The Clash of Ideas in World Politics: Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change, 1510-2010

Princeton University Press
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Some blame the violence and unrest in the Muslim world on Islam itself, arguing that the religion and its history is inherently bloody. Others blame the United States, arguing that American attempts to spread democracy by force have destabilized the region, and that these efforts are somehow radical or unique. Challenging these views, The Clash of Ideas in World Politics reveals how the Muslim world is in the throes of an ideological struggle that extends far beyond the Middle East, and how struggles like it have been a recurring feature of international relations since the dawn of the modern European state.

John Owen examines more than two hundred cases of forcible regime promotion over the past five centuries, offering the first systematic study of this common state practice. He looks at conflicts between Catholicism and Protestantism between 1520 and the 1680s; republicanism and monarchy between 1770 and 1850; and communism, fascism, and liberal democracy from 1917 until the late 1980s. He shows how regime promotion can follow regime unrest in the eventual target state or a war involving a great power, and how this can provoke elites across states to polarize according to ideology. Owen traces how conflicts arise and ultimately fade as one ideology wins favor with more elites in more countries, and he demonstrates how the struggle between secularism and Islamism in Muslim countries today reflects broader transnational trends in world history.

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About the author

John M. Owen IV is associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 19, 2010
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781400836765
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Comparative Politics
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / International Relations / General
Religion / Religion, Politics & State
Social Science / Islamic Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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John M. Owen IV
Political Islam has often been compared to ideological movements of the past such as fascism or Christian theocracy. But are such analogies valid? How should the Western world today respond to the challenges of political Islam? Taking an original approach to answer this question, Confronting Political Islam compares Islamism's struggle with secularism to other prolonged ideological clashes in Western history. By examining the past conflicts that have torn Europe and the Americas—and how they have been supported by underground networks, fomented radicalism and revolution, and triggered foreign interventions and international conflicts—John Owen draws six major lessons to demonstrate that much of what we think about political Islam is wrong.

Owen focuses on the origins and dynamics of twentieth-century struggles among Communism, Fascism, and liberal democracy; the late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century contests between monarchism and republicanism; and the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century wars of religion between Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and others. Owen then applies principles learned from the successes and mistakes of governments during these conflicts to the contemporary debates embroiling the Middle East. He concludes that ideological struggles last longer than most people presume; ideologies are not monolithic; foreign interventions are the norm; a state may be both rational and ideological; an ideology wins when states that exemplify it outperform other states across a range of measures; and the ideology that wins may be a surprise.

Looking at the history of the Western world itself and the fraught questions over how societies should be ordered, Confronting Political Islam upends some of the conventional wisdom about the current upheavals in the Muslim world.

Jenny Nordberg
An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl

In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child--a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.

The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents’ attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults.

At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere.
Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik
 Al-Qur'an, the Guidance for mankind, is a unique translation of the Holy Qur'an in contemporary American English. It includes the Biography of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, his mission as a Prophet, his ranking as in the human history. Text is paragraphed by theme and theme is written in the margins on each page for easy reference. Its features include - 

(1) Field Testing the Communication of Divine Message: The unique feature of this translation is its field testing for over 3 1/2 years to improve the communication and understanding of the Divine Message. Translation passages were given to the New Muslim and Non-Muslim high school and college students for reading under the supervision of various Ulema (scholars). After reading, the person was asked to explain as to what he/she understood from the passage. If his/her understanding was the same as is in the Arabic Text of the Holy Qur'an then we concluded that we have been successful in conveying the Divine Message properly. If his/her understanding was different than what the Qur'anic verses were stating, we kept on rewording the translation until those verses were understood properly. It was tremendous patience on part of the participants. May Allah reward them all. 

(2) Simplicity: In this translation Simple Language and Direct Approach is used for appealing to the common sense of scholars and common people. 

(3) Understandability: There are no foot notes to refer and no commentary or lengthy explanations to read. All necessary explanations have been incorporated right there in the text with italic type setting to differentiate from the translation of the meanings of Qur'anic Arabic Text. 

(4) Outline of Pertinent Information: Before the start of each Srah, information relating to its Period of Revelation, Major Issues, Divine Laws and Guidance has been presented as an outline. Then a summary of the preceding events has been tabulated for the reader to understand the histo! rical background to grasp the full meaning of the Divine Message. 

(5) Reviews, Input and Approvals: This project was started in 1991 and initial draft completed in 1994. Then the Translation was sent to different Ulema (Scholars) in Town and throughout United States for their review and input. After their reviews and input it was sent to Jme Al-Azhar Al-Sharif in Egypt, Ummal Qur in Saudi Arabia and International Islamic University in Pakistan for their review, input and approval. This translation was published after their reviews and approvals.

John M. Owen IV
Political Islam has often been compared to ideological movements of the past such as fascism or Christian theocracy. But are such analogies valid? How should the Western world today respond to the challenges of political Islam? Taking an original approach to answer this question, Confronting Political Islam compares Islamism's struggle with secularism to other prolonged ideological clashes in Western history. By examining the past conflicts that have torn Europe and the Americas—and how they have been supported by underground networks, fomented radicalism and revolution, and triggered foreign interventions and international conflicts—John Owen draws six major lessons to demonstrate that much of what we think about political Islam is wrong.

Owen focuses on the origins and dynamics of twentieth-century struggles among Communism, Fascism, and liberal democracy; the late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century contests between monarchism and republicanism; and the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century wars of religion between Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and others. Owen then applies principles learned from the successes and mistakes of governments during these conflicts to the contemporary debates embroiling the Middle East. He concludes that ideological struggles last longer than most people presume; ideologies are not monolithic; foreign interventions are the norm; a state may be both rational and ideological; an ideology wins when states that exemplify it outperform other states across a range of measures; and the ideology that wins may be a surprise.

Looking at the history of the Western world itself and the fraught questions over how societies should be ordered, Confronting Political Islam upends some of the conventional wisdom about the current upheavals in the Muslim world.

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