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Likewise, the imaginary president’s idealistic approach was directed at Russia, which, while communist for several decades, still shared in the Western heritage and worldview, and so may have been better expected to reciprocate and cooperate—certainly more so than the Islamic world, the culture of which is fundamentally alien to such utopian principles expressed by the imaginary president, the utopian principles expressed by Obama. Accordingly, the general’s observation, “Some conflicts are too fundamental to be resolved by negotiation,” is especially applicable to today’s conflict with the Islamic world—a conflict that stretches back some 1400 years.
Even so, as the Durants indicated, no matter how utopian an American president might be, it was a safe assumption (in 1968) that at least America’s generals would maintain sobriety. Yet today, that, too, no longer appears to be the case, as naivety and censorship have so thoroughly penetrated the war colleges and intelligence agencies—evinced by a politically-correct Pentagon, an Assistant Defense Secretary for Homeland Defense who absurdly refuses to associate “violent Islamist extremism” as motivating al-Qaeda, and an Intelligence Chief who thinks the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular.”
What, then, are the “lessons of history”? This: Ideas that were once recognized as overly naïve, put only in the mouths of imaginary characters, have, in the course of half a century, become so mainstream, despite the fact that the political circumstances that may have warranted them then, vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, have changed to make their application now, with the Muslim world, wholly irrational—a sort of slow-motion suicide.
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