Spiritual Rearmament and the Enemy Within
During the past four years, U.S. policymakers have debated whether Islam inevitably must replace Communism as the new global enemy and as a central reference point for what is good and bad in the world. This debate continues because the threat mentality of the Cold War simply cannot survive without an external enemy.
As the expected "peace dividend of victory" after the Cold War disappears in rising chaos both at home and abroad, students of the post-bipolar world have begun to rethink their basic premises. They have begun to see opportunity by regarding threats less as alien forces to be overcome than as weaknesses that we must face everywhere in the world, especially in ourselves. The death of President Richard Milhaus Nixon on May, 1994, gave heightened prominence to his posthumously published book, Beyond Peace, in which his central theme is that by renewing ourselves we can renew the world. This lays the groundwork for the further conclusion that America and Islam should be natural allies in the process of global civilizational renewal in the face of growing fascism and nuclear blackmail.
The real threat in the world, writes Nixon, lies in the fact that, "Our country may be rich in goods, but we are poor in spirit Poor-quality secondary education, rampant crime and violence, growing racial divisions, pervasive poverty, the drug epidemic, the degenerative culture of moronic entertainment, a decline in the notions of civic duty and responsibility, and the spread of a spiritual emptiness have all disconnected and alienated Americans from their country, their religions, and one another." Drawing upon the imagery of Muslim and Christian saints, Nixon cries out that, "Our crisis of values at home, coupled with our lack of a coherent mission abroad, has created an even more deadly spiritual deficit. We seem to be experiencing what Arnold Toynbee, in his Study of History sixty years ago, called the "the dark night of the soul'." Nixon distinguishes between the morality of self-defense and duty, which won the Cold War against Communism, and what he calls "the morality of aspiration." He notes that Communist leaders lost the Cold War because of the weakness of their economic and political systems, but remarks that the real victory came from "an alliance spearheaded by `one nation under God'."
"Two hundred years ago," he recalls, "the United States was militarily weak and economically poor, but to millions of people in other nations America was the hope of the world because of the timeless values we stood for." The authors of the U.S. Constitution, he reminds us, "could not have imagined a society in which religion did not play a dominant role." While we must be ever vigilant in assuring that religion never becomes an instrument of politics and that politics never be used to further sectarian ends, Nixon emphasizes that we must never let these two basic premises, on which freedom of religion is based, drive religion out of our private and public lives. "With the end of the Cold War," he urges, "we must ask ourselves what we stand for in addition to national strength and prosperity. Democracy and Capitalism are just techniques unless they are employed by those who seek a higher purpose for themselves and their society."
"Today," Nixon asserts, "our enemy is within us." Quoting Alexis de Tocqueville, probably the most acute observer of the American experiment, Nixon warns that we face the "new despotism" of mediocrity, selfishness, and directionlessness. But Nixon also sees that our opportunities to "rediscover a new sense of common purpose" lie within ourselves. He welcomes the apparent resurgence in spiritual hunger in America, and he urges that "our hunger for something to believe in is a profoundly positive development that members of the leadership class should celebrate, not fear. Progress cannot be commanded; renewal cannot be dictated. The inspiration for a true leap forward for America must come from within - from within the people making up a nation, and from within the soul of the nation itself."
"Building a more open world beyond peace," declares Nixon, "means moving beyond transient pleasures, beyond superficial happiness, beyond the collection of emblems of earthly status, beyond the pursuit of power for its own sake, and beyond the contentment found in the attainment of peace. The promise of peace means a better spiritual life, in which hope is heard not just in empty echoes of rhetoric but in the voices and actions of every citizen, and faith guides the life of the nation, [so that] when the people of the world look to us, they should see not just our money and our arsenal but also our vast capacity as a force for good."
The Opportunity Mentality: Building Bridges
What does all this mean for the Muslim world? First of all it should mean that Muslims in America and our representatives in Washington can speak the same language. The presence of more than six million Muslims in America, and the promise of tens of millions more within the next generation, makes the Muslim world very much part of America. And the identity of spiritual and philosophical understanding found within traditionalist America and traditionalist Islam makes America and the billion Muslims in the five continents, at least potentially, allies in seeking the goodness that Nixon in his "last testament" invokes.
