Untying the Knot of Global Events: Part One – Islam

The more I learn about events both past and present, the more I discover just how events tie into other events, and how this mess built up. Some of its smoke and mirrors, but other parts are hard reality.

It seems that every other week, or even every other day another Muslim terrorist attack splashes across our screens and monitors. The most recent big one was in in France leaving scores dead, and even more maimed and wounded. The French Prime Minister has said that France needs to learn to live with terrorism. The word Muslim is conspicuously absent from many reports, this is a serious problem of the type I mentioned in a previous post. The perpetrator is  Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian immigrant.  (It’s worth noting that the majority of Tunisians say that Islam plays a large role in politics, and “this is a good thing”). Members of the Muslim communities in the West are quick to denounce him even, as was done with the Orlando shooter, saying how he’s not a true Muslim. However, the response on the Arabic speaking part of the internet shows a different atmosphere.  These are the facts, a few threads of the knot, from here we delve into the knot itself and as you might expect, everything can become a little hard to follow as everything becomes intertwined.

In order to shed light on these events it’s necessary to go back and examine previous events that may not even seem related, but they most definitely are.  The first is environmentalism, a very powerful movement with a varying agenda, but one that has strayed from being wholly beneficial for mankind.

The relevant outcome for the purposes of this article is that environmentalism has prevented much of the western world for drilling for its own oil, and in some cases, mining its own coal. This might seem like a good thing on the surface but dis-allowing these operations doesn’t end the need for them. Thus  the west has no choice but to look elsewhere. The Arab world has no such qualms about drilling and mining and they have a lot of oil. So the Western outsources the energy extraction needs of its industry and people to the Middle East, giving them huge sums of money while importing oil. This means that nearly every first world country has a massive interest in the affairs and events of the Western world. They need to keep securing oil to keep their people happy, after all. This means that they must ensure that the leaders of Middle East are favorably disposed to them.

This has resulted in a some deleterious ventures into Arab lands, to say the least. In a large part these are due to the legacy of the USA Democratic party president Woodrow Wilson. Wilsonianism is the source of the interventionist style of American foreign policy that President Wilson created with his Fourteen points speech in 1918. Both parties have inherited this interventionist policy, especially  America’s modern Republican party, a real paradox for the supposedly right-wing party.

None of us can be sure exactly how much of the Wilsonian rhetoric about spreading democracy and freedom is genuine, and how much is simply a lip service to get the American (and other peoples) to accept the wars in the Middle east. I suspect that much of it is not genuine at all. That aside, it is time to bring in another factor, for this is not solely about the oil needs of the western world. Oil is traded in US dollars, a fact that everyone who pays attention to it knows. This is the result of a US deal with Saudi Arabia; The US protects the Saudis and the Saudis only price their oil in US dollars (USD). This is extremely good for the USA, as it creates a large demand for US dollars, keeping its exchange rate high even though the country is well over its head in national debt. This debt doesn’t disappear due to increased demands, it just means that other countries essentially take it on when they buy US dollars.

This state of affairs is excellent for the US, but not entirely desirable for the rest of the world. The US essentially gained a massive advantage for no good reason, the US dollar became a third-party to every oil transaction. Of course some leaders tried to get around this, their names may be familiar if one cares to look them up.

Gaddafi was the most recent to my knowledge, he refused to put the petrodollars through investment banks in the USA. He wanted to establish some way to trade oil without involving the US. This state of affairs was of course, totally unacceptable to the US leaders and thus there was a sudden revolution against this leader, where the US backed groups opposed to him.

There’s just one problem with that.

Gaddafi was a secular leader interested in westernization, and a successful one at that. A secular leader in a Muslim country always has opposition in the form of non-secular Muslims. The USA simply ignored the fact that these were the people hostile to themselves, and indeed, anyone who wasn’t Muslim in the first place. A similar thing happened in Afghanistan in the  1970s, and in Syria too. In the 70s and 80s, the Arab world was using its post-colonial heritage to lift itself from the grip of its Muslim roots. For those opposed to colonialism, one must absolutely remember that French and British colonists did three excellent things for the people they colonized.

  1. They showed them an alternate, secular system of government.
  2. They educated the best and brightest in western universities.
  3. They built (then modern) infrastructure that stayed.

The Arabic peoples of Syria, Iran, Iraq, and north African countries such as Lybia used the lessons & infrastructure gained under colonialism to pull themselves forward in the world. But these secular, forward-looking people and leaders still to wrestle with the backward forces within their borders, forces that always took the form of fundamentalist Muslims, because Islam is a totalitarian system. Arab spring wasn’t a spring for the Arab people. It was the beginning of a harsh winter of Islam. Islam is always opposed to the separation of church and state, it is heresy.

It is hard to say if the various Muslim dissenters in these countries would have succeeded without support from Washington. Afghanistan and Syria were likely to have failed in Afghanistan’s case and probably destabilized in the case of Syria. There simply wasn’t enough support for a modern secular style of government in either countries. Whatever the case, US activity tipped the board from possibility into inevitability, and bloated the regressive forces of Islam into a terrifying beast that the entire world has to deal with now.

All this is an extremely tangled web that I have only outlined. It is just one factor that lead to the present day’s events.

The Loss of Cooking

Recently I came to a realization that put in perspective a phenomenon of food and eating that I had been observing for years. That is, the perplexing loss of cooking skill among the current generation. I had what I might call an unusual upbringing with regards to food due to my parent’s disparate heritages. For me the best food was almost always at home, rather than out at a restaurant. This still holds true today. Many meals are better cooked at home than bought, restaurant & bar food too often too expensive and usually lacking in taste.

Furthermore such observations as “vegetables taste bad” or “European/British/etc food is bland” had always made no sense to me, I had assumed that the people around me were either addicted to sugar and soft drinks, or simply suffering from extremely bad cooking. But I no longer think this is the case. The rise of food from other cultures can be traced back, I believe, to the decline in our own.

Nutritionists have trotted out discovery after discovery about what is and isn’t bad for us. These have almost always been taken back later when new findings were added to the old. Nutrition is a study that is singularly unsuited for the scientific method, as almost every nutrient never acts alone, food is a combination of many many different amino aids, carbohydrates, proteins and other things. These interact with each other in our food and our body. The scientific method of isolating each factor can create very skewed results.

These results are declared prematurely. The declaration that eggs were not healthy created a huge market for replacement egg products, but it was nowhere near as damaging as the declaration that fat is the enemy of health.

Fat is used by all cultures in cooking, and no less in that of the west. If anyone has watched their grandmother prepare food they can understand this. Mashed potato, a common staple for many families in the anglosphere was once made with mashed potatoes and butter. The butter made it far more palatable, even delicious. But when fat was declared the enemy, this practice was stopped. Some replaced it with milk or something else, but it simply wasn’t the same.

Furthermore, many products that normally contained fat now wanted to get rid of this so they could have a 99% fat free label, a selling point in a market where fat is the ultimate enemy. But since fat adds and brings out flavor in  a similar way to salt, it had to be replaced with something else. Since fat was out of the question and salt can only go so far without something else, sugar was the replacement. This is especially true of American food but it can be found in other places. Sugar replaced fat on a monumental scale. But sugar can only be added to certain dishes. Many formerly delicious dishes are no longer delicious because they are lacking a major ingredient (fat). Is it any wonder that other cultures cooking overtook that of the Anglosphere? (And the wider west, I believe).

Younger generations believe that vegetables are tasteless and bland for the most part. The answer is that they are not, they require just a little bit of meat, or fat to become absolutely delicious. But few people cook them that way any more.

Bring back fat.