Day By Day

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ferguson on the Islamist Challenge!

I know it's hard to believe, but there are still are people in positions of authority throughout the West who fail to realize the dimensions of the threat emanating from the Muslim world. Niall Ferguson does, and lays them out in his fanciful "Origins of the Great War of 2007."

The roots of the challenge:

1) economic -- rapid development in India and China has increased world demand for oil, giving the countries of the Middle East an unprecedented degree of economic leverage.

2) demographic -- Islamism and the Iran-Iraq war generated a demographic boom in the Middle East, resulting in an unprecedented number of young men. At the same time fertility rates in the developed world plummeted.

3) cultural -- the Islamist revolution of 1979 produced a wave of religious fervor that swept through the Middle East and energized the region. By contrast the West was overtaken by a debilitating secularism.

Ferguson sees alarming parallels between the current situation and that of the 1930's. Once again we are faced with an ideology, "Islamism", every bit as potent as fascism and communism, and just as destructive. Once again, liberal leaders in the west urge accommodation and negotiation instead of confrontation.

Only the United States possesses the resources and strategic capabilities necessary to confront the threat, but isolationist opposition has paralyzed the administration.

Read the whole thing here.

First Laqueur, then Keegan, now Ferguson. Major historians are trying to warn us of just what we are facing. But nobody in the government seems to want to listen. Instead, it's politics as usual in this "Bad and Worrying Time."


I note that Andrew Sullivan completely misreads Ferguson's piece, arguing that the Iraq war has paralyzed the western response to the Islamist challenge. Ferguson's point is precisely the opposite. He argues that the US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan provides us with the strategic base necessary to contain Iran. It is the political opposition to the Iraq war, not the fact of the war itself, that is paralyzing the West. Read Sully here. [and note that he also has to get his dig in at fundamentalist Christians].

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