We are the attackers in the Clash of Civilizations. We’re winning.

Summary:  The world is wracked by a clash of civilizations. America is the aggressor. Those who oppose us are on the defensive. America is winning, with eventual victory almost certain. Second in a series, an updated version of posts from June 2008.

Islam Logo

Contents

  1. A spectre haunts the world.
  2. Islam vs. America.
  3. Long ago some saw the threat.
  4. For more information.

(1)  A spectre haunts the world.

A threat overshadows the world, an apocalyptic power in American hands, a weapon of total annihilation that nobody trusts America to use wisely. The most likely outcome: we will blot out our enemies, leaving little behind for anyone but historians. A few nations have tried to build defenses. Although possible in theory, most experts consider such efforts a waste of money and effort.

The weapon is western culture, which America has refined to peak intensity. It acts as a virulent and lethal virus (or meme). In Silicon Valley they speak of “mindspace.” America exports our ways to fill the minds of the world’s people — crowding out their native culture. Martin van Creveld describes this as “colonizing the future.”

European nations colonized the world, culminating in the 20th centuries wars dominated the 20th century, fought by Europeans to obtain colonies and everybody else to free themselves. The 21st century might see equally vicious wars as other peoples fight to control their futures.

We are like the Borg (from Star Trek).

  1. The world watches our movies and listens to our music.
  2. Our values are “human rights”, which become the universal standard before which all must genuflect.
  3. Our political system, which we call “democracy”, becomes the sole legitimate form, to which even tyrants must pay tribute via sham elections.
  4. Nations must adopt our economic system, which we call “capitalism”; the alternative is autarky and poverty.

We attack other societies at their most vulnerable point: their children. Like the Pied Piper, stealing away their young by offering a different vision of life’s highest values. To gays we say come out of the closet. To women we say throw off the shackles of male domination. To atheists, heretics, and agnostics we say glory in your independence of thought. We offer sexual freedom, liberation from the domination of their elders, and opportunities to obtain wealth in non-traditional ways.

Islam = terror

We should not expect the people of other societies to like the challenges we force upon them. After all, most Americans despise some aspects of our culture. Nor will the elites of other lands obligingly and quietly die to ease their societies’ adoption of western ways, as did King Mongkut of Siam in the musical “The King and I” (Rodgers and Hammerstein, 1951).

Even our fellow westerners find our culture oppressive. The French government legislates to de-Americanize their language and support their native arts. The Canadian government erects barriers to American media.

Some societies can adapt, borrowing from foreigners but retaining their essential soul. Japan has done so skillfully for millennia. For some, including societies recently thrown from pre-technological forms into the modern world, cultural extinction might be their only future. Extinction is the fate of most cultures, as it for most species. The Hittites, the Scythians, the Etruscans are only notes on the scroll of societies that contributed to humanity’s store of knowledge and art — then faded away.

Woman in Islam

Some cultures react violently to our invasion.

(2)  Islam vs. America.

There is a gulf between French legal actions to protect their culture and Islamic fatwas. Perhaps most important is that the latter is another chapter in a millennial-long conflict between Christianity and Islam.

Some, like Charles Allen (author of God’s Terrorists: the Wahhabi Cult and The Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad), have sympathy for the defenders of Islam. He blames Hollywood and the Left for the enmity so many Muslim people feel towards us.  He believes America has polluted the world with its combination of degeneracy, pornography, and radical feminism. He sees Jihad as a natural if regrettable response.

Consider how this conflict look from their side. See the difference between the roles of women in western states vs., for example, Saudi Arabia. Western women are full citizens: voting, owning property, choosing not just their husbands but even their sexual partners. Saudi women must be escorted by a close male relative in order to travel abroad; they inherit a half the portion to their male siblings; and their testimony is worth only half that of any man.

Even more powerful than our ideology, our technology “defeats” biology by freeing gender from sex. Control of contraception for both men and women, especially women, is devastating for cultures based on highly differentiated gender roles – as is true of many cultures in the Middle East.

Burqa-Niqab Liberation

(3)  Long ago some saw this threat and sounded the alarm

The impact of western culture on Islam was clearly foreseen by Sayyid Qutb, Egyptian intellectual and Islamist (1906 – 1966) when studying in 1949 at the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley, Colorado.  Established as a utopian community in 1870, the city proudly maintained in the 1940’s the moral rigour, temperance, and civil-mindedness that were the hallmarks of its founding fathers. Greeley’s highly touted civic virtue, however, made very little impression on Qutb. In his mind, the inhabitants of Greeley, far from representing a kinder and gentler population of Americans, carried within themselves the same moral flaws of materialism and degeneracy that were characteristic of Occidental civilization in general.

