Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Half Full or Half Empty?

The BBC asked people in eleven countries to ask whether they thought a conflict between the West and Islam was inevitable. Except for the respondents in Indonesia, there was no majority reporting a belief in the inevitability of conflict, but only in two countries did more than three quarters of the population think that peaceful coexistence was possible. The results raise some interesting questions. There is no explicit information on the trends of these poll numbers. For example, did 39% of Germans always believe that "violent conflict was inevitable" or was that number lower or higher in the recent past. My own guess was that the 31% of Americans who thought a clash was coming would probably have had no opinion towards Islam at all six years ago. Why does Indonesia, a country with a relatively tolerant strain of Islam, have such a high degree of belief in the inevitability of conflict when Lebanon, a country in which an actual civil war has been fought between religious confessions, report a much lower number?

I think the BBC is drawing entirely the wrong conclusion from its poll when it says, "a new BBC poll taken by Globescan suggests there is a significant middle ground which rejects the view that Islam and the West are doomed to clash." That amounts to treating a potential disaster as if were normal, simply because it is not yet total, equivalent to finding that since more than half of the Titanic was still unflooded the passengers should go back to their cabins.

But in any case the numbers in all countries are high enough to put the entire premise of multiculturalism to question.  With nearly a quarter of Frenchmen believing some sort of clash of civilizations was inevitable, was it possible to blithely regurgitate the "we are the world" platitudes of the late 1990s any longer?  The issue of Islam versus the West must now be explicitly addressed. It can no longer be banished from open debate. The poll shows there may still be time to head of the crisis, but there can be no doubt that the crisis exists.


Blogger Habu1 said...

All one has to do is have a knowledge of Islam to see that a clash of civilizations is inevitable. Who have they not attacked in the past thirty to forty years? What does their faith REQUIRE them to do?
It is a giant hoax on humanity for world leaders to gloss over the acumulated history of Islam and it's attendant philosophical basis' and conclude that peaceful coexistence is possible.

2/20/2007 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

...And even among Muslims a 55 per cent majority worldwide saw politics, not religion or culture, as the cause of tensions between Islam and the West.

The fact that in Indonesia a slim majority of Muslims see conflict between Islam and the West as inevitable will be of concern to policymakers here. Indonesia is Australia's most populous neighbour, with a bigger Muslim population than any other nation.

It was the only country in which the dark view predominated.

Clash of Civilizations?

2/20/2007 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Perhaps the survey should have included a question such as "Do you anticipate the West peacefully converting to Islam, or do you think that a conflict is inevitable?"

2/20/2007 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Jambon said...

Oh, for heaven's sake - human nature dictates that war is more the natural state than peace. If you look at the way Islam is treating its own apostates - there is no sect that is not another's heresy - even if Islam were to be universally accepted, there would still be war.

2/20/2007 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Polling data already existed for Indonesia...for both 2003 and 2005. It is so damaging to the idea that there is something called moderate Islam that I am incedulous that any Islamic governments allowed such polls to be taken again.

In 2003 56% of Indonesian Muslims believed that Bin Laden was a hero. This is a supposedly moderate Islamic State. Nah this isn't a religious war.

Islam and Democracy….the debate on National Review Corner.

2/20/2007 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I don't think a "clash of civilizations" in the sense of a violent conflict or widespread war is necessarily inevitable. But a "clash" in which two competing belief systems refine their internal beliefs, express their goals vis-a-vis each other and draw their Red Lines is neither unlikely nor undesirable. Ironically the more we have of the latter, the less likely the former.

The root of current tensions may be rooted in the West's reluctance to define its own inner beliefs and draw its Red Lines. Fudging the borders is not an act of peace, it is an invitation to armed conflict. The very same UN which would balk at altering an international boundary by a foot has difficulty in seeing the harm arising from the erasure of cultural borders, which as much as frontier fences, define the extent of a civilization. That is not "bigotry" any more than mapmaking is.

