A Cold War Dressed Up In Head Scarves

BK Marcus on the clash of civilizations:

Those who want to claim that the clash is religious can point to what the Islamists themselves say about the clash. But so can those who want to claim that US foreign policy is to blame. The whole question is complicated by the fact that the distinction between religion and ideology is one that Islamists (and Christian theonomists and many Orthodox Jews) would reject. The distinction itself is a largely secular one. [...]

What about the idea that Islam is out to destroy the West? I don't deny that it's possible, but it seems to be the old Cold War thesis dressed up in head scarves. Yes, Communist theory demanded worldwide revolution. Yes, Islamic scripture demands the equivalent. But so does Catholicism, and yet the Church has settled into an antiwar position after all these centuries. Why not Islam? And just as the Soviet political class paid lip service to the universalist rhetoric of Marxism while pursuing its own self-interest (and just as the American political class does the same with talk of liberty and the public welfare), so, I'm guessing, must the Muslims in power (or those seeking power) speak to one standard while pursuing a different one. A quick perusal of the Islamic empires of history would seem to confirm this suspicion.

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We will corrupt Islam

We will corrupt Islam with consumer goods and easy living just as we corrupted the USSR.

A Non- simple World

If you are an Arab you could just be happy riding your camel in the desert and playing with your many wives. But life’s many complexities intrude. The Muslim religion says you must be an agent of Allah to convert all the people in the world to Islam. Also they say they feel every Muslim’s pain. If America is accused of hurting one Muslim all the others have a grievance against us. It is even worse if you disrespect Allah. This would carry little weight if the US was not such a presence in Muslim states and Muslims had not emigrated.

So you turn a local political conflict between various despicable parties into a vendetta against the US, a third party that only wants cheap petroleum to support the consumer economy. Muslim hatred comes from the partly accurate perception that we are abusing their sovereignty. Historically, the reason they especially hate America is because we took on the role of the oppressor from the British after forcing them to give up the Suez Canal. We also got involved in order to stabilize energy prices so as to assure the American dream, two cars in every garage,etc. There was also the Cold War imperative to keep the Russians from moving in and the domestic need to protect Israel. We should have moved all the Jews here and given them Arizona. The unintended consequences are a nightmare. Also there is no simple exit strategy.