He recounted how he once attended a church dance and was scandalized by the occasion’s “seductive atmosphere”. As Qutb wrote, “the dancing intensified,” and the “hall swarmed with legs”. … Qutb’s American writings are laced with such anecdotes, which reveal a strong concern with moral issues, especially concerning matters of sexuality.

— “Sayyid Qutb in America,” ISIM Review, newsletter of the International Institute for the Study of Islam, March 2001 (PDF here).

Clash of Civilizations

(4)  For More Information

(a) Other articles

  • Where it ll began: “The clash of civilizations?“, Samuel P. Huntington, Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993 — Large pdf.
  • Laptop Jihadi” by Adam Shatz, London Review of Books, 20 March 2008 — Review of Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of al-Qaida Strategist Abu Musab al-Suri by Brynjar Lia.

(b)  If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See other posts about Saudi Arabia, and all posts about Islam, and especially these about this aspect of the long war:

  1. The Fight for Islamic Hearts and Minds.
  2. A look at al Qaeda, the long war — and us.
  3. How I learned to stop worrying and love Fourth Generation War. We can win at this game.
  4. We are the attackers in the Clash of Civilizations. We’re winning.
  5. Handicapping the clash of civilizations: bet on America to win

We have been here before.

Crusade

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29 thoughts on “We are the attackers in the Clash of Civilizations. We’re winning.

  1. This is the old “Cultural Imperialism” argument. It is valid, with one caveat. This is illustrated by the quote from the foregoing, “we force upon them”. We obviously force nothing on them.

    I had this discussion with my sister after she returned from college outraged by what she understood to be “American Cultural Imperialism”. She was particularly horrified by the way that we “force” innocent foreigners to eat MacDonalds’ food. When I explained to her that there was no compulsion or coercion involved in any of this; and that foreigners actually willingly paid for such artifacts of American “culture”; she was shocked. No one had ever told her that. So much for higher education.

    Yes, American culture is assaulting that of other cultures; and our culture is winning; but this is not, for the most part, a willful assault. Rather, it is a natural and inescapable aspect of commerce and trade. It happens whenever two societies interact. Each will influence the other (or all each other); and this influence will generally favor one side or another.

    Very often, such influences are concomitants of demonstrated military prowess, and sometimes even of conquest and deliberate imposition; but ours, while undoubtedly linked to military prowess, is not willfully imposed; and frankly, there is nothing that we, or anybody else, can do about it.

    Remember, even in the original Star Trek TV series, the federation maintained a “Prime Directive” prohibiting the influencing of alien cultures; and the protagonists violated this directive in every episode, with equal measures of vigor and obliviousness, sometimes quite deliberately. That series was unconsciously revealing of the liberal culture of its day (and to this day).

    That being said, the next one that must be discussed is the related issue of using violence to combat Cultural Imperialism, and under what circumstances that that constitute “Terrorism”, and the related issues of what is Terrorism, and is Terrorism ever a legitimate form of cultural defense or of anything else). I am as contemptuous of many aspects of American culture as anyone else, especially its tendency to promote illiteracy, innumeracy, and ahistoricism; but I believe that violence should never be used to combat Cultural Imperialism; and that Terrorism, properly defined (which it seldom is) can never be legitimate, and should never be practiced or tolerated.

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    1. Richard,

      Of course we force this challenge upon them — by existing, by our example. Other cultures can no more ignore that then they can ignore the moon’s effects on the tides.

      The Soviet Union made a great effort to do so, and found even the Iron Curtain was inadequate.

      As for compulsion, there is — but on a smaller range of issues. The global legal system — human rights, property ownership, trade rules — is run on the principles of Western values. Severe violators sometimes face crippling sanctions (e.g. South Africa under apartheid, Iran today).

      My guess (emphasis on guess) is that you do see these things (how could you not?), but prefer not to acknowledge them because they conflict with what you believe should be. That’s life.

      Great powers always do these things. Memes exist without any conscious act of creation, as part of humanity’s social evolution.

      Your apparent guilt is unnecessary. Even if these changes were on balance bad (which, being an American, I do not believe them to be ), they would still exist without blame. To take the extreme case — the West’s explorations brought pandemics to much of the world, but there was nobody to blame. History is like that.

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    2. I do indeed see those things; but I think them less significant than the purely passive effects of “Cultural Imperialism”, on which I focused (I do not think that their existence clashes with my thesis; it’s a matter of scale). I am unaware of the personal “guilt” to which you allude.

