Sunday, December 15, 2002


A Friedman column speaks of hope for getting the talking between us and Islam going. Some voices in the Islamic world, according to the article, are saying publicly that America is not at fault for their backwardness and that their societies must look inward and cure themselves.

This is encouraging. They must end the killing philosophy that has been the public voice of Islam recently.

Iran’s situation has already given me hope that Iranians have seen the terror and economic failure of Islamist regimes. Others in the Arab world are raising their voices too. Yes, the Palestinian issue must be resolved to blunt a sharp corner that we bump into repeatedly, but we must always remember it is not the cause of the problem between the West and the Moslem world—it is an irritant.

We must demonstrate resolve through military and other means so that Islamists will never be able to appeal to followers by saying we will ultimately lose. We must present a face of awesome power so that glory in pursuit of jihad against us seems less productive than working with us and focusing on their own problems.

We started by breaking the Taliban and crippling al Qaeda. Next we must destroy Saddam.

Then we start building. I’m no fan of nation building, but I don’t see what choice we have now. We can’t just leave them to nurture grievances and come back at us again when they are ready and we are unprepared. This time we "de-Nazifiy" the Moslem world of the Wahhabi Islamofascism that has preached death to us. But there is hope. The Germans and Japanese seem unable to fight now, after our occupations.

Turkey is one face of moderate, modernizing Islam. Indonesia can be also. Then Iran, after the mullahs are overthrown. Then Iraq after we invade and rip out the Ba’athist thugs who destroyed a promising nation carrying out the orders of a thug who sought glory through death and conquest.

Marching on Baghdad is just the beginning of this job.

And we still have to deal with North Korea. And a rising China who may be friend or foe. Plus the various nutcases out there who would love to dump some VX into a subway or office building. And the usual tribulations of dealing with Cuba, and Venezuela, and Zimbabwe, and other states that may not pose much of a threat but which don’t want to operate within the world system or at least refrain from torturing their own people.

We let down our guard after Soviet communism collapsed, thinking that history had ended and we had won it all. But while we vanquished a single state that could wipe us out, we now must face multiple threats who, though unable to kill 100,000,000 of us in twenty minutes, will settle for 100,000.

Amazingly enough, this is better. And I do have hope.