The extension of US gestures and concessions to Islamic terrorists, and the waiving of a US military option while negotiating with Iran's regime of terror, are perceived as weakness by terrorists, adversaries and allies of the US.
Such a policy ignores, or takes lightly, the objective and well-documented 1,400 year old past track record of Islamic terrorism, while emphasizing the subjective and speculative future track record of terrorists.
Such a policy erodes the US posture of deterrence, which is a prerequisite to the minimization of global turbulence, undermining US interests in the international arena, while bringing the threat of Islamic terrorism closer to the US mainland.
Such a policy is based on the assumption that Islamic terrorism is driven by despair, and the need to dwell on the despair (diplomatically and economically) rather than dealing with terrorism (militarily).
However, Islamic terrorism has been driven – since the 7th century – by the imperialistic religious vision to establish a universal Islamic society, dominating the world and subordinating the "infidel" to Islam, peacefully or militarily.
Such a policy is based on the assumption that Islamic terrorism is driven by US policy. However, Islamic terrorism has haunted the US since the late 18th century, during Democratic and Republican Administrations (e.g., the Obama and Trump Administrations).
*During the 1980s, it was US diplomatic, financial and military assistance which enabled the Mujahideen to drive the USSR out of Afghanistan. But, Mujahideen-related Islamic terrorists reacted in an anti-US terrorist offensive, which has persisted since 1996, culminating on September 11, 2001.
*In 2015, the US engineered the nuclear accord with Iran's Ayatollahs (the JCPOA), which generated a mega-billion dollar bonanza to Iran's treasury, in addition to unprecedented diplomatic benefits. But, Iran's Ayatollahs reacted by vastly bolstering their role as a regional and global epicenter of subversion, terrorism, civil wars, the proliferation of ballistic capabilities and drug trafficking in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, Europe, South and Central America, emerging as a leading threat to regional and global stability, in general, and US national and homeland security, in particular.
*In 2011, the US engineered a US-led NATO military offensive against Libya's Qadhafi, playing the key role in the toppling of the Qadhafi's regime by Islamic terrorists. But, in 2012, the Islamic terrorists took over the US Consulate General and the CIA compound in Benghazi, lynched the US Ambassador and three more Americans, and transformed Libya into a major platform of regional and global anti-US Islamic terrorism.
*In 1978/79, the US played a most essential role in the toppling of the Shah of Iran ("America's policeman in the Gulf") by Ayatollah Khomeini. But, the Ayatollas reacted by taking over the US Embassy, holding 63 American hostages for 444 days, and emerging as a key threat to regional and global stability, including threatening vital US interests abroad and on US soil.
*In 1982/83, the US sent its soldiers to Lebanon, in order to slow down Israel's military pursuit of Palestinian Arab terrorists. But in 1983, Palestinian and Islamic Arab terrorists truck-bombed the US Embassy and Marines headquarters in Lebanon, murdering 250 Americans.
*In 1993 and 2005, Israel made unprecedented concessions – which no Arab country ever did - by extending Palestinian Authority to major parts of Judea and Samaria (aja the 'West Bank') and the Gaza Strip, importing some 100,000 Palestinian Arab terrorists from Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen and the Sudan to areas which are critical to the existence of the Jewish State. The reaction by the PLO (Palestinian Authority) and Hamas to the unprecedented concessions has been an unprecedented wave of anti-Israel terrorism and hate-education, which reflect the Palestinian Arab vision of eliminating the Jewish State.
*In the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1990, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait extended Palestinian authority on their ground, triggering Palestinian Arab terrorism against those generous hosts, culminating in Arafat's and Mahmoud Abbas' collaboration with Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Hence, the Arab view of Palestinians as role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism and ingratitude. Therefore, the wide gap between the pro-Palestinian Arab talk and the anti-Palestinian Arab walk, as demonstrated by the actual opposition of pro-US Arab regimes to the establishment of a Palestinian state, which they assume would be another rogue entity, fueling further turbulence in the Middle East.
Against the backdrop of the aforementioned developments, one should not subordinate the reality of Islamic/Arab/Palestinian terrorism to well-intentioned oversimplification, lest it erodes the US posture of deterrence, which would play into the hands of Iran's Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood (the largest Sunni Muslim terror network from India through the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the USA), the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority, as well as Pakistan, Turkey, China and Russia.
Unlike the post WW2 German population, which was ready – historically, culturally, ideologically, politically and educationally – to accept democracy, peaceful-coexistence and human rights, the Islamic/Arab Middle East is not susceptible to these Western values and institutions, persisting in their 1,400 year old intra-Arab and intra-Muslim subversion, terrorism and wars, irrespective of US policy.
The assumption that Islamic/Arab/Palestinian terrorists will accord the Western/Israeli "infidel" that which they have yet to accord to one another – peaceful coexistence – is premature and divorced from reality.
Therefore, it behooves Western democracies, in general, and the US, in particular, to enhance their military posture of deterrence and pursue peace-through-strength rather than peace-through-gestures, concessions and retreats.
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, is author of "Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative", https://bit.ly/30aDayw