The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Possibilities of Politics

In an article that discusses our continuing and growing conflicts with islamofascists, History professor Andrew J. Bacevic echos many political voices throughout the USA when he states:
In the Middle East and more broadly in our relations with the Islamic world, we face difficult and dangerous problems, more than a few of them problems to which we ourselves have contributed. Those problems will become more daunting still, for us and for Israel, should a nation like Iran succeed in acquiring nuclear weapons. But as events in Iraq and now in southern Lebanon make clear, reliance on the sword alone will not provide a solution to those problems. We must be strong and we must be vigilant. But we also need to be smart, and getting smart means ending our infatuation with war and rediscovering the possibilities of politics.

This is certainly a thoughtful and reasonable comment. The threat we face is ideological and the battle we wage should, in theory, address ideological issues. If we can win the ideological battle, following this line of thought, we can defeat terrorism.

But can we rediscover “the possibilities of politics?” Is it realistic to believe that a political solution can be achieved in the Middle East and more broadly throughout all of Islam? Is it reasonable to think that Islamofascists and their supporters will abandon their stated goal of a new Islamic caliphate, will embrace détente with the West, will reject calls for the destruction of the United States and Israel, will moderate their rabid hatred of infidels, and will abandon a Jihadi culture that celebrates martyrdom and victimhood at the same time? Can politics really cause these profound changes? I regret to say that I don’t think they can.

Islamofasicsts use politics as a weapon. By this I mean that they are perfectly willing to engage in political discourse, enter into negotiations, make promises and offer incentives, look for allies and the like. But they do these things not to achieve a solution to a disagreement, but rather, as a delaying tactic, allowing them to gain strength as time passes. As Iran’s recent political moves (on their development of nuclear weapons) indicate, they offer compromise without compromising, they hold out the possibility of a settlement, without settling, they work hard to fracture resolve within their opponent’s camp – and they do this more effectively and with far greater skill than the West’s best diplomats.

Islamofasicsts realize that they win regardless of the outcome of political discourse. If the West caves in to their demands, they win. If the West refuses to bend, there are no consequences. In fact, the more often repeated attempts at political resolution occur, the better they like it. It’s win-win,” but only for them. For us, it’s “lose-lose.”

In reality. the collective political goals of the West are diffuse while the political goals of Islamofascists are focused. The West focuses on stability and peaceful coexistence and wants to achieve these in the shortest possible time. The political goals of Islamofascists thrive on instability and have no temporal concerns (if it takes another 50 or 100 years, so be it).

So it’s easy for Professor Bacevic to suggest “the possibilities of politics,” but the probability of a successful, long lasting political resolution is, in my opinion, very, very small. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, I suppose, but the political approach and agenda of the Islamists make success very unlikely.