Saturday, February 23, 2008

Henry Kissinger: 'Europeans Hide Behind the Unpopularity of President Bush'

Henry Kissinger's interview with Der Spiegel is described as a preview into John McCain's foreign policy, but ends up being a survey of McCain, GWB and Barack Obama viewed through Kissinger's concept of events. Here are some excerpts.

On the Middle East and Iraq:

Kissinger: I do not know many Europeans who would deny that the victory of radical Islam in Baghdad, Beirut or Saudi Arabia would have huge consequences for the West. However, they are not willing to fight to prevent it. ... I think it is obvious that the United States cannot permanently do all the fighting for Western interests by itself. So, two conclusions are possible: Either there are no Western interests in the region and we don't fight. Or there are vital Western interests in the region and we have to fight. ...

You cannot simultaneously attempt to overthrow the government of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan in the name of democracy and fight radical Islam. The democratization processes and the war against radical Islam have a different time frame.

On Afghanistan:

Kissinger: In the long run, we cannot have two categories of members in the NATO alliance: those that are willing to fight and others that are trying to be members à la carte. That cannot work for long. ...

SPIEGEL: Barack Obama also says the conflict in Pakistan is the war Americans really need to win. Is he right?

Kissinger: You can always say there is some other war I would rather want to fight than the one I am in.

On McCain:

SPIEGEL: Dr. Kissinger, you have endorsed Senator John McCain as your choice for the White House. McCain, though, has said he would be prepared to stay in Iraq for another 100 years. Are you sure he is the right man for the job?

Kissinger: John and I have been friends for 30 years. I have great confidence in him.

On Europe:

SPIEGEL: Isn't German and European opposition to a greater military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq also a result of deep distrust of American power?

Kissinger: By this time next year, we will see the beginning of a new administration. We will then discover to what extent the Bush administration was the cause or the alibi for European-American disagreements. Right now, many Europeans hide behind the unpopularity of President Bush. And this administration made several mistakes in the beginning.

On GWB:

SPIEGEL: In 50 years, historians will treat his [GWB's] legacy more kindly?

Kissinger: That will happen much earlier.




25 Comments:

Blogger Peter said...

Whistling past the graveyard is not a new position for the European elites, as evidenced by this recently discovered correspondence.


February 22, 399

Memo to Honorius
Western Roman Emperor

Dear Honorius:

How is that multiculturalism thing working out?

We too here in Constantinople have felt the pinch of the downturn in commerce and taxes from the provinces. But do you think it wise to continue to invite such large numbers of those guest-worker barbarian chaps into Latinum?

I suppose as day laborers in the wheat fields they would work out fine, but I counsel you to keep them out of the legions. Why just the other day we had a dust up with some of these barbarian types a little North of here. I sent a guest-worker legion to clean things up and wouldn't you know it, the whole darn legion turned out to be kinsmen of the rebels and changed sides without a moment of thought. I shall not do that again.

How is the new palace in Milan? I trust that you have been made as comfortable as a man in your position would have been in Rome, had it not been too hot to stay there. Moving the capital of an empire must be such an ardous task. My people tell me that if it heats up in Milan you may want to consider Ravenna. It's a bit swampy there but my engineers tell me that is very good for defense.

We have our own problems here, of course, but if you need any help let me know.

Very truly yours,

Emperor Arcadius
Constantinople

===============================

February 24, 399

Arcadius:

Screw you! If I wanted your stupid advice I would ask for it.

I have everything under control here. I have granted the guest-workers amnesty and they are now full citizens of The Empire. Surely such a humane move will enrich the diversity of The Empire and make us all happy human beings. I feel good about it.

You Easterners would be well advised to pay more attention to the feminine side of your nature. War is so yesterday. All cultures are equal anyway, don't you know? Your unfair criticism is only guest-workerphobia.

Upon the foundation of my brilliant and insightful leadership Rome will triumph for another 1,000 years!

Emperor Honorius
Rome-Milan

P.S. That Africanus Augustus Obamus guy you recommended for proconsul is a big hit. He fills the Colliseum with every speech. The changes he is making will be everything we hope for.

2/23/2008 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

If Obama loses to Hillary, the left will go nuts. If Obama loses to McCain, the left will go nuts.

If Obama wins the Presidency, the left will have obtained everything is believes it truly wanted; however, will the picnic be sunny and free of ants?


