Monday, May 10, 2010
Fouad Ajami's essay in today's WSJ simply has to be the must-read column of the day. I'll reproduce the last paragraph so that you have reason to read all those that precede it:
This is a long twilight war, the struggle against radical Islamism. We can't wish it away. No strategy of winning "hearts and minds," no great outreach, will bring this struggle to an end. America can't conciliate these furies. These men of nowhere—Faisal Shahzad, Nidal Malik Hasan, the American-born renegade cleric Anwar Awlaki now holed up in Yemen and their likes—are a deadly breed of combatants in this new kind of war. Modernity both attracts and unsettles them. America is at once the object of their dreams and the scapegoat onto which they project their deepest malignancies.
Why this is true is the great question, and Ajami only begins to answer it. And then, of course, one can understand the causes of the war without agreeing on the many possible means for emerging victorious.
To quote from Hilaire Belloc on the rise and quick spread of Islam in the 7th century..
"We have just seen what was the main cause of Islam's
extraordinarily rapid spread; a complicated and fatigued society, and one
burdened with the institution of slavery; one, moreover, in which millions
of peasants in Egypt, Syria and all the East, crushed with usury and heavy
taxation, were offered immediate relief by the new creed, or rather, the
new heresy. Its note was simplicity and therefore it was suited to the
popular mind in a society where hitherto a restricted class had pursued
its quarrels on theology and government."
For the young Muslim in European society, maybe this sense of low status and under privilege, over complication, lawyers, accountants, taxes and debt.. all immediately simplified and forgiven under strict Islamism, is a powerful motivator?
Is it any coincidence that these morbid fruits were sown by an incompetent Jimmy Carter? Under his watch: the statist Islamic radicalization of Iran and Pakistan.
Jimmy Carter: President of USA 1977-1981
Zia ul-Haq: President of Pakistan 1977-1988
Ayatollah Khomeini: Supreme Leader of Iran 1979-1989
And now, in the incompetent era of Jimmy Carter II, the fruit blossoms.
Not a coincidence, but it has nothing to do with Carter. It has to do with the repeated failure of Arab Nationalism, Arab Socialism, Revolutionary Socialism, and all those other ridiculous labels to destroy Israel and the 'Imperialists.' 'Modern' Islamism (which is really just a neo-puritanical throwback and nothing new at all) developed as an alternative ideology with the added bonus of religious legitimacy, and it is generally brutally repressed in Arab countries.