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September 21, 2007

Today's Inconvenient Truth, Stupid!: The Day of Islam - Paul L. Williams; The Coming Balkan Caliphate - Christopher Deliso; The Suicide of Reason - Lee Harris

Posted by Lee P. Ruddin

The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World
by Paul L. Williams
Pp. 267. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2007
Hardback, £17.99

The Coming Balkan Caliphate: The Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West
by Christopher Deliso
Pp. 240. Westport: Praeger, 2007
Hardback, £22.95

The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West
by Lee Harris
Pp. 272. New York: Basic Books, 2007
Hardback, £15.99

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I sure don't feel fine. This is one retort to R.E.M. the band. Twenty years after the song featured on their album Document a catalogue of documents portend the demise of the West: Patrick J. Buchanan's The Death of the West, Tony Blankley's The West's Last Chance, Bruce Bawer's While Europe Slept and Mark Steyn's American Alone - just four of those highly recommended on Amazon (of similar ilk is the movie Obsession: Radical Islam's war Against the West and the Ayn Rand Institute's lecture series: The Jihad Against the West: The Real Threat and the Right Response). Despite the ghastly-titled nature of such material, the aforementioned titles are doing a great service to the public - in contradistinction to the media's great disservice - warning us as to the true gravity of the threat from genocidal jihadist expanisionism.

The objective of Islamism is not Clausewitzian "politics carried out by other means". Rather, totalitarian Islam's rationale is the annihilation and extinction of politics as we in the West contemporarily comprehend. Versed in their military theorists, three constituents of the British anti-Islamist intelligentsia articulate the threat vehemently: Melanie Phillips, Michael Gove and Douglas Murray. Indeed, a cursory glance at Londonistan, Celsius 7/7 or Neoconservatism: Why We Need It would serve a reader well before tackling another trilogy of texts: Paul L. Williams' The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World, Christopher Deliso's The Coming Balkan Caliphate: The Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West and Lee Harris' The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West. It is these three hardbacks that are the subject of our review. Could these works become the catalyst for the creation of a genuine counterrevolutionary movement to revive the West?

All three acknowledge the menace of Islamitancy (reviewer's term) - a similarity that trumps their many dissimilarities. Although, the fons et origo of such a threat, according to our first two authors in Paul L. Williams and Christopher Deliso, lies firmly at the door of the West. While not cataloguing Western acquiescence in fanatical Islam's rise per se, Lee Harris apportions blame to the West's denial of an axis of anti-reason (reviewer's phrase): fanaticism, irrationality and superstition. Yet, Harris pusillanimously ducks the question of who is right in this bitter war with Islamitancy - again, a similarity that trumps their much dissimilarity.

Our physical and cultural environment - Western Civilization - is under siege, from both outside and within. The first outside assault came in the seventh century with the founding of Islam - midwife to radicalism. Further storms came in the 15th century (at Constantinople in 1453) and 17th century (in 1683 at Vienna). Communist and Nazi variants of totalitarianism were challenges from within. Today, according to Bernard Lewis in his 2007 Irving Kristol Lecture, we are witnessing the third great attack by radical Islam, operating through a double-pronged attack: terror and migration.

No big fan of Oswald Spengler (and his seminal thesis), Niall Ferguson, the Massachusetts-based, mass-producing mastermind, author of The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, distinguishes the 20th Century to be more about the rise of the East (what he terms "Eastern ascendancy") rather than the West; seeing 1979 as an important turning point, far greater than the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 - the earlier year being witness to China's awakening, the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet-Afghan War. The corollary of such a conflict features prominently in our first two texts.

