In many of the religions of the world there are extremes, sometimes fuelling hysterical and ignorant actions or reactions to imagined slights. We have fundamentalists in all religions, be they Christian, Islam brothers. The result is one of degree, depending on the nature of the adherents.
Christianity has a history of extremes and there are those ‘sects’ even today who would like a Christian style Sharia Law like base. Thankfully, those segments of Christianity are relatively small and recent history has moved them on from the medieval type actions of the past. That is, they don’t burn witches anymore and it has been a many years since Christianity tore itself apart in senseless wars, but we must acknowledge that the past was brutal.
Islam has had its responses in the past to Western ‘Imperialism’ and the Crusades of the past. Islam was once the religion that supported the arts and had cities that prided themselves on their educational bases and the tolerance to others’ beliefs. Things have changed, possibly as a result of perceived threats from the West and the rise of a powerful USA.
Since the USA abandoned its ‘Isolationist’ past, there has been a gradual resurgence of resistance to the new USA and its role as ‘Policeman of the World.’ Many would say the stance of the USA in modern times is more about economics than it is about any desire to protect and stand up for freedom. To put it more bluntly, oil and access to the vast resources of the Middle East is the driving force for modern USA foreign policy. Cynical perhaps, but think about it.
The USA has put itself forward as some sort of ‘saviour for the peoples of the Middle east. It has dragged many ‘friends’ and reluctant allies into various conflagrations in the Middle East. Take Iraq and Afghanistan as examples. Both wars have left many Americans dead or wounded---what for? Are those countries any better off and in the case of the latter; do the people have any more freedom than they had before. Lurking in the background, the Taliban are poised to surge back into power once the ‘coalition of the unwilling’ finally leave.
In other so-called more moderate Middle Eastern states, the Arab Spring has brought forth whole new elite, one that paints itself as ‘moderate Islamist’ in nature. Time will tell, but the events of the last few days, where we are witnessing hysterical crowds, intent on killing and mayhem, bursting forth onto the streets, all in response to a pathetically ignorant idiot who had made a film that purportedly insulted Islam. I do not support the attacking of any religion, but I am against what I have seen on TV. No amount of evidence that supports the fact that this film was made by a seriously ignorant extremist, who fooled actors into thinking they were making a film that bears no resemblance to what actually ended up on Utube.
Try telling that to the rabble that have let themselves yet again become the tools of equally ignorant leaders, who have agendas that are repellent. Where are the ‘moderates’ now; sitting at home, wondering where their ‘new regimes’ are heading? The power of the people in the streets is often misinformed and their anger blunt in its desire to ‘punish.’
If the USA and other countries were not so dependent on Middle Eastern oil reserves, perhaps the USA could turn its back and retreat from its role in this region. All they need is to find an alternative to oil. (A big ask). Surely the last few years point to the need for a new direction on the part of policy makers in the USA. Maybe I have missed something here, but I don’t see the point in the continued presence of the USA (and allies) in the region. Pull out and see what happens. It is time for the region to sort itself out. If we don’t like the results, then perhaps the USA should look to meeting its own needs, along with its new trading partner, China. Somewhere in that mix, there will be room for the rest of us.
I hope my words are not defeatist, but surely we can learn from history. It is never the powerful who pay for misadventures in the backyards of others; it is those who do not make up the decision making elite; the majority of us. Does not the example of Vietnam teach us something? Could the Middle East eventually achieve the same result?