The problem with the BBC poll is it suggests "all is well"; and that no further action is required besides ignoring people who worry about a "clash of civilizations" when the contrary is probably true.

2/20/2007 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

In many ways, the Jihad has redefined what is meant by Total War. Not only does the new comprehensive way of warfare go beyond the the use by the State of all means, it includes the commandeering and subversion of international and nonbelligerent facilities to advance the aims of the combatants.

India denounced the use of the Pakistani Banking system to assist the transfer of funds to terrorist organizations in small transactions designed to evade detection using ATMs. (AKI/Asian Age)

"Legitimate banking channels are regularly being used to fund terrorist operations. Many instances of funds received via banking channels from so-called safe locations such as Dubai and UAE, intended for terrorist organisations, have been detected by Indian counter-terrorist agencies. Each individual transaction tends to be small so as not to attract attention and to avoid detection. Use of both real, and fraudulent, ATM cards has also been resorted to at times," he observed. ...

Another important source of funds to jehadi terrorist outfits were religious charities. Voluntary and forced donations were also common, as was using charities to channelise funds. He said, "Compulsory subscriptions to pro-terrorist publications have laterally become an important avenue for generation of funds. The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba's monthly, Majalah-al-Dawana, and its weekly magazine, Al Ghazwa, are two prime examples."

Recalling that a networked insurgency is controlled by propagating a narrative and disseminating operational techniques, it is readily apparent that a civilizational war, as waged by the Jihadis is potentially far more a "people's war" than Mao's and a much more "total war" than Hitler's in some respects.

Unless the West challenges the narrative it will have to progressively restrict ordinary life to compensate. We see this already in air travel. Pretty soon we may have to give up a great deal of privacy to pay for the liberal reluctance not to criticize the Jihad.

2/20/2007 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Michael Totten interviews Michael Orren at Pajamas Media, touching upon other things, America's early wars with the Barbary Pirates. Back then, the pirates considered enslaving Americans the most natural thing in the world.

MJT: When speaking of the Barbary War you used the word “jihad.” I don’t think you used that word in your book, though, did you?

Oren: No, I didn’t really have to. There was the case in 1785 where Thomas Jefferson is sent to negotiate with the envoy of the Pasha of Tripoli. Jefferson says to him that America only wants peace with the Barbary states. And he says to Jefferson “No, we want war with you. We have a holy book called the Koran which says that we have to conquer and enslave all infidel states. And the United States is an infidel state. And moreover our holy book the Koran tells us that if we are killed in the course of carrying out this war that we’ll go directly to Paradise.” So I didn’t think I even had to put the label jihadist on there. I figured that remarkable report of Jefferson’s at the Continental Congress would suffice to alert contemporary readers what Jefferson was dealing with in the Middle East.

But then America drew its Red Lines. And the rest is history. And I would argue that caused a change for the better, not only within Islam but in the world as a whole. Slavery was abolished not only in the US, but as few now remember, it was put down the world over. I trust nobody has any objections to describing that as a win-win for all mankind. The question today is, do we have the bipartisan consensus needed to draw those Red Lines? A bipartisan consensus, not simply in the narrow sense as between Democrats and Republicans but in the wider sense, as between the Left and Conservatives. Do we?

2/20/2007 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I think Shulamit may be on to something:

Quote: The emancipation of women is a key factor, without it, there will never be a change in Islam. It will lead to families having fewer children, and thus more love for children and more value placed on their lives. As long as women are no more than reproductive machines, we will have suiced bombings. Also, emancipated women may begin demanding some _real achievements_ from potential suitors. When men no longer can _buy_ wives they may have to find ways to become likeable, less belligerent. When men have to do dishes they will no longer have the time to demonstrate in droves with effigies or torch foreign embassies at the drop of a hat.

2/20/2007 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

I have no idea where you're coming up with this American draws the Red Line mantra.

Recalcitrant ideologies or religions draw the lines. We bust through them. It's called freedom.