"Logical, flawlessly logical.", states Spock. Turning to his rival Spock says, "Sta'an. She is yours. After a time you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."


Sadly, Bush/America haters are not often logical.

2/23/2008 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I do not know many Europeans who would deny that the victory of radical Islam in Baghdad, Beirut or Saudi Arabia would have huge consequences for the West.

This is either irony or it is the stupidest statement ever uttered. Is Kissinger actually trying to say that the current regime in Saudi Arabia is not an example of “radical Islam”? Is it possible to imagine any regime even more radically Islamic than the House of Saud? The Taliban were a mere imitation of the Saudi original. What Kissinger seems to be alluding to is the fiction that Al Qaida is somehow fighting to overthrow the Saudi regime. The funny thing is, despite the fact that Al Qaida can knock down huge skyscrapers in New York, wreak havoc all over Iraq including sneaking bombers into the Green Zone, can kill politicians at will in Pakistan, can organize bombings in Spain and England, despite all this, Al Qaida has failed miserably to interdict even one barrel of oil from leaving Saudi ports, the most obvious way to overthrow the Saudi regime. The few half-ass “terrorist attacks” that have occurred in Saudi Arabia have only served to make the Saudi security forces look good; not an easy feat by the way. Now back in November of 1979 there was a real terrorist attack when militants seized Islam’s holiest shrine in Mecca. Since then Saudi intelligence, originally aided by the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, has co-opted the militant Islamist movements and made them an operational division of Saudi intelligence under direct control of the House of Saud.

On Iraq, is Kissinger actually not aware that the only way that Europe could have stopped America installing the current radical Islamic regime in Iraq (headed by an Iranian-backed terrorist organization) was by military force, surely a fool’s errand, considering that Europe did in fact do everything she could on the diplomatic front to stop Operation Iraqi Sharia?

And the country that has most aided the rise of Hezbollah is Israel and their two idiotic incursions into Lebanon (1982-2000 and again in 2006) The first war stirred the Lebanese Shia from their quietist sleep and convinced them to form Hezbollah and the second war only served to boast Hezbollah’s political standing. Israel should have been satisfied pummelling the utterly incompetent PLO over and over again but by forcing Arafat and his clowns to flee Tunis and occupying Lebanon they have instead created a huge problem on their northern border. What was Europe supposed to do, use force to stop both Israeli invasions that have created the current situation?

So let’s see the US strongly backs the radical Islamist regime in Riyadh, the US itself has installed a radical Islamist regime in Baghdad, and Israeli incompetence has grown Hezbollah; but it is all Europe’s fault. The sad fact is that many defeatists in Europe will internalize this criticism instead of seeing it for the narcissistic folly that it is.

2/23/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

”You cannot simultaneously attempt to overthrow the government of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan in the name of democracy and fight radical Islam. The democratization processes and the war against radical Islam have a different time frame.”

Kissinger states the obvious and then draws an incorrect conclusion from it here.

Overthrowing the government of Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Jordan would not be an example of “democratization” because something much less democratic would take its place within in such radicalized populations. "Democratization" is not characterized by one supervised election among Islamists voting overwhelmingly to do away with it. At a minimum, overthrowing an Islamic dictatorship would in some way have to empower less autocratic elements to be considered Democratization.

Democratization may or may not be a valid strategy in the WOT, but Kissinger's suggestion is not an example of it and therefore not an example of its potential limitations or "time frame differences".

2/23/2008 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Kissinger is 100% correct in his assessment that the EU will not contribute anything worthwhile in either men or money to keep the lid on jihadism.

The Europeans are old, tired and emasculated. The world's investment capital is heading East and so should our strategic interests.

2/23/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

I hate to spoil the party, but the discussion about democratization in the Muslim world begs the question: How can you have "democratization" in cultures that do not respect or acknowledge human rights? Where "democratization" actually works out to be a process by which Islamicization becomes more entrenched and Sharia Law made the cornerstone of the nation's legal code.

Kissinger, like all the policy elites in both parties, really does not know or understand Islam, its scriptures, and its history. They wing it based on the most erudite and sophisticated theories in poly sci going on at the cocktail parties.

2/23/2008 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

kevin”Is it possible to imagine any regime even more radically Islamic than the House of Saud?”

