Islamic Fascists are only a 'hiccup in History'

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) has an amazing interview with Francis Fukuyama on how we'll look back at the Islamic mass murderers as simply footnotes in history:

Which leads to questions about Fukuyama's over-arching premise about the end of history and victory of liberal democracy. Is the emergence of Islamic radicalism not a threat to Western liberal democracies, much as communism and fascism once were?

"Looked at broadly, the struggle is actually not a clash of civilizations," Fukuyama said. "The threat represented by radical Islam, although very serious as a short-term threat, is not of the scope we faced during the Cold War."

The most menacing aspect of Marxism-Leninism was not that it was embodied in powerful states with nuclear weapons and huge armies, Fukuyama said, but that it was an idea that was "in some way appealing to people in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Paris, France.

Radical Islam does not appeal to anyone who is not Muslim to begin with; it is not making a lot of converts in Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow or places like that." Even within the Muslim world, Fukuyama said, it is not a reflection of Islam per se, but a radical movement that borrows a lot from Western modernity. "It is clearly a very dangerous radical movement, but how dangerous is it as a movement that can actually capture power in real nation states that actually make a difference? I think that probability is very low."

For a movement to be serious on the grand historical world stage, Fukuyama said, "it ultimately has to offer people something attractive, and this thing seems to be attractive only to highly alienated people in very unsuccessful countries."

In other words, in the end of history scenario, radical Islam is merely a hiccup, albeit one able to cause more than just a little immediate discomfort.

Unfortunately, the mass murdering swine of Al-Qaeda, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Arafat's Tanzim, and other Muslim terrorists around the World are causing a lot of destruction and pain right now.

I agree with Mr. Fukuyama - Israel, the United States and other Western Democracies (not France), will win this war on Islamic Terror.

Just like the brown shirts, these Islamic fascists will be a footnote in history. But just like the German Nazis and the Russian Communist dictators, these Islamic terrorist bastards are going to continue their mass murdering campaigns and change the lives of hundreds of thousands of family members across many countries.

I copy the full article below, which also includes a bit more info on Francis Fukuyama and a criticism of the war in Iraq (which I disagree with).





The return of history
By HERB KEINON, Mar. 18, 2004, Link

Fifteen years after his controversial end-of-history thesis celebrated liberalism's victory over communism, political thinker Francis Fukuyama probes terror's challenge to the world.

Many and varied are the critics of US policy in Iraq - both of Washington's decision to go to war, and the way the US has handled matters since "victory" was declared.

What makes Francis Fukuyama's criticism of the US policy different - a policy heavily influenced in the Pentagon and White House by such neo-conservatives as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Lewis Libby, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams - is that Fukuyama is a fellow "neocon." Punch Fukuyama's name into Google on the Web, and you will find him variously described as "the vanguard of the neoconservative intellectuals," the "neoconservative philosopher," the "neoconservative superstar" a "neoconservative big-wig" and the "neoconservative guru."

Fukuyama made an enormous splash as the Iron Curtain was tottering in the summer of 1989 when he published a highly influential 15-page article entitled "The End of History?" in the neoconservative journal, The National Interest. He wrote the article while he was a deputy director of the US State Department's Policy Planning staff.

The thrust of the piece, and a book Fukuyama wrote expanding on the article three years later called The End of History and the Last Man, is simply that liberal democracy has won.

"What we are witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or a passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government," Fukuyama wrote in his article.

In other words, liberal democracy took on all comers - monarchy, communism, fascism - and emerged the victor. It is not the end of history in the sense of an end to events, but rather the end of history in the sense of the development of the very best political system. Western liberal democracy, he posited, would not be bested by a better political system.

So when Fukuyama criticizes what is essentially a neoconservative-designed policy in Iraq, one takes notice because of Fukuyama's own impeccable neocon credentials.

"One reason I was skeptical of the entire Iraq project," Fukuyama said this week in conversation with The Jerusalem Post, "is that if you look at the record of American nation building, it doesn't give you a lot of confidence that you would be able to negotiate this thing all that well."

Presently a professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins University whose newest book entitled State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century is due out shortly, Fukayama was in Israel this week delivering a number of lectures on the 15th anniversary of the publication of his seminal article.

