Third Time Lucky?

It is not impossible, explained Professor Lewis in Washington, that this time the Muslims will succeed. They have clear advantages. They have fervor and conviction. They are self-assured of the rightness of their cause. In Europe we spend most of our time in self-denigration and self-abasement. The Muslims are loyal and have discipline, and perhaps most important of all, demography on their side. Natural increase and migration are producing major population changes. It can lead to significant majorities in some European countries.

The West, however, still has some significant advantages: knowledge and freedom. In Muslim countries the term freedom was and is a legal concept. One was free if one was not a slave. The Western interpretation is making headway. It is becoming more and more understood, and more and more desired. The West may after all survive the developing struggle and freedom in the Western brought to the Middle East.

The clear Muslim strategy (in the Third Phase a conglomerate of Islamic states, mainly Iran, terror groups and insurgents well explained in the term islamofascists) gives us reason to reflect. Maybe the Third Phase of Lewis is also a Second Cold War. Like in the war with the Soviet Union the enemy is seeking the demise of Western democracy. The islamofascists are seeking technological advances to be used to threaten all Western populations. The conceptual strategic clarity is similar to that of the Bolsheviks. So far the islamofascists are inferior in number, wealth, and weaponry but they are attracting support outside the Middle East: Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea to mention a few states.


The center of the ongoing new Cold War is Iran. The regime in Teheran is seeking to achieve the status of a global power (see David Hazony’s article “Cold War II – What Islamist Iran has in common with the Soviet Union”, Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2007).

“Like the U.S.S.R., Iran is an enemy that even the mighty United States will probably never meet in full force on the battlefield and instead must fight via its proxies, wherever they are found. Like the Soviet Union, the ayatollahs’ regime is based on an ideological revolution that repudiates human liberty and subjects its political opponents to imprisonment and death, a regime which, in order to maintain its popular support, must continue to foment similar revolutions everywhere it can, to show that it is on the winning side of history. And like the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the Iranian regime today has two clear weaknesses, which could ultimately spell its downfall: economic stagnation and ideological disaffection.”


There is much to learn from the endgame with the Soviet Union in the 1980s. A wide range of fronts were opened: military, technological, diplomatic, psyops, covert operation, and public relations. Escalating the arms race and through trade sanctions it was possible to show that the regime was headed for collapse. Bold statements (as President Ronald Reagan’s speech in Berlin in 1987) the West emboldened the internal opposition in the Soviet tyranny and the subjugated nations of Eastern Europe. Also anticommunist resistance was encouraged from Latin America to Africa and Afghanistan. Expansion was halted and rollback achieved. The goal was to make it clear to the Soviet elite that they were on the wrong side of history. The shift had, however, to start at home in America amd in Western Europe :

“A belief that victory was possible, that the Soviet Union was impermanent, and that concerted effort could change history. It required a new clarity of purpose”.

Iran should be an easier target than the Soviet Union. Relentless pressure on the regime in Teheran (destabilizing the hard core of the rulers through an insurgent war, ever more serious sanctions etc.) could start a chain of events similar to those during the 1980s in the fight against the Soviet tyranny. There are many enemies in the present Cold War besides Iran but defeat of Iran could turn the tide of the ongoing war. Today’s conflict with Persia/Iran is not new. As Victor Davis Hanson (in he article “The Twenty-Five Hundred Years’ War”, March 30, 2007 in – A Magazine of Ideas – Online) points out Westerners have always viewed their relations with Persia in terms of freedom versus despotism. There has however, from time to time, been hopes for change. Classic historian Xenophon believed that Cyrus the Younger was a pro-Western reformer who might bring Persia into the Hellenic world. The reforming Shah Reza Pahlavi for a long time was regarded as a ruler that could incorporate ideas from the West.

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