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The worldwide litmus test

Reader comment on item: Minimize Middle East Mistakes
in response to reader comment: Yes, Turkey may declare a Caliphate

Submitted by Prashant, Dec 12, 2016 at 21:21

Dear Dr Pipes,

Your reader Michael S speculated that after/when ISIS declines or dies, there will be a power vacuum in the region and Turkey might fill the gap and become the effective Caliphate. Michael also correctly stated that at various times in history Turkey is known to have played that role. All of Michael's statements provide viable hypotheses and are correct. I, however, want people to take a step back and look the a bigger picture.

Just like children's game of musical chairs, Islamic countries play a game of musical-hot-bed-of-violence where one Islamic region or the other in the world plays the role of being most violent. When one region becomes tired and spent, the torch is passed to the next and the game continues. We have seen (the so called) Palestine, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Northern Nigeria, Algeria play this role. After many decades of stability Turkey is also joining the party (more or less).

Some of us believe that if these countries give a chance to secular democracy, peace can come to them. Ability to attain and give-up power in peace is the fundamental advantage of secular democracies. Yesterday, 29 or so people were killed in Egypt when a bomb blasted in a Coptic Christian world. A fundamental requirement of modern living --that Muslims are known to cherish in the democratic world-- is that law abiding citizens and visitors of a country can live, think, speak, prosper and pray in peace in that country. This is the second advantage of secular democracies.

Islamic countries may choose to live in self-inflicted death and destruction. That is their choice. But allowing the basic freedoms to their citizens and visitors is not a matter of choice. . It ought to be an obligation. What Muslims demand from others as their right, they must offer to others as their duty. That is common sense and our world should not allow Islamic countries to relinquish this obligation of theirs.

So it matters relatively less as to what happens in Turkey if/when ISIS collapses. What matters is what will happen when this musical chair is passed to the next country? Until every one of these countries chooses secular democracy as the method of governance, the problem is still unresolved. This might be a very difficult to achieve outcome but it is the only acceptable outcome. Nothing short of this will work.

I am not disagreeing with Michael S. I am just raising the bar sufficiently high.


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