Coercive Utopias

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Francis Fukuyama, Oriental Studies Views: 4566

This expressive term coined by President Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski names those conditions whereby people are oppressed and even slaughtered for their own good, where their lifestyle including their religion and culture is changed against their will, and where their freedom is usurped in the name of making them free. 

In effect, Dr. Brzezinski is theorizing the essential link between ideology and control. A century earlier, German philosopher Karl Marx had noted that no ruling class could endure for long unless the ideas of the ruling class also become the "ruling ideas". These ruling ideas can be oppressive or liberating. 

Today, many American Muslims feel oppressed. According to a Zogby poll commissioned by the Georgetown University and released on October 19, 2004, every fourth Muslim has been profiled, at least one in three has experienced discrimination, and one in two knows someone who has been either harassed by the law enforcement agencies or has been discriminated against. 

This oppression has five faces: social, legal, economic, political and ideological. I will focus only on ideological. 

"We are faced with two types of prejudice: prejudice of the ignorant and the prejudice of the learned", says Dr. Agha Saeed who teaches at the University of California in Berkeley. "The prejudice of the learned is usually expressed through carefully crafted systems of ideas and values." 

Though at present American Muslims are facing many threats, a particularly serious threat emanates from the opinion and ideas, among some of major American intellectuals -- including Samuel Huntington, Henry Kissinger, Bernard Lewis -- that Islam itself is somehow to blame for the terrorist attacks. 

This Islamophobic ideology has been under-construction for the last 15 years. 

The first piece that came to public attention was Francis Fukuyama's famous article called "The End of History?" At that time he was the Deputy Director of the U.S. State Department's Policy Planning staff. In his article "The End of History?" he said, using German philosopher Hegel's model that history evolves to a competition of ideas. He argued that there were three main idea systems in the 20th century - Fascism, Communism and Capitalism. With Communism and Fascism fallen by the wayside, he argued that the history had come to an end in Hegelian sense because there was no competition of idea and no further evolution of thought. Things had come to a standstill in that sense and he said did not mean there would be no more wars, conflicts or disputes but they would be of the same conceptual flavor. So by what he meant by end of history where all events will come to be located in a single paradigm or a single conceptual flavor need not have concerned us too much.

From this argument he derived other arguments, which were very relevant. He said with the end of the Cold War we changed from a geo-political phase to a geo-economic phase. He said in the name of geo political what counts is your military, and in the name of geo economics what counts is your economy. We entered a different phase in which countries would be seen, measured and judged in relation to each other on a totally different basis. In another very important point he said we had no global enemies - the last global enemy was Soviet Union. We had entered a relative age of peace; therefore, the whole world, principally, the United States, should reap the benefits and dividends of peace. Finally, he said Islam is not the enemy. Iran and Iraq, he said, may be local irritants but they lack the capacity to be global enemies for two reasons; one, they don't have an ideology that appeals to people outside of their own world; and, second, they don't have the military means to project their power beyond their borders.

No sooner had Fukuyama published his article that Henry Kissinger attacked him by saying that Fukuyama does not understand complex international issues. He asserted that Fukuyama is dead wrong because we continue to have global enemies; Kissinger did not say it in so many words but hinted at the Muslims as the new enemies. 

Then in his book "Islam in the West", Bernard Lewis, put forward the argument that we do have the making of a global enemy within the Muslim world. Muslims are a civilization that has been left behind. They are suffering from the "rage of impotence" and, therefore, they are going to be our new enemy and we have to be prepared to deal with them. 

Next came the major attack. In his famous article "Clash of Civilization", the internationally renowned scholar Samuel Huntington argued that Fukuyama had misunderstood the flow of history. History actually had gone through four phases and each age had its unit of conflicts. He claimed the unit of conflict was civilization - and ultimately the conflict of two sets of civilization; first, Islam and the west; second, between Confucian state (China) and Islam on one side and the west on other. 

In the concluding section of his essay, Huntington recommended several concrete steps including the following six: 1) unite the west, 2) neutralize Russia and Japan by befriending them, 3) divide the Muslim world, 4) "exploit difference and conflicts among Confucians [China] and Islamic states", 5) "strengthen international institutions that reflect and legitimate Western interests and values", and 6) incorporate non-Western states into pro-Western international institutions. 

