Pipes orating at the USC’s American Freedom Alliance conference on June 15, 2008.
September 9, 1949 |
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Occupation||Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy (Spring ’07); President of Middle East Forum; Expert at Wikistrat|
|Subject||Middle East, American foreign policy, Islamic terrorism, Islamism|
|Relatives||Richard Pipes (father)|
The Israelis are very smart about politics and strategy, but there are a few exceptions. One is Lebanon, the other is Gaza, where they were completely inept.
Diplomacy in general does not resolve conflicts. Wars end not due to peace processes, but due to one side giving up.
Nothing in the constitutions of Western states requires them to get involved in every foreign conflict.
Again and again, when Westerners are perceived as denigrating Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam, Islamists demonstrate, riot or kill.
My career divides in two: before and after 9/11. In the first part I was trying to show that Islam is relevant to political concerns. If you want to understand Muslims, I argued, you need to understand the role of Islam in their lives. Now that seems obvious.
Ultimately, there is no compromise. Westerners will either retain their civilization, including the right to insult and blaspheme, or not.
You can't just read the Koran to understand Muslim life. You have to look at history, at personalities, at economics, and so on.
I draw a distinction between traditional Islam and Islamism. Islamism emerged in its modern form in the 1920s and is driven by a belief that Muslims can be strong and rich again if they follow the Islamic law severely and in its entirety. This is a response to the trauma of modern Islam.
In the long term, the United States could greatly benefit Islam by uniquely freeing the religion from government constraints and permitting it to evolve in a positive, modern direction. But that's the long term.
So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.
Any Westerner can now buy a Koran for a dollar and burn it, while any Muslim with a platform can transform that act into a fighting offense. As passions rise on both sides of the divide, Western provocateurs and Islamist hotheads have found each other, as confrontations occur with increasing frequency.