Ending the pax Americana 43

We are in principle against intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. But we are not for isolationism or pacifism – we regard either philosophy as a formula for national suicide. If other countries become belligerent, build up their armed strength, send their warships towards our shores, establish bases in countries on our borders, and declare their aggressive intentions towards us, the politics of those countries become our business. That is happening now. We are under threat – because Obama is deliberately weakening America. And his reaction to the result is to weaken America even more.

The conditions for major war develop much more easily when the U.S. is too weak. They are developing as we speak. 

To a meaningful extent, the significant increase we’ve seen in unrest around the globe since 2010 has been made possible, and inevitable, by the retraction of American power. Even where we still have power in place, it has become increasingly obvious that we aren’t going to use it. 

We quote from a website interestingly named Liberty Unyielding. The article on the extreme folly of the Obama administration’s moves to weaken America is by Commander Jennifer Dyer, now retired from the US navy. (Her own blog is at Theoptimisticconservative.wordpress.com):

The collapse of order in the Arab nations in 2011 was the first significant stage of the process. The perception that the United States would do nothing about a Hezbollah coup in Lebanon was tested in January of that year. The perception proved to be true, and when protests erupted in Tunisia and Egypt, for causes both natural and manufactured, a set of radical Islamist actors – the “establishment” Muslim Brotherhood, Sunni jihadists, Iran – saw an opportunity. The establishment Muslim Brotherhood has largely won out in Tunisia, but the battle still rages among these radical actors for Egypt, Syria, and now Iraq. Lebanon is being incrementally sucked into the maelstrom as well.

In multiple venues, Russia has watched the U.S. and the West effectively back Islamists in Russia’s “near abroad”: in Turkey (with support for the now struggling Erdogan government); in the Balkans, especially Bosnia and Kosovo; and in Syria. …

There was a time when the implicit determination of the U.S. to enforce the “Pax Americana” order – the post-World War II alignments of the region – held Russia in check. The Russians still derived some security benefit from that order, after all … It appears to me, however, that 2014 will be the year in which it becomes clear that, according to Russians’ perception, they no longer benefit from the old order. If we’re not going to enforce it, Russia will do what she thinks she has to.

In fact, Moscow’s pushback against the plan for Ukraine to affiliate with the EU constitutes just such a blow for perceived Russian interests. It is of supreme importance for Westerners to not misread the recent developments. The EU and the U.S. did back down when Russia pushed hard last fall. The only ones who didn’t back down were the Ukrainian opposition. I predict Vladimir Putin will try to handle the opposition factions cleverly, as much as he can, and avoid a pitched battle with them if possible. He respects what they are willing to do. But he has no reason to respect Brussels or Washington.

And that means he has more latitude, not less, for going after the regional props to the old order, one by one. As always, Russia’s inevitable competition with China is a major driver, along with Russia’s concern about Islamism on her southern border. The whole Great Crossroads – Southwest Asia, Southeast Europe, Northeast Africa, the waterways that snake through the region – is, if not up for grabs, at least in ferment. Look wherever you like: there are almost no nations where there is not a very present menace from radicalism, or where governments and even borders are not gravely imperiled by internal dissent.

Israel is the chief standout for politically sustainable stability and continuity. Romania and Turkey seem likely to at least retain their constitutional order in the foreseeable future, but Turkey’s geopolitical orientation, in particular, is less certain. Greece and Kosovo – even Bosnia – have serious internal problems. Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia all remain in crisis at various levels. Jordan and Saudi Arabia are relatively stable, and the Arab Persian Gulf states relatively so as well. But their neighborhood is going downhill fast. Iran is riding a wave of radical confidence, and the Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan.

In this tumultuous region, it’s actually a little funny that Pakistan looks stable and staid compared to Iran, Afghanistan, and neighbors west. We can hope that Islamabad’s perceived need to maintain a symmetrical stance against India will keep Pakistan’s loose federation of intransigents federated, and the nukes under central control. But as we move across South Asia, we near another boiling pot. Thailand – long an American ally and pillar of stability in the region – has been rocked in recent months by national unrest of a kind not seen in Southeast Asia for decades. Islamist radicalism is a growing threat in Indonesia, and an unpacified one in the Philippines, after more than a decade of U.S.-Philippines collaboration in fighting it.

And, of course, China is making real, transformative moves against regional security with her proclamations about air space and maritime rights off her southeast coast.

This disruptive process, like the battles for many of the Arab nations, is already underway. We’re not waiting for something to happen; it’s started.

