r m p

THE EPISTLE

 

                     

The Balkanization of History        

 

In 1966 astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote a science fiction novel called October the First Is Too Late. In it some distortion of the time stream results in a historical kaleidoscope. In England the 1960s still held sway, but across the channel World War I was raging again, except that Greece had reverted to the Periclean Age. Russia and Asia partook of the future, a lifeless glassy plain incapable of  supporting an environment. America was an uninhabited Primeval Forest. 

In late 1989, when the century ended a decade early with the end of the Cold War, it occurred to me that Hoyle had written the perfect allegory of the post-Cold War world. It was suddenly as if the world lay split into several simultaneous but incongruous time-periods. Here we were, entering a new world order in which America was the Single Super Power it had been briefly after the Second World War and before the Rosenbergs. Meanwhile over in the Balkans, the events of the eve of World War II were replaying themselves, with civil war and assassinations in Sarajevo, and major powers flirting with military involvement. Countries with baroque and exotic names like Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina reappeared as if by magic from out the museum drawer of the Nine teenth Century. 

Russia, too, had retreated to the eve of WWI, taking her place among Western democracies, welcomed just as she had been after the Czar and before Lenin. (One Literary Digest cartoon from those days showed a burly Russian in Cossack garb stepping up to the plate clutching a baseball bat, Russia's turn at bat as a free and modern Western country.) 

But otherwise, Hoyle was even right about the ex-Communist East. Once we got a look at the environmental nightmares inflicted by the Commies, it appeared they decided not to wait for a devastating nuclear conflict: they went ahead and made their countries into what looked like post-Apocalyptic dead zones all by themselves. 

The withering away of the (Communist) state in Eastern Europe provided a prime example of the paradox of Matthew 12:43-45: once one demon leaves he may be replaced by seven more who are even worse! In this case, the totalitarian glaciation of the Stalinist regimes was replaced by the demons and dybbuks of medievalism: the Serbs showed they had retained an unfailing ancestral memory of all the atrocities of the Dark Ages: genocide, pillaging, rape and torture. 

And I venture to speculate that, if things break a certain way, we may see yet another history-zone open up on the Hoylean lands cape. It centers on the beleaguered Muslims of Bosnia. I have wondered more than once if the hesitancy of Western Europe to help these people does not stem from a deep-seated and unspoken unease with the very fact of White European Muslims. Here (and in neighboring Albania) is the last reminder of the Islamic encroachment of the Turks. Europe still celebrates with a sigh of relief the victory of Charles Martel who turned back the Moors in France, ensuring the survival of Christianity in Europe (and maybe everywhere else). 

Is there a secret relief at the prospect of the last European Muslims being thrown to the wolves? A religious cleansing? I mean, Islam seems to Westerners an exotic creed for exotic foreigners with different physiognomy and pigmentation. We have learned to live with them. But White Muslims? 

Just recently, the president of Bosnia attended a conference of Muslim nations. I wondered if he used the occasion to curry any favors with his coreligionists, in case his fellow Europeans never came through. I wonder if the delay of the Western powers is not about to produce a replay of the Sun Yat-Sen/Ho Chih Minh scenario. Someone asks for our help, which we will not give, and then they go to our enemies. Might Bosnia appeal to the radical Islamic states to become involved where we will not? If I were the president of Bosnia I would be on the phone right now with Khaddafi, Assad, and Rafsanjani of Iran. 

I can envision a scenario in which Iran, ever eager for jihads to distract its citizens from domestic problems, and eager as well to gain influence with the newly independent Islamic states like Kazakhstan, Kirghiz, Azerbijan, Tadzhik, and Uzbekistan, would rally the forces of the crescent to fight alongside their brethren on European soil. Can you imagine the geopolitical repercussions if Arab troops should make war against Europeans in Europe itself? 

The forces of resurgent Islam have been looking for the right flashpoint to catalyze their presence as the new superpower on the world stage. This might be it. And then we would be back to the Crusades. I believe that such action would shake the West, the world. A major realignment might take place in global affairs, as it once did earlier this century, also starting in Sarajevo. And then even more long-shuttered medievalisms will be released in Europe where they are already beginning to stir, as we see in the neo-Nazi nativism movements in Germany. 

OK, admittedly, it's just speculation. But remember, folks, you heard it here first.                            

Robert M. Price

 

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