Specifically, how does Nixon's spiritual manifesto relate to U.S. foreign policy today toward the various real or self-styled Islamic movements around the world and toward the many despots who fear the Muslims' calls for democratic freedom and justice? In his last legacy, Nixon seems to have retained much of his wisdom but to have lost his boldness in applying it.
He suggests that, "In fashioning a new Muslim-politic for a new era, the United States must learn to view the Muslim world not as a unified, radical geopolitical force bent on confronting the West but rather as a diverse cultural and ethnic grouping bounded by faith in Islam and a legacy of political turbulence. Our failure to appreciate the diversity of the Muslim world and the genuine threats its populations face has already contributed to the tragedy in Bosnia-Herzegovina - one of the most disgraceful chapters of the post-World War II era."
Nixon speaks of the "hospitality, openness, and tolerance that are the true hallmarks of Muslim philosophy," and suggests that, "It is these pro-American impulses, which hundreds of millions of Muslims share, that should be the guideposts of our policy, rather than the ravings of malcontents and tyrants. By cultivating partnerships with nations that share our interests and our political and economic ideals, the United States can help create success stories that will serve as examples to other nations."
"The United States," writes Nixon, "must not let the `clash of civilizations' become the dominant characteristic of the post-Cold War era. As Huntington observed, the real danger is not that this clash is inevitable, but that by our inaction we will make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we continue to ignore conflicts in which Muslim nations are victims, we will invite a clash between the Western and Muslim worlds." The opportunity mentality, which Nixon has always managed to maintain even in the midst of overwhelming bureaucratic opposition, is best exemplified by the concluding words of his chapter on "Building Bridges to the Muslim World":
Muslim fundamentalism is a strong faith. Its appeal is religious, not secular. It appeals to the soul, not the body. Secular Western values cannot compete with this faith. Neither can secular Muslim values. In the clash of civilizations, the fact that we are the strongest and richest nation in history is not enough. What will be decisive is the power of the great ideas, religious and secular, that made us a great nation. The twentieth century has been a period of conflict between the West and the Muslim world. If we work together we can make the twenty-first century not just a time of peace, ... but a century in which, beyond peace, two great civilizations will enrich each other and the rest of the world - not just by their arms and their wealth but by the eternal appeal of their ideals.
Great men leave great legacies, but great thinkers may not have the courage to see the implications of their own thought and apply it. In his last contribution to American foreign policy, Nixon failed to see that the despots who rule in most of the Muslim countries are creatures of American power and are part of the problem and not in any way part of the solution. He failed to see that the Islamic and the American civilizations can enrich each other only if the tin tyrants in places like Algeria and Egypt are replaced, if possible without force, by true leaders who have the civilizational values that gave rise to the American Revolution and still motivate Americans and Muslims today. Nixon failed to understand that the Muslim nations of which he speaks are not the undemocratic rulers propped up by American power but the masses of people who would be allies of enlightened American foreign policy if given a chance.
The Brzezinski-Lake Doctrine
President Nixon's spiritual manifesto, released in May 1994, on America's need to build ties to the Muslim world was matched by a political manifesto made public at the same time, by President Clinton's National Security Adviser, Anthony Lake. Both manifestos pioneered new directions by rejecting the paradigm of civilizational conflict resurrected in the Summer, 1993, issue of Foreign Affairs by Samuel P. Huntington. Both contain much wisdom, but both raise the question whether this wisdom can be applied in the world of realpolitik, where recent protagonists in the old Cold War are becoming allies in the new one.
In a carefully prepared address last May to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which generally supports the paradigm of civilizational conflict between the West and the rest, Anthony Lake asserted: "In the Middle East, as throughout the world, there is indeed a fundamental divide, but the fault line runs not between civilizations or religions. No, it runs instead between oppression and responsive government, between isolation and openness, and between moderation and extremism, and it knows no distinction by race or creed."
"We also reject," he emphasized, "the notion that a renewed emphasis on traditional values in the Islamic world must inevitably conflict with the West or with democratic principles. These values of devotion to family and society, to faith and good works, are not alien to our own experience. It should come as no surprise that citizens throughout the Middle East and North Africa are testing and debating the role of these values in society and government. People in the region, as is the case around the world, are searching for ways to achieve responsive governments, guarantee basic human rights, and to guide their daily lives. That so many of them look to religion and to Islam is neither unusual nor unique. This is a universal quest. Islam is not the issue."
