Of course, just as the advance of European civilization to its many triumphs was neither inevitable nor perhaps even probable (certainly not predicted or understood in its earlier stages), so, too, the current explosion of energy among the Islamic peoples may peter out, be directed down blind alleys or meet more powerful resistance than met the European expansion.
But as our government -- and its Republican critics -- flounders around trying to respond to and explain each new current Islamic "event," we should all be vastly more modest in our confidence that we really understand what forces are unfolding.
At such a moment of major historic discontinuity, it is dangerous to assume that the trends and conceptions of world events with which we have been living (and thriving) for generations still apply.
If we are facing an emerging flood of civilizational energy from Islam, how might we think about a response? When a literal flood comes, people either run from it, build walls to resist it or try to channel and divert it. It would be unusual for the first thought to be to jump into the arriving flood.
After Sept. 11, with what we thought we knew then, our government reasonably tried the second method -- resist it: both at home and abroad. Certainly, we should persist with that strategy regarding the direct threat from the terrorists.
But as at least some of us think we see these larger forces emerging, it would make sense to, where feasible, get out of its way. Now might be a very good time not to get further engaged in the Middle East -- which may well see decades of violence as this Islamic energy works its way through its peoples and nations.
Of course, the feasibility of removing ourselves from the Middle East is limited by our reliance on Middle East oil. We must surely, if it comes to it, defend the Saudi and other gulf oil fields, the Bahrain pipelines and the Suez Canal. But intervention should be limited only to our most vital national security requirements.
Beyond that, the first policy imperative that should come from these events is for a Manhattan Project sense of urgency to massively and quickly increase our domestic (and other politically safe) oil production, while the humans for which our government should provide humanitarian relief and nation-building services should be limited to American humans.
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.