The main reason that the United States has often not fully understood the seriousness of the Islamic threat is that the motives of the radical Islamic mind are way beyond the imagination of the modern Western mind. It is simply too hard to fathom for so many people how a small group of seemingly backward people in the Middle East could actually be plotting to destroy the way of life of the entire Western World. But indeed that is the case. The vast majority of the people in the Western world are rather oblivious of the fact that so much of the world is still totalitarian in character. This is certainly the way things were in the early part of the 20th century. Today, things have improved markedly. Much of the former Soviet Union is much more inclined to a Western lifestyle. Many of the former satellites of the Soviet Union are in the process of gradual democratization. But the Middle East is still fundamentally similar to the way it was back in the Middle Ages.
Things can change – but gradually
There is something naive, yet beautiful about the hope that one day the entire world will be able to sit down and work out all of their problems. It is based on the false idea that the natural pattern of mankind is to be good and not to dominate others. There is very little in ancient or modern history that seems to show that people tend towards peaceful relationships with each other.
But, the world is evolving in certain ways that are unprecedented in the history of mankind. The world is indeed a global village due to the internet. This, of course, presents many challenges, but just as many opportunities for massive global shifts. Just like a dangerous organization in Afghanistan can easily manage operations all over the world via the internet, the entire world can reach Afghanistan and impact there too. The cynics may say that some countries don’t have open internet, but as we all know, people have ways of finding out information when they have enough drive to.
We need to recognize threats to our existence and do battle. But the best defense is a good offense. If we take a wait and see attitude, then we will be unpleasantly surprised one day when our way of life is attacked. If we attack our would-be attackers with as much information as possible, then we have a chance of changing the reality of the world.