Huntington talks of cleft and torn countries. In a cleft country major groups from two or more civilizations can exist but want separation and to identify to the exclusion of each other. In a torn country there is one predominant civilization but its leaders want to shift it to another civilization. Secular Turkey under Kemal Ataturk was theologically conflicted. Divided loyalties define the torn country. Turkey is torn between Islamic affinity with Arab nations and Iran and a desire for expansion into Christian Europe. Even recognition of its regional and global importance is complicated by its Islamic faith which by definition must deny others their contribution to civilization; their history.
Joseph Nye uses a term ‘hard power’ – the ability to dominate though economic and military strength and ‘soft power’ – persuasion though the appeal of culture and ideology. Culture and ideology are attractive because they are rooted in success and success is measured by economic comfort.
Israel must detach economically from the Islamic Near-east, not just to disengage from its neighbors. A nation cannot gain respectability or appreciation from those nations that are incapable of self reflection, for such is the greatest failure of the Arab and greater Islamic world. The Islamic world uses failure of Western ideology to promote dissent in the West at the same time that it fears the soft power of Western material culture.
Prejudice and religious bigotry are not uniquely Islamic but an inherent triumphalism that has been reinforced by bloody success throughout history is. Sadly, turning the other cheek in the macho Muslim world is seen as an admission of vulnerability, a demonstration of femininity and therefore a frailty that must be exploited if one is not to be seen to be weak oneself. The display of contempt is a downward spiral to the imposition of Dhimmitude.
Richard Holbrooke argued that an ‘arc of crisis’ stretches from Turkey through Iraq, Iran and Pakistan and including Afghanistan. A regional approach viewed Israel and Palestine falling into the wider Syria, Lebanon, and Iran axis.
Modern Turkey from the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, from its opening pages and until today is drenched in the blood of those who opposed it. It murdered at least a million Armenian Christians as a lesson for their disobedience; destroyed the cities of Greece because they rose against them; and it continues to ethnically cleans and culturally colonize the Kurds. The neo-Ottoman expansionist and imperialist proclivities of theologically fundamentalist Turkey remains a threat to world peace today precisely because it instructs and therefore infects the nation.
Solving the Arab / Israeli conflict, while a noble enterprise, would certainly not have prevented Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq or Egypt from desiring, most intensely, a return to their glory days of ancient empire. Nor can it prevent the ongoing genocide in Sudan or the conspiracy between Muslim neighbors that suppresses Kurdish self-determination across four huge countries.
History is not how we view it, but how we allow the Islamic world and its co-conspirators to sanitize it.
The three pillars of American Foreign Policy (defense, diplomacy and development) deliberately exclude what should be a fourth. The one missing is the promotion of democracy. There is a very strong law of unintended consequences when we omit this fourth pillar. It is the message that other methods of rule are equal to our own and that freedom is a relative concept of finite determination and convenience. By the way, that is another definition for fascism.