By William Pfaff, Truthdig, Jun 14, 2011
Looking backward, there is a great deal to be said for leaving well enough alone, which is more difficult than one might think. Western Europe in the 19th century is now generally looked back upon as having constituted a pinnacle of Western civilization. Certainly in literature, music and the plastic arts this was so, the last-named in the century’s final decade, when painting ceased its period as domestic decoration and exploded into a myriad of ways to perceive not only the external world but the interior universe as well.
The modern Western intelligence was invented then, and the world has since played variations on 19th century political themes: nationalism, colonialism, imperialism, populism, class liberation, revolution, anarchism, class and racial warfare. The Napoleonic wars began the century and transformed its political institutions. The Franco-Prussian War ended the century, setting the scene for the hyper-destructive 20th century.
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There is a Muslim community of peace for Turkey to inspire.
Phi Beta Iota: Science and religion and philosophy, when at their best, seek to establish “best truths.” All three have been corrupted by politics, dogma, and laziness. Peace costs one third of what is now spent on war, and infinite wealth for the many can only be achieved in the context of a universal peace. If Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India come together on this point, Islam will be a global force in the 21st Century, not least because it will control secular corruption.
William Pfaff, The Irony of Manifest Destiny: The Tragedy of America’s Foreign Policy (Walker & Co, 2010)