For more than a decade now, the United States has worked to promote democratic revolution in the Muslim world — overthrowing otherwise stable regimes to make way for democratic governments presumably better able to satisfy and thereby pacify the restless natives. It hasn’t quite worked as expected, and if history’s any judge, it could be sowing the seeds of even greater calamity.
The last time it was tried, the result was two world wars.
This is no exaggeration. Today’s power elites are making the same mistakes, based on the same mistaken assumptions, as the power elites that started World War I and set the stage for World War II. Just look at Carroll Quigley’s 1949 classic The Anglo-American Establishment, which tells of Cecil Rhodes, Alfred Milner, and their surprisingly successful conspiracy to steer British imperial policy toward the creation of a globally dominant “commonwealth of nations” based on democratic secularism.
In chapter 12 on the conspiracy’s foreign policy between the wars, Quigley explains the seeming inconsistency in the conspirators’ hostility toward Germany before World War I and their sympathy for Germany after that war. “The Group,” he writes, “had worked out a theory of history that saw the whole past in terms of a long struggle between the forces of evil and the forces of righteousness.” They defined “righteousness” as “the rule of law” and “democracy” and therefore saw the Great War very much as Woodrow Wilson saw it, as a war “to end all wars,” “to end Prussianism,” and “to make the world safe for democracy.”
This modern notion of bad old ways versus good new ways led “the Group” to assume, stupidly —
“that the Germans were divided into two groups, ‘Prussian autocrats’ and ‘good Germans.’ They assumed that, if the former group were removed from positions of power and influence, and magnanimous concessions were made to the latter, Germany could be won over on a permanent basis from ‘Asiatic despotism’ to ‘Western civilization.’”
Does this not sound familiar? What have we been told for the past decade, but that Muslims are divided into two groups, bad Muslims who sponsor terrorism and good Muslims who love peace, and that if the former are removed from power and the latter are treated nicely, the Muslim world will be won over on a permanent basis from theocratic extremism to freedom and democracy?
Quigley explains how fallacious such thinking was in Germany’s case. First, he says, it was impossible to tell bad Germans from good Germans. Second, the overwhelming majority of Germans were actually bad by the Group’s democratic standards. Third, anti-democratic, nationalistic Germans not only survived the attempt to remove them but returned to power even more anti-democratic and nationalistic.
The same is true of today’s Muslims. It is impossible to tell bad Muslims from good Muslims; the overwhelming majority of Muslims are hostile to the very aggressive form of democratic secularism now rampant in the West, which everyday provides new evidence of its immorality; and democracy movements in the Muslim world have so far tended only to replace secular governments with Islamist governments no more if not less friendly to the West.
Yet the U.S. continues beating up on Muslims who stand in the way of democracy, while bending over backward to please Muslims who aren’t at the moment attacking us, expecting our money to buy their minds while our kindness wins their hearts.
A saner policy would recognize the incompatibility of Islam with both Christianity and secularism, leave Muslims alone in their own world, and limit the welcome of Muslims here at home. But that would require a new “theory of history” admitting the obvious — that all religions are not created equal, that some preach peace while others wage war, and that even democratic regimes cannot remain impartial for long. Those that try sow the seeds of their own destruction.