Upon mature deliberation, doubtless helped along by the TV footage of the Middle Eastern massacres, Donald Rumsfeld has finally admitted that the idea of carrying democracy to the region was somewhat flawed.
Well, better late than never and all that, but one wishes he had reached such clarity of vision before engineering the criminally stupid (stupidly criminal?) invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Modesty prevents me from mentioning any names, but even without the benefit of hindsight any commentator with half a brain knew then how it would come out. Actually, judging by Mr Rumsfeld’s remarks, even with the aforementioned benefit he still hasn’t quite grasped the true nature of the problem.
He generously admits that the American “template of democracy” may not be “appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories”. The implication seems to be that, had the Americans caught Iraq at a better moment, that template would have worked just fine.
One has to observe with mortification that somehow, in the 1,400-odd years that Islam has graced the world with its presence, such a propitious moment has so far failed to arrive. The length of this period seems to be sufficient to lead to the conclusion that its arrival isn’t going to happen in the future either.
In other words, Mr Rumsfeld is your typical ideological American in the grip of messianic fervour. He has seen the light shining out of the burning bush of American democracy, and he has heard the booming voice telling him to go forth and proselytise, temporary setbacks notwithstanding.
He doesn’t seem to realise that, in the language I facetiously ascribed to Prince William the other day, most of the world doesn’t give a flying Donald for the American or any other template of democracy. (In the spirit of crass commercialism I may commend to your attention my book Democracy as a Neocon Trick, in which this subject is covered in detail.)
Nor does Mr Rumsfeld understand the true nature of the problem, which he identifies as ‘Islamism’. Actually no such thing exists. What exists is Islam, a militant cult that has been waging war on the West for 1,400 years, off and on.
When used this way, the suffix –ism suggests that the idea expressed in the word’s root is being perverted or at least not applied fully. Hence, the word ‘Christianism’ is often used to describe the pernicious belief that, though Christianity is manifestly untrue, it’s helpful in the role of social adhesive.
Adherents of Islam, however, don’t talk about the social utility of their religion. They are prepared to die and, which is worse, kill for it. Those who don’t feel that way aren’t vacillating Muslims, secular Muslims or moderate Muslims. They are no Muslims at all.
This may seem to be pedantic quibbling, but in fact such basic understanding is as essential to solving the problem of ISIS as the correct diagnosis is to treating a disease.
Identifying Islam qua Islam as a hostile force would naturally lead to a correct strategy not only in foreign policy but also in domestic affairs, specifically in the area of immigration. Alas, “the template of American democracy” and the tyranny of political correctness it has spawned throughout the Western world make reaching such understanding impossible.
The diktats of multi-culti diversity are such that all religions must be regarded as equal. Depending on one’s taste, they may be considered equally good or equally bad, but equal in any case.
Hence Mr Rumsfeld’s former boss Dubya declaring the day after 9/11 that “Islam is a religion of peace”, an idiotically ignorant statement that our own PM Dave saw fit to repeat recently. Hence also the fake bogeymen of ‘Islamism’ and ‘Islamofascism’ neocons use as euphemisms for Islam. And hence also the West’s pathetic inability to solve the problem of ISIS, which Mr Rumsfeld finds so vexing.
Rather than juggling the figures of Western defence budgets, he’d do much better to look into his own neocon heart in search of the real problem. The solutions will then offer themselves, for no sane government would fail to spend what’s required, or do what it takes, to repel a lethal threat.
It’s only when the threat isn’t perceived as lethal that foreign aid seems to be a more urgent item of expenditure than defence of the realm. The necessary treatment may be physical, but the diagnostic techniques are metaphysical. And it’s in this area that the West is being caught with its intellectual trousers down – largely due to “the American template of democracy”.
Rather than acting in the capacity of braces, I’m afraid the likes of Mr Rumsfeld are the dead weight exerting the downward pressure on that garment.