“I’ve been reading one of the great works of recent history, Robert Conquest’s Reflections on a Ravaged Century. His chapter on ‘Soviet Myths and the Western Mind’ is particularly fascinating, and ripe with parallels to our own battles today against Islamic jihad. As Conquest documents, many Western intellectuals and academics were delusional about the reality of the communist threat. For a host of reasons… many professors, pundits, politicians, and religious leaders refused to believe that Soviet leaders meant what they said about revolution and subversion…. Thus throughout the Cold War the Western resolve to resist Soviet expansionism was undercut by ‘peace’ movements, nuclear disarmament movements, calls for détente and ‘dialogue’, and claims of moral equivalence between the U.S. and the Soviet Union….
“Alas the lesson has not been learned. As we fight what Norman Podhoretz calls World War IV, the same refusal to take seriously the motives of the enemy, and the same bad Western habit of indulging our own superstitions at the expense of a clear understanding of the enemy, are compromising our actions and policies….
“For centuries now the jihadists have been telling us that they hate the infidel West because it stands in the way of fulfilling Allah’s mandate ‘to fight all men until they say “There is no god but Allah”.’ … Despite this centuries-long, consistent expression of jihadist doctrine, many in the West continue to dismiss it as an aberration or a deformation of Islam, and to look for other economic or political causes.
“Just as Sovietophiles during the Cold War dismissed Soviet expansionism as an understandable response to Western aggression or a traditional Russian anxiety over its long western border, so too today jihadist aggression is waved away as a natural reaction to neo-colonialist sins or autocrats at home or lack of economic development or even sexual frustration – indeed, anything and everything except what the jihadists plainly tell us is motivating them, and what millions of Muslims around the world who support the jihadists clearly understand to be the spiritual imperatives for jihadist violence.”
Bruce S. Thornton at the Victor Davis Hanson website, 4 October 2006