The Long War: this is not a struggle against ‘terror’ but a war for and with, Islam.
Culture is king. When cultures collide, war begins.
by Ibn Sufi al Kitab
Culture is king. When two cultures collide there is always conflict. The cultural conflict can be intra- or inter-civilisational. Dutch speaking Flemings and French speaking Walloons, struggling to control the political-economy of Belgium represent an intra-civilisational clash. More important and deadly are however the inter-cultural confrontations. When two cultures, each possessing sharp ideological differences interact, war is inevitable. The only questions are: how long will the war be, how deadly and vicious, and who will win and why?
The current war is but an extension of 1400 years of conflict between the world views of Islam, and that of what was once a Christian West. The early Mohammedans were convinced of their right, duty and privilege to war against non-Muslims and dominate the world. Arab imperialism exploded against the world and has never receded. Islam is its legacy. Though perhaps only a minority of Arabs and Muslims support the spread of Islam by the sword, the centuries old Islamic war of hate, violence and narrow-mindedness is increasing not decreasing in intensity and purpose against the world at large.
Regardless of distortions offered by Islamic apologists, the Islamic ideology is intolerant of other creeds or ideas. Islam means submission not only of the individual to the moon deity Allah, but of other ideologies to Islam. Islamic history has proven this. Over 300 million Hindus, Buddhists, Christian, Jews and others lie dead, buried by Islamic war. It is the greatest imperial death toll in history.
This is not to state that individual Muslims or Arabs are by extension ideological fascists and intolerants. But if culture is king, and culture informs ideology then it is obvious that some cultural malevolence permeates Islam. Given this premise there can be little real negotiation or appeasement with such a construct. Islam does not receive, adapt, or change it simply demands and expects power.
The unyielding edifice of radical Islam, suffuses Islamic culture. This fundamentalism which generated the first the Arab conquests, and then successive expansions, now informs the modern fascistic elements dedicated to destroying Western civilization. The expressions of this intolerance are everywhere.
A tiered class system within Islamic states [Muslim Arabs at the top; followed by good non-Arab Muslims; the dhimmis; and then slaves]; polygamy; patriarchy; a melding of church and state; illiberal anti-modern ideas about society, denigration of women, Jews and Christians, and an inability to further mankind’s development in economics, technology and science; this and more puts Islam in direct confrontation with Western culture. It is clear that the culture developed in the Arab and Muslim world has nothing in common with Western ideas. The only exceptions to the above list are those Muslims and Islamic areas which have been de-Arabicized and thoroughly Westernized.
Whether you compare the personalities of the warrior politician Mohammed with Christ, or compare the messages from the Koran with the Bible, or evaluate Israeli society with that of the Arabs who surround them; you will find wholly opposing views of how life and society should be developed. Again this is not to make the claim that all Muslims are bad. But clearly it is likewise a foolish fantasy to extrapolate from the individual non-threatening Muslim, and claim that the culture of Islam is not the reason for cultural war between the West and the Muslim world or elements therein. Of course it is.
The Long War must be viewed through a longer term lens of historical development and conflict. Differing cultures are rarely compatible especially when the forces are more or less evenly balanced out between them. One must win, and one must perish or submit. This is the historical processes familiar to any who have studied the long-view of historical development. Political plurality, economic strength, military power, technological sophistication, able leadership – these factors are the decisive determinants of who wins or loses in the conflict. In that sense the West cannot be defeated externally, since in pure power and depth it overwhelms the Islamic world. The West can only lose the Long War through internal weakness, cowardice and bad leadership.
Tom Donnelly in the Weekly Standard said it very well, “The Long War is nothing less than a struggle for political power across the Islamic world, though most particularly in the Arabian heartland. It is a conflict precipitated by the slow collapse of the ancient-régime: the monarchs, autocrats, outright tyrants, and petty dictators whose legitimacy is gradually but inexorably being eroded. Islamist revolutionaries--initially Persian Shiites but now, and far more dangerously, radical Sunnis like Osama bin Laden--have laid claim to these weak and derelict states in the name of Allah. Regimes of faith are poised to sweep aside the brittle and all-too-earthly regimes of the old order. The alternative is a liberal and democratic revolution in the name of free people.”
This is indeed why the ‘Long War’ will be one of duration and quite bloody. The topography of the conflict is anything but clear making the war inchoate, messy and full of surprises. Iraq and Afghanistan so easily conquered on the first try, now present formidable problems to stabilize and secure.
These two states are however, geographically and spiritually central to this Long War’s success. Iraq is the heartland of terror and was pre-2003 a main depot of munitions, money and training for terrorism. Afghanistan is home to some of the most radical elements of the Islamic world exemplified by the truly pagan ideals of the Taliban. Leaving either state before destroying the jihadic and fascist elements which pervert their societies would be a colossal disaster. This first phase of the Long War must be successful.
Even beyond the rather hopeful ideal that Iraq and Afghanistan will be secured as stable Western allies, the future in the Middle East looks disquieting. Sunni radicalism and Shiite fundamentalism, both ensconced and fighting each other in many Islamic states, threaten not only Western interests but as well ‘moderate’ Arab or Islamic regimes whose elite are tepidly pro-Western or who are at least not inclined to commit aggressive acts against Western interests. Lebanon’s government tenuously aligned with the West faces a Muslim civil war. Elsewhere from Pakistan, to Syria, to Yemen, to Algeria and Morocco, Islamic states face violence from radical Islam. This means that the West has a complicated and uncertain series of future conflicts ahead.
It is clear that the West needs to deploy more military strength to the region. All Western states need to double their standing armies; commit more money to better military technology; and devise strategies which will allow us to stay in the Middle East with well supplied and well trained, mobile troops for the coming 30 years. Military budgets and recruitment need to be drastically enhanced.
The Long War is difficult to win, but easy to lose. To ensure defeat we can lie to ourselves about what the war is about; denude our military; appeal to the UN for sanction and forgiveness; and appease fundamentalist Islam. Culture is king, and when two utterly opposed cultures clash, war is inevitable. We should be more serious about winning it.