Neither candidate, nor many of their loyalists, grasps what Geert Wilders describes in his speech to the Hudson Institute. One of them has accepted the idea that Iraq is the "central front" in the war of self-defense against Jihad, and believes that the "surge" is "working" -- but to what end, and how "victory" in Iraq should be defined, he never says and cannot say. Instead, he simply takes it for granted that we will all understand that it is better that Iraq be left unified and prosperous rather than as a "failed state."
The other candidate tells us that the "central front" in the "war on terror" is not Iraq but rather Afghanistan, and we are supposed to be mightily pleased with his "realism."
The first candidate, however, does recognize that Islam is a threat, a mortal threat, to the non-Islamic world. This is true even if he still uses such words as "extremist" and "radical" and even if he continues, irrationally, to believe that "success" in achieving the stated or hinted-at American goals in Iraq can be attained.
Yet neither he nor any of those who now claim to admit that the "surge has worked" have been asked to explain the most important thing: how that supposed "success" in Iraq will weaken the threat of Jihad in the places that really count. And above all, right now, one of the most important arenas of Jihad is Western Europe. Next to Israel and India, it is the most immediately threatened part of the Infidel world. What happens in Iraq, if it stays together and prospers, cannot conceivably mitigate the threat in Europe. It will have no effect on the deployment of the Money Weapon, on campaigns of Da'wa, or on the most important weapon – the one which Wilders is consumed by -- that is, demographic conquest.
Wilders reminds us that we, focusing idiotically on Iraq, the "central front" for McCain, or on Afghanistan/Pakistan, the "central front" for Obama, ignore these instruments of Jihad, and are seeing the historic heart of the West slowly but inexorably slip away. One of the candidates, a military man all his life, appears to believe that "war" is made by military means alone, which is entirely insufficient when the major instruments of Jihad (Money Weapon, Da'wa, demographic conquest) have nothing to do with, and cannot be countered by, military means.
The other candidate is deeply invested in the idea that most conflicts are the result of misunderstandings or of "poverty." From 9/11/2001 on he has continued to speak, or to prate self-assuredly, about how we must "reach out" to the Muslims rather than to do the more difficult, unpleasant, and indispensable thing, which is to take the contents of Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira seriously, to take Muslim beliefs seriously, and to understand that the division of the universe between Believers and Infidels is central to Islam, that the "struggle" or "Jihad" to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam is taking place wherever Muslims meet any resistance. And even in lands already dominated by Islam and ruled by Muslims, they continue to persecute, humiliate, and sometimes murder non-Muslims (see the southern Sudan, see Pakistan, see Bangladesh, see Iraq, see Egypt, see Indonesia) when it is felt that they are behaving with insufficient submissiveness, or can be blamed for whatever goes wrong. And in Muslim states and societies, a lot goes wrong.
For personal reasons, that candidate cannot possibly recognize Islam is not merely or mainly a religion, but also a politics and a geopolitics, and he cannot – his entire being goes against it – because of his background be fully trusted by leaders and peoples in Western Europe. They are unclear about where he stands and about whether they can level with him about the nature of the Muslim threat to the legal and political institutions, to the social arrangements, to the individual liberties, to the conduct of art and the enterprise of science, all threatened by the presence of large numbers of Muslims.
That large-scale presence of Muslims has created a situation, both for indigenous non-Muslims, and for other, non-Muslim immigrants (Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Christians from black Africa and the Caribbean, Latin American Catholics) that is more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous, than would be the case without such a large-scale Muslim presence.
Can the leaders of the Western world, those who manage to come to their senses in time, risk leveling about this with someone who bears a Muslim name and a Muslim father, even if he is, and we know he is, "not a Muslim"? Is not being a Muslim, under the circumstances, sufficient to allay fears? Barack Obama has had every chance to say something about the ideology of Islam; he has had every chance to meet with such famously articulate apostates as Ayaan Hirsi Ali. He has not said a word about the ideology of Islam that gives one confidence; he has made not a single move to meet with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or Wafa Sultan, or Ibn Warraq. In the past, in fact, he took tuition on the Middle East from Rashid Khalidi, a full-time PLO propagandist and professor (with a D.Phil. from the diploma mill for Arabs run out of St. Antony's by the late Albert Hourani).
Nor has Obama chosen to express his opposition to the war in Iraq as one which is wrong because military invasions, occupations, and transfers of wealth to "solve" problems in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan, the very problems that are caused by Islam itself, do not do a thing to weaken the Camp of Islam. He might have said that. He might have hinted at that. He might have done so. He might have asked McCain to explain, for example, just why keeping Iraq together, or keeping Afghanistan together, or keeping Pakistan intact, and pouring two trillion dollars into the overall effort, makes sense, when it might be far better to allow the sectarian, ethnic, and economic divisions or fissures within the Camp of Islam to work their inexorable way, dividing and demoralizing the Camp of Islam, and buying time so that the peoples of Western Europe can rouse themselves ("methinks I see a puissant nation" etc.) and save themselves, merely through new immigration and naturalization policies – policies that would allow for the halting of all Muslim migration, and for expelling those incapable of truthfully swearing allegiance to the Infidel nation-state, its legal and political institutions, and for constantly monitoring those who have obtained citizenship to make sure that they are not engaged in any activities that demonstrate that they perjured themselves when they took that oath, or have had a change of heart – "reverted" to the normal understanding of Islam – and so are no longer capable of being regarded as loyal citizens of any non-Muslim nation-state.
It is not wicked, but just, to take the minimum steps necessary to preserve the West, the culture and civilization of Europe. The last half-century and more of self-flagellation, by too many in the West, must come to an end. And it can come to an end if those whose task it is to protect and instruct us knew more about their own histories and the history of the West, and were able to describe it, and to defend it – not defend some transient thing, such as the untrammeled grotesque version of hyper-capitalism we have permitted, nor to defend the indefensible cheesiness of so much that goes on. Rather, they should be able to defend what is best and what is lasting and what needs to be preserved, and to preserve as well the conditions that permit more to be added to that civilizational store, despite everything, by others in the future.