At one point in history, there were these Bedouins in Arabia who no one considered worth worrying about. No one in what is now modern France or Spain ever thought that anything a Bedouin could do could possibly bring about the conquest of Christian culture.
Only a century after the death of Mohammed, Charles Martel had to fight for the defense of Christian civilization in France at the Battle of Tours. Spain was already conquered.
The Bedouins had more potential than anyone gave them credit for. Too bad, instead of the Gospel, they were converted from paganism to a “mutant virus” form of monotheism. It still unleashed more power than anyone would have ever imagined. Paul warns us in Romans against arrogance toward the “Barbarian” and the “foolish.” Islam is a case study in how pride goes before destruction.
Later, however, in the years leading up to the Reformation, Erasmus questioned whether Christians were dealing with the Muslims in a godly way. He wrote in his Manual of the Christian Knight.
The best way and most effectual to overcome and win the Turks, should be if they shall perceive that thing which Christ taught and expressed in his living to shine in us. If they shall perceive that we do not highly gape for their empires, do not desire their gold and good, do not covet their possessions, but that we seek nothing else but only their souls’ health and the glory of God. This is that right true and effectuous divinity, the which in time past subdued unto Christ arrogant and proud philosophers, and also the mighty and invincible princes: and if we thus do, then shall Christ ever be present and help us.
For truly it is not meet nor convenient to declare ourselves Christian men by this proof or token, if we kill very many, but rather if we save very many: not if we send thousands of heathen people to hell, but if we make many infidels faithful: not if we cruelly curse and excommunicate them, but if we with devout prayers and with all our hearts desire their health and pray unto God to send them better minds. If this be not our intent it shall sooner come to pass that we shall degenerate and turn into Turks ourselves, than that we shall cause them to become christian men.
Did Christians learn to deal differently with the Turks? Sadly, they did. They learned to support the Turks in their efforts to diminish and contain other Christian kingdoms. Britain and the other powers supported the Sultan and the Ottoman Empire against Russia. Richard Cobden, one of the unremembered heroes of the nineteenth-century, vainly tried to persuade his English countrymen, that it was suicide to support a worldwide Navy and get involved in conflicts over the horizon. He wrote in one tract,
Russia, and no longer France, is the chimera that now haunts us in our apprehension for the safety of Europe: whilst Turkey, for the first time, appears to claim our sympathy and protection against the encroachments of her neighbours; and, strange as it may appear to the politicians of a future age, such is the prevailing sentiment of hostility towards to Russian government at this time in the public mind, that, with but few additional provocatives administered to it by a judicious minister through the public prints, a conflict with that Christian power, in defence of a Mahomedan people, more than a thousand miles distant from our shores, might be made palatable, nay, popular, with the British nation. It would not be difficult to find a cause for this antipathy: the impulse, as usual with large masses of human beings, is a generous one, and arises, in great part, from emotions of pity for the gallant Polish people, and of indignation at the conduct of their oppressors—sentiments in which we cordially and zealously concur: and if it were the province of Great Britain to administer justice to all the people of the earth—in other words, if God has given us, as a nation, the authority and the power, together with the wisdom and the goodness, sufficient to qualify us to deal forth His vengeance—then should we be called upon in this case to rescue the weak from the hands of their spoilers. But do we possess these favoured endowments? Are we armed with the powers of Omnipotence: or, on the contrary, can we discover another people rising into strength with a rapidity that threatens inevitably to overshadow us? Again, do we find ourselves to possess the virtue and the wisdom essential to the possession of supreme power; or, on the other hand, have we not at our side, in the wrongs of a portion of our own people, a proof that we can justly lay claim to neither?…