And you're avoidance in admitting there is not a clash of civilizations astonishing. How many countries does Islam have to attack (unprovoked except for the dictates of it's ideology)before one acknowledges that it is the problem and that it does a bit of clashing with everyone else?

2/20/2007 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Vinegar Joe said...

I lived in Indonesia in the late 1990s....up to 2004. Before and after 911 Bin Laden tshirts were for sale in Islamic clothing shops.....for example, the Carnival Mall in Batam. Several months before the 2002 Bali Bombing, Bin Laden tshirts were commonly worn by Muslim men working Kuta, Bali. Christmas Day 2001, my Balinese wife and I saw them being worn at the old Matahari Department Store on Jalan Legian......near on of the bombings.

Am I surprised? Having read the anti-American, anti-western propaganda spewed by their elected leaders almost daily in the Indonesia press.....I'm not surprised at all.

2/20/2007 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


As presently constituted the world may be too small for Western Civilization and Islam to mix without modification. When they existed in essentially separate universes, back in the days before widespread travel, migration and globalization, their incompatibility didn't matter.

Western ideas are probably as lethal to Islam as Islam is to the West. The mere existence of the West is refutation of the claim to primacy of Islam. If Red Lines do anything it would be to re-separate Islam and the West again so that they can pursue their separate paths. Otherwise they must either mutually adapt to accomodate each other (a nonzero sum outcome) or annihilate each other like antiparticles.

But anyone who wants to attain the negotiated outcome must determine his own internal negotiating position. What is our walkaway condition? How do we value the elements that are on the table? What is Islam's walkaway condition? It may turn out, as students of negotiation know, that no deal is possible. But that conclusion comes only after each side analyzes its position. The West has not. Drawing Red Lines forces the West to ask the question of what it is willing to negotiate and what is non-negotiable.

The alternative is of course the outright, take no prisoners clash. We may get there. But I hope this can somehow be avoided.

2/20/2007 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

But in any case the numbers in all countries are high enough to put the entire premise of multiculturalism to question.

Wretchard, hopefully we all won't forget that the premise of multiculturalism ending does not mean the end of people from very different cultures working together, enjoying one another's company, and with assimilation and social norms in force in a country - to live, work, marry without much thought - but still retain some element of their forefather's legacy as being "diverse" in the good sense of the word. Striving for complete global uniformity would be boring, bland, a betrayal...

You are a good example of someone who has many cultures and ethnicities in their background. I come from a background of religions and ethnicities that for most of their existence flipped between war and periods of "cold peace".

IMO, the fault is not with the West, even with Asian cultures that aren't exactly ready to fill their cities with African or Muslim immigrants in the name of "the more diverse the better demographic objectives". For the most part, Asian and Western nations have a robust cultural exchange going on and people living, working, and visiting other nations. The maps showing trade volume, exchange intellectual work, visitors, raw communications in bytes or # of phone calls between N America/Europe/Asia are huge in volume and accelerating. Really accelerating with globalization and the Rise of India and China.

The Muslim countries, except for Dubai, Malaysia, Iran, Turkey, and Bahrain show up as stunted backwaters on those maps. And except for oil, the leading nations can do business easily elsewhere without the high security needed in many Muslim and African nations.

I worry that I'm in the 40% of Americans that see any future existiental clash as entirely the fault of intolerant, violent Islam. That it will happen unless radical Islam changes their ways, which I doubt because we are asking the radical 10% that through anonymity make all Muslims possible threats to infidels because no one can distinguish between a peaceful Muslim and a psychotic bloodthirsty Jihadi - not even their familes, apparantly. The only way the radicals will have a change of ways is to undergo a significant religious conversion - which is really unlikely because they think they are winning.

Because we cannot distinguish between Muslim terrorists and friendly gas station owners, that Clash may force us to cleanse all Muslims out and send them back to the Ummah.
No, the fault is with an intolerant minority.

