View Full Version : The New Totalitarians

02-09-2007, 11:41 PM
The New Totalitarians: Social Identities and Radical Islamist Political Grand Strategy (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=753) by Dr. Douglas J. Macdonald. US Army Strategic Studies Institute monograph posted 9 Feb 07.

The author argues that the social identity theory behind the “clash of civilizations” thesis is useful for analyzing the tasks before us in the “Long War” on Terrorism. The “clash of civilizations” is not actually occurring, he argues, but is rather the end goal of radical Islamist political grand strategy. Radical Islamist terrorists, like the Fascists and Communists before them, cannot allow alternative value systems to exist in areas they control. Their goal is to spread such totalitarian beliefs to the entire Muslim world in order to create a violent “clash” with non-Muslim societies, and, in some versions, radical Islam is expected to spread to the entire world. The author argues that the first thing to understand about the enemy is that there is nothing to negotiate with them because of their radical totalitarian nature. He warns that the first imperative of any strategy in the “Long War” on Terror must be to prevent such a totalitarian ummah from being created in order to prevent a “clash of civilizations.” This can best be accomplished by supporting the majority of mainstream Muslims, rewarding moves towards moderation, and avoiding unnecessary irritants to Muslim sensibilities...

George L. Singleton
02-11-2007, 11:17 AM
The New Totalitarians: Social Identities and Radical Islamist Political Grand Strategy (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=753) by Dr. Douglas J. Macdonald. US Army Strategic Studies Institute monograph posted 9 Feb 07.

The good Professor's thesis is already well known from many published sources and by, more importantly, eveone's hands on experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Saudi, etc.

The model I watch is Pakistan, which some folks think I am "stuck on" merely because I once served there. However, Pakistan, to date, is the most balanced theocratic state, even though it is a benevolent dictatorship, on again, off again, currently "on again", and I happen to like and feel the need at present of General/President Musharraf.

What do I mean by a "balanced theocratic state"? I mean that in the main the Shiia of all stripes [there are several subsets including the moderate and generally well educated business oriented followers of the Aga Khan, who lives in Paris)]and the Sunnis of the traditional moderate sort [not of the Saudi Wahabbi extremist sort] have coexisted until the advent of bin Laden throughout Pakistan fairly well together. The so-called Shiia-Sunni balance within Pakistan is about 50-50.

As for the concept of and term "ummah" it is science fiction in fact. "The brotherhood of all Muslims" does not factually exist in that they, like all other groups and religions, have factions and competing interest groups, such as the Sunni and Shiia, among others, and are unable long term to pull together.

Look at the moderate Islamic nations, and I use Jordan as one, a Kingdom, not a democracy, but in terms of the Islamic world Jordan is, to me at least, fairly moderate as an Islamic majority nation. Egypt, too, fits the bill but the media blows all splinter, radical group events there out of propotion to create the image of imminent revolution etc. in and for Egypt.

I will not wear any patient readers out giving observations on varities of Islam in other nation states in which are significantly or majority Islamic in Africa, SW or SE Asia. You guys and gals are younger, brighter, and more up to date than us old coots.

Summarized, I am being cantankerous to say that the Professor's observations, at least to me, are self evident. However, those of you rushing to do your basic duty, with young familes and responsibilities may not have had or don't have the time I have "made available" to myself to keep up with such ideas and thinking as the ummah.

In might add that the most moderate and most democratic Islamic nation today in my view is Malaysia, otherwise formally named the United States of Malaysia. You will note a striking similiarily of their national flag to ours in terms of red and white stripes! They also have as best I can recall a female duly elected President. And they are a very Islamic nation religiously speaking.

George Singleton