Fukuyama said that of the US's 18 efforts at nation building, starting with the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, only three were unqualified successes - Japan, Germany and South Korea.

And in each of the successful cases, the US kept troops in those countries for two generations.

"If you look at other cases where American forces got out in five years or less, there is not a single instance - most of which were in Latin America and the Caribbean - where you left behind anything that could be described as a self-sufficient state."

In other words, Fukuyama said, if America is to succeed in Iraq, it is going to have to stay there for 15 to 20 years, or somehow get the international community involved in order to give the US presence there greater legitimacy.

Legitimacy, which he defined neatly as the "perceived justice of a set of arrangements," will be necessary for the project to work. The Bush administration realized the importance of legitimacy, and is trying to create it by putting an Iraqi face on the occupation.

The problem, he believes, is that in the rush to do this, the US is setting up wildly optimistic deadlines for the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis when the conditions are not yet fully ripe. This, he believes, is a recipe for failure.

One of the big questions looming over Iraq is whether the American public has the stomach for a long, drawn out, expensive presence, and whether regional or domestic Iraqi politics will allow for such a protracted occupation.

"I think the probability of both of these is kind of low," Fukuyama said, "which is the calculation that made me not so enthusiastic in the first place." Regarding the question of whether the US public will be willing to "slug it out" in Iraq, Fukuyama said this is a long-term problem, not an immediate one.

"John Kerry is not arguing for withdrawing our forces," Fukuyama said, adding that serious dissension within the US will likely come some five years into the operation, when there is not a whole lot of visible progress, and "it does not seem possible to get out cleanly and quickly." Then, he said, people will start to ask if the US wants to be there for the long haul, and whether it is possible to make the whole nation- building proposition work.

"I think the danger point is not the next year or two, but down the road," he said. "I think electing a Democrat [US president] will make a difference. Right now there is no real difference between the parties about how to handle Iraq in the short term. But since it is not the Democrats' war, if they have to face a really stressful situation a few years from now, it would be easier for them to walk away than it would be for a second Bush administration."

ONE OF the underpinnings of neoconservative philosophy is that the US need not be ashamed to aggressively assert itself in the world to shape it in its image. In this spirit, the logic of the Iraqi campaign made a lot of sense, Fukuyama said, but it was "high risk."

The Bush administration failed to plan properly for the "day after" the war, he said. Considering the pressure the administration is placing on Israel to take into consideration all the different possibilities of the "day after" disengagement from Gaza, America's failure to do this successfully in Iraq is telling.

Fukuyama laid the bulk of responsibility for this foresight failure on the doorstep of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who he said was interested only in the rapid defeat of Saddam Hussein and the withdrawal of US troops, and who never really signed off on the whole Iraqi nation-building exercise.

Rumsfeld, Fukuyama asserted, is "in no way, shape or form a neo-conservative." Indeed, Fukuyama said, Rumsfeld was behind the Bush campaign policy in 2000 against active military intervention and nation building - ideas turned on their head by September 11. Rumsfeld, Fukuyama asserted, was interested in deposing Saddam quickly, and moving out quickly. As a result, he did not work with the State Department or US allies to develop an effective nation-building strategy.

"They [the administration] did not perceive Arab opposition and the collapse of the Iraqi state," Fukuyama said. "They didn't have plans to deal with those contingencies. They didn't pay attention to US experience in Panama, Somalia, or the Balkans."

Why not?

"The only thing I can think of is that they had an Eastern European model in mind," Fukuyama said.

The Eastern European model was that of the velvet revolution, the collapse of communism with nary a bullet shot, despite expected violent resistance from the hardliners.

In Eastern Europe, Fukuyama said, "the emperor had no clothes, the hard liners didn't believe their own rhetoric, and the whole transition, with the minor exception of the killing of [Romanian dictator Nicolae] Ceausescu, went smoothly."

The Bush administration, Fukuyama said, "must have had that kind of model in mind regarding what would happen in post-war Iraq; that the wicked witch would be killed, and all the munchkins would get up and rejoice." The witch was indeed deposed, but the munchkins are definitely not dancing.

