The clash between Islam and the West is not a clash between Islam and Christianity worthy of war. The clash between Islam and the West is not a clash between Islam and Judaism worthy of war. The clash between Islam and the West is not a clash a clash of civilizations worthy of war.
The clash between Islam and the West may be summed up in three words: justice versus greed.
Muslims, Christians, Jews
The Quran the Word of God for Muslims states: “O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety.”
Thus, Islam, perhaps like no other religion, declares to Muslims the sanctity of all “nations and tribes.” What may surprise Christians and Jews, and even many Muslims, the Quran refers to them all as “Muslims.”
Muhammad Asad, born Leopold Weiss in Poland in 1900, in his interpretation of the Quran wrote: “When his contemporaries heard the words Islam and Muslim, they understood them as denoting man’s ‘self-surrender to God’ and ‘one who surrenders himself to God,’ without limiting himself to any specific community or denomination., in 3:67, where Abraham is spoken of as having ‘surrendered himself unto God’ (kana musliman), or in 3:52 where the disciples of Jesus say, ‘Bear thou witness that we have surrendered ourselves unto God (bianna musliman).’ In Arabic, this original meaning has remained unimpaired, and no Arab scholar has ever become oblivious of the wide connotation of these terms. “
The three faiths share the Abrahamic heritage, the same values, and revere many of the same prophets.
Muslims, Christians, Jews once lived in peace in Palestine all three referred to God as Allah. The three faiths thrived in Muslim Spain until its fall to Christian armies. Maimonides, highly revered among Jews, studied and practiced in Muslim Spain. Muslims respect the prophets of Judaism and Christianity.
Islam teaches that “the most excellent jihad is for the conquest of self.” It teaches Muslims to speak out against oppression, and to fight if necessary for justice. This is jihad.
Mainly Muslim Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952. Virtually every Muslim country supported the U.S. “war on terror” until it degenerated into an excuse for a crackdown on Muslims by governments across the world.
Now while the hawks in U.S. government push for war on Iraq, predominantly Christian Europe is opposed to war. Many non-Muslim organizations in the U.S. are opposed to war. According to the Guardian (U.K.), “Church leaders including the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, have questioned the legality and morality of an American-led assault on Iraq in a strongly worded declaration handed to Downing Street.”
Many Jews support statehood for the Christians and Muslims in Palestine. “Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathon Sacks, head of the Jewish community in the U.K. and the Commonwealth for 11 years, warns that Israel’s stance towards Palestinians is incompatible with Judaism,” according to the BBC.
Clash between peoples, nations, and within civilizations
But, there have been, and perhaps there always will be, clashes both among and between peoples and nations, and within civilizations.
The clash between the Dalits, the lowest caste in India, and the upper castes is a clash that has persisted for centuries. Europe, in centuries past, was ravaged by clashes within Christianity. Muslims have fought wars with Muslims.
For the most part, the underlying reason for these clashes, was economic. Greed, is the primary reason for the clash between Islam and the West.
Some in the U.S. wish to control the world’s resources and markets, regardless of the cost to Americans and others, and if dissenting voices are excluded from the national dialogue as they often are the U.S. is very likely to go to war.
They will be going to a war which will benefit a few, at the expense of many that’s evident from world history. The clash over the control of resources and markets is not new.
Control of the world’s resources and markets
Following the fall of Muslim Spain in 1492, Europeans spread out over the world to the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia. Millions of natives in those continents were brutalized, enslaved, killed. Their resources made Europe wealthy. Eventually the British, the Dutch, the French, the Portuguese, and others ruled much of the world.
In the mid-twentieth century as the colonial powers were pulling out, they drew up national boundaries for their continuing benefit, and the U.S. Empire began to take shape.
The U.S. had fought for control of the world’s resources and markets while keeping the true reasons for war from Americans.
Major General Smedley D. Butler, recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor described his experience in the U.S. Marine Corp:
“War is just a racket. . . I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909. . . I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.”
The primary goal of U.S. foreign policy, defined after World War II, assured a continuing clash between the strong and the weak.
George Kennan, recipient of the Albert Einstein Peace Prize, chairman of the Policy Planning Staff at the State Department, wrote in the top secret Policy Planning Study No. 23:
“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population. . . . Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity . . .”To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality. . . . We should cease to talk about vague and . . . unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization.”
While they may differ on the specific timing and means, this militant foreign policy often backed up by assassination of opponents (aka “regime change”), military coups, terrorism has powerful proponents.
Former National Security Advisor to President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, writes in The Grand Chessboard (1997):
“A power that dominates Eurasia [the territory east of Germany and Poland, stretching all the way through Russia and China to the Pacific Ocean including the Middle East and most of the Indian subcontinent] would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s GNP and about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.”
The key to controlling Eurasia is controlling the Central Asian Republics. “The three grand imperatives of imperial geo–strategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together,” says Brzezinski.
According to the Los Angeles Times,
“Behind a veil of secret agreements, the United States is creating a ring of new and expanded military bases that encircle Afghanistan and enhance the armed forces’ ability to strike targets throughout much of the Muslim world.”