2/20/2007 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

You must certainly know that Islam precludes what you outline. It is in their guidebook of life, the Qu'ran.
You are ,I am sure, aware that almost all scholarship on Islam points out it's zero-sum nature.
In the past the only thing that has halted the spread of Islam is militay might. It is not just todays world that is presently constituted as too small. The world was too small for Islam nad any other religion since the day it was dreamed up by Mohammad. Since THAT day it has agressed againt all others.
Today one cannot name a single contributiion Islam has made to the world in a positive light in what, a thousand years?
Negotitation with Islam? You know their position is fixed. Conversion,dhimmitude, or death.
These are not negotiating positions but ultimatums. The Christian West is not going to convert to Islam without a very bloody war. And once again,as throughout history it will be Islams doing.
Current trends would dictate that a half a billion Islams will die to force them to recognise they cannot reestablish the Caliphate. The world will not miss 500 million people who live in the 7th century.

2/20/2007 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

re: Habu

Habu lists the three principles of Islam: conversion, slavery, or death.

Professional negotiators are quite clear on the fixed, immutable, existential nature of principles, i.e. they cannot be negotiated.

Can anyone here list three principles for the West? And let me be clear about this. A principle is an integral part of one's existential perspective, which cannot be changed without changing what one is. In short, when a person abandons a principle, he becomes, at that instant, a new person.

The West confuses goals with principles and, therefore, always comes up short of Wretchard’s "Red Lines." Quite rightly, Muslims see this as a profound weakness, not as some sort of perfectly reasonable negotiating technique. To be frank, when Muslims see Western governments modifying free speech, for example, to impress Muslims, they see cowards.

Of course, Muslims have the three principles cited by Habu. They will not change them unless faced with an existential crisis, and even then millions will prefer death to change. Simply put, the West has nothing to offer Islam, unless it is the time by which the West will submit to conversion, slavery, or death.

So, unless the West can find true principles worth dying for, the only Red Lines drawn will be by the other side.

2/20/2007 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Oengus Moonbones said...

Wretchard, after taking into account what you have written, I hereby propose the Corollary to the Three Cities Axiom:

The Red Lines will not be drawn until America loses at least three cities.

2/20/2007 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...


I read with rapt attention your piece. I beieve you are right.

I'm not sure I have the ability to define three western priciples but here's a go.
First I would list our Bill of Rights, but here even with there codification we in the US have found enough flexibility to "modify", "interpret", however one wants to characterize it those ten principles. I do not know if that constitutes a change sufficient to say the person has changed in a significant way.
I think your points are excellent and well worth pondering.

2/20/2007 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Allen, the three principles of the west,
sight alignment,
stock weld, and
trigger squeeze.

Actually you can throw another one in there,
natural point of aim.

Hope that's all you need. BTW they're non-negotiable according to Presley O’Bannon.

2/20/2007 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"Do we?"

No. In the gap is the room for the jihadi egos to run wild until they slaughter another large group of innocents here (in US). Then, we do...and Baghdad and Anbar Province get cleared out properly rather than correctly. Hopefully, the resultant animus gets that craphole area of NW Pakistan and the Bekaa Valley flushed for good measure.

2/20/2007 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

BTW, haven't aid it in a while and readin' Habu1 prompts me to repeat:

Slaughter now or slaughter later.
Slaughter later = slaughter more.

2/20/2007 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger BurtB said...

Allen Estrin points out-

BBC Clash of Civilizations Poll
Posted by Allen Estrin at 12:28 PM

They ask two questions which are not comparable, so therefore the poll is worthless. They had an agenda -- they wanted to prove that most people believe the West and Islam can get along without any problems -- and created a poll to get the result they wanted. That's not truth-seeking. That's agenda journalism.

The two questions are not even mentioned in the BBC article.

the two questions:


Asked whether "violent conflict is inevitable" between Muslim and Western cultures or whether "it is possible to find common ground," an average of 56 percent say that common ground can be found between the two cultures, which is the most common response in 25 countries. On average almost three in ten (28%) think violent conflict is inevitable; Indonesia is the only country where this view predominates, while views are divided in the Philippines.

