The policy announced for Afghanistan and Pakistan depresses. It’s all about training the locals. It’s all about helping them. It’s all about giving them aid, and still more aid, from the depleted, practically cupboard-is-bare coffers of the Americans, and other Infidel taxpayers. Far from reflecting “new thinking,” it is the mixture as before. It is the mixture, that is, that ignores the nature of Islam, the texts of Islam, the tenets and attitudes and atmospherics that naturally flow from those texts. Instead, those making policy (see, for example, my article “A Tribute to Bruce Riedel“) are still believers that “prosperity” among Muslims will do wonders. But did the “prosperity” brought by oil wealth make Saudi Arabia, make Iran, make any Muslim country, less of a threat than it was before it possessed that oil wealth? Or doesn’t economic prosperity simply allow for the leisure time to devote to spreading the doctrine of, and perhaps directly participating in, Jihad?
Those who fashioned this policy, or who are continuing, rather, the Bush policy of bringing this “prosperity” and “unity” to fictions called “the Iraqi people” and “the Afghani people” and “the Pakistani people,” when each of these countries is riven by ethnic and sectarian divisions, refuse to realize that the task of making Muslim states “prosperous” through the lavishing of Western aid (and that includes military aid and training) will not bring prosperity. It will not remove the ethnic and sectarian divisions. Above all, it will do nothing to decrease hostility toward Infidels, for that is in the Qur’an, the Hadith and the Sira, and no amount of aid can erase what remains, immutable, in the Qur’an, the “most authentic” of the Hadith, the Sira.
Furthermore, it is Islam itself that stands in the way of long-term prosperity for all Muslim states and societies. Look around the world. Where, among Muslims, is there prosperity? In the Muslim oil states, the prosperity, or rather fantastic unearned wealth, is the result of an accident of geology. What amazes is not the wealth, but rather that despite the fantastic unmerited wealth, which since 1973 alone has amounted to more than twelve trillion dollars, not one of these states has built a modern economy, and not one of them shows any signs of being capable of doing so. And in the non-oil Muslim states, such as Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, large sums have been and are being spent by Infidels, in torrents of Jizyah-aid (that is, aid that is given, and never reduced, by fearful Infidel donors, to Muslim recipients who exhibit no gratitude, and pocket the aid as their due from Infidels), without any sign of the kind of economic activity that, for example, the countries of East Asia have engaged in to pull themselves, without any such aid, out of poverty.
Then there is the disguised Jizyah, within Muslim countries, whereby wealth is extracted from the non-Muslim, industrious and entrepreneurial part of the population, as with the Bumiputra system in Malaysia that transfers wealth from the Hindus and Chinese to the Muslim Malays, while the real “sons of the soil” — the christianized or pagan tribes, the true indigenes — are ruthlessly driven off their ancestral lands by the Muslim Malays, and when they try to resist, are simply killed. In Turkey, the creation of a modern economy has been the result of the reforms put in by Ataturk, involving the systematic sidelining of Islam. And though today, in Turkey, one finds even some successful Muslim entrepreneurs, the general attitude, and the diminished role of Islam, has created the possibility for economic development even by Muslims as well as, more naturally, by the secular, more advanced, Turks.
Islam makes prosperity less likely — compare Singapore with Malaysia, or India with Pakistan — because of the general inshallah-fatalism, which discourages the kind of work that creates modern economies, but also because the more general discouragement of free inquiry, of any kind of questioning (for Allah Ta”Allah, Allah Knows Best), and the collectivism of Islam, all act as a brake on entrepreneurial activity, on new ways of manufacturing, or new ways of distributing goods or offering services. There are, in India, some entrepreneurs who call themselves Muslims. But they benefit from living in a country that is 90% non-Muslim, and where, furthermore, they are freer to take their Islam a little less seriously. But the odd Muslim billionaire is an exception, not the rule — except where the billions come from oil.
Furthermore, the new American policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan naively assumes, as did the previous, Bush-administration policy, that peoples in Muslim countries share the same view of what constitutes political legitimacy. They do not. Legitimacy for Believers in Islam is to be located not in the will expressed by the people, however imperfectly, but rather in the will expressed by Allah — perfectly — in the Qur’an, as glossed (for Sunni Muslims) by the Sunnah. The dreamy belief that “ordinary moms and dads” would like “freedom” in the Western sense, as Bush so famously said about Iraq, continues in the “new” (but very old) policy just announced for Pakistan and
For Muslims, the chief loyalty must be to Islam. No one has yet been able to show any texts, other than the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, upon which the so-called “extremists” rely, while it is easy to show that it is only by ignoring the texts that “moderate” Muslims can make their shaky case. Islam is more important than, superior to, the claims of the nation-state. Loyalty must be not only to Islam, but to other Muslims, when those Muslims are threatened by non-Muslims or when they are in conflict with them. Members of the Umma are taught that whenever other members of the Umma are in conflict with Infidels, the side of the Believers must be taken.
