My thanks to Steve for the chance to guest blog. Reaching back to early March, I was struck by a NY Times piece by David Brooks entitled “It’s Not Isolationism, but It’s Not Attractive” on March 5, 2006. His thesis was that the US is not isolationist, but the Arab/Muslim world has set itself aside as the exception in today’s world. Exceptionalism aside, Brooks used the phrase “crescent menace” (at least he didn’t capitalize it) to sweep all of the Arab/Muslim world into one overarching threat. The phrase brought back memories of the “yellow peril” and the “red tide”, not to mention the “evil empire”. I did check as to whether this phrase has gotten traction since then, but didn’t see much on the Web. My point is how easy it is to construct clever catch phrases, ones that if incorporated into the popular lexicon can become exceptionally damaging. Lets hope that this one doesn’t have legs.
Brooks suggested that the US needs to wall off the crescent menace. While he didn’t indicate a physical barrier, I wonder whether the current enthusiasm for a fence/wall on the US southern border is a surrogate for walling off the crescent menace. In checking with my friends and relatives in the “angry white man” community, I found a lot of confusion about terrorists crossing the border mixed in with illegal/economic immigrants. More straight talk and data about suspected terrorist transiting our borders would be helpful. It’s disturbing how walls seem to be the answer to so many problems.
Ron Stoltz is a national security enthusiast working at the intersection of technology, policy and politics.