Friday, June 02, 2006

Shades of Neville Chamberlain

In an essay for Time, Peter Reinart, enfant terrible of the "new" Left, argues that the proper response to Islamist terrorism is no response other than the "containment" the US used during the Cold War. Beinart would use the example of Iraq to encourage containment of Iran. The trouble is, containment assumes a halfway rational foe. JFK could threaten the USSR with nuclear annihilation and be taken seriously; the mad mullahs of Iran know that Allah will protect them from such a circumstance, and in fact, superstitious dread among the American populace makes even a tactical nuclear deterrent unbelievable.

Besides assuming facts not in evidence - that Saddam was an impotent tyrant who would have fallen eventually under the weight of sanctions without military intervention, that he possessed nothing with which to threaten the West - Beinart ignores inconvenient facts.

He doesn't mention French and Russian perfidy in the Oil-For Food Program, doesn't even acknowledge that decades of hands-off diplomacy in the Middle East served only to entrench and further radicalize anti-Western regimes; regimes that controlled oil resources vital to the survival of Western civilization. The Soviet Union and its natural resources could have disappeared overnight and barely registered a blip on the American and European economies.

Beinart also errs in comparing a nineteenth century atheist ideology to the fervor of a primitivist, and rapidly growing, major religion.

Most significant of all, Beinart does not mention 9/11, an attack most certainly endorsed and cheered by Saddam Hussein and his ilk, if not actively supported. It is 9/11 that should inform Beinart that he is pursuing the wrong paradigm: we face another World War II, not a repeat of the Cold War.

Of course Beinart's claim to fame is a book whose premise is that only liberals can fight terror, proof enough of delusional thought patterns.

Cross-posted at The Jawa Report.