Wednesday, December 31, 2008

“Frontpage Watch”: Exhibit Three: Kathy Shaidle

An article by Kathy Shaidle yesterday on Frontpage starts out well, in its first three paragraphs providing little indication of the PC MC undertow that weighs down her asymptotic analysis as the article unfolds: in those initial paragraphs, she describes a revival of Islam (which she calls Islamic extremismwhich at least does not employ the annoying, Pipesian -ist suffix, Islamist) throughout the central Asiatic Stans of the former Soviet Empire.

Paragraph four lurches downward into PC MC analysis when, without a shred of critical care, Shaidle draws upon the supposed expertise of a Russia expert, David Satter, who puts all this Islamic extremism into the properthat is PC MCperspective. According to Satter as quoted by Shaidle, this revival (which Shaidle calls Islamic radicalism) is often fueled less by religious fervor than by the corruption of the local pro-Russian authorities and the brutality of the police...

The message telegraphed here is that Islam per se is not the cause of this extremism and radicalism spreading in a revival across central Asia, but rather political factors, with the strong implication that extraneous, non-Muslim evils are the root cause, and the Muslims undergoing revival are only responding to those political evils.

As Shaidle apparently paraphrases Satter: The Russians like to depict their battle with Islamic groups as part of the war with international Islamic extremism. At the same time, they foster this extremism with their own lawless behavior.

So there is no real problem with Islamic extemism; and if there is, its caused by the evils actions of the non-Muslim Russians. Gotcha.

Then Shaidle goes on, adding to Satters expert analysis by reporting on the rise of anti-immigration and anti-Muslim sentiment among ordinary Russians. It is difficult to tell why Shaidle is reporting this. The apparent link comes soon thereafter, when she cites another expert who contextualizes all these Muslim problems in the region as due to a recent rise in wahhabism. Thus, what is being telegraphed here is that the concern of these ordinary Russians” is not as sufficiently nuanced and sophisticated as is the knowledge of Shaidles experts”: for, if these ordinary Russians” only knew that it is not Muslims per se that are the problem, but only wahhabists” who are trying to hijack” Islam, then those ordinary Russians” wouldnt be so xenophobic”.

Furthermore, this uncritical recourse to the wahhabist explanation is part of the low end of asymptotic analysis, fraught with the PC MC undertow, since it locates all or most of the problem of Islam in a historically recent movement that is attempting to hijack an otherwise geopolitically peaceable Islam. The expert that Shaidle cites is Russian islamologist Roman Silantyev who, according to his quoted remarks in the link Shaidle cites, implies that these wahhabist Muslims causing trouble in the region are not, as many (apparently non-Muslim Russian) people think, indicative of the general Muslim population. And on what does he base this sweeping generalization? We cannot tell from the link. Perhaps this expert needs to brush up on his islamology.

Shaidle exacerbates this citation with another from one of the schizophrenic Muslims who belong to that organization of ineffectual unicorns,
Muslims Against Sharia, whose quoted statement heavily implies that Islam got along fine before this recent wahhabization. This second expert fails to mention the significant fact that Muslims were on relatively better behavior when they had to live under the brutal and tyrannical iron fist of the Soviet state. (This, incidentally, undercuts the thesis of the aforementioned experts” Satter and Silantyevthat this recent “extremist” revival is due to the oppressive “lawless behavior” of Russian authorities: for, if that were the case, we should have seen many more attempts at “extremist” revival among central Asiatic Muslims (and their supporters from elsewhere in the international Umma) during the many decades that the Soviets were treating Muslims and disrespecting Islam far worse than the Russians are now. In fact, the Islamic revival now is far more likely due to the fact that the Soviet iron fist has been taken away—indicative of the principle we should learn about Muslims: they are better behaved when they think they are weak and/or when they are aggressively suppressed; and they get worse when they are given more latitude and when they thus perceive the Infidel to be relatively weaker.)

