Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Islamic fundamentalism and the dialectic of modernity

The following text is part of broader project I am working on, having to do with the postmodern necessity to redefine our notion of freedom. The aim is to get away from the autonomy of the modern subject and move towards a third position between autonomy and heteronomy, where subject and other are engaged in a mutually enforcing reciprocity. The critical importance of such a third position can be glanced from a chiasma which according to me summarizes the current state of critical theory: autonomy without respect for the other degenerates into totalitarian egocentrism, but respect for the other without a measure of autonomy degenerates into dogmatic heteronomy where the other is deified as “The Other” (which happens, for example, in Levinasian ethics).

1. The so-called “Clash of Civilizations” as the self-destruction of modernity
The analysis of Islamic fundamentalism offered below aims to show the urgency and actuality of this critical program of overcoming modern autonomy in the direction of a more reciprocal notion of freedom, where self and other are in normative equilibrium. In contrast to neoconservatism, I stress the essential modernity of Islamic fundamentalism.Thus in the text below I show how Islamic fundamentalism shares the violent dialectic with which the modern subject has realized his autonomy in the world through capitalist imperialism: the dialectic of self-determination through negation of the other. As a consequence, I see the so-called “Clash of Civilizations” between modernity and Islamic fundamentalism not as a clash between different cultures which are essentially alien to each other. Rather I see that clash as an internal contradiction of modernity itself, which has – through globalisation – conquered the world and now begins to bite its own tail. Thus the violent dialectic of modernity turns back on itself, producing its own self-negation in the form of Islamic fundamentalism. The religious heteronomy of the fundamentalist is therefore not alien to modern autonomy at all, rather it is its self-sublation. In this context I will stress the Protestant origins of fundamentalism and show how it was exported from the West to Islamic cultures.

2. The remaining threat of Islamic fundamentalism
This concern with the “Clash of Civilizations” may seem outdated. With the current economic crisis, the question is whether Islamic fundamentalism is still the fundamental problem which it used to be less than a decade ago. However, the post-modern difficulty of freedom – ie. the critical necessity to find a third between autonomy and heteronomy – is still not resolved. The violent dialectic inherent in modernity and by extension in Islamic fundamentalism has yet to be fully overcome. Although the threat of Islamic fundamentalism seems to have lost much of its punch due to the democratic movement of the recent Arab Awakening (which goes to show that Islam is not in and of itself anti-democratic), there are still many fundamentalist factions active in Islamist circles, with extremist attacks still taking place in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia and other muslim countries. After 9/11 and the subsequent security crackdown, Islamist violence has now more or less ceased in western countries. Yet, the threat is still real. Much probably depends on how the recent democratization movement in the Middle East will work out. As nearly happened in Algeria in the 1990s, it could very well be that elections bring fundamentalist parties to state power (a very real possibility with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt), especially if pro-western parties fail to bring stability and prosperity. In the West, the worsening economic crisis could intensify scapegoat mechanisms, leading to increasing islamophopia, exploited by right-wing politicians with populist agenda’s. Their rhetoric of a “Clash of Civilizations” could easily turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, resulting in increased violence between the West and Islamist factions. Finally, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – that great motor of Islamic fundamentalism – is still not resolved. If war breaks out between Iran and Israel, which is a real possibility, there is no saying what the consequences will be for the relations between the West and the Islamic world.

3. The shared dialectic of Islamic fundamentalism and modernity
As I said above, the crucial point to be appreciated is that Islamic fundamentalism is not so alien to western modernity as the rhetoric of a “Clash of Civilizations” wants us to believe. Both exemplify a modern dialectic of self-determination through negation of the other. On the one hand, Islamic fundamentalism is obviously opposed to the modern West in that it rejects individual autonomy and democracy in the name of Islam. This rejection is constitutive of Islamic fundamentalism insofar as the fundamentalist must negate or exclude modernity in order to assert himself as a true muslim. Religious heteronomy requires the active and sometimes violent negation of autonomy. The suicide bombing, in which not only western (or westernized) individuals are killed but also the bomber himself, constitutes the ultimate proof of the fundamentalist’s utter disregard for individual autonomy and hence his total commitment to Islam. This social function of terror against others as a means of self-affirmation has been noted before, especially with regard to Islamic fundamentalism. As Benjamin Barber remarks about the latter in his book Jihad vs. McWorld: Self-determination has at times amounted to little more than other-extermination.” (1995: 11) But what is seldom noted – also not by Barber – is that fundamentalism is in that respect not alien to modernity at all. Rather, Islamic-fundamentalist terrorism repeats the basic pattern of modern autonomy, the dialectic of self-determination through negation of the other. This dialectic received its paradigm expression in the Hegelian system, where the other is reduced to the negative counterpart of the subject, its alien externalization, to be reintegrated by means of a synthesizing negation of the negation. Thus Barber's criticism of Islamic fundamentalism mirrors the postmodern critique of the Hegelian dialectic and the broader logic of modern autonomy which that dialectic exemplifies.