This was not mere rhetoric on the part of Anthony Lake, as demonstrated by his willingness to reach out to militants "from Algeria to Egypt," and by the Administration's open call for the Algerian government to proceed with the elections canceled in January of 1992.
The Clinton Administration says it now wants to maintain contacts on what it calls "both sides of the religious-secular divide," in order to promote the needed basic changes in the Muslim world through peaceful means, so that Muslim movements that engage in what Lake calls "democratic progress and the free movement of peoples and goods" can compete with the "extremist paths of Libya, The Sudan, Iran, and Iraq."
The issue is whether America's pragmatic interests require a revolutionary shift in focus from threat to opportunity and whether America has the moral guts to sustain such a shift.
Many think tanks have led the way in mounting this shift. Perhaps the most notable is the Santa-Barbara-based Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, which has played a leading role in shaping American elite thought for more than thirty years. In the summer of 1993, an entire issue of its New Perspectives Quarterly focused on the global role of Islam during the decades ahead.
This quarterly presented for the first time to America's opinion leaders in a credible way what the editor of the journal, Nathan Gardels, calls "the Brzezinski Doctrine," from which both Richard Nixon and Anthony Lake drew much of their inspiration. Gardel's striking introduction, entitled "Soul of the World Order," forecasts that the new world order during the coming century may well be Islamic.
Part of the rationale for this forecast is a position paper in this issue of New Perspectives Quarterly by Zbigniew Brzezinski, who preceded Anthony Lake as head of the National Security Council during the Carter Administration. A decade before the collapse of Communism, Brzezinski pioneered in a credible way the insight that Communism as a global force would soon be dead, so he has a very good track record in forecasting basic civilizational change.
In forecasting the future of America during the coming century, Brzezinski writes: "What worries me most is that our own self-corruption as a society may undercut America's capacity to sustain not just its position in the world as a political leader, but even as a systemic model for others. Self-indulgent, hedonistic society cannot project a moral imperative onto the world. Our moral consciousness has been corrupted by consumerism and the equal indifference we assign to all values as if they were products on the supermarket shelf."
Gardels suggests in his introductory editorial: "We cannot accept the anything-goes value relativism of the West as the first refuge of nihilism and decadence. Perhaps the clash with [Islamic] piety will help produce in the West a post-scientific age which readmits the spiritual presence it once excommunicated? Perhaps sheer exhaustion from the mad consumerist rush to an empty future will prompt a second look at the Islamic values of balance, equilibrium, and meditation? Perhaps disintegrating cultures lacking authority and torn in a million directions by the individual pursuit of happiness will come to appreciate the virtues of Confucian order? The West enters the contest with the upper hand of the latest technology of the media. Though armed to the minds eye with CNN's and MTV's, one must wonder if a civilization where nothing is sacred can prevail over others where the sacred is all that matters. Only God knows."
Such an assessment seems too pessimistic in view of the spiritual renaissance now sweeping the world. The only real question is whether the Islamic movement worldwide can help restore the spiritual basis of the great American experiment. Can global Islam be not the nemesis of America but part of its salvation? The good news is that this question may be the real foreign policy issue facing us in the twenty-first century.
Global forecasters, as well as policy planners, live in a world that often seems cruelly disconnected from everyday reality. The "facts on the ground" are beginning to suggest that the great era of global co-operation, in which Islam is to be a seminal force, may dissolve into a Cold War waged jointly by the United States and by an increasingly fascist Russia against all the forces that are arrayed against the status quo, preeminent among which is Islam.
Both the American Experiment and Islam are inherently revolutionary because they are based on the call for divinely ordained justice. Since the world will always be full of injustice, both must always be threats to those who worship the false god of short-run stability in the form of the status quo.
The fundamental conflict in the world, as both Richard Nixon and Anthony Lake have emphasized, is not between civilizations, but rather within them. Within the governing elites of both America and the Muslim world are many who reject the necessary spiritual framework for successful foreign and domestic policy. These tend to be the "haves" in society. The "haves" in the world generally have a vested interest in opposing change, especially that espoused by the "have-nots." The more powerful the forces of change, the more powerful the efforts to suppress them.
A global confrontation is building because the forces aligned against the status quo are proliferating in an unprecedented way, especially in America, as evidenced by an entire new generation of journals that together constitute a cultural revolution. One of these new journals, the International Quarterly, devoted its third issue, in the summer of 1994, to "The Middle East and the Africas."
