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A struggle between two views of civilization

By William Lewis

Western civilization fought a struggle with the Islamic civilization on and off for 400 years from the 10th to the 14th centuries. During that time the main issue was over the control of the Middle East holy lands during the Crusades.

Mainly the countries of England, France, Italy and German states marched armies led by their kings into the Mideast. They engaged in endless battles with the Moslems, who had occupied the holy land. A compromise was eventually negotiated. There has been relative peace between these two civilizations up to the present time except for outbreaks of war in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Today it seems we have a major outbreak and will continue for a considerable period of time. The issues are different from the earlier time, but the same amount of intensity and dedication is present.

It has been suggested that the overthrow of autocratic rulers in Libya and Iraq led to strong religious groups taking control of the governments of these nations and forming Islamic states under religious principles. That in turn has led to Islamic aggression to the Western world. That seems to be the case, but I would also add the overthrow of the shah of Iran in 1979 and his replacement by zealous Islamic religious leadership.

The shah had for the most part worked closely with Western countries encouraging trade and building the Iran armed forces. After the overthrow of the Shah’s government, the new government adopted a hostile attitude towards the Western nations, especially the United States. Today Iran has taken a leadership role in confronting America and has encouraged terrorism against the West.

With the rise of nationalism and religious zealousness in the Islamic civilization, the West is again confronted with serious threats, especially terrorism.

As the overall situation is coming upon us, we see war in Syria and other Mideast locations leading to larger wars involving the major Western powers. This leads to a continual military encounter going on for years into the future.

As we see the first major encounter occurred in the Middle Ages for 400 years, hopefully this will not be the case today in our recent conflict with the near-eastern world.

Can the Eastern world live peacefully with the Western civilization? An assumption is that there cannot be peace as long as terrorism exists and grows. This type of activity must be brought to an end.

Since the conflict seems to be continuing for an indefinite period of time, it can only become more brutal and vicious. Every effort must be made to end this war before it leads to much greater sacrifice and casualties in the future.

During the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s the struggle of the Western world was Communism, which was a serious threat. The struggle we face now is even more serious.

The present struggle is not just between nations, but nations and parts of civilizations. We can only hope that the struggle will end in the foreseeable future.

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