Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Belmont Club grist for Neo-Constantinian thawt

In a recent geostrategic and military-analytic blog, Belmont Club supplies plenty of grist for those of us who want to bring neo-Constantian principles to bear in our reflection on a world where terrorism infects every pursuit of statecraft. The Belmonters present an important exploration entitled Religious Wars - East and West. An all-too-summary boildown would have to note three concepts competing as explanations of why Islamicists hate America, vociferously. (I understand that not all properly designated Islamicists support active terrorism, and that the term to designate those Islamcicists who actually require a terrorist practice of all Muslim males, at least, are to be designated "Salafists" - anyone know about this distinction who could tell us what salafism more specifically is?). The three reasons cited: 1.) Muslim extremism can be explained by rage at a thousand million hurts by the West, symbollically focused on and against the USA in particular; 2.) the Muslim tsunami of hatred toward the West and especially America, can be explained by the thesis of the Clash of Civilizations. In his discussion of Religious Wars today, Wretchard (a leading voice of the Club's blog) reviews the foregoing two accounts as put forward by yet another blog, New Sisyphus [ ], finding explanation #2 as the more compelling. Like the New Sisyphus writer, the Belmont Club writer adduces his version of the second explanation by pointing especially to an audio distributed by the Jordanian leader of Al Queda in Iraq, the infamous Zarqawi, who "cursed democracy because it promoted such un-Islamic behavior as freedom of religion, rule of the people, freedom of expression, separation of religion and state, forming political parties and majority rule. [According to Zarqawi,] Freedom of speech was particularly evil because it allowed 'even cursing God. This means that there is nothing sacred in democracy.' "

Among the comments upon Wretchard's post is that of Michael McCarles. He focuses on the phenomena of the Left which wants America to take the blame for the Islamicist-Salafist worldwide terrorwork. In his effort to fathom that phenomenon, McCarles offers some striking thawts on yet another explanation 3.) "the unfolding of the logic of envy." The post by Wretcherd and the comment by McCarles are especially woth looking at. [Since I don't yet know how to make live links in the Blogger medium,, I shall improvise by simply appending the appropriate URL to this text, without brackets (I've noted that with <> brackets, the Url will simply be removed by the Blogger apparatus. So, for now, here's the cut-and-paste alternative: ].

For another point of view, and worldview, this time from a Nigerian Muslim who had a grant to come and study in the USA and then to write up his research and experiences, we can go to a very different kind of explanation which sees no basic problem in the Islamicist attitude toward the USA and more largely the West, but which I'm not sure would technically be classified as belonging to the salafist category occupied by Zarqawi. You make your own judgment after reading the 40-page document a friend alerted me to, from this Nigerian Muslim scholar of Hausa origin and Islamicist orientation in regard to the topic of the USA and Islam: [I welcome feedback].

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