David Frum, in his article Conned by Hamas asks (emphasis mine),
It’s certainly handy for Hamas that a wave of violent protests against four-month-old Danish cartoons should have materialized at exactly the same moment that they won the Palestinian elections, isn’t it?
Some cynics might even wonder if the supposedly “spontaneous” protests that have erupted in police states like Syria and Iran in the week since Hamas’s victory might not be quite so spontaneous as they look–that maybe indeed those police states helped incite the riots.
Iran, for example, may soon find itself called before the UN Security Council to answer for its clandestine nuclear program. Last year, Denmark was elected a rotating member of the UN Security Council for 2005-2006. In June, Denmark assumes the Council’s presidency. Iranian endorsement of attacks on Danish interests sends a powerful message to the Danish government: Be careful. Punish us, and we can punish you.
Indeed, with Denmark set to assume the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, the flames of the cartoon controversy have been fanned by Iran and Syria. This is critical since the International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to refer Iran to the Security Council and demand sanctions. At the same time, Syria is under scrutiny for its actions in Lebanon. Both Iran and Syria cynically want to embarrass the Danes to achieve their dangerous goals.
Irwin and M. both sent this article by Victor Davis Hanson, who asks, What Will Europe Really Do?,
Finally, the Europeans who despised the unilateral and preemptory George Bush will start to grate at his new multilateral side even more. Be careful what you wish for, especially when an American leader may now not necessarily be such an easy target of caricature—or may not always do the dirty work of fighting jihadists from Pakistan to the Sunni Triangle.
Instead, by letting the Europeans take the lead with the Iranian negotiations, and keeping nearly silent about the cartoon hysteria, the United States essentially has told the Europeans, “Here is the sort of restrained sober and judicious global diplomacy that you so welcome.”
Because of slated troop withdrawals from European bases, and a new American weariness with the old anti-Americanism, some Europeans are beginning to recoil at the idea that they might well be on their own—and in a war against fanatical enemies that they have appeased and without rational friends that they have estranged.
Thus, while many commentators have quite rightly been drawing attention to the “clash of cultures” between Islam and the West, there is another less obvious clash, which lies at the heart of Western society – or, at least, in the minds of the political élites. That is the “clash of definitions” between the victim and the aggressor. And, since the “cult of the victim” figures so highly in the mindset of the élites, once a preferred victim group has been so defined, it cannot be then reclassified as an aggressor without tremendous intellectual upheaval and massive heart-searching.
So it is that the élites are caught in a trap of their own making. As long as Islamic fundamentalists remain ensconced in (or associated with) the EU’s favoured “community of victims”, Frattini and his fellow-travellers can never denounce them. That, of course, also means that they can never get to grips with the problem.
As David Frum said, “It is a great mistake to assume that because people act in an intemperate or extreme way that they must be irrational or delusional“. The cartoon jihad is serving its purpose. I would not be at all surprised if there are copycat demonstrations in Latin America.
Shrinkwrapped takes Another Look at the Cartoon Wars and the size of the protesting crowds.
Update While reporting that the
Pakistan cartoon violence spreads, and asking How can the row be resolved?, the Beeb excercises editorial judgement by placing three-year-old photos as its top story: New Abu Ghraib images broadcast.
Because nothing beats adding further oil on the fire.
Update The Beeb isn’t reporting about it, but Barcepundit has a post on yet another thing the media won’t be highlighting: the abject failure of the Iranian revolution’s celebrations. Barcepundit’s post is in Spanish but he links to English articles.