Winter is coming
The death, or at least the Dark Age of Western Civilization is quickly approaching. We’re surrendering in battles that we’ve fought for decades, even centuries. And they’re conflicts in which the West was heading towards overwhelming victories.
It’s not too long ago that the Muslim world seemed poised to join Western civilization. The United States and its allies had forced democracy on Iraq and Afghanistan. Pakistan seemed ready to elect a female Prime Minister, truly a revolutionary act in a misogynist society. The Palestinian Authority spoke about peace with Israel, as they continued to receive massive amounts of aid.
But less than ten years later Pakistan is as hostile to the West as ever, with its Intelligence forces protecting, rather than hunting for terrorists. The Palestinian Authority has united with Hamas, a terrorist organization. The Afghan government, brought into being by western intervention, was growing hostile to the West even before the United States traded for the freedom of some of its most brutal enemies. The government in Iraq is collapsing, as its second largest city, Mosul, has been taken by the Islamist forces now advancing on Baghdad.
(The main character in the novel Quantum Cannibals is based on the historical leader of the Academy in 16th century Mosul. She flees to avoid brutal invaders who impose an oppressive religious code.)
Does it matter? American voices are already rising, saying ‘hands off; it’s not our problem.’ But it is.
- Iran, the arch-nemesis of western secular democracy, is stepping in to help the Iraqi government. This is logical, as Shia Muslims make up the majority of both nations. If the West throws Iraq under the bus, Iraq would likely establish an alliance with Iran, greatly strengthening its power and influence. This would be bad for anyone on the planet who is not a Shia Muslim.
- The capture of Mosul ushers in the birth of a Sunni (not ‘sunny’) caliphate. ISIS, i.e. the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria wants to restore Islam as a dominant power of the world. While the name speaks of Iraq and Syria, its leaders are not necessarily Iraqi or Syrian. The mastermind of the capture of Mosul is a Chechen, half-Christian by birth (Moscow must be thrilled with a Chechen-led insurgency). Whether it’s a Sunni caliphate with expansionary ambition or a Shia theocracy with apocalyptic dreams, we can count on the region being a staunch opponent of Western values such as reason, rights, liberty, progress, and secular democracy.
The territory of the caliphate is somewhat similar to that of the Assyrian Empire twenty-seven hundred years ago. The Assyrians were brutal, laying waste to the nations that opposed them. There are debates among scholars as to whether they imposed their religious practices on the lands they controlled. There is no such debate about the contemporary terrorist caliphate.
- Iraq is the second largest oil producer of the OPEC cartel. As the country stabilized, its oil output has steadily expanded. Putting its production in the hands of Islamist radicals, (whether Sunni or Shia) will de-stabilize oil prices, which will destabilize Western economies.
The West is not as dependent on Muslim oil as it was forty years ago, when an OPEC oil embargo brought the American economy to a virtual stop. Gas was rationed, heating oil was expensive. The increased cost of energy was a key factor in the terrible economic inflation and high interest rates which followed, costing many people their jobs and homes.
But the West is not as independent as it could be. The environmental movement has kept Europe, the United States and Canada from properly developing its own energy wealth. It forgets that affluence is a precondition for protecting the environment. The poor have other priorities.
The Ukraine and Poland have extensive gas reserves, which could break their dependence on Russia and Middle Eastern suppliers. Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has opened up vast new sources of energy throughout the West, but environmental propaganda, funded in part by Middle Eastern oil producers has limited Western energy independence. “Many oil-rich nations stand to lose a substantial amount of income if fracking opens up an alternative fuel source inside the United States.” The actor Matt Damon seemed sincerely surprised that his anti-fracking movie was funded by Mid-East oil interests.
In Canada, much of the opposition to pipelines that could transport Alberta oil is funded through the Tides Foundation, an entity which collects big money from anonymous donors, which it redirects to its targeted causes. Ironically Tides works with the Rockefeller Foundation, which represents big oil money. Old oil and gas producers have harnessed the energy of environmentalists to suppress competition. In a further irony, Russian aggression in the Ukraine has softened European Union opposition to Canadian oil, and the infrastructure necessary to get it to Europe.
Few environmentalists have thought about how their activities relate to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. If they would pay attention, they would understand that the limits to fracking, the delays in building pipelines, have made the new caliphate a much greater problem for Western civilization. The caliphate is a new incarnation, the third wave of a very old threat, made more powerful by Western indifference.
