WaPo reported In a series of recent speeches to the American people, President Bush has sought to equate the current terrorist threat with the 20th-century menace of communist totalitarianism. His case is that the terrorist challenge is global in scope, "evil" in nature, ruthless toward its foes, and eager to control every aspect of life and thought. Thus, he argues, the battle against terrorism demands nothing "less than a complete victory."
In making this case, the president has repeatedly invoked the adjective "Islamic" when referring to terrorism and he has compared the "murderous ideology of Islamic radicalism" to the ideology of communism. Is the president historically right in his diagnosis of the allegedly similar dangers posed by Islamic extremism and by totalitarian communism? The differences between the two may be more telling than their similarities. And is he wise to be expounding such a thesis?
YesBy asserting that Islamic extremism, "like the ideology of communism . . . is the great challenge of our new century," Bush is implicitly elevating Osama bin Laden's stature and historic significance to the level of figures such as Lenin, Stalin or Mao.
Or lowering him to their level, since I don't have any respect for Lenin, Stalin, or Mao either.And that suggests, in turn, that the fugitive Saudi dissident hiding in some cave (or perhaps even deceased) has been articulating a doctrine of universal significance. Underlying the president's analogy is the proposition that bin Laden's "jihad" has the potential for dominating the minds and hearts of hundreds of millions of people across national and even religious boundaries. That is quite a compliment to bin Laden, but it isn't justified. The "Islamic" jihad is, at best, a fragmented and limited movement that hardly resonates in most of the world.
Then where are the recruits that keep pouring into Iraq as soon as we kill the last batch coming from?Communism, by comparison, undeniably had worldwide appeal.
At least in countries where it was not in control of the economy. But if it had so much appeal, why did they have to build the Berlin Wall to keep East Germans from going into West Berlin.By the 1950s, there was hardly a country in the world without an active communist movement or conspiracy, irrespective of whether the country was predominantly Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist or Confucian. In some countries, such as Russia and China, the communist movement was the largest political formation, dominating intellectual discourse; in democratic countries, such as Italy and France, it vied for political power in open elections.
The only real difference between Islamic radicalism vs communism is in the area of religion. Islamic radicalism involves a warped interpretation of Islam, which Communism was an athiestic concept. But both involve a totalitarian control of the citizens of any country where it gets into control.