“Omne exemplum claudicat” : “every example limps”. The analogy is exaggerated but pertinent, at least for those who remember who our enemies were in World War 2. The title is a phrase of the Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, reported in Joe Klein’s timely article in TIME, November 30 -December 7, 2015, in which the journalist complains that “political correctness … makes it near impossible for liberals to face, head on, by name, the essential problem : the rise of Islamic radicalism”. Hilary Clinton, for example, would choke on the words and so speaks of “jihadism”. Klein cruelly notes that “Jihad is, of course, an Islamic principle associated with religiously inspired aggression. There are no Eskimo jihadis”.
We are entangled in a geopolitical conundrum with no simple solutions. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t, our tragedy is to be the victims of a brainless theological, byzantine, ludicrous dispute between Sunnis and Shiites over who can claim to be the rightful successors of the Prophet. For the foreseeable future, our own self-defense will be our priority. But “Islamic radicalism” will not disappear until it implodes by its own recognition of the absurdity of the literal application of certain precepts of the Koran and the Hadiths. A consummation devoutly to be wished but still a pipe-dream. Meantime we must assure our self-protection and increase our efforts to enlighten benighted believers in the blindfaithblindfolly of Islamic radicalism. The definition of the relative importance of the enemy status of ISIS (Daesh) and Bashar el Assad is a challenge but not the top priority; it will demand an intelligent realpolitik, including an overdue recognition of the rôle of Assad’s ally, Saudi Arabia, and its fundamentalist Wahhabism.