Russia & Islamic World

Mar 26th, 2006, in News, by

An alliance between the Russian & Islamic world.

It has been said on occasion that Russia sees an alliance with the Islamic world, assuming that the Islamic world can be treated as one bloc, as some sort of clever strategy to shore up their fading influence on world events. It appears some people in Indonesia are enthusiastic about the prospect as well.

There are several reports in the Indonesian press today, suaramerdeka, mediaindo, for example, about the upcoming meeting interfax on the 27th and 28th of this month between Russian and Islamic leaders in Moscow. The Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Yevgeny Primakov will chair the meeting with “former leaders and foreign ministers of 20 Islamic states, including Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and others” in order “to discuss what joint actions can be taken in order to prevent a clash of civilizations”.

Din Syamsuddin, is not a former leader or a foreign minister but he is the chairman of the second largest Muslim group in the country, Muhammadiyah, and his willingness to jaunt off to Moscow to attend the talkfest is some evidence of the attractiveness of the Russia-Islam alliance idea to some in Indonesia. (It would be interesting to know what Din Syamsuddin and other Islamic leaders attending the conference think of this idea interfax from a Russian missionary.)

At any rate Din doesn’t seem to see the proposed alliance as a way to “prevent a clash of civilizations” but rather:

If the alliance/cooperation came into being then it would be an imposing power in the world and could end the domination of the United States.
(Jika, kerja sama itu terwujud maka akan menjadi kekuatan dahsyat di dunia dan bisa mengakhiri dominasi tunggal AS di dunia.)

A Chinese-Islamic alliance, that might make some tremble, but Russia is just about a doomed nation – unless they manage to pull themselves together some time and reverse the decline in Russian fertility. indexmundi.

Din added that the Muslim world makes an attractive partner for Russia, with its strength in both human and natural resources, its glorious Islamic history, and, the most important thing, the moral integrity that makes Muslims people who can be trusted.

26th August 2006. Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsudin calls for westerners to be taught the true nature of Islam, and for an alliance with Russia.

Din suggests antara discussions, talks and conferences between Muslim and western countries as ideal vehicles by which westerners and others can learn the true nature of Islam, that it is peace loving.

He mentioned the forthcoming Islamic world-Russia strategic partnership meeting, to be held in the city of Kazan in Tatarstan between 29th-31st August, as an example of a good venue in which the re-education of non-Muslims could be done. The first such meeting was held in March of this year.

On the question of the importance of Russia to the Islamic world, as the latter attempts to deal with the power of America, Din said that Russia was a resource rich country with a still significant role to play in the world. Russia and the world of Islam would make a winning combination. He said detik, while addressing the Russian and British ambassadors to Indonesia:

If the strength of Russia is combined with the potential strength of the Islamic world then together they could be a balancing power in the world. Global injustice today is caused by the hegemonic superpower of America. I hope that the meeting in Kazan will be more advanced and concrete in its discussions of cooperation between the two parties.
(Ini juga kalau dikombinasikan dengan kekuatan dunia Islam yang potensial bisa menjadi kekuatan penyeimbang dari dunia. Global justice yang dialami saat ini akibat hegemoni superpower AS. Saya harap pertemuan di Kazan ini bisa lebih maju dan konkret untuk membahas kerjasama kedua belah pihak.)

9 Comments on “Russia & Islamic World”

  1. Qi says:

    For different civilizations to be in a clash against each other as has been hypothesized by Huntington is bad for humanity.

    Engaging different civilizations for peaceful purposes is much more wiser decision and is a purposeful action for humanity.

  2. R. Patterson says:

    One could say that they deserve each other as both could be seen as untrusworthy and self-serving. Neither will ever trust the other so it will be a ‘great?’ partnership. R. Patterson

  3. Gravelrash says:

    I’d have thought Indonesia had a bit more self-repect (yes, even those who are totally corrupt). Once they find out how Russians think of little brown people, things might change!

  4. Paul Dale says:

    Seems like a diificult arrangement at best though. Although both Islamic world and Russians have mutual “dislike” of the west, Russia has a long history of battles against Muslims in places like Chechnya and the like (should get worse as Russia becomes more imperialistic again). This is still ongoing, unlikely to end soon, hard to imagine Muslims ignoring this. But one never knows . . . .

  5. Paul Dale says:

    I should mention, thanks for your blog, it is very useful.

    Concerning the population link:
    I know you have mentioned fertility rates before and would suggest not putting so much stock in them as an indicator of future geopolitical success or failure (although I understand the emphasis). All populations, e.g. wolf population, have varying degrees of fertility – in nature nothing works on a straight-line basis. In addition, extrapolating long-term trends from short-term data doesn’t necessarily make much sense (although it does so here to a large extent I agree). Most importantly, you have to look at the reasons behind the trend.

    High fertility rates in African countries over recent periods (and currently I believe) are hardly a reason to predict cultural/economic/geopolitical success – they were just a good indicator that GDP per capita was going to drop.

    Also, as income rises and women have more freedom (i.e. to be single) = fertility rates drop. Very strong correlation, Japan example. As the Japanes population drops in the near future, possibly this year, we don’t know what affects this will have. To combat labor shortage – usage of technology, creativity and elimination of some social taboos, etc. will increase. GDP per Capita may increase. In reality, the outlook for Japanese economy looks bettter today than anytime in the last 17 years.

    Iran, just had a demographic boom – a MