Islam, Global Politics and U.S. Foreign Policy

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

This is a rendition of comments made during August 2007 in Berkeley by Professor (emeritus) Ira Lapidus, a leading Middle East expert with rumored influence upon the American and Israeli governments: “Since 9/11 Triumphalism has lead to Incompetence!” Here, in the West, we hold onto Islamic terrorism irrationally in our minds. This, in actuality, is a misleading fear for the violence employed is merely a military tactic to put dread into the minds of Civil Society. (I might add the tactic has been employed for centuries although there are minor variations utilized today.) Also, of course, terrorism is the weapon of the weak and Stateless. Therefore, “Not All Muslims are Terrorists!” Modern Terrorism is a product of peripheralization and frustration – especially by the young.

In the West (and to a lesser extent the Middle East) the three Abrahamic religions seem to be in conflict, but they are not. What we do find, though, are differences in history and tradition; i.e. not a Clash of Civilizations!

Traditional Islam, unlike Christianity, is both a religious and a political system; thus, it is hard to extricate one from the other. The emphases may be dissimilar, but they are not alienated from the other.

Modern Islamic Terrorism was a political tool that began with the Iran-Iraq War (of the 1980s), and continued with Lebanon’s Hizbollah Movement against Israel and several internal civil wars. Consequently, Ira feels it is a phenomenon of the Shia tradition.

During de-colonization, the previously Colonized class with roots in the former Metropolis — the Center of the former Empire(s) – were established as rulers of the new independent States, but due to the earlier European competition for Colonies these States were a fragmented muddle of ethnicities et alia. What have followed are authoritarian governments that have discredited Modernity within themselves. Islam is now seen as the only way to (religious and political) freedom! Islam has replaced nationalism–with their Wars of National Liberation –for political pre-eminence.

In this War of ours, we have too often acted as criminals when we have to be “…more accepting of Muslims” on their own terms.


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