Charles Krauthammer has a piece in this week’s Time about why we’re winning the war against Islamicism. It was always pointless to ask “Why do they hate us?” They hate us for reasons that we can do nothing about, and still remain ourselves–they hate us because we are not radical Islamicists. The question we should have been asking instead is “Why don’t they respect us”? Well, now they do, and the “Arab street” has been silenced.
We can now, however, carry on with a confidence we did not have before Afghanistan. Confidence that even religious fanaticism can be defeated, that despite its bravado, it carries no mandate from heaven. The psychological effect of our stunning victory in Afghanistan is already evident. We see the beginning of self-reflection in the Arab press, asking what Arab jihadists are doing exporting their problems to places like Afghanistan and the West; wondering why the Arab world uniquely has not developed a single real democracy; and asking, most fundamentally, how a great religion like Islam could have harbored a malignant strain that would rejoice in the death of 3,000 innocents. It is the kind of questioning that Europeans engaged in after World War II (asking how Fascism and Nazism could have been bred in the bosom of European Christianity) but that was sadly lacking in the Islamic world. Until now.