Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Just finished reading a fascinating essay at Tech Central Station. The article is called Our World-Historical Gamble and was written by Lee Harris (here is a link to his bio). It is quite long -- if printed it would come to about seventeen pages. The primary point of the article seems to be to establish that the advent of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of radical Arab and Islamic regimes necessitates a change in world-outlook away from the classical political ideas of Realpolitic and self-determination. If one ignores some unnecessary Hegelian notions spread liberally throughout the article then there is much with which one can agree in Harris' essay. Here are some choice excerpts:

But it is equally critical that we are not misled into trying to win the hearts and minds of the Islamic fantasists. We must not set about trying to convert them in believing in our principles and accepting our values, however noble and lofty these values might be. Nor must we be seduced into believing that we are in a popularity contest, as if we were trying to sell Western values as if it were a consumer product. If it should happen to come about that these values make inroads in the Islamic world, fine and good. But it must not became our aim.

Our aim is simple. It is to make the Islamic fantasists respect the dictates of reality...

And that is why, in order to achieve our end of heightening their grasp on reality, no means should be ruled out. We must be prepared to use force "unstintingly," as Woodrow Wilson declared on America's reluctant entry into World War I. On this count, we must have no illusions. Until they are willing to play by our rules, we must be prepared to play by theirs.

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