Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 3, 2009

Headlines from Europe

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on April 3, 2009

Obama underlines al-Qaeda threat from the BBC.

Barack Obama warns Europe faces greater threat from al-Qaida from the Guardian.

Obama exhorte l’Europe à se renforcer militairement from AFP

Barack Obama fordert Europäer zu Aufrüstung auf from Welt Online

Europa, Islam e M.O.: si cambia” Obama mostra il nuovo volto Usa from la Repubblica.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

April 3, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

I wonder if he (OBAMA) told those he was meeting that his Diretor of National Intelligence labeled the economic crisis as the biggest national security threat to the US?

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 6, 2009 @ 8:59 am

Paul Kennedy labeled Turkey a key nation-state for the 21st Century in his book on that subject. Wonder if any events contradict that decade old book now. I doubt it because it seems to me that Turkey really has both soft and hard power that could help Europe and the middle-EAST to get through this century safely. Remarkable country and worth every effort of the US to keep it as an ally. I really don’t quite understand why Turkey is so hard on its co-religionists, the KURDS, but is it only that they want their own nation? Wilson and Lloyd George decided this issue for the WEST! I include Turkey as part of the WEST. Perhaps incorrectly. Is 100 years enough time to revisit?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

April 6, 2009 @ 9:41 am

Mr. Cumming:

I agree that Turkey is a Western nation. I perceive that Islam is a Western faith. Given the dependence of Islam on the Abrahamic and Aristotelian traditions, it would be – it seems to me – very difficult to categorize it as other than Western.

What the post-Enlightenment world means by “Western Culture” was much more characteristic of Abbasid Baghdad in 1000 AD than of Catholic Rome in the same year. The differentiation of Islam from the West strikes me as mostly a matter of religious competition and the cultural consquences for the Islamic world of the conquest of Baghdad in 1258.

There are important differences between the largely Islamic West and the largely Christian West. But there is good cause to perceive these differences as intra-cultural rather than inter-cultural.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 6, 2009 @ 12:09 pm

Forgotten the author but the book “The Children of Aristotle” describing the origin and crisis of faith vis a vis reason lasting even in the Catholic Church over 250 years after the complete writing of Aristotle became available in Europe from the libraries of Baghdad, Damacus, and Cairo is a classic in my judgement. Tries to answer the question why the same writings did NOT have the same impact on Islam. Agree both are Western, and we talk of the Rise of the West not the Rise of Christendom.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

April 6, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

In my judgment the catastrophic Mongol conquest of Baghdad in 1258 – combined with losses to European Crusaders in the Levant – had an impact on Islam from which it is still reeling.

Prior to these humiliations Islamic philosophy and science was confident, open, inquisitive, and creative. After the collapse of the Abbasids Islamic culture increasingly replaced intellectual inquiry with theological orthodoxy.

In the same generation that Aquinas restored Aristotle to Christians (Summa Theologica was finished in 1273), the Aristotelian tradition of Ibn Rushd was in decline within Islam. It is overly reductionist, but there is also some real truth in recognizing that the difference between what we might call the Christian West and the Islamic West is a result of where Ibn Rushd’s (Averroes) had the greater impact.

Without Ibn Rushd (Averroes) there would not have been an Aquinas. Without Averroes or Aquinas, could anything have emerged like the West we have known?

I would argue that without the Islamic Ibn Rushd there would be nothing like the West we know today. There are those who have said Islam needs a latter-day Luther. Perhaps the whole West would benefit if all of us — Christian, Muslim, and other — reclaimed our roots in Aristotelian reason.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 7, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

Great comment! Was not IBN RUSHD a convert to Islam from Judism?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

April 7, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

I wanted to check some sources on the possibility of Ibn Rushd’s Jewish ancestry. This does not seem to be the case. Ibn Rushd was born and educated in Cordova (now Spain). During his early life(mid-1100s)Jewish cultural and intellectual life in Spain reached its apogee. Ibn Rushd was a slightly older contemporary of Maimonides, another native of Cordova, and the two native sons shared a similar bent on many topics. So… while not the son of a Jewish mother, Ibn Rushd was certainly the legitimate intellectual descendent of a very fertile Judeo-Christian-Islamic milieu.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 8, 2009 @ 8:56 am

okay and now for the brain teaser! Did Maimonides convert to Islam?

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