On Resolve

I wish I had the confidence that France and the rest of Europe have finally awakened to the dangers posed by radical Islam and will fight the necessary battle to save themselves, their culture, their way of life and their children’s future. But I don’t. As sincere as France’s President Hollande sounds – “we are at war” – there is a difference between capturing and killing the Muslim perpetrators of the horrific massacres last week in Paris and fighting a war with all means at one’s disposal against a global enemy. The former focuses on the event itself, an iteration of pure evil that even its frequency fails to inure us to its horror. That particular event will be dissected, mourned, investigated and even find its closure. But the war involves a relentless struggle against an ideology that threatens – and in many ways has already succeeded – in undermining the foundations of Western civilization.

It is a war to the death, in which, fortunately, the Western world still has the upper hand in terms of armed strength, weapons and capability, but that advantage will soon dissipate as Iran, a terrorist nation, and ISIS or other terrorist groups creep ever closer to attaining a nuclear capability for themselves.

Part of the gloom comes from the realization that the West has grown so intellectually flaccid and saturated in materialism that it cannot fight a long term war. The French people, overwhelmingly decent in their reactions to the recent ghastliness, want to be able to enjoy their lives – work, drink, party, celebrate, etc. Europe has a long and sad history with hatred, and so Europeans have uprooted hatred – even hatred for evil – from their hearts, to a large extent. But you can’t fight bombs and guns with candles and flowers. Lofty rhetoric about love and liberty is always welcome but it cannot compete on the battlefield with a doctrine of suicidal madness and homicidal mania. Evil cannot just be wished away.

One even hopes that the good guys exercise no “restraint” or even “proportionality” in their response to Islamic terror, notwithstanding that those are two of the clichés always hurled at Israel in order to prevent Israel from prevailing in this war.

But much of the despair in the West is traceable to the decline and disappearance of American power and leadership under the catastrophic presidency of Barack Obama. Leave it to Obama to finally name the enemy of America, the free world, the West and all those who aspire to virtue and goodness – an enemy so vile, with an ideology so repulsive, that it must be singled out by name for exposure and derision. That enemy, to Obama’s mind, is not radical Islam, but… horrors… the Republican Party! Islam is uninvolved in any untoward activities across the globe, even if its “perverters” perpetrated a “setback” to Obama’s global vision of appeasement of radical Islam. Republicans are the enemy de jure because they nastily insist on pointing out the failures of Obama’s presidency, and they want only to fight evil overseas and close American borders to an influx of Muslims (and Mexicans). Republicans are so evil that they are not even worthy of negotiations, unlike more moderate adversaries of the US such as Iran, Cuba, ISIS and others.

Without American leadership – and American leadership is AWOL and Europe knows it – this war is going nowhere. We will become accustomed – again – to grandiose claims of success or “containment,” accompanied by videos of bombing raids that target facilities, training camps, and other empty buildings. This tactic is borrowed from the Israeli playbook of responding to Gazan terror by bombing empty buildings taken from the target bank, a bank that is so filled with such targets that withdrawals are always possible and real strategic gains are never made. Without the will to fight, success is impossible, and currently the people with the will are those who delight in murdering innocent civilians.

It is, of course, a coincidence that the week that ended with the dreadfulness in Paris began with the European Union decreeing that all Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria must be labeled as such in order to facilitate a boycott of those Jewish goods. One would think that Europe, of all places, would recognize the abomination of boycotting Jewish goods and the bad road down which that can lead. But, instead, the EU protested Israel’s comparison of this boycott to pre-Holocaust era offenses, claiming that such cheapens the legacy of the Holocaust. How ironic is it when the descendants of the perpetrators of the Holocaust dictate to the descendants of the victims of the Holocaust what precisely the lessons of the Holocaust should be, particularly in light of the singling out of the Jewish State for special treatment? Are there no other geographical areas of the world in dispute? Are those areas’ exports similarly labeled? The answers are yes, and no, respectively. It is another small act of appeasement to the Muslim world that will have no effect on the Muslim assault on Europe.

Count me among the Jews who find the moral preening of Europeans both tedious and tendentious.

There are reactions that are even worse than that. The American failure to respond appropriately to Muslim terror was typified by John Kerry’s ramblings this week, when he distinguished between the unconscionable and unacceptable attacks in Paris last Friday night and the assault on the Charlie Hebdo offices at the beginning of this year in which Muslim terrorists killed a dozen people. Kerry opined that the latter was “legitimate,” a word he quickly retracted, only to substitute that the latter had a “rationale” to it that the former did not.

