By Mark Steyn
So how was your holiday season? Over in
The following day, Christmas Eve, Samuel Huntington died at his home at
Very few of us want to believe this thesis.
"The great majority of Palestinian people," Condi Rice, the secretary of state, said to commentator Cal Thomas a couple of years back in a report that first appeared on JWR, "they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do."
Thomas asked a sharp follow-up: "Do you think this or do you know this?"
"Well, I think I know it," said Secretary Rice.
"You think you know it?"
"I think I know it."
I think she knows she doesn't know it. But in the modern world there is no diplomatic vocabulary for the kind of cultural fault line represented by the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, so even a smart thinker like Dr. Rice can only frame it as an issue of economic and educational opportunity. Of course, there are plenty of Palestinians like the ones the secretary of state described: You meet them living as doctors and lawyers in
At a certain unspoken level, we understand that the
Hence, this slightly surreal headline from The New York Times: "Israel Rejects Cease-Fire, But Offers Gaza Aid." For whatever that's worth. Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, a young Palestinian woman who received considerate and exemplary treatment at an Israeli hospital in
If it was, it would be easy to fix. But what if it's not? What if it's about something more primal than land borders and economic aid?
A couple of days after Hamas voted to restore crucifixion to the Holy Land, their patron in
In fact, as JWR contributor Caroline Glick pointed out in The Jerusalem Post, the great man "speaks for himself" all the time — when he's at the United Nations, calling on all countries to submit to Islam; when he's presiding over his international conference of Holocaust deniers; when he's calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" — or (in his more "moderate" moments) relocated to a couple of provinces of Germany and Austria. Caroline Glick forbore to mention that, according to President Ahmadinejad's chief adviser, Hassan Abbassi, his geopolitical strategy is based on the premise that "Britain is the mother of all evils" — the evils being America, Australia, Israel, the Gulf states, Canada and New Zealand, all the malign progeny of the British Empire. "We have established a department that will take care of
The civilizational clashes of professor Huntington's book are not inevitable. Culture is not immutable. But changing culture is tough and thankless and something the West no longer has the stomach for. Unfortunately, the Saudis do, and so do the Iranians. And not just in
To be fair to President Ahmadinejad's hosts at Channel 4, the "department that will take care of
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