Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Policy of Strength

Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University has written an article in the Wall Street Journal regarding our problems with the Middle East. Professor Lewis' principal thesis is that Islamic thought has long considered the United States weak. This theory dates back to the Cold War. Professor Lewis writes,
During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: "What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?"

Professor Lewis is of the opinion that Muslims such as Osama bin Laden and al-Quaeda considered that in order to defeat and subjugate the West, the U.S.S.R. must be defeated first. They considered the task of defeating the United States would be comparatively easy. This strategy had two parts- drive the U.S. out of the Middle East first and then begin attacking the U.S. itself. However, the U.S. response to the attacks of September 11 took them entirely by surprise. They did not expect it, and the Bush Administration strategy of taking the war to their lands, coupled with our proactive military activity has so far kept them on the run.

Muslims respect strength, whereas they despise weakness. But this image of the United States as strong will only endure as long as our political leaders remain resolute. Professor Lewis concludes by writing,
More recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S., are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the consequences--both for Islam and for America--will be deep, wide and lasting.

Read the whole thing. I would suggest that we ignore Professor Lewis' analysis at our peril. But are the media and the Democrats listening in their mad rush to declare defeat? Of are they instead like the ancient Byzantines, who were arguing the nature of the Trinity as the Muslim invaders were tearing down their walls, raping their women and subjugating their once-proud empire? Hat tip to Power Line.

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