Mark Steyn on the Gaza inflagration:
On Christmas Eve, Samuel Huntington died at his home at Martha's Vineyard. A decade and a half ago, in his most famous book "The Clash Of Civilizations," professor Huntington argued that Western elites' view of man as homo economicus was reductive and misleading – that cultural identity is a more profound behavioral indicator than lazy assumptions about the universal appeal of Western-style economic liberty and the benefits it brings.
Very few of us want to believe this thesis.
"The great majority of Palestinian people," Condi Rice, the secretary of state, said to commentator Cal Thomas a couple of years back, "just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do."
Thomas asked a sharp follow-up: "Do you think this or do you know this?"
"Well, I think I know it," said Secretary Rice.
"You think you know it?"
"I think I know it."
I think she knows she doesn't know it. But in the modern world there is no diplomatic vocabulary for the kind of cultural fault line represented by the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, so even a smart thinker like Dr. Rice can only frame it as an issue of economic and educational opportunity. Of course, there are plenty of Palestinians like the ones the secretary of state described: you meet them living as doctors and lawyers in Los Angeles and Montreal and Geneva … but not, on the whole, in Gaza.
The whole piece here.