The Middle East – A Trash Bin of History

After a few comment exchanges with one of my readers below this post and a few ongoing posts, we took our discourse offline and continued via emails. I kept arguing that we need to keep our hands and guns out of the Middle East and let it stew until it burned itself out (even though they have proven that they won’t since the death of Muhammad), and he kept countering that I had my head up my ass ignoring the endless, never-ending threat.

He didn’t offer workable solutions, I didn’t offer any either, but my overall approach was way cheaper, because it doesn’t involved “boots on the ground” and $1.1 million Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Then he wrote me an email list night with this paragraph in the middle of it:

The truth, in my opinion, is that the “Middle East” is one of those trash bins that will not go away on its own. Replete with bad history and bad ideas. Unfortunately, one of its worst ideas, Islamic imperialism, is pushing beyond its tribal borders. And again, the nightmare of our global history demonstrates that wishing away such bad ideas comes with yet another horde of barbarians at the door.

And while the statement is just an extension of his argument all along, there was one word embedded that got my attention: Horde.

The horde of barbarians at the door is a powerful image that elicited the emotions that I am sure he intended me to have.

I have written about the Mongol empire before, here and in my book review of The Journeyer.  Between 1200 and 1300, founded and established largely by Genghis Khan, it covered 33 million square kilometers (about 13 million square miles) which is about a quarter of the world’s land area today and the majority of the known world then. That makes it the largest continuous empire in history. Even the Soviet Union was not that large.

Mongol Empire

Genghis Khan’s hordes completely overran all civilizations they encountered. They effectively employed horses as military technology, their warriors were fierce and fearless fighting machines, and their brutality and complete horde behavior was unseen until then. This combination of traits, along with Genghis Khan’s military instinct, quickly made them the world’s first and only super power.

As they advanced against civilization after civilization, they brutally killed all the men and raped and then enslaved the girls and young women. The Mongols killed approximately 11% of mankind or about 40 million people.

A Carnegie Institution research project claims that the Mongols may have caused the world’s first anthropogenic climate change, that time cooling the earth. By killing so many people, vast tracts of agricultural land could no longer be cultivated for generations, and natural reforestation took over the fallow fields, removing significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cause noticeable global cooling.

Genghis Khan himself raped so many women and fathered so many children, it is estimated that some 10% of the male population of Asia are his direct descendants. The harem that he kept was of enormous size. In Mongolia alone as many as 200,000 of the country’s current two million people could be Genghis Khan descendants. Did Khan contribute to mankind in any tangible way other than spreading his seed? For the most part, he was a barbarian.

What does all this have to do with today’s militant Islamic Imperialism?

People and “governments” that condone stoning of its own citizens, killing of apostates, raping of females belonging to different tribes of their own religion, and ritual beheadings of innocent people are certainly barbarians.

When hordes of barbarians take over neighboring countries, or grow within countries, they need to be stopped at the root, at the beginning. Not doing so can cause the deaths of millions. Khan could have been stopped before he got big enough. Britain and France could have squashed Hitler when he took over the Rheinland in 1936, and in the process averted WW II. Stalin could have been stopped before he killed 10 million of his own people.

To repeat my reader’s comment:

…the nightmare of our global history demonstrates that wishing away such bad ideas comes with yet another horde of barbarians at the door.

This got my attention. Now, what do we do?