Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 28, 2005
WAR: Tony the Tiger
"September 11 for me was a wake up call. Do you know what I think the problem is? That a lot of the world woke up for a short time and then turned over and went back to sleep again," he said.
By contrast, we have London Mayor "Red Ken" Livingston, who has already resumed his slumbers:
"If at the end of the First World War we had done what we promised the Arabs, which was to let them be free and have their own governments, and kept out of Arab affairs, and just bought their oil, rather than feeling we had to control the flow of oil, I suspect this wouldn't have arisen."
Yeah, blame Churchill and Lloyd George, not the guys who get on buses with bombs. And Livingston's historical analysis is, in any event, off the mark. The Saudis have never been ruled by the West. Iraq was a League of Nations mandate after the Ottoman Empire collapsed, but became independent in 1932. The places that were longer under the British flag were Palestine/Jordan/Israel and Pakistan/India, neither of which had any oil (and India's doing fine). Same with Syria, which was French (of course) until 1946. Egypt, also oil-less, acquired some independence in 1922 and full independence after WW2. Afghanistan has never successfully been ruled from outside (or inside, for that matter). The fact is, the Muslim and Arab worlds have never been as heavily influenced or controlled by Europe and the United States as were many parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, or Latin America.
And for those who would dig further back than World War I for origins, if you trace the battle between Islam and the West to its original roots, you have to ask who invaded Spain, who invaded Greece, who overran the Byzantine Empire, who got as far as Vienna and would have put the whole of Christian Europe to the choice of the sword or the Koran. We in the West don't brood over those initial assaults, but they do serve as a counterpoint to the notion that only the West has ever sought to impose its will and vision on its neighbors.