Dr. Chodakiewicz responds to Erik Staal's thoughts on containment

by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz  |  December 12, 2011  |  KOSCIUSZKO CHAIR

A while ago, Erik Staal, a leading light behind The International Chronicles, invited me to comment on his idea of applying the doctrine of containment to the "Muslim problem" in Europe.

Please click here to read an article by Erik Staal on this topic.

And here is my 5 cents:

Dear Erik,

Thank you for forwarding your piece to me. It is very Yankee, i.e., you've approached it like a typical American manager or an engineer. There is a problem; we can fix it. And here's how. Of course, not every problem has a viable solution. And not every solution, even a historically successful one, will work.

Take your idea of containment, for instance. You propose to apply it to the Islamists in Europe. Although appealing because of its victorious connotations in the Cold War, it may not be enough. Containment is a defensive doctrine. We agree to leave an infected sphere alone so that the disease can burn itself out away from us. We protect only the uninfected part.

Although cynical, for it left the untold multitudes to the tender mercies of the Kremlin, containment spared us from a nuclear Holocaust. But it still failed to protect many Latin Americans, Africans, and Asians from the Marxist praxis which ruthlessly spilled over from the containment zone. Cambodia is perhaps the most horrific example. Initially free (sort of), they succumbed to the red plague, containment or not.

Further, I see other problems here. Containment was supposed to have worked universally; however, it largely protected Western Europe and North America. So do you propose to leave the rest of the world at the tender mercies of the Islamists?

Next, containment patently failed to defend the West's intellectual life from Communism and various allied ideological afflictions. The universities are solidly left throughout the Western world. In fact, it was under containment that they became incestuously leftist both in Europe and the US. Containment did not prevent the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s. Hence, leftism spread unimpeded and threatened the fortress of freedom itself, the United States. That Europe did not turn Communist from within is mostly by virtue of the American presence there after 1945.  In France and Italy, elite Communism and fellow traveling had a mass counterpart among the people. Until this very day, many leftist European trade unions fly their red flags with hammer and sickle. They still have the rabidity and the radicalism that, alas, the practice of containment failed miserably in imparting to the anti-Communist side.

So, if you propose containment to counter the Islamists domestically, have you resigned yourself to the fact that they and their multicultural allies will capture the universities and the media the way the pro-Communists (anti-anti-Communists) did during the Cold War? Are you aware that the two groups are quite related? Are you ready for the anti-anti-Islamists challenging the anti-Islamists by spuriously claiming high moral ground? Do you realize that the intellectual Islamists (e.g., comrade Tariq Ramadan) now enjoy the support of the Muslim European masses just like Jean Paul Sartre surfed the red wave of mass popularity among the French proletariat? How are you going to contain that? The enemy is within the gates as a logical outcome of our wimpiness as reflected in the containment doctrine.

To counter the Islamists we will need much more than a defensive doctrine.

During the Cold War, an offensive anti-Communist foreign policy doctrine, such as liberation and rollback, even only preached, if not practiced directly, against the Soviets, would have surely influenced domestic policy to counter the spread of leftism, including Communism and its flower child, the counter-cultural revolution. In other words, external toughness against the enemy abroad means also internal firmness against its conscious agents and useful idiots at home. An offensive external doctrine would have translated into a robust internal approach to roll back leftisim on the domestic front. Had the conservatives taken the initiative, they would have prevented the rise of the nefarious multiculturalist framework that enabled the Islamist threat in the very heart of the West in the first place. 

Europe is in trouble. But here in America, things are still all right. So nil desperandum.

In the United States, we have handled the Muslim problem quite well. For the most part, the Muslims have been integrating into the mainstream. I have also been told, off the record, that our counterintelligence effort at home to counter terrorism has been so tremendously successful because, for the most part, the Islamic community has cooperated. In other words, we have agents and informers within the community who are also of it. And they see radical Islamists as a threat. That is because they are Americans themselves, not just foreign Muslims.

Of course, this is only a part of the picture. If the ongoing Balkanization of the US proceeds as it has under the guise of multiculturalism, the Muslim emigrant attitudes will begin to resemble more closely those of their European counterparts. Multiculturalism will infuse a sense of alienation into the second generation Americans with Muslim roots and radicalize them further. As it is, all too many US citizens and residents of Islamic faith share too many of the sentiments of their co-religionists ensconced in Europe, even if the Muslim diaspora in the US has failed to act on them to a large degree.

But that is all before us. However, I am confident that with Yankee ingenuity we can preempt the threat by stressing the centripetal as opposed to the centrifugal solutions to living in America. We simply would have had to undo the nefarious legacy of the 1960s and its so-called emigration reform which favors the non-Europeans and their families, or, to put it differently, unskilled and culturally incompatible with Western Civilization, over the Europeans.

None of the above entails the challenging of the constitutional order of the United States. In other words, the emigration reform as envisioned by some of American conservatives is compatible with freedom, democracy, and parliamentarism.

