3 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Failing to Rise to the Challenge

Reader comment on item: The Middle East and Islam Dominate U.S. Public Life

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Jan 1, 2007 at 21:06

It is very odd, that after so many decades, the quality of strategic thought seems to still be so inadequate to figuring out a coherent overall policy toward the Middle East, and most particularly the core areas of the Arab and Iranian oil-deposit lands. That is, despite the fact that these area has been of such central and incessant coverage for decades.

My own guess is that the main reasons for this intellectual stagnation are two. First we seem intimidated from taking on Islam itself, even to the degree of analyzing it in public discussion to ask ourselves whether we have to take it on. Instead, we are self-handcuffed by a kind of planetary or even cosmic Political Correctness which says, Oh, we can never question anybody's Holy Religion. We need to get over this.

I certainly agree with Dan Pipes that we should support the Pope's deceptively simple slogan of reciprocity - we should honor Islam to the extent it is tolerant of other religions in the countries where it is now exclusive, but refrain from any expressions of respect otherwise. Somehow, we should demand that all our 'Statesmen' regularly bring up the idea of reciprocity in their public comments.

Second, and this is more blunt, we probably have to stop the engaging in the unspoken assumption that in all the negotiations with Arab countries with oil (and Iran) that we have rational, politically mature adversaries or 'allies' to deal with. It is very much as if the left-wing axiom that, above all, you must not risk damaging anyone's precious self-esteem has come to dominate our dealings with the Arabs and the Iranians. Which is kind of ironic since no major Western leader is of the extreme political disposition that came up with the politics of Self-esteem, and the worship of Multiculturalism as an end in itself.

Especially with regard to the Arab/Iranian 'problem' with Israel, this approach has not only gotten us nowhere, but made us look like fools. Put another way, we need to entertain the idea that the Arabs in general (including the theocrats in Iran) and the Palestinians in particular are incapable of making or even tolerating a real peace with Israel, and therefore asking ourselves - so now what? That is, instead of forever making the demeaning assumption that the most politically immature people on the planet have to be treated with respect despite almost 60 years of irrationality and violence. (I speaking of an inner respect, not the mere outward forms of respect, which are only civility and good manners)

In particular, with regard to the mess in Iraq, it is embarrassing to hear our so-called leaders, whether Democrat or Republican, talk and behave in such a way that progress depends on some degree of compromise or rationality from ANY of the parties in Iraq.

Rather than allowing ourselves to continue as hostages to this assumption of rational or mature behavior by the Sunnis or Shiites inside or outside of Iraq, I suggest the following change of policy:

While I have not the slightest doubt the US will eventually win the War on ISLAMIC Terrorism, we are losing this round in Iraq. Therefore I think someone should call for a redeployment, primarily to Kurdistan to defend that ally-of-necessity of the US.

From this friendly area, the US military would be in an much better position to watch and if need be menace Iran and Syria (and warn off Turkey from attacking Kurdistan) without the awful and no longer justifiable drip-drip attrition of our soldiers' lives by staying with the brain-dead status quo policy.

It would be far more terrible, both morally and geopolitically, to betray the Kurds a second time than it would be to turn our backs on the few friends among the Sunni Iraqis we may have.

But also, from Kurdistan we would be in a good position to make Special Forces hit-and-run attacks back into the remainder states of Iraq if the formation of a Taliban-like terrorist stronghold became obvious.

I believe this strategic redeployment would even enable the US, as DeGaulle did in the 1960's, to actually come out looking like a winner even though we lost in terms of our original goals (as he 'lost' Algeria, but was seen for several years afterward as the strongest and most decisive European leader). Indeed, we might even brazenly say, in effect, this is what we meant to do in the first place.

For we would be right in the middle of the Middle East, in a friendly State which knows its existence depends on us, where we could keep an eye on all our enemies in the area, including Russia. While we would be taking hardly any, or even no, casualties.

Above all, we would have recovered the initiative, and honored the memory of the fallen and maimed in Iraq, who otherwise are at ominous risk of being seen as having given their lives in vain.

Note that the above policy in no way depends on any positive initiative, compromise, or departure from their present policies of any of the parties. Ron Thompson


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".

Submit a comment on this item

<< Previous Comment      Next Comment >>

Reader comments (22) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Islams' "FINAL SOLUTION" to US [500 words]Mike DeMontoyaMay 7, 2007 13:1491966
A conspiracy theory [140 words]Robert H. YaugerMar 13, 2007 12:1786147
A Jewish student was brutally attacked at CUNY, NY. Please see the attached article. [1310 words]HFeb 23, 2007 19:3678566
The Scripture and the Heart [218 words]Stefan UllrichFeb 22, 2007 17:5578399
Not Islam but Political Islam? [44 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Hassan RadwanFeb 22, 2007 08:5278337
Reply to the response by Daniel Pipes to me [179 words]Hassa RadwanFeb 27, 2007 05:1378337
awful [32 words]meJun 23, 2008 03:0478337
the choice is simple [185 words]syed bayezidOct 7, 2008 00:2378337
Hamas is sabotaging Sunnis [363 words]AbudllahJan 30, 2007 10:3675152
Pushing Back [30 words]Clifford IshiiJan 12, 2007 19:2672586
islam does not dominate public life in the US [54 words]jon purizhanskyJan 11, 2007 23:0472472
Of course [76 words]Douglas V. GibbsJan 6, 2007 23:1571922
The MidEast is not the MidWest [391 words]Abu NuwasJan 3, 2007 12:4371534
I find the same thing [98 words]EileenJan 6, 2007 16:1571534
The Naming of The War [164 words]Abu NudnikJan 2, 2007 10:3471420
think small-what constitutes a crisis [346 words]jJan 2, 2007 08:4771415
Up shi'ite creek in a sunni canoe [45 words]joe KaffirJan 2, 2007 02:2471404
Failing to Rise to the Challenge [853 words]Ron ThompsonJan 1, 2007 21:0671389
Jews in the News [174 words]Mitzi AlvinJan 1, 2007 19:2871374
Even more of the same for 2007 and beyond! [290 words]DaveDec 31, 2006 13:5071239
ME and Islam dominate... [83 words]steven LJan 1, 2007 21:0571239

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Failing to Rise to the Challenge by Ron Thompson

Email me if someone replies to my comment

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".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List


eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)