Monday, December 06, 2004

Great Post by Arthur Chrenkoff

I enjoy reading a number of blogs, but few more than Chrenkoff blog. For anyone on here that has not read him, check out the post linked in the title. He is spot on when it comes to pretty much anything on the WoT.

One point made by Arthur stands out to me:

The Islamist rage is supported by the twin pillars of deep-seated resentment and totalitarian vision. There is the general sense of shame and humiliation that an once powerful Islamic world is now dominated by the infidels, politically, militarily, economically, and culturally. The second and connected issue is the desire to re-create a theocratic Caliphate that will first encompass and subsequently expand the Islamic world. The West has to be fought because its vision is totally incompatible with the Islamist one - in this context the Great Satan essentially means the Great Seducer, and thus ultimately a spiritual threat. Its democracy, liberalism, and materialism will always lead good people astray from the one true path; hence for the fundamentalist Umma to survive and thrive the temptation has to be permanently eliminated - either by the annihilation or, preferably, the ultimate conversion of the infidel world.

Everything I have learned in school, through my own research, and in following this issue over the years backs this up. I remember reading years ago that the Ottoman Empire was so unprepared for the shift in power between it and the perceived barbarians in the West that they had no concept for diplomacy in the European sense. Prior to this reversal in fortunes, Ottoman diplomacy was simply dictating the terms to the opponent. If the opponent accepted, that was fine. If not, they were conquered. They actually had to study European bureaucratic diplomacy when things started to fall apart for them.

After 9/11, I attended a panel discussion where one of the panelists was Alan Wolfe from Boston College. On a panel full of IR types, Doctor Wolfe seemed a bit out of place. He primarily studies the intersection of politics and relgion in American public life. However, on this day, he was discussing the possibility to rapproachment with the terrorists or some of the regimes that supports them. He argued that this was simply not possible and that it was a good thing. His argument and supporting points, as I remember them, were:

  • The reasons the terrorists hate us are actually the best things about the US and liberal democracies in general. To meet their demands would destroy so much about ourselves that we would gain peace, but at a terrible price that would result in the destruction of our virtues.
  • First, Islamists hate our tolerance of religion. It is an anathema to them and represents a fundamental to challenge to their view of the world, which breaks down to the believers and the unbelievers.
  • Second, we treat women with equality. In a liberal society, a women is like a man - an end to herself, rather than a means to an end. This is a challenge to their entire social order. For every movie beamed into the Islamic world that shows strong, liberated women, there is a corresponding rise in the hatred of America. From Britney Spears to Madonna to Baywatch to movies and TV, this is the case.
  • Lastly, we welcome in those that dare to speak out and stand up against their vision for a Islamist based society. We welcome these people in and provide them with safety, opportunity, and the continue to spread their messages.
Wolfe argued this passionately and convincingly. It is one thing to desire peace. After all, who would not wish to see a world without war, the threat of terror, and a peace of all nations. However, there is a tremendous difference between seeking peace and accepting peace at any cost.