In a normal world, such repugnant musings from a country’s lead diplomat would lead to his immediate termination. In essence he was suggesting that the assault on the journalists was understandable because they had provoked their deaths through their own insensitive misconduct. His words are nothing less than a justification for that and other future horrors; it excuses the delinquency of terrorists. It shows real contempt for Muslims, as if they are unable to control their passions as civilized people are habituated to do, and even more contempt for their innocent victims, as if they are not so innocent at all.

This might be construed as a slip of the tongue for a person notoriously awkward (if not a little pompous) in his speech patterns, but for this: Kerry pointedly did not mention the other terrorist attack in Paris on that same fateful Friday last January, the attack on the Jewish shoppers in the kosher supermarket that killed four Jews. Where, pray tell, do their deaths fit in the Kerry conception of terror? Was it an unjustified attack on innocents comparable to last Friday night in Paris, or did it also have a “rationale,” or was “legitimate” (wait, take that word back!) because the victims were Jews?

It is no stretch of the imagination to conclude that Kerry believes the latter. Attacks on Jews are never undeserved, in his mind, because of Israel, settlements, occupation, refugees, etc. It is why terror against Jews is never denounced unequivocally but always couched in the limp language of denouncing “violence on both sides” (as if there is an equation between the perpetrators of violence and those who attempt to thwart the perpetrators). That is why, despite PM Netanyahu’s best efforts, the Europeans and Americans fiercely resist the notion that they and Israel share a common enemy – radical Islam. It is why I fear that one result of the current crisis will be a renewed attempt to mollify the Muslim world by further weakening and eviscerating the State of Israel.

If that sounds preposterous, and I wish it did, note the remarks the other day of Sweden’s Foreign Minister, who attributed the attacks in Paris to the “desperate situation” that leads many Muslims to turn to violence, a lack of hope for the future, such as “the Palestinians” feel. What is the connection between the “Palestinians” and terror in Paris, aside from the fact that all are Muslim Arab terrorists? None – except it reveals that the secular mind (and Europe today, like Obama, possess only secular minds) cannot fathom religious violence because they have little understanding of religion. They do not understand its sources, motivations, or world view. They cannot understand why jihad is more attractive to many people than the right to party, and therefore they persist in believing that “poverty and deprivation” are breeding grounds for terror – and in some of the wealthiest countries on earth. They still cannot explain why, for example, Osama bin Laden, a multi-billionaire, was filled with grievances against the world.

As long as they cannot figure that out, the West will meander from one attack to the next, deliver one impassioned speech after another, and still wonder why their societies are collapsing and radical Islam is proliferating. It is why, sad to say, I fear the current resolve will soon dissolve into business as usual, with hand-wringing, pieties about Western values, refuges and Geneva Conventions, and attempts to assuage the “grievances” of the terrorists rather than give them something to grieve over themselves.

If there is one man who can reverse the tide, unencumbered by the faux moral pretensions of the Europe and the languid American president, it is Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Russia’s economic and military strength might be limited, but ISIS may rue the day it made an enemy of Russia. Ironically, that might be the best hope for the Western world.




15 responses to “On Resolve

  1. Our useless administration will continue to gnash their teeth and wring their hands while abdicating their leadership to Russia’s Putin. If he, indeed, continues his assault, along with France on these murdering terrorists, perhaps, the U.S. might be spared a similar incident like the carnage in Paris. It’s an unlikely alliance, but, necessity makes for strange bedfellows. Right now, I’m thankful that at least two world leaders are taking a serious fight to ISIS.

  2. If anyone reading this comment is sincerely interested in understanding Muslims and why they hate Israel and hate America, then I emphatically recommend this book:

    They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It by Brigitte Gabriel, year 2008, year 2010, St. Martin’s Press, 288 pages ISBN 0312571283, ISBN 9780312571283.

    Every page of this book is worth reading – twice — and this book contains dozens of paragraphs that are worthy of being quoted verbatim.

    If you cannot get your hands on this book, the at least do yourself the favor of checking out Brigitte Gabriel’s web sites:

    Last but not least, Brigitte Gabriel’s books and web sites reveal critical facts about Islam and Muslims and Israel that the Leftist-dominated news media DOES NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW, because the Leftists are the loyal allies of the Muslims and the Arabs.

    PS: http://www.camera.org * http://www.HonestReporting.com * http://www.memri.org * http://www.ActForAmerica.org * http://www.IsraelLawCenter.org

  3. I agree. However Russia “MAY” save the day but this will result in Russia becoming a more powerful, albeit a more conventional enemy. It obvious that the Cold War has returned. It’s a shame and dangerous to allow Russia to fight our battles for us.

  4. The authorization to use force against ISIS that President Obama submitted in February was blocked in Congress. It’s still there, waiting for a vote. If you want to show resolve against ISIS, then call your Congressman and tell them to bring up the bill for a vote. If you can’t stand the bill because it has Barack Obama’s name on it, then fine. Tell them to draft a bill of their own. There’s no good reason for Congress to sit this one out.