China assumes, quite correctly, that there will be no effective pushback from the United States. But two other nations with power and means will regard it as intolerable for China to dictate conditions in Southeast Asia: Japan and Russia. The dance of realignment among these nations has implications for everyone in Central Asia and the Far East. The day may be on the horizon sooner than we think when maintaining a divided Korea no longer makes sense to at least one of the major players. The day is already here when Chinese activities in Central Asia are alarming the whole neighborhood, just as Chinese actions are in the South China Sea. …

Russia and Iran are advancing on the US through Central America:

It’s no accident that as radical leftism creeps across Central America (falsely laying claim to a noble “Bolivarian” political mantle), the maritime dispute between Nicaragua and American ally Colombia heats up – and Russia shows up to back Nicaragua and Venezuela – and so does Iran – and unrest turns into shooting and government brutality and violence in Venezuela – and Hezbollah shows up there to openly support the radical, repressive Maduro government.

Now Iran has a naval supply ship headed for Central America, very possibly with a cargo of arms that are not only prohibited by UN sanction, but capable of reaching the United States if launched from a Central American nation or Cuba.

We’re not still waiting for the shocks to start to the old order. They’ve already started. I haven’t surveyed even the half of what there is to talk about …

She looks at the latest defense cuts with dismay and considers what the consequences will be:

This is the world in which the United States plans to reduce our army to its lowest level since before World War II, and eliminate or put in storage much of its capabilities for heavy operations abroad (e.g., getting rid of the A-10 Warthogs, moving Blackhawk helicopters into the National Guard). It’s in this world that DOD proposes to cease operating half of our Navy cruisers, while delaying delivery of the carrier-based F-35 strike-fighter to the Navy and Marine Corps. These cutbacks come on top of cuts already made to training and maintenance expenditures in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force that will affect unit readiness for years to come. …

Then comes what should be a shocking observation:

By cutting back on defense so drastically, America is deciding, in essence, to “fight fair”: to give whatever opponents emerge more of a chance to kill our soldiers, damage our interests, and drag out conflicts.

That would be hard to believe of any American leadership – until now. It is ludicrous. Worse, it is lunatic. But Obama has never concealed or disguised his wish to weaken America’s military capacity.

The decision “to further limit our capabilities to use power in politically relevant ways” will result in “even more global unrest: more conflict, more shooting, more blood, more extortion and political thuggery menacing civil life in the world’s poorer and more vulnerable nations”, and that cannot be good for America. The point is that –

These unpleasant trends will spill over into civil life in the wealthier nations soon enough

As it has, she points out, in Ukraine, Thailand, and Venezuela, “whether directly or through second-order consequences”.

Peace and freedom have to be tended constantly; they are not the natural state of geopolitical indiscipline, but its antithesis. …

We’re extraordinarily unprepared for the world that is shaping up around us. …

[And] a world that doesn’t want quiescent trade conditions, tolerance of dissent, the open flow of ideas, and mutual agreements, peacefully arrived at, will not have them.

That’s the world we are sentencing ourselves, for now, to live in. Perhaps we will learn from the consequences how to think again: about what it takes to guard freedom, and indeed, about what freedom actually is. 

It is Obama who needs to think again, but there is no reason to hope that he will. It could hardly be more obvious that he does not care for freedom.

Hot in the land of Hum 26

What high-minded Western intellectuals like to call “Islamism”  and  we call the waging of violent jihad in accordance with the commandments of the Prophet Muhammad,  is growing in the Balkans.

A report at Deutsche Welle gives some detail, naming Bosnia as a region where Saudi Wahhabism is increasing “tension” between Muslims and Serbs.

Some Bosnian Wahhabis, estimated to number 3,000, are former foreign fighters who married Bosnian women and stayed in the country after the Bosnian war that ended in 1995.

The 1990s wars in the Balkans, in which NATO became involved, are hardly ever mentioned now. Under Commander-in-Chief Bill Clinton, America fought its most unnecessary military engagement ever. Absolutely no American interests were involved. American lives were sacrificed to Muslim interests, including the protection of Muslim terrorists in Kosovo.

In early September, Bosnian police uncovered a cache of weapons and detained a third suspect as part of their inquiry into a June bomb attack that killed one policeman and injured six others. The attack on a police station in the town of Bugojno was one of the most serious security incidents in Bosnia. Police arrested the suspected mastermind and an aide shortly after the blast.

Prosecutors [are] investigating several people from Bugojno and Gornja Maoca on suspicion of Wahhabi ties, terrorism and human trafficking.

The report contains some picturesque details:

In February, Bosnian and EU police raided Gornja Maoca and arrested seven men described as Wahhabis because of their beards and shortened trousers. Police said they were detained for suspected illegal possession of arms and threatening the country’s “territorial integrity, constitutional order and provoking inter-ethnic and religious hatred.”

We will quote some more of the report, on both Bosnia and Macedonia, partly because we like the curious names:

Gornja Maoca was home to some 30 families who lived by strict Shariah laws … Nusret Imamovic [a name that encapsulates Slavic Islam – JB], the town’s self-proclaimed Wahhabi leader, endorsed suicide attacks on the group’s Bosnian language website, saying they should be launched only in “exceptional circumstances.” The site features statements by al-Qaeda and Islamic groups fighting in the Caucasus and celebrates suicide bombers as joyful Muslims.

