There is no clash of civilizations, no fundamental tension between modern, industrial societies with free institutions and a largely pre-modern, un-free Islamic world. Thus, terrorism and the threat of nuclear proliferation within and from Islamic countries are not serious threats to life and liberty, and don’t deserve all the attention and preventive action from the U.S. and its allies. A United Nations panel says it has shown this to be true, so who are we to argue?
The UN’s High-Level Group for Alliance of Civilizations (that’s it’s real name) was cosponsored by the prime ministers of Spain and Turkey – I’m thinking that’s because these are two places in the world where civilizations have so frequently and violently clashed, thus the irony – and includes such noteworthy members as Bishop Desmond Tutu and former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami. So what’s all the fuss about?
Israel, of course. As Tutu and two other authors wrote in the Houston Chronicle a couple of days ago: “the Israeli-Palestinian issue has become a key symbol of the rift between Western and Muslim societies, and remains one of the biggest threats to international stability.”