Yes. Notice that the al-Qaeda accomplishments you listed became progressively less spectacular through time. Also, in each case they resulted in a population dramatically less supportive. I don't know why damaging SA’s oil production would result in something different.

If half assed terrorist attacks in SA prove that al-Qaeda is operated by Saudi intelligence, “full assed” terrorist attempts here since 9-11 would have to prove the same.

Calling the Iraq government “radical islamists” is nonsense. Its security forces take several times our casualty rates battling real islamists, and its constitution contains democratic provisions comparable to those of Europe that are on the same plane as the one supporting Islam(something that would be hard to imagine such a historically Islamic nation to leave out.) There are of course fundamentalist and pro-Iranian local governments around Basrah, but they’re not a product of the Iraq’s central government, the one that gave us a green light last year to fully engage the Iranian backed Mahdi militas.

2/23/2008 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Fred: How can you have "democratization" in cultures that do not respect or acknowledge human rights??”

I think the current working theory is to do it progressively. By promoting one reform after another, either by persuasion, coercion or regime change until the society catches up to the most innocuous government they’ll tolerate.

2/23/2008 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Kevin Hezbollah is the creature of Iran. Created by Iran. Controlled by Iran. Part of Iran.

Israel had nothing to do with it. Your refusal to face facts (and Khomeni) shows the idiocy of the Left. Making excuse after excuse for Islamists. Allying with them ala Red Ken's Green Horse/Red Jockey idiot fantasy (ask the Tudeh how that worked out, oh wait you can't Khomeni executed them all).

Iran under the Mullahs wants a recreation of the Persian Empire, only Islamic, stretching from Greece and Egypt in the West to India in the East. Hezbollah is their creature. Used to bomb Argentina back into helping them with their nukes. Bomb the US out of Lebanon. Bomb the US out of helping Saudi Arabia resist Iranian military pressure.

And yes it *can* get worse. Saudi Arabia is a noxious regime. Any replacement would be far worse -- likely a Khomeni-ist Shia or AQ led Sunni military regime resembling the Taliban or Tehran.

Europeans (and Leftists like yourself) don't grasp the essentials: nuclear proliferation gives Khomenist, bin Laden type people among Shia and Sunni Muslims the ability to destroy Western Cities for drawing pictures of Mohammed. Or rumors of a koran flushed down the toilet.

This means to avoid more cities dying in the West (several will of course die before the West finally faces the danger) either Sharia in Sunni or Shia form must be adopted (and of course Muslims will nuke over which one wins) and the West will resemble either Tehran under Khomeni (probably the Wet Dream of the Left) or Kabul under the Taliban (well another Wet Dream of the Left).

OR ... the Muslim world will be reduced to half or less it's number. With whole peoples being wiped out in a war for survival.

That is the choice. YOUR multicultural, PC, "negotiation" and UN/EU "engagement" model does not work. It merely allows Europeans to pretend the death tolls are not really coming for a little while longer.

Meanwhile having Iraq next to Iran offers leverage: counter-terror in response to Iran's terror against US forces and Iraqis. Baluchi, Azeri, and Arab separatist/terror movements supported by America. Targeted destruction of the palaces, malls, hotels, factories, and other wealth producing places owned by regime figures. Assassinations of regime officials (turn about is fair play). No "rules" since 1979 said there are no rules. And bringing Iran to heed, forcing them to "say Uncle" publicly, humiliatingly, to deter proliferation.

Or as Morrissey says, it's the Bomb that Will Bring Us Together.

2/23/2008 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

whiskey, don't waste your time arguing with Kevin, he has to blame everything on the Joooos. I'm waiting for C-fudd to weigh in mourning over Mughniya's "heart and courage"

2/23/2008 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I miss Kissinger. He has a wonderful way of telling it like it is that allows him to get away with a lot more than, say, John Bolton ever could.

I'm always a little stunned at the aggression shown in Der Spiegel's interviews with various American figures. Maybe it's just a German trait, but they always come across in a "have you stopped beating your wife yet" sort of way. YOu'd think, given their history and background, they'd demonstrate a little bit more humble.

Finally, I have to agree with Fred that the problem of Islam is much more over-riding than the problem of introducing "democracy" to the Arabs. THey're still yammering on about how Hamas was democratically elected, and show absolutely no sign of acknowledging a difference between a bunch of thieving terrorist thugs and citizens elected who want to make a better country and a better life for everyone. I would also put Maliki's government in Iraq into that same mindset.

