The world witnesses the third great totalitarian challenge in less than 70 years.
The Reichstag fire was an occasion for Nazis to start imposing their ideas through exploiting Germany’s power. Later , the communists attempted to impose their ideas by leveraging the Soviet Union’s power. And more recently "9/11 ", as many have come to popularize the terrible event, became the second Reichstag Fire for the secular totalitarians, who are now using the US economic and
military power to try to impose a reign of global domination under the banner of perfect "ideas" for building "open societies."
Secularism remains the corner stone. Interestingly, the US was founded on the ideals of Christianity. And its stress on secular ideology is intensified purely as a weapon for neutralising any perceived threat to American global hegemony.
And so, the "war of ideas" is promoted as a war against potential challengers to this domination and it is manifested in reality through invasions and occupations. The problem is that while "open societies" are, today, an interesting ambition, using them as a premise for launching aggressive foreign policy is simply misguided. By doing so, promoters of these policies are falsely presenting the symptoms of the world’s political and cultural issues as the root causes of the various problems we all face today. Switching symptom for root cause is dangerous, as I will explain.
For this purpose, the “war of ideas” is promoted as a war on “extremist Islamic ideology” and it is translated into reality through occupations and usurping civil liberties. A serious look reveals that the so-called ideas are mere conjecture, presenting symptoms as root causes of the global problems.
It is fascinating how these warriors of "ideas" claim to be waging a global war, yet their "ideas" are shallow and illogical. For instance, Thomas Friedman believes the trend of "suicide bombing is spreading" among youth because "local charities provide them with money."This would lead us to assume that it is primarily financial incentives that compel these people to die for their causes, and little more. Will Friedman trade his life for all the wealth he can imagine?
The belief that is propagated by the Chief of ‘The War of Ideas’, Thomas Friedman, is that all of a sudden "a large number of people" started hating Americans. The claim is that these people are "ready to commit suicide" just because they hate open societies. And so, inevitably, we falsely extrapolate the danger: since "these people" can turn anything into weapon, they pose "a much more serious threat than the Soviet Red Army because these human bombs attack the most essential element of an open society: trust."
Here is another "idea": Friedman believes that sitting next to a person bent upon blowing up a passenger plane as a violation of trust. No Sir. This is not a violation of trust. This is nothing more than the tragic reaction of an extremely desperate person to what is the real violation of trust; this is a symptom of the most profound violation of trust – when a few individuals – with the most lethal weapons of human history at their disposal – mock and bypass international laws, treaties and organizations to impose their ideas on those whom they believe are in need of them.
Trust is not built into "every building" bus and train, as Friedman would claim. It is built and breached at a much higher level. When we go into a conference in Madrid, we trust the American leadership is serious in bringing justice to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. But that trust is violated when the land for peace slogans are exploited, promises are broken, and the Palestinians remain as landless 13 years after the conference as they were for the 40 or so years before it.
Trust is violated when American leaders incessantly lie to the world that they have conclusive evidence about Al-Qaeda’s involvement in the 9-11 attack, fail to produce meaningful evidence to support this claim, yet also fail to refute the evidence that mounts on their own involvement in the tragedy.
Trust is shattered when American leaders create the illusion of WMDs – and the purported enthusiasm to use them against us – to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And when the illusion is exposed and these warriors of "ideas" come out to justify their fabrications, they swiftly declare their real intention was to build "open societies" – behavior that is, at best, misguided conjecture but more likely a case of devious deception.
The people in authority in the US know the real culprits behind 9/11. If they are taking away trust by stripping airline passengers, fingerprinting all visitors and removing cherished civil liberties, it is not to catch the culprits. It is only to achieve the secondary objectives of global domination i.e., to have a complete silence at home front –” a nation unanimous in raining down death and destruction: another Nazi state.
So what to do? There are only three things we can do: (1) learn to differentiate between ideas and conjecture. (2) Find ways to effectively challenge the status quo. (3) Most important, identify the warriors of “ideas” whose work paves the way for more wars abroad and reduced civil liberties at home. The societies where these advocates of war reside can really restrain their extremists.
This is the time for Americans to apply restraints to persons whose thinking is limited to perpetual war for imposing their “ideas” on other people. The same superiority complex led to colonialism in the past, Nazism in 1930’s and communism after the World War II.
A historical mistake on the part of Americans would be taking the advocates of tyranny for the champions of freedom simply because they are using the most humane labels possible for defining themselves. Stigmatizing these warriors is a hard task in an environment where lying is now an acceptable norm. These highly paid and fully secure advocates of war are neither a state subject to conventional deterrence or international rules, nor individuals deterred by the fear of rejection by their people or government.
The actual situation is in total contrast to what is required. Truth tellers, such as NBC’s Peter Arnett and BBC’s Gavyn Davies, are demonized. At the same time, Pipes, Perle, Friedman and Frum are elevated as official and unofficial advisors. The case of bypassing Senate to appoint Pipes to USIP is an excellent example of providing them with necessary cover.
We cannot fully expose the advocates of war on our own. But we also can’t just do nothing in the face of what is no longer just a threat but a reality that we see in the loss of dozens of American and non-American lives every week. Blaming it on vague anti-Islam notions is no solution.
We need to partner with the forces within American and European societies who have the power to demystify the rancid notions paraded as ideas. Ultimately this is a struggle within the Western world, between those who promote war in the name of ideas and those who believe that justice is denied to Muslims living under direct and indirect US occupations with full sponsorship of the United States of America for so long.
Notes:. David Frum and Richard Perle, “The End of Evil: How to Win the War on Terror,” December 2003. In this book, the terrorist threat is largely equated with the Muslim threat. Protecting Americans from terrorists requires toppling numerous Arab and Muslim regimes and compelling the reformation of much of Islam: “We must discredit and defeat the extremist Islamic ideology that justifies and sustains terrorism.” . Ibid. Thomas Friedman. . Thomas Friedman, “War of Ideas,” The New York Times, January 8, 2004. . Frum and Perle call for creation of a “domestic intelligence agency” to keep watch on people in America. At the time the CIA was created in the late 1940s, the agency was specifically prohibited from engaging in domestic surveillance because the example of the Gestapo was fresh in people’s minds. Now, half a century later, we are supposed to pretend that the government only goes after Muslim terrorists –” seems like a Nazi Germany all over again.