The Democratic Congress did a great job yesterday showing how they would solve the problems in the Middle East. The method is simple: You schmooze up to and praise all enemies of the United States and condemn our allies. The example of condemning allies is the resolution to condemn Turkey for a genocide that took place a century ago under a radically different government.
There is nothing special about the US Congress that makes it the authoritative source for international moral definitions. Any act where one political body in one country tosses a label at another is, by definition, a political act.
The world needs to recognize the Armenian genocide as genocide, but the arena of politics is not the right forum. History is the proper forum for debating actions of a century ago. Political bodies should restrict their use of such labels specifically to efforts to stop mass murder. Ironically, in the same news program where Progressive Democrate Tom Lantos beamed about his resolution to condemn Modern Turkey for a genocide committed by their ancestors, the progressive democrat Jimmy Carter carefully split hairs to forgive the Sudanese of the genocide in their little corner of the world.
The genocide in Sudan is sadly like the genocide in Rwanda in that the UN and Western powers sat idly by waffling on definitions and completed failed in efforts to save lives.
The tossing about of labels by political bodies always will be seen within a political context. It is the ultimate in absurdity to think that the progressives really are in tune with some universal truth that the mass murders in Turkey are genocide while the mass murders in Sudan are not.
The roots of modern progressivism is relativism. A relativist rejects the existence of universal definitions. From the vantage point of moral relativism that is intrinsic in leftist thought, then this decision to condemn Modern Turkey for crimes against humanity committed by the Ottoman Turks is a blatant effort to harm the alliance between the US and modern Turkey.
As Congress was not meant to be the institution to define terms, it should stick to resolutions that positively affect the world.
Contrary to what Tom Lantos may think, the current government in Turkey has very little influence on the Ottoman Turks of a 100 years ago. This is not because the current leaders in Turkey are bad people. It is because time is linear.
There is some legitimacy to Carter's hesitancy to officially use the word genocide in diplomatic efforts in Sudan. Alienating a group can lead to atrocities, just as failures to notice the atrocity can lead to atrocity.
We must be careful in dishing out labels. In most cases, the assigning of political labels have unintended negative effects.
One label that is in the news is "Islamo-fascism." I can see some merit to the use of this term. Fascism was an ideology that emerged in the Western Christian world. The western roots of the name clearly implies that the problem is not Islam, but with the radicalization of Islam.
I think that moderate Islamic intellectuals might gain traction if they started emphasizing that Radical Islam is partially a product of the western influences.
Like the National Socialist Party in Germany, the National Socialism in Italy (fascism) was a refinement of communism. In my reading of post colonial history in the Middle East, I find that the communist family of thought has played a dominant role in Islamic intellectual theories. Many of the early thinkers of radical Islam studied revolutionary techniques in the West. Satre and Camus were big players in Algeria hoping to transform the Islamic world into a Communist style state. The Nazis were very active in Iran, to the point that the Iranian army still does the goose step. Saddam Hussein was an avid follower of Stalin. His secret service was trained by the East Germans.
If the Islamic world understood that the disease that currently affects their culture is similar to the one that affected the West in the 20th century, then we might be able to find ways to move beyond the hatred.
I see merit in this term "Islamo-fascism" as it adequately states that the problem is not with Islam, but with a bastardization of Islam. The west suffered under a similar bastardization of ideology.
Of course, I can also see why the left has a problem with the term. This term openly says that radical Islam shares the same intellectual roots as the modern progressives. The modern left uses the same propaganda techniques to support the public school monopoly in education and for arguing for universal health care that the Islamo-fascists use in arguing for Islamic domination of the West.
I suspect that this label "Islamo-fascism" will fail because the left has a stake in seeing it fail. The left is doing a great job is trying to get the term associated with xenophobia. The left made big inroads on this effort by pushing out fake flyers which portrayed the term as hate speech.
The left has hegemony in education, so I suspect that this upcoming Islamofascism Awareness Week will backfire on the right. The term sounds far too much like a jingo for my taste. I will stick with using "Radical Islam."
Regardless, Tom Lantos and Nancy Pelosi can be commended by fellow progressives for driving a wedge between the US and one of our few remaining allies.