A new Cold War

VDH describes our current world in terms that look a lot like certain periods in the Cold War, with loud domestic dissent and a new policy of containment that he says has been tacitly adopted by the West and much of the world:

May was another normal month in the war against Islamism. At home, a delusional Rosie O’Donnell was back at it. She reminded her viewers that the United States has killed over 600,000 innocents in Iraq. And in an impassioned plea, she and her cohorts reminded us dullards that zealous jihadists must have some understandable reason for being so, well, zealous. Perhaps she meant in the same way that the zealous Waffen SS must have had some legitimate reason for its strong feelings? Jimmy Carter was also plugging another book on his Christian piety by slandering a president at war for mixing religion and politics…

Critics who deplored the effort to depose a genocidal Saddam Hussein were urging the United States to do something to stop the genocide in Darfur — but of course always with the U.N. or EU (of Rwanda and Kosovo fame); a familiar formula: our Marines, their diplomats. Democrats who claim we took our eye off al Qaeda when we went into Iraq won’t explain how getting out will allow us to put both our eyes back on them when they’re in a nuclear Pakistan. Democrats who assure us that the war is “lost” and the surge hopeless will not cut off funding for it, damn its architect Gen. Petraeus, or explain how in good conscious they can send more soldiers into harm’s way for a war they assure us we can’t possibly win…

In spite of this all, given the power and wealth of the United States and its cloning mechanism we call globalization, the world shrugs and goes on. I suppose the idea is that we are in a sort of Cold War containment mode with radical Islam. In other words, we try to ensure that jihadists cannot do too much damage to the world order, and that in time we will simply smother them the way we did the earlier Soviet fraud.

So we fight the worst in Afghanistan and Iraq, try to ensure that Iran doesn’t get the bomb, hope that Israel is alive one more day, and then put out these small brush fires that burst out at weird places like Fort Dix or a London mosque. In the meantime, our own counterassault continues. Oprah, iPods, the 300, the Internet, and everything else from jailbait Paris Hilton to the ghost of Anna Nicole just chug on, and do the their own small parts in undermining and coopting the 7th-century world of Dr. Zawahiri.

Is it working? In some sense, yes. Poor Dr. Zawahiri, after all, is still ranting about the Kyoto accords from his mud-brick enclave, his cave notes full of cribbed ideas from Al Gore and Noam Chomsky. If he keeps declaiming, Jon Stewart or Bill Maher will do a link-up soon.

But most serious nations, it seems — those in the West, China, Japan, India, and Russia — have come to some sort of unspoken, politically incorrect consensus about the radical Muslim world, its unearned oil profits, and its very practiced terrorism. I guess they think watching radical Islam is akin to watching a nursery full of ill-tempered infants fighting over hand grenades — the key being to keep them in, and you out of, the playpen when their adult toys periodically go off.

If Professor Hanson’s thesis is correct, there seems to have been an evolution in the Western world and elsewhere to seeing this struggle as an ideological war. If so, the world has come a long way in the last half-decade.

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