Sunday, September 21, 2003
Why Islamism is the largest threat to Islam

NOTE before posting: I won't be able to post much in the next three months due to heavy work ahead. I'm sorry, because I was enjoying posting daily or every second day a lot; but I'll try to at least post weekly.

Further, there are some good news from Germany. State elections in Bavaria have resulted in a devastating defeat for Schröder's party, which lost more than one third of its supporters. CNN states:
Schröder's Social Democrats fell more than 10 points to 18.5 percent in Bavaria, according to a television exit poll released after polling stations closed at 6 p.m. [...] The SPD's defeat, which follows heavy losses in state polls in Hesse and Lower Saxony in February, underlined Schroeder's weak standing nationally after three years of economic stagnation.
Good. It appears the times in which anti-Americanism helps winning elections in Germany are over, for now at least... Bill Dawson has a short analysis of the election.

In a lucid and highly recommended post, Belmont Club makes some very good points. He points out the three conjectures. I'll go through them point by point:

1. In the first conjecture, Belmont Club mentions (emphasis mine):
The terrorist intent to destroy the United States, at whatever cost to themselves, has been a given since September 11. Only their capability is in doubt. This is an inversion of the Cold War situation when the capability of the Soviet Union to destroy America was given but their intent to do so, in the face of certain retaliation, was doubtful. [...] In stark contrast, the nuclear threshold against a terrorism may be crossed once they get the capability to attack with weapons of mass destruction. Unlike the old early warning systems, designed to gauge Soviet intent, the intelligence systems of the War on Terror are meant to measure capability. The relevant Cold War question was 'do they intend to use the Bomb?'. In the War on Terror, the relevant question is simply 'do they have the Bomb?' This puts the nuclear threshold very low.
Absolutely, only that war has been declared for years now - 9-11 only brought it to the surface. How can you fight an enemy hiding in the shadows who does not care for his own life, whose hate and yearning for America's destruction are far beyond reason; an enemy who would use the strongest weapon available practically without hesitation? The only way to prevent this destruction is to not let WMDs fall into the hands of Islamists. By all means; the consequences would be devastating. A problem resides in the fact of pan-Arabism; Islamism is spread all over the Arab world, which appears quite united in wanting to destroy Israel and the United States. Islamists can easily hide in this vast geographical and political area, where persecution seems half-hearted at times. In the highly interesting comment thread to this post over at EuroPundits, Nelson Ascher states (emphasis mine):
As I'm beginning to see it, Blair has an oncological view of the problem while Rumsfeld has an epidemiological view of it, meaning that if one is contaminated, one becomes not a victim but part of the problem.
Perceiving the "problem" as being locally confined appears indeed incorrect to me as well; it has repeatedly been stated that al Qaeda is capable of creating cells who are operating totally independently, but who know each other from the old days of indoctrination; i.e. there is a loose network of communication, support and planning that can be immediately discarded if needed; there are sleepers that have infiltrated the US and Europe who can be awakened and gather information. This is asymmetrical post-Clausewitz war, but it is nevertheless war. The mutating, growing, multiplying virus-like al Qaeda-structure cannot be coped with only in oncological terms, it must be fought on numerous levels. Sometimes, the ultimate defeat of a virus strains the host as well.

2. The second conjecture deals with the fact that Islamists acquiring WMDs would be the greatest threat to Islam itself (emphasis mine):
The so-called strengths of Islamic terrorism: fanatical intent; lack of a centralized leadership; absence of a final authority and cellular structure guarantee uncontrollable escalation once the nuclear threshold is crossed. Therefore the 'rational' American response to the initiation of terrorist WMD attack would be all out retaliation from the outset.
This was true for any fanatic, fascist regime the US have defeated: total victory is needed, negotiations are useless, because the aim of fundamentalists never changes (except if they are taken out). Many innocents would die in such a gloomy scenario, but then many Germans and Japanese were killed who certainly did not kill anybody, or who did not actively support their regimes; yet, they supported warfare by joining weapon production, etc. But there was no other possibility to defeat these regimes, or the US would certainly have chosen to do so (the defeat of a regime is something different from defeating an ideology and all its horrendous implications; from this point of view, the devastating attacks against Nazi Germany and Japan might have been considered the only possibility to defeat these ideologies, even if other means existed to defeat the regimes; if it is possible to separate the mentioned regimes from their ideologies at all, that is).
Even if speaking in oncological terms, there is always healthy tissue taken out (which feeds a tumor) or hurt when removing a tumor. I do not intend to sound cynical, but I guess that is how it is. The fact that America's only rational retaliation to a WMD attack would result in a massive nuclear strike shows that Islamism and its aims are the greatest threat to the Islamic world. I am sure the Arab regimes more or less clandestinely supporting terrorist activities know this; the fact that they know about this places them in the ranks of the terrorists. This is why George Bush stated, "those who are not with us are against us".

3. The third conjecture about sums it up (emphasis mine):
It is supremely ironic that the survival of the Islamic world should hinge on an American victory in the War on Terror, the last chance to prevent that terrible day in which all the decisions will have already been made for us. That effort really consists of two separate aspects: a campaign to destroy the locus of militant Islam and prevent their acquisition of WMDs; and an attempt to awaken the world to the urgency of the threat. While American arms have proven irresistible, much of Europe, as well as moderates in the Islamic world, remain blind to the danger and indeed increase it.
Indeed Europe sleeps in the shadow of the giant. but I think it is a strategic sleep based on the proxy war in the ME I mentioned before. Add to this the fact that Europe already depends on Muslim immigration to large degrees if it doesn't want to turn into a museum ("war for people" under the surface, hehe...). Further, Belmont Club mentions in another interesting post (emphasis mine):
There is an obscure branch of mathematical economics called hedonic cooperation structures. It is the study of how coalitions are formed. In a world solely consisting of Europe and the Islam, no coalition would form between them, because the threat posed by Islam to Europe would outweigh any benefit. But if America were added to the equation, a three-node graph would emerge and Europe would coalesce with Islam because they could reap the benefits of cooperation with Muslim nations while remaining shielded by the presence of America from any downside. During the ten years following the Desert Storm, the French did just that. They enriched themselves in Oil for Food deals while the United States spent blood and treasure to keep Saddam in his cage. Paradoxically, the more successfully America prosecutes the War on Terror the less willing old Europe will be to see a threat.
This is indeed one of the most surprising results: Europe is not capable - be it by its deluded media, by its cynical and egocentric governments, or by its leftist elites - to perceive what the United States is doing once again to secure peace and stability in the long term. Europe, drifting in illusional dreamworlds, does not recognize the threat transnationalism (UN, ICC etc.) poses by being utilized to confine the US - the very power that is willing and capable of facing the threat of Islamism. Transnationalism is a moral bridgehead for Islamists into the West, it is abused as a means for war. Concerning morale, I by far prefer a world in which the United States can protect the values and ethics of the West to a world in which the United States is morally bound by transnational institutions wielded by an egocentric Europe and infiltrated by Islamist excusers; the latter scenario will certainly lead to much greater woe and catastrophe than the first does and did.