It is surprising how much wisdom we can find in an old book. Consider how Chapter 3 of Book XXIV starts in The Spirit of laws by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. The Baron definitely had much to say about Islam.
3. That a moderate Government is most agreeable to the Christian Religion, and a despotic Government to the Mahometan. The Christian religion is a stranger to mere despotic power. The mildness so frequently recommended in the Gospel is incompatible with the despotic rage with which a prince punishes his subjects, and exercises himself in cruelty.
As this religion forbids the plurality of wives, its princes are less confined, less concealed from their subjects, and consequently have more humanity: they are more disposed to be directed by laws, and more capable of perceiving that they cannot do whatever they please.
While the Mahometan princes incessantly give or receive death, the religion of the Christians renders their princes less timid, and consequently less cruel. The prince confides in his subjects, and the subjects in the prince. How admirable the religion which, while it only seems to have in view the felicity of the other life, continues the happiness of this! (from here)
Then consider our own experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This isn’t a surprise for many observers. See what I wrote along the way.
Written in March 2003
The Long Hard Peace
The triumph of Anglo-American arms over Iraq was certain. The triumph of Anglo-American values – namely democracy – is more uncertain. Not impossible – just a long, hard maybe. Our victory was a feat of arms, not ideas. Yet, the peace will be about our Western idea of democracy. Transplanting democracy in tribal, Muslim sand will make it the long hard peace.
American Pro-Consul Jay Garner better have James Madison on his staff. It’ll take more than the genius of the U.S. Constitution to forge the Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians into a nation. Keeping the peace without oppressing the Iraqi people whobknow nothing of government but the rule of strong men, will be challenge enough. When we…
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