Saturday, May 06, 2006

I Need to Add This to My "Must Read" List

Frontpage Magazine, a source of much enlightenment, has an interview with Efraim Karsh, the author of the new book Islamic Imperialism: A History and is a professor and head of the Mediterranean Studies Programm, King’s College, University of London.

His basic theme is that Islam is inherently militant and imperialistic and that in order to work with it properly we must recognize that fact.

I have a couple of co-workers who are very anti-Semitic and they both insist that there would peace on earth right now if Israel did not exist because the existence of Israel is the source of all conflict in the world today. They say if we were not friends with Israel the Arabs would love us.

Mr. Karsh has a much better view of why so many Arabs hate America.

This in turn means that if, today, America is reviled in the Muslim world, it is not because of its specific policies but because, as the preeminent world power, it blocks the final realization of this same age-old dream of a universal Islamic empire (or umma). In the historical imagination of many Muslims and Arabs, Osama bin Laden represents nothing short of the new incarnation of Saladin, defeater of the Crusaders and conqueror of Jerusalem. In this sense, the House of Islam’s war for world mastery is a traditional, indeed venerable, quest that is far from over.

As far as Western "Intellectuals" who blame America and the West for this he says:

There is a pervasive guilt complex among left-wing intellectuals and politicians, which dates back to the early twentieth century and stems from the belief that the West “has been the arch aggressor of modern times,” to use the words of Arnold Toynbee, one of the more influential early exponents of this dogma. This has resulted in a highly politicized scholarship (especially under the pretentious title of “post-colonial studies”) which berates “Western imperialism” as the source of all evil and absolves the local actors of any blame or responsibility for their own problems. But this self-righteous approach is academically unsound and morally reprehensible.

Of course nothing will change the mind of the "Blame America First" crowd.

Here is one of the more interesting things he says, which I had not considered, but I now realize is probably true.

Consider, for example, the pan-Arab invasion of the newly proclaimed state of Israel in 1948. This, on its face, was a shining demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinian people. But the invasion had far less to do with winning independence for the indigenous population than with the desire of the Arab regimes for territorial aggrandizement. Transjordan’s King Abdullah wanted to incorporate substantial parts of mandatory Palestine into the greater Syrian empire he coveted; Egypt wanted to prevent that eventuality by laying its hands on southern Palestine. Syria and Lebanon sought to annex the Galilee, while Iraq viewed the 1948 war as a stepping stone in its long-standing ambition to bring the entire Fertile Crescent under its rule. Had the Jewish state lost the war, its territory would not have fallen to the Palestinians but would have been divided among the invading Arab forces.

He then points out how the Arab nations kept the Palestinians in squalor rather than allowing them to become part of their own nations. I often wondered why the rest of the Arab world did nothing to ease the suffering of their "brothers and sisters" in these camps. The truth is they don't care about the people themselves, but a group in misery is a good source of "martyrs" to use against Israel. All they wanted was for the land to be under an Islamic banner and the people themselves meant nothing to them.

Read the interview. Better yet, read the book.


Blogger ABFreedom said...

This is sounds like a great book, I'll have to do that. Also read another post this A.M. similar to this one.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

They absolutely don't give a tinker's da*n about people. They don't respect human life, so why in the world would they care about people?

9:42 PM  

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