To Arabs, democracy is a way of acquiring power - not a way of building a better life. So I really think we need to be looking at reforming Islam at least as much as introducing a system of honest purple-fingers that doesn't involve herding people to the polls with guns.

2/23/2008 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Gary, you're probably right. However it's interesting that while Kevin can see that Saudi Arabia is a problem -- he can't see WHY or what to do about it. Other than moralizing that America is not perfect (and therefore worthless, a standard lefties never apply to say, Cuba) he has nothing.

Saudi Arabia is a problem (in the way that say, Chad is not) because wealth from oil brings a tribal, fractured, unstable society directly and unavoidably into contact with modern Western society. And destroys the old tribal certainties as sure as it destroyed Christianity in Europe. Islam is profoundly threatened by modernity which introduces doubt. Doubt that Mohammed is the undisputed messenger of God. Doubt that the Koran is the straight, undiluted or mis-copied word of God. Doubt that the rule of God is preferable to the rule of men. Doubt that tribe and clan trump nation. And so on.

One solution would be to accelerate this process until nothing but doubt is left. People who don't believe don't fly planes into buildings. You don't see Europeans flying planes into buildings over what the Pope and Martin Luther said.

Of course, this would require an actual belief that the West was superior to all other civilizations. Of that I have my doubts that any Leftist would prefer the society of say, Switzerland to that of Saudi Arabia.

2/23/2008 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Bill and NahnCee,

To illustrate my point, take both Afghanistan and Iraq. Both countries, depending upon the wording of their countries' constitutions, have their legal codes based on Sharia Law. There is absolutely nothing in Sharia Law that respects human and political rights. It does not even recognize minority right, freedom of religion, the rights of women, etc.

How do you incrementally "improve" a political system based on Sharia Law? You have to scrap Sharia Law in its entirety.

Those dimwit Westerners like Archbishop Williams and Bonnie Prince Charlie who want to find a niche within their societies for Sharia Law and Islamic supremacism truly do not understand the nature of this beast. Only cowardice or intellectual sloth can account for this incredible stupidity.

2/23/2008 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

The democratization processes and the war against radical Islam have a different time frame.”


While I understand thinking that Kissinger is wrong, he's not in this sentence. He was agreeing with your point that elections are useless in these countries now, because all we'll get are Radical Islamists in power--and yes, that is different than the House of Saud, however poor an ally that is.

His point was that we have to win the war against radical Islam first, and democratization before then is meaningless.

If you subscribe to the belief that WWIV is going to take decades, then it's clear we only get democratization in the mideast even longer after that. Maybe in a hundred or so years, there will be some notion of human rights there.

2/23/2008 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Fred: There is absolutely nothing in Sharia Law that respects human and political rights. It does not even recognize minority right, freedom of religion, the rights of women, etc. How do you incrementally "improve" a political system based on Sharia Law?

I read that Sharia’s scope varies among Islamic countries. Searching The Iraqi Constitution for the word “right”, I see it claims to protect rights of women, religion, voting, privacy, unions, property, education, movement, minorities etc… And even though those protections will have to be resolved with “No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam”, it’s certainly a radical improvement over a constitution that al Qaeda would assemble.

2/23/2008 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

allison: He was agreeing with your point that elections are useless in these countries now, because all we'll get are Radical Islamists in power.

Maybe you’re right. Kissinger’s answer was strange and open to interpretation. In a knee jerk fashion, I just ran with the one that was consistent with statements by WOT opponents.

2/23/2008 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

I understand what you are getting at, Bill. The problem is that when we leave the Islamic lawyers are going to put Sharia jurisprudence right on the table and show what those "rights" exactly mean.

I'm skeptical of the whole nation-building business in the Middle East. In 2002 and 2003 when there was debate inside the country about why we should depose the Babylonian Baathists and what our purpose should be, I was not nearly as steeped in knowledge about Qur'an and ahadith. Thus, I was more optimistic about the whole business of weaning them off Islamic savagery. Now, I am not optimistic about this at all.

For example, formally there is supposed to be religious freedom in Iraq. In reality, it doesn't exist, as Christians are increasingly getting out of Dodge. In Afghanistan, for example, a Muslim apostate is subject to the penalty for that crime under Islamic Law: death. Only special diplomatic appeals for mercy ameliorate the severity of this law's application.

