Hearing Mitt Romney and the rest of the neocons ramble on about foreign policy is like watching an Adolph Hitler speech in 1939. Eloquent at face value, the scare tactics of a neoconservative foreign policy couldn’t contain more fallacies. But my favorite of this litany of spooky words is “Islamofascism.” The term, when left to its own devices, is an oxymoron at best. When used the in the phraseology of an ignoramus like Rudy Giuliani, the term becomes a hostile world of hate in American dialog.
It’s not that I do not recognize we have enemies abroad. But this word is not really about that. Instead, it’s the way neocons inflict fear in a rather ignorant demographic. Giuliani said in 2007 that our enemies “follow a violent ideology: radical Islamic fascism, which uses the mask of religion to further totalitarian goals and aims to destroy the existing international system.”
That sounds scary, doesn’t it?
Of course, I’m sure there are some in the world, non-Muslims most certainly included, who wish to see the destruction of this “international system” that Mr. Giuliani speaks of. What that international system is, I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps he meant international trade?
Islam within itself is anything but fascistic. Fascism was a government system designed by Italians prior to Benito Mussolini’s reign in the 1930’s. Fascism was a response to the failed democratic experiment in Weimar Germany after the First World War. Mussolini sold the system as a necessity for Italians to progress away from democratic failures and stimulate the Italian economy through unity. The idea of the collective being a dominant force against the individual sold rampantly throughout Europe, but especially strong in a weakened Italian state.
Fascism was a term that originated from the Latin “Fasces” which meant “bundle” or what ancient Romans referred to as “a bundle of tightly packed sticks.” Analogous to the collective, a bundle of sticks represented a bundle of people, in which the individual stick, or person, was ineffective in relation to a group that sacrificed individual freedoms for security (sound familiar?). This security was economic and national.
Islam, on the other hand, by nature is very market-driven. In Islam’s early beginnings, hundreds of “Silk Roads” littered the Arab world where trade and commerce dominated the climate. Sultans and Caliphs often appointed a “muhtasib” who served as a market supervisor at bazaars to eliminate fraud and ensure a balanced and fair trade. They were officers of public morals. Today, several Middle Eastern countries function through heavily regulated and restricted markets due to a hundred years’ worth of interference from the West. From British and French conquests of Arabia and North Africa to the manipulation of oil markets and the propping up of rogue states in the Middle East, the United States has manifested “Islamofascism” for itself, if it even exists.
Our enemies abroad don’t necessarily even have an economic policy as they’re more concerned with the withdrawal of American occupation troops. And of course, you’ll always have the crazies of any movement or organization who call for total destruction; however, I feel that even leaders that neocons dub as enemies and threats like Muqtada al-Sadr understand that state boundaries exist for reasons and the United States isn’t going away as a superpower anytime soon.
To call our enemies abroad “Islamofascists” is awkward and wrong on historical, philosophical, and political bases. Fascism is a European invention, exported by the West under the mask of regime change, and requires the total surrender of a nation’s economy to the government. The Kuwaiti government actually pays its people to live in Kuwait (kind of like reverse fascism). Fascism is a government system that denotes total control of a state’s economy. I highly doubt our enemies abroad are concerned with economic policy when half the Middle East is in flames due to an insurgency angered by the presence of American soldiers harassing their property.
Islamofascism is a scary term at best, misused by political figureheads to promulgate their own agendas abroad.Published in