When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, France did not go along with that action. US politicians and policymakers derided the French, going so far as to make the puerile suggestion of replacing the term “French fries” with “Freedom fries.”
Now, 12 years later, the terror attacks in Paris are being seen in Washington as a virtual attack on the entire Western world. In effect, it is tantamount to invoking Article 5 of NATO, with its cornerstone principle of collective defense, meaning an attack on one is an attack on all. Conversely, the hammering of Iraq and Gaza by the West and its allies did not evoke a similar collective expression of moral outrage in the Muslim world. In fact, some of them were abettors. If the international Muslim community had seen the foregoing actions as an affront, would innocent Muslims today be continuously put on the dock for the unconnected actions of their killer co-religionists elsewhere? But all of this has to do with the fundamental weakness of Western Muslims, and the crushing mediocrity of Muslim elites worldwide. And whose policies fanned and inflamed the rise of OBL, the Hydra-headed sectarian monster, the ethnic polarization, and the creation of Daesh? US Presidential contender John Kasich’s proposal to create a new federal agency espousing Judeo-Christian values is a fraudulent sham given the facts that, for 2000 years, Christianity has been at loggerheads with Judaism. These are harsh but incontrovertible facts. The very “Judeo-Christian” terminology has implications of exclusive incitement toward Muslims. Kinetic overreaction is a trap laid by nihilistic cults and becomes a recruiting tool. The Pope has rung alarm bells of World War III. But it is not inevitable. To view it as such would be an admission of surrender and defeat. A drastic policy reset and rethinking can shift gears, as evidenced through the 2015 deals with Cuba and Iran. Retrospectively in the West, there is enormous sympathy for the victims of the Holocaust. But, when it mattered, the West, in effect, became a doormat for Nazi extermination policies. The Republican rants of today eerily echo anti-Semitic rhetoric in America that prevented disembarkation from the ship Saint Louis in Miami in 1939, carrying German Jewish refugees seeking sanctuary in America. In this connection, the fact-based 1976 movie, “Voyage of the Damned” may be worth a watch for those not conversant with this tragedy. This disgraceful episode took place during the presidency of Franklin D Roosevelt, to whom a memorial is erected near the Washington Mall (where I once played cricket). FDR is now revered as a liberal icon, without adequate ascertainment of facts. Japanese-American survivors of the post-Pearl Harbor internment camps in the US find disturbing echoes of their past anguish in the maltreatment of Muslims in US public space. The glitter of the almighty dollar plus the inferiority-inducing VIP hunting priority of US Muslim elites sidetracked many in the community from investment in human capital and infrastructure necessary for building socio-political self-defense. That ensures living with dignity and security. To cite Benjamin Franklin: “We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”