      I do not personally spread illiteracy, innumeracy, or ahistoricism (at least I hope that I do not).

      As for “Demeter’s” argument, I broadly (if you will forgive the use of this word) accept it; but I have difficulty with her use of the term “‘radical’ feminism”. My understanding is that Western culture is indeed imbued with Feminism, but not yet of the “radical” variety. Much of that expresses itself as egalitarianism; and much of it as “Looney Left” nonsense. But “Radical Feminism” in its purest sense is a lesbian doctrine that seeks to vilify all men, and to extoll all women (except conservative women), and to delegitimize all interaction between the sexes. I don’t think that Western civilization has quite yet deteriorated to that point.

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    3. Richard,

      As I said, we can only guess at what you see or feel. But your opening statement is clearly false, your reply ignores the evidence showing that. Hence my guess that for some reason you don’t want to see.

      “We obviously force nothing on them.”

      As I said, the global legal system forces compliance, because our values have become accepted as valid by most nations. Our culture forces others to respond or get absorbed (their values replaced by our) — and so far attempts at defense have proven futile (athough fundamentalist Islam is trying).

      To hide these simple things you cast big words into the air like dust: “passive effects”, “cultural imperialism” (a silly term, IMO, as this phenomenon has little in common with political-military imperialism), illiteracy, innumeracy, ahistoricism, etc.

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    4. Richard,

      This is no mere kerfuffle.

      That we pose such a strong challenge to the world’s other cultures — forcing them to accept, adapt, or resist — is essential to understanding current events. They do not have the option of ignoring us.

      Furthermore, this has strategic implications. It is one reason for us to avoid undue aggressive use of force. Our leaders often see the US as you do, minding our own business — offering only choices to other nations. That is not accurate.

      It is from such false perceptions that drive conflicts to escalate to war. More on this tomorrow.

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    5. I don’t think you get the right to define “radical” feminism, Richard. Sorry. It has nothing to do with your definition.

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    6. Demeter points to a fascinating point: the importance in conflict of taking the moral high ground, often decisive in human affairs.

      Defining the “reasonable center” can be victory.

      History, of course, gets the final world. Looking at the early 1960s, most of us see the reasonable center as FAR more Left than did the people at that time, wrt to both domestic and foreign public policy (which I am told is part of the fun from watching “Mad Men”, our feeling of superiority to them).

      We can only guess as to future generations view Os us.

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  2. You know, sometimes social Darwinism is not wrong. Since I am female by birth, I think “radical” feminism is THE RIGHT THING, not just for women, but for humanity.

    Show me a benevolent male-dominated culture that treated women and children, minorities and disabled well. Just one will do.

    Uh-huh. That’s what I thought.

    Until something better comes along, Western civilization 2013 will have to do.

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    1. Everyone sees these things according to their own vales. Events are palimpsests onto which we scrawl messages.

      These events are like the tide. We can cheer or boo. We can build castles in the sand to defend the beach. The tide does not care what we do, or if we are “right”.

      As an American I believe our vales are best. As someone familiar with history I try to see these things as other than a game in which I root for our team. That means to have empathy for others affected by our culture. That doesn’t mean sympathy for female circumcision, slavery, or suttee — but rather attempting to see things as they do.

      To do otherwise leads to hubris and perhaps even defeat, as described in tomorrow’s post.

      Our values will carry on even without us.

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  3. I have some very profound misgivings myself about the way in which Western culture — or more specifically, America’s brand of Western culture — appears to be taking over the world and driving down all others, especially since I spent several years of my childhood living in Europe and relished the differences between the host culture and mine. (In fact, in some ways, i feel that I assimilated to their culture and still retain some of the mindset from that culture.)

    Nevertheless, i also consider what the physicist Dr. Michio Kaku has said about what our planet will most likely need to do if it is ever going to become what he calls a Type I Civilization — that is, a civilization which controls the energy resources of its entire planet and is beginning to expand beyond its own planet into its own solar system and beyond. (As an illustration, a good example of what Dr. Kaku describes as a Type II Civilization would be the United Federation of Planets from the Star Trek universe, given that Earth still serves as the center of the Federation even though many other planets and cultures have been incorporated into that civilization.) There are many people who would like to see us get there eventually (provided, of course, that we can refrain from exterminating ourselves and/or each other in some way or other before we can make this possible). According to Dr. Kaku, we are not there yet although we are beginning to move in that direction with our efforts to maximize — although very inefficiently at present — the planet’s energy resources. He refers to our current state as a Type 0 Civiization.

    However, Dr. Kaku believes that before we can become a Type I Civilization, we (as the dominant species on the planet) must also come together and form a planetary culture with one language (or at least one primary language) and one economic/political system — and he also states that this is to some extent already under way, given that English is a language spoken by large numbers of people on every continent and that the American dollar is a form of currency in which economic transactions can be successfully conducted in many parts of the world. Granted, certain groups even within our own culture — such as the (generally right-wing) conspiracy theorists who fear the U.N. and believe that there is a secret plot within that body to create a global government — are vehemently opposed to the establishment of a unified planetary culture for one reason or another, and some of those reasons have validity. That being said, Dr. Kaku clearly believes that this is not only necessary but to at least some extent inevitable — and it’s difficult to dispute his point that our efforts to literally reach for the stars (assuming we continue to believe that this is something we want to and can/will do) will not be hampered should we continue in our struggles to avoid it.

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    1. “However, Dr. Kaku believes that before we can become a Type I Civilization, we (as the dominant species on the planet) must also come together and form a planetary culture with one language (or at least one primary language) and one economic/political system.”

      I think that is unlike to be a necessary requirement. It reads like the bureaucratic mind at work.

      Even little Switzerland gets by with three official languages. The advantages of cultural and intellectual diversity — of which language is a vital part — for the world is fantastic, to big to appreciate. The accountant’s desire to reduce us to a neat row of identical ciphers is part of the problem.

      My guess is that we are the adolescence of our species, and with time we will out the irrational violent bugs in our societies. We hVe come so far, impressively so for a feral species — growing up alone, without adult guidance.

      Longer lifespans might help. In his “Methuselah Cycle” play, Shaw said that that the World is run by children. Hence it resembles the island in “Lord of the Flies”. When lifespans are 300 years, with the world run by mature adults of 200+, then we will be a “Type one” civilization”.

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    2. Okay; you got me. I spoke too broadly, conflating related but distinct issues. Yes, your points are valid; but it was not clear to me in your initial post that your emphasis was on international legalisms. I did not mean to dismiss these from consideration; I just focused on other, stupider, dimensions because that is what I have heard American Leftists whining about. In that context, my statement, “We obviously force nothing on them.” is true and valid. We do not force anyone to eat our hamburgers, speak our slang, listen to our music, or watch our movies.

      This was a simple misunderstanding, easily resolved. You then go on to make some wild and unfounded personal slights, “To hide these simple things you cast big words into the air like dust” “Passive effects” and “cultural imperialism” are big words? You are clearly better educated than that. You also seem to mistakenly attribute the coining of these terms to me. Of course Cultural Imperialism is a silly term. I demonstrated why. My using it to demolish it was not support of it. How you could misconstrue that is baffling. As for “illiteracy, innumeracy, and ahistoricism”, these are noticeable aspects of American culture of which I personally disapprove; but apparently, you weren’t talking about the export of American culture; although I thought that you were.

      As for Demeter, she stated that, “I don’t think you get the right to define “radical” feminism, Richard. Sorry. It has nothing to do with your definition.” In fact, I did not define it, I just described what I have seen. She used the term without defining or describing it; and in the context of her use of it, that use was very confusing. She seemed to be describing common egalitarianism. As for my description of the term, I would note that self-described radical Feminists and leading lights in the movement, such as Andrea Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon have stated their opinions that all men are rapists and all women are virtuous; and that all interaction between men and women constitutes rape of the latter by the former. These are tenets of “Radical Feminism”; and this is attested to by many authors, most of whom are professed feminists in their own right. These include such luminaries as Christina Hoff Summers, Camille Paglia, and Daphne Patai. These women, and others, most of whom are also avowed lesbians, have described in detail and at great length the essential lesbian and Stalinist nature of radical Feminism; and Patai, in her book “Heterophobia”, validates my thesis that radical Feminism is ultimately intent on delegitimizing and stigmatizing all communications between men and women. So you see, I have defined nothing. These feminist authors have already done that. I merely added my observations to their own. Your serve.

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    3. Richard,

      I apologize if you interpreted my remarks as personal slurs. They referred to what you said, not what you are.

      It is important that we see America’s actions as others see them, something foreigners frequently complain that we find difficult to do.

      Consider the “force” we apply to other nations. Since WW2 we frequently have sent troops to intervene in other nations, roughly once every three years (more often if you use a broader definition). And we have levied sanctions on scores of nations — with seven nations under broad sanctions today, plus many narrower ones (mostly trade-related).

      And of course there is the larger question of our cultural influence — the primary subject of this post. To most other societies our culture is an overwhelming influence, impossible to ignore — “forcing” a response.