2/20/2007 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Jambon said...

Since the clash of civilizations is upon us, the survey is more a window into whose head is buried in the sand than it is of what to expect. That is probably why this discussion has evolved into one of how it will play out.
These three paradigms have had the best survival record to date:
1. Pax Romanum - all governing power concentrated in a nominally secular state. Worship according to faith permitted, but insurrections and blatent power plays crushed mercilessly.
2. Soviet model - all religious worship suppressed. The State becomes God.
3. Isolation - where there is a wilderness (space?) every sect can go off and play out its destiny alone from the intrusions of other ways.

2/21/2007 03:30:00 AM  
Blogger Jeha said...

May be the Low Lebanese numbers is because we know very well how those wars are fought. They're basically sectarian affairs, with religion used as a reason to convince the village idiot to die for you.

In our case, we're not a war with Islam; we're facing a sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. And the Sunnis have allied with them Christians and Druze. But no side can afford to "shoot first", so the sides are trying to manoeuvre one another into doing so...

2/21/2007 03:39:00 AM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

The shots were fired quite some time ago. Nov,4th 1989 is just one date that comes to mind.
Another date id 9-11-02.

In between the Islams have been begging to be nuked and we have restraind ourselves. They've earned it, we should serve it.

As I mentioned before the world will not miss in the least 500,000,000 Muslims who live in aworld of hate and aggression. Let's just do 'em a favor and send 'em to hell.

2/21/2007 04:13:00 AM  
Blogger Jambon said...

Even within this post there is a war going on. Jeha says "we" are not at war with Islam. (How does he define war?) Habu1 suggest that we should annihilate them because they are hateful and aggressive. (Have you ever seen a more exquisite irony?) Wretchard is looking for a way to keep the acknowledged clash philosophical and avoid bloodshed. (Good luck getting that jinn back in the bottle, sir.)

2/21/2007 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Charles Frith said...

Polling people is futile. Nobody listens to people when it comes to war which is why Islam and Chrisitanity are largely benign. It's those nutters at the top of the tree on both sides of the coin that are spoiling for a fight. And a fight it will be. By which time the media will have closed ranks and be bombing the people with reasons why they should sacrifice their lives for Halliburton, Carlyle Group, Kellog Brown & Root (KBR) et al.

2/21/2007 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

The True Death of Western Civilization; likely to succeed long before the jihadis get their act together.

2/21/2007 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Charles Frith,

No Halliburton, Carlyle Group, Kellog Brown & Root (KBR) et al, in Gaza City. Why not, habbibi, have your permanent residence there?

2/21/2007 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jambon said...

Charles Frith apparently has a bone to pick with big business (DBA the Military Industrial Complex). I beg to differ. "We" have always been at war with "them" regardless of who chipped the flints or forged the swords or milled the artillery. The drug wars causing fatalities in my fair city, and probably yours, are decidedly NOT being promoted by the culprits you cite. If someone markets a better brand of body armor, or sells an effective missile defense system, or deals a scanner that enables air travel to go back to the way it was before the post-9/11 reaction, would you consider that to be war profiteering?

2/21/2007 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger DeFran said...

Speaking of Jefferson, I like to think the principles of the West are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

2/21/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Someone should redo the old Coke TV commercial with the people in their national costumes singing on that hilltop.

And make one of them an Islamic Homicide Bomber - "I'd like to buy the world ...Boom!"

P.S. Okay - why is the verification word this time: "SMUT"?

2/21/2007 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Allen, here's my stab at "Three Principles of Western Civilization":

1) The citizen has a right to his own life, and to pursue his own goals. He has the right to live, work, and raise a family without molestation provided he respects the rights of others to do likewise. He is not the property of the State, the Ummah, or the Party. To help safeguard his rights, a citizen may band together with other citizens, and call the result a government.