4. Modern manicheism: The West and the rest
The autonomous subject props itself up as the sole and self-legislating source of value, blind to the intrinsic worth of the other, whose influence it can only experience as heteronomous infringement of his freedom, an obstacle to be eliminated. The other has value for the subject only insofar as it is valued by the subject, insofar as the other fits into his plans and projects, his subjectivedesign of possibilities” (Heidegger, Sartre). This is the sensitive underbelly of the modern autonomous subject, the dark side of the Enlightenment: the fact that the subject can only be autonomous by means of violence against otherness. Barber’s note regarding Jihad Self-determination has at times amounted to little more than other-extermination” is no less true of McWorld, the globalization of western modernity. Struggling to realize his autonomy in the world, the subject experiences the other either as raw material to be used or as an obstacle/enemy to be overcome. The autonomous subject cannot be interested in the other as other but only as non-ego, as that which the subject is not. The developmental logic of autonomy is therefore dialectical in the Hegelian sense: the opposition between ego and non-ego is resolved through the synthesis of the enriched ego having assimilated the other to the sphere of his own freedom (negation of the negation). That is to say, the autonomous subject realizes itself through a branching structure of hierarchical oppositions, in which it is posited as the superior pole through the negation of the subaltern, the abject, the imagined inferior other. Thus the subject is posited through oppositions like subject-object, high-low, civilized-primitive, mind-body, reason-feeling, male-female, hetero-gay, light-dark, capital-labor, etc. The real wealth of differences in the world is thereby reduced to dualisic, Manichean schemes employed by the – usually western, masculine subject.

5. The scapegoat mechanisms of McWorld
This dialectic holds for autonomous subjectivity in general, not just for human individuals but also for groups that can say “we”, the collective subjects of families, tribes, gangs, nations and even entire cultures. On this social level, the dialetic of self-determination through negation of the other functions by means of what René Girard has termed the “scapegoat mechanism”: the projection of inner social tensions on 'internal outsiders' as the imagined guilty ones that must be sacrificed in order to restore social cohesion. This social dimension of modern autonomy shows that its dialectic has very real, material effects, manifested in practices of exclusion, domination and extermination: from the persecution of witches, antisemitism, sexism, slavery, apartheid, colonialism, up to and including contemporary cultural racism (cf. the neoconservative assertion of the cultural superiority of the modern West).

The central material practice of modern autonomy, however, is capitalism. The economic rise of the capitalist class, from the Renaissance onwards, went hand in hand in with the theoretical development of the ideal of autonomy, which functioned as the ideological legitimation of the bourgeois claims against feudalism. Next to its supposedly superior productivity, capitalism is normally legitimized as the truest economic expression of individual autonomy, the self-determination of market players. In capitalism the subject relates to himself via his possessions and relates to the other as either a competitor or a means of production (labor power) – a form of subjectivity which, followingAlisdair MacIntyre, we may call “possessive individualism”. In capitalism the autonomous subject is the one who – through his possessions – is in possession of himself. Hence the Giradian 'internal outsider' of capitalism, the scapegoat whose exclusion constitutes bourgeois autonomy (self-possession), is the unpropertied class, the dispossessed. In industrial capitalism this was of course the proletariat, which was as Marx says “a class of bourgeois society which is not a class of bourgeois society” (1844 [1970]: 390). The proletariat, as unpropertied, was both part of and excluded from society, part of the citizenry yet also criminalized as a “social problem” due to its poverty. Thus the proletariat functioned as the constitutive outsider of industrial capitalism, not least because its “freedom from all possession” allowed it to be exploited as labor power.