      In these senses your daughter’s teachers were not only correct, but giving her a valuable lesson in how to understand the world by seeing it through other people’s eyes.

      That is not to say that we have acted differently than past hegemons. And certainly not to say, broadly speaking, that we have acted worse. Merely that it us irrational to expect others to like our influence, and that it is mad to expect them to like it when we seek to reshape their societies.

      Which we often do, one reason our foreign policies often fail. Our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan are merely the most recent — and perhaps the most extreme — examples. Our invasion put the Shiite government of Iraq into power, ending generations of oppression by the Sunni minority — and they ejected us, hard.

      The society of Afghanistan is now rejecting us in an almost organic fashion, like an organism rejects an infection, despite the majority’s happiness at ending the Tailban’s rule.

      A bit more empathy would make us a more effective hegemon, and (as described in the next chapter) might reduce the odds of a premature and painful fall.

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  4. FM I have been following this Islam perspective. Actually if you look closely US is in league with the most primitive form of Islam. This is the one practiced by Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabi allies in ME. This is rise of darkness in Islam. You see this unfolding in Libya and Syria as with Jihadis in different countries financed by them. Yet they are US allies and Saudis are actually investors in Carlyle Group, which owns Booz Allen which operates US Surveillance system. This circle has been evident since the 1950s. It is a long alliance which has only grown stronger over time. War on Terror has actually spread terror not reduced it and the linchpin here is the Saudis and their ME allies.

    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article42271.html
    The CIA Said ‘Find An Islamic Billy Graham’
    By the way, Miles Copeland mentioned in above article was associated with Booz.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Game-Player-Miles-Copeland/dp/0948149876
    http://www.andmagazine.com/content/phoenix/12933.html
    Miles Copeland, Jr.
    The origins of US involvement in Syria. Exclusive 1969 video

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Game-Player-Miles-Copeland/dp/0948149876
    http://www.economist.com/node/1875084
    The Carlyle Group
    C for capitalism
    http://rense.com/general21/gf.htm
    The Carlyle Group – Crony
    Capitalism Goes Global
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/05/22/bush-s-crusades-and-the-carlyle-group/
    When War is Swell
    Bush’s Crusades and the Carlyle Group
    http://www.france24.com/en/20120929-how-saudi-arabia-petrodollars-finance-salafist-winter-islamism-wahhabism-egypt
    How Saudi petrodollars fuel rise of Salafism
    ttp://www.vancouversun.com/news/Saudi+funding+fuels+jihadist+terror/8448378/story.html

    Saudi funding fuels jihadist terror
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/242073
    US embassy cables: Hillary Clinton says Saudi Arabia ‘a critical source of terrorist funding’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/05/wikileaks-cables-saudi-terrorist-funding
    WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists
    http://allafrica.com/stories/201202141514.html
    Nigeria: Boko Haram’s Funding Sources Uncovered

    To keep indoctrination going:
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/02/saudi-arabia-funding-kabul-mosque
    Saudi Arabia funding $100m Kabul mosque and education centre

    If there is a war against Islam. It is against the progressive tolerant strains of Islam, which are under attack from the Jihadis fueled by the Saudis and their friends. The Saudis appear to want to become defato rulers of Muslim world. They are using their proxies to achieve this end. Their supplicants’ promotion of notion of “Ummah” and pan Islamic Government appears to support tthis notion as well. Of course, Shias and Christians and Jews are also collateral damage in Muslim countries as their proxies are totally intolerant of anyone else.

    Blast at Pakistan Shrine Kills Dozens

    Yet, at home Saudis pay Westerners more than any Muslims employees from nonwestern countries irrespective of their skill level.

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    1. Winston points one of the most interesting, important, and seldom-mentioned aspects of Middle East geopolitics: the rise to dominance of the USA-Saudi-Israel alliance.

      On almost all key issues these allies are not only on the same side, but working de facto in concert.

      Iran, Egypt, Syria are the obvious examples.

      Palestine is the potential conflict among them, but their common interests have resulted in agreement by the USA and Saudi Princes to turn a blind eye to Israel’s oppression.

      The interesting aspect of this is not their odd-fellows alliance. That is a commonplace of history. Louis 13th — “His Most Christian Majesty” — sided with the Protestants during much of the 30 Years War. The oddity is that this obvious alliance gets so little attention.

      I often wonder if the floods of data in the Information Age conceal as much as they illuminate.

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    2. Interesting links, Winston: I was about to post something here along similar lines.