    • Congress should pass such a bill. But Congress rightly does not trust Obama to prosecute the war meaningfully and successfully, so why would they pass such a bill? Presidents have been sending troops across the world without Congressional authorization for two centuries, and Obama himself is never inhibited by anything the Constitution says. Obama’s request is thus just another political tactic – an unserious act from an unserious man.
      – RSP

      • “Presidents have been sending troops across the world without Congressional authorization for two centuries”.
        Can you give some recent examples?

      • Start with Obama in Libya in 2011, Clinton in the Balkans in the late 1990’s, and work backwards to the Indian Wars in the 19th century.
        – RSP

  5. As usual, well said and well written. That last point about Putin, though, may be too hopeful. Check out (I’m sure you saw it) Gary Kasparov’s editorial in the WSJ yesterday. I don’t think Putin really cares about ISIS (or Russian victims of terrorism for that matter). If anything, he probably prefers that ISIS wreak turmoil on the West as long as he can preserve his power base in Syria through Assad. And if Russia can look like a victim of terrorism in the process, all the better. Too cynical?

    • I did see it. Kasparov hates Putin, and not without reason. But Putin is not Stalin, and Stalin bore the brunt of weakening the Nazi machine during WW II. Furthermore, it might very well be that Putin had no interest in ISIS and only in propping up Assad. If so, ISIS made a fatal miscalculation. My point is that you need someone strong who is unencumbered by the military strait jackets Western nations like to wear into battle these days.
      – RSP

    • Andrzej Lozowski

      not to the point, really. But since you brought up kasparov’s article: while it was (in my opinion) not as strong as some of his other ones. One line stood out in my mind. “It is immoral to continue putting civilians—Syrian and Western alike—instead of soldiers on the front line against terrorists.”

  6. Someone forwarded this item to me today, new Belgian rules in the wake of the attacks: “Also, for the first time, the authorities would be allowed to conduct raids on at night in terrorism cases; currently, raids are not allowed between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.”

    Can you imagine? Until now they were concerned that terrorists should get a good night’s sleep. I would say unbelievable, but of course, it isn’t.

    PREDICTION: Any new laws coming out to fight “terrorism” will simply be used to prosecute garden variety domestic criminals, who will be called “terrorists” to take advantage of the law. Real terrorists – Islamic – will be avoided.

  7. Recently, Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year old American boy who was learning in Israel for a year, was murdered by a terrorist.

    The government of the United States has not publicly acknowledged Ezra’s murder, nor has it condemned the attack.

    A petition has been started on “We the People” asking the president to acknowledge Ezra’s killing and to condemn the attack. Please sign the petition, which can be found here http://wh.gov/iVP0m,


    • “The government of the United States has not publicly acknowledged Ezra’s murder, nor has it condemned the attack.”

      Dan Shapiro, US Ambassador to Israel, acknowledged Ezra’s murder within 24 hours of the atrocity. He wrote, “As Shabbat begins, we mourn with the family and friends of Ezra Schwartz, an American citizen murdered yesterday in a terrorist attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and with the families of the other victims of yesterday’s attacks. May God bring them comfort.”

      7 hours later, the US State Department released a video statement in which Spokesperson John Kirby acknowledged that Ezra was “murdered in a terrorist attack” and that the department “condemns in the strongest possible terms these outrageous terrorist attacks.”

      Then on behalf of Dan Shapiro, the deputy chief of mission for the U.S. embassy in Israel addressed the murder on Saturday night during the ceremony in which Ezra’s body was flown back to America.

      Then on the day of Ezra’s funeral, the White House stated “We were deeply saddened to learn about the death of Ezra Schwarz, an American citizen from Massachusetts who was murdered in a terrorist attack. We extend our deepest condolences to the victim’s family, friends and community as well as the family and friends of the four other people killed in yesterday’s tragic events.”

      I think critics of the White House are on firm ground when they say that the tone of their response was more muted than in other instances. I think that’s obviously true if you watch the cringe worthy video from John Kirby. But I don’t think it’s accurate to say that the government has not publicly acknowledged the murder or condemned the attack.

      • Indeed. But you have to note as well that when Professor Gates was arrested in Boston, Obama spoke out immediately. When Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, after robbing a convenience and trying to grab an officer’s gun, Obama spoke out immediately. Etc. In cases, administration officials became directly involved as soon as the event took place. Why the 72 hours of silence from Obama here?
        – RSP

  8. Palestinian Teen Girls Mistake 70-Year-Old Palestinian Man for An Israeli, Stab Him With Scissors: