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Thursday, September 12, 2002


Re: "Can Any Good Come of Radical Islam?," co-authored by Francis "End of History" Fukuyama, at OpinionJournal.

Fukuyama and Nadav Saman, "a recent graduate of SAIS" (where Fukuyama teaches), mention more moderate Islamic forces in their article than OpinionJournal usually notices in any given month. They even state that "It is the Iranians, who, having lived under Islamist rule for the past generation, are most likely to lead the Islamic world out of its current impasse."

This would seem a rebuff to such as Michael Ledeen, who at National Review calls for war against Iran. Or is it? In the midst of name-checking Muslim movers and shakers who might bring current theocracies into harmony with the West, Fukuyama and Saman yet seem open to violence from the West as a means toward converting the heathen:

"It was only when faced with defeat and domination that nations like China and Japan undertook a serious study of what, in Mr. Lewis's phrase, 'went wrong.' Joining the West when they could not beat it, they adopted a variety of Western institutions while retaining a core of their own culture... If the wait for Muslim modernization is likely to be a long one, how, then, should the West respond in the short term as it faces the continued prospect of terrorism, suicide bombings and weapons of mass destruction? The determined application of military power is certainly part of the answer."

China? That seems a funny example. When did they stop jailing dissidents? (Of course, if the dissidents recant, they can always get jobs at the Beijing McDonald's.)

More interesting is the "determined application of military power." Later, the authors elaborate: "...the rout of al Qaeda from Afghanistan and continuing U.S. operations against radical Islamic terrorism are absolutely key to dampening Islamist fervor." Fukuyama certainly knows that the "continuing U.S. operations" on everyone's minds for the past few months have meant war on Iraq. He has even mentioned, in an August speech, "the Bush Administration’s announced intention to bring about regime change in Iraq, if necessary through a go-it-alone invasion."

One of the great things about being granted the power to see all the way to the End of History is that it reduces such momentous actions to niggling details. A pity they cannot be so reduced for the rest of us.

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