Consider the caliphate: its very existence would usher in a state of constant hostility. Both historically and doctrinally, the caliphate's function is to wage jihad, whenever and wherever possible, to bring the infidel world under Islamic dominion and enforce sharia.
Raymond Ibraim addresses the question of how is the West is supposed to respond, now that it has an increasingly clearer picture of what Islamists are after. Specifically, just what is it the West is supposed to do about the resurrection of the caliphate?
Would it be willing to launch a preemptive offensive—politically, legally, educationally, and, if necessary, militarily—to prevent its resurrection? Could the West ever go on the offensive, openly and confidently—now, when it has the upper-hand—to incapacitate its enemies?Read the whole thing.
One may argue in the affirmative, pointing to the preemptive Iraq war. Yet there are subtle and important differences. The rationale behind the Iraq war was physical and practical: it was limited to the elimination of suspected WMDs and against a specific government, Iraq's Saddam regime. War to prevent the creation of a caliphate, on the other hand, is metaphysical and impractical: it is not limited to eliminating material weapons, nor confined to one government or person.
The fact is, the West does not have the political paradigms or language to justify an offensive against an ideological foe in religious garb. After all, the same international culture that saw to it that an autocrat like Egypt's Mubarak stepped down—simply because he was handicapped from responding to the protestors in the name of human rights—certainly cannot approve a preemptive offensive by the West articulated in terms of a "religious" threat.
Actually, while the West might not have the political paradigm to deal with an enemy with a religious ideology, it does have a paradigm for dealing with an enemy with a political ideology: Communism.
And that is exactly the problem. The US was badly burned by the war in Vietnam--and the whole idea of going to war in order to prevent the spread of an ideology has been near totally discredited.
In the end, the West did in fact win and the ideology of Communism itself has been almost totally rejected around the world. But even though in the end the victory was achieved through less violent means in the West, it required enormous bravery and sacrifice from the men and women who lived under its rule.
The protests today in the Middle East are not comparable to those protests, not least because today they are revolting against totalitarian rule per say, and not Islamists--if anything, Muslims are generally ready to have Islam applied in politics to some degree. Also, there is the point of whether the Arab world is ready for true democracy yet.
The fact remains that the West has little appetite for dealing with another ideology intent on spreading and imposing itself on the world. Whether you are talking about a cold war or a hudna--the West is more weary than wary.
And the Islamists know it.
Technorati Tag: Islam and Caliphate.