Lewis argues for regime change in Iran, but urges the West to be cautious in the way it goes about promoting it. Iran, he said, is a nation with a long and proud history. He believes the West must not "give Iran a patriotic excuse" it could use to ignite nationalist passions. Young Iranians "hate their rulers," Lewis said, and the message from the West, which should be conveyed to them via social media, should affirm Iran's ancient history and Persian roots. That history, he believes, can be used to overcome the religious fanatics now running the country.
Lewis, who has seen a lot in his nearly 100 years, believes the Middle East will become less important over time. The decline of Arab and Islamic nations, he thinks, will continue as the world discovers new sources for fossil fuels and alternatives to oil, the primary product these countries supply to the world. As income from oil declines, Lewis believes increased migration, mostly to Europe, but also to the United States, risks changing Western cultures. That could mean that Islamic domination could be achieved through immigration, not war.
In the meantime, Israel is faced with an existential threat, partially of its own making. I argued against the unilateral ceding of Gaza to the Palestinians. It didn't take a prophet to foresee terrorist groups using Gaza to launch attacks against Israeli civilians. If Israel invades Gaza again, there will be more pictures of dead civilians. But even if a ground effort is successful and Hamas is partially or entirely neutralized, that won't solve the problem.
New terrorists will arrive. The cycle of war will repeat. It's a real-life "Groundhog Day."
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