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Tepid Responses by West Invite More Terror

Tepid Responses by West Invite More Terror

Dr. Judea Pearl, father of American journalist Daniel Pearl who was killed by terrorists,  speaks in Miami Beach in 2007. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

By Tuesday, 27 December 2016 12:06 PM Current | Bio | Archive

A clash of cultures was forecast by the eminent Harvard scholar, Samuel Huntington, first in a seminal 1993 article in Foreign Affairs, and then later in a 1996 book, "Clash of Civilizations."  

Huntington essentially said that with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, a new threat was coming. This threat was stoked by different cultures, and he focused much of his attention on his anticipated conflict between Western culture and Muslim culture. 

In the mid-1990s many observers believed globalism was inevitable. Mass communication shortened the distances between different areas of the world, making it important for western society to understand and experience other cultures. Thus, with such arguments, usually supported by the intellectual left, there was a liberal backlash regarding Huntington’s prophecy.

Western society, according to Huntington’s critics, could not retreat back inside nation-states — to imply such a course of action was backward — in the modern world all cultures should mingle and be familiar with each other.

And so the leftist knives came out and began reviewing Huntington.

As is typically the case with the liberal attacks — first, major points of an author, likely to be correct, are ignored, and any minor mistakes and possible weakness are inflated.

It is death by a thousand cuts. In Huntington’s case he was accused of making "sweeping generalizations" and "vast abstractions." He referred to the "West," and the critics argued such a concept is too complicated to boil down to a single word.

A second tactic leftist critics employed is negative words, and so in the reviews of Huntington we find: "reckless, cartoonlike world, ludicrous, insidiously, confuse."

Frequently and thirdly, the left prefers not merely to engage in debate on the issues, but to add, at the least, a few deeper cuts about the character, competence, guilt by association, and quality of the author being critiqued. So, Huntington, this erudite, well-established Harvard professor, recognized as a great thinker, had leftist reviewers saying such things as he was a "clumsy and inelegant writer."

Approximately 20 years has passed since Huntington warned of a clash of cultures, perhaps the validity of his ideas may now be determined. To begin an examination of Huntington’s prescience, a book published November 2016, "Enhanced Interrogation," by James Mitchell is helpful (readers who would like to see a live interview should go online to CSpan2 for his Dec. 6 "Book Talk.")

Mitchell holds a doctorate and he was a major interrogator of many of the most dangerous terrorists of the last few decades. Mitchell came to know the terrorists on a personal level.

He describes the terrorist mindset and how this relates to Islam.

Mitchell offers vital information in three areas:

1) What the Islamist terrorists believe.

2) How the Islamist terrorists view the West.

3) The response of the West to the threat.

Mitchell asked the terrorist, the one who brutally and gruesomely murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, "Was it difficult to do?" The terrorist responded, "Oh no, I had a sharp knife." 

Mitchell explains: The terrorist believed he was showing how much he loved his God by killing Daniel Pearl. The terrorists really believe dying for their religion will put them in an afterlife with 72 virgins. And they believe they are fighting for a peace that will eventually come when fundamental Islam dominates the world.

The Islamist terrorists believe the West lacks "the moral courage to do what is necessary to win."

Tolerance, openness, and civil liberties in western society give the terrorists the advantage to succeed. The terrorists rarely have absorbed maxim punishment for their deeds, and they were stunned when George W. Bush swiftly mustered a massive response. A terrorist responded, "How was I to know that cowboy [George W. Bush] would want me dead or alive and attack Afghanistan?" 

What Mitchell learned was that only Bush’s rapid action prevented a second wave of attacks in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle.

The West’s posture, including America, has been to reason with terrorists, telling them "we want to get along."

Mitchell says, "We are trying to manage it (terrorism) like a problem — to figure out how to let them live within our midst."

Islamists believe our peaceful approach is a sign of weakness, and their goal is to kill and take over the world. Finally Mitchell emphasizes, "It is completely irrelevant what we think." What matters is what the Islamists think, and they want to kill us.

Returning to Huntington’s forecast and the liberal left response, one may reflect regarding who is most correct, and more importantly what next to do. It seems rather clear the terrorism threat is not going away. Since Huntington, we have witnessed more bombings, murders, and death than is normal. Yet, the western response often has been tepid, seemingly frozen in its rules, legal rights, and an inability to distinguish terrorist Islamists (as Mitchell calls them) from the general Muslim population. .

So far, the West has failed to attempt seriously to solve the terrorist problem.

By ignoring Huntington and adopting a liberal leftist approach, embracing multiculturalism, and encouraging the formation of Muslim communities in the West, the potential for breeding grounds of terror are as Mitchell says, "within our midst." And the secondary problem that almost no one addresses is that of the children and grandchildren — this is a ticking time bomb.

Everyone knows that all Muslims will not be terrorists, but the smallest of small percentages who become terrorists can do massive damage. Moreover, polling data of western Muslims show as many as 50 percent are in support of Shariah law (part of the goal of terrorists) — a tacit support of terrorism.

A realistic appraisal suggests monitoring potential terrorists is an enormous undertaking. It is impractical to have a society that must watch and shadow thousands of possible terrorists — the burden will sap the strength of society with this impossible task, and the terrorists know this.

It remains to be seen what the West will do to solve the problem of terrorism, and if the West will take the extremely difficult steps to deal with the problems in its midst. 

In America most observers predict President-elect Trump’s cabinet and advisers will cause the terrorists to scurry for cover. There is a new sheriff in America. Don Knotts is gone, Clint Eastwood has arrived.

Time will tell if anyone in the West is prepared to end the terrorist threat in its midst. 

John Havick has a Ph.D. in political science. He was a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology for many years, authored several books and a number of articles, including the widely cited "The Impact of the Internet on a Television-Based Society." His work has appeared in The New York Times, and his recent book, "The Ghosts of NASCAR: The Harlan Boys and the First Daytona 500," is available at ghostsofnascar.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now

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It remains to be seen what the West will do to solve terrorism. Most predict Trump’s cabinet and advisers will cause terrorists to scurry. There is a new sheriff in America. Time will tell if anyone in the West is prepared to end the terrorist threat.
huntington, mitchell
Tuesday, 27 December 2016 12:06 PM
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