Our Middle Eastern foreign policy is being written and put into practice in order to strengthen the state structures of the United States and Israel. It is not being designed or run for the benefit of Americans, Israelis and certainly not for promoting peace in the Near East. Our current foreign policy in the Middle East supposedly dates from after 9/11, 2001 but the truth is that our actions since the Twin Towers fell coincide perfectly with the program drawn up by the new American Century before the year 2000. http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqmiddleeast2000-1997.htm The principal “neoconservatives” of today drew up this program. Here is a list of the members of the New American Century: Dick Cheney, Norman Podhoretz, Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Eliot A. Cohen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, Paul Wolfowitz, Aaron Friedberg, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, I. Lewis Libby, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Francis Fukuyama.
Do you recognize the policymakers of the Bush doctrine in that list? They are all there: Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Podhoretz. The policies laid out by these men and women in 2000 was to change the Middle East by using American military power to overthrow a regime in the area and convert that country to Democracy. Read it, amazingly their papers are still posted on the website. But now that their grand experiment hasn’t come off quite as well as planned, they have changed course and identified an enemy. They need an enemy to continue to fuel the war machine, since the Democracy idea hasn’t panned out. The enemy is “Islamo-fascism”.
So now all of the movers and shakers behind the neoconservative Middle Eastern foreign policy have taken to referring to the “war against Islamo-fascism”. After the sparkling results of elections in Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon that empowered the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Hamas, the neocons seem to be shelving the Democracy justification for war. Instead they are painting the Islamist movement as fascist.
But what we are seeing is not a political-economic movement like fascism was in Italy and Germany. It is not a nationalist grab for power. The Islamist movement today is something much more ancient and motivated by deeper sentiment. Whereas the Nazis may have dreamed that their movement might become something as powerful and all encompassing as a religion, it was not and never could be. Islam does not have to dream of becoming a religion that motivates its adherents to sacrifice; it is that religion. And it controls the actions of its adherents in a completely different way than National Socialism does. Fascism controls the population through fear of the state apparatus and coercion, Islam controls the population through fear of God and faith.
Unlike fascism, Islam is ancient. It is designed in such a way as to produce warriors and religious scholars. It does not envision economic development; it actually leads its adherents away from industry. Industry is seen as somewhat unclean. Commerce is better, but the pinnacle that man can reach on earth is the ghazi warrior or the saintly cleric and sometimes both occupations in one man as in the case of the prophet himself. Industry was often left to non-Muslims.
Fascism is a modern political construct designed to strengthen the governmental apparatus in all areas of endeavor until it is the only power in a State. It means to control all aspects of people’s lives through the threat of punishment at a very terrestrial level. It is designed to work together with corporations and make them dependent on the state until the two fuse into one integrated system. It is designed to produce wealth for the powerful and to keep its people complaisant. It is a modern institution.
Islam’s idea of a worldwide Caliphate is certainly not similar to the Nazi dream of the Third Reich. The Muslims’ vision of the Caliphate is a loose federation of very devout Muslims who band together for religious and jihadi wars. Their cooperation is expected because of their shared faith; a complex state organization of coercive secret police and continual propaganda is not necessary in the Caliphate. This is true in theory, but it was also proven true under the powerful caliphates whether they were Umayyad, Abbasid, or Ottoman.
So, I find the term fascist a very bad fit for the Islamist movement that has been killing non-Muslims and working for world domination for the last 1400 years. That all took place more than 1300 before there was a concept of state controlled corporatism or fascism. Was Mehmet II a Nazi? Suleiman the Magnificent, was he a Nazi? Were the ghazis fascists? Of course that is absurd, they predated the Nazis by centuries. The Islamist radicals today are a continuation of the ghazi tradition, not an Arab version of the SS. Therefore the designation Islamo-fascist is inaccurate and is employed for purposes of effecting public opinion, or in other words: propaganda.
That brings me to the last and most uncomfortable point. If there is a resurgence of fascism in the world and it is not in the Islamist movements around the world, where is it? Where do we see state and corporate propaganda that creates enemies from whole cloth and loads the populace with fear and senseless nationalism?
Isn’t it ironic that the very people that employ the term fascist are the ones that evidence every characteristic of being that very thing?