Highlighting this issue was an article by John Kelsay, entitled "Spirituality and the Social Struggle: Islam and the West," which contends that the significance of Ayatollah Khomeini lies not in his politics but in his spiritual teachings on which all Islamic action is based. His thesis is that this spiritual renaissance is the real substance of the Islamic challenge to the West, regardless of what one thinks about the practical politics of Khomeini and his cohorts. If Kelsay's thesis is correct, then the only realistic response from the West is to transform this challenge into an opportunity by joining and guiding the movement. This, in effect, was what Nixon and Lake were suggesting.
In fact, however, on the ground we see the beginnings of an unholy alliance against this challenge.
Chechnya: The Global Significance
Three imperialist regimes still survive at the end of the twentieth century. These are Russia, China, and India. It is almost certain that a century from now none of these empires will be more than a distant memory.
Two major questions wait to be answered. How much agony and misery must the peoples of these regions suffer during the process of decolonization in an era of widespread nuclear proliferation? And what role will the United States play in either avoiding or promoting as yet undreamed of holocausts?
A third question may already have been answered in President Boris Yeltsin's decision to send 40,000 Russian troops on December 11th, 1994, to destroy the Muslim nation of Chechnya. Paul Goble, Russian expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, one of the world's leading liberal think-tanks, remarked ten days after the invasion, "This is the end of our hopes for a democratic, free-market Russia."
Yeltsin's closest allies in the Russian parliament, including Yegor Gaidar, called for his impeachment, and Defense Minister, Pavel Grachev, reportedly had to fire three of his top generals, because they refused to support the invasion. Lt. Gen. Ivan Babichev, appointed to lead one of the three columns advancing on the capital, Grozny, halted his forces and vowed that no soldier under his command would ever shoot a Chechen defending his homeland.
Goble commented, "Yeltsin's only supporters appear to be ultra-nationalists [fascists] like Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and the Clinton Administration."
News analysts speak of the rich oil resources of Chechnya, which Russia wants to export to the West, and the fact that its people have remained staunch Muslims throughout the seventy years of Soviet Communism. This allegedly makes them more of a threat than the Bosnians to the world status quo that U.S. strategists have been seeking to impose on the world.
The real global significance of the Chechen independence struggle is the visibility it is giving to the bankruptcy of secular statism, which is the ideology that might makes right, and that any government internationally recognized as having sovereignty has the right to decide what is right and wrong in dealing with the people within its borders. The Chechens are one more illustration of the need for an entirely new international law, based on the principles of the Islamic shari`ah, in order to provide universal acceptance of the concept of group rights. Western international law recognizes individual rights and the rights of states, but declares that communities of people, like the Palestinians, can have no legal existence and therefore have no human rights.
The world's first body of international law was developed by the great Islamic legal scholars many centuries ago, who posited six universal principles (kulliyat) to govern all human activity. One of these was the principle known as haqq al-hurriyah, which means the right to political freedom. In domestic law it consists of the second-order principles of ijma`, which is the duty of the governed to reach consensus through some form of parliamentary procedure on what is important to them, shura, which is the duty of the rulers, i.e. the executive branch of government, to be responsive to this ijma`, and an independent judiciary to assure that justice as revealed by Allah (SWT) governs both the rulers and the ruled.
In international law, haqq al-hurriyah as a governing principle or basic essential of the shari`ah, together with its companion principle, haqq al-nasl , or duty to respect the family and community, provides that all people, and especially governments, have a duty to respect the self-determination of both individuals and communities.
The international law of self-determination, haqq al-hurriyah, condemns imperialism, whereby one nation seeks to deprive other nations of their right to determine their own destiny. At the same time, the principle of haqq al-nasl places a duty on every community to work together freely with other such communities, whether in federation, con-federation, or co-operative regionalism to fulfill the duties that Allah (SWT) has revealed to all peoples through their respective religions.
In 1991, when the old Soviet empire imploded, the nations of the Caucasus, including Chechnya, declared their independence. This was, in fact, a divinely required duty. Those that had the status of republics earned rapid international recognition as sovereign states. Those that had a lesser status in the original Leninist design for the future Communist utopia, and especially those that had the misfortune to have been incorporated bodily into the Russian Republic, including Chechnya, were denied any international legal status and therefore officially did not exist.
