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Friday, September 15, 2006

Kissinger Warns of a "War of Civilizations"

Instead of being at odds over Middle East policy, the US and Europe must unite to prevent a possible "war of civilizations" between the Western and Muslim worlds, according to former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

In an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, Kissinger wrote: "A common Atlantic policy backed by moderate Arab states must become a top priority, no matter how pessimistic previous experience with such projects leaves one," referring to disagreements over the war in Iraq.

"The debate sparked by the Iraq war over American rashness vs. European escapism is dwarfed by what the world now faces," he continued. "Both sides of the Atlantic should put their best minds together on how to deal with the common danger of a wider war merging into a war of civilizations against the background of a nuclear-armed Middle East."

Kissinger argued that the coming challenge for the West is to come to terms with transnational groups such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, which are gaining power in the Mideast, typically at the expense of struggling democracies in the region.

UPDATE: Dr. Kissinger's comments have taken on even more prescience as a result of the recent controversy over Pope Benedict's comments about Islam. The more radical Muslim groups are rejecting the pope's apology, and some observers are becoming concerned that Catholic groups and landmarks could be targets of terror attacks.

Source: AFP