Huntington's vendetta was not against violent groups or outlaw states but against the Muslim world. Whatever was left unstated by Huntington; the neo-cons later supplied by way of an ideology of global domination. Now they are recruiting and promoting Muslim neo-cons. 

If Prof. Huntington wanted to divide and isolate the Muslim word, the Rand Corporation, a semi-autonomous think tank, wants to divide and isolate American Muslims. To that end, they have been recruiting and promoting Rand Robot Muslims, a subject that I covered in one of my columns titled: "Beware of Rand Robots".

Tahir Ali is the author of the book, "The Muslim Vote: Counts and Recounts" It has been published by Wyndham Hall and available at

  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Francis Fukuyama, Oriental Studies
Views: 4566

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Older Comments:
I think Americans need to quit their .. whinning and take responsibilities for their actions. They commit terrorism all the time against others yet cry foul when they're on the receiving end of it. Get over yourselves warmongers.

Right.... It's all about how cruel America doesn't trust Muslims.It just can't be caused by terrorists calling themselves Muslims who gave the US 9-11 and are always threatening other acts of terror. Or could it be? Where it is true that the vast majority of Muslims living in the US are very much NOT terrorists, their silence is deafening to American ears. Muslim terrorists in America can not commit their atrocities without help from "Muslims" living in the US. The real problem is separating the bad guys from the good guys and it is safer for the US to be suspicious of all. Once the threat passes the "oppression" will stop too. Ultimately, Al Quida is a monster created by Muslim extremists and it will require good Muslims to slay the monster.

I do not agree. What about the other 3 muslims that were not harrassed or are not oppressed? I am a Muslim in America, a convert and my husband a refugee from a 99.9% Muslim country and we are happy here. We are glad we are left alone to practice our religion as we please and do not feel the harrassment that people in countries like the UK, France, and Denmark are feeling. You cannot take the opinion of a few scholars and make them the voice of the country. I don't understand why some Muslims continue to portray themselves as a martyr. Why focus on the negative? What about the other 3 in every 4 Muslims that are not oppresed? Isn't that a majority? Doesn't that mean that 75% are NOT oppressed? That is not a bad figure considering what is going on in other countries.

In America we have freedom of speech, and thus we have a few big heads like the ones you mentioned in the article trying to present their thoughts, but that is all it is: THEIR thoughts. It does not reflect the view of the nation and to try to sell it this way is just wrong. Why try to instigate hate for America? Why try to make yourself a martyr just because you are a Muslim? Praise Allah that 75% of us are not oppressed in this country and are left alone and free to practice the religion of Islam!!!

Clear Insight provided

THUR said:
In the year 2000 TV pundits supported by an army of pollsters & possibly Zogby was among them, they gave Florida back & forth to Al Gore & Bush and that was from the exit polls before any dirty tricks. To understand how that happens, pollsters poll a small number of people & extrapolate the result but hence the number polled are small then minor variation throws the result off & that reminds me of the famous poll that suggested that men think about sex once every seven minutes! This can be true only if the poll was conducted in a prison or in men's club other wise that pilot who flow my plane during take off or landing must have been from different planet.
Now how that relate to our story, if we have 12 Muslims then according to Zogby 4 were discriminated against & 6 knows about it, looks little off. I suppose these polls were telephone polls & as a known fact the way the question is presented have a great impact in determining the answer. I wish I can see a sample of the questionnaire but I guess it is a trade secret!
As late as few weeks ago one Mosque was burned in either NY or NC or NJ the culprits were arrested, charged with arson & the community leaders from Christians to Jews gave donation to the Islamic center, try to tell that to the Iraqi Christians who saw 11 of their churches bombed & no one was apprehended, in population proportion it would have been in excess of 100 incident like that in US to compare to the Iraqi Christians, but it is not like that, it didn't happen. No doubt that Muslims in US feel uncomfortable but oppressed, I beg to differ; Mosques are open as they wish not like Egypt for example where Mosque opens only15 min. before prayers.
9/11 had an impact on almost all middle easterners including Muslims.


This is a very short yet thorough and enlightening article. Thank