May 28, 2012
If we should follow the usual course of history, we should make war upon you for fear of what you may do a generation hence…. But we are willing to try a new approach. We respect your peoples and your civilizations as among the most creative in history. We shall try to understand your feelings, and your desire to develop your own institutions without fear of attack. We must not allow our mutual fears to lead us into war, for the unparalleled murderousness of our weapons and yours brings into the situation an element unfamiliar in history. We propose to send representatives to join with yours in a persistent conference for the adjustment of our differences, the cessation of hostilities and subversion, and the reduction of our armaments…. Let us open our doors to each other, and organize cultural exchanges that will promote mutual appreciation and understanding…. We pledge our honor before all mankind to enter into this venture in full sincerity and trust. If we lose in the historic gamble, the results could not be worse than those that we may expect from traditional policies. If you and we succeed, we shall merit a place for centuries to come in the grateful memory of mankind.
You have forgotten all the lessons of history and all that nature of man which you described. Some conflicts are too fundamental to be resolved by negotiation; and during the prolonged negotitiations (if history may be our guide) subversion would go on. A world order will come not by a gentlemen's agreement, but through so decisive a victory by one of the great powers that it will be able to dictate and enforce international law, as Rome did from Augustus to Aurelius. Such interludes of widespread peace are unnatural and exceptional; they will soon be ended by changes in the distribution of military power.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.