Ralph Peters has a brilliantly straightforward op-ed in today's New York Post on the realities of the the Arab world:
Iraqi democracy hasn't yet failed entirely. But it looks as if it might. President Bush needs to face that possibility. Managing the regional and global consequences will be his responsibility. We will have to fight on elsewhere - with more realism and, regrettably, less idealism....
....Arabs in the United States are as capable of functioning within a democratic system as anyone else. They're just as American as any other citizens - because their families escaped the Middle East.
Arab states are another story: Their social, political, economic and cultural structures leave them catastrophically uncompetitive with the developed world. Societies divided down the middle by religion, inhibited by tribal loyalties and conditioned to accept corruption can't build healthy democracies.
Above all, societies and cultures that refuse to accept responsibility for their own failures can't build democracies....
A culture of blame prevents moral, social and political progress. This is a self-help universe. The nonsensical Arab insistence that all Arab problems are the fault of America and Israel (or the Crusades) ignores the fact that Arab civilization has been in decline for 700 years - and has been in utter disarray for the last 200.
This is a homemade failure. Through their own choices, cherished beliefs, values and norms, Arabs have condemned themselves to strategic incompetence. No society that oppresses women, denies advancement on merit even to men, indulges in fantastic hypocrisy, wallows in corruption, undervalues secular learning, reduces its god to a nasty disciplinarian and comforts itself with conspiracy theories will ever compete with us.
The question has been asked before: Despite the massive influx of petrodollars over a half-century, where are the great Arab universities, the research institutes, the cutting-edge industries, the efficient, humane governments, the enlightened societies?
Arab terrorism isn't about redressing wrongs. It's about revenge on a successful civilization that left the dungeon-cultures of the Middle East in the dust.
It's now up to the Iraqis to succeed - or become yet another pathetic Arab failure. If Iraqis are unwilling to grasp the opportunity our soldiers and Marines bought them with American blood, it's their tragedy, not ours....
Read it all.