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The Middle East
The Biggest Winner in the Lose-Lose “Operation Protective Edge”

In the topsy-turvy universe of Middle East politics, nothing succeeds like failure on the battlefield and nothing fails like military success. So who won the Gaza war?

Published on: September 4, 2014
Richard Landes is a professor of history at Boston University, currently writing a book entitled They’re So Smart Cause We’re So Stupid: A Medievalist’s Guide to the 21st Century. He blogs at The Augean Stables, where a longer, more amply linked version of this article can be found.
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  • Maynerd

    Bravo Professor Landes. Thank you for calling out the toxic brew of the anti-western leftists and the nihilistic Islamofacists.

    • Andrew Allison

      I think that the thrust of the article was the utter mendacity of the so-called “journalists” reporting on the conflict. One can only hope that Prof. Landes is right that ” Journalists’ credibility has been dangerously damaged.”, but I fear that it’s wishful thinking. The Third Estate has morphed into a Fifth Column.

  • lord acton

    The jihadis are getting out in front of their media barrage. The barbaric and naked violence of Boko Haram and ISIS is proving to be too extreme for the media to obscure with their P.C. smoke screen. Recent events in Rotherham are the tip of a very large iceberg that might awake the feminists that women are at least one wrung down the “liberal’ food chain from muslims. [people of color > ethnic minorities > religious minorities?; Muslims > women > homosexuals? – it is hard to keep track of who trumps who in the mind of the liberal elite. We of course know that white men are at the bottom. But the rape epidemic in European cities has shown Western women how much the politicians value them].
    I will close this rambling comment with the observation that being in front of the barrage is not a winning place to be.
    Peace be upon them.

  • wigwag

    This may be the single best essay that I have ever read at the “American Interest;” unfortunately it is also the most frightening.

    During the last presidential election cycle, Newt Gingrich warned that the West needed to confront the reality that it faced a long and grueling conflict with radical Islam. He was derided for his prognostication by the liberal-left as well as the isolationist-right. Even neoconservatives and George W. Bush-sympathizing GOP stalwarts were reluctant to endorse Gingrich’s views. It is now increasingly obvious that the former Speaker of the House was prescient.

    It is often forgotten, but the struggle between the Western world and the Islamic world is not new; it’s ancient. It’s a war that has literally been fought for centuries. The difference is that for most of this history, the conflict was between Christian society and Muslim society. While Islam is resurgent, Christianity is in extremis; at least in the West. Western intellectuals who once cut their teeth steeped in a Christian heritage, now emerge from the womb and almost immediately begin to worship at the alter of multiculturalism. In fact, these intellectuals (many of whom are journalists or, even worse, professors), believe that all cultures have equal value, except for the culture which nurtured them, which of course, they despise.

    The Islamists have reason for optimism; it is far from clear that the multiculturalists who rule the West will prove to be anywhere near as potent adversaries as their Christian forebears. On the other hand, there is reason to believe that Western liberalism won’t go down without a fight; political parties like Nigel Farage’s UKIP and Geert Wilders PVV are springing up all over Europe. Of course in some cases the supporters of these political parties are as bad as the Islamists (See Greece and Hungary) and in other cases it’s hard to know what to think of them (see Marine Le Pen in France). Its an open question about whether the emergence of these parties is simply too little, too late.

    Americans need to think about what all of this means for the United States. It is time to come to grips with the fact that the trilateral coalition that won the Cold War is dead. Japan ceased to be useful during its decades-long malaise and its recent attempts to revivify itself seem to be faltering. In all likelihood, Europe is poised to share the Japanese fate. The European population is imploding and European elites are no longer willing to defend enlightenment values; at least when those values are being attacked by Islamists. European economies are increasingly sclerotic and Europe is no longer willing to spend even two pennies out of every dollar of GNP for self-defense.

    The great news is that the United States remains an antidote to all of this (as is Israel), The United States is one of the few nations which has successfully integrated its Muslim minority. American Muslims are overwhelmingly loyal, productive and proud U.S. citizens; the situation couldn’t be more different than in Europe. Ironically, Israel has integrated its Muslim minority more successfully than most European nations have (india has done a reasonably good job as well). While European nations allow their Muslim minority to trample the values on which those societies were built, and while Russia and China integrate their Muslim minorities by force of arms, American society, Israeli society and Indian society are still vibrant and self-assured enough to welcome Muslims into full citizenship if they play by the rules. America’s great challenge over the next few decades is to chart its path as a light unto the nations in a world where its European and Japanese allies have been emasculated.

    While the United States has suffered from two successive failed presidencies (at least in the foreign policy arena), things are almost sure to get better. Whatever one thinks of Hillary Clinton, its a good bet that she will be a much better leader than Barack Obama. In the unlikely event that a Republican is the next American President, with the exception of Rand Paul, all of the GOP contenders would be better leaders than Obama.

    As for the Jews, just as they have been scapegoated in Europe for centuries, history seems poised to repeat itself. European Muslims want Jews reduced to dhimmi status or killed. The European left would be happy to be rid of them. The time has come for Europe’s Jews to plot their escape while they still can.

    As for Europe’s multicultural leftists, they would be wise to remember Martin Niemoller’s old adage,

    “First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist,
    Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist,
    Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

  • Anthony

    After Operation Protective Edge: self healing in Gaza (Sarah Algherbawi). Has Gaza accelerated and solidified the polarization of the two communities?

  • Roseliya

    Thanks Richard – great article & analysis of the enormous win that Western anti-semitism and lethal journalism give to Jihadis, and the catastrophic price tag that the West pays for its continuing 2000 years of Christian hatred of Jews & Israel.
    Because of this article, I finally found another article of yours: “Open letter to Jostein Gaarder”, which I think is the best analytical response to Christian anti-semitism that I have ever read. A breath of fresh air!

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  • Trev

    Gearing up for Armageddon.

    “For behold, in those days and at that time,
    When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,
    2 I will also gather all nations,
    And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
    And I will enter into judgment with them there
    On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
    Whom they have scattered among the nations;
    They have also divided up My land.
    3 They have cast lots for My people,
    Have given a boy as payment for a harlot,
    And sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.

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