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Realism versus Idealism

Reader comment on item: Still Asleep After Mumbai

Submitted by Zentrist (United States), Dec 10, 2008 at 21:55

I have a confession to make: I'm torn between realistic versus idealistic approaches to this problem. I did like what Tony Blair had to say the other day on CNN, I believe: "we need a mixture of hard power and soft power" to solve this total problem (consisting in all the issues, chief of which are Israeli/Palestinian and al-Qaida/American conflicts).

I suspect all advocates have their blind spots, including the Pipes/Kristol approach. I also liked the realism of Deepak Chopra, no fool. Quite the contrary, a very wise man. But no doubt even he has his blind spot. As an ordinary citizen, I would call the authorities if I saw or heard anything suspicious--in fact I've done this. As one who wants to "get to the bottom" (impossible) of 9/11, etc., I write letters, blogs, comments--offering my two-cents worth.

The facts are stubborn things. For example the Pew Polls pointing up the acceptance and embrace of suicide bombings (in alarmingly high percentages of Muslims around the world). What to do? I've lived my own life not with the "bandaid" approach to issues but with the long-term approach to them. We are going after the Islamic terrorists; I myself, in my former residence, reported suspicious behavior after 9/11. My sense is, though, this: we mash them down in one area only to have dozens more appear in another area of the "map," so to speak. This could go on and on and on. In history, without "deals," you have one hundred year wars. The time could well come when we will have "no choice" but to make a deal, something unheard of.

As for our slumber, our passivity, that will last as long as we don't have another, bigger attack here at home. At that point, a demagogue could really rile up the people. One can imagine a door-to-door type conflict, as the world witnessed, silently, in Rwanda. One can imagine all kinds of horrors.

What sort of memo to the President should we send? Should we advise him not to give the planned speech to a Muslim country? Is it just too idealistic to attempt to persuade? Obama thinks he knows what "causes' terrorism, Islamic terrorism. I hope, in addition to what he thinks he knows, he reads up on the hard scientific data available in the research of Robert A Pape, U. of Chicago: the world's leading authority on the reasons behind the suicide bombings. I hope he reads his Michael Scheuer; and his Dr. Andrew Bacevich, "The Limits of (Hard) Power."

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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