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Right Intention: How Are We Doing in the Middle East

Friday, December 24, 2004

How Are We Doing in the Middle East

An excellent assessment of the state of our efforts in the Middle East.

Post-Saddam Iraq is not a failure--as long as roughly 80 percent of Iraq's population is moving towards democratic governance, we're not failing. But it is certainly an awful mess. Clerical Iran, the bĂȘte noire of every administration since 1979, is advancing its nuclear-weapons programs and playing a favorite Middle Eastern parlor game--divide-and-frustrate the Westerners (the Europeans have enthusiastically abetted Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the clerical regime's major-domo and its most accomplished realpolitician). And even though Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda has so far failed to strike the United States again--a more severe visa policy towards Middle Eastern Muslim males has all by itself made tactical planning and operations inside the United States enormously difficult--Islamic holy-warriorism remains a ferocious menace. Muslim Americans have shown themselves highly resistant to violent Islamic extremism--if they had been as susceptible to bin Ladenism as European Muslims have been, we would likely have seen numerous attacks since 9/11 inside the United States. Young Muslim men could still, however, get infected by the ever-vibrant militancy coming from abroad. As long as bin Ladenism brews in the Middle East, the successful penetration of America's defenses remains an ever-terrifying possibility.

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