Today, Mr. Fitzgerald writes another of his “tributes”—this time to Professor Mary Habeck of Johns Hopkins. As usual, he is mostly correct and astute about his criticisms—as long, that is, as his purview is limited to his target and he does not begin to make assumptions that reveal his lacunas about problems outside that purview.
For example, Mr. Fitzgerald writes:
“Instead of sober realism, the Grand Strategy in the War of Ideas today, in and around Washington, is to play the game of Let's Pretend with Muslims, so as to win the hearts and win the minds of the ‘moderate’ Muslims...”
This is of course an accurate criticism of the stupidity that is going on “in an around Washington”—but this criticism suffers from its lack of peripheral vision to what is going on surrounding this enclave: the mainstream and dominant Political Correctness, without whose mainstream dominance the Beltway pundits and analysts would have far less traction for their papers and policies than they currently enjoy.
Mr. Fitzgerald goes on to write:
“It’s in the air. It’s among the higher-ups, among generals, for example.”
Notice that he’s getting warmer when says that it’s “in the air”—but, alas, this is quickly dispelled by his delimitation of this “air” to the “higher-ups”: those fashionable bugaboos, the “Elites”. He goes on to claim that lower officers and soldiers have “unbrainwashed themselves” from this stupidity about Islam that is in the air, merely through their direct experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it is dubious—and insufficiently documented—that this unbrainwashing is very prevalent even among that subpopulation. For one thing, even among those who seem to demonstrate unbrainwashing, more rigorous investigation (including interviews) would need to be done to ascertain whether their distaste for the Iraqis and Afghanis they have encountered is intelligently contextualized within a pertinent understanding of Islam (contrary to Mr. Fitzgerald’s unsupported claim), or whether it does not rather share a generalized distaste for any foreign enemy our military men and women might encounter on extended missions anywhere in the Third World.
Mr. Fitzgerald goes on to talk about a related academic, Fouad Ajami. He conjectures that:
“...clearly, like other ‘good’ merely ‘cultural’ or Muslim-for-identification-purposes Muslims, he listened to a bit too much to the soothing blandishments being peddled. And neither Fouad Ajami nor still less Vali Nasr or others of that ilk could conceive of or could bear to hear about the only policy that makes sense: to educate Infidels, and then to create the conditions that will force a sufficient number of Muslims as well, to recognize that the political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral failures of Islamic states and societies suffused with Islam are a direct result of Islam itself.”
Mr. Fitzgerald is making a worthwhile observation about Muslims such as Ajami, qua their Muslim conditioning; though, again, he utterly ignores the wider, nutritive ecosphere of the West where a dominant and mainstream Political Correctness only tends to coddle and nourish the predilections and prejudices of Muslims such as Ajami.
Mr. Fitzgerald then dashes off an intelligent summary of the historical phenomenon of what I have elsewhere called an “Islam Redivivus”—a concept that explains why the threat of Islam waned in recent history and why it is beginning to wax again after a relatively long state of semi-incubation. However, once again, Mr. Fitzgerald misses the big picture when he summarizes the factors that have been conducive for this Islamic revival in our time:
“...instruments of Jihad are now far more varied than they were in 700 A. D. or in 1683 A.D. There is today the ‘money weapon’ to pay for mosques and madrasas, academic centers taking their orders, subtly or openly, from their Arab funders. And of course there are small armies of Western hirelings, journalists, businessmen, public relations experts, former diplomats, former intelligence agents for Western countries, all of whom have in the past, and still now, are hired to limit the Western understanding of, and hostility to, Saudi Arabia, the Arabs, and Islam.”
More importantly than the oil money which Muslims enjoy, more importantly than the “Western hirelings”, and more importantly than (as Hugh has previously supplemented when he has incrementally broadened this summary) certain Western technologies which Muslims have learned to exploit for jihad—more important than all these factors is the one factor that in fact enables these other factors to exert their effect to the degree they can: the factor of the mainstream dominance of Political Correctness in the modern West.
But Mr. Fitzgerald does not seem to notice this factor, and has with irrational obstinancy in the past refused to consider interpretations based upon the notice of this factor.