      Fabius: I liked the article. Sometimes I wonder, though, if the “clash of civilizations” is really the right paradigm to frame the situation. A lot of the major events in the Middle East in the past 50 years are pretty well explained by plain geopolitics. Secular Arab nationalism was culturally very pro-Western but politically very much at odds with US interests. Don’t forget it was the PLO that murdered the Munich athletes.

      And, as you’ve just been discussing, the most religiously-conservative states are our strongest allies.

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    3. Matt,

      Valid points. But the problem — the clashes — are much wider than just the Middle East. All the nations of the subcontinent have several internal conflicts.

      Look at Somalia, Kenya, and Indonesia. And there is a very low level clash inside Europe, which has the potential to grow worse (the French riots in 2005 might have been a foretaste of worse to come).

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    4. Fabius,

      It seems to me that France might actually be a poor example for your argument. To me, it looks like what’s going on there has more the flavor or a first-class/second-class citizen conflict, very analogous to the ongoing black-white conflict in the United States. We had massive race riots in the 60’s and 70’s, and low-level, unorganized violence continues at a much higher rate than our society is willing to face up to. No clash of civilizations there.

      As for Somalia, it seems little wonder that in a society which has been wracked by decades of total anarchy, in no small part because Team America keeps playing the spoiler every time one faction gets close to winning, there might arise some sort of ideologically hardline fighting group bent on restoring some form of order to the country. It’s hard to imagine any other sort of movement maintaining the moral force and cohesion necessary for victory in a situation like that. Massive foreign bribes are a poor substitute for fanatical grit and willingness to sacrifice, as the consistently dismal performance of our chosen “government” and our African peace-keeper mercenaries demonstrates.

      But the point is, I’m not sure if what’s happening in Somalia has broader implications– most of the rest of the world seems decidedly non-anarchic.

      As for Indonesia, the biggest wave of “Islamist” violence there was the genocide of the Communists back in the 70’s, instigated by the Suharto coup government, which the United States fully supported. It’s an event which seems unlikely to have a sequel. I’m not really familiar with what else has been going on there which might support the Clash of Civilizations narrative– maybe you can point me in the direction of some references?

      Also not familiar with Kenya, except there have been a few anti-Western terror attacks there in the past couple of decades.

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    5. Matt,

      All valid points. But then, almost all Islamic violence today appears to have secular and political roots. Even in the Middle East. However, their response to the problem is based on Islamic identity and theology. If they say their insurgencies are fundamentalist, jihadist Islam — should we doubt them?

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    6. Sure, we should probably take them at their word. What I’m calling into question, I guess, is the link with the larger cultural clash you describe so well in your article. I would argue that the conflicts we’re referring to would likely exist with or without this cultural clash. On the other hand, the cultural clash, which is very real, is faced by all conservatives, everywhere, from whatever background (something which you do mention).

      In this clash, Islam clearly is special in some way, as its resistance to adoption of liberal social mores has been more cohesive than almost anywhere else. But I’m just not sure how much interaction there is between this clash and the bullets-and-bombs conflicts that we see playing out. Maybe some but I’m not sure it’s decisive.

      At the very least, if you took away one of these problems, you’d still have the other one to deal with. This much I’m sure of.

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  5. How to model a clash of civilizations that lasts for over 100 years and subjects the national state to the same experience formerly meted out to the “Other?” I submit that since 1914 the West has been in sustained decline. We unleash barbarism on the world and seek neo-colonial advantage because we are no longer able to justify the “White Man’s Burden.”

    http://www.historyguide.org/europe/valery.html

    We later civilizations . . . we too know that we are mortal.

    We had long heard tell of whole worlds that had vanished, of empires sunk without a trace, gone down with all their men and all their machines into the unexplorable depths of the centuries, with their gods and their laws, their academies and their sciences pure and applied, their grammars and their dictionaries, their Classics, their Romantics, and their Symbolists, their critics and the critics of their critics. . . . We were aware that the visible earth is made of ashes, and that ashes signify something. Through the obscure depths of history we could make out the phantoms of great ships laden with riches and intellect; we could not count them. But the disasters that had sent them down were, after all, none of our affair.

    Elam, Ninevah, Babylon were but beautiful vague names, and the total ruin of those worlds had as little significance for us as their very existence. But France, England, Russia…these too would be beautiful names.Lusitania too, is a beautiful name. And we see now that the abyss of history is deep enough to hold us all. We are aware that a civilization has the same fragility as a life. The circumstances that could send the works of Keats and Baudelaire to join the works of Menander are no longer inconceivable; they are in the newspapers. That is not all. The searing lesson is more complete still. It was not enough for our generation to learn from its own experience how the most beautiful things and the most ancient, the most formidable and the best ordered, can perish by accident; in the realm of thought, feeling, and common sense, we witnessed extraordinary phenomena: paradox suddenly become fact, and obvious fact brutally believed.

