Dr.Daniel Pipes, a specialist on Islam, and founder and director of the Middle East Forum (MEF) think tank, describes in a recent article the fundamental changes the West has undergone in its approach to war, as well as the challenges posed for a democracy that can no longer count on the loyalty of its citizens. According to Pipes:
“As I wrote in 2005: “The notion of loyalty has fundamentally changed. Traditionally, a person was assumed faithful to his natal community. A Spaniard or Swede was loyal to his monarch, a Frenchman to his republic, an American to his constitution. That assumption is now obsolete, replaced by a loyalty to one’s political community – socialism, liberalism, conservatism, or Islamism, to name some options. Geographical and social ties matter much less than of old.”
With loyalties now in play, wars are decided more on the Op Ed pages and less on the battlefield. Good arguments, eloquent rhetoric, subtle spin-doctoring, and strong poll numbers count more than taking a hill or crossing a river. Solidarity, morale, loyalty, and understanding are the new steel, rubber, oil, and ammunition. Opinion leaders are the new flag and general officers. Therefore, as I wrote in August, Western governments “need to see public relations as part of their strategy.”
Daniel Pipes’ observations are also significant when one measures the impact the “main stream media” has on public opinion, which in turn affects governmental decisions, especially when the editorial/op-ed portion of the newspaper mirrors its overall reporting on US foreign affairs in general. A UCLA study published in Dec. 2005, proved an “imbalance” in the news reporting of US media, that was found to be overwhelmingly leaning towards the Left.
Any kind of “herd mentality” in news reporting will prove detrimental to the ascertaining of the truth, as well as enforcing a rigid conformity to the “officially approved version” of events. An “officially approved version” doesn’t neccessarily mean the state, but also the cottage industry of the main stream news media, where conformity to the accepted (ideological) version of the truth is paramount.
The BBC just recently admitted as much at an “impartiality summit:
‘There was widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness. ‘Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC’s culture, that it is very hard to change it.’
In one of a series of discussions, executives were asked to rule on how they would react if the controversial comedian Sacha Baron Cohen ) known for his offensive characters Ali G and Borat – was a guest on the programme Room 101.
On the show, celebrities are invited to throw their pet hates into a dustbin and it was imagined that Baron Cohen chose some kosher food, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a Bible and the Koran.
Nearly everyone at the summit, including the show’s actual producer and the BBC’s head of drama, Alan Yentob, agreed they could all be thrown into the bin, except the Koran for fear of offending Muslims.”
The challenges facing the West in its battle against Islamist Extremism are as complex as they are difficult to overcome. This doesn’t mean that victory isn’t attainable, but that the path towards that achievable goal will be full of disapointments and frustrations. In order for western society not to lose heart along the way, we must be keenly aware of all the pitfalls and obstacles that lie ahead. We in the West need to understand that our own Western media and democratic traditions can be used by the Islamists as powerful tools against us, and not succomb to their propaganda, especially when it’s being hand delivered to our front doorsteps. KGS