Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Caroline Glick on Being Rational

The Main Stream Media have become undeniably less shrill about the physical bombs and bullets war against Islamic Jihadism, as the U.S. military increasingly finds ways to deter the perpetrators while respecting the non-violent populations. A cynic might suggest that items that don’t advance the agenda don’t make the agenda. Jerusalem Post writer Caroline Glick is keeping up the voice of warning that currents of hatred still flow through the Middle East and offers her theory on the difference between the ways the West understands the situation.

Who's being rational?: THE SEPTEMBER 11 attacks on the US intensified a dispute that had been brewing since the end of the Cold War about the definition of rationality. The two warring factions in the debate, which has raged throughout the free world, can be referred to as the rationalizers and the rationalists.

The rationalizers include politicians like Olmert and Livni and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and security and policy apparatuses like the CIA, the State Department, the Foreign Ministry and their counterparts in Europe. The rationalizers define rationality as susceptibility to foreign pressure and willingness to be appeased. According to this view, if your antagonist is willing to negotiate with you, then he is rational. And since he is rational, he is capable of being appeased. And since he is willing to be appeased, he isn't really your enemy.

For rationalists, it is rational for a state's policies and actions to reflect and advance its values, aspirations and beliefs. As a consequence, it is essential to understand and confront those beliefs, values and aspirations. Just as the rationalizers' views are attractive because they place all the power to determine issues of war and peace in the hands of Western nations, so the views of the rationalists are unattractive because they assume that the free world cannot alone determine the course of events. It cannot influence a society's adherence to jihadist beliefs and aspirations. The most it can do is take actions to prevent jihadist societies from acting on their beliefs.

None of us are in position to understand the way the confrontations of the last six years will shape the future. Like many others, I believe it was necessary to confront and defeat the activists of aggressive Islam and I’m hoping the acute flare up of violence is being suppressed as those willing to commit mass murder against innocents are eliminated. I also realize that the repression of action is a long way from the conversion of thought.