However, what you propose to apply in Europe, although eminently sensible, may trigger a challenge to the liberal democratic order. To defeat the enemy, you have to challenge the existing system - the European Union, the welfare state, and the liberal cultural context. God bless you; I'm all for it. However, that can, arguably, be achieved through either a counterrevolution and bringing back a pan-European monarchy (a universal monarchy like the Habsburgs, or the Roman Empire); or a series of monarchies; or by restoring the primacy of the nation state, which entails either re-nationalizing the French, British, German, Dutch, and other elites; or mobilizing the masses via nationalism against the majority reigning cosmopolitan/EU elites. Either which way, all this will breed instability at the least and war at worst.

Is this pessimism or realism? Let us not be mistaken. The enemy will not simply give up its supranational paradigm and cede power to the defenders of Western Civilization without fighting. The enemy is essentially the same as in the United States: the Left. For let us not kid each other: the so-called "Muslim problem" is not really a Muslim problem. It is our problem. And the mess was made by the Left, assisted by a cyclical demand for cheap labor.

Guest workers should have been seasonal workers. They should have been contracted for three months, housed in dormitories, and rotated out to be replaced by another batch until the economic need warranted their presence. But, since the workers of the West became so affluent and prosperous under much reviled capitalism and democracy, the Left was looking for an alternative proletariat. Thus, the popularity in the leftist lore of "The Other:" ethnic minorities of multiculturalism, radical greens, and lifestyle radicals, in particular gays. 

Gays have excited the imagination as a separate identity group openly challenging the natural arrangement of Western Civilization. However, the gays have failed to excite the masses in support of the leftist project. The Third World immigrants did just fine, the Muslims in particular. You could not be any more un-Western than that. The Left deployed the Muslim Other as its battering ram to assault the remnant of the nation state to assume and solidify its power over Europe. The rest is history.

And, funny thing, neither the European left nor right wants to remember that arguably the only European experiment in integrating a sizable Islamic community occurred in the early modern times in the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the 14th century, a chunk of a post-Mongol horde defected to seek asylum under the Grand Duke of Lithuania. Eventually, the Tatar elites were ennobled; the people were settled. They kept apart and lived under their own rules, but they also absorbed gradually the ways of their new homeland. Early on, they accepted the fact that they lived among Christians, who were the unapologetic majority. The Tatars thus were put in their place, as there was no equivocation about their subordinate place in the body politics. Nonetheless, they fought in every war Poland had, including against the Ottoman Empire. Further, after Poland's partitions and destruction at the end of the 18th century, they maintained their Polish loyalty. They became Polonized; many converted to Christianity. However, some of them have kept their faith until this very day. You can see them still in the Podlasie region of Poland. Neither the Al-Queda nor Saudi Arabia can sway them with all the money.

There are some causes for concern, however. Poland's "Muslim problem" has emerged among so-called foreign students and earlier arrivals. They were usually sent to Polish universities in the 1970s and 1980s following various agreements between Poland's Communists and national socialist Arab regimes (Syria, Iraq, and Libya, in particular). Those educated emigrants share much with Europe's educated Arab leftists: they are fashionably progressive and anti-Zionist (by which they mean their support for destroying Israel). And they enjoy broad support among Poland's liberal intellectuals, including, of course, leftist Catholics. The situation would be analogous to the rest of Europe, but there are no Muslim immigrant masses in Poland yet. And the Polish masses remain traditionalist for the most part. Further, the Polish right does not buy into the gospel of multiculturalism; it refuses to embrace the Koran as the sexy and peaceful alternative to the Bible; and it is loath to treat Muslim radicals as the best prophets of the West's ills (even if some rightist Polish elements support the Chechens against Moscow as well as harbor anti-Jewish sentiments).

Thus, serious anti-Islamists can learn a bit from Poland's past and present. This should help in elucidating an appropriate doctrine to defend the West from Muslim radicalism. But any doctrine that aims to counter the Islamist threat must start with the Westerners themselves. They must rediscover their roots and regain their bearings about their own identity. Once their own self is re-affirmed, the Other will adjust accordingly. Or the Other will leave, plain and simple. But that is only possible if we adopt an offensive doctrine against the Islamist threat, and not an updated version of containment. In other words, we need an all-out offensive against the post-modernist Left first. Everything else will fall in place afterwards.

Last but not least, Western anti-Islamist doctrine must also offer ways for the Muslim immigrants in the West to adjust to and embrace their new homelands. There are at least two points of focus here. First, just like adherents of Christianity and Judaism, the Muslims believe in a supreme being and recognize the existence of a Transcendental Moral Order. This advantage can assist in integrating them into the host societies. At the same time, the religious nature of the guests from the Islamic world can serve as a strategic tool to split the Muslims from the Left. This should not be too hard, as the Islamist fundamentalist assault is greatly expedited by the excesses of liberalism, including the sexual revolution, in particular lifestyle radicalism and gay rights. This will not only impact the Muslims, but also some on the Left. Already we have seen a portion of radical libertines and liberals, in the Netherlands in particular, recoiling from multiculturalism and tactically joining forces with integral nationalists and opponents of immigration.  The conservatives should capitalize on such sentiments, while moderating them in the process of integrating the Muslims within a restored system of Western hierarchies of values. Those who refuse to acknowledge the primacy of Western traditional values should go back home. If they find post-modernism repugnant, they can stay. And they can fight it with us.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
www.iwp.edu