakness. ... The U.S. misjudged Nasser in 1956. And it has repeated that same misjudgment again and again in the years since."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Culture is the Key

Hugh Fitzgerald has a lengthy but worthwhile article on the administration’s inability to understand Islam and what that means. Tony Blankley contrasts the tough anti-communism of the 50s with the pathetic attempt to deal with today’s Islamic threat. Two years ago I wrote a lengthy article lamenting that very fact. It also made many of the same criticism of conservatives that Fitzgerald makes—and to his credit has been making all along.

The bottom line is that people pay short shrift to culture and the role of philosophy (in this case religion) in maintaining that culture. If the old communist notion of the infinite immutability of human nature was a utopian dream destined to be history’s greatest nightmare, the current watered-down version, that character and culture can be jettisoned upon request, blinds us to the extent that fundamental ideas have a grip on the soul of an individual or society’s culture, with dire consequences for our dealing effectively with today’s reality. A philosophy, or worldview, is such an integrating force for understanding and behaving—for connecting the vast events of the day and narrowing down the possible course of action—that to change it would be tantamount to becoming another person.

As we understand a person’s actions by understanding his/her character, we understand a culture’s unfolding by learning about its dominant philosophy or religion.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Do Whatever It Takes

Mr. Weingarten wrote a lengthy comment in my previous post which is worth you consideration. It presents a vision of the long-term changes required for civilization to triumph over the medieval threat of a resurgent Islam. Comments encouraged.

Do Whatever It Takes
by Allen Weingarten

Jason Pappas had written “In the long-term we need to re-think our whole foreign policy. In the short term I fear it is too late to change the course that has been put into motion.” That being the case, I have made a stab at re-thinking our foreign policy.

American foreign policy has been predicated on spreading democracy, and winning the hearts and minds of our enemies. That this has enabled and bolstered our enemies to do their worst should come as no surprise. Yet even if our approach were sound, it would not constitute a comprehensive and systematic plan for achieving victory. We should note that our enemies do have systematic strategies for winning, utilizing the full gamut of possibilities -- terrorism, negotiations, immigration, sedition, tactical alliances, or any combination thereof. They seek our defeat at every turn, and at any cost.

We on the other hand, follow the European model of the thirties -- accommodation. We have forgotten that it was Churchill, not Chamberlain, who won the “hearts and minds” of the German people, by defeating their dictators. And we have forgotten the cost we paid, in what Churchill termed “the unnecessary war” brought on by that accommodation. It is time to rethink that model, and to begin securing a future for our civilization. This would require changing our perspective from accommodation to providing justice. We would no longer reward those who harm us, but punish them, and provide disincentives.
We would protect our few allies, rather than use them as sacrificial pawns. This would require a restoration of our fundamental precepts of justice, truth, and righteousness, in direct opposition to political correctness. We could then seize the moral high ground, while clarifying that our adversaries are fundamentally immoral. We would speak straight, and never hesitate to refer to the enemy as the barbarian that he is. Then we would establish the objective of defending our civilization, by doing whatever it takes to defeat the enemy. Negotiations would be confined to those that advance our objectives, while precluding the usual forms that have consistently resulted in acceding to the enemy’s agenda.

We would cease subsidizing countries through foreign aid, and instead pay only for services rendered. In battle, we would employ whatever weapons are required to prevail. We would engage in economic and financial warfare to disrupt countries that oppose us, as well as computer and cyber warfare, to hamper their military, commercial, and social systems. Just consider the gain, of hacking into their missile systems to get our enemies to fire on one another, or merely flooding their markets with counterfeit currency.

We would select leaders who have no history of appeasement, but who provide approaches for victory. In every field of endeavor there are a few who have withstood corruption, and have addressed what could succeed. Surely, we would not employ approaches which lend legitimacy to terrorists, either through elections, negotiations, humanitarian aid, or by honoring their untenable rewriting of history.

We would legalize drugs, removing them as a source of profit for our enemies, and at the same time, eliminating the enormous expense to our taxpayers. We could use the McCarran act (as well as loyalty oaths) to undermine the ideological insurgency of the Muslims. We would halt any immigration that was not clearly in America’s interests.

