Friday night topic: No way out?

— 6:00 PM on August 18, 2006

The Friday Night Topic has taken a rest in recent weeks from political discussions, in part because it seems to me that the divisions between left/right and dove/hawk have proven largely unhelpful in offering a solution to the twin problems of radical Islam and terrorism, even as those problems have escalated throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. Could it be that neither side of the Western political spectrum is pushing an adequate response to Islamic terror? Stanley Kurtz seems to think so. He was a hawk, but now he sees gloom:

No, I don’t think our venture in Iraq has gotten us into this mess. I think this mess has gotten us into Iraq. And the mess will not go away, whatever we do. Our Islamist enemy has proven himself implacable — unwilling to relent in the face of either dovish or hawkish policies. That means we’re facing years — maybe decades — of inconclusive, on/off (mostly on) hot war, unless and until a nuclear terror strike, a major case of nuclear blackmail, or a nuclear clash among Middle Eastern states ushers in a radical new phase.
Is he right? What if neither the hawkish use of force nor diplomacy and appeasement can placate radical Islam? Does the West have a credible response to this threat? Discuss.
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