6. Modernity’s terror against otherness
In its negative relation to otherness, then, Islamic fundamentalism is not foreign to the West. Islamist terrorism merely makes explicit what usually remains hidden, the dark side of modern autonomy, its dialectic of self-determination through negation of otherness. Terrorism is the bare form of modernity’s inherent ‘terror against otherness’– which is not merely a dramatizing metaphor, but something concretely felt in modernity’s material practices of exclusion, domination, extermination and exploitation. When confronted by Islamist terrorism, then, we should never forget that terrorism is essentially a western invention. To be precise, terrorism is an invention of the French Revolution (in which, of course, modern democracy and autonomy were taught for the first time as universal human ideals) when it degenerated into the Jacobin Reign of Terror, which – to protect the Revolution against “counterrevolutionary forces” – killed 40,000 people in the name of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

The fact that revolutionary terrorism is linked to the modern ideal of autonomy was already noted by Hegel in his analysis of the French Revolution in the Phenomenology of Spirit. In the section titled Absolute Freedom and the Terror (1986 [1807]: BB, III), Hegel argues that absolute collective autonomy (the democratic expression of many particular volitions into the state’s universal will, Rousseau’s volonté general) necessarily leads to tension between the universal and the particular, because particular individuals can never fully identify with the universality of the state, since each individual is unique. The state as ‘executor’ of the universal will is therefore always – at least latently – at war with its own citizens: it can see the various particular departures from the universal will only as threats to be eliminated by reason of state, especially in times of crisis. Thus collective autonomy produces in its own body politic the Fremdkörper which it must exclude, through a Girardian scapegoat mechanism, in order to be itself.

Ever since the French Revolution, terrorism is a proven tactic of left-wing radicals advocating absolute (individual or collective) autonomy. See the “individual terrorism” of the anarchists, the Red Terror of the Bolsheviks, the attacks of the German RAF and the Italian Red Brigades. In recent Dutch history (which is my background in writing this piece), there is the murder of the right-wing populist politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002, committed by the left-wing animal rights activist Volkert van der Graaf. In this respect, left-wing terrorism is no different from its right-wing counterpart, the xenophobic violence of virulent nationalists. As Zygmunt Bauman argued in Modernity and the Holocaust (1989), the modern ideal of autonomy – the foundation of the Enlightenment’s critical attitude – led in its collective form not just to democracy but also to nationalism as the historical self-determination of a people. Here, that is to say: in Auschwitz, Barber’s dictum – “Self-determination has at times amounted to little more than other-extermination” – has found its paradigmatic vindication.

7. Modern morbidity
In light of the parallel between collective and individual subjectivity, something analogous to this internal production of Fremdkörper must also be found in individual autonomy. Hence Hegel’s argument with respect to absolute democracy has its counterpart in his analysis of individual freedom. Following Kant, Hegel understands the autonomous subject as standing above his biological existence: the subject must not be controlled by immediate urges, it must govern itself through reason, to which all natural instincts must be subjected, including the organic life instinct. Hegel’s conclusion is therefore that the subject can only prove his freedom to others and to himself by demonstrating his independence from life, by risking his life in mortal combat: “The absolute proof of freedom in the struggle for recognition is death. Already by the fact that both combatants risk the danger of death, they posit their shared natural being as something negative and thus they prove that take it to be a nothing.” (Hegel 1986 [1830]: §432, Zus., 221) For Hegel, then, dying is the highest form of freedom. The prevalence of this absurd contempt for death in modern philosophy reflects the dominance of Kantian autonomy. Firstly, of course, in Kant himself, the prophet of perpetual peace, for whom nevertheless a little war now and then was needed to impress on people the inferiority of their empirical existence. Cut from the same black cloth is Heidegger’s analysis of Being-unto-Death as authentic Dasein, trivialized into the existentialist fancy of suicide as the free act par excellence. But – so we may ask – is there not something fundamentally wrong with a conception of freedom for which death is the ultimate proof? Freedom must be an affirmation of life, not its negation. “A free man thinks of nothing less than of death”, Spinoza says: “his wisdom is not to meditate on death, but life.” (Ethics: IVP67)

