We are not living a replay of 1938.


But if one sees our current problems in less apocalyptic terms, then another kind of “trahison des clercs” comes into view: the blind cheering on of a sometimes foolish military power embarked on unnecessary wars that cost more lives than they were intended to save. ~Ian Buruma

This article seems to read at least partly as a riposte to Paul Berman’s virtually novel-length essay on Tariq Ramadan in The New Republic earlier this month, in which he mainly lays into Buruma.  Even if this isn’t intended as a reply to Berman’s arguments about the confluence of Islamism and fascism, it is mercifully much shorter and also makes a good deal more sense.  At the end, I am also not left with the question, “So what?”  Buruma makes many of the right points that should encourage everyone to keep the scope of the threat from jihadis in perspective.  Misdiagnosis is a barrier to coming up with the proper remedy, and for years neocons and their confreres have been badly misdiagnosing the problem of jihadism.  A first step to understanding the nature of the threat is to stop talking about fascism.