Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is coming to the United States next month to speak before a joint session of Congress. He is coming to try and convince the U.S. government, and the American People, of what King Abdullah II of Jordan has already proven he knows: radical Islam understands only one thing and its force. It is why King Abdullah’s response to the release of a professionally produced video of the barbaric immolation of a Jordanian pilot by ISIL was met by Jordan with the immediate hanging of two ISIL terrorists held by that government.
What Netanyahu and Abdullah have that we in the West lack is a coherent and thorough understanding of how the Arab world perceives strength and weakness. In the Arab world, if you respond to aggression with ambivalence, acquiescence, negotiation or appeasement it’s like asking for more of the same. Anything but an equally forceful response is seen as weakness. Further, it emboldens and empowers the aggressor.
The only thing that the tribal-based culture of the Arabic world understands, and even respects, is power, force and the courage to use both. Any effort to think with a “Western mind and Western values” totally falls on its face.
- In 1967 Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip in a pre-emptive strike against the Egyptian air force as the Arab world was mobilizing to attack Israel. Israel subsequently returned the Sinai to Egypt and total administration of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, or the government of their choice.
- In 2003 the United States, under George W. Bush Administration, liberated Iraq from the brutality of Sadaam Hussein and the “Butcher of Baghdad” at a cost of 4000+ lives only to have all that territory brutally retaken by ISIL under the total withdrawal of U.S. troops under the Obama Administration.
The return of Sinai, the relinquishment of control over Gaza, and the U.S. invasion of Iraq and subsequent attempt to rehabilitate that nation’s basic services were done with an eye towards establishing normalcy and some version of peace in those regions. But the efforts by Israel to give back “land for peace” and the Obama Administration’s delusion that just leaving Iraq would allow the Iraqi’s to maintain a civil society are all proof that Arab aggression understands only one thing: the appearance of strength and the unconditional willingness to use it.
As I type this post, the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child is reporting that the Islamic State militants are selling abducted Iraqi children at markets as sex slaves, and killing other youth, including by crucifixion or burying them alive.
In many ways, we are reliving history. It is 1930. If we again close our eyes and ears to the truth of what is coming, if we once again make believe the “train tracks” aren’t going anywhere that matters, if we allow the politicians to distract us with mis/disinformation we will this time awaken too late to stop the spread of evil. If that occurs we will have no one to blame but our own denial… and may God have mercy on us all.