Sunday, November 05, 2006

BOOK REPORT: "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It" by Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn’s "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It" is must reading for everyone, especially those who are confronted by soft-headedness over our struggle with Islamist terror. Steyn goes through the chilling statistics of how Europe and other secular societies are evaporating without a fight. With a birthrate of 1.1 children per women, Italy will half its native population in a generation. So without even confronting the sophisticated military hardware of the West, Islamist can wait us out and move in while Europeans give up and die off.

Coupled with Dore Gold's "Hatred's Kingdom," we get a clear picture of the radical Wahhabists' past, present and future plans for the world.

In the following lengthy excerpt, Steyn believes there are "three possible resolutions to the present struggle:"
  1. Submit to Islam
  2. Destroy Islam
  3. Reform Islam

Because most of us don't take number one as a serious possibility, we're equally unserious about being forced to choose between two and three. But submission to Islam is very possible, and to many it will still seem ridiculous even as it happens; like John Kerry during the 2004 campaign, we'll be spluttering that we can't believe we're losing to these idiots. But we can lose (as I've always believed) and (as I've come to believe) we might lose more easily than even the gloomiest of us thought.

By "we might lose," I mean "the good guys" -- and I define that term expansively. There are plenty of good guys in Australia and Poland and Iraq and even Pakistan. And I'm a little unnerved at the number of readers who seem to think the rest of the world can go hang but America will endure as a lonely candle of liberty in the new Dark Ages. Think that one through: a totalitarian China, a crumbling Russia, an insane Middle East, a disease-ridden Africa, a civil war-torn Eurabia -- and a country that can't even enforce its borders against two relatively benign states will somehow be able to hold the entire planet at bay? Dream on, "realists."

As for option two, it doesn't bear thinking about. Even if you regard Islam as essentially incompatible with free societies, the slaughter required to end it as a force in the world would change America beyond recognition. That doesn't mean that, a few years down the line, if some kooks with nukes obliterate, say, Marseilles or Lyons that the French wouldn't give it a go in some fairly spectacular way. But they're unlikely to accomplish much by it, any more than the Russians have by their scorched-earth strategy in Chechnya.

That leaves option three: Reform Islam -- which is not ours to do. Ultimately, only Muslims can reform Islam. All the free world can do is create conditions that increase the likelihood of Muslim reform, or at any rate do not actively impede it. We can:

  1. Support women's rights -- real rights, not feminist pieties -- in the Muslim world. This is the biggest vulnerability in Islam. Not every Muslim female wants to be Gloria Steinem or Paris Hilton. But nor do they want a life that starts with genital mutilation and ends with an honor killing at the hands of your brothers. The overwhelming majority of females in Continental battered women's shelters are Muslim -- which gives you some sense of what women in the Middle East might do if they had any women's shelters to go then half the population of these societies is a potential source of dissent, we need to use it.
  2. Roll back Wahhabi, Iranian, and other ideological exports that have radicalized Muslims on every continent. We have an ideological enemy and we need to wage ideological war.
  3. Support economic and political liberty in the Muslim world, even if it means unsavory governments: an elected unsavory government is still better than a dictatorial unsavory government. It's not necessary for Syria and Egypt to become Minnesota and New Zealand. All that's necessary is for them to become something other than what they are now. And on the bumpy road to liberty, every Muslim regime that has to preoccupy itself with internal dissent has less time to foment trouble beyond its borders.
  4. Ensure that Islamic states that persecute non-Muslims are denied international legitimacy and excluded and marginalized in international bodies.
  5. Throttle the funding of mosques, madrassas, think tanks, and other activities in America and elsewhere by Saudi Arabia, Iran, and others.
  6. Develop a strategy for countering Islamism on the ideological front. Create a civil corps to match America's warrior corps and use it to promote alternative institutions, structures, and values through a post-imperial equivalent to Britain's Colonial Office, albeit under whatever wussy name is deemed acceptable: Department of Global Community Outreach or whatever (this, by the way, is what Washington should have created instead of the bloated bureaucracy of the Department of Homeland Security).
  7. Marginalize and euthanize the UN, NATO, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other September 10 transnational organizations and devote the energy wasted on them to results-oriented multilateralism. We need real allies now.
  8. Cease bankrolling unreformable oil dictatorships by a long overdue transformation of the energy industry.
  9. End the Iranian regime.
  10. Strike militarily when the opportunity presents itself.

Aside from numbers nine and ten, these are important but undramatic objectives -- i.e., the kind of stuff our side does very badly. The problem with redesignating the "war on terror" as "the long war" is that it's easy for it to degenerate a step further and lapse into non-war mode entirely.

No comments: