Islam Expert in Demand
by Seth Gitell
Translations of this item:
Before that terrible day, Pipes was one of only a handful of Americans warning of the dangers of militant Islam. As a sign of his new prominence, he recently appeared on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect alongside Alec "the bloviator" Baldwin, Naomi Wolf of "Alpha Male" fame, and Maher Hatout, of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
"What I'm trying to do is get ideas out," says Pipes over drinks after his talk. With exceptional mildness, speaking just above a whisper, he adds: "The enemy is militant Islam, and the policy goal should be to weaken militant Islam and strengthen moderate Islam."
As for the prosecution of the war on terrorism, Pipes says the US should engage in a long-term, country-by-country uprooting of Islamic militance, while promoting moderate Islam where it can. Afghanistan, where the US worked with the Northern Alliance, is the model, he says, adding that military action is merely one of numerous tactics America should employ. In the scope of this plan, Pipes envisions a scenario not unlike the Cold War. "I'm happy to be a cold warrior with different clothes," said Pipes, with a nod to his famous father, Harvard professor and cold warrior Richard Pipes. "The cold warriors were right." (Slate devoted an "explainer" column to Pipes and his father on November 28.)
As part of his global outlook, Pipes argues that the US should take a harder line even with some of its European allies. The European Union, he says, must devise uniform procedures to root out terrorism and the organizations that launder money for terrorists. Even France "must get serious about closing down the organizations" that help terrorists, he says.
Pipes disagrees with those who say the war on terrorism represents a culture clash between the West and all of Islam, as well as with those who claim that this war is battle between America and a small, cult-like perversion of Islam.
"The war will be over," he says, "when militant Islam is defeated around the world, including here."