2) The citizen has the right to own property, which he may use as he sees fit, consistent with not harming other citizens

3) The citizen has the right to protect his life, his family, and his property against those who would offer harm. Although he may delegate to the State the job of exercising this right for him, the citizen reserves the right to act if the State is unable or unwilling.

If you look at the above in light of European history, the above were attributes of the nobility of Europe. The distinguishing addition that the United States contributed, was the notion that these rights be extended to all citizens. The United States did not abolish titles of nobility -- it made all citizens noblemen

2/21/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger PossumTater said...

Well I think I've come up with the All American answer.

Grab all you can get from any source, government, your neighbor, foreigners etc. Anybody looks at you or disses you , you bust a cap on'em.
You have the freedom to steal someones car and pimp the ride.
Women got to wear no panties.
tattoos are now mandatory.
Hooliganism is saved for the weekends but drive buys are very night.
Never smile.
Have a pit bull eat a neighbors backyard swing set.
And them make sure to use the phrase, "
It's all good brother"

The real key to it all is to continue to redefine what diss'n someone is 'cause dat way you can jac'em up wit a reason.

2/21/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Time has no content other than what occurs within it.

The West is pacific because it is exhausted. Not necessarily in any eschatological sense, but certainly as a result of the conflicts, military and then ideological, which have profoundly enervated it. "The West" of pacifism, socialism, forgetful materialism, as currently known to those with fish memories is the result of sustained cataclysm. "The West" as identified with a dominant political system is actually mostly English.

The Arab and Persian Middle East essentially missed this boat - which is mainly to say that, besides their own barbarism, they missed the cataclysm that caused recently and historically powerful and chauvanistic cultures to yield to the pragmatic most-English solution. They simply live in their ancient manner - poor as ever, illiterate as ever, introverted as ever, claustrophobic as ever. These proceeded Islam; in some ways Islam softens them - to the extent it facilitates inter-tribal cooperation - but in more ways it simply ramifies pre-existing habist and sublimates it into something allegedly "like Christianity and Judaism." Who writes this imprecise bullshit? Certainly few or none of the Orientalists made this almost comical error of observation - not even analysis, observation!

Bah - what's the point. Of course there is a clash of civilizations, as there has always been. In fact Islam fulfills all the features of totalitarianism via (1) absolute (racial) supremacy, (2) constant war, (2) oustide enemy, (3) upon whom it is completely parastic, (4) completely preoccupied with nationalism/oppression, (5) every aspect of life legislated, (6) and so on. In this particular era, it is Islam who responsible for the war; in fact, with the exception of the period between like 1850 or 1880 and 1930-60, this has always been the case.

The main danger today is that the razzia-bands, the militant tribal coalitions, the age-old expression of political activity in the Islamic realm, have figured out how to use our technology. As versus Rome and Persia in the olden time, the Arabs especially have finally figured out what to do with the boom-boom sticks. Well, there really shouldn't be much debate; we should just fucking destroy them, mock them, be cruel to them, abuse them, stun them into at least shutting up and LEARNING for long enough to develop enough Individuality and from there Conscience and Introspection that they maybe wean themselves enough...

Much of this arises really out of how terrible they are to eachother, though. It is true. They are horrible to eachother. It's just a comparatively nasty, brutal culture.

2/21/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

This weekend Senator Obama promised that, if elected president, he would immediatly pull US troops out of the civil war in Iraq. Then, in a bizarro moment so far unnoticed by the mainstream media, he promised to send US troops to fight in the civil war in Darfur.

This is the military genius the Democrats are pinning their hopes on?

2/21/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Frith said...

Dan. It's not that you can't see the wood for the trees. It's just that you can't see the squirrels for the woods.

America pacific? erm, stealth, nukes, clusters, apaches, laser guided, death metal, tanks, hummers, space, satellites, the list goes on and on. The only thing the US doesn't have the stomach for is loss of blood in symetrical warfare.