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  6. http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/09/20/is-america-helping-al-qaeda-take-over-syria/
    Is America Helping Al Qaeda Take Over Syria?

    http://tarafits.blogspot.in/2013/07/us-saudi-nexus-behind-most-terrorism.html
    US-Saudi Nexus behind most Terrorism and Destruction Now Engulfs Syria in Sunni-Shia Conflict

    Why has Libya been abandoned?

    http://www.bariatwan.com/english/?p=1959
    Look at ‘Liberated’ Libya and Despair

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/19/the-state-of-libya-must-be-built
    The state of Libya must be built

    http://whowhatwhy.com/2011/08/31/now-that-we%E2%80%99re-celebrating-qaddafi%E2%80%99s-end-can-we-get-a-little-truth/
    The Libya Secret: How West Cooked Up “People’s Uprising”

    http://www.encounterbooks.com/books/the-jihadist-plot-the-untold-story-of-al-qaeda-and-the-libyan-rebellion/
    The Jihadist Plot

    The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion

    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/obama-libya-rebels-terrorism/2013/04/04/id/497919
    Author: Obama Administration Had to Know Libyan Rebels Had al-Qaida Links

    http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/libya-getting-worse-for-journalists-but-better-for-teenage-arms-dealers
    Libya Is Getting Better and Better for Teenage Arms Dealers. Article mentions relatively liberal folks in eastern province. Wrong. They are Jihadists, see below:

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2013/08/libya-loses-control-oil-fields-east-emirate.html
    Libya Losing Control of Oil Fields To Jihadist Groups

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-08-14/libyas-oil-industry-is-in-trouble
    Libya’s Oil Industry Is in Trouble

    http://www.ipsnews.net/2011/09/libya-jihadists-take-over-as-warned/
    LIBYA: Jihadists Take Over, As Warned

    http://amarillo.com/opinion/opinion-columnist/weekly-opinion-columnist/2013-05-10/uncle-sam-unwisely-supports-jihad
    West: Uncle Sam unwisely supports jihad

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/u-s-bombs-libya-helps-jihadists-20110321
    U.S. Bombs Libya, Helps… Jihadists?!

    http://freebeacon.com/u-s-al-qaeda-linked-group-behind-benghazi-attack-trains-jihadists-for-syrian-rebel-groups/
    U.S.: Al Qaeda-linked Group Behind Benghazi Attack Trains Jihadists for Syrian Rebel Groups

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0503/Libyan-rebel-says-Osama-bin-Laden-s-death-won-t-stop-jihadist-flow
    Libyan rebel says Osama bin Laden’s death won’t stop jihadist flow

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/170757#.UiC8cn8lKtA
    New evidence reveals that Ansar al-Sharia, which is believed to be behind the Benghazi attack, is holding training camps in Libya.

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2013/06/10/Libya-jihadists-rogue-militias-hold-Libya-to-ransom/UPI-90991370891109/
    Libya jihadists, rogue militias, hold Libya to ransom

    Syria appears to be Libya 2.0

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2013/09/syria-s-war
    Syria’s war – Another front

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2426854/Syrian-rebels-defect-Islamists-western-backed-groups-say-jihadists-undermining-revolution.html
    Now hundreds of Syrian rebels defect to Al Qaeda: ‘Civil war within the civil war’ weakens the battle to topple Assad

    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/06/al_nusrah_front_clai_14.php
    Al Nusrah Front claims joint operations, including a suicide assault, with Syrian rebel groups

    http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=51537
    Syrian Jihadists behead Catholic priest

    Like

  7. “We attack other societies at their most vulnerable point: their children…”

    “The weapon is western culture, which America has refined to peak intensity. It acts as a virulent and lethal virus (or meme). ”

    “A threat overshadows the world, an apocalyptic power in American hands, a weapon of total annihilation that nobody trusts America to use wisely. ”

    And then FM says: “As an American I believe our vales are best.”

    Question # One: Do you read what you write?

    Question # Two: Which american values do you think are best? The Attack on children? or The virulent and lethal viruses? or The weapon of total annihilation?

    I will offer that if you ever had the time and money to step outside of the America and its culture you speak of, ever had the urge to discover what other cultures have to offer, you may just discover that you Americans are as crazy as a band of Bats!

    This is a predatory Culture (by your own assertions!) and you cannot even see what you write let alone what you think. It has preyed upon your own cognitive abilities.