Which leads to questions about Fukuyama's over-arching premise about the end of history and victory of liberal democracy. Is the emergence of Islamic radicalism not a threat to Western liberal democracies, much as communism and fascism once were?

"Looked at broadly, the struggle is actually not a clash of civilizations," Fukuyama said. "The threat represented by radical Islam, although very serious as a short-term threat, is not of the scope we faced during the Cold War."

The most menacing aspect of Marxism-Leninism was not that it was embodied in powerful states with nuclear weapons and huge armies, Fukuyama said, but that it was an idea that was "in some way appealing to people in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Paris, France.

Radical Islam does not appeal to anyone who is not Muslim to begin with; it is not making a lot of converts in Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow or places like that." Even within the Muslim world, Fukuyama said, it is not a reflection of Islam per se, but a radical movement that borrows a lot from Western modernity.

"It is clearly a very dangerous radical movement, but how dangerous is it as a movement that can actually capture power in real nation states that actually make a difference? I think that probability is very low."

For a movement to be serious on the grand historical world stage, Fukuyama said, "it ultimately has to offer people something attractive, and this thing seems to be attractive only to highly alienated people in very unsuccessful countries."

In other words, in the end of history scenario, radical Islam is merely a hiccup, albeit one able to cause more than just a little immediate discomfort.

Posted by David Melle
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Comments

Fukuyama is merely a showboat academic who arbitrarily uses broad imprecise categories that, although familiar to the reader, are themselves moving targets throughout the decades. With a modest amount of circular reasonsing, all subsequent developments magically become "hiccups" in history. Apparently, he also believes that a handful of U.S. troops languishing in Okinawa have been busily nation-building for the last fifty years. In fact, Japan embraced expansive militarism and a ultra-chauvinist form of nationalism (when did "liberal democracy vanguish nationalism?) while maintaining a parlimentary form of government that sacked its wartime prime minister in 1944.

He mentions that recent Islamic religious enthusiasm has borrowed heavily from "Western modernity." But really, What is this supposed to mean? -- that it somehow doesn't count?

Posted by: Gary White at March 23, 2004 03:31 PM


To make the absurd statement that Republican and Democrat parties are no different on Iraq, is to say there is no difference between a chicken and an egg.
The Dem's want to treat Iraq and any terrorist attacks as a 'police action' just as they did under Clinton, thus ignoring the reality of these attacks as a real threat to the World's stability. This approach only 'emboldens' them to have more 9/11 type attacks. The Republicans, including President Bush understand the threat posed by these fanatics and has successfully made inroads to eliminate and contain much of what remains of these homicidal maniacs. You can bet if 'God forbid' John Kerry was elected he would draw the U.N. back in; you know the same U.N. that was the real "Blood for Oil" perpetrators along with France, Germany and Russia while Saddam butchered his people and Saddam paid radical Palestinians families for their taking innocent Israelis lives.

The difference is clear, re-elect President Bush, the terrorists are on the run and Iraqis and Afghanis have the real opportunity to live free; elect John 'flip flop' Kerry, and the countries will assuredly fall into chaos with the power vacuum and countless innocents will again die. Appeasement NEVER works, it only prolongs the torture and misery.

Posted by: Dan at May 11, 2004 12:15 PM


The 'hiccup' mentioned by Mr. Fukayama has in fact been simmering since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, which somehow he overlooked in the grand sweep of history. It was merely the longest-running empire ever and is probably very close to the model the President of Iran envisions: A caliphate with a heavy religious backing. The Ottomans, unfortunately for them, fell into a lethargic despotism and then backed the wrong team in 1915, subsequently falling to the British-French-US and being split up among their favored friends. All that coming at the end of several centuries of wars to expand an empire beginning in Iraq (N.B.) and conquering the Byzantine empire with the fall of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1463. Recall the Crusades, Mr. Fukayama? That was the European/Christian response to the march of Islamic fascism of the day, circa 1100.
Try again. This time take off the blinders and see the whole picture. Islamic fascism has been in existence for going on 1500 years. Some "hiccup."

John D. Evans
Irving, Texas

Posted by: John Evans at August 11, 2006 08:33 PM


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