The struggle for Israel’s survival, and for our own security, in the face of Islamofascism proceeds, as all wars do, on many fronts. One front is the war of ideas. It was with this in mind that the administration nominated Daniel Pipes, renowned scholar of Islam and the Arab world, to the board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace. Pipes, of course, is the arch-enemy of Arab-American terrorism apologists and radical Middle East scholars. Unfortunately, these forces have succeeded in blocking his nomination. As Caroline Glick reports in the Jerusalem Post, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has postponed indefinitely its vote on the Pipes nomination, and the White House apparently is going to back off. At the same time, according to Glick, the State Department is setting up a new advisory group to help guide U.S. public diplomacy towards the Arab and Muslim world. The group, which is likely to be far more influential than the directors of the Institute of Peace, will include the likes of John Zogby, Shibley Telhami, and Stephen Cohen. As Glick ponts out, these are some of Israel’s harshest critics among American intellectuals, as well as consistent foes of those who propose democratization of the Arab world. And the group’s chairman, Edward Djerejian is a long-time apologist for Arab dictatorships.
Here’s the bottom line on all of this, in Glick’s words: “So, as the White House backs away from Pipes’s appointment rather than contend with the political outcry from terror apologists masquerading as civil rights activists, the State Department announces the formation of a policy group filled with appeasement of tyranny specialists masquerading as public diplomacy experts.
But does any of this really matter? In the vast scheme of things, what is the importance of a board of directors here or an advisory group there? Perhaps all that stands in the balance here is a highbrow intellectual debate.
Unfortunately, this is far from the case. The question of the nature of the war the US is fighting is critical to determining whether or not the US is adopting strategies capable of winning the war. The intellectual split between Pipes and Djerejian and the policies their views prescribe could not be starker. Pipes and his intellectual allies view the war as a cultural battle which pits Arab fascists and Islamic totalitarians against their own people as well as against Western democracies. Djerejian and his fellows view the war as a conflict between helpless and pitiable masses led (happily) by exotic and oil-rich Arab leaders and what they perceive as Western imperialism best manifested in Israel. In Pipes’s formulation of the struggle, the US must be firm and unapologetic in its war against these regimes and their guiding ideologies. In Djerejian’s view, the war will end when the US sacrifices Israel and in so doing shows the desert sheikhs and their wretched masses that the US has nothing against them. The view adopted by the White House of the nature of the war then has enormous implications for the strategies adopted in fighting it.”
I believe that President Bush long ago figured out the nature of the war. It is time for him to exclude from his table those who don’t share his understanding on such a fundamental question.
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