When the Russians waged all-out war on the peoples of the Caucasus during the same period as the American Civil War, Imam Shamil presented a dense, solidly Muslim barrier clear across the Caucasus, relying especially, from west to east, on the Abkhazians, Ingushi, Chechens, Dagestanis, and Azeris. Of all the peoples incorporated into the Russian Empire during the last century, including the peoples of Central Asia, the Caucasians were the most determined and successful in continuing a constant war for their own self-determination.
These peoples had, and still have, one of the world's richest cultures of legend and folk-song, tracing back 26,000 years. Their "ancient ones" taught that people survived the Noahtic Flood in three places: the Hindu Kush in what is now northern Pakistan, the Andes of South America, and the heights of the Caucasus Mountains - the three places where people often live more than twice the normal human lifespan. From the time of the Flood to the present, the traditional leaders of the Caucasus, known during the Islamic era as the khwajgan, have played a primary role in the spiritual development of the world.
From the beginning of mankind until a little more than a century ago, the heart of the Caucasus was immune to external invasion. Alexander the Great dreamed of bringing the Golden Fleece from the Caucasus to Greece because the Greeks believed that their ancestors, who came from the Caucasus, had left it there. But Alexander failed to penetrate the Caucasus, and his failures were repeated by Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, and the Turkish Ottomans. The Russian conquest of the past century was an aberration in history, and it too will pass. The question, however, is at what price.
When the Clinton Administration decided at the beginning of 1995 to back the initiatives of the European Union and the 53-nation Organization for Security and Co-operation to help stop the bloodbath in Chechnya, it was not adopting a new strategy, but merely changing tactics. Every statement by the Administration underlined U.S. support for Yeltsin's goal of crushing "the Chechen rebellion." A senior White House spokesman said the concern was "only over the enormous civilian casualties." Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, commented that he did not oppose the invasion, but "it's a question of how force was used."
Perhaps the decisive argument in the Administration's shift in tactics was not humanitarian, but an estimate by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), first leaked in The Washington Times on January 2, 1995, that Yeltsin appeared to have lost control to an "old-think inner circle" of anti-democratic advisers who ordered the military to attack Chechnya in order to restore the old Russian Empire.
Such loss of control would be against the interests of those in Euro-America and Russia who opposed the destabilizing effects of open imperialism and wanted a more sophisticated approach, as the Russians had urged on the Serbs in Bosnia, to managing the threat of Islamic resurgence. Such threat management, not Russian expansion, is the goal of US-Russian co-operation in the "post-bipolar" world.
Loss of control in Russia to the new fascists, who seemed to have gained power even over Yeltsin, might bring to reality two seemingly contradictory assessments of Russia's future. The first is contained in the headline at the beginning of 1995 in the daily Sevodnya, "Russia on the Verge of Collapse." The second is the simultaneous prediction by the official governmental newspaper, Rossiskaya Gazeta, that "Russia is expected to emerge as a superpower in its own right this year."
Azerbaijan: The Beginning of an Unholy Alliance?
Coordinated opposition to the freedom struggle by the Muslim nation of Azerbaijan in the Caucasus during the summer of 1994 first signaled that the United States and Russia were uniting in an unholy alliance that might unleash new holocausts along the entire border between fascist Russia and the Muslim world.
The nature of this new threat to both justice and stability in the world was first clearly laid out on August 5th, 1994, in an editorial of one of the world's most independent newspapers, The Christian Science Monitor. This editorial marshaled some evidence to back its thesis that the U.S. government is sacrificing the independence and human rights of the peoples of Asia to the needs of a new U.S.-Russian alliance.
Since details are necessary to understand the threat of what seems to be a horrendous new U.S. policy now developing in Asia, we should read the entire editorial which was headlined "In the Name of Peace":
Little has been said about the price the White House paid to Russia [at the end of July 1994] to get a military green light in Haiti. The Haiti vote [in the U.N. Security Council] was secured by giving Moscow a "peace-keeping" mandate in [the Caucasian state of] Georgia. This is troubling, suggesting that the Clinton Administration is winking at the diplomatic hardball played by Moscow to assert control and occupy territory in former Soviet states. In Georgia, Russian troops helped create the crisis they then went in to solve.