But at the same time, if the Muslim nation-state remains for its own Muslims an unnatural, novel, and still doubtful idea among Muslims (and the Infidel nation-state is owed no loyalty at all, for such loyalty would not, islamically, make sense), the real loyalty, aside from the loyalty to Islam and the Umma, is at the smaller level, the local level, the level of family, of clan, and of tribe. For the loyalty to clan, and murderousness toward members of other clans, see Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel (the Dogon, the Isaq, the Osman Mahamud of Somalia). For loyalty to tribe, see Anbar Province, or see the war, settled only by war, between the Al-Saud and the Al-Shammar), or see the wars of the Uzbeks and the Tadzhiks and the Pashtuns in Afghanistan, or see the Baluchis fighting in Pakistan, or see, see, see (fill in your own examples here). In other words, loyalty for Muslims is either to a concept greater than the nation-state (Islam and the Umma), or smaller than the nation-state (family, clan, tribe).
There is nothing in the announced policy that shows that those behind these policies have understood that the threat of Islam is worldwide, and that it is not based on novel texts, but on the immutable texts — Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira — of Islam. The concept of Jihad fell into desuetude over the last few centuries because, within the backwater of Islam, there was little ability to conduct Jihad. The last direct Muslim assault in Europe was by the Ottomans at Vienna in 1683. From then on, the decline of Ottoman power led to a series of defeats. In the Mediterranean, Muslim corsairs (often carefully listing their intended Christian targets or at least their intended hunting-grounds for such Christian shipping) preyed on the ships, and enslaved the seamen, of Christian powers, until the American Republic showed that military force could work. But that lesson wore off, and the French took control of Algeria in 1830 in order to put paid, once and for all, to such
attacks). The heyday of Muslim would-be “reformers” was in the early decades of the 20th century, when Muslim power seemed, and was, at its lowest point. The most intelligent Muslims began to see that Islam itself might have to be “reformed” to rescue Muslims.
Another kind of Muslim reformer was Kemal Pasha, that is Ataturk, who attributed the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to Islam itself. In order to avoid complete catastrophe for the Turks, in order to allow them to take part in the modern world, Ataturk — himself a Turkish war hero at Gallipoli, and a man ruthless enough to destroy mosques and imprison or kill clerics who opposed him — set out to systematically divorce the practice of Islam from the cultural and linguistic imperialism of the Arabs. He commissioned a Qur’an in Turkish, with accompanying tafsir or commentary in Turkish). He gave the vote to women. He passed the Hat Act, banning the fez and encouraging the wearing of Western-style caps that made prayer a little more difficult. He outlawed the wearing of the hijab by women in state universities, and created, in the army, an outpost of secularism, where any man seen reading the Qur’an too devoutly could be, and was, cashiered. He created a system of law that no longer took the Shari’a as its model, and in theory at least — and increasingly even in practice, though the attitudes of Islam long survive even among supposedly “secular” Turks — non-Muslims were given legal equality.
The Return of Jihad, as a practice, with goals that now seem to many Muslims within reach, has not been the result of a new doctrine or new texts. It has been, rather, the result of changes in the perceived power of Muslims. Incapable of becoming rich through industry and enterprise (because Islam discourages innovation, bida, including new ways of approaching economic problems, or societal needs that might be met by economic progress, as well as, because of inshallah-fatalism, acting as a brake on economic activity), Muslims have nonetheless been the recipients of the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. The Muslim oil states, and their grasping rulers, have received since 1973 alone more than twelve trillion dollars. They have not shared their wealth with the truly poor, but instead have allowed those poor (the greatest victims of the rise in oil prices), in Africa and elsewhere, to sink. They have not even shared their wealth with fellow Muslim states, except when they feel directly threatened (thus, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the U.A.E. did give sixty billion to Iraq, in order to support its war against even more dangerous, Shi’a Iran). They were perfectly content to allow the Infidels of Europe and America to shell out tens or even, over time, hundreds of billions, to support an impoverished Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, and of course everyone’s favorite object of Infidel charity, the soi-disant “Palestinian people.” That people was invented precisely to repackage in acceptable camouflaged national-liberation two-tiny-peoples form, the Arab and Muslim Jihad-without-end against truly tiny, and imperiled, Israel.
