July 22, 2007

Managing Islam's Civil War

From Managing Islam's Civil War:

Less than six years after 9/11, the great Clash of Civilizations has fizzled out. It's been replaced by a civil war within a single civilization. Everywhere, the basic plot is the same: traditional Muslim sheiks and autocrats battling with murderous jihadis for control of Muslim lands. In each case, it is Muslims themselves - not Western soldiers or politicians - who will decide the outcome. Of course, Muslims are still trying to blow up infidels in London and Glasgow, not to mention Tel Aviv, Kashmir and a hundred other places. But with every passing month, Muslim violence becomes more self-directed.

After 9/11, George W. Bush and his international supporters were swept up in a grand Wilsonian project to revamp the political culture of the Muslim world. But six years later, we're largely back on the sidelines, feebly exhorting our chosen autocrats - Musharraf, Abbas, Siniora, al-Maliki, King Hussein, Mubarak, King Abdullah - to "do more to fight terrorism." Most of the Muslim leaders we now are supporting are not democratic folk heroes, but compromised autocrats, although these men are a lot saner than the Islamists they're fighting.