Rather than engage in the pretense that finds virtue in the UN and the Geneva Convention, we would recognize that we are virtually alone in the world, and confine our alliances to those few who are actually on our side.

The American commitment to winning a just war would reinvigorate patriotism in our populace, which would find expression in our films and music, as it did in WWII.

There is a defeatism that avers that we cannot fight those who are willing to die. It is true that Islamists care little for life. Yet there are things that do matter to them. They care about their agenda, so setting it back, after any incursion on their part, registers. They care about infiltration, so throwing out those who do, or those who support them, matters. They do not care about truth, but do care when they are shown to be fraudulent. They do not care about doing wrong, but they do care about being humiliated for so doing. They do not care about lying or scholarship, but they do care about being denied legitimacy, and even more about being ridiculed. They are willing to use their Mosques to attack us, but they care about them being exploded. The Muslims do not care about being awash in blood, but how about spraying some greasy pig fat?

We lack the will to think in terms of victory. Yet “faint heart ne’er won fair maiden” so if we don’t know what we want, we won’t get it. It is disheartening that we seem to be mired in behavior that history has proven disastrous. Perhaps we must experience severe devastation on our own soil, before we address what we have to do to win. Yet once we do consider victory, if it is not too late, there can be many ways to bring it about.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Iran's War

The aggressor, in any war, warrants full moral blame for every death. In this case, Syria and Iran deserve the primary moral. Secondary blame accrues to Iran’s willing Lebanese proxies, from those that fire the rockets to those that aid and abet Israel’s destruction. They bring vast destruction they bring to their own country, for which they are to blame. The Syrian government has decided to use the Lebanese people as human shields in a cynical ploy to regain control of that feeble nation. Israel obviously must defend herself. But how?

Israel is fighting Syria and Iran as they use Lebanon as a shield. However, Israel is only shooting at the shield. That may dent it; but until she shoots around the shield, at the heart of Syria, she will have achieved little. Proxy wars and terrorism allow the main instigators to escape retaliation; but only if the victim refuses to fight the real enemy. Both Meyrav Wurmser and the editors of the staunchly pro-Israel, New York Sun, come to a similar conclusion.

Daniel Pipes gives the historic context. After years of appeasement, Israel is seen as a paper tiger. To re-establish a deterrent, she’ll have to adopt an un-compromising resolve to fight until the enemy loses all hope. For Pipes this is extremely painful as he warned against the Oslo “appeasement process,” withdrawal from Gaza and Lebanon, and other acts of appeasement that only emboldened the enemy. Pipes seems to be the only one talking about the long-term need to establish a deterrent to avoid wars in the first place … except this guy.

Pipes rightly notes that when a deterrent is lost, war becomes unavoidable. It must be fought and won. And to do that the primary aggressors must be defeated. Israel has to face reality, as we all do; Iran wants war, Iran is at war, Iran will escalate this war.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Newt Takes the Lead

Newt is way ahead of the pack.

“In the United States, we refer to this struggle as the "Global War on Terror". Yet, I believe this label fails to capture the nature and scale of the threat faced by civilization. The nature of the threat -- with Iran at the epicenter -- is at its core, ideological. The threat to the United States is an ideological wing of Islam that is irreconcilable to modern civilization as we know it throughout most of the world.”

Newt is right but on a fundamental level the threat is greater than he believes. It’s an attack on a civilization’s core value: reason. Reason, not force, is our primary means of dealing with each other and production, not expropriation, is the means we sustain our values.

He understands that it’s not just how they fight (terrorism) that is a problem but what they fight for: “ … their ultimate aim to destroy the values of freedom, security and religious liberty that sustain civilization in the modern age.” But it is more than that. They want to replace civilization with a mind-locked dogmatic totalitarian religious ideology imposed by Islam on every person in the world.

Even if jihadists reframed from terrorism and used traditional military means, even if they created an electoral system and voted their ideology as the law of the land, Islam would still be as vicious and as dangerous. Newt’s taking a lead but Rebecca Bynum’s got it down cold:

“The real threat is the belief system of Islam which is diametrically opposed to everything the western world holds to be true. The very nature of reality, the very source of rational thought is at stake. … We must understand that in the conflict there can be no middle ground. This is essential. There can be no compromise. To compromise with Islam is to sell future generations into slavery. ...”

