The Corner

Re: “Mideast Nears Regional War”

The last days’ events do validate Michael Ledeen’s thesis about the regime in Iran as problem #1.  State sponsors of terrorism hide behind their proxies, and their proxies have since the 1990s felt themselves secure in the belief that diplomats would always intercede to prevent them for paying the price of their terrorist actions.  Terror masters do not even consider that we might hold them accountable.  During the first two years after 9/11, Bush shook their self-confidence, but at its root, the problem with the West is that our officials and diplomats have for too longer eroded the seriousness with which adversaries view our deterrence.  Too many in the West negotiate with terrorists. We reward adversaries for the most outrageous behavior.  We are infected with moral equivalency.  Our progressives speak of multiculturalism as all positive.  It’s not all about sushi, mojitos, and smoking an overpriced water pipe at a New York nightclub, though.  Inherent in multiculturalism is the notion that people growing up in different cultures think differently.  What we see as compromise, they may see as weakness.  Ayatollah Khamene’i said as much on June 4 when, addressing Washington, he said, “Why do you not admit that you are weak and your razor is blunt?”  Culture goes both ways, though.  While it’s un-PC to address such topics in our universities, as Hezbollah and Hamas get pounded and as Syrian leaders empty their bowels in recognition that terrorists on their soil might be next, it might be useful for Cornerites to re-read Col. Norvell de Atkine’s seminal article, “Why Arabs Lose Wars.”

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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