There is a deep civilizational divide between the Judeo-Christian West and Islam. No Muslim-majority country has yet entered the modern world, with the partial exception of Turkey (which modernized by suppressing Islam).
Whether pre-modern, largely tribal societies can become functioning democracies is a matter of controversy. George W. Bush and his neo-conservative advisers thought the effort worth rivers of American blood and oceans of treasure. Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in part by repudiating this agenda (as did Sen. Cruz, the only other serious contender).
The debate over America’s attitude towards the Islamic world has been bitter, even vitriolic. But no-one to my knowledge in the Republican camp ever alleged that racism motivated the opponents of the Bush Freedom Agenda — not until the odious Max Boot denounced Trump’s GOP as “the party of white nationalism” in a March 14 screed at the Foreign Policy website:
This is how the Bannons and [Rep. Steve] Kings view the modern world: The West is threatened by hordes of swarthy outsiders, especially Mexicans and Muslims, and they are lonely defenders of the white Christian race against this insidious threat. There is no evidence that Trump has given this matter as much thought as they have, but, based on his public pronouncements, he has reached similar conclusions. That helps to explain why the administration is building a border wall, expanding deportations, and trying to keep out citizens of as many Muslim countries as possible. This isn’t about fighting terrorism or crime; it’s about fighting changing demographics. And it’s premised on an unspoken assumption that only white Christians are true Americans; all others are “somebody else.”
That is the sort of race-baiting one expects to hear from the extreme left; it is a new and disgusting development to hear it from a supposed conservative (in this case a neo-conservative).
Conflating “Mexicans and Muslims” as “swarthy outsiders” is especially foul. Never did candidate Trump nor any of his advisers propose to stop the legal immigration of Mexicans, but only, rather, to enforce existing laws against illegal immigration. The issue of Muslim immigration has an entirely diffeerent national security dimension: 57% of Americans support a temporary ban on immigrants from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen; only 33% oppose it.
Does Boot believe that the American public is racist by a 2:1 margin? If so, he should say so in public and then leave such an irredeemably racist land.
Boot alleges that Steve Bannon thinks that only “white Christians” can be real Americans. We heard the same slander from the Left. Last November the liberal media overflowed like a blocked toilet with stories about Bannon’s alleged anti-Semitism. It happens that a lot of observant, Zionist Jews know Steve Bannon and rose to his defense, including this writer and, most prominently, Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America. The septic tide of fake news subsided in this case, except for a lonely voice still gurgling at the bottom of the cesspool: that of Max Boot.
Race never has been an issue between Jews and Muslims. Islam includes blond Circassians as well as black Africans, and Israel is home to 125,000 Ethiopian Jews as well as any number of blondes. The Jews have become a multi-racial family through thousands of years of adoption. For that matter, Jews and Arabs share more DNA than either of us share with Western Europeans, as this and other genetic studies show. Jews always have acknowledged this common ancestry. Deuteronomy 23:27 instructs us, “Do not despise an Edomite (Arab) for he is thy brother.”
The issue, rather, is that a significant minority among the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims are also Islamists, that is, supporters of Islamic theocracy as the goal of world governance, and a somewhat smaller minority supports the use of terror to achieve it. The size of that minority is open to debate, but even a small fraction of 1.4 billion people represents a very large number of prospective terrorists.
That is not a matter of race but of political and religious ideology.
What is Boot’s evidence? Bannon has cited a fictional scenario in a novel by Jean Raspail in which hundreds of thousands of poor Indians (not Muslims) sail to France. The compassionate French are unable to turn them away, and third world immigrants take over the West (sounds a bit like the well-meaning Angela Merkel and the 1.3 million Muslim migrants who swarmed into Germany last year). That’s fiction; whether Raspail is a racist or not, he invented a striking literary image. I’ve cited Wagner’s “Twilight of the Gods” to describe the theater of horror intended by the Islamists. Does that make me a crypto-Nazi?
Oh, and Bannon praised Rep. Steve King on his radio show, and King tweeted his support for the anti-immigration Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
This is utterly lunatic. Boot comes from a school of thought that might be characterized as a sort of right-wing Marxism: Being determines consciousness, you see, and if you change the material conditions of life (by creating parliamentary institutions) that will change the consciousness of the people. One can agree or disagree without being a racist. That is argumentation of the “everyone-who-disagrees-with-me-is-Hitler” school.
Why is Boot chewing the carpet? He’s a disappointed job-seeker.
Max Boot is a man “whose career advancement is predicated to hinge on his ability to hitch a ride with an administration” (I quote a Facebook post by his friend and Commentary magazine colleague Kejda Gjermani. Boot had acknowledged his hopes for a Trump administration job in a recent blog post: “I had, admittedly, briefly entertained the hope that, for the sake of the nation, Trump would let bygones be bygones” and call on “national security professionals for help, even those who opposed him during the campaign.” Like Boot, for example.
Boot and other neo-cons all hoped that Elliott Abrams, who was briefly considered for the post of deputy secretary of state, would bring them into the administration and were bitterly disappointed when Abrams got the boot (no pun intended). Boot had supported Hillary Clinton during the presidential election because he thought she would win and maybe give him a job. That brings to mind what the 1920s Comintern chief Bela Kun said when Stalin threw Zinoviev out of the Politburo: “I’ve discovered that I’ve been kissing the wrong ass!”
That is the source of Boot’s tantrum against the victorious wing of the Republican Party. It is sad to see the level of debate within the Republican camp reduced to the sort of hysteria we associate with Berkeley or Middlebury College. Black lives matter. But neo-conservative careers don’t.