Given such a precarious period as now - in the form of The Iranian Question - Paul L. Williams' text provides a timely analysis pertaining to Islamism's pertinacity à propos a Muslim-Manhattan Project. From Baghdad to the Balkans and Brazil terrorists are seeking to usher in the "Day of Islam" (front flap):

The dream of radical Muslims to see all of humankind fall in submission before the throne of Allah.
Penned in an energetic prose that is comprehensible to both specialist and non-specialist alike - in deep dissimilarity to Christopher Deliso's exacting instalment - Williams offers a "Who's Who" of Islamitancy. He introduces us to: the shura -
an Islamic council comprised of mullahs and military officials who had commandeered forces against the Soviets in the great jihad [p. 23]
- giving us historical bios; the budding jihad goal of nuking America cities; and the connections from past and present. From Bin Laden's purchase of highly enriched uranium in Sudan to the acquisition of nuclear devices from the Chechens we are then transported to the workings of the A. Q. Khan Research Facility - all functioning towards making an "American Hiroshima" a reality.

It is oft quoted that analysts erroneously view deterrence strategies as passé since terrorists lack return addresses:
This disheartening conclusion stems from a failure to appreciate the many steps terrorists must take before committing an actual attack…
So claims Caitlin Talmadge, in the Spring 2007 edition of The Washington Quarterly, for (p. 23):
Many of these steps depend on assistance from people and organizations that may not be as impervious to deterrence by punishment as individual terrorists are.
Yet, what the MIT doctoral candidate overlooks is that such weapons have already been acquired - rendering any deterrence strategy now obsolete. Even Christopher Deliso later elucidates in The Coming Balkan Caliphate that (p. 136):
The Saudis spirited away… top-secret technical information, like pollen on the breeze, ending up God knows where.
Williams puts this fallout, so to speak, down to years of "foolish" CIA funding of Afghan mujahedin and acquiescence of Pakistan's technological build-up (p. 125). “Case closed:” a maddened Douglas Murray retorts to Tariq Ali and Sons, protesting that just because, "you created him [OBL], therefore you must eventually allow him to kill you [?]" Christopher Deliso's The Coming Balkan Caliphate continues in a similar fashion from that of Williams.

The common tale reads that the Bush administration itself, busy frying bigger fish (of the Middle Eastern variety), early on made a boo boo in believing that southeastern Europe is not a pivotal part of the war on terror, and thus defaulted to Clinton-era policies (p.11). Saying that, when all is said and done (pp. 4, 27, 40):
Holy warriors would never have reached Bosnia in the first place had it not been for the Clinton administration…
Brendan Simms is scathing in this regard, and rightly so. In addition to the Cambridge scholar's majestic tome Unfinest Hour, Ed Husain's recently-released paperback, The Islamist pin-points the Bosnian crisis with calls for a revived quasi-Ottoman Empire and the fallout we are witnessing today. Deliso's thesis stands in contradiction to common sense for the author gets too tangled up in his very own vituperative-like anti-Clinton web; for the investigative journalist reasons that it was through (pp. 41, 142):
Another "humanitarian intervention" that… inevitably spread the radical Islamic cancer to yet another Balkan country, for the second time in less than a decade.
However, as a matter of fact, it was earlier non-intervention - as opposed to later intervention - that escorted the movement for an Islamic caliphate. For Bosnia's Muslims (and Islamic ummah) images of stick-thin Auschwitz-like detainees cowering behind the barbed wire of Serb concentration camps such as Omarska were evidence of their abandonment by Messrs Clinton and Major. Rejected by the West, the Bosniaks turned east. Into the vacuum came Saudi Arabia and Iran (financially) accompanied by veteran Afghan-jihadis (physically), pushing a Wahhabi breed of Islam - the antithesis to Bosnia's Ottoman traditions.

To explain The Coming Balkan Caliphate Deliso aims a shotgun, sure that he will hit something (US/UK foreign policy). The problem with his result is that he hits so many items (Western presence post-World War I, "Certain Foreign Relations" and global economics) that he is often unpersuasive. The author paints a deeply ambivalent picture of Western efforts in the war on terror in the Balkans; in fact, so unrelenting is Deliso's denunciation of US/UK policy that his manuscript reads like the latest paperback penned by LSE's Fred Halliday - and a must for all Chomskyites (pp. 131, 136-152).

