Friday, September 15, 2006

The Western backlash against Islam

"A common Atlantic policy backed by moderate Arab states must become a top priority, no matter how pessimistic previous experience with such projects leaves one...

The debate sparked by the Iraq war over American rashness vs. European escapism is dwarfed by what the world now faces.

Both sides of the Atlantic should put their best minds together on how to deal with the common danger of a wider war merging into a war of civilizations against the background of a nuclear-armed Middle East.
" - Henry Kissinger, from Yahoo News

Add the above from Kissinger to what Pope Benedict said on Tuesday, quoting a Byzantine Emperor Manual II Paleologos:
"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Benedict also brought up the inherent difference between Christianity and Islam, as summarized by Jeff Israely in Time Magazine:
"[Pope Benedict's] discourse Tuesday sought to delineate what he sees as a fundamental difference between Christianity's view that God is intrinsically linked to reason (the Greek concept of logos) and Islam´s view that "God is absolutely transcendent." Benedict said that Islam teaches that God's "will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." The risk he sees implicit in this concept of the divine is that the irrationality of violence can potentially be justified if someone believes it is God's will. "As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?""

What of the Left's view on the subject of Christianity vs. Islam?
"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam." - Rosie O'Donnell

I wonder whether Rosie means "radical Christianity", or just Christianity? Either way, her point falls flat. How many news stories do you read or see about Christians blowing themselves up, or setting IED's, or blowing up trains, or flying airplanes into buildings? Compared with radical Muslims, radical Christians are downright boring.

As for regular Christians, I can see what scares Rosie. Christianity is generally opposed to homosexuality, abortion, and a whole list of liberal causes. Unfortunately, Rosie conveniently forgets that Islam is opposed to the same list.

The penalties in Islam for violating their beliefs are far stricter than anything Christianity requires. A homosexual Christian? God will forgive you. A homosexual Muslim? I hope you enjoy that noose around your neck.

If it comes down to a war between Western Civilization and Islam, I wonder which side Rosie will be on?

That is the burden of the West: Our self-centered, moonbat Left.

While great minds like Kissinger and Pope Benedict define the problem of radical Islam, and offer potential solutions, we have morons like Rosie giving us Pogo-isms ("I have seen the enemy and he is us."). If we are truly the enemy in a war of cultures, then we need to revisit our beliefs, which are frequently philosophical descendents of Christian beliefs (whether we as individuals are Christian or not).

What alternative does that leave Western Civilization? We either move farther Left or farther Right. Since I doubt Rosie meant farther Right, that means we should move into moonbat territory.

But if you ask the moonbats if they are willing to die for their beliefs, the answer is generally "no". Against a belief like radical Islam, where it is considered honorable for a mother to turn her children into suicide bombers, what chance does liberalism stand?

On the bright side, because liberals generally do not carry the conviction of their beliefs, they are easily ignored. While they squeal a lot, we as a society do not have to listen to them as long as we stand in a majority against them.

Which leaves us with the issue of defining the problem. As Pope Benedict has presented it, the problem is getting Islam to recognize the value of reason within a theological context. The only way to do that is through education, but how do we educate a billion Muslims? There is no easy way to accomplish this without a tremendous loss of life on both sides of this cultural war.

Kissinger gives us the start of a blueprint to accomplish this daunting task. The U.S. and Europe need to align themselves with moderate Arab states against the radical factions of Islam. But what actions do we take?

First, we have to draw a hard line against ANYTHING nuclear in the Islamic nations. This is where we meet our first problem: Europe refuses to draw hard lines. Until European backs are pressed against the wall, expect Europe to do nothing, except talk. Until Europe is willing to back up their words with actions, Europe is useless.

One thing has me curious: Why did Kissinger not suggest China in this scenario? While China is not a part of Western Civilization, and they certainly have nothing to gain by threatening one of their major sources of oil (Iran), we still ignore them regarding anything having to do with Islam. I wonder if we could not somehow make it worth their while. Considering we are one of their best trading partners, in addition to China having a ton of money invested in the U.S., I find it hard to believe we are without any kind of diplomatic leverage. However, I will defer to Dr. Kissinger on this point, as his expertise on China is far more significant than my puny knowledge on it.

But that leaves us without even being able to take the first step in Kissinger's plan. So what happens next? Nothing, until Iran gets a nuke. Maybe then Europe might honor the threat.


William R. Barker said...

"A common Atlantic policy backed by moderate Arab states must become a top priority, no matter how pessimistic previous experience with such projects leaves one..."

So... a return to "That 70's Show." (*SMILE*) Or perhaps "That 60's Show." No... make it "That 50's Show."

Ed... Kissinger is talking classic "Realpolitik." By "moderate" Arab states he's talking about monarchies and dicatatorships. Sorry, Ed... just not sustainable - nor ethical. Plus... even if we were to hold our nose and support such a policy... what happens when the corrupt dictatorial regimes fall to the rage of their citizens?

ALSO... what Kissinger obviously can't comprehend is that it's no longer the 70's, '80's, or even 90's. We and the European Union are economic competitors, not "allies." And beyond that... most Americans are no longer simpatico with most Europeans. We think differently. We have different values.

No... I'm not "smarter" than Kissinger. I do however think Kissinger is out of touch. It's 2006. When Bush leaves office it'll be 2009 - NOT 1969. It's not "simply" "hatred" of Bush. The Europeans just don't WANT us to "lead" the "Free World" anymore.

Anyway... that's my reaction to Kissinger's comments.

Your turn!


William R. Barker said...

Onto the religious aspects of the topic...

I think both the Vatican and mainstream Protestant sects as well as the various "sects" of Judiasm are letting Western Culture down by not directly addressing Western Culture's philosophical differences - our Judeo-Christian philosophical differences - with Islam in a more direct manner.

Have you read the Bible, Ed? The WHOLE Bible? Both Old and New Testaments? How'bout the Torah? How'bout the Koran?

Well... I've been immersed in the "culture" of the Old Testament all my life - as have most of us been. I'm not talking Church or Sunday School - I'm talking "cultural references." I mean... how many times have you watched Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments?! (*GRIN*)

I read the New Testaments on my own back in Middle School many years ago. Plus... I was always a big fan of "Jesus Christ Superstar." (*WINK*)

WHY are our Priests... and Reverend's... and Rabbis... WHY are our nation's philosophy professors and theology professors not explaining to us - you, me, and our 300 million fellow citizens and our "cousins" throughout the Western World - EXACTLY what the Koran teaches and Islam teaches both on its own terms and as opposed to Western Judeo-Christian traditions?

WAS Byzantine Emperor Manual II Paleologos basically correct when he wrote, "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."?

Five years into what some term "A Clash of Civilizations," how many Americans have any real idea what the "clash" is all about?


EdMcGon said...

You cover a lot of ground there, but I will try to respond to as much as I can.

First, my point about Kissinger pretty much matches yours. Europe will not be helping us, which makes Kissinger's point moot. He is spitting in the wind if he thinks there is a chance they will.

On your question about the Bible, I cannot say I ever sat down and read the whole thing from cover to cover. Having been raised in a religious family, I can say I have read the whole Bible during my lifetime.

As for the Koran, most of our Christian religious experts have not read it, which is why they cannot explain it.

I thought the Byzantine emperor's quote was right on the money. ;)

"Five years into what some term "A Clash of Civilizations," how many Americans have any real idea what the "clash" is all about?"

Obviously not enough. When Rosie O'Donnell can say something as idiotic as she said, AND get a studio audience to applaud it, there are clearly too many clueless people out there.