Identifying the enemy is a precondition of fighting and winning any war—and the United States and Israel are at war with the same enemy. Indeed, the strategic issue of the presidential election, the issue that most clearly divides Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain, is precisely their different views of the enemy. It may even be said that Obama lacks any serious conception of the enemy!
Perhaps no one has understood the enemy of the United States better than Lee Harris. His book Civilization and Its Enemies is a classic, and unless its insights are internalized by the next President of the United States, Western civilization, now on the slippery slope, may perish.
Harris mentions two kinds of enemies. “First, the enemy is someone whom we have mistreated and oppressed. Second, the enemy is someone who demands to be recognized for his superiority.” The second describes Islam, which regards all “infidels” as sub-human.
If the enemy was simply an oppressed group fighting to have equal recognition of his status vis-à-vis other groups, his enmity could be eliminated or gradually abated by granting him the status he is seeking.
But if the enemy demands recognition of his superiority, you have only two options: either you surrender to his demands and become his servants, or you conquer him. But you must conquer him in such a way that he no longer regards himself as your superior—as witness the devastation of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II. Such devastation or ruthlessness was necessary because of the ruthless nature of the enemy.
America as well as Israel faces a no less ruthless enemy, Islam. It seems, however, that neither country, steeped in democratic humanism, can muster the ruthlessness required in dealing with the enemy. This flaw is evident among liberal intellectuals. “The ultimate irony of the [liberal] intellectual,” says Harris, “is that he becomes an enemy of civilization by refusing to accept the idea that civilization can have an enemy, by dreaming of a world in which men will no longer be driven by what Francis Fukuyama calls ‘the irrational desire to be recognized as greater than others.’”
Like these intellectuals, Senator Obama does not see or fathom the overweening cultural pride of Islamic rulers. Infatuated by his own oratory, he believes he can talk Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad out of developing nuclear weapons. This conceit infects the liberal-left that has gained control of the Democratic Party. (Suffice to mention Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.)
Obama revealed his zeitgeist, or the cosmopolitanism of the liberal-left, when he boasted in Europe: “I am a citizen of the world.” Apparently, Obama imbibed the anti-Americanism pervading academia during his years at Columbia University and Harvard. (One study reveals that the ratio of liberal-leftists to conservatives in the faculties of American universities averages 10 to 1.)
This anti-Americanism is an outgrowth of the New Left that surfaced in academia in the 1960s. Senator Obama is nothing if he is not an offspring of the New Left. Marxist-oriented Saul Alinsky and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright—both unabashedly anti-American—have also been his mentors.
Like leftists in general, Senator Obama believes in a thoroughly egalitarian world. He deplores the idea of American “exceptionalism,” or of America as the only democratic power that can safeguard civilization against totalitarian ideologies. Since civilization requires tolerance and a hatred of violence, this is enough to indicate why America, today, is the guardian of civilization and why Islam is the enemy of civilization. This is beyond Obama’s mindset.
Islam not only purveys itself as superior to all other cultures, but, as noted, it demands recognition of its superiority. Two logical consequences follow. First, Muslim rulers are not culturally inclined to conduct sincere negotiations leading to lasting agreements with infidels—a process requiring mutual concessions or reciprocity. Reciprocity would be an admission of equality, something anathema to Islam. This applies to Iranian as well as Fatah and Hamas rulers.
To dismiss Ahmadinejad’s threat, “Death to America,” as mere bravado is a fatal error, and not only because a nuclear-armed Iran could close the Straits of Hormuz through which pass 40% of the world’s crude oil. America’s existence as global power stands in the way of Islam’s global ambitions. Therefore, a nuclear Iran is essential for America’s demise. (Similarly, Muslims cannot accept Israel’s existence as a sovereign state, for that would deflate Islam or contradict its 1,400 year-old doctrine of dhimmitude.)
Moreover, since the enemy demands recognition of his superiority, the enemy must resort to violence if such recognition is not forthcoming. This means that Jihad is an essential and inexorable principle of Islam. It renders Obama’s talk about “tough” diplomacy with Iran sheer bluff.
The same may be said of the Bush administration. On the one hand, it talks about spreading democracy in the Middle East. On the other hand, it supports a Palestinian state whose leaders have not only educated children to hate Jews, but have used them (and women) as human bombs to kill Jews—as if all of this is irrelevant to the political character of a Palestinian state! More bluff, and from oh so many friends of Israel!
As Harris warns, however, “In a world full of bluffers, the ruthless will win”—yes, and no one is more ruthless than the enemy. This is reason enough why Senator Barack Obama is not qualified to face the enemy.