On the Brink

Nothing happens in a vacuum. Beginning with the statehood of Israel in 1948 and punctuated by the infamous mass murder on 9/11, there began a global geopolitical confrontation, the outcome of which will determine whether or not global freedom will prevail over totalitarianism.

At the forefront of that confrontation are the democracies Israel and America, and their theocratic adversaries led by Iran. It’s important to note that Israelis have adroitly managed to assemble a state that is both Jewish and a democracy which, of course, includes freedom of religion. Though it is geographically in the Middle East, Israel’s secular culture is integral to Western Civilization and that of the United States in particular.

Jihad is an anachronism. It is ominously similar to a virus that surfaces after a dormant period and mutates into a more virulent form. To extend the simile a step further, I submit that Western Civilization’s immune system is dangerously vulnerable to militant Islam.

The war between Hamas and Israel has once again spiked European anti-Semitism, an example of the prejudicial residues to which I refer in my article, It’s Up to You (Part 1 of Two, July 22, 2014). On the surface, this war is purported to be Hamas’ battle for the lifting of an Israeli blockade to Gaza. Beneath the surface, the Israeli recent discovery of a network of underground tunnels tells us otherwise.

The broader issues of that war are borderlines, Jewish settlements, and claims by both sides on the possession of Jerusalem, fully or in part. However, a fundamental rift between two civilizations overrides even those critical issues: Israel and the United States are openly threatened with annihilation.

The avowed goal of militant Islamic fundamentalists is to kill every Jew and American. Its banner is “Death to Infidels.” That includes anyone who does not convert to Islam, and by extension, Western Civilization itself. Isis has already escalated terrorism both in scope and intensity. It demands conversion to Islam or death and practices ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims everywhere.

As history has shown, extremists may be highly organized gangs within a civilized culture, e.g., Nazis, or marauding hordes, e.g., Huns. But they are essentially the same: intransigent, barbaric, and often genocidal. Television flashes of Isis terrorists are chilling. The black dress and banners of Isis killers vividly suggest a return to the Dark Ages.

There is a significant factor in the standoff between the two civilizations: A preemptive strike is illegal, but survival is categorically imperative. The same factor is applicable to Israel’s bombing of nuclear facilities within hostile foreign borders. It will do so again, of course, but we can’t depend on that indefinitely.

My justification for this seemingly lawless attitude is that I believe that when survival is on the line, it’s best to put international law on hold, or—to put it succinctly—“win the war, talk later.” That’s what the incomparable Golda Maer did when she knew survival was at stake. She initiated an already immanent war with a massive preemptive strike that led to a Six-day war. Without that preemptive strike, Israel would have lost that war and been effectively annihilated despite its remarkable military.

Islamic fundamentalists are waging a war they cannot win. The Middle East and much of North Africa are unstable. Tribes, groups, individual terrorists, and even self-proclaimed terrorist state leaders have replaced organized governments, diplomats, and viable embassies. Militants hiding behind balaclavas are attempting to create a caliphate by merely claiming an Islamic ‘state’ that does not exist. Further east, the general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard claims that Iran is ready to fight America and Israel and predicts victory. So did Saddam Hussein when he predicted “the mother of all battles.” Despite an indolent Europe, militant Islam is no match for Western Civilization.

However, there is a strong counterbalance to the advantages of Western Civilization: ideology—or, more precisely, there is an ideological factor that might just tip the balance in favor of Islamic fundamentalism: Fundamentalists know what they want: “No recognition, and no negotiation with Israel” (the Khartoum Arab Summit), and “The destruction of the Jews, America, and the West” (the religious conviction of Islamic Fundamentalists). A dangerously great number of Jews and Americans do not have a moral conviction for Western Civilization that’s even close in strength to that of Islamic Fundamentalists. And that is Western Civilization’s Achilles’ heel.

Unless Americans, Jews, and Europeans restore their moral confidence in Western Civilization, it will go down in a brief but titanic atomic conflict.

A global catastrophe is waiting to happen.

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