We know what Ghengis Khan would do


September 12, 2012 by Julia

Here is what Ghengis Khan did when an out-of-control Islamic state killed his ambassadors:

Genghis then sent a 500-man caravan of Muslims to establish official trade ties with Khwarezmia. However Inalchuq, the governor of the Khwarezmian city of Otrar, had the members of the caravan that came from Mongolia arrested, claiming that the caravan was a conspiracy against Khwarezmia. It seems unlikely, however, that any members of the trade delegation were spies. Nor does it seem likely that Genghis was trying to provoke a conflict with the Khwarezmid Empire, considering he was still dealing with the Jin in northeastern China.

Genghis Khan then sent a second group of three ambassadors (one Muslim and two Mongols) to meet the shah himself and demand the caravan at Otrar be set free and the governor be handed over for punishment. The shah had both of the Mongols shaved and had the Muslim beheaded before sending them back to Genghis Khan. Muhammad also ordered the personnel of the caravan to be executed. This was seen as a grave affront to the Khan himself, who considered ambassadors “as sacred and inviolable.” This led Genghis Khan to attack the Khwarezmian Dynasty. The Mongols crossed the Tien Shan mountains, coming into the Shah’s empire in 1219.

After the remaining centers of resistance were destroyed, Genghis returned to Mongolia, leaving Mongolian garrison troops behind. The destruction and absorption of the Khwarezmid Empire would prove to be a sign of things to come for the Islamic world, as well as Eastern Europe. The new territory proved to be an important stepping stone for Mongol armies under the reign of Genghis’ son Ögedei to invade Kievan Rus’ and Poland, and future campaigns brought Mongol arms to Austria, the Baltic Sea and Germany. For the Islamic world, the destruction of Khwarezmid left Iraq, Turkey and Syria wide open. All three were eventually subjugated by future Khans.

Here is what our President “did” when an out-of-control Islamist mob killed our ambassador to protest freedom of speech on the other side of the world:

In a statement released Wednesday morning, President Obama called the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which led to the death of J. Christopher Stevens, the ambassador, and three other Americans “outrageous.” The attack apparently began as a reaction by an angry mob to a YouTube video denouncing Islam’s founding prophet.

“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants,” Mr. Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

EDIT: There was a new statement literally as I was writing this.  The president promised to “see that justice will be done.”

Talk is cheap, Mr. President.  I know you believe that the attack was “outrageous,” that you “unequivocally oppose” it, and that you want “justice.”  All thinking people do, so you aren’t really making some kind of courageous stand by saying it.  The question is, will you let the mob win?  THAT is where we will see the relative courage and foreign policy acumen of our president, not in platitudes that merely say part of what we are all thinking to a larger audience.  What kind of idea are you, Mr. President?

The Telegraph spells out some of the pitfalls facing the U.S., but this is, essentially, an act of war.  Maybe not by the government of Libya, but surely by some of its citizens.  Now, I would not want to live under Ghengis Khan (for several reasons I will happily discuss if anyone really wants me to ramble on about medieval Mongolian history), but I also do not want to live in a country which violent radicals feel free to attack with impunity.  I feel like there must be a happy medium somewhere in there where we can remind people that America is not to be trifled with, without wantonly slaughtering civilians.

I also don’t want my government suggesting that we have to appease the violent radicals.  Yes, just because you have the right to speak, it does not mean you should necessarily speak every thought that occurs to you–it’s simple politeness, although you have every right to choose to not be polite.  But I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop speaking, or supporting Coptic Christians, because of threats of violence from totalitarian mobs.

By the way, if you have the stomach for it, look at what Kos and its commenters have to say.  These people are allergic to truth–and actual solutions.  What should we do when someone kills our ambassador?  No clue, but DON’T YOU DARE criticize the President’s non-response!  RACIST!


7 thoughts on “We know what Ghengis Khan would do

  1. lelnet says:

    Offer whatever government presently exists in Libya the same choice Bush offered the then-government of Afghanistan: prove your own non-involvement by delivering up the guilty parties to face justice, or face it yourselves as their presumed collaborators.

