Jamie Glazov’s new book, “Showdown with Evil: Our Struggle Against Tyranny and Terror,” is a fascinating collection of 29 interviews that he has conducted as editor of Frontpagemag.com. The interviewees are leading intellectuals and newsmakers who have devoted considerable brainpower to the issue of modern terrorism, including Victor Davis Hanson, Norman Podhoretz, Christopher Hitchens, Phyllis Chesler, Andrew McCarthy, Theodore Dalrymple, Kenneth Levin, Robert Spencer, Andrew Klavan, David Horowitz and William F. Buckley, Jr.
The result is a thought-provoking, if frightening, look at the world situation.
Glazov is well-qualified to conduct these interviews. His parents were dissidents in the former Soviet Union. When he was 7 years old, they were given the choice of emigrating or being imprisoned in the Gulag. They left, and both of his parents wound up as university professors. Glazov himself earned a Ph.D. in history with specialties in American, Russian and Canadian foreign policy. He clearly understands the value of freedom and the need to fight for it.
The interviews are fairly short – 3 to 18 pages each – so they are quick and easy to read. In most cases, the interviewees discuss books that they have recently written, and the content is riveting. The novice looking at this field will be shocked, but even those well-versed in the subject will learn much.
For several years, I have taught a class on “Terrorism and the Law” at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Despite having followed these issues fairly closely, I was surprised to read about the terror-related connections of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group that presents itself as sort of an Islamic Anti-Defamation League. American philosopher Noam Chomsky’s praise of Hezbollah also surprised me, though maybe it should not have.
I was not surprised to learn about the communist orientation of “social justice” work in many churches, but I enjoyed seeing David Horowitz call it “the political left’s Shariah – the divine law instituted on earth.”
Nor was I surprised to read former KGB Agent Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy discuss how that agency penetrated the United States by infiltrating the churches. He also wrote about the “useful idiots” of the American left who were easy to exploit for communist causes. Author Paul Kengor makes a strong case that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy was one of that group.
For me, the most frightening interview may have been the one with Brigette Gabriel, one of the leading terrorism experts in the world and the author of two New York Times best sellers: “Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America” and “They Must be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It.”
Like many modern observers, I keep hoping for moderate voices of Islam to emerge. Gabriel, however, explains, “A moderate Muslim is a non-practicing Muslim,” and she goes on to say, “In debates between moderates and the radicals about the Koran, the radicals always win the arguments, because Islamic law is on their side.”
Abul Kasem, an ex-Muslim, makes the argument that racism is inherent is Islam. In fact, he says that Mohammed was “a white supremacist; He does not like black faces; He likes white faces.”
Kasem argues that “Islamic law is heavily biased to establish the supremacy of the Shiite Arabs.” This racial element may shed some light on the curious relationship that Hitler had with Arab forces during World War II.
Glazov’s interview with Natan Sharansky is perhaps the best in the book. In this exchange, the former Soviet dissident and political prisoner explains why moral clarity – lacking in our current situation – is so important when it comes to international conflict:
When Ronald Reagan called the U.S.S.R. an evil empire, he was fiercely criticized by many in the West who saw him as a dangerous warmonger. But when we in the Gulag heard of Reagan’s statement, we were ecstatic. We knew that once there was no moral confusion between the two types of societies, once good and evil were kept separate, the Soviet Union’s days were numbered.
Sharansky goes on to explain that dissent always depends on the price one will pay. Thus, Gandhi “would not have had one follower, let alone millions, in Hitler’s Germany.”
Sharansky became a dissident when he felt the world would stand with him (and the cost of dissent was thereby lowered). That came only after moral clarity – which is still missing in the current conflict.
The interviews in “Showdown with Evil” should be read by everyone concerned about the modern conflict between freedom and tyranny. They challenge and ultimately disprove the portrayal of the United States as an outmoded society, present ideas about how to rebuild this nation as the global leader and make clear why that would be good (and perhaps necessary) for the future of the world.
Glazov’s book is an easy read, but one word of caution: this is a “gateway book.” It will make you want to read the other books that are discussed in the interviews. I added several of them to my “must read” list. If they live up to the promise of “Showdown with Evil,” reading them will be time well spent.
Ronald J. Rychlak is a professor of law and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Mississippi School of Law and author of several books, including “Hitler, the War, and the Pope.”