I just came across this news story. It seems that the United Nations is going to undertake efforts to build new bridges between the West and Islam. The program is going to be called “Alliance of Civilizations”. An excerpt…
The campaign’s aim was to “bridge divides and overcome prejudice, misconceptions, misperceptions, and polarization which potentially threaten world peace,” U.N. chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Recent events had “heightened the sense of a widening gap and lack of mutual understanding between Islamic and Western societies — an environment that has been exploited and exacerbated by extremists in all societies,” he said.
They readily admit that the bombings in London one week ago prompted this move. Taking seven days to call a press conference and announce their resolve to take action is moving at warp speed so far as the UN is concerned. But how long is it going to be before they actually do something? Read the last paragraph of the article and you’ll learn that they’re going to form a committee to study the problem and make suggestions. Don’t expect anything resembling a plan of action until late in 2006.
So nothing concrete is going to be done for at least the next 16 months or so. And this is just for what is, essentially, a public relations campaign. Instead of any internal committee, the UN should hire one of the ad agencies from Madison Avenue. They probably would save some money. They certainly would save a great deal of time.
I haven’t tried to avoid sounding too harsh because, let’s face it, that’s impossible so far as the UN is concerned. Instead I’ll make the prediction that this as yet unformed committee will be very careful to try and assign blame for acts of terrorism equally between Western culture and Islamic society. This is entirely unfair because there is a decided difference between the types of extremists the two environments produce.
We have extremists here in the United States, and they come in two distinct flavors depending on which side of the political aisle they inhabit. The Conservative extremists demand that we finish the job started in Iraq by invading Syria and Iran, and maybe North Korea for good measure. Opposing them are the Liberals who insist that we have to immediately pull out of Iraq and apologize profusely to anyone who claims to have a grievance with the US while slathering on the foreign aid. (Did I say “Liberal”? I must have meant “Progressive”, or something like that.)
Notice, if you will, that our forms of extremism results in a healthy bout of political debate and discussion. This naturally occurs in Western liberal democracies even if neither side is willing to listen to the other. What we seem to lack in a rather profound way are people willing to perform acts of terror that are deliberately designed to kill as many innocent civilians as possible. The United Nations can give me a call when kids from Boise start to set off suicide bombs in downtown Damascus.
Steven den Beste did a great service to a great number of people when he brought this essay by Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (USA, Ret) to our attention. The title of the work is Spotting the Losers: Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States, and it pretty much sums up why some Islamic cultures are so desperate that they breed terrorists. For some reason I doubt that anyone at the UN ever read it, just as I don’t think that their ad campaign will address any of these causes.
The UN is calling this whole thing the “Alliance of Civilizations”. I’ve heard that name before. It was most recently connected to a summit of some kind that was held last month in Brasilia. One of the two reasons for the meeting was to open new markets between countries in South America and the Arab world, which is something that I find to be laudable. The other was to form alliances which would act as a counterweight to US dominance, which I find to be laughable. In this news article, the author makes it all sound like a low-rent European Union before the quotes from the attending delegates degenerate into condemnations of Israel and thinly veiled demands that the US pull out of Iraq.
So do I think that the new UN initiative will actually do some good and build some bridges between Islam and the West? Sure, that’ll happen about the same time that staunchly Catholic countries in South America form close alliances with Arab states that follow Sharia Law.