When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

17 July 2006

One flag too high

The faith of Islam is in fighting trim. In millions, the Islamists are traveling and settling abroad. From these reserves we get occasional irruptions of high-tech loathing, in lower Manhattan and Washington, D.C., in Spanish trains, in British subways. The elderly voices of Islam that stressed toleration and cohabitation are so quiet they might as well be silent. Columnist Pat Buchanan gives us a prickly rundown: 'Islamists are taking over in Somalia. They are in power in Sudan. The Muslim Brotherhood won 60 percent of the races it contested in Egypt. Hezbollah swept the board in southern Lebanon. Hamas seized power from Fatah in the West Bank and Gaza. The Shia parties who hearken to Ayatollah Sistani brushed aside our favorites, Chalabi and Iyad Allawi, in the Iraqi elections. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the most admired Iranian leader since Khomeini. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is staging a comeback.'

All the world is waiting to see what is going to happen in Egypt after three decades of the most expensive U.S. patronage in history (matched only by our patronage of Israel). And what of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Indonesia? Not many are predicting that the future there will be pacific and liberal.

Two challenges are posed. The first is relatively manageable: Lower the flag on American universalism -- not to half-mast, but not as toplofty as it has been flying since the end of the Second World War. The second is tougher. Why is Islam burning bright? What on earth do they have that we don't get from Christ our King? If what they want is a religious war, are we disposed to fight it?
"One Flag Too High" - William F. Buckley, July 17, 2006

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