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18 May 2007

Islam's War for World Mastery

medium_y2D155T0J42bQ50uNXb9A41UwiSD.4.jpgDuring the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be

swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward." Thus wrote the eminent historian Bernard Lewis in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. According to Mr. Lewis, these different responses evoked very different attitudes toward the two superpowers among Muslims and Arabs, which eventually culminated in the September 11 attacks:

While American policies, institutions, and individuals were subject to unremitting criticism and sometimes deadly attack, the Soviets were immune. Their retention of the vast, largely Muslim, colonial empire accumulated by the tsars in Asia passed unnoticed, as did their propaganda and sometimes action against Muslim beliefs and institutions.

Of course Muslims have never acquiesced in the loss of these territories, as evidenced by the numerous Russo-Ottoman and Russo-Persian wars during the last few centuries. Even the disastrous Ottoman decision to join World War I on the losing side, which led to the destruction of this empire and the creation of the modern Middle East on its ruins, was largely motivated by the desire to reverse the Russian imperial expansion.

Superpower behavior in the Middle East during the Cold war years did not correspond to the picture painted by Mr. Lewis of endemic American timidity and aggressive Soviet determination.

In reality, the two superpowers were heavily constrained by their global confrontation and the nuclear balance of terror. Time and again, both found themselves powerless to contain undesirable regional developments and were often forced to give a retrospective blessing to actions with which they were in total disagreement.

posted by/http://www.nysun.com

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