Serbian officials say 12 alleged Wahhabis convicted last year to prison terms of up to 13 years for planning terrorist attacks, including on the US Embassy in Belgrade, had close ties to their brethren in Gornja Maoca. One of the convicted, Adnan Hot, said during the trial that Imamovic was one of only three Muslim leaders that he followed. Four other Wahhabis were sentenced in a separate case to jail terms of up to eight years on charges of planning to bomb a football stadium in the southern Serbian town of Novi Pazar.

In Macedonia, Suleyman Rexhepim Rexhepi, head of the official Islamic Religious Community (IVZ), recently called on the government and the international community to crack down on increasingly influential Wahabbi groups. Rexhepi is locked into a bitter battle with Ramadan Ramadani, the imam of the Isa Beg mosque in Skopje, that has caused a rift in the country’s Muslim community.


The history of Bosnia’s Muslim population is interesting.

It is a chapter in the story of Gnosticism, which spread westward through southern Europe from the 8th to the 14th centuries.

The Bugomils (or Bogomils) were a Gnostic sect established in  the Land of Hum, now known as Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Their name Bugomil means “Beloved of God”.  (The Slavic word for “God” is “Bug” or “Bog”. “Mil” means “dear”.)

Their creed was a variation of the Paulicians’, a sect which became numerous in the 8th century Byzantine Empire, their beliefs deriving from Manicheism (see our post Mani and Manicheism, May 9, 2010) and possibly also from the church of Marcion (see our post How a rich ship owner affected Christianity, January 2, 2010). It spread from Bulgaria into the Balkans, where its followers were also known as Patarenes.

In brief, the Bugomils believed:

There are two gods, one good and one evil. The good god is knowable only by the Elect. The evil god is the God of the Jews, who created this material world. As it is his creation, everything in it is evil, every flower, every rock and grain of sand, every drop of water, every living thing of land and air and sea, excepting only the Elect.

Jesus was sent to earth by the remote good god to cure all ills. Although Mary “gave birth” to him, he was not her son but entered her through an ear and “emerged by the same door”. No reverence was due to Mary, who was only an incubator for the Christ, and was the mother of many other children fathered by Joseph.

They taught that this evil world must be renounced as much as possible in this life, so they forbade the drinking of wine and the eating of meat, and discouraged marriage. Reproduction was disapproved of but not totally eschewed – so the sect did not die out. To keep procreation down, sex was practiced in ways that would avoid it.

It is from the Bugomils’ normal practice of anal sex that the words “bugger” and “buggery” are derived.

Some teachers, such as one Theodosius, favored nudism. His followers celebrated “holy orgies” of sexual excess.

They had no icons, no feast days, no sacraments except baptism, which was performed by words only, water being an evil material substance. The ritual consisted of placing the Gospel of John on the head of the candidate, invoking the Holy Ghost, and reciting the Lord’s prayer. The candidate thus became one of the Elect.

They had no consecrated churches, only meeting-houses for communal praying. They repeated the Lord’s prayer 10 times over, 7 times daily and 5 times nightly.

They disobeyed their Orthodox overlords as a religious duty, passively resisting their authority.

After centuries of holding out against attempts at their conversion by both the Orthodox and Catholic churches, they greeted the Turkish invaders of the late 15th century as liberators, and many of them became Muslim. How many is not known; nor how many contemporary Bosnian Muslims are descended from the Bugomils; but some certainly are, and possibly most of them.

Jillian Becker    October 14, 2010

The forgotten war 1

In the list of “America’s Wars” at a site giving a brief history of Memorial Day, the war in ex-Yugoslavia is omitted.

America’s Wars

The American Revolution

War of 1812

Mexican War

Civil War

Spanish American War

World War I

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

The Persian Gulf War

Afghanistan War

Iraq War

Polemicists on the left often assert that America fought no wars when Bill Clinton was president. There seems to be a desire on their part to forget the fierce engagements in Kosovo and Bosnia when Americans, as the major NATO contingent, fought on the side of the Muslims. The war in ex-Yugoslavia lasted from 1991 to 1995. For the last two years of it, Bill Clinton was president. In 1999, from March 24 to June  10, NATO bombed the Serbs to protect the Muslim Kosovars, and that action too was the decision of President Clinton.

Is the Democratic Party embarrassed about it?

If so, they should be. It was wholly unnecessary for Americans to be involved in the conflict. It was an intervention less “legitimized” by the disgusting United Nations than the Iraq war. No American interests whatsoever were involved.

No wonder it’s been dropped down the memory hole.

How many Americans died in it?

We hope that they too are remembered today at Arlington National Cemetery and throughout the land.

Posted under Commentary, Muslims, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, May 31, 2010

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