911 9 11 15Paul Gordon Collier- Our friend, Ralph Benko, writing in Forbes, had some fascinating insights into the true nature of what 9/11 SHOULD represent and the reality of what worldviews are REALLY at war.   He wrote an article in Forbes called, 9/11: The Fall Of Empire And The Rise Of The Empire Of Liberty.

We are going to highlight some key parts of the article, but you should really read the whole article.

First, Ralph Benko starts off by describing exactly what Bin Laden and his allies really wanted to happen as a result of 9/11:

Osama Bin Laden, the architect of 9/11, was very explicit about his politics. And although Bin Laden is dead the politics live on. As Prof. Juan Cole wrote in 2004 at the George Mason History News Network:

In order to evaluate the aftermath of September 11, we first must understand that event. What did al-Qaeda intend to achieve? Only if we understand that can we gauge their success or failure.

From the point of view of al-Qaeda, the Muslim world can and should be united into a single country. They believe that it once had this political unity, under the early caliphs.

From al-Qaeda’s point of view, the political unity of the Muslim world was deliberately destroyed by a one-two punch. First, Western colonial powers invaded Muslim lands and detached them from the Ottoman Empire or other Muslim states. … Second, they formed these colonies into Western-style nation-states, often small and weak ones, so that the divisive effects of the colonial conquests have lasted.

For al-Qaeda to succeed, it must overthrow the individual nation-states in the Middle East, most of them colonial creations, and unite them into a single, pan-Islamic state. …

“If the Muslim world can find a way to combine the sophisticated intellectuals and engineers of Damascus and Cairo with the oil wealth of the Persian Gulf, it could well emerge as a 21st century superpower.

“Bin Laden’s dream of a united Muslim state under a revived caliphate may well be impossible to accomplish. But with the secular Baath gone, it could be one step closer to reality.”

First, the turmoil in the Middle East is a power struggle among rival claimants to power, and, even, hegemony. It is an existential struggle.

Second, the tragic refugee crisis now besetting Europe can be seen, at least in part, as a brutal vector being sent out by the would-be Caliphate to help destabilize Europe and undermine allies that help sustain the extant nation-states that are the main obstacle to the creation of an Arab super-state.

Third, the efforts to restore the Caliphate dramatically run against the prevailing historical trend. As last year I wrote here on the anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir-apparent to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire:

At the moment that Princip fired his pistol 80% of humanity lived under an Imperial world order.  Five Imperial dynasties reigned: Austria-Hungary; Russia; China; the Ottoman Empire; and Great Britain.  Four of these toppled within a decade.  The British Empire, the least autocratic of these, went into irrevocable decline.  Thousands of years of reigning monarchy and Imperial rule ended in shockingly brief compass.

Rather than “making the world safe for democracy,” however, tyrannies arose.  It took a second world war to eradicate the dictatorships of the West and Japan — Nazism, Fascism, and Japanese military imperialists — and to implant liberal republican governance in Western Europe and Japan.  It then took a third world war, the Cold War, to dislodge Stalinist-type tyranny in Eastern Europe and implant liberal republican governance principles, however imperfectly, there and in Latin America. (Too many nations remain tainted by oligarchy antithetical to free market capitalism and liberal republicanism.  Yet it is a clear step up from dictatorship.)

After the Cold War we were hit by 9/11.  Reading the fine print, as pointed out by University of Michigan’s Prof. Juan Cole, among others, Al Qaeda’s (and now ISIS’s) stated goal was a revanchist effort to expel America from the Middle East in order to restore an imperial world order, the Caliphate: the Ottoman Empire….read the full article here.

Benko then goes on to show how the idea of a united Caliphate does not meet the reality in the Middle East.  Rather than bringing the Muslim world together,  the efforts will serve to further balkanize the Middle East.  Benko gets to the heart not only of the battle we are engaged in, but the battle the whole concept of America was engaged in from the moment she declared her independence:
 This is a fight for what America’s founders called (check the back of any dollar bill) the “Novus Ordo Seclorum” — the “ New Order of the Ages” — against the restoration of the Old World Order.

Such an interpretation would provide an organic coherence to the apparent anarchy in the Middle East. It is not, quite, anarchy. This war is a struggle between worldviews and also a political struggle. It is, above all, a struggle for legitimacy: Empire vs. liberal republicanism. ISIS represents the manifestation of a very old enemy: the brutal imperial world order….

….Liberal republicanism has served the world much better than did Empire both in human dignity and prosperity. The sooner we see 9/11 for what it was — the opening gun in a revanchist effort to restore an imperial world order — the sooner we become immensely more powerful. The revanchists, deprived of all pretense of legitimacy, will move into final collapse.

The world continues the long fight to replace Empire with what Thomas Jefferson called the “empire of liberty.” Let us recognize the war that 9/11 ignited a war by the Empire of Liberty against Empire. Upon that recognition, to paraphrase Cato the Elder, ISIS delenda est….read the full article here.

Benko has zeroed in on the nature of the battle we fight, not just overseas, but right here in America, where old guard progressives are also seeking to re-invoke the ancient, imperialistic ways that America had hoped to leave, the ways, as Benko puts it, the ways of the Empire versus the Empire of Liberty.

Be sure you read this article in full by clicking here.