Centinela: Has the Russian invasion of Ukraine created a new international order?
Daniel Pipes: It is too early to tell. Recall that George H.W. Bush proclaimed a “new world order” in 1990 but that did not happen. One hears many comparable statements now which might or might not come true.
Centinela: Covid-19, the Taliban victory in Afghanistan, the Russian invasion: a person can feel adrift. As a historian, how do you respond to these events?
Daniel Pipes: Reverting again over thirty years, in 1989 Francis Fukuyama famously suggested “The End of History?” but he too was wrong, as history is very much with us. Plague and invasion are constants in human history and should not greatly surprise us, even if the West had largely escaped them for three generations.
Centinela: Such chaos weakens our confidence in inherited 20th-century institutions. Should we reinforce or reform them?
Daniel Pipes: Definitely reinforce them: the West during the 20th-century reached heights of culture and governance that need to be strengthened.
Centinela: Might liberal democracy become obsolete?
Daniel Pipes: No, it is a key success in human history, the best way for humans to achieve and to be rewarded. Giving up on it would be like throwing away technology or romantic love.
Centinela: As a Middle East specialist, do you see the Abraham Accords of September 2020 as a turning point for the region?
Daniel Pipes: I do not. So long as Palestinians continue to reject the Jewish state of Israel, Israeli relations with states, even warm relations, will not fundamentally change the nature of Arab-Israeli conflict, much less the Middle East as a whole.
Centinela: Must Arab states accept a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the price to achieve stability and economic prosperity?
Daniel Pipes: Yes, they must accept either the two-state solution or some other formula that recognizes the permanent existence of a Jewish state. So long as Arab states refuse to do this, they are doomed to stagnation and disruption.
Centinela: Are some Western governments allied with radical Islam?
Daniel Pipes: Yes, nearly all Western governments work with and fund the lawful forms of Islamism. Islamists serve on school boards, teach at government-funded universities, receive subsidies for Islamic centers, serve in the bureaucracy, and gain political power.
Centinela: Immigration poses perhaps the most complex challenge to Europe; can the European Union solve it or will each country find its own solution?
Daniel Pipes: The EU bureaucracy, very competent at standardizing the content of sausages, is incapable of dealing with an existential challenge like immigration, so this will fall to national governments.
Centinela: Does Europe’s stability depend on the Middle East’s stability?
Daniel Pipes: To some degree, yes, but even more so on African stability, as immigration from Africa will likely far surpass that from the Middle East.
Centinela: Are Europe and the United States sufficiently aware of future issues, such as migration from Africa and competition with China in Southeast Asia?
Daniel Pipes: No and yes: Africa’s challenge remains obscure in the West but China’s is very clear, both in Southeast Asia and in many other regions.
Centinela: Can you recommend an author to help understand the world around us?
Daniel Pipes: I learn much from reading or listening to Victor Davis Hanson, an American historian of ancient Europe who has great insight into current issues.
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