This modern morbidity underscores the fact that the otherness, which the subject must exclude in order to be autonomous, comes not just from outside but is produced within, as through an internalization of the scapegoat mechanism. In order to achieve total self-control, the subject produces in himself the unruly nature to be conquered, cultivated and exploited. To the extent that people are social beings and their self-legislation arises from the internalization of group norms (embodied by the authority of the father), the meaning of modern autonomy is ultimately giving your life for the fatherland in the war with inferior others. In that sense, the Islamic terrorist blowing himself up in an attack on infidels is a truly modern autonomous subject. To repeat: Islamic fundamentalism is not alien to modernity, rather it holds up a mirror to the West: we may be shocked by what we see, but what we see is merely the balaclava face of our own culture, the reflection of autonomy’s inherent terror against otherness.

8. The Protestant origin of fundamentalism
The paradox of Islamic fundamentalism is that it confirms its autonomy by destroying it, by submitting to the heteronomous authority of Allah, rejecting the ideals of freedom and democracy. One might perceive this paradox as a refutation of the preceding analysis. After all, how can Islamic fundamentalism be a radicalization of modernity when it violently rejects modernity? Doesn’t this rejection confirm the neoconservative analysis of Islam as being essentially alien to the modern West, in that Islamic cultures have not evolved beyond premodern, medieval bondage, unlike our own Judeo-Christian tradition, from whence modernity came? Yet, the point to be appreciated here is that the fundamentalist turn to religion is not so alien to modern autonomy as is commonly believed. The link between them is the Protestant Reformation. As has often been remarked, Protestantism contributed greatly not just to the rise of capitalism (as Max Weber argued) but to the formation of modern autonomous subjectivity as such. By doing away with the mediatorship of the priesthood, Luther turned the relation with God into a subjectively internal affair of individual responsibility. Luther, as Marx said, “shattered faith in authority because he restored the authority of faith. He turned priests into laymen because he turned laymen into priests. He freed man from outer religiosity because he made religiosity the inner man. He freed the body from chains because he enchained the heart.” (Marx 1844 [1970]: 386) By declaring the priesthood of every believer, Luther in effect turned the believer into his own priest, his own spiritual master, who 'enchained his own heart', thus paving the way for the self-mastery of Kantian autonomy. Now the crucial point is that fundamentalism originated in Protestantism, or to be more precise, in American Protestantism during the late 19th and early 20th century, when the most individual religious experience resulted in absolute faith in the literal truth of Scripture, a voluntary self-sublation of subjective autonomy into religious heteronomy (see Euben 1999: 16-17). This origination of fundamentalism in Protestantism highlights the constitutive importance of modern subjectivity for the possibility of fundamentalism: only an autonomous subject is capable of a radical break with the past in order to give himself without reserve to God. By analogy with this radicalization of Protestantism, the concept of fundamentalism is applied to similar movements in Islam, especially since the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

9. Orientalism: The 'white man's burden' in the Middle East
To understand how movements similar to Protestant fundamentalism arose in Islam, we must appreciate how the Middle East was introduced to modernity. Especially since the demise of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, the Middle East has been occupied and colonized by the West, particularly the French and the British (though the Americans have had military presences in and around the Persian Gulf since the second half of the 19th century; see Palmer 1992). Under western supervision, the Middle East was divided into modern nation states, who then tried to modernize their economies and populations, following either capitalist or socialist models. In this way the Middle East was introduced to the modern ideology of autonomy (be it capitalist or socialist) and the practices of exclusion, domination and exploitation that went with it. Thus the Middle East was inserted into the developmental logic of modernity, the dialectic of self-determination through negation of the other. The ideological aspect of this modern self-determination involved what Edward Said (1978) called “orientalism”, the imaginary production of the East as the Other of the West, the anti-West. In orientalism, Islam was inscribed as one of the inferior poles in the hierarchical oppositions through which the West defined itself: civilized-backward, progressive-traditional, rational-passionate, tolerant-intolerant, individualism-collectivism, industrious-lazy etc. Thus the shared history and mutual influence of the Islamic world and the West was gradually obliterated, until one appeared as essentially alien to the other, thus feeding the rhetoric of a “Clash of Civilizations”. This despite the fact that Islam, Christianity and Judaism used to be reckoned as the three “universal religions of monotheism”, rooted in the same Semitic culture of the Book (Torah, Bible, Koran). Orientalism has made us forget this common history, just as it obliterated the fact that medieval Islam, whose civilization was far more advanced and more tolerant than medieval Christendom, contributed greatly to the formation of western modernity. Greek philosophy, after all, was mainly passed on to the West by Islamic philosophers such as Avicenna and Averroes. Hence the pertinence of Francis Robinson’s question: “Is it really possible for muslims and westerners to experience each other as radically different and separated when so much has been shared for so long?” (Robinson 1994) The answer, of course, lies in the functioning of orientalism as the ideological expression of the dialectical development of the modern West. The imaginary construction of the Middle East as the dialectical Other of the West legitimized – and still legitimizes – the concrete exploitation of the Middle East in the practices of modernity (capitalism, cultural imperialism), especially after the discovery in the 1930s of vast reserves of oil in Arab soil. In the western world itself, orientalism functioned to reduce muslims to a socio-economic underclass of second-class citizens, separated from the rest of society by an efficient scapegoat mechanism. This is how orientalism functions as the new racism, the cultural successor to the biological racism of the past.

