One of the biggest ongoing problems of U.S. foreign policy is a failure to understand what we’re really up against. This problem goes back decades. In Theodore H. White’s America In Search of Itself, there is this telling passage about the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979:
Of the negotiating effort, the most biting summary was that later made by Captain Gary Sick of U.S. Naval Intelligence. “Nobody knew what kind of person Khomeini was,” said Sick…”In every day of this early crisis,” he said, “and right through until this day, there’s been this American inability to understand the true fanaticism of this man, not moved by any sense of compassion, by any concern for law, by any understanding of international tradition. We’d been dealing with people like Kim Il-Sung, Mao Tse-tung, and other dictators. So it was difficult for us to grasp the total, unyielding, unwillingness of this man to consider any other factor outside of his own limited view of the world. Khomeini was beyond the experience, if not the imagination, of anyone in the United States government. We made that mistake repeatedly — of trying to deal with Khomeini as if he were a government.”
Khomeini’s Islamic regime was a government, but not in any sense that American diplomats were used to dealing with. What set Khomeini and his regime apart from the likes of Kim and Mao was Islam, and few, if any, foreign service professionals in the State Department understood that or knew how to deal with it.
This willful ignorance persists and his gotten worse, with the Bush/Obama policies of denying that the jihad terror threat has anything to do with Islam. The wrong diagnosis of the problem leads to the wrong solutions being applied. This is true of the Israeli/”Palestinian” conflict, the incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan, the immigration issue, and more.
That’s why I wrote The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS, the first and only comprehensive one-volume treatment of jihad activity from the beginning of Islam, around the world from Spain to India and elsewhere, told in the words of eyewitnesses and chroniclers who were close to the events. This is the history that most Americans don’t know, and that American policymakers need to know. If Jimmy Carter’s State Department had known what is in the book when they were deal with the Iranian hostage crisis, the world would likely be very different, and calmer, today. If American Presidents and policymakers had known what was in this book when trying to broker peace between Israel and the “Palestinians,” and trying to establish Western-style republics in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of lives and trillions of dollars would not have been wasted.
The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS reveals what American policymakers didn’t understand in 1979, and still don’t now, to our catastrophic detriment. Give a copy to the State Department official you love! Preorder your copy here.