    By all means, I’d be fine with giving them some time (say, a few days…maybe even a week or so) to get the job done. In the meantime, we’d prepare to follow through in case they didn’t. And by “follow through”, I mean “smash them, smash their government, then declare victory and go home”. None of this “stick around for over a decade throwing taxpayers’ money and soldiers’ blood down a bottomless hole, trying to rebuild the place in our image”.

    • Julia says:

      I want to be all like, YES, THIS, but the problem is that we just had a hand in installing this government. I mean, sure, it would send a great message to the other “friendly” governments that we have propped up (“hey, control your angry mobs, or we will fuck you up”), but at the same time, I don’t want to get too involved in playing kingmaker. Part of me kind of wants to be like, “Screw you guys, we’re out” and leave entirely.

      • lelnet says:

        Oh yes, by all means let’s get out and stay out of the kingmaker business. We really ought to have learned better by now. Which is why “then declare victory and go home” is probably the most critical part of my proposal. How other countries are governed is not our business, except to the extent that we’re invited in to help. Who does the governing is also not our business, unless they MAKE it our business by either ordering attacks upon us by their military or passive-aggressively tolerating attacks upon us by their citizens. And in the latter case, it only remains our business for long enough to depose them.

        Our mistake, post-9/11-the-first, was in sticking around long enough to try and play a hand in who came next. “Who comes next” isn’t our business, as long as whoever it is knows that, if they repeat the errors of their predecessors, they will share the fate of their predecessors.

        A man can dream, I suppose.

        I don’t blame the present situation on American policy. Qaddafi and Mubarak were genuine scumbags, and good riddance to them both. But they were deposed by Libyans and Egyptians, not Americans. What “aid” we did provide to the rebels was probably a mistake. We’d have been better off standing on the sidelines and cheering. But whatever would have been the ideal course, we’re not accountable for what those whose victory we cheered for subsequently decide to do.

      • Julia says:

        I’ve never objected to responding to requests to help oust oppressive dictators (I don’t think it was wrong to help Libya or Egypt, and we should have helped the Iranian rebels a long time ago), but I AM starting to get a little disillusioned. Why should we help people get rid of their dictators if they’re just going to replace them with different totalitarian regimes? Nudging the selection of the next government could be in the interest of the American people, but at this point, I’m seriously doubting our ability to bet on the right horse–so maybe it IS in our best interest to get rid of one asshole, and just go back again if necessary to get rid of the next asshole they vote into office instead of trying to pick the next ineffective leader ourselves. Sigh.

  2. Ish says:

    “Did you know that two thousand years ago a Roman citizen could walk across the face of the known world free of the fear of molestation? He could walk across the earth unharmed, cloaked only in the words “Civis Romanis” – I am a Roman citizen. So great was the retribution of Rome, universally understood as certain, should any harm befall even one of its citizens. Where was Morris’s protection, or anyone else on that plane? Where is the retribution for the families and where is the warning to the rest of the world that Americans shall walk this earth unharmed, lest the clenched fist of the most mighty military force in the history of mankind comes crashing down on your house!?” President Jed Bartlet, “The West Wing” (1.3)

    From Ghengis Khan to Ceasar, Alexander to Ptolemy, Queen Victoria to President Jefferson… Hell, Constantine and Joe Stalin. Killing an Ambassador is an act of war… and if you kill the citizens of the neighboring superpower, you get an ass kicking.

    It’s kind of sad when the ultra-liberal Aaron Sorkin recognizes a fact of reality that eludes the resident of the actual Oval Office. Carthago delenda est.

    • lelnet says:

      It’s kind of sad, generally, that there’s absolutely no possible way that a guy as conservative as Jed Bartlett could even get nominated as a Democrat today. Hell, they wouldn’t even let a guy like that SPEAK at their convention today, let alone headline their ticket. In 1999, he’s a liberal’s liberal. In 2012, if he were a real person, he’d be booted out of the party. How far we’ve fallen down that rabbit hole…

  3. […] like it when Americans exercise their First Amendment rights?  (Note:  Yesterday, I linked directly to the embassy’s statement.  Today, that webpage is missing.  […]

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