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Jewish World Review
June 3, 2003
/ 3 Sivan, 5763
As I have been maintaining for the last 20 months and 19 days, President George W. Bush of the United States is the captain of all those willing to resist the most powerful threat to Western Civilization -- to the free and democratic and constitutional orders which govern all essentially Western states -- since the demise of the Soviet Union. He has this job by the usual accident of history. He didn't apply for it, and in taking it up he was obliged to abandon or rethink many of the instincts that had animated him before the morning of 9/11. He actually campaigned in the last U.S. presidential election against the immodest extension of U.S. power in the world at large; but thinking again, realized there could be no choice. For the penny dropped on that September morning, for him and for most of his countrymen.
It still hasn't dropped for much of the rest of the world. In the Cold War, a half dozen countries of Western Europe were arranged along the frontier of the "Warsaw Pact", and the rest only a little behind them. It wasn't necessary to explain to the governments of any of these countries why NATO existed. It was less difficult to get contributions when passing the hat. The enemy was at least properly organized.
The new frontier is not through Europe, except in the sense that recent massive immigration from Arab and other Muslim countries has created little local frontiers, usually around ghettoes, within almost every European country, where unassimilated Muslims with mixed views look outward upon long-established, culturally Christian societies with mixed views of them. There are inevitable social tensions, which are exacerbated by events in the outside world. It is entirely understandable that the countries with the largest Arab and Muslim minorities are the least eager to be seen taking sides in what many Arabs and Muslims insist on wrongly interpreting as an international confrontation between the United States and Islam. And it's a quick mount from cowardly non-involvement onto the high horse of public sanctimony, as the leaders of France, Germany, and Belgium were quick to demonstrate.
Let your voice be heard! To express your concerns about the administration's plan for the Holy Land, you may contact
President George W. Bush by fax: (202) 456-2461, (Andrew Card, Chief of Staff)
or by e-mail.
Dr. Condoleeza Rice, National Security Advisor, FAX (202) 456-2883, PHONE (202) 456-9491
Mr. Elliot Abrams, the Director for Near East and North African Affairs, at FAX (202) 456-9120, and by phone through his secretary Joanna, (202) 456-9121
Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, 1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000 or by e-mail form:
Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, 1010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1010 or by e-mail form
The new international frontier is not only not in Europe, but not in two dimensions either. The enemy is not a monolith, but a jumble of Islamist and pan-Arabist totalitarian movements, some with states and some without, and all increasingly co-operating against their common enemies: the liberal West generally; and specifically, the "Great Satan" of the U.S. and the "Little Satan" of Israel.
The battlefronts are scattered, corresponding to what Samuel Huntington referred to as Islam's "bloody borders", so that violent confrontations may be found in e.g. Mindanao, Kashmir, Sudan, Chechnya.
There are other such confrontations at various places within the cultural sphere of Islam; and in each, terrorism, or "asymmetrical warfare" as it is sometimes called in the Pentagon, is endemic. These are where Islamist undergrounds work to overthrow more conventional governments, in e.g. Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Pakistan.
There are further confrontations constantly threatening to kindle or rekindle where large Christian or other minorities are found: in Lebanon, for instance, or Egypt, or northern Nigeria, or in the Moluccas.
The only place in the world where the frontier is fairly clearly defined is around Israel: where an extremely small, independent, and democratic Jewish state, minds a very warmly contested border, that separates it from an extremely large Arab Muslim region.
Possible terror threats to the heart of Europe and America emerge from each of these confrontations, as well as from several others where Islam is not an issue at all (e.g. North Korea; "Kalistan"; Sri Lanka; Peru; Colombia; Venezuela; Northern Ireland). In several of those, however, "terror international" has made alliances across cultural frontiers. And, even in such a remote, non-Islamic but lawless place as the frontier between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, the Hizbullah organization seems to be encamped.
The preceding half-dozen paragraphs were themselves rather simplified. Imagine, now, reducing them to a soundbite. Can't be done, especially by President Bush, whose soundbites tend to ring true only in American ears, or sometimes in Israeli. Those are the two real "frontline" states, the universal targets, and thus each other's only truly reliable allies.
Now add this to the soundbite. The Arabs and the Muslims are not the enemy, per se; but their views are seldom represented or mediated through anything resembling democratic polities. There is thus no legitimate, capable "moderating" force with which the U.S. can negotiate permanent peace. The Bush administration is thus compelled to create many of the entities it must negotiate with.
"Captain" Bush embarked yesterday on the most difficult diplomatic tour of his presidency, and will spend a week trying to advance his campaign on several fronts. Two are critical at present: to get the rest of Europe on side with what has been done and must still be done in Iraq and at the various frontiers. And, try to create the conditions in which the mythic Israel-Palestine conflict, which feeds so many others, can be permanently pacified. He will be sniped at from all angles in all dimensions. I wish him well.
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© 2003, Ottawa Citizen