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
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