The real question is, will the White House continue passively to allow Moscow to play an imperial game - swallowing free and sovereign states and doing so in the name of peace? The test may come soon. The venue is Azerbaijan; Russia is lobbying hard to establish a "peacekeeping" presence in Nagorno-Karabakh, where the 1988 fight between Azerbaijan and Armenia continues [triggered by Armenian expulsion of the Azeris from their enclave in Armenia, which caused a counter move by the Azeri expatriates against the Armenian enclave, Nagorno-Karabakh, in Azerbaijan].
Azerbaijan was the only state to negotiate for a complete withdrawal of Soviet forces during the Gorbachev period. Any honest discussion of Azerbaijan's future must acknowledge that Azeris do not want Russians back - period. Moscow, however, wants a military base there. It would like profits from the sizable Azeri offshore oil fields. It wants control of Azeri borders with Iran, Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia. The bear can get its claws under the tent by further destabilizing the Caucasus and sending in "peacekeepers."
The problem is complex; the key to a solution involves a settlement on Karabakh. A successful Armenian campaign to carve a "greater Armenia" out of Azeri land has forced one million Azeris from their homes - as many as in Rwanda - and into crowded, ugly camps. That there are no pictures or stories about this reinforces the Islamic world's belief that the West cares little about Muslim lives.
Mr. Clinton should rethink his Moscow policy. The Russian proposal for Nagorno-Karabakh is only one effort. A serious "Minsk Group" proposal exists overseen by the United States, Germany, and France. In it, Armenians would accept autonomy in Karabakh in exchange for a withdrawal from Azerbaijan. But will Armenian troops leave?
Clinton and the United States could do much in the Minsk Group to support two sovereign states. But so far, the White House seems to feel that friendly relations with Moscow makes this impossible.
The tragedy of this de facto U.S. support of Russian imperialism is that it undercuts the good news about American willingness to co-operate with Islamic movements in promoting democracy, freedom, and justice in the world. Muslims, and others, will conclude that Washington and New York are determined to impose on the world a condominium or duopoly of power, just as proposed by Henry Kissinger more than thirty years ago, regardless of what this means for the peoples of Russia and the rest of Asia and Europe. Not only in Muslim countries, but in Russia itself, the popular belief is that the big international financial institutions deliberately planned the fascist take-over of Russia, simply because this has been the result of their economic policies. Just as in most developing countries, the big banks pressured the reformers in Russia to privatize enterprises not by broadening share-owning opportunities by selling the factories to their employees, to be paid back out of future profits, but rather by selling them at "firesale" prices to those who could buy without vouchers and without credit, namely to the black marketeers and the Communist (now "nationalist") functionaries who have always worked hand in glove.
Seeing the practical result of Euro-American policies toward Russia, the countries in Asia and their allies targeted by the new Russian imperialism will seek security in the development of nuclear weapons, which is already being countered by a strategy of joint U.S.-Russian superiority in defensive weapons to meet the "threat" of nuclear proliferation. Unfortunately, whereas strategic intercontinental defense might have succeeded to some extent during the last Cold War, tactical defense during a new Cold War against nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons can never be more than a dream.
American foreign policy will be judged by its results, not by pious pronouncements. The properly skeptical analysts in Muslim countries will see in American foreign policy a return to the old policy of concentrating power in the hands of the unscrupulous, just as Euro-America is seen to have done throughout the twentieth century wherever popular sentiment might oppose Euro-American hegemony. If the Muslim nations of Asia are sacrificed to the fascist movement in Russia, this will be seen as deliberate U.S. policy.
Bosnia: Genesis of Genocide
A third case study instructive for the development of an unholy alliance against Islam is Bosnia. This is by far the most revealing of alliance dynamics and therefore will continue for decades as a touchstone of discussion over the moral purpose of America in the world and of the adequacy of specific foreign priorities and policies to reflect and pursue this purpose. The pattern of de facto American support for ethnic, cultural, and religious genocide in Bosnia reveals the inexorability of such an alliance if and to the extent that both American and Russian policy are based on the same religion of secular fundamentalism. The Bosnians are like many of the other peoples who live along the fault lines of the civilizational "tectonic plates" that are said to divide mankind. Bosnia is not just an insignificant nation that will appear like a flash in the pan and then disappear in the history of mankind. For a thousand years its people were strengthened by refugees who refused to submit to the imperialist power of the Byzantine and Roman Empires and the imposition of Pauline Christianity. They were a mountain people who learned the faith of monotheism from the Arians, and they survived in this faith when other Arians in the Christian world surrendered and disappeared.
