Islam: the Folly of Appeasement
By Serge Trifkovic
FrontPageMagazine.com December 10, 2002
One in a series of articles adapted by Robert Locke from Dr. Serge Trifkovic's new book The Sword of the Prophet: A Politically-Incorrect Guide to Islam.
Our political and intellectual elite is remarkably inflexible in its secular liberal ideological assumptions. Having no serious religious faith of its own, its members refuse to take seriously the faith of others. Instead of pondering the complex problem of the relationship between the world's great religions - the West and the rest - they assure us that no religious problem exists.
The most outspoken character witnesses for the hastily nicknamed "Religion of Peace and Tolerance" were, unsurprisingly, non-Moslems, Sunday-morning popular entertainers, academicians steeped in political correctitude, and politicians. Their hasty claims about the distinction between "real" Islam and its violent aberrations were crudely ideological. They were based on their simple conviction that all faiths, having equal legal privileges, must in some sense be equally good, and "true," and hence capable of celebrating all others in the spirit of tolerance.
Why is the liberal elite so eager to vindicate Islam? It is a sign of the infinite arrogance of this elite that it imagines even at this late date that it can use and manipulate Islam to its own purposes. The rulers of the British Empire, in the days when more Moslems lived under British rule than under any other government, were arrogant enough to think they could "manage" Islam and get it to do things like accept the establishment of Israel. But even they never had the idea of using Islam as a tool to do their bidding outside itself, and they never suffered from the delusion that Moslems were really Englishmen under the skin.
Today, having enlisted militant Islam in the destruction of the communist threat to its world-wide dominance, our ruling establishment aspires to use it to erode the reliquiae reliquiarum of the Christian culture in the Western world, which it despises and would like to replace with a multicultural globalism that trivializes all cultures and thus liquidates the possibility of any resistance to a world organized solely for its profits. The twin spearheads of this attempt to co-opt Islam as a tool are multiculturalism and mass immigration.
It is the dirty little secret of our present global civilizational conflict that large sections of our own elite are ambivalent about which side they are on because Islam is an objective ally in their own struggle for globalism. (Of course, this marriage of convenience won't work for the globalists in the long run, but as with all doomed policies, this doesn't stop them from trying in the short run.)
Let's take immigration first. Leeds and Leicester have acquired the sight and sounds of Peshawar and Rawalpindi, Marseilles and Toulon the suburbs of Dakkar or Algiers, Berlin and Stuttgart a growing slice of Istanbul or Adana. This social experiment - Britain's Roy Jenkins, a liberal Home Secretary in the mid-sixties, admitted slyly that his contemporaries "might have considered matters more carefully" - antedated America's Cold War expedients, but the consequences of the experiment and the expedient have fused.
The assumption all along has been that the Islamic genie released by Carter National Security Adviser Dr. Brzezinski's "excellent idea" - enlisting radical Islam to fight the USSR in Afghanistan - could be controlled. Supposedly, it would be reduced to yet another humanistic project in self-celebration through its adherents' immersion in the consumerist subculture and through their children's multicultural indoctrination by state education. We were going to use Islam to fight Marxism, then destroy it by means of McDonald's and MTV.
Liberal Christianity, i.e. intellectually-bankrupt forms of Protestantism like the fast-declining "mainline" protestant denominations like the Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians, has collaborated in the whitewashing of Islam. They have been abetted by post-Vatican-II Catholics. The World Council of Churches shares the same worldview. It seeks "dialogue" with Islam "in order to learn from each other and to accept one another."
How have Western attempts to co-opt and manipulate Islam fared? Decades of covert and overt support for "moderate" Islamic movements, countries, and regimes, whenever they were deemed useful to Western foreign policy objectives-and especially if they have lots of oil, or prove willing to make peace with Israel, or both-have been an unmitigated moral and political disaster.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, the Gulf states, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria, Indonesia, and a few others have become the darlings of U.S. policy, valued as supposed bulwarks against "fundamentalism" of the Saudi or Iranian variety (Iran itself having formerly been a member of the favored group.) Operationally, this means not only overlooking the radical activities of the supposedly "moderate" Moslem states - for example, Saudi Arabia's and Pakistan's support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and assistance by virtually all Islamic nations to the thinly disguised radical regime in Sarajevo - but also a consistent American bias in favor of the Moslem party in virtually every conflict with a Christian nation.[i]
So we bombed Serbia, a nation that has never done anything to the US, in support of the Bosnian Moslems. Among its sorry preconditions of the Bosnian war was the capture of the leadership of the Moslem people by a group of untypical Islamist bigots: Izetbegovic was an extremist in any sense of the word; the Chechen leadership were far worse: unhinged fanatics who forced Russia into a war she was extremely reluctant to fight. The Kosovo UCK (a.k.a. KLA) were brigands financing their warfare by drug smuggling and slavery-prostitution rackets whom the Americans had on their official terrorism list until just a few weeks before going to war on their behalf.
