I take your point about the Russians and the Germans under their respective leaders. I mentioned Nazis higher up the thread, and promised to think about it some more.
Generally we are talking about a form of mass mesmerism I think, which is clearly possible - I can't deny that.
You may even be right in suggesting that in this instance large numbers of Muslims are so mesmerised (whether to the point of actually wishing to kill westerners is imo debatable, but let that pass).
But even in Nazi Germany at the height of the fever, there were no doubt many who weren't fooled, and many who might have been have been rapidly snapped out of the delusion without having to go through the hell of a war, given the right circumstances.
All I'm saying is that the right circumstance in this case, is not to write off Islam as evil, and its followers as all deluded automatons, but to assume that they are basically good people like you and me, to appeal to the moderate leaders, engage with them, show them that the West is not composed of people who distrust and fear them, but above all, help them to marginalise their extremists.
This was good I think: Interview with Blair on BBC’s Today Programme Sept 17 2012, opening dialogue:
Tony Blair: Well they do feel that, and you’re right by the way in saying that the problem with this is that you have a small number of real extremists, people who engage in violence, but the narrative goes I’m afraid far deeper which is why this is a big problem and will take a generation to sort out. But, it doesn’t justify the reaction I’m afraid, you see if we look at how we have to engage from the west, I think we need to engage in these ways. We need to be saying to people who are starting with their democracy - democracy is not just a way of voting it’s a way of thinking; the test of a democracy is how you treat the minority as well as how the majority comes to power. It’s about the economy and educating people for an open economy that can function in the modern world, and it’s about a view of religion, which is why the whole issue of religious interfaith and dialogue is so important, it’s about a view of religion that is pluralistic, that says, ‘look, I may be a Christian, I accept you’re a Muslim, we can live together and exist together; it doesn’t mean you are an unbeliever, an infidel because you disagree with me’.
Sarah Montague: You say that the way that governments should react the way that leaders react is to put a lid on it. Yet there’s no sign of that, or limited sign of that, and I wonder how you think the west, the US, Britain, European countries should react to this.
Tony Blair: The way we should react is we’ve got to stand up for forces that are trying to modernise the region, and we shouldn’t take a step back we’ve got to stay engaged so, if you look at what’s happening in any of these countries today, as I say the good news is, you take Libya, yes what happened was terrible and appalling, but actually the Libyan authorities have come out very strongly and denounced it. I think there are within each of these societies, and I see this, day in, day out, there are lots of people, good people, decent people who know that actually the problem isn’t some form of oppression by the west. The problem is they are now undergoing this process of transition and that if they want to reach true and open democracies the only way you do that in the era of globalisation is by people being open to one another and not with a closed and wrong-headed view of religion.
... and ...
Sarah Montague: You seem so sure, well you say that you’re sure the modernisers will win but you look at what’s happening across the Muslim world with embassies closing and the protests and one wonders why you’re so sure.
Tony Blair: Because I think in the end the same spirit that overthrew a lot of these dictatorships is a spirit that in the end is of its essence open minded, and I think the great debate in the world today actually is between the open minded and the closed minded. Those people who see globalisation, the internet, all the possibilities of technology and say look this is a great opportunity and those who hate all this and want to close down in the face of it. And I believe ultimately those people with that open mind will win.
Sarah Montague: And those who say across the Muslim world and elsewhere, who say look Muslims across the world, look at the situation between Israel and the Palestinian territories and they look at the Iraq war, they look at other things that have gone on and there is a justified grievance that the Muslim world has against the west.
Tony Blair: I think it’s very important that we disaggregate some of that, but also don’t allow that argument to gain any more than it’s really got when you analyse it. I mean in respect of Israel and Palestine, look this is a huge issue for people across the whole of the region, but I don’t think we should confuse that or give that as an excuse for what is happening. Yes, we should push forward on the Middle East peace process, it’s enormously important, but the absence of peace should not mean this type of violence. And as for Iraq or indeed Afghanistan, you know, most of the people that have died there have died in sectarian violence, now the truth is both, and you can agree or disagree with the decisions there, but the people of both countries actually want democracy and want neither Saddam Hussein on one side or the Taliban on the other. What we’ve got to do, and this is why it’s important we stay engaged, is we’ve got to be there on the side of those people who want that type of open minded society and help them. Because they need help. They will, in my view, they will in the end win, but we can shorten that struggle and make it a lot less bloody if we’re there supporting them, articulating their case and helping them. One way we do that, by the way, is not allowing this nonsense that somehow this is about an oppression of Muslims by the west because it isn’t true and each time you make that argument you kind of fuel that sense of grievance which itself is part of a narrative that is wrong.
[This message has been edited by moonbeam (09-20-2012 03:17 PM).]