[W]hat are the motives that England can have to desire to preserve the Ottoman Empire at the risk of a war, however trifling? In entering on this question we shall, of course, premise, that no government has the right to plunge its people into hostilities, except in defence of their own national honour or interest. Unless this principle be made the rule of all, there can be no guarantee for the peace of any one country, so long as there may be found a people, whose grievances may attract the sympathy or invite the interference of another State. How, then, do we find our honour or interests concerned in defending the Turkish territory against the encroachments of its Christian neighbour? It is not alleged that we have an alliance with the Ottoman Porte, which binds us to preserve its empire intact; nor does there exist, with regard to this country, a treaty between Russia and Great Britain (as was the case with respect to Poland) by which we became jointly guarantees for its separate national existence. The writer we are quoting puts the motive for our interference in a singular point of view; he says, “This obligation is imposed upon us as members of the European community by the approaching annihilation of another of our compeers. It is imposed upon us by the necessity of maintaining the consideration due to ourselves—the first element of political power and influence.” From this it would appear to be the opinion of our author, that our being one of the nations of Europe imposes on us, besides the defence of our own territory, the task of upholding the rights and perpetuating the existence of all the other powers of the Continent, a sentiment common, we fear, to a very large portion of the English public. In truth, Great Britain has, in contempt of the dictates of prudence and self-interest, an insatiable thirst to become the peace-maker abroad, or if that benevolent task fail her, to assume the office of gendarme, and keep in order, gratuitously, all the refractory nations of Europe. Hence does it arise, that, with an invulnerable island for our territory, more secure against foreign molestation than is any part of the coast of North America, we magnanimously disdain to avail ourselves of the privileges which nature offers to us, but cross the ocean, in quest of quadripartite treaties or quintuple alliances, and, probably, to leave our own good name in pledge for the debts of the poorer members of such confederacies. To the same spirit of overweening national importance may in great part be traced the ruinous was, and yet more ruinous subsidies, of our past history. Who does not now see that, to have shut ourselves in our own ocean fastness, and to have guarded its shores and its commerce by our fleets, was the line of policy we ought never to have departed from—and who is there that is not now feeling, in the burthen of our taxation, the dismal errors of our departure from this rule during the last war? How little wisdom we have gathered along with these bitter fruits of experience, let the subject of our present inquiry determine!
It will be seen from the arguments and facts we have urged, and are about to lay before our readers, that we entertain no fears that our interests would be likely to suffer from the aggrandisement of a Christian power at the expense of Turkey, even should that power be Russia. On the contrary, we have no hesitation in avowing it as our deliberate conviction, that not merely great Britain, but the entire civilised world, will have reason to congratulate itself, the moment when that territory again falls beneath the sceptre of any other European power whatever. Ages must elapse before its favoured region will become, as it is by nature destined to become, the seat and centre of commerce, civilisation and true religion; but the first step towards this consummation must be to convert Constantinople again into that which every lover of humanity and peace longs to behold it—the capital of a Christian people. Nor let it be objected by more enlightened believers, that the Russians would plant that corrupted branch of our religion, the Greek Church, on the spot where the first Christian monarch erected a temple to the true faith of the Apostles. We are no advocates of that Church, with its idolatrous worship and pantomimic ceremonials, fit only to delude the most degraded and ignorant minds; but we answer—put into a people’s hands the Bible in lieu of the Koran—let the religion of Mahomet give place to that of Jesus Christ; and human reason, aided by the printing press and the commerce of the world, will not fail to erase the errors which time, barbarism, or the cunning of its priesthood, may have engrafted upon it.
Cobden lost his argument with Britain. Resulting in, among other horrors, multitudes of deaths in the Crimean War. Notice however the vast difference between Cobden’s concerns and those of Erasmus earlier. Erasmus saw the Turks as a foe to be dealt with or left alone. In Cobden’s day they are not viewed as a threat, but as a tool to deal with other threats.
IS MILITANT ISLAM AN INDEPENDENT POWER ON THE WORLD STAGE OR IS IT A CONVENIENT TOOL FOR OTHER POWERS TO USE AGAINST THEIR ENEMIES?
Let us jump ahead to the late 1970s as recalled by Zbigniew Brzezinski:
Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?
Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?
Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?
Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.
Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.
I have two responses to this, now that I have gotten over the shock of learning that we basically set Al Qaeda in motion: First, I think Brzezinski’s last statement makes a lot of sense. Some of our (really, our government’s) strongest allies are Islamic nations. Saudi Arabia is the easiest example but not the only one. So that leaves the second response: How have “stirred up Moslems” managed to cause so much trouble and provoke such a reaction?