Newt, need a speech writer?

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Moment of Truth

David Horowitz sums it up.

"On one side are al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hizbollah, Syria and Iran and their allies: Russia, France, Greece, and the UN majority. On the other is the only democracy in the land of Muslim and Arab terror."

On one side we have savage Islamic societies were people are destitute and oppressed by fascist regimes. These regimes are backed by envious scheming second-rate powers that seek to bleed us and our allies. On the other side is a progressive stable and pluralistic democracy—the only one in the region—that is the best hope for liberty in that part of the world. This fact—the nature of the characters involved—is the main fact that explains all the rest. Only with knowledge of the nature of the characters involve (identity) can one understand the actions taking place (causality.)

Given that identity, Horowitz comes to the right conclusion:

The world will not be a safe place or a decent one until the present regimes in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria and Iran are gone. This is a war all Americans must support.”

Update1: Michael Ledeen, Robert Trancinski, James Lewis.

Update2: Analysts note that the Iranian-sponsored attacks have united the normally fractious Israel including many on the left. And Iran has given Israel another casus belli to proceed with the attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities. Could Ahmadinejad have blundered as Saddam did when Iraq was close to producing a nuclear bomb but prematurely invaded Kuwait? Or will Condi help Ahmadinejad by pretending the problem is local to Lebanon?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Proxy Wars

The Communist governments were the initial sponsors and trainers of Arab terrorists in the 1960s. By using proxies, communists found they could engage us or our allies in battles without our retaliation. Thus, terrorism was born. Recently Russia came to the aid of Saddam in his final hour and China backs North Korea and Iran. Are we failing to recognize the greater threat?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Oil and the Enemy

Here’s an original thinker:

“The problem we face today is not our love of oil, but oil-rich dictatorships like Iran and Saudi Arabia--who use ill-gotten profits to spread totalitarian Islamic ideology around the world and terrorize us with their minions. The solution is not to punish ourselves by renouncing oil--but to punish our enemies until they renounce their aggression.”
Let me add that the economics of oil doesn’t change if we refuse to buy oil from Saudi Arabia. Oil is not like a custom suit, tailor-made for one individual. Oil is fungible and a liquid commodity in a financial sense. It is sold into the market—not to a person. Even if we weren’t a customer, Saudi Arabia would have the same financial income to fund the worldwide jihadist movement. Iran proves that you don’t need to sell to America to fund Islamic aggression.

Failing to Kill the Enemy

Ralph Peters reminds us of the simple rules of the battlefield. (Hat tip Islamic Evil.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Truth On Film

AOW reviews an important new movie on the Islamic threat.

The Denial Continues

Victor Davis Hanson has some interesting comments today:

“First, before 9/11 the Western hard right-wing allowed radical Islam a pass — and then afterwards the Left did worse.”

Actually, it wasn’t just “hard right” conservatives, like Grover Norquist; moderates also believed Islam was benign. Despite the vast support for bin Laden in the Islamic world, most conservatives believed devout Muslims were kindred spirits. Mind-mannered Danesh D’Souza is a case in point. Indeed, two years ago, I wrote an article called, “The Conservative Response to the Islamic Threat,” in which I outlined my explanation for the conservative’s blind-spot for Islam. Hanson sees it also:

“In the 1980s some conservatives saw the jihadists in Afghanistan or the Wahhabis in the Gulf as valuable bulwarks against global Communism.”

Some? Except for a few isolated cases, most Republicans praised Islam and absolved it of any role in the jihadist terror attacks. In the fight with communism, conservatives created a worldview in which atheism (not collectivism) was the enemy and religion the antidote. Islam couldn’t be evil, it was a time-tested religion accepted by millions including our allies fighting communism in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia, unlike secular Egypt and Iraq, was never in the Soviet orbit. Islam, conservatives believed, is part of the solution.

Even after the Iranian revolution of 1979, conservatives maintained their faith in Islam. It was only a Shi’ia enthusiasm that was the problem. Traditional level-headed Sunni are nothing like those crazy Shi’ia … or so thought the Republicans in the 1980s. And the love was requited; Muslims typically voted Republican up to and including the 2000 election.