Islam and Islamic Law is ascendant in the Muslim world. Secularism and freedom have the slenderest hold. The best we can hope for in a place like Iraq is to have a government there that will not sponsor terrorism or support other states that do foment it. If we can get that, and be able to have bases from which we can hold Iran at bay, then I would consider it a victory.

I once bought into the Sirens' Song of Natan Sharansky. I no longer think his insights apply to something as uniquely retrograde and reprobate as Islam.

2/23/2008 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/24/2008 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Whiskey,

It’s amazing that you can clearly see that Iran runs Hezbollah yet you refuse to admit that |Saudi Arabia runs Al Qaida. You admit that Iran is ultimately responsible for Hezbollah’s actions yet you deny Saudi Arabia’s complicity in the attacks of 9/11. In other words by denying that Saudi Arabia is THE problem, you are part and parcel of the US surrender to Saudi Arabia and radical Islam.

And isn’t the little game the Saudis are playing with Al Qaida working well? Kissinger says that Saudi Arabia cannot be put under pressure to democratize until Al Qaida is defeated. There is a nice circularity there; as long as Saudi Arabia keeps pumping out the Jihadis, spreading radical Wahhabi mardrassas throughout the Islamic world, and continues ordering Al Qaida to attack Western countries with impunity, it’s style of government will not be touched. That’s basically the same as saying that as long as there are wasps flying around my garden I will never attack the wasp’s nest. No, wait a minute, it’s actually worse; it’s more like saying as long as wasps are flying around my garden I will PROTECT the wasp’s nest. That my friend, is either sheer stupidity or blatantly collaboration. Welcome to Vichy USA.

Concerning Iraq, please refresh my memory as to when during the Cold War we actually went and destroyed a free market society to set up a “moderate” communist state. Because that’s what we have done in Iraq if you replace free market with secular and communist with Islamist. Sure, the Ayatollahs running Iraq are claiming to be moderate, claiming to be at least one grade nicer than Khomeini. And who among us is to say they are not telling the truth, without even getting into the Islamic traditions concerning deception. The only problem is that it misses the larger point about Islam. Allowing Islamist to run the government is like allowing the jail yard Alpha to penetrate you from behind. Now sure he may promise to be on his best behaviour and only stick it half way in, just as the Islamists in Iraq are currently doing, but sooner or later when the situation allows it, you will be getting the full hilt of his lust, just as the Iraqis will soon be getting full-on Khomeinism as the Ayatollah’s obvious lust for power leads them to stick it all the way into the Iraqi people. After all Islam doesn’t mean half-submission, it means total submission.

And this scenario follows Kissinger’s own circular logic. Iraqis and all Middle Eastern states need it to protect themselves from “radical Islam”. Since Kissinger states that democracy is the wrong form of government to protect oneself against radical Islam, then surely the recipe to protect Iraq is to get as far away from a democratic form of government as possible, in other words radical Islam in the form of Khomeinism in order to protect Iraq from radical Islam in the form of Wahhabism. Do you ever get the feeling that Saudi Arabia and Iran are laughing all the way to the mosque?

Whiskey, I know you are an intelligent guy, please take a minute and think about the lies and circular idiocy that your political elite is trying to stuff down your throat. The answer is clear. In order to defeat militant Islam we must get to the heart of the matter and that is Saudi Arabia. Anything else is surrender. The answer is to impose a secular democracy on Saudi Arabia, and then to do the same in Pakistan and Iraq, the other bases of Al Qaida, while containing Iran. When the Sunnis are dealt with it will be time to turn towards Iran, just like we turned towards the Soviets after we had imposed our wills on the fascists in WW2.

2/24/2008 01:24:00 AM  
Blogger Fen said...

begs the question: How can you have "democratization" in cultures that do not respect or acknowledge human rights?

They are not related. We managed to become a Republic while not respecting human rights [natives, slaves, women, gays etc]. Our culture evolved, in large part due to our foundation in liberty.

Same for the arab world. We won't like what it looks like at first, but it will eventually evolve into something better than the primitive theological society they have now. Its the only longterm plan presented for marginalzing radical Islam.

Kissinger's point is that it may be too longterm, that we don't have the time and space to sheppard the Middle East because we're racing against WMD proliferation. If the patient's symptoms are lethal to you, it might be wiser to agressively treat the symptoms before curing the disease.