10. Islamic fundamentalism as modern anti-modernism
Orientalism characterizes the context in which Islamic fundamentalism has arisen and still arises – the context of a universalizing modernity in which nonetheless some are excluded, dominated and exploited. Disillusioned about this false universality, many muslims turn away from modernity, rejecting it as a lie, an ideology in the Marxist sense: a universal dream that hides and serves particular interests, mainly those of western capital. Attracted to fundamentalist movements are therefore not the rural muslims who have remained relatively uneffected by modernity, but rather muslims who grew up in modern cities, often highly educated, but who nonetheless feel themselves – as muslims – displaced within modernity, excluded as its ‘internal outsiders’. Islamic fundamentalism is rooted in the modern culture of autonomy and stems from disillusionment about that culture in which in Orwellian terms all people are equally free, although some are more equally free than others.

This explains the paradox mentioned above in section 8, the paradox that Islamic fundamentalism repeats the dialectic of modern autonomy while at the same time rejecting this autonomy in the name of religious heteronomy. Islamic fundamentalism is the resistance of modernized subjects to modernity, ie. of modernized subjects who have become victims of modernity’s violence to otherness and who therefore respond be rejecting modernity, but they do so as modern, autonomous subjects. As Partha Chatterjee puts this crucial point: formed by the modern discourse of autonomy, such “post-colonial subjects” are forced to choose their “place of autonomy” from a “subordinate position vis-à-vis a colonial regime which had on its side the most universal sources of legitimation produced by social thought after the Enlightenment”. (Chattergee 1993: 11) That is to say: their “place of autonomy” can only be the rejection of the Enlightenment culture that dominates them. By rejecting modern autonomy, the post-colonial subject posits his autonomy.

Seen in this light, Islamic fundamentalism is essentially a counter-reaction of modernity to its own violent dialectic, a counter-reaction which therefore still takes place within that dialectic, in the form of self-determination through negation of the other – the other who is in this case modernity itself. In Islamic fundamentalism, modernity has become its own exlcuded other. Islamic fundamentalism is the suicide of modern autonomy, the turning on itself of its own constitutive violence against otherness. That is why Islamic fundamentalism chooses religious heteronomy, as the self-negation of modern autonomy: not because Islam is essentially alien to modernity, as neoconservatism says, but because Islamic fundamentalism is still too much related to modernity and hence functions according to the same dialectic.

11. Occidentalism: The muslim’s burden in the West
The insight th
at Islamic fundamentalism, despite reverting to archaic traditions, is not pre-modern but rather a contemporary manifestation of discontent in modernity, is not new. The characterization of Islamic fundamentalism as a distinctively modern anti-modernism can also be found in Islamologists like Roxanne Euben (1999) and Ira Lapidus. As the latter writes: “Islamic revival movements can be understood as a reaction against modernity, but more profoundly they are also an expression of modernity.” (Lapidus 1997: 444) I would like to sharpen that claim by saying that modernity’s dialectical exclusion of otherness is repeated by Islamic fundamentalism. Thus the orientalism of the West is mirrored by what Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit (2004) call “occidentalism”, which is “[t]he West in the eyes of its enemies” as the subtitle of their book says. Occidentalism is the stereotypical, imaginary depiction of the West by anti-western movements, who thereby feed and legitimize their hatred. Thus Islamic occidentalism consists in the imaginary construction of the West as the Other of Islam. It is the inscription of the West as the inferior pole in the hierarchical oppositions by means of which the ‘real muslim’ defines himself: devout-unholy, community-egoism, spirituality-materialism, sincere-corrupt, brave-cowardly, pure-decadent etc. Occidentalism, then, functions according to exactly the same dialectic as orientalism: they are no more than mirror images.

