01/03/09 - NationalReview by MarkSteyn
[edited] Westerners seem to expect more civilized behavior from Israel than from its adversaries.
Professor Samuel Huntington wrote "The Clash Of Civilizations" About 15 years ago. He argued that Western elites viewed man as a rational, economic creature, and that this was simplistic. Actually, cultural identity is a stronger force than the appeal of Western-style economic liberty and its benefits. Very few of us want to believe this.
At an unspoken level, we understand that Huntington is right. When French President Sarkozy (and others) bemoans Israel's "disproportionate" response, he expects better from the despised Jews than from Hamas. He regards Israel as a Western society bound by civilized norms, whereas any old barbarism issuing forth from Gaza is excused as "desperation."
Britain's Channel 4 says that we don't get the chance to see Islamic leaders like Iranian President Ahmadinejad speak for themselves. It is more accurate to say that they speak for themselves incessantly, but the louder they speak the more we put our hands over our ears and go "Nya nya, can't hear you."
Most Western elites believe that everyone wants to go to university, get a steady job, and settle down in a nice house. Against this belief, Ahmadinejad's statement that "England's demise is on our agenda" is almost literally untranslatable.
We deplore Ahmadinejad as a genocidal fantasist when he threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the map. But, maybe he's a genocidal realist, and we're the fantasists.