The answer seems to be Western support. Mujahideen were not just used in Russia, but they were transported to the Balkan’s to suport NATO’s demand for the first Islamic nation in Europe. Perhaps the events of 9/11 dampened this cooperation, but if so, it only lasted less than seven years. Seymour Hersh laid it all out for us in March 2007. For example, the plan for Syria:
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of a radical Sunni movement founded in Egypt in 1928, engaged in more than a decade of violent opposition to the regime of Hafez Assad, Bashir’s father. In 1982, the Brotherhood took control of the city of Hama; Assad bombarded the city for a week, killing between six thousand and twenty thousand people. Membership in the Brotherhood is punishable by death in Syria. The Brotherhood is also an avowed enemy of the U.S. and of Israel. Nevertheless, Jumblatt said, “We told Cheney that the basic link between Iran and Lebanon is Syria—and to weaken Iran you need to open the door to effective Syrian opposition.”
There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.
Jumblatt said he understood that the issue was a sensitive one for the White House. “I told Cheney that some people in the Arab world, mainly the Egyptians”—whose moderate Sunni leadership has been fighting the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for decades—“won’t like it if the United States helps the Brotherhood. But if you don’t take on Syria we will be face to face in Lebanon with Hezbollah in a long fight, and one we might not win.”
Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.
This time, the U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”
Right. Because that worked out so well the first time!
So what has happened since then? Egypt is now being taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda affiliates or Al Qaeda clones have been used to betray Gaddafi on a flimsy humanitarian pretext, unleashing Islamist terrorist on the country. They have been empowered to fly the Al Qaeda flag, ad exterminate sub-Saharan Africans, and to destabilize Mali (perhaps that last one was unintentional). Gaddafi was an evil man. But to see NATO forces get him raped to death by a bayonet is not a sign of Christian victory. It is a sign that Western “foreign policy” is being driven by some of our most homicidal and narcissistic graspers. (Is anyone going to seriously argue that Gaddafi was substantially morally inferior to NATO’s allied rulers in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in the Middle East?)
This post is already too long. But I submit that any use of Google News to check will demonstrate that our governments did some perfunctory hand-wringing over Al Qaeda “hijacking” an alleged “freedom movement” against Gaddafi, while all the while supporting them and overlooking their atrocities. (And you can also look for information on how Gaddafi was actually killed too). And you can find the same thing is happening in Syria now, complete with butchered Christians and burned down churches. The only difference is, with the corpses of terrorist-killed innocents still fresh in Libya, the European and US governments are making more noise about not giving “direct” military aid. That is all a ruse. The weapons from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere are by our governments’ permission and plan.
In the meantime, when I point all this out to conservatives, I discover that Obama is just the perfect president to disguise the truth. No, this isn’t a continual NATO/US policy from at least the seventies (and probably much earlier). It is all the fault of the secret Muslim in the White House.
Between hatred for Obama and stories from the Crusades, along with a huge dose of Zionism, Christians are being played. They are worried about a threat that is mostly propped up by Western money and manipulation (though not an omni-competent manipulation that can ensure that the terrorists always “throw bombs” or aim their planes at the right enemy). Yes, Islam is a false religion and thus an enemy of the Faith. Yes, it enables certain places to be violently resistant to the Gospel. But the viral power that enabled the military might of Islam in the medieval period is no longer there. Christians should pray that God would tear down strongholds. But all the evidence right now is that our governments are building up those strongholds. Forcing the military in Afghanistan to burn Bibles was not an anomaly. It was a picture of our foreign policy.
The surviving Islamic powers were once bolstered to hurt Russia, both in the nineteenth century and the twentieth. Now they are being used as powers to hurt secular dictatorships and the Shiite nation of Iran. But where is the evidence that they can do this on their own? Where is the evidence that, had we left them to rot, anyone would have ever heard of them, or that the Twin towers would not be still standing?
Going back still further, what if England had stayed out of the conflict between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman? What would the Middle East look like today?
What Christians need, in my opinion, is another Richard Cobden.