Appeasement of Saudi Arabia in particular, and the string of related little despotic sheikhdoms along its eastern rim, is continuing even in the aftermath of September 11. It is as detrimental to peace and democracy in all affected regions as it is detrimental to the long-term security of North America and Europe. It does nothing to help the Moslem world come out of its state of deep denial about its responsibility for the worst terrorist outrage of all time, the denial as irrational as the culture that breeds it.
The beneficiaries of three decades of Western appeasement have been Osama bin Laden, his ilk, and his co-religionists all over the world. Conceivers and executors of Brezhinski's "excellent idea" paved the way for September 11 by failing to grasp Islam's inherent link with violence and intolerance. The unspoken assumption of the architects of failed Western policies, that generosity would be rewarded by loyalty, is mistaken: loyalty to unbelievers is not a Moslem trait. Cynical pragmatism, however, is - and, as Yohanan Ramati has remarked, "pragmatism prescribes that when dealing with fools one milks them for all one can get, demoralizes them until they are incapable of protecting their interests, and then deprives them of any influence they have left."
Islam might have been made much less threatening if the West had not conciliated or sponsored its most threatening exponents. Islam was exposed to a devastating collapse in credibility within the Arab world itself in the middle of the twentieth century. The forces of secularism were very strong indeed. But America opposed them every time because they were socialist, communist, or simply anti-American nationalist. America gave whole-hearted support to the worst fascist freak-show in the region: Saudi Arabia.
As the economies of real states faltered and halted in accord with Islam's eternal difficulty in establishing a viable economy upon a predator mindset, the Saudi petrodollars were poured into establishing violent fanaticism as the big alternative. Inexorably, the people who could have moderated Islam have been pushed aside by raving sheiks congratulated by US diplomats.
The Moslem world today has no love and very little respect for the Western powers in general and for the United States in particular. It was for many years a bitterly divided world, where individual rulers competed with each other for wealth, influence and sometimes territory. This was why the wealthy states of the Gulf Cooperation Council were ready to accept protection from American and other Western forces. But four decades of prattling about decolonization and "globalism" have made their mark. If globalism is a good reason for uniting Europe, preventing it is a better reason for uniting Moslem states (which have much more in common than the Europeans) on a policy to wrest power from the unbelievers.[ii]
The Moslem states are aware of Western greed and its political repercussions, and they trust that they will not be hindered in increasing their military, political and economic capacity to a point at which they can blackmail the West into accepting their political, cultural, or religious demands. After September 11, they are hoping that the US will settle for destroying Bin Laden and the Taliban and gradually resume its oil-dictated pro-Moslem policies. The crack whore of Western petro-consumerism will always return to her john for her next fix, however much she complains about how he treats here.
Such policies, drastically manifested in the "great game" under Presidents Carter and Reagan, have had their apologists in each subsequent American administration. Under Bush I, they were summarized in a statement by then-Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and North African Affairs, Edward Djerejian, who declared that the United States did not regard Islam or Islamic movements as the enemy, and recognized their right to participate in the political process.[iii] The spirit of the statement was reiterated and expanded upon by his successor, Robert Pelletreau, under Clinton. Pelletreau lamented in 1996 the fact that the "image of Islam in the minds of the average newspaper reader is often one of an undifferentiated movement hostile to the West and ready to use violence and terrorism to achieve its ends."[iv]
He distinguished the many "legitimate, socially responsible Moslem groups with political goals from Islamists who operate outside the bounds of law." A generation ago it was understandable, even excusable, for bone-headed God-fearing CIA bosses of the low-Church Protestant kind to work up a hatred of atheism and enjoy dealing with believers. They used Moslems in just the way they used the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1950s, the time of the Gladio. But appeasement by their feeble successors in our own time only breeds the contempt and arrogance of the Islamic radicals and fuels their limitless ambition.
