Because Islamic civilization denies the emergence of civil society, its denied multiple sources of renewal. Historians, strategists and even defense planners are mining the correlates between the demise of Russian Slavic civilization and contemporary Islamism. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that both are identical in that they are predominately Nestorian. This means that the sources of theology, their theology of revelation serving as the foundation of Slavic & Islamic culture are hued from ideas and their consequences about time, being, humanness, conscience and its relative status to law, jurisprudence etc. . . . that deny the Incarnation. Nestorianism believes that the Incarnation happened but that the identity of Jesus becomes primarily resided to the confines of diachronic time. This is why John’s Gospel remains paradigmatic, for John understood something that the other other writers never witnessed. John believed that the identity, the very substance of Jesus was identified as co-equal with divinity; as divine.
Historically, the west hued out from the Church’s suffocating grasp; a mixture from geography, politics and technology, spheres of autonomy that respected the emergence of ‘the one & the many‘. It began with the Cappadocian Patristic fathers Basil and two Gregory’s to link ideas about singularity, unity, community and difference as sustained unities of identity possible because of Triune life. It meant that eucharistic communion itself became identified with the reality of human identity as an unrepeatable unity. The human person became understood as a unity of singularity, radical difference coalesced into a unity embodied in family life. For the Orthodox Church Fathers united to the Latinate Church in Rome, the launch for the supremacy of the west in its autonomy from totalitarian life began sacramentally.
Islamic civilization denies the components of this reality. Having denied the emergence of autonomy, Islamic cultural patrimony is left in a cul-de-sac.
The Arab uprisings that threaten Putin and the regions autocrats remain, as do the vanquished ideas that sustained them. But so does the power underwriting the failed autocracies. They remain too. Replacing the palace for czarist secret police was no renewal; nor was the emergence of socialism in pan-Arabism. These collective polities brought the barracks and secular autocracy. The source of the misery launching the Arab Spring was the failure of Arab liberalism. Its cultural patrimony is a wreckage that cannot be denied. Just witness Egypt today, a more violent form of repression identical with Mubarack even if al-Sisi’s command and writ are sustained from the streets of Cairo. With redundant reactionary regimes commanding the Nile, Egyptian civilization is identified with the very ostracism and obscurantism that roiled the youths of the Arab revolt. We’re back where we started.
How does this end? Enter the study of Russia and the demise of the Tsar.
The Islamists and their violent hatred for secularism has multiple cadres. Tunisia’s Ennahda isn’t close to the totalitarian piety of Hamas, al-Qaeda, I.S., or the Brotherhood; in fact, west Africa’s French secular influences and the Magreb in Carthage can counter militant Islamists by joining up with East African Swahili leaders; we shouldn’t forget how East Africa and Southwest Asia share a communion of history, trade, marriage and contact predating modernity. The dire drawback is the fierce antagonism ethnicity has in East African Islam. The future of American foreign policy craft would resign in merging Islam’s egalitarian premise to the vast swaths of migrants up the African Horn toward ecumenical Medina.
For Islamic civilization to survive the clash of modernity, it will need leaders capable of fielding ethics while commanding vast populations. Witnessing al-Sisi engage an insurgency raging the Sinai is the immediate future. The opening of Arab economies to politics outside Islamism doesn’t mean abjuring violence, it means growth of civil society while engaging the west. This is why the American’s must lead.
To rescue Islamic civilization from the commanding hordes of totalitarian life, the west must lead Islamic polities in their engagement with one another and with a secular west.
The roadblock to reforming Islam resides in American isolationism; for only by learning to compete in the engagement with a superior civilization will nation states nominally allied in Islam discover indigenous national identity.
The future of Islam is the polity of the nation state writ large.
Ayatollah Khomeini’s body broken out of coffin during burial ceremony.