2/24/2008 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Fen said...

In order to defeat militant Islam we must get to the heart of the matter and that is Saudi Arabia. Anything else is surrender. The answer is to impose a secular democracy on Saudi Arabia

The Saudi street is radical islam. If you fail, you give Al Queda a nation state to run.

And I doubt China Russia EU will allow us to directly affect their cheap oil economies by meddling with Saudi Arabia.

2/24/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

fen,

We evolved because the idea of freedom and liberty was at the heart of our culture, while the areas of life that did not immediately come under its sway (women, minorities, etc.)eventually fell into the orbit of its logic. The seeds were there.

In the Muslim world, that is not the case. Freedom and liberty are not foundational principles. I suppose anything is possible, but in order for something to evolve the original form out of which the final manifestations flower has to be there. But that outline is not there. The collectivist mindset prevails (tribe over the individual)and the values of Islam itself are entirely hostile towards the values of freedom and liberty.

Sorry, your analogy does not work. Whenever I use the "evolutionary" paradigm I use it within a Catholic understanding of design by an Intelligent Creator who designed the original outline or blueprint and then it unfolds over time.

The blueprints in that culture and ours are not the same. You can't pull out of a hat that which was not put there.

It still amazes me the extent to which people will go to apologize for the Islamic culture, or to hang on to trying to fit Sharansky's square peg into Islam's round hole.

2/24/2008 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

And I doubt China Russia EU will allow us to directly affect their cheap oil economies by meddling with Saudi Arabia.

Why is here always the assumption that just because a bunch of camel-loving Bedouins have pitched their tents in the sand above the oil fields, that the oil belongs to them, and only to them, to do with as they see fit?

How many Saudi oil fields does Aramco run, any way? Just give China one of them, Europe one, and we'll take the other, and everyone will be happy since Russia already has their own.

The Saud's will also benefit from being stripped of their filthy lucre and can either get back to herding camels like they were born to do or can educate themselves to join the rest of us in the human race -- neither of which option involves much Wahhabism or Shariah law.

They don't play by our rules. I see absolutely no reason why we need to keep playing by theirs.

2/24/2008 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Fred:"For example, formally there is supposed to be religious freedom in Iraq. In reality, it doesn't exist, as Christians are increasingly getting out of Dodge."

According to this Fox News story,
Christians fleeing violence in Iraq is a result of al-Qaeda launching a coordinated bombing campaign since the summer of 2004 against Baghdad churches rather than the restriction of religious freedoms by government sanctioned entities or by the larger society. Apparently, hopeful signs for the Iraqi Christian community exists. I think that the most inspiring is portrayed in Michael Yon’s Iwo Jima shot, but those remaining will surely suffer disproportionately as long as al-Qaeda is operates there.

Fred:”We evolved because the idea of freedom and liberty was at the heart of our culture, while the areas of life that did not immediately come under its sway (women, minorities, etc.)eventually fell into the orbit of its logic. The seeds were there.

In the Muslim world, that is not the case. Freedom and liberty are not foundational principles.”


Many like myself argue that the seeds of freedom and liberty are buried deeper than our cultural layer. They’re buried in our nature as rational beings, and they are essential to actualize our productive potential.

As the rediscovery of Aristotle’s work inspired people like Thomas Aquinas to usher in a Renaissance in the Christian world, the Islamic world ignored it, and the social and economic results couldn’t be more obvious. The Islamic world’s stagnation since the centuries immediately following their conquest of successful cultures (aka Islam’s “golden age”) is just one of the many examples of how societies fail to the degree that they disrespect liberty and freedom.

It’s argued that modern Islamist movements are a product of that disparity, made more visible by our shrinking planet. That they’re the death buds of traditional theocratic power rocked by Western influence over a generation of educated Muslims. That the drive toward Islamic fundamentalism is a reflex to the Islamic world’s wider reform through acceptance of non-Islamic values. But again, those values are not fundamentally Western. They’re human values, springing from our nature that as you so well put “eventually fell into the orbit of its logic”.

2/24/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Kim SJ said...

Kevin suggests... "The answer is to impose a secular democracy on Saudi Arabia..."

I just love the concept of "imposing" democracy. Surely only a citizen of the USA could use such a phrase with a straight face!

4/04/2008 01:03:00 AM  

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