The Bigger Picture: the rise of radical Islam and the crumbling of Arab civilization.
February 13, 2011
By Michael Fraley
Five years ago, Lt. Col James G. Lacey published the article "The Impending Collapse of Arab Civilization" in The Naval Institute: Proceedings." He disputed the conclusions of two books which have particularly influenced recent foreign policy and grand strategy: The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, by Bernard Lewis, and The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington.
In his article, he stated:
A more accurate understanding of events leads to the conclusion that Arab, not Muslim, civilization is in a state of collapse, and it just happens that most Arabs are Muslims. In this regard, the fall of the Western Roman Empire was a collapse of Western Europe and not a crisis of Christianity.
His thesis was that while Islam itself continues to grow and thrive around the world (and indeed, is continuing to make swift inroads into Western states), it has been specifically in the Arab world where one has seen the turmoil of civilization in decay.
He has not been alone. Azmi Bishara wrote in 2003, in Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo):
The Arabs ... are in a double state of decay that boggles the minds even of those who expected a hot summer of post-war decadence ... The [Arab] nation will be split between those who dance to the beat of scandal and defeat, and those who blow themselves up in what is turning into a deafening religious ritual.