The Islamic attack of 9/11 was a shock, not just for the nation, but for Republicans. Muslims around the world cheered. Even to this day, bin Laden is a hero for the majority of Muslims in several Islamic countries. But most conservatives, now joined by the politically correct left, still can’t believe Islam is the problem. Notice that even Hanson uses the marginalizing modifier, “radical.”

Conservatives today are like left-liberals during the Cold War. While conservatives damned communism as stark evil, left-liberals talked about building bridges, softening criticism to encourage compromise, and encouraging moderates. The left-liberal couldn’t believe that communism was evil to the core. Indeed, they shared some of the same altruist-collectivist values that branded individualism (i.e. Capitalism) as selfish and unfair. It had to be a distortion of a noble ideal by a few who co-opted the communism movement.

With some important exceptions, conservatives, today, talk like left-liberals of the Cold War period. Even Mr. Hanson sees building bridges—or nations—as the way to winning the “hearts and minds” of people who are increasingly reviving a 7th century religious practice undiluted by reason. After all, conservatives are still fighting the Cold War, if not abroad then at home. The vociferous condemnation of Darwin and secularism is far greater than the vilification of Islam for the simple reason that too many conservatives believe Islam can’t be bad at the core. Thus, we’ll see the bizarre outreach to so-called moderates as we tell them to practice their religion as their founder intended.

To add to the absurdity, the left has not called conservatives on their fantasy view of Islam. The left has all but virtually embraced Islam. Similar to their anti-anti-communism of yesteryear, the left can’t embrace Islam outright but, instead, has adopted an anti-anti-Islam stance that condemns the critics of Islam.

The bankruptcy of the left and right makes it clear we need new leadership.

Friday, July 07, 2006

One Year Ago Today

Let's not forget London, 7 July, 2005. And let's not forget why.

Last year's attack woke many people up ... for awhile. Here's some of the comments from my archive last July: Daniel Pipes, Robert Bidinotto, Jason Pappas, from Europe, and four others.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tradition at the Times

How did the New York Times celebrate the 4th of July? George Reisman exposes their true feelings towards our nations founding by critical analysis of their July 4th issue. Alexandra describes the public’s outrage at the Times aiding and abetting our Islamist enemy. Hugh Fitzgerld calls for a boycott of what he calls the New Duranty Times (after Walter Duranty.) Apparently, the Times has a different sense of tradition than most Americans.

Might I suggest The New York Sun as an alternative?

Monday, July 03, 2006

July 4th

On July 4th let’s remember those who fought for our freedom. Oliver North does as does and Donald Rumsfeld who says:

"This Fourth of July across America, families will enjoy picnics, and parades, and the uplifting beat of "Stars and Stripes Forever." But our celebrations are tempered by the knowledge that the freedoms we hold sacred and dear have once again come under attack."

Our fellow bloggers express their thoughts: George Mason, AOW, Mustang, and Jack Wheeler. Wheeler writes:

"We Americans are privileged to live in one of history's supreme moments. We Americans are participants in one of history's greatest civilizations in its prime. Someday in some future epoch, history will have moved on, and there will be distant centuries between that time and the American Era. People will then look upon America as we do upon ancient Egypt or Greece, and will do so with same wonder and awe.

I suggest you look upon America with that wonder and awe now.

America is the most moral and humanitarian nation ever to exist. The gifts it has freely given the world -- of the principles of the Declaration of Independence, of proclaiming that all human beings have a moral right to their own personal happiness, of capitalist wealth and scientific progress throughout the world, of sacrificing oceans of blood to end Nazi and Tojo tyranny, of oceans of treasure to assist other countries and foreign peoples, of ridding the world of the curse of the Soviet Union, on and on and on -- are incalculable."

Update1: Edward Hudgins reminds us of what the founding fathers thought.
Update2: And here's what John Lewis thinks about how to fight today's enemy.
Update3: Kevin let’s Jefferson say it. Doug is simply on target. Edwin Locke explains our greatness at CapMag. But Cox and Forkum are bitter sweet.
Update4: For Robert Bove, it's a Cagney moment. Nicholas Provenzo (and George Mason) reprint the Declaration of Independence--let it inspire a revival. R. J. Rummel cheers America's role in the world. L.A.Sunsett remembers that freedom is not free.