Victim of it's own gluttony more like.

2/21/2007 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

I'd be interested in seeing a breakdown of Muslim respondants and non-Muslim respondants.

2/21/2007 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger ben said...

Yes, Charles, we are passive. Despite all our advanced weapons, we choose not to use the most powerful elements in our arsenal. We work harder to avoid civilian death than any of our opponents (who all celebrate it instead). No superpower in history has been so gentle with its own strength. If we were Rome, 9-11 would have been answered with a random nuking of a dozen islamic cities followed by a demand for tribute. If there was second offense, well, then there would be no chance of a third offense. Compare this to the scenes elsewhere, where a simple cartoon results in mobs of animals howling for bloody vengeance. We're the civilized ones. Thats' why we can afford to buy all that high tech gear you mention.

2/21/2007 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Word ben - and yes, Charles: "the West" includes, as it has from time immemorial generally meant, continental Europe. America is not pacific, or as pacific, it is true. But out of a now-pernicious habit, a vast majority of its culturally sophisticated has affected exhaustion, although, in its pitiful ignorance, it believes it virtue. It is not virtue, it is simply weakness, and where it is not weakness, it is simply passive aggression. This is why the American-Western spectacle is so depressing its current form.

But it is no matter; whether or not they will a clash of civilizations, hey - they're already standing in the middle of one.

2/21/2007 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Harrison said...

One word to explain the "shocking" results of the BBC poll: taqqiya. If they truly were spoiling for a fight, would they express it so blatantly to the world? Or would they insidiously attempt to undermine state institutions, laws and society to perpetuate sharia and jihad?

wretchard wrote: The question today is, do we have the bipartisan consensus needed to draw those Red Lines? A bipartisan consensus, not simply in the narrow sense as between Democrats and Republicans but in the wider sense, as between the Left and Conservatives. Do we?

Not so, judging from the manner in which Democrats are attempting to paint the defeat of the non-binding resolution as a victory for the party, and the decision to withdraw British troops as a sign of anarchy and violence spiraling out of control rather than a transfer of power to local police and military forces in Iraq.

The Red Lines you speak of are being drawn amidst us - Congressmen with their crayons perpetuating an atmosphere of partisanship that will prove divisive for the people, and between the executive and the legislature.

Transnational Progressivism and Islamofascism are recalcitrant ideologies indeed, habu. "Busting" the latter requires measures that our current government and the people seem unwilling to take.

The former is much more pervasive - already it has infected the left, and with the implicit support it receives from international bodies it may very well prove much more resilient as it harnesses public opinion on its side in order to subvert civilisation for the sake of cultural equivalence, among other utopian ideals.

2/21/2007 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Sort of fascinating how Islam may be designed explicitly for periods such as these - that is, the post-world-war meltdown of Western society. Consider, for example, Wretchard's twice-remarked observation that the green flag of Islam is actually the Green Party flag of early-middle Byzantium. Its opposition party was the Blue, and these were divided by, most conspicuously, Iconoclasm, any ideology born whole from the mind of Emperor Leo III, who creditted the destruction of some religious symbol or other with a victory over the contemporary Caliph (Mustapha I think). The politics of succession and of relations between field commanders and emperors/regents/viziers were perverted utterly for 2 centuries by this hilariously Orthodox pedantic fanaticism (recall, for example, the debate of the New and Old Believers in Russian Orthodoxy that had such similar results nearly 800 years later). Of course this political debate ennervated the Byzantine resistance to jihad; it also exacerabted that fatal late Roman tendency to view detatchments of abvancing hordes as bargaining chips by local potentates against the distant throne. Of course these were shortly devoured by their guests, as happened in Spain and other outlying, though immemorially Roman, provinces in the West, the main ingredient to its ultimate destruction. Well this all occurred in late 7th century AD.