In Washington, it seems that among those still at the top, the understanding of Islam, even the grasping of the need to responsibly study what Islam inculcates, is still horribly, expensively, absent. No one has yet seen fit to define what “victory” in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Pakistan, would or should mean. What it should mean is this: an end result, in which the Camp of Islam is weaker than it was before. That is not the same thing as merely defeating, through killing the leaders or members of, Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is merely the name given to one group, the one that was most successful in its efforts at using terrorism as its main weapon against Infidels. But if every single member of Al Qaeda were to disappear, that would not change the nature of Islam. Nor would it change the doctrine, and central duty, of Jihad, defined most correctly as “the struggle to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam all over the world.” Terrorism is merely one instrument of Jihad, and in the most important theatre of war, Western Europe, not the most effective instrument. In Western Europe, the Jihad is mainly conducted through the deployment of the Money Weapon, carefully-targeted and well-financed campaigns of Da’wa among the Infidels (especially those who are economically or psychically marginal), and demographic conquest — the sheer numbers of Muslims, who have managed even now to outbreed, on the Infidel taxpayers’ dole, the locals, and as a consequence, have been pressing their demands and pressuring politicians every which way. And no matter how often they may be rebuffed, they keep coming back, and will continue to do so until such time as they are made to recognize that the legal and political institutions and social understandings of Infidel societies are not open to being changed in order to satisfy the arrogant upholders of the divine right of the Shari’a, that in every important respect flatly contradicts, in letter and spirit, the advanced Western democracies.
The inattention to Western Europe is the most disturbing feature of American policy toward Islam. Whether Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Pakistan, sink into the natural misrule and misery and anarchy that Muslim states, without a local despot, or despotic ruling family, often endure, hardly matters for the future of the West. With the Muslim despot, or the despotic family, the misrule and injustice remain, but not the anarchy and the free-for-all. What matters most is whether Europe, where the West originates, and where its cultural monuments are mostly to be found, will endure, without the threat from within of an Islamic population, allowed to grow ever larger, mainly on the Infidel taxpayers” dole, and allowed to receive financial backing from the sinister Saudis and other rich Muslims from outside of Europe. Americans may think they can do without Europe, that the islamization of Europe does not matter much to them, but they are wrong. The United States cannot survive, without moral and cultural collapse, the continued islamization of the nation-states of Western Europe. The loss of access to universities, museums, to the places where Western civilization was made and that made Western civilization, would be devastating. The loss of Europe’s modern armories to the control of Muslims would be dangerous. The likelihood, in any case, of civil strife within Europe, when the indigenes finally ignore their too-passive or too-appeasing governments and begin to take back their own countries from the hostile invaders, will be unavoidable. And the United States will have to take sides — the right side. There is no hint that anyone in Washington is thinking ahead beyond the next few years, nor any hint that the future islamization of Western Europe is being discussed, even behind closed doors.
Only those able to recognize the Islamic threat are likely to take those minimal measures that are perfectly justified to deal with an unprecedented threat from within that is only now, and only in places, being fully grasped and correctly analyzed. The exaggerated attention given first to Iraq, and now apparently to be transferred to Afghanistan and Pakistan, means that the confusion and delay in recognizing the relative insignificance of these places, and the importance of Western Europe and the Jihad being conducted there, will continue. That is unacceptable.
It is fascinating to consider what those in the State Department whose responsibility it is to monitor the situation in Europe are reporting to others. Do they see what advanced Europeans see? Do they recognize the threat? Are they, within the State Department, attempting to raise the alarm about the islamization of Western Europe? Do they talk about the instruments of Jihad in Western Europe, such as the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest? Do they speak their mind, or are they afraid of offending, or coming into conflict with, the desks of those who cover the Muslim countries, and so often are staffed by apologists (both non-Muslim and Muslim) for Islam? If they are doing their duty, there should be a war on, right now, within the State Department and in the Pentagon. It should be between those who have grasped the ideology of Islam and those who have not. There should be at least some there who have studied the history of Islamic conquest over the past 1350 years, and have understood what conditions in the modern world have put into practice what for a while, in the circumstances of obvious Muslim weakness, had remained merely doctrine, the immutable doctrine of Jihad.