The Crusades were Christianity’s attempt to undo earlier Islamic conquest. Wars raged back and forth, the tide ebbed and flowed for centuries. (The novel Quantum Cannibals incorporates a particularly brutal event in that struggle: the Siege of Famagusta of 1570.)
At the Siege of Vienna in 1683 Islam seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe. Three and a half centuries later, has it succeeded?
“In 2011 they (Muslims) constituted 25 percent of Rotterdam, Marseilles, and Amsterdam; 20% of Malmo; 15 percent of Brussels and Birmingham; and 10 percent of London, Paris, Copenhagen, and Vienna.”
The Catholic Church recently invited a Muslim Imam (along with a rabbi) to offer prayers at the Vatican. While there is some debate over what the Imam actually prayed for, we can be confident that no Christian religious leader will ever be invited to invoke Jesus in Mecca. Is the Vatican, by its own initiative, on its way to becoming the next Hagia Sophia? The next center of Christianity to be taken over, or in this case turned over to Islam? While the Pope and Church leaders may consider the invitation to the Imam as building bridges, they may have forgotten that bridges are often important routes for conquest.
It’s worth noting that something similar happened at another focal point of Western civilization about a week earlier. The father of an American accused of desertion uttered an Islamic invocation in the White House, while standing next to the President.
A bridge was recently built between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The former is a terrorist organization; the latter an organization of former terrorists. Their partnership allows huge amounts of Western money to pass into the hands of Islamic radicals. This doesn’t bother the President of the U.S., the acting leader of the free world.
“This indifference of the accession of Hamas to the PA is consistent with Obama’s policy toward Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Libya, in which, through engagement and acquiescence, we have seen the strengthening of viciously anti-American forces.”
Acquiescence, appeasement seems to be the guiding policy of the west. Act peacefully, and others will reciprocate with peace and friendship. It’s not just appeasement of the Muslim world, though. The “reset” of relations with Russia convinced its leaders that America was no longer an obstacle. Russia could take whatever actions it wished on the international stage, whether by annexing the Crimea, keeping a vicious despot in power in Syria, or arming the Islamic terrorist government of Iran. Appeasement unfortunately is working as well for the Obama administration as it did for Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler.
It’s the consequence of a utopian vision of the world, where reason becomes religion. It’s an imperial vision because it requires everyone to think the same way as you, to have the same values as you. That they don’t should be obvious to most intelligent people.
Concepts such as reason, nature, rights, truth, morality, liberty and progress became the hallmark of Western civilization during the Enlightenment, known to its participants as the Age of Reason. In England and the United States, the Enlightenment philosophers were for the most part deeply religious people, who understood the importance of freedom of religion. One of them, George Washington, stated in his Farewell Address:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
The French Enlightenment philosophers were for the most part virulently anti-religious. While England and the United States led the world in scientific innovation and political freedom, France developed the Reign of Terror followed by the despot Napoleon.
With reason as the religion of the West, Judeo-Christian beliefs fall to the wayside. People aren’t invested in the faith of their ancestors, of their community, and so an alien religion, hostile to their own, is not something to be defended against.
The West has lost the will to strength. The recent commemoration of the Allies’ invasion of Normandy caused one analyst to speculate on the question of whether such a venture could successfully be launched now:
“Obviously not by Obama and Cameron and Hollande, for their uncertain trumpets invite the ridicule of enemies, not the resolve of allies. But leaders aside, could what America, Britain and Canada did on D-Day be done by Americans, Britons and Canadians today? Is the spirit of courage and shared sacrifice sufficiently widespread to permit such a thing to be contemplated today? There is reason to fear the answer to that question.”
Russia has that spirit of courage, and is exercising its power. Secured by its financial strength, Communist China’s military is rapidly expanding its size and reach, provoking skirmishes with its former ally Vietnam, and its long-time foe, Japan. The dramatic rise of the Islamic fundamentalism that today dominates global security concerns began with the abandonment of the despotic Shah of Iran by President Carter, under the banner of promoting human rights. Islamic fundamentalists are not known for their respect of human rights.
The governments of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the new caliphate- all the petty and powerful despots, the terrorists and their lackeys understand that the West, especially the United States, has become a paper tiger. They know that President Obama’s red lines are drawn with disappearing ink; that the West is tired of war, tired of being the world’s bully. As long as its foes are willing to negotiate, the West won’t fight.
If it’s going to survive; if its values are to endure, the West must re-learn another lesson from the first American President:
To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.