Modernity and the cult of martyrdom
The anti-modernism of Islamic fundamentalism might be taken to imply its closeness to postmodernism. Thus, for example, Hardt and Negri in their book Empire (2000):
“The anti-modern thrust that defines fundamentalism might be better understood, then, not as a premodern but as a postmodern project. The postmodernity of fundamentalism has to be recognized primarily in its refusal of modernity as a weapon of Euro-American hegemony – and in this regard Islamic fundamentalism is indeed the paradigmatic case. In the context of Islamic traditions, fundamentalism is postmodern insofar as it rejects the tradition of Islamic modernism for which modernity was always overcoded as assimilation or submission to Euro-American hegemony.” (149) However, what Hardt and Negi do not take into account is the fact that while Islamic fundamentalism is indeed anti-modern, it is so in a totally modern way, in the modern mode of autonomy and its exclusive dialectic. It is not a postmodern overcoming of modernity but rather the latter’s inner contradiction, its short circuit. Islamic fundamentalism is not postmodern enough: this is what makes it is so aggressive and dangerous. As the sociologist Farhad Khosrokhavar (2002) points out, the martyrdom of the suicide terrorist is actually quite alien to traditional Islam, which knew no real tradition of martyrdom, let alone of suicide terrorism. For a long time Islamic faith inspired a certain earthly resignation and passivity rather than a radical, revolutionary attitude. According to Khosrokhavar, this changed with the Iranian Revolution of 1979 (the “first postmodern revolution” according to Hardt and Negri) when a relatively modern people, disillusioned with the forced modernization of their country, rebelled against the pro-western Shah and turned to Islam as an alternative to western modernity. Only then did the cult of martyrdom come into existence which became the trademark of Islamic terrorism. This underscores the above remark about the Protestant roots of fundamentalism, ie. the fact that fundamentalism can only arise and thrive in a modern culture. Modernity’s cult of death and terror (practically inaugurated by the French Revolution and theoretically by German idealism) had to be installed first before Islam could produce a tradition of suicide terrorism. Islam is not in itself extremist, it is the mixture with modern autonomy that makes it so explosive.

13. Conclusion: The epochal meaning of the “Clash of Civilizations”
In short, the so-called “Clash of Civilizations” between modernity and Islam is basically a conflict within modernity. Due to modern colonialism and subsequent capitalist globalization, modernity has now more or less conquered the globe and begins to bite its own tail. The modern subject has fallen prey to its own terror against otherness, to which it can only respond with counter terror: terror against modernity and its ideals of autonomy and democracy. Here lies the philosophical, even epochal significance of the “Clash of Civilizations”, in the self-dissolution of modernity, as it reverts into its own opposite. Western violence against otherness, usually hidden under an ideology of universal freedom and equality, appears nakedly in Islamic fundamentalism, stripped of its veil and exposed in suicide bombings. The religious heteronomy of the inviolable belief in the literal truth of the Koran is a manifestation of the dogmatism of the modern autonomous subject, his uncompromising belief in himself. It now becomes apparent to what extent the dialectic of the “Clash of Civilizations” is a self-reinforcing process, a negative feedback of orientalism and occidentalism, of terror and counter terror. If Islamic-fundamentalist terror increases, the West will be confirmed in its neoconservative distrust of Islam, thus increasing its islamophobic violence – resulting in a further alienation of modern muslims and their increased attraction by Islamic fundamentalism as a theology of anti-modern resistance and liberation. Caught in the maelstrom of a suspicious reflection, orientalism and occidentalism will increasingly meet each other’s fears. We have already seen this happen in the run-up to 9/11 and especially during its aftermath: Al Qaeda was the ghost raised by American imperialism, Bush was dialectical doppelgänger of Bin Laden – thesis and antithesis in a deadly dialectic, seemingly without any prospect of reconciliation.


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