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Daniel Pipes: The West Could Lose

The invaluable Daniel Pipes is suspending his column for three months while he teaches at Pepperdine University in Malibu, but his final column of the year, "The West Could Lose," is very much worth reading. I wish I had paid more attention to Daniel, and also to Steven Emerson, before September 11, for they were two prophets whose words went unheeded. I'm temperamentally an optimist; Daniel is temperamentally a pessimist, and as a scholar fluent in Arabic and with a deep knowledge of Islam, he finds plenty to be pessimistic about.

How could the West lose? Pacifism, self-hatred, complacency. I think his point on self-hatred is particularly apposite.

"Significant elements in several western countries?especially the United States, Great Britain, and Israel?believe their own governments to be repositories of evil and see terrorism as just punishment for past sins. This 'we have met the enemy and he is us' attitude replaces an effective response with appeasement, including a readiness to give up traditions and achievements. Osama bin Laden celebrates by name such leftists as Robert Fisk and William Blum. Self-hating westerners have an out-sized importance due to their prominent role as shapers of opinion in universities, the media, religious institutions, and the arts. They serve as the Islamists' auxiliary mujahideen."

Tough words but, I fear, true.

By Michael Barone