Saturday, October 10, 2009

Taking on the empires

Interesting article, though I think for many of us who have been paying attention over the last eight years there is pretty much nothing new here.

But it did suggest in my mind a psychological possibility about islamic thinking. Why attack America? Why not attack Israel, the 'little Satan'? Strategically, their choice of opponent seems ludicrous.

Here is my idea. Islam benefitted greatly from the mostly collapsed nature of the Roman empire, and the weakness of the small successor states, at the point where it began its own imperial expansion. It could pretend to itself that it was the destroyer of the Roman empire, and that the rightness of its cause, its religious correctness was the reason it succeeded. In 1989, the Mujahideen and the tiny scraps of foreign Arabs in Afghanistan believed, against all the evidence, that they had 'destroyed' the Soviet empire.

So despite the fact that Putins war in Chechnya followed on closely the 'defeat' in Afghanistan, and that it was against muslims, the self-image of islamists is, at least to some extent, that they are plucky empire slayers. So, which empire now presents itself? The American one.

I realise that there is vastly more to the situation than just this, but I also think that this is one of the psychological planks that goes into making the islamist mindset. And because it is so historically mistaken, it has led to the tragic and hubristic assault on America. They are very lucky to get an Obama in the White House, and not a Harry Truman...

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