Friday, February 23, 2007

100 million relatively wealthy, educated Muslims believe 9/11 justified

The most comprehensive international survey on the opinion of Muslims worldwide gives pause:

Seven per cent believe that the events of 9/11 were “completely justified”.
The globe has more than 1.3 billion Muslims, so that comes to somewhere in the area of 100 million adherents professing support for the crashing of airplanes into skyscrapers and the massive loss of life that is the consequence. Put in another way, for every three Americans there is one person in the Muslim world who is in solidarity with Atta. That's an enormous number.

The survey also contains the unsurprising revelation that the proclaimed 'War on Terror' has decreased the US' standing in the eyes of the Muslim world. One exception to that predictable trend has been a nine percent reduction in anti-American sentiment in Iran. While only 52% of Iranians hold an unfavorable view of the US, 79% and 65% of the populations in two of our putative allies, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, respectively, have an unfavorable view of the US.

Why do those living in the country that is said to be the epicenter of evil, in which the war drums are being pounded and support for international sanctions is on the rise, like the US more now than they did before 9/11? The overzealous rhetoric of president Ahmadinejad, whose popularity in Persia is heading in the direction of President Bush's in the US, may be channeling some Iranians' frustration with their own government into support for one of their country's political antagonists.

But Iran has other reasons to be appreciative. The US-led coalition in Afghanistan decimated the Taliban. Iran had long opposed the Taliban, supporting Massoud in the country's northeast against, as the Northern Alliance's leader fought tooth-and-nail against the Sunni Taliban's expansion (and by extension, Pakistan's increased influence in Afghanistan). By overthrowing Saddam's Baathist regime in Iraq, the US busted the other side of the pincer.

As a consequence, Iran now enjoys a moderate, relatively 'pluralistic' Sunni government to its east, and a Shia-dominated government to its west. The military actions of the US in the last six years have to this point been auspicious from an Iranian point of view, creating lots of anxiety in the leaders of America's supposed Middle Eastern Sunni allies (whose populations are now less supportive of the US than ever before).

The survey data once again repudiates the flawed conventional wisdom stating that destitution leads to radicalization. The percentage of 'radicals' (supportive of terrorist attacks against the West) and 'moderates' (those who either are ambivalent or opposed to terrorist activity) on several social attributes follows:
Primary school or less:
Radicals - 23%
Moderates - 34%

Secondary education:
Radicals - 44%
Moderates - 38%

Low or very low income:
Radicals - 22%
Moderates - 31%

Above average or very high income:
Radicals - 25%
Moderates - 21%

Expect to be better off in five years:
Radicals - 53%
Moderates - 44%

The Marxist explanations just don't work. We embrace them at our own peril. The civilizational clash runs much deeper than that. Disconnecting from the Islamic world, through prioritization of alternative energy research, a drastic curtailment of Islamic immigration to the West, and a reversal of the long-range plan for a substantial military footprint in the Muslim world, is the best strategy. Neocon nostrums claiming that militarily exporting liberal propositions will solve all our problems, and leftists' belief in essentially the same thing (with more emphasis on voluntary methods of exportation, and with more direct wealth transfer) will continue to accentuate rather than alleviate these problems, as both worldviews are at odds with reality.


al fin said...

Disconnecting from the muslim world might have been a viable plan a hundred years ago. Theoretically, it is a very good way to reduce islamic violence and terrorism in the more civilised and enlightened west. Theoretically.

In reality, national borders will unfortunately have to become less meaningful as concerned individuals gradually gain the ability to take their own environments into their own hands. They will have to join with people of like minds and create defended "micro-enclaves." Countries within countries.

I do not see another realistic alternative. Intelligent people will begin thinking about what is to become of the huge weapons stockpiles of the nation-states.

I switched from being a social democrat to libertarianism when I was in graduate school--when my frontal lobes had myelinated more thoroughly. But lately the problem I have with much of libertarianism is its inability to place itself squarely within the world that exists.

A fascinating science fiction book that I recall had a North America so advanced that it could place an impenetrable barrier around itself, preventing the entry of criminals, miscreants, and all manner of mischief. That North America exists only in fiction.

Anonymous said...

The only problem I see of separating muslims from the West is one of political will. Stop muslim immigration and kick out the ones that are already here. However, no matter how badly I and I feel the majority of American want to get rid of these savages, our elites won't permit it, unles there is another major terror attack on some kind. Then, I believe we may see blood running in the streets, mosques on fire, and the muslims that can fleeing the US back to whatever wack-job theocracy they came from. Well, one can hope. I have my own personal axe to grind with muslims so I've got no problem seeing them suffer.

crush41 said...


But is the Islamic world so sophisticated that it cannot be separated from? I agree with anon that it is largely a matter of political will, and the cause is populist enough. While the headline incidents of extremism get the headlines (and are ultimately the best impetus), it is the more gradual demographic shifts in the sand that threaten the West.

pjgoober said...

Al, since disconnecting from the muslim world totally is very hard to impossible, why does it follow that we should not still disconnect from the muslim world to the extent that we can? If we ban immigration from all middle eastern countries, yes, some muslims will still get in here (through illegal immigration, conversions, and european immigration) and some will still be here, but they will be less numerous than we would have had. The perfect should not be the enemy of the good.