They just might get their Clash of Civilizations â€¦
It's more import than ever to recognize that there's never been a global war on terror -- that it's a sham, a ruse and a red herring. Reasonable people have to articulate that now, more than ever. If we don't, a real war between the "liberal" West and Islamic East -- that over which Neocons and Islamic extremists alike have been drooling for years -- might come to fruition.
I've argued in the past that the problem with calling the campaign against Islamic terror a "war" is numerical, not ideological: there are a few tens of thousands of potentially violent extremists dispersed around the world. They're not gathered in groups, and you can't distinguish them from ordinary civilians by looking. That makes it fundamentally a law enforcement problem (which at times may require Special Forces or other military support).
But it goes further than that. There's no global war between East and West because there are no discrete sides. There's no "West"; the Western democracies certainly agree that terrorism is a problem, but are perfectly divided about the means with which to address it. The United States and Israel stand alone in their "wars," the Russians have their "war" with the Chechens and the rest of the world does what simple logic dictates: they investigate terror cells, arrest the participants and jail them. Sometimes their security forces kill them. They've had quite a bit of success.