Since 9/11, western powers have behaved more or less like Prince Hamlet, conflicted by doubts and stalemated by niceties that barely register with those who have mounted their version of “slings and arrows” against the West and its allies.
A dozen years following 9/11 should have erased any remaining doubt that Osama bin Laden spoke for many in the Arab-Muslim world who believe Islam is locked in a millennial conflict with the West, and victory will belong to the party that has the faith to take defeats and yet remain on the field of battle as the last man standing.
Bin Laden and his associates might well be described as the crudest expression of this deep-seated conviction of Islamist thinking and practice — that Islam is politics in action, not merely a religion, with the mission to establish its system of government based on the Shariah.
Waging war, engaging in diplomacy, signing treaties, and maintaining or breaking truce are merely means in the pursuit of the end that Islamist doctrine prescribes.
Hamlet’s dilemma was how to act commensurate with the knowledge of the crime given him by the ghost of the murdered king, his father.
The tragedy that unfolds in Shakespeare’s drama is a result of action delayed and ineptly executed by the Prince of Denmark.
The West cannot play Hamlet, while Islamists have mastered the art of exploiting the West’s niceties to their advantage.
It is instructive to note Islamists are most cautious in dealing with Russians and Chinese — that neither Moscow nor Beijing will hesitate in using disproportionate force when needed and will not be troubled by any doubt over actions taken against Islamist terrorism.
But what is worse than playing Hamlet is playing the role at the expense of another.
The West does this with Israel.
Sitting in the shadow of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem one evening when visiting Israel, it became strikingly clear to me, as it is to most Israelis, that the ground zero of the millennial conflict between Islam and the West is right where I sat.
Islamists have made it amply clear, and the vast majority of Muslims support them, that this millennial conflict will not cease until Israel is annihilated.
Those Muslims small in numbers who repudiate such obscenity are in turn repudiated, ostracized, or killed as apostates from Islam.
Israelis are left with no choice but to act with wisdom and courage in doing whatever is necessary for survival. Yet instead of resolutely supporting Israel, many in the West have parked their discredited anti-Semitism inside mosques to appease Islamists.
In an ancient temple located outside of India’s capital are found words inscribed on the wall, “Coincidences, if traced far back enough, become inevitable.”
The recurrent conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, as was 9/11 and many similar, can be traced back sufficiently to see a pattern whose message brooks no doubting.
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