Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why Do Western Elites Minimize Radical Threats in the Middle East?

By Barry Rubin

A leading journalist heard my analysis on the rise of the radical Islamists in the Middle East, how U.S. policy is helping them, and why this is a disaster. His response? How could I say that Hamas was radical and wanted to wipe out Israel since it had not continually attacked Israel from the Gaza Strip?

Although this remark was about a very specific issue, I understood the general concept underlying it. To be a radical or extremist, many Westerners seem to believe, means you are a drooling loony, a caricature of a bomb-throwing revolutionary, like a rabid dog unable to stop himself from biting anyone within reach.
If you wear a tie and jacket, or just a jacket, or speak patiently and protest your moderation, or have patience you cannot be a radical.

Oh, yes, you are also not a radical if you claim not to be one, even if that’s only done in English while you are calling for Islamist revolution, Sharia law, genocide against the Jews, and anti-Western hate in Arabic. Yet radicals have used strategy for many decades. Lenin wrote a short book, Left-Wing Communism, an Infantile Malady, to ridicule the mindless extremists in his movement. The Muslim Brotherhood took a similar view of al-Qaida as being a one-note terrorist group. The whole Turkish model of revolutionary Islamism is based on  a patient strategy of hiding their true objectives and maneuvering into total control.

Why cannot Western elites see this kind of lightly camoflauged extremism, used by thoroughly by the Communists and also, though this has been largely forgotten, by Nazi and fascist movements. 

Here are two examples among hundreds.

Read it all

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