The highlight of my leisurely read of today’s OZ (in hard copy) was Noel Pearson’s excellent piece about the war against Islamic extremism.
Read the whole piece here
With important exceptions such as Christopher Hitchens and the signatories to Britain’s Euston Manifesto, it is generally true that the Western Left’s view of the threat represented by Islamist extremists is immature and highly confused. I concur with Hitchens and the authors of the Euston Manifesto about the imperative for the Left to pull its head out of the sand. (I cannot use my preferred metaphor here.) The Western political Right has a much more coherent grasp of the nature of the threat than their opponents. My point is, however, that the political Right has to decide which war it wants to win. As long as the political Right conflates cultural war with the war on terror and uses wedge politics, racism and xenophobia for domestic electoral gain in Western societies, then the war against terror will not be backed by the unity of purpose that is necessary to prosecute it successfully. This is why the West stands impotent six years into what will be a long war.
The only part that I don’t agree with is his concluding sentence above where he accuses the right of cynically exploiting the threat of the Jihadists for electoral gain. My view is that in the absence of any realistic response from the left to Islamic terror the left are far too prone to suggesting that anyone on the right is being a racist/ bigot/ xenophobe every time we point out the reality of the threat that the Jihadists pose to a peaceful future.
In any case give the piece a good read. Pearson is a chap who is well worth listening to no matter where you sit on the political spectrum.