GLEN COVE, NY — A streak of unrealistic idealism has tinged American policy ever since the New England Calvinists won their war of aggression against the Confederate States. It reached its apogee in the disastrous administration of the Calvinist Woodrow Wilson. Nowhere has this unrealistic idealism fueled more disasters than in our policy toward Moslem states. Condoleezza Rice, for example, believes that Islamic extremism is just a temporary transitional step between authoritarian governments and democratic ones. Recent history refutes her at every turn.
At the end of World War I, the breakup of the Ottoman Empire produced protectorates, monarchies, and the nation of Turkey. Turkey is the closest a Moslem state in the region has come to good government. It achieved this in part through rigid suppression of excessive Islamic opposition by its army and government. Today, after almost a century of stability, the Turkish constitution is increasingly threatened by Islamic extremists.
By the end of World War II, Britain was ready to get on America’s idealistic democratic bandwagon. Its new Labour government gave independence to India without significant preparation. Gandhi and the Hindu majority were ready for a pluralistic nation of Hindus, Moslems, Christians, and others. The Moslems were not willing to accept this tolerance of diversity no matter what concessions were made, and so India was partitioned into two countries (later three when the Bengalis got their independence). Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people died in ensuing conflicts.
Egypt became a constitutional monarchy in 1923, a governmental form that was overthrown by leftist extremists in 1953-1954. In 1967, the British and the French intervened militarily to stop the Egyptian dictator from stealing the Suez Canal. In a fit of idealism, Eisenhower stabbed the French and British in the back, setting the stage for North Africa and the Middle East to turn against the West.
In North Africa, Algeria was a part of France. Moslem extremists randomly killed about 100,000 Algerians between 1954 and 1962 in a sustained terror campaign. In 1962, France turned Algeria over to the Arabs; 1,000,000 Christian Algerians fled to mainland France. American idealism must bear some of the blame for this catastrophe because the Western world had accepted our goal of universal democracy.
When the French gave Lebanon its independence, they left in place a system of government that had worked well. Power was divided between Western Catholics, Eastern Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Shia Moslems, and Sunni Moslems, so that no major part of the population was without power. By 1975, so many militant Moslems had fled to Lebanon from Palestine that they became a threat to the constitution. They managed to incite a multi-part civil war that lasted 15 years; killed over 100,000 civilians; displaced over 1,000,000 people; ravaged Beirut; ruined Lebanon as a major financial center; and left Lebanon as a pawn of Syria.
American idealists welcomed the overthrow of the Shah of Iran by the Moslem clerical fanatics in 1978. The result has been the control of Iran by religious extremists for well over 30 years and the diaspora of ancient Iranian Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian communities.
It is still unclear whether Iraq is going to emerge with a decent government. If it does succeed, it will be in spite of the religious intolerance of its Shia Moslem majority.
Afghanistan suffered through a government of savage Moslem fanaticism, which America helped put into power. We then overthrew it, but it is far from clear that it is not returning.
Our Saudi Arabian ally has a 1,000,000-man government-supported force whose mission is to enforce an extremely rigid form of Islam by violence. No other religion is permitted under penalty of death. What is worse, Saudi Arabia is financing militant Moslem chaplains in America’s prisons, recruiting an intolerant and violent force within our nation.
America welcomed the recent overthrow of the dictatorships in Egypt and Libya. The chances are excellent that these governments will be replaced by intolerant and fanatical extremist Moslem regimes. It looks like the same scenario is about to play out in Syria.
We need to understand that there are about 1,000,000,000 Moslems in the world. Probably about half of them believe that the just punishment for being converted from Islam is death; that non-Moslems should be killed, converted, or conquered; and that the whole world should become a caliphate. We must subordinate our idealism to this reality.
A dark cloud is descending over the region from Morocco to Pakistan. Many may find it hard to believe that possession of a cross, rosary, or Bible will be punishable by death in such a vast region — but that is the ugly reality we face.
The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2011 by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation,www.fgfBooks.com. All rights reserved.