The PC MC implication here is that when we see waxing and waning of Islamic revival from generation to generation, we must conclude that each cycle of waxing is only due to factors extraneous to Islam (usually the ineptness, corruption, and/or evil of various forms of Western intrusion into the peaceable ecosystems of those precious animals, the Noble Savage Muslims), while the cycles of waning are axiomatically assumed to be normative for the true essence of Islam. And it is this PC MC implication that exerts its drag on Kathy Shaidle, pulling her down from her already vulnerable low end of the asymptotic depth where she shouldnt be swimming the first place.

I could go on with the flaws of Shaidles articlesuch as her citation of another expert who strongly implies that the recent revival of Islam in the region has much to do with the Russian Revolution and Bolshevism, and that all or most of the disorderly tactics and behaviors of Muslims in the region were learned by them from the Russian Bolsheviks; a theory that mimics the similar thesis that Islamofascists indicative of the Islamic revival in the Middle East and Europe learned all or most of their bad behaviors (including their anti-Semitism) from the Fascists and the Nazisbut we have seen enough. It seems safe to assume that her initial avoidance of the -ist suffix is not indicative of sufficient knowledge of the danger of Islam itself; and that, therefore, the -ism adjuncts (i.e., Shaidles “extremism and radicalism) to the otherwise appropriate -ic suffix (viz., in Islamic”) should be strong indicators of the sharks of PC MC in the water.


The only question now is: Why is Frontpage publishing this tripe? It is precisely the wrong kind of analysis we need (and it does not bode well that Robert Spencer hails Shaidle as
“blazingly magnificent”). As I indicated in my previous recent essays on this, I have been seeing more and more of this tripe on Frontpage in the last year. It is a disturbing trend, and perhaps it was there all along and I was just being less observant. If it does reflect a change, it is a change in the wrong direction.

Further Reading:

Part One

Part Two


Nobody said...

I agree with you that support for Israel and Serbia ought to be non-negotiable. I'm in 2 minds on Russia. Their double-faced attitude when it comes to dealing with Islam - cracking down on the Chechens and other Islamic groups within Russia while helping Iran and Syria with their nukes, gives many in the AIM cause for pause. There are those rightly suspicious of Russian motives, which are aimed not just at Chechens but also the likes of Georgia and Ukraine, which have nothing to do with the AIM. OTOH, I'm not at all comfortable about the West cozying up with the Chechens or Islamic advocacy groups in Russia as part of any attempts to undermine the Kremlin, even if I may be okay with, say, Western criticism of Russian interference in Georgia.

How should the AIM deal with cases like Russia and China, that play both ends?

Erich said...


"There are those rightly suspicious of Russian motives..."

I agree with you. My main grievance of my essay was directed at those who try to use Russian malfeasance (whether inept or corrupt, or both) as a part of a way to put the onus of explaining Islamic pathology on factors other than the Muslims -- here, the Russians. To me it's a separate issue whether Russians themselves may be exploiting Muslims for their own ends. That reflects poorly on the Russians and is not relevant to what should be our already determined anti-Islam stance. So if a country like Russia or China is using Muslims to leverage advantage for themselves, of course that should be deemed as a breach of the "you're either with us or against us" principle, which stands irrespective of Bush's wavering enforcement of it.

Of course, any "deeming" presupposes a context where there is even a part of the West that is sufficiently awake to the problem of Islam, and since that context does not yet exist, it (the "deeming") remains a matter of theoretical principle awaiting sane and rational realization.

sheik yer'mami said...

Putin's politics are based on expediency and necessity.

Beslan & the multiple attacks in Moscow and around the country have caused the Ruskies quite a few headaches, among them condemnation from the "International community" over the war in Chechnya, which he tried to stop by putting this mass-murdering Kadyrov in power.

Putin is well aware of the monster in his backyard, as you can see here:

Putin: ‘Wouldn’t give 10 kopecks for the health of somebody who disrespects the Koran’

Putin also said this:

If you are a Christian, you are in danger. Even if you are an atheist, you are in danger, and if you decide to convert to Islam, this will not save you, either, because traditional Islam is inimical to the conditions and objectives set by the terrorists.

Continue reading (Moscow Times)