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5.0 out of 5 stars Words that illuminate like torches, 25 July 2008
This review is from: SHACKLED WARRIOR (Hardcover)
The redoubtable Caroline Glick is an outspoken commentator with profound insight into cultural currents, political trends and strategic developments in Europe, North America, Israel and the Middle East. In this collection of columns written from 2002 to 2007 she identifies and analyses the major threats facing Israel and the West. She insists that security, not peace, should be Israel's priority. Considered confrontational by some, Glick boldly challenges wishful thinking, duplicity and denial. The reader is immediately struck by her earlier predictions and conclusions that time has proved correct.

Arranged by theme, the chapters cover the war against the West and against Israel as its frontline representative, all aspects of the global Jihad, the Iranian threat plus the sinister nature of both the Jihadist & the Western appeasement ideology. Israel is the warrior shackled internally by a weak government, subversive political elite and treasonous academics & externally by its indecisive ally the USA, a hostile Europe and the international mass media that are overwhelmingly dominated by political correctness, moral relativism and multiculturalism.

Glick illustrates the gravity of the menace on the cultural, economic and military fronts, fearlessly charging Europe with betrayal, exposing the naivety of public discourse in the West and truthfully reporting the real goals of the Palestinian and Arab leadership as they articulate it. In the war of ideas, academia is the source and the mass media the disseminator of anti-Western pieties du jour of which the seeming benevolence masks a toxin of self-loathing, she argues convincingly. Amongst the most informative and insightful chapters are those on the media war against Israel and the USA, including analyses of the techniques. The double standards of certain "human rights" organizations are likewise exposed.

One example of the West's loss of confidence and fragmenting psyche is the divergence of rhetoric from reality. In the first place this phenomenon manifests in Western & Israeli gullibility - taking seriously the words of the enemy while turning a blind eye to its deeds. Secondly, the trajectory of Left-Liberal rhetoric on the terrorist threat has removed this ideological cluster so far from reality that people are noticing as evidenced by imploding newspaper sales, public distrust reflected in opinion surveys and the proliferation of dissenting voices in the blogosphere and other media.

In Europe, those who dare warn of the threat are demonized by the consensus-über-alles elites or intimidated like Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali who courageously defy the fate of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh. The media habit of lending equal weight to the statements of Western leaders and totalitarian monsters under the pretense of "objectivity" is offensive but overt moral relativism. When media present opinion as fact or slant the news by selective reporting, deceptive headlines & the use of scare quotes, they cross the line into propaganda. When organizations like the BBC insidiously demonizes particular groups and undermines western values in its entertainment programs the process becomes downright sinister. And when western media knowingly disseminate Palestinian propaganda they become complicit in evil.

Amongst her more disturbing observations are those - shared by French philosopher Chantal Delsol and authors like Bruce Bawer & Claire Berlinski - on Europe's rejection of the lessons of the Holocaust. The simplistic fallacies that nationalism is the ultimate evil and that war is never justified distort reality. The nature of nationalism, a neutral concept, must be judged by the manner of its expression. Pacifism permits evil to flourish; it is neither pious nor benevolent as it denies the concept of justice and even holds it in contempt.

The lesson of the Holocaust is that each individual is obliged to distinguish between good & evil and then to resist evil. Those who refuse to oppose beasts like Hitler, Stalin, Milosevic, Saddam, Bin Laden, Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad are not good people. Indifference in the presence of evil is passive endorsement. How often must history repeat itself before people realize that they have a responsibility to oppose it, that neither they nor their children are immune to its destructive effects? The warning in an old song: "What comes to one must come to us all", remains true.

The widespread cult of victim worship together with the projection of guilt has led to Holocaust fetishization in Europe. Glick contrasts the memorials to the dead with the anti-Zionist agenda of the intelligentsia and the political elites. The dead are cherished whilst the sins of their murderers are being projected on their surviving descendants. She is aware that the contemporary Antisemite is sophisticated, often a left-leaning academic who views crude expressions of his obsession with distaste.

Unmoved by Darfur, Tibet or Zimbabwe, he displays extraordinary fervor when it comes to the plight of the Palestinians. He heatedly defends Iran's right to acquire nuclear weapons (Israel has them!), and considers a unitary state the only solution to the ME conflict. He resents American hegemony whilst the idea of an "Israel Lobby" with undue influence on US foreign policy enchants him with an attraction ewotique. Consciously or subconsciously, the existence of the Jewish State gnaws at his soul.

Robert Kagan's The Return of History and the End of Dreams brilliantly complements Glick's work in which she considers the most critical perils to be Iran's ambition for regional hegemony through its nuclear program & support of terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas, the spread of a totalitarian Islamist ideology, the West's vulnerability caused by its dependence on Arab oil and the role of western worldviews that undermine our capacity for self-defense. She sees signs of hope in a rising public awareness, the sober outlook of some western political leaders and religious figures like Pope Benedict, the dedication of individuals who speak out in defiance of the consensus and the internet's abolition of media monopolies. Glick's is a voice of wisdom that shatters delusion, appealing to the civilizational foundations of justice, reason, truth and mercy that survive within us.
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Initial post: 29 Apr 2010 15:38:13 BDT
Paardestaart says:
Pieter, I came upon our page while searching for Eric Hoffer, and resorted to your other reading reports. They were very helpful and I have ordered quite some of the books you recommended, as we seem to follow the same trail. Thanks very much for your very readable comments!
Greetings from Amsterdam, Paardestaart
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