The Corner

Talk, Talk, Talking in Wonderland

In the last 24 hours I have heard some of the craziest things of this entire war.

The Palestinians are complaining about the Israeli security fence on grounds that it perpetuates “racial segregation” — in a way perhaps suicide bombers do not? Or the state-run Palestinian megaphones with their usual “apes and pigs” rants?

At a meeting the other day with some political scientists, I was lectured by some that there was nothing such as jihadism in the comprehensive sense. That is, that Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. simply have entirely separate agendas, understandable (i.e., Israel, “occupation” of Arab lands) and particularist grievances, etc. rather than a deeply shared anger at the West that originates from a common sense of lost pride and frustration, brought on by recognition of failure when  zeal and religious purity do not restore honor or influence in the age of globalization.

I thought these who advocated such nonsense might at any second suggest that because Mussolini’s fascists, Hitler’s Nazis, and Tojo’s militarists all had quite different agendas, separate racial ideologies, and particular aims in WWII, then, they could hardly be lumped together as the Axis that threatened Western republics and needed a generic anti-fascist response. All during the Vietnam War, we were lectured daily about the intricacies of Vietnamese, Russian, and Chinese Communists — their rivalries, hatreds, and quite separate aims-as they combined to defeat the United States, and trumped their own tensions with an all-encompassing hatred of Western democratic capitalism.

There is also an Alice in Wonderland flavor to the current Democratic response to the Korean and Iranian crises. We talked to the Koreans all during the 1990s as they prepared nuclear materials.

And now are told that we have a catastrophe since we have not recently talked to them. We talked all during the 1990s with Syria — and got nothing. Bill Clinton has always praised Iranian democracy; so, we talked to Tehran too, both stealthily and overtly.

So what is this obsession with talk, talk, talk? It reminds me of all those discredited British empty-headed pacifists and aristocrats who wanted to keep talking to Hitler after the fall of Poland, even after the fall of France, right up to the Battle of Britain.

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