It is interesting to read the Koran, and read all the stuff about oppression. Relying on the Pickthall translation, it comes out sounding rather similar to Socialist/Hippy/Anti-Colonialist bleatings. Of course, this is a theme of the Jewish and Christian canon as well, espcially with respect to relations with a hegemon like Egypt or Rome. But it is hard not to recognize that there is Something clever and cunning about the otherwise pathetically stupid Islamist-Koranic rhetorical strategies. I wonder if it wasn't forged as an original weapon in the arsenal of jihad, probably - since the Koran obviously wasn't delivered by God to Muhammad - because it was doing exactly the same thing in Medina, then Meccah, then against Rome and Persia, and then...

But then its philosophical content ran out. Islam has obviously provided a rather terrible guide for political authority and legitimacy, since at this late date we cannot accept the mere genetic inferiority of those between the River Oxus and the Atlas Mountains. It sure seems to do much better in these surge times against decadent opponents who've convinced themselves, like good lotus-eaters, that this is the Summit and the End of History.

2/21/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Harrison said...


re: 08:36:00 PM comment

Great post.

Simply put, the West has nothing to offer Islam, unless it is the time by which the West will submit to conversion, slavery, or death.

So, unless the West can find true principles worth dying for, the only Red Lines drawn will be by the other side.

What choice do we have when faced with an adversary who accepts, even glorifies and embraces, death as a necessary measure to advance his or her cause? No form of threat we make will intimidate and deter them. No form of concession we make will prevent them from exploiting that as a weakness on our part.

While we view accommodation and integration as part of establishing multiculturalism, they see it as a zero-sum game writ large in the "clash of civilisations". That battle for existence has been ongoing for centuries, and our enemies have recognised the essential need for brutal, uncompromising cruelty against dissidents within their own, and kafir who refuse to be subjugated under Islamic rule.

Without technology, they only have their own bodies to offer to the altar of religious ideology - a sacrificial act as primitive as one could imagine, hearkening back to Western pre-civilisation. We, on the other hand, have the means to avoid such forms of sacrifice, but we choose not to employ them.

We have compromised too much on principles for the sake of Transnational Progressivist concepts like multiculturalism, cultural and moral equivalence, relativism, to name a few subversive memes. Our enemy employs these tools because he has observed, for a very long time, that we are not willing to muster the resolve and will to defend what we hold dear - and therefore it must be of little value to us, so why preserve it? As more of his fellow jihadists are massacred, he should be discouraged, but why is he not? These memes take on a life of their own within nations - peoples become apathetic and indifferent to the invidious nature of their intentions, accommodating intolerance because it makes themselves look tolerant - carrying out the jihadists' work for them.

This emboldens them, and further vindicates their struggle against Western civilisation. As he sees that we are capitulating with each concession that is made, it further amplifies his appetite instead of sating it. He will want more and more until Western civilisation is no longer existent.

2/21/2007 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Frith said...

I've always thought that the defense (not attack) of freedom was something I'd die for. Not sure about you and your fin de siecle twitterings.

2/22/2007 01:53:00 AM  
Blogger ppab said...

And so how would you differentiate the attack and the defense of freedom?

And how would you know which is which so that you know when and where to show up?

2/22/2007 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

That's right Chuckles: wither up and blow away. Get thee to a coal mine and expiate your petulance and error in useful employment.

2/22/2007 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Charles Frith said...

ppab said...
And so how would you differentiate the attack and the defense of freedom?

And how would you know which is which so that you know when and where to show up?

The attack upon freedom my dear chap....which negates the second question.

2/22/2007 08:12:00 AM

Dan said...
That's right Chuckles: wither up and blow away. Get thee to a coal mine and expiate your petulance and error in useful employment.

Dan,.. I'll just watch you go cold turkey first if you don't mind. It's been fun so far.

2/22/2007 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger ppab said...


You more or less coined a phrase "the attack of freedom" and suggested this was less preferred than the "defense of freedom."

Your terms remain ambiguous and I was hoping you would clarify and not just add a preposition.

2/22/2007 11:59:00 AM  

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