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The Cold War had an effect too.

Reader comment on item: [Lee Harris on Why the U.S. is] Discarding War's Rules

Submitted by Carey E. Stronach (United States), Jul 23, 2003 at 12:35

Daniel Pipes hits the nail on the head, as usual. It should be pointed out, in addition to what Dan said, that during the Cold War, the West was unable to interfere to its full ability in the affairs of the Arab/Muslim world because of its fear of Soviet intervention. During this forty-year period the feeling grew in the Middle East that they could do what they pleased and the West would/could do nothing.

Also, the West has vivid memories of the Third Reich and the horrible atrocities it committed. Western nations have been and still are reluctant to take actions that might seem to put them in the same league as the fascist dictatorships, although they sometimes allow such things to happen by their own inaction (see Rwanda, Bosnia, Liberia, for example).

CES
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