A Long Time Till the Big Parade
Norman Podhoretz thinks America is fighting World War IV. Martin Kramer, who together with Podhoretz is a foreign-policy adviser to presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, thinks that part is the good news. The bad news, Kramer claims, is that this one might be worse than any of the last three.
The 20th-century world wars were preceded by another species of global conflict. For more than a millennium after the rise of Islam in the 7th century, Christendom and Islam were locked in almost constant warfare. Today's war, unlike the last three world wars, is being fought largely across the very same divide of religion and civilization that separated European Christendom and Islam. Their ebb and flow extended over centuries. It is a point our enemies emphasize. “This war is fundamentally religious,” bin Laden has said. “The people of the East are Muslims. They sympathize with Muslims against the people of the West, who are the Crusaders.” That is what bin Laden needs this war to be, if he is to fight it on his terms. ...
For the Bush Doctrine to survive Bush, it will have to incorporate all we have learned since he formulated it. Much of it comes down to this: the Middle East is not Europe, Iraq is not Germany, and Afghanistan is not Japan. (They are not Vietnam either.) The road to hell is paved with bad analogies, which are no substitute for lived experience and specific knowledge. According to the Greek poet Archilochus, “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” The hedgehogs have taken the Bush Doctrine as far as they can. Now it is the turn of the foxes.