“Since Sept. 11, according to Pentagon sources, military tent cities have sprung up at 13 locations in nine countries neighboring Afghanistan, . . .they may also increase prospects for renewed terrorist attacks on Americans. . . . On any given day before Sept. 11, according to the Defense Department, more than60,000 military personnel were conducting temporary operations and exercises in about 100 countries.”
Uncritical support of the apartheid state of Israel
The unresolved issue of Israel helps keep the “barbarians” presumably, the Muslim nations of the Middle East and Central Asia, and/or the Africans from coming together. The US which displayed exceptional zeal in implementing UN Security Council resolutions against Iraq has displayed the same zeal in blocking implementation of UN resolutions against Israel.
Thus while the U.S. pushes for war on Iraq, and maintains no-fly zones in Northern and Southern Iraq, under its interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 687 (with which most others disagree), the U.S. ignores Article 14 of the same resolution which has “the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons” for all the nations in the region including Israel which is known to possess chemical and biological weapons, and 200 to 400 nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.
The United States, which claims to promote secular democracy around the world, continues its uncritical support of the theocratic, apartheid state of Israel. Fortunately, for now the “barbarians” and most of the “civilized” world appear to be standing on the side of justice in the Middle East.
Need to justify U.S. military spending
And new military bases, such as those established in Central Asia during the Afghan war, help the defense establishment’s need to justify military spending
According to Lawrence J. Korb, assistant secretary in the Defense Department during the Reagan administration:
“In 1985, at the height of the Reagan build-up, the United States and the Soviet Union spent equal amounts on defense; now Russia spends only one-sixth of what the United States spends. . . . Our NATO allies spend three times more on defense than Russia. Israel spends as much as Iraq and Iran combined. South Korea spends nine times more on defense than North Korea. And Japan spends more on defense than China.”
Our covert operations budget alone is more than double the total defense budget of the “rogue states” Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria.
“For 45 years of the Cold War we were in an arms race with the Soviet Union. Now it appears we’re in an arms race with ourselves,” says Admiral Eugene Carroll, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.), Deputy Director, Center for Defense Information.
Former Defense Secretary McNamara, in his 1989 testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, said U.S. defense spending could safely be cut in half.
The real rogue and international outlaw
George Soros, financier and multi-billionaire, writes: “The United States has become the greatest obstacle to establishing the rule of law in international affairs.”
The U.S. stands virtually alone against the world in efforts to build a safer, better world. For example:
UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) was supported by 130 governments but never ratified by the U.S.
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1966) was unanimously approved by the UN General Assembly but not ratified by the U.S.
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1979) was ratified by more than 150 governments but not the U.S.
Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) was ratified by 187 governments but not the U.S.
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (1996) was signed by President Clinton, ratified by all NATO allies and Russia, voted down by the U.S. Senate, and is opposed by President Bush.
Kyoto Protocol (1997) sets targets for emissions which cause global warming awaits ratification by the U.S.
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (1972) was signed and ratified by the U.S. and USSR, but overturned by President Bush.
Chemical Weapons Convention (1998) was crippled by the U.S. by limiting what may be inspected in the U.S.
Biological Weapons Convention (2001) was signed by 144 countries, but U.S. refused to sign the “verification protocol.”
Nonproliferation and Test Ban Treaties (2002) have been jeopardized by the U.S. by its announcement to build and use small, tactical, nuclear weapons.
International Criminal Court (July 1, 2002) was backed by 74 countries, signed by President Clinton, but was fiercely opposed by the U.S. unless American citizens were given immunity from war crimes prosecutions.
The opposition by a signatory to the treaty undermines the entire system of international law. According to the Guardian: “The U.S. threatened to assert it is no longer bound by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a 1969 pact detailing the obligations of nations to obey other international treaties. Under the convention, a country that has signed a treaty cannot act to defeat the purpose of that treaty, even if does not intend to ratify it.”
Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, the U.S. continues to develop microbes to wipe out entire cities, genetically engineered fungus, and genetically engineered materials-eating bacteria, and to test warheads containing live microbes.
At Fort Benning, Georgia, the U.S. operates what may be the best terrorist training academy in the world. “Put simply, the School of the Americas has trained some of the most brutal assassins, some of the cruelest dictators, and some of the worst abusers of human rights the western hemisphere has ever seen,” said Rep. Joe Moakely (D-MA)–a statement reported by the Washington Post.
The need for dialogue
Civilized nations that respect the rule of law solve economic clashes with dialogue, not war.
But the voracious U.S. appetite for resources and markets, and/or to the desire to control them, the uncritical U.S. support of Israel, and the U.S. need to justify military spending, are driving the U.S. to war. This is bound to create more resentment, and perhaps retaliation.
Those who stand to benefit by war, have characterized opposition to U.S. domination as a “clash of civilizations.” They are not interested in just agreements freely negotiated. They understand only the language of realpolitika euphemism for state-sponsored terrorism.
But thanks to an increasingly multi-cultural society, and the Internet, the world is waking up. Many see the clash between Islam and the West for what it is: a clash of justice versus greed.
The September 11, 2001 attack on America may have been avoided, had there been an honest exchange of dissenting views presented to Americans. President John F. Kennedy said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Only through dialogue is “peaceful revolution” possible.
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