Barry Rubin, in today’s Jerusalem Post:
…It is the radical Islamists (and remaining radical Arab nationalists) who want to show that they are the ones with the “gunboats,” or rather hijacking airplanes, to keep up with current technology, who can make explosions in Western cities without fear of suffering meaningful retaliation.
In contrast, the West seeks to prove that it is nice. It seeks to apologize, to make reparations, to act as the weaker party. But, you see, the West is running the equivalent of a school for Middle Eastern politicians, intellectuals and revolutionaries. And the lesson it is teaching them is: You are strong and we are weak; you have ideas to believe in, we merely seek maximum comfort and expediency; if you hit us we will yield or look the other way; we are ready to confess our wrongdoing, you only speak of your being absolutely in the right. Like good students, they follow what they are being taught.
Meanwhile, imperialism has switched directions, running now from east to west. And if that is already so without nuclear weapons controlled by Teheran, what do we have to look forward to?
At least up to now, the gap in power that leaves the West the weaker side has not been technological, but rather psychological. It isn’t just a matter of gun-power, either, for the West refuses to use a force as potent as the battleship or aircraft carrier – its economic might. But economic, as well as military, supremacy is being conceded to the extremists and the dictatorships.
And thus, British navy personnel – like American diplomats a quarter-century ago – are seized and their government is to be made to apologize. The woman among the prisoners is forced to wear an Islamist headscarf to show which culture is to prevail… [my emphasis]
The interesting question is whether this is a foregone conclusion, or if it’s possible to reverse it. A starting point would be for westerners to understand that it would not be desirable to replace a system, albeit imperfect, that is based on democratic principles, with one based on religious authoritarianism. It’s surprising that so many do not seem to grasp this.