I appreciate Mark Krikorian’s fair description of my post criticising this idea of his about how to combat and defeat “radical Islam.”  We are still in disagreement about his proposal, but let me say a couple of things about his response.  He wrote:

Islam will change, but only (or at least sooner) if we pursue some variation of what Larry Auster calls “separationism.” “Separationism” is the isolation of Islam from the rest of the world through military action, restrictions on immigration, and other means, presumably including a radically more aggressive search for alternative automobile fuels.

I grant Mr. Krikorian that Islam will change, as any religion with so many adherents spread across the globe would inevitably change over time, and it has changed before.  The first difficulty is that certain kinds of Islam already have changed in the past, and many of the changes wrought by revivalism and Salafism have been to take Islam in quite the opposite direction of the “moderate” Islam Mr. Krikorian envisions emerging in the aftermath of this apparently militarised embargo of the Islamic world.  As a kind of glorified sanctions regime, it would have many of the adverse, undesirable effects of a sanctions regime.  Militarised embargoes are also not generally known to help bring down their targets, but rather reinforce the more hard-line and radical elements inside a country while the population is cut off from the outside world and forced to fall back on whatever the local authorities tell them.     

I think the separationism described here (with which I do not entirely disagree, at least as far immigration is concerned) would certainly cause a change in the Islamic world.  It is not clear to me, however, that the change would necessarily be the kind Mr. Krikorian hopes to see.  If such an isolation of the Islamic world from the West were possible, the isolation of that world from the rest would never be complete in any case, as large parts of the rest of the world are not interested in isolating themselves from the Islamic world.  India cannot isolate itself from that world without cutting itself in two and closing itself off from markets for its labour.  China would probably opportunistically try to fill any void left by Westerners.  A policy of isolation combined with military action would seem to combine the worst of both worlds, since it would reinforce the most violent instincts among jihadis and build up sympathy for them while rejecting any alternative connection.  It would be our Cuba policy writ large, but with an added refusal to take in refugees.  I suppose the idea here is to create sufficient internal pressures within the Islamic world such that something gives way in dramatic fashion, but if the end result would be to encourage internecine strife inside this isolated Islamic world it seems as if this would simply strengthen the worst elements and produce an Islamic world in far worse shape, politically, socially and economically, than exists today.  Everything that fuels jihadism would remain, and the indigenous forces that oppose it would probably have been swept away and purged in the process.