    Breton

    Like

    1. I believe this post was quite clear. I meant “culturally” attack, not physically. Which is the most common and most effective mode of cultural evolution, and has the greatest effect on the young. It requires no conscious effort, nor could we stop the transmission of our cultural memes if we wanted to.

      The cultural values that are most destabilizing to other cultures are those we prize the most. Valuing representative government and self-determination. Rights for women (voting & other civil rights, ending child marriages, stopping female circumcision and suttee). Ending slavery. Etc.

      If you oppose such American (really Western) values, that is your right. Don’t expect us to respect you for it, or listen to your condemnation.

      Like

  8. Nonsensical answer and examples. You really think the values they detest are representative democracy!? And women’s rights?

    What crap you spin here, such twisting of the general use of the word culture. And then to link in western values. Do you really have no idea of the disdain many in the EU have for current American culture? Make my Day!!…..Clint would be proud of the use of his famous line by the euros—-in disdain.

    I can picture W saying “they hate us for our freedom….”. No they hate you and your culture for the arrogance and hubris exemplified in the idea that your values (war making and predatory reserve currency status in the irresponsibility thereof) are so superior. The historicism of your plea we could not stop it even if we wanted is simply self-serving. The dominant American culture is overwhelming in its message and implementation ….to those who allow overexposure.

    Respect? You are in a great minority with your position in and of itself. That too seems beyond your mindfulness.

    And of course you won’t listen to or consider a condemnation. That is seriously too confronting to your true believing reliance on mythical superiority. As I said: you have lost an ability to discern beyond your myopia. Very dangerous.

    Breton

    Like

  9. I’ll throw my two cents into this – I used to work in a government school near the Saudi Arabian border in the United Arab Emirates, where the school was still essentially a tribally-run affair. Tribalism ran deep in their culture, and the result was that students often cheated their way through exams (and their education in general) because their tribal structure didn’t want anyone to fail. I was empowered by the government to directly attack that way of life by making education individualized. I was told, essentially, to break the power of the tribes in the schools. (For the record, it didn’t work).

    A systemic change was occurring in that city, directed from the top, that was undoing many of the day-to-day aspects of their culture. Through government education, the average marriage age had gone from 14 to 26 (this from just the 1990s). Through empowering women as students, the average family size dropped like a rock in the same period (and polygamy, while still legal, became less and less practiced).

    The government did this because they had created a society which could not be run by its traditional culture, which valued camel herding, pearl diving, a bit of trading, and some limited agriculture. What I remember most distinctly was that while some Emiratis would pine for the simplicity of the past, none of them resented the progress brought to them in terms of healthcare, personal and financial security, and ease of lifestyle. Nobody was ever saying to me, “I’d rather you weren’t here and I was still wandering the desert hoping I find a well for the night.”

    My point is this about globalization and America’s cultural expansion – not everyone is necessarily a victim of it. It can make lives better, and we can, as Westerners, might not see that, often because our own culture is so self-deprecating that it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to emulate even the smallest bits of it.

    A great story showing how rabidly parts of America’s culture are embraced is this one: http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2013/may/19/kfc-smugglers-of-gaza

    Like

  10. Not mentioned here rise of Muslims converts in West:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23774334
    Changing faiths: Hispanic Americans leaving Catholicism for Islam
    http://www.latintimes.com/articles/7619/20130821/hispanic-muslims-latino-catholic-americans-converting-islam.htm#.UkTidn-2bvg
    Hispanic Muslims: Why Are Catholic Hispanic Americans Converting To Islam?
    http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/female-conversion-to-islam-in-britain-examined-in-unique-research-project
    Female conversion to Islam in Britain examined in unique research
    http://phys.org/news/2013-05-female-conversion-islam-britain-unique.html
    Female conversion to Islam in Britain examined in unique research project
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8238812/Surge-in-Britons-converting-to-Islam.html
    Surge in Britons converting to Islam
    White women lead a wave of Britons embracing Islam, with a 50 per cent rise in converts living in this country in a decade according to a new report.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1324039/Like-Lauren-Booth-ARE-modern-British-career-women-converting-Islam.html
    Why ARE so many modern British career women converting to Islam?
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/women–islam-the-rise-and-rise-of-the-convert-6258015.html
    Women & Islam: The rise and rise of the convert
    Three-quarters of Britons who become Muslims are female. Now a major new study has shed light on the difficulties they face in adjusting to their new life.
    http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21578099-british-strand-islam-emerging-more-people-become-converts-changing-my-religion
    Changing my religion
    A British strand of Islam is emerging as more people become converts

    Like

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