Bosnia has always been a microcosm of the battle between good and evil, and at no time has this been more evident than today. Behind the events of the daily newspapers, and behind the institutional maneuvering that produce these events, lies the battle of ideas that always controls policy and spells the difference between life and death. This battle of ideas over Chechnya, Azerbaijan, and Bosnia has been waged both between the Democratic and Republican parties as well as within them. The result is the appearance of simple policy paralysis, when, in fact, one side - the secularists - has been winning consistently all along.
President Clinton has recognized clearly that American failure effectively to support Bosnia's right of self-defense under the U.N. Charter by lifting the arms embargo has constituted active support of the aggressors. During a press conference on May 11, 1993, he reflected his and Hillary's strong moral instincts and he pinpointed the precise nature of the evil his Administration supports when he condemned the Serbian aggression as an attack on a religion.
The source of America's inaction and resulting complicity in the Bosnian holocaust lies in the premises of thought that control some of America's most elite strategic thinkers. The governing premise is that all foreign policy must be subordinated to the single goal of stability. This secular goal has been elevated to the status of an ultimate good and therefore to the role of a false god.
The three major recognized threats to stability in the post-bipolar world are: 1) "loose nucs," which are nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction with accompanying delivery systems controlled by countries that do not accept the status quo; 2) nationalism, especially if it is not American; and 3) religious fundamentalism, of which the only dangerous kind globally is "Islam." When the parochial nationalism of Serbia conflicts with global Islam in Bosnia, the greater threat must be defanged first.
The gurus of American foreign policy, like all secularists, deny any moral responsibility, because the only source and arbiter of right and wrong for the secularist is material power. Once one adopts this religion of the secular fundamentalist, it is perfectly logical and even necessary to insist that America has the right to do whatever serves to preserve stability in the world, i.e., the stability that supports America's selfish interests versus all the peoples and civilizations in the rest of the world. This requires de facto approval of all the injustices that inhere in the status quo, as well as the right to destroy, by whatever means are most effective, whoever and whatever opposes or may be in a position to oppose America's secular interests.
The death-knell of the Bosnian republic was announced in January, 1993, by Henry Kissinger, who stated that the masterwork of Bosnia's President, Alija Izetbegovic, entitled Islam Between East and West, represents the purest form of the mounting Islamic threat to Western civilization. Of course, Kissinger is absolutely right, but only because he defines Western civilization as secularist. He has spent his entire life promoting global stability based on a balance of power without any regard whatever to any higher values. In fact, he has attacked every effort of others who wanted to apply such values in a foreign policy based on the enlightened American interest in justice.
When the Trilateral Commission at the Wye Plantation thirty miles east of Washington, D.C., on April 10th, 1993, decided the fate of Bosnia, it required only five weeks until Kissinger on May 16th in the Washington Post announced the partition of Bosnia by declaring that, "The most irresponsible mistake of the current Bosnian tragedy was international recognition of a Bosnian state governed by Muslims." Only one month and one day was required after this for President Clinton to recognize the political necessities of maintaining his own power by endorsing the Trilateral position publicly as part of a new policy of "multilateralism." This policy was invented as a temporary tactic to justify tacit U.S. support for the elimination of what might have become a model of Islam in practice in the heart of Europe before it had a chance to succeed.
This is required by the new religion of secular fundamentalism not merely in order to counter Islam but to eliminate as much as possible all religion from public life and public policy, both in America and throughout the world. The strategic objective in the case of Bosnia was to educate the international opinion elites on the core concept of Kissinger's secular religion, namely that the governing foreign policy goal of the trilateral countries must be stability, and that whatever is utilitarian in maintaining trilateral consensus on this basic foreign policy premise must be given top priority over humanitarian and all other considerations. The Bosnians' very Islamicity constitutes their threat to secular strategists. Their beliefs have been spelled out most systematically in the Qur'an, in the world's first written constitution in Madinah, in the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) based on these two governing authorities, as well as in the writings of the great scholars of Islam. One of the greatest of these scholars is the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic, whose above-cited book, written during his years of imprisonment, presents the most sophisticated analysis ever written of all the evils of Western civilization, both East (Communist) and West (Capitalist), and proposes Islam as an effective cure in co-operation with traditionalists of all other faiths.