There are many in the West whose educations in history and literature have been insufficient to provide them either with the ballast of fact (which the study of history provides) or its necessary complement, the air-balloon of the imagination (which the study of literature can provide, or at least a bookish nature), and yet who have risen high, and are now making policy. They do not know, and therefore do not appreciate, and are insufficiently grateful for, the development of advanced Western democracies, with their solicitude for the rights of the individual. They do not know the conditions that make freedom of artistic expression possible, or free and skeptical inquiry. Nor do they understand how deeply antithetical these are to Islam, and to Muslims who take their Islam seriously. Unschooled in history or political thought, often having acquired not an education, but a mere degree, which need not signify an education, they are not able to rise to the historic occasion. (There are those who think that those now dealing with the economic degringolade suffer from the same insufficiencies.) Knowledge of the history of the Western world, and of American history, would encourage self-confidence about the West, while those who know nothing or little are most easily pushed around by the assorted chomskys and churchills of our world, and by the sly apologists for Islam who are not only adept at hiding what Islam teaches, past masters of taqiyya, but also dab hands at the rhetorical everyone-does-it-we-are-all-equally-guilty of Tu-Quoque. The less those who make policy know about the history of the development of the Western world, the more likely it is that they will be unable to grasp the size, and full horror, of the threat that Islam poses to Europe, to its art, its science, its freedoms.
The right study of history provides that indispensable ballast of knowledge that helps ensure Western self-confidence, and the certain result is an intelligent alarm about the present imperilments. The right study of literature — the not-unduly-professional study, by teachers with sufficient allure — strengthens the muscles of the imagination (what could happen? What would an Islamized Europe look like?), and encourages a vigilance with words that enables one better to detect blague in the pronouncements of others, and to express one’s own thoughts with clarity, in a way more likely to convince. It used to be a given that the old ruling elites looked to Europe. They had studied, and could read, French. They travelled to Europe, and spent summers there. They may not have been members of the English-Speaking Union, but they understood the civilizational connection, one that had nothing to do with trade or other economic activity. Theodore Roosevelt (impressing Lord Grey of Falloden with his knowledge of English birds) and FDR and others learned European history in high school. They studied subjects likely to reinforce their interest in and knowledge of Europe. This included immigrants who learned not multiculturalism, whatever that may mean, but about the History of the West. One did not have to attend Groton, as did FDR, or have rooms on the Gold Coast at
Harvard, or read French easily, as so many Boston Brahmins did. Anyone who studied history would see the link, the necessary link, between Europe and America. The political elite in this country no longer consists of those who feel that connection to Europe. A few years ago I suggested at this site that possibly American academics, enjoying summer houses in Brittany or Provence, in Tuscany or Umbria, and forced to talk to their neighbors, and forced to learn about the tumbril-rumblings of Islam growing louder, might return from their Old-World villegiatures to start spreading the alarm about things they learned of in Europe. Even those summer houses might help to do the trick.
The military alliance that matters most to the United States remains that of NATO. The civilizational connection that matters most is that with Europe. Our history is connected most to the peoples and states of Europe. Now imagine if the Americans who make policy continue to ignore the Muslim threat in Western Europe. Imagine if they ignore the effects of the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da”wa, demographic conquest. Imagine if peoples and politicians in Western Europe wake up, and feel that things must be done to halt and reverse growing Muslim power, and the Muslim presence, in Western Europe. The people will wake up in this way out of a recognized instinct for self-preservation that will overcome the false Idols –“multicultural diversity” — of the Age. Will the Americans be ready to help them, to encourage them? Or imagine that Europeans do not wake up in sufficient numbers. And imagine an islamized Europe, one where a self-confident, aggressive Muslim population, even before it becomes an absolute majority, can work its will (look at the demands made by Muslims now, when they are less than 5% of the population everywhere but France). Imagine that this minority puts political pressure, through the acquired vote, to force the governments and peoples of Europe to remove every remaining obstacle to the spread and dominance of Islam, to distance itself from the United States, to end any military alliance with the United States, and to work to force what by that time will be Fortress America to follow the example of Western Europe and to meet Muslim demands, for changes in laws and customs that conflict with the spirit and letter of the Shari”a.
Those who think that “prosperity” and “reconstruction” or “construction” in Afghanistan or Pakistan can mean much of anything in modifying the hostility that Islam inculcates are wrong. Those who think, after the horrific example of Iraq, that squandering more men, money, materiel, and morale, now in such places as Pakistan and Afghanistan, will somehow help to diminish the threat that Islam poses, and not, pace policymakers, Al Qaeda or other “extremists” pose, is just the ticket, will eventually be disabused. The facts will force it. But why must there be such fantastic waste? All it takes is a little more fearlessness in analyzing and grasping the nature of Islam. Then, having grasped it, policymakers must figure out how to use features of Islam itself, and the pre-existing fissures among Islamic peoples (sectarian, ethnic, and economic), to divide, demoralize, and weaken the Camp of Islam (a camp that exists only in relation to Infidels, but is fissiparous once the Infidels are not immediately present), in order to buy time while the Western world and the rest of the Infidel world comes to its senses.