The writer Spengler believes that traditional Islamic society and the Modern World are incompatible, indeed competitive, systems of approaching life. From his column in Asia Times:
Ancient armies with edged weapons first gave meaning to the term “asymmetrical warfare”, much misused by armchair fanciers of anti-colonial warfare. Alexander killed 230,000 Persians at Gaugamela in 331 BC against 4,000 Greek and allied dead. In ancient warfare the pursuers slaughtered the pursued, and the side that ran took all the casualties. Whole civilizations melted away before the onslaught of superior forces. The great error in Western policy is to imagine that anything fundamental has changed. We throw around the term “cutting edge” lightly, too often forgetting that the edge always lands on someone’s back.
For three years I have excoriated George W Bush as a tragic character who always wishes to do good, but always ends up doing ill. Promoting democracy in the Middle East instead will lead to perpetual warfare. Nonetheless I sympathize with Bush, and reject as nonsensical all the conspiracy theories concerning the supposed motives for US intervention in Iraq. What you see is what you get: the United States wishes to promote its own interest by making the Muslims more like Americans. That the effort is doomed to catastrophic failure is a different matter….
Why do whole countries in the modern world show economic results as lopsided as Gaugamela’s casualty list?…The Palestinians are not the victims of empire, but rather the remnants of a defeated empire that cannot admit to its defeat without accepting final and complete deracination. They cannot help but return to the chant they raised when Iraqi Scud missiles hit Tel Aviv in 1990: “The Jews are our dogs.” No viable economic basis exists for a state of 5 million Palestinians without massive subsidies from the West, and the Palestinians have voted emphatically against becoming the subsidized dogs of the US and the European Union….
Islam cannot withstand the final dissolution of traditional society that comes with the triumph of globalization. Its entire raison d’etre is a stubborn refusal to adapt, in the fashion that the Chinese have adapted, to a new world with new ground rules. To intervene in the Islamic world is to hasten the dissolution of traditional society and with it the world of Islam….Issues that seem trivial and even grotesque to Westerners, such as the veiling of women, are life-and-death matters for the survival of Islam, as Muslims in the West know better than their Western critics. Christianity recruits individual souls into a new Israel: Islam enlists converts into an army to defend traditional life against the depredations of encroaching empires….
For all his good intentions, Bush appears to Iraqis as the worst thing to visit them since the Mongols in the 14th century….It is not what the United States does that threatens Islam, but rather what the United States is: a global avalanche of creative destruction that rips apart the bindings of traditional life. The US has offered a world in which traditional society has no place. The portions of the world that have turned their back to the sword’s edge face chaos. An endearing quality of the Americans is that they find the truth too horrible to contemplate.
Spengler may be correct, but religions do have their Reformations. This one is overdue, and could yield vast improvements in the lives of over a billion people.