The eternal prayer for “World Peace” is a mantra for beauty queens, Christmas cards, and politicians. It is not now, nor has it ever been, a realistic hope for mankind.

There have always been evil people in the world, people whose narrow world-view is to covet and destroy the things that other people treasure – their wealth, their jobs, their families, their beliefs, and their lives. They derive pleasure from bringing grief to others. For the evil men and women in this world, their obsessions are the antithesis of peace for the rest of us. What brings them satisfaction is what brings us pain, terror, heart-wrenching grief, and hopelessness.

This was true in the days of the Bible, when Cain murdered Abel; and it was true in the days of the 12th and 13th centuries when Ghengis Khan cut a ruthless path through Asia and Europe that left uncounted millions dead in his wake; it was true when in the days of the Crusades, Christian warriors cut a murderous path across Europe and the Middle East, brutally killing Jews, Muslims, and even other Christians in their quest to “save the Holy Land from the infidels”; and it was true in the 20th century when Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin savagely murdered nearly 20 million people. World domination was their mission. World peace was the last thing on their minds.

And today, in our own lifetime, when the Taliban leaders ordered women to be covered from head to toe in all-concealing burqas, and publicly executed those who accidentally showed even an ankle or wrist, world peace, or even the peace of the Afghan people, was hardly in their thoughts.

And when ISIS soldiers attacked the Yazedi population of Mount Sinjar; when they murdered thousands of Yazedi men and sent their wives and their youngest daughters into sexual slavery, world peace was the last thing on their minds.

And when they decapitated young boys in the public square for missing prayers or listening to music, and raped little girls in the name of Allah, world peace was never on their minds.

From time immemorial, there has been no dearth of men whose unimaginable evil has caused the incalculable suffering and death of untold millions. World peace was always the last thing on their minds.

As long as there are men and women who believe they will be rewarded if they die for their religion while in the very act of killing others, world peace is not an option.

As long as there are fathers and mothers willing to send their sons to be suicide bombers, who rejoice when their offspring die “as martyrs” while in the act of successfully murdering others, world peace is not an option.

When the members of the United Nations, whose stated mission is “creating the conditions to allow peace to hold and flourish”, join hands in doing just the opposite, world peace is not an option.

When there are still people in this world whose goals are to impose their religious or ideological world-views on everyone else at any cost, world peace is not an option.

The evil men and women who dwell among us, even as they dream of murdering us, destroy any hope for world peace.

And so, although World Peace should be the dream of all mankind, it is not one that is ever likely to be achieved. It is not, therefore, my New Year’s wish.

I still believe in the American dream, that this great experiment in governance by the people and for the people, is the world’s best and greatest hope. And although the American model is not for everyone, it can be, by example, “a light unto the nations”.

My wish, therefore, is that the leaders of our great nation will have the wisdom and the courage to recognize the threats that challenge us today and to address them with strength and conviction. I wish for America to heal itself quickly, and, by its own success, to contain evil where it is possible to do so, and to bring the gift of peace to as much of the world as possible.

Ilana Freedman is a veteran intelligence analyst and advisor in intelligence-led counter-terrorism solutions. Trained in Israel, where she lived and worked for sixteen years, she returned to the U.S., and served as CEO of Gerard Group International in Massachusetts until 2009. Since then, Ilana has been an independent consultant, working with major corporations and government agencies on security issues. Her global network of specialists and field assets provides an ongoing resource of critical, real-time intelligence and domain expertise. Ilana is the author of many articles on the terrorist threat to America and the West, and four books on Islamic terrorism.

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