Tony Blankley

As we start the seventh year since the Sept. 11 attacks, many in the United States and other countries seem largely baffled and conflicted about the nature of the world in which we live.

In the Muslim fifth of the world, probably about a quarter of the population wishes to clash with America and the West. Probably more than half do not wish such conflict but wrongly suspect that America is out to divide and suppress Islam.

Meanwhile, much of the Muslim Westernized elite (no more than 5 percent of the total population) -- who live in Muslim countries, America and the rest of the West -- rather desperately hope radical Islam and the Western response it has induced would just go away. It would prefer to live and prosper peacefully in the globalized Western world.

Muslim governments in the Middle East and elsewhere are playing a dangerous double game -- cooperating with Western intelligence and covert military efforts and jailing some of the terrorists, while at the same time giving rhetorical and financial support to the deranged paranoia about Americans and Jews that inflames the radical instincts of the Muslim masses.

In fairness, those governments, indeed most governments -- West or East -- focus on the short term. Moderate Muslim regimes realize that in the long term they would be overthrown if the radicals gain power, but in the short term they rhetorically support the madness of the radicals to avoid further inflaming them. So they risk losing tomorrow for the sake of staying alive today.

It might seem logical that Russia and China would have an interest in fighting radical Islam; instead they have decided that their strongest short-term self-interest lies in standing back and letting the U.S. get more deeply entangled in the struggle. Leaving America to carry the burden alone allows the Russian government to more effectively rebuild its influence over the former Soviet empire and enables China to strengthen its economy and regional hegemony.

Overwhelmingly in Europe, and to a lesser but still large extent in the United States, the vastly unpopular Iraq war has been conflated with the broader war against radical Islam. This regrettable fact has been compounded by the intense hatred of President Bush, who has prosecuted the war with such personal determination and whose own rhetoric has contributed to the confusion.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

©Creators Syndicate