Changing the self-defeating trend demands recognition that the West is in a war of religion, whether it wants that or not and however much it hates the fact. This war is being fought, on the Islamic side, with the deep and unshakeable condition that the West is on its last legs. The success of their demographic deluge enhances the image of "a candy store with the busted lock," and that view is reinforced by the evidence from history that a civilization that loses the urge for biological self-perpetuation is indeed finished.
Even after its unfinished victory in Afghanistan, America is viewed as a paper tiger, with F-16s and dollars but no strong heart and no long-term stamina. Indeed, it is uncertain that anything significant has taken place in Afghanistan: the Afghan Talibs were forced to change their coats as one set of Islamists took a lot of money for replacing another.
Mr. Bush may be hoping to domesticate Islam under the aegis of the non-denominational deism that is professed in his rhetoric. In the last century Americans, inspired by Protestant missionaries, conceived the ambition of getting closer to the Arab world and the Chinese than the imperialist Europeans. The attempts failed, but they left echoes in American thinking. The wish to patronize Islamic modernism is one. Hence the enduring fantasy of an American-Islamic alliance against extremism.
The Islamists are often quite worldly and some have accommodated themselves to the appropriation of great wealth. Nevertheless, the alliance Mr. Bush may be looking for is less available than ever. There may be no homo Islamicus - a Moslem is certainly not a programmed fanatic - but saying so is too often a preface to evasive talk about tiny minorities with no power.
The West cannot wage "war on terror" while maintaining its dependence on Arab oil, appeasing Islamist designs around the world, and allowing mass immigration of Moslems into its own lands. It risks being the star actor of a Greek tragedy in which the Gods make the unfortunate rulers mad before they destroy them.
On the ground, the reversal of existing policies means, inter alia, active Western help, diplomatic and when necessary military, to relieve Indonesia of West Papua and the Christian parts of the Moluccas, to expel Syria from Lebanon and create a Christian state in part of Lebanon, to create an independent Christian state in southern Sudan, to detach the Serb-populated and Croat-populated parts from Moslem-dominated Bosnia-Herzegovina, to stop Albanian attempts to take over Kosovo or Macedonia and to force the Arabs to give "land for peace" to Israel. It also means supporting India against Pakistan and independence for oil-producing, Christian provinces of Nigeria.
The inevitable argument against such a policy reversal will be that it will set off Islamic terrorism "on a never before experienced scale." It is as spurious as the logic that combines "globalization" and "promotion of democracy" with support of Moslem dictatorships. Islamic terrorism has been thriving because the existing policy is perceived as a sign of Western weakness.
The real problem facing the United States and Western democracy is not how the Moslems will respond to a policy hostile to their interests but whether the West still has the moral strength to adopt any policy causing its power-wielders temporary financial losses. Curbing their greed - this doesn't mean you personally, Pres. Bush, but it does mean some of your slimy oil-patch friends whispering in your ear - is a prerequisite for success in the inevitable conflict with Islam and indeed for maintaining US superpower status at all, as a nation that can be put on the run by these people simply is not a superpower.[v]
Just as in 1936 with the Nazis, checking appeasement requires a revolution in the West's political thinking. It requires a realization that safeguarding Western elites' economic interests from Moslem encroachment or confiscation may become impossible if such encroachments continue to be tolerated or encouraged. It also requires understanding that, as Reagan impolitely observed about Marxism, Islam regards lies, violence, and threats of violence as legitimate means of gaining political ends and that the only capacity Islam respects in an unbeliever is the capacity to use diplomacy or military force successfully against it.
Pandering to Islam's geopolitical designs, and sacrificing smaller Christian nations - Timorese and Sudanese yesterday, Serbs and Orthodox Cypriots today, Bulgars and Greeks tomorrow - is counterproductive: such morsels will only whet the Islamic appetite, paving the way to a major confrontation some time in this century. The price of delusions is going up. The time to sell off is now.
[i] James Jatras, Chronicles (1999), op. cit.
[ii] Yohanan Ramati: The Islamic Danger to Western Civilization http://www.westerndefense.org/special/TwinTowers2001.htm
[v] Yohanan Ramati, op. cit.
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