By Zine Larbaoui
The radical Islamic conspiracy theory and its presupposed orientation towards a clash of civilizations offer a holistic explanation of global current events. It reshuffled the geopolitics of the world after the demise of the USSR. Consequently, up to the re-emergence of Russia under the mature leadership of Vladimir Putin, East-West confrontation between two antagonistic ideologies ceased, but a war between two civilizations, or rather between modern civilization and an archaic form of barbarism took over. It helped justify, obviously, the not so always rational US crusade for oil.
The September 11, 2001 proposed narrative granted the Bush administration a venue to formulate the birth of a much needed enemy. Indeed, the “Islamist plot” has been interpreted in the United States and Europe as the first manifestation of a “clash of civilizations.”The Arab-Muslim world would go to war against the Judeo-Christian world. This confrontation could not be resolved in the triumph of one over the other, or that of Islam with the imposition of a global caliphate (that is to say, an Islamic Empire), but rather, that of “American values ”shared with a modernized Islam in a globalized world.
Positing that Islam is at war against the values of America, or rather the powerful interests of corporate and banking dictates, implies, first, that Islam is not upgradeable. This culture is inseparable from the eighth century Arab society which perpetuates the obsolete structures of a distant past.
This theory also assumes that “America” is the bearer of freedom, democracy and prosperity. It embodies modernity and represents the ultimate point of progress and the end of history.
September 11, 2001 conspicuously augured this war of civilizations, such as Pearl Harbor provided the pretext of the United States entry into World War II in an effort to reestablish the Anglo Saxons global hegemony upon the financial collapse of the British Empire and transfer the leadership to Washington. It also means that this war dubbed “war on terror” is not like the previous ones. During the first two World Wars, military coalitions engaged into battle of titans. During the Cold War, military combat was limited to peripheral areas or in low intensity conflicts by proxy, while the central clash ideologically opposed two superpowers. With this Fourth World War, conventional military battles disappear in favor of an asymmetric warfare: a single power, leader of vassal states, fights a pervasive non-state terrorism feeding the appetite of an insatiable Military Industry and its inherent markets.
Contrary to its imperialistic end, or a war between the despotism of the West and resistance groups, it is sold as an insurrection of democracy against Islamist tyranny that oppresses the moderate Arab-Muslim world and attempts to impose the Caliphate World. This struggle between Good and Evil finds its crystallization point in Jerusalem. It is indeed here that, after Armageddon, scheduled for the return of Christ, that this crusade will mark the triumph of the “manifest destiny” of the United States, the only free nation on earth, commissioned by the Divine Providence to bring the light of progress to the world. Therefore the unconditional support for Israel against Islamic terrorism is a patriotic and religious duty of every American citizen, even if the Jews can not hope for salvation but through conversion to Christianity; the whole scheme, of course, designed by a Hollywoodesque grand stage starring the most sinister actors on an occult payroll.
One can, of course, question both the prejudices on which it is based, its internal coherence and its irrational nature.
Moreover, the prejudice that Islam is incompatible with modernity and democracy implies a great ignorance. Both the term Arab-Muslim world emphasizes that Islam is now much wider than the Arab world, a representation of which belies a narrow view. Very few, in the US, know that Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. Is it reasonable to say that Abu Dhabi and Dubai are less modern than Kansas? Can we honestly say that Bahrain is less democratic than Florida? One of the objectives of this discourse is to equate Islam with eighth century Islam, but does it occur to anyone’s mind to equate Christianity with Medieval Christianity and its witch hunts? Why do we allow these double standards?
The theory of clash of civilizations crystallizes itself around religious issues. The Judeo-Christian control of Jerusalem is a necessary trophy for overall victory. If the West loses the holy city, the strength to fulfill its manifest destiny and messianic mission would be lost. Conversely, if the Muslims were to lose control of Mecca, their religion would collapse. From the learned and academic vantage point, all of this seems not very rational, but these superstitions have long permeated the human psyche and are incessantly promoted in the media, culture and political tribunes. They are not only structured but institutionalized political discourse.
“In a mad world, only the mad are sane.” Akira Kurosawa.