WWI was caused less by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and more by Germany and Austria Hungary’s eagerness in courting the Muslim Ottoman Empire.
Before and during WW2, England and Germany both assiduously courted Muslim support in the Middle East. The Holocaust was one of the byproducts of this rivalry, as Germany courted Muslims by appealing to the genocidal impulses of the Mufti of Jerusalem, while England reneged on its agreements, and shut the door to Jewish refugees trying to reach Israel. The Holocaust would have happened regardless, but the death toll would have been lower without Islamic appeasement.
After the war nothing changed except the names of the players. The competition still went on with America and Russia taking England and Germany’s seats at the table. Both sides cultivated patron Muslim countries, spent and lost huge sums of money on them, and then got a knife in the back for it, time and time again.
America made the fanatical House of Saud into its oldest partner in the region. In return the Saudi royal family nationalized American oil companies (for which the US government compensated the companies with taxpayer dollars) and then used that money to fund a global Jihad. 9/11 was only the topper on a poisonous cake that had been baking in the febrile heat of the Saudi desert for a long time, as petrodollars fed fanatical Islamic beliefs that had been growing steadily more arrogant and insane in direct proportion to the amount of wealth flowing in.
The USSR tried to export Communism, but had to settle for backing Egyptian dictator Nasser, despite his casual slaughter of domestic Communists. The heap of corruption in Cairo was considered such a great prize that both the US and the USSR competed feverishly for it.
America betrayed England and France in 1956 by backing Nasser’s seizure of the Suez Canal and forcing their withdrawal through economic blackmail; something that Eisenhower later admitted he deeply regretted. Nevertheless Nasser threw in with the USSR, which was willing to pile on the weapons exports.
After Egypt lost several wars with those same weapons, the United States finally won the bidding war for one slightly used alliance at a cost of only a few billion dollars a year and a blind eye turned to the persecution of Christian Copts.
A flattering speech here and there. Loose immigration policies. Turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s role in terrorism in exchange for more oil deals. The French government shaking its fist at a few rogue imams and then quieting down, hoping that the 5 million Muslims get the message, and keep the car burnings down on weekends. And then France begins promoting a Mediterranean alliance, just as Russia is promoting a Bosporus alliance– as if Muslims would allow themselves to be ruled by non-Muslims for very long.
The Muslim world has a lot of oil and a lot of people, and Western governments want the former, while keeping the latter peaceable. And so they compete for Islam’s favor with each other, with the newly resurgent Russia, which is back to its old ways of shipping weapons by the fleet, China, which is feeling its global oats and poking its head beyond its borders, and with other Western countries competing in the appeasement Olympics for a shot at lucrative oil and weapons deals, for commodities markets and sovereign wealth fund investment opportunities. And not least of all, they compete with other Muslims.
Before WW2 and during the Cold War, European nations competed with each other to win the favor of Muslim rulers, but today the remnants of the civilized world are competing for Muslims, against other Muslims. The big threat today is no longer Western, it’s Islamic and while the old competitions were about forming alliances with backward Muslim countries against our enemy of the day; today the enemy of the day is Muslim. That phantom menace we call “Islamic Extremism” if we’re feeling politically correct, and “Islam” if we’re not.
If the old rivalries at least provided some rational justification for this gamesmanship, today we’re holding up a sign reading, “We’re nice. Please don’t kill us.” In theory we’re competing to uphold “moderate” Muslim regimes against the Islamists who would otherwise take over by winning over Muslim rulers and populations. Somehow this evolved into supporting any Islamists willing to run for public office as a hedge against the really bad Islamists who won’t even stop shooting long enough to rig an election.
Our foreign policy is a debate between the realists who want appeasement, and the lunatics who think the natural outcome of every revolution is socialism, and even when it isn’t (as in the case of Iran) they’ll pretend it is anyway to avoid looking as stupid as they should feel. Of course there’s always a third option. Stop competing. Stop feeding the sense of entitlement of an ideology that still thinks non-Muslims should always defer to Muslims. Stop bowing and scraping to them. Stop giving them weapons, visas and then wondering what happens when the bombs go off.
We approach the two-headed hound of Islam, and then argue over which head we should pat first, to keep the beast from biting us. It’s all one beast. And feeding scraps to one head or the other won’t win us anything except more bites. The thing to do is to stop feeding the beast and stop believing there’s more than one hound. It’s all one animal. And it hates us. And it will go on hating us. And it will go on biting us as long as we let it.
We are no longer bidding for the Muslim world as an ally. We are bidding to prevent it from being our enemy. But the very people we are bidding for, already see us as the enemy. We are not going to change that with free weapons and speeches praising their enlightenment. By competing for their favor, we are only bidding against ourselves, and paying out to our enemies. By competing for their favor, we are only undercutting ourselves.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.