In his article in suport of French intervention in Mali, David Rohde appears to think this position is remarkable, or needs defending. And he offers some examples of people whom he knows -- fellow journalists? -- who apparently have their doubts because, it appears, they think of any French intervention as smacking of "colonialism" (without asking themselves if North Africa is better off, or would be irredeemably primitive, had the French not been there as "colonialists").
He thinks of himself, not quite accurately, as tough-minded, made so by his own experience:
"My perspective is not neutral. Four years ago two Afghan colleagues and I were kidnapped by the Taliban and held captive for seven months in Pakistan. I saw their brutality, ignorance and determination first-hand.
I believe economic growth is the best way to counter militancy, not massive Western military interventions. To me, a threat exists from militancy, it is not manufactured. Yet we declare that there is no threat or grow impatient when it is not quickly solved."
Really? Is that it? Is it "economic growth" that is the best way "to counter [Muslim] militancy"? Economic growth can counter some things, in some countries. It might, for example, lessen the appeal of Golden Dawn in Greece. It might lessen the appeal of chavismo in Venezuela, where a los-de-abajo caudillo plays on the resentments of the poor. But Islam, the ideology of Islam, is not dependent on poverty to attract adherents. There are plenty of very rich Muslim militants, beginning with Bin Laden (whose family was one of the richest in Saudi Arabia), and Al-Zawahiri, from a very prominent and well-off Egyptain family (his great-uncle, Azzam Pasha, was the first Secretary-General of the Arab League). There are plenty of well-off Muslims who have even left their lives in the comfortable West to join the Jihad in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.
David Rohde should ask himself if he has indeed been dining out -- a power lunch for one -- on his being held captive, and has felt that that relieves him of the responsibly of study. To wit: study of the texts of Islam, Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira. Study of the works of the great Western scholars of Islam -- Joseph Schacht, C. Snouck Hurgronje, Henri Lammens, Antoine Fattal ("Western" in the sense of Christian), Samuel Zwemer, St. Clair Tisdall, and dozens of others who wrote before the Great Age of Inhibitiion set in, round about 1970. Study, too, of the history of Islamic conquest, of many different lands and peoples, and what happened in those lands, to those peoples, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist. Only then can he decide if indeed the menace of Islam will be lessened, or heightened, by economic development of Muslim lands.
He should look around. Saudi Arabia, a center of Islamic malevolence toward non-Muslims, whose wahhabi missionaries have been spreading their unusually virulent poison everywhere they go, is not less hostile to non-Muslims because of the fantastic sums Saudi Arabia has taken in. The Islamic Republic of Iran has not been made less hostile because of its oil wealth. Pakistan, the recipient of tens of billions of dollars in American aid, has not seen its attitude moderated toward the helpless non-Muslim minorities in its midst (see what has happened to Christians and to Hindus in Pakistan, or to Buddhists and Hindus in Bangladesh), nor has the treacherous and deeply hostile attitude toward America been modified in the slightest by the vast sums that have been heaped on Pakistan over many decades.
Where, in what Muslim land, has "economic development" lessened hostility to Infidels? There is no such place. So why does David Rohde echo, so blandly and thoughtlessly, the prescritpion of "economic develoopment"? He hasn't studied Islam or the history of Islamic conquest, or the history of how non-Muslims fare in every single Muslim country today, and he doesn't want to. He's lazy, or perhaps afraid of what he might find out. Besides, it would require thought.
He's not the worst. He's one of the least offending. And that's the problem. He's a representative case. Others, including those islip-sliding on their banana peels in the corridors of power all over the Western world, and those who utter similar hollow editorial pieties about "ending poverty" in Muslim lands as a way to end the threat of those "Muslim extremists," pieties that make no demands on them or on their audience, in the Western media, are much worse.
Look, until you are willing to study the texts of Islam and the history of Islamic conquest, and to read the intelligent studies of a great many Western scholars, and to read the testimonies of the many articulate ex-Muslims (Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina, Afshin Elian all come immedieately to mind) then you have no right to an opinion. You are not entitled to an opinion.
Let's remind ourselves. Since 1973 alone, the Muslim members of OPEC have received, as beneficiares of the greatest transfer of wealth in human history, nearly twenty trillion dollars. You can see what they've done with it: Xanadus for the rich, private specially-outfitted 747s, planeloads of food arriving from Hediard and Fauchon every day, and Western girls to satisfy every taste, spectacular souks and las-vegas-like attractions because "money can buy everything, except civilization" as a Franco-Armenian friend of mine who spent years in Saudi building military cities once summed up his experience. This has not diminished, in Saudi Arabia or anywhere else, Muslim militancy.
And if we were, in the Western world, to continue to transfer even more money, in aid, to Muslim countries, thinking that "economic developoment" is the key, we would merely be strengthening the Camp of Islam. What would those countries be like without money? Would they be able to spread their propaganda through such well-heeled outlets as the Qatari-financed Al Jazeerea, buy or produce Infidel-threatening weaponry, or would the threat, the menace of Islam world-wide be, instead, much diminished, ideally back to what it was, say, in 1950 or, even better, in 1920?
Perhaps David Rohde will bethink himself. It's been known to happen. Let's see.