Yesterday, I described why Islam the ideology is an enemy of the West. But don’t make the mistake of thinking it is the only enemy (the West’s internal enemies are much worse, and much closer), or that I am advocating another long war.
Islam and Arab culture in general have a great deal of respect for strength. If your culture is strong, vibrant and powerful, Islam will cheerfully submit and bide its time. As the old Ottoman Empire crumbled after the siege of Vienna in 1683, Islam was on the retreat everywhere. Many parts of the Muslim world became protectorates or outright colonies of Western countries. The West was ascendant and strong. The Muslims knew this. And yet, despite outright colonization, the West experienced less Islamic violence than today.
Handling Muslim countries properly is the key to avoiding the sort of unpleasantness France recently experienced. America did this twice in its history, in two short wars with the Barbary pirates. Both times, the Islamic country in question was quickly and efficiently attacked, massive casualties were inflicted and the subject immediately at hand was resolved. Quick, decisive action is needed. Afghanistan and Iraq are examples of how not to fight Muslim countries.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, our soldiers fought bravely and well. But we were also trying to build a Western-style democracy in a society that didn’t want one. America will never make friends of an Islamic country. It may make temporary alliances of convenience in enemy-mine situations. It may make treaties that will last for a decade or two. But then the lesson will need to be repeated, as in the Barbary pirates affair. Such quick and decisive action will convince Islamic nations that attacking the West is an exercise in futility. But, periodically, they will check to make sure. Life is cheaper in the Muslim world. When they knock on the door, lob a grenade out the window. They’ll get the message and go away for awhile.
Occupying and trying to rebuild nations in the Middle East is doomed to failure from the beginning. Free speech is anathema to them. Democracy is farcical. Even those individual Muslims who are pro-West will be drowned out by their radical compatriots. The pro-Western Muslims are considered (and to some extent, believe this themselves) to be “bad” Muslims even if you or I would consider them to be good people.
So why is terrorism such a problem? Two reasons, primarily. First, as Ron Paul often advocates, we’re in their world, fucking around with their business. Regardless of our moral justification for being there, they don’t see it the way we do, and getting them to see things our way is probably prohibitively expensive, both in blood and treasure. Would I prefer if most Muslim countries joined the 21st century and abandoned medieval warlordism? Well, naturally. Do I think it’s going to happen any time soon? Not likely.
The movie Falling Down has a great line about this sort of thing:
This is a gang land thing, isn’t it? We’re having a territorial dispute? I mean, um, I’ve wandered into your pissing ground, or whatever the damn thing is, and you’ve taken offense of my presence. And I can understand that. I mean, I wouldn’t want you people in my backyard either.
This is the crux of the problem. Muslim countries don’t want us around. Oh, sure, the House of Saud will gleefully take our money and go buy oversized skyscrapers, booze and strippers with it (Islamic leaders seldom live up to their own laws). But they don’t want us messing around with their business. Take your oil, we’ll take your money and give it to other people to maintain a nice, cozy relationship with your bankers, corporatists and other leaders. But don’t ask us to like you.
On the other side of this coin, something Ron Paul and his ilk have consistently failed to mention, you can’t just ignore Islam either. Islam has a vested self-interest in conquest. It’s interested in you. If you are weak, they will take advantage of it to expand their interests.
Certainly, letting vast numbers of Muslims into your country is going to end badly. Again, because they don’t like you. Oh sure, there are exceptions to the rule (see my earlier article for some), but as a whole Muslim immigrants don’t want to blend in, are unconcerned with Enlightenment mores and definitely don’t believe in Western democratic traditions. Islamic and Western societies are fundamentally incompatible. Do you want gay rights? Islamic countries do not. Do you want Free Speech? Freedom of Religion? Islamic countries want devotion to Allah.
There are exceptions, naturally. Turkey embraced the philosophy of Ataturk. Kemal Ataturk was a secularist first, a Muslim second, and he wished for Turkey to become closer to Europe in civilization and structure. He could not, however, jettison Islam. In Turkey, as in many Muslim countries, the secularists are actually Military Dictatorships. Again, Islam respects force. Turkey’s Kemalism was unique in that the military didn’t take direct control but it maintained its secular affiliation and quietly removed governments that became too Islamist. In recent years, however, they have been unable to prevent Erdogan and his Islamist ilk from controlling Turkey, and so the philosophy of Kemal Ataturk may not be the way out of Islamism. It appears to be more of a delaying mechanism than anything. Still, the only secular Muslims in power are dictators, the very same people America is in the business of overthrowing.
Could Islamic immigrants be assimilated into the West? Yes, though not easily. Most of their Islamic identity has to be jettisoned for this to be accomplished. One of the police officers defending the office in France was a Muslim. Some Muslim countries like the aforementioned Turkey have a number of secular-minded individuals who may be more open to the idea, but they do not run things in most Islamic countries. They are also targeted by the radicals almost as often as Westerners themselves.
Others are specifically fleeing the violence in their home countries; they leave precisely because they don’t like Islamism. Many of these people are open to conversion or outright Atheism. But Western governments and social elites have been actively discouraging assimilation in their effort to promote multiculturalism, the notion that all cultures are equally valid. They also fail to check, at the border, if someone is a secularist Muslim or not. Radicals? Moderates? Secularists? Come on in…
This is useful to them in two ways: they can take the moral high ground even when their actions directly result in the deaths of innocents (#NotAllMuslims, and “you’re just racist,” etc…) and they can keep the notion of a perpetual war with Islam on the table as a fear-driven excuse to pass draconian, tyrannical laws like the Patriot Act. Governments love having a convenient enemy around as it helps them keep their own population under their thumb and serves as a justification for measures that would never be approved in a time of relative peace.
If I were France, I would halt all Islamic immigration immediately. Furthermore, I would deport all Muslims who were not French citizens. The ones who held French citizenship could stay in the hopes that they would eventually assimilate. I would recommend this course of action to all Western countries with large Muslim minority populations. Large-scale Muslim immigration should never have been allowed in the first place, but it’s time to do damage control. Some can probably be saved.
This will never happen, though, since governments find the terrorism convenient and there is more money to be made promoting the destruction of secular Western values in the first place. The Islamic radicals sense this weakness in the West, they see the self-loathing stupidity of the Social Justice Warriors. They don’t see the young American nation that launched an attack across the sea in wooden boats to free their men. They see a nation of Bowe Bergdahls and Nancy Pelosis. Even the supposed “strong foreign policy” Republicans spend all their time building schools and “promoting democracy.” None of this says “strength” to them.
Annihilating a city or two full of militants, crucifying a radical cleric, then saying “don’t you DARE do that again” would be much more productive. Don’t stick around. They don’t want you there and you don’t need to be there. Communicate the message and then leave. They would get the lesson… for awhile. It would have to be repeated every so often, but so long as you did not let them in your country, you would survive it. The Islamic world and the Western world could then get along as they have before: distant enemies who warily respect the other (but trade a lot on the down-low).