Izetbegovic recognizes that secularism, as an epistemological paradigm or philosophy of thought, started with the French Revolution, and blossomed to its highest peak of power in totalitarian Nazism, Communism, and Zionism. This disease now is spreading as a virulent pandemic throughout the world. As a historian of note, Izetbegovic also recognizes that the true source of law, tolerance, and respect for pluralism is evident in the centuries of Islamic governance in the Fertile Crescent and in Andalucia. Both Christian and Jewish scholars testify that their cultures flourished there as never before or since. The Wahhabi-type Muslims consider that the Bosnians are not really authentic Muslims, but this is only because the Wahabbis are among the most unenlightened elements of the human race.
Islamic historians contend that these lands were intellectually free because they were governed by the shari`ah, which for more than a millennium provided the only sophisticated code of human rights ever enjoyed by man. This code took the form of a holistic hierarchy of human responsibilities, rather than of rights, because in Islam only Allah (God) has rights, whereas man has responsibilities as Allah's khalifa or vicegerent. Only if people fulfill their responsibilities, as persons and in community, can anyone enjoy any "rights."
Constructive and productive leadership in the world today requires that we understand not only the nature of evil but the nature of good and how to apply it. This holistic task occupied the best minds in the Muslim world for many centuries. Although the most profound teachers of this holistic approach were the Prophet himself, ( ) and his favorite son, Imam `Ali ( ), as well as Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, rahmat Allahi `alaihi, four centuries later, the highest level of systems analysis was not reached until centuries of profound study of the Qur'an and hadith produced the great jurists Ibn Taymiyah and his students, Ibn Qayim and al-Shatibi. They tried to return Islam to its essentials so that Islam could survive the destruction wrecked by the Mongols, which was almost as devastating as has been the venom emanating from the secularist French Revolution in our time. The holistic system of thought pioneered many centuries ago by Islamic scholars, as well as by the many wise shaykhs of the time, for whom this paradigm of thought was both an expression of and a road to a higher reality, has become a lost art and must be revived if we are to succeed in restoring human rights to the world.
Scholars should recognize that the power of good that inheres in man's universal recognition of a transcendent source of guidance for distinguishing right from wrong and in man's instinctive search for patterns of truth to apply this guidance in our everyday personal and social life, has been manifested not only in the classical period of Islamic governance, both in the Middle East and in Europe, but also in the founding of America. The six universal principles of human rights developed with such sophistication by Islamic scholars many centuries ago were not systematized in colonial America, but served nonetheless as the basis of the Great American Experiment launched primarily by the such theists (known in Islam as hunafa' ) as Presidents James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
Despite the abominable efforts of secularists to claim that these principled and deeply religious men shared their own secular rejection of divine truth (a rejection which in Islam is known as kufr), the founders of America, as both followers and precursors of Islam in the United States, could not even conceive of a society based on opposition to or even neutrality toward God and toward public morality derived from this transcendent source.
The power of good in both Bosnia and America lies in their common spiritual and intellectual heritage and in the commitment of people in both countries to pursue good in the face of overwhelming evil. The historical significance of Bosnia's agony may be its role in forcing opinion elites to recognize that religion can be not the cause of conflict but its only cure, and that justice based upon it is the only source of lasting peace.
The American and Russian global strategists quite correctly see Islam as the only force in the world that can threaten the status quo worldwide with all its inherited injustices. The task of Americans, and especially of Muslims in America, is to support those lonely persons, like the head of President Clinton's National Security Council, Anthony Lake, and a number of Congressional leaders, who argue that America's pragmatic interests require a revolutionary shift in focus from threat to opportunity in dealing with the Islamic phenomenon. Only if the American nation has the moral guts to sustain such a shift, can the traditionalist forces of Islam, as the most dynamic force in the world today, join with the traditionalist forces that helped produce the so-called Gingrich Revolution in November, 1994, but far transcend it in depth and wisdom. Only in co-operation can global traditionalism counter the secularism that is destroying global civilization in Russia, America, and throughout the world.
Only by becoming politically active, especially on issues of domestic policy in America, can we ever hope to make America the hope of the world, as it once was when divinely ordained justice, not the immorality of stability for its own sake, was our only guide.
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