Deliso points out that, ironically, with democracy comes radicalism, whereby (p.144):
Islamism preys on the intrinsic weaknesses and inefficiencies of the new Balkan order to achieve its objectives.
Admittedly, such a statement could be directed at the embryonic democracy in Iraq too. Democracy will not halt terrorism nor will it renovate the nature of the regimes which midwife it, because, as Daniel Pipes contends, "Islamists [will] manipulate elections to stay in power" - similarly to the Nazis - renewing the totalitarians' sense of purpose. Nevertheless, what is the alternative, for is muscular idealism (forward strategy of democracy) not the new realism? Surely such a strategy must remain policy if we are to counter Deliso's subtitle: The Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West?

Not according to Lee Harris that is (pp.26, 44, 51-52). Harris reasons (citing Spanish and French history) that such a democratic populace would ultimately reject enlightenment, as evidenced by recent elections in Iraq and the Palestinian Territories. Accordingly, Harris gives entrée to enlightened despotism supplemented by secular education (p.138). "And it is the fanatic" (jihadist) that Harris'

enlightened system of education is aiming to eliminate
- and with it, Deliso's "Dawa infrastructure". (Harris could have drawn an analogy with World War II efforts here and the overturning of Shintoism through the power of education).

Harris' treatise offers up a pragmatic melting pot of historical and philosophical narrative, undergirded by psychological characteristics - divergent to the purely descriptive anti-jihadic readers offered up by Messrs Williams and Deliso.

Harris' The Suicide of Reason identifies a social problem of the first order (the self-sacrificial policy of appeasing the unappeasable), and it deserves the widest possible readership. Harris looks to the past, the ancient past, to illuminate examples that we can use in the present. By taking a protracted view of history, Harris contests that the contemporary view of how to subjugate enemies is predicated on false premises; firstly, that history inevitably progresses; second, that progression is concomitant with greater influence of reason; and thirdly, that reason colonizes all opposition before it.

So, three books later do we have reason to be confident in a Western revival? The answer is indubitably not. With reference to the first two, together they offer diagnosis without cure. Furthermore, both are predominantly descriptive: Williams' chief accomplishment is to document nightmarish scenarios, while Deliso illuminates Afghano-Bosniak terrorist activity. However, equal parts journalistic exposé and independent research, the pair's work explores the very real consequences of Clinton's "see-no-evil, hear-no-evil" policies (p. 116).

Yet, Harris' scholarly-textured dissertation is more thought-provoking. Believing we are born rational actors as compared to tribal actors underpins the grave threat we face, reports the American essayist. The genesis of today's inconvenient truth lies in (p. 33):

The profound reluctance of an established order to recognize that its future is being threatened explains why its supporters so often delude themselves into thinking that they can preserve the old order without reverting back to the law of the jungle.
Saying that (xx-xxi):
In a crisis in which the law of the jungle returns to the fore, rational actors may suddenly begin to act like tribal actors [think Bush post-9/11… embracing] the tribal ethos of Us versus Them.
Sadly though, the Western tribe - in tune with Harris' watchword- is no longer. David Frum and Richard Perle tragically document such a turn of events in their bestseller An End to Evil whereby:
Much of the rest of the world… decided sometime early in 2002 that it no longer wanted to fight the war on terror.
Both Francis Fukuyama's triumphalist End of History thesis and Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations work of polemic do not truly reflect what we are confronting today. "Instead", Harris protests (xvi):
We are facing something none of our leaders wishes to think about - the crash of civilization as we know.
There is a celebrated Islamic adage which trusts (in imitation of Muhammad and the Treaty of Hudaibiya) that "There are times when you have to live like a sheep in order to live in the future like a lion", so enunciates Shaikh Hamza Yousuf. Although, in reality, it is us native Westerner's who today live like a sheep with no future of living like a lion. Ultimately, these three reads, each containing sharp facts that fly about like shrapnel, buttress the coming Islamic-lion-like age parallel with a future Western-sheep-like age.

Lee P. Ruddin is currently an occasional student at SOAS. Ruddin holds an LL.B (Liverpool John Moores); an MRes in International Security and Global Governance (Birkbeck); and a PgCert in History: Imperialism and Culture (Sheffield Hallam).

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