The Corner

Three Simple Rules for Getting Along with America

I understand that the cultural, religious, and political dynamics of the Islamic world are complex. Most Muslims are not Islamists (particularly in South and Southeast Asia). Most Islamists are not violent. The reformation required for countries such as Egypt, Libya, and Syria to enter the modern world must be a reformation from within, not just within their borders but within the hearts of millions of people. Nevertheless, the current crisis calls for simplicity in American policy. Here’s the message we ought to send: 1) If you oppress, brutalize, or kill your own people, we will condemn and shun you; 2) if you oppress, brutalize, or kill any of our people, we will condemn you to death and carry out the sentence with swift and overwhelming force; 3) if your government sponsors anti-American terrorism — e.g., the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, the Assad mob, or the mullahs in Tehran — it will forfeit its right to coexist with ours. Since the latter two responses may be costly for you, we strongly suggest that you clean up your own messes.

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