Throughout history autocratic rulers have denied their citizens these basic rights to remain in power. Most wars have been fought by people seeking to overthrow despotic rulers.
THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS
The mission of the Foundation is to preserve and expand these core values of Western Civilization. The rise of the Islamic State (IS) and its efforts to create a new Islamic Caliphate in the heart of the Middle East makes the elimination of this threat to our civilization a matter of great urgency. We are now seeing the fulfillment of the predictions of Samuel P. Huntington in his article in Foreign Affairs in 1993 where he stated:
"It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. the great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future”. Professor Huntington went on to describe Islam as the largest and most dangerous of these groups.
This “future” has now arrived, in spades. While many Jihadist terrorist attacks have occurred for many years (23,869 worldwide attacks since 9/11) The Islamic State has inflicted more damage to our civilization that any previous Islamic terrorist group. Using barbaric tactics adopted from days of the original spread of Islam, IS was able to rapidly conquest of a large area in Iraq and Syria. After four years of effort by Iraqi and Kurdish forces with support of the Western powers the military power if IS has been substantially reduced and it appears that the coalition forces are now about to retake Mosul. Their dream of creating a new Caliphate is no longer realistic, however, their dream of Islamic revival lives on through affiliates IS established in Libya, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. Further, IS has inspired many individuals who are citizens of Western countries to commit numerous terrorist attacks in the name of Allah.
Further, the rise of IS created a window of opportunity for Al-Assad, President of Syria, with the vital assistance of Iran and Russia, to stamp out the rebellion begun in 2012 to replace his barbaric regime with a more representative government. This "victory" was won at the cost of over 500,000 Syrian lives, together with the mass exodus of over two million people fleeing the country and appalling destruction of Aleppo and other cities.
After the sad experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, few countries in the West had an appetite for further military involvement in the Middle East to confront these threats. This situation is eerily reminiscent of war weary Europe in the 1930’s which led to the rise of the Third Reich. The primary lesson from that experience is that it is better to stamp small fires before they become a conflagration. Perhaps it is time to reconsider the failed policies that led to these disasters.
The Foundation of International Freedom will join in this effort by conveying ideas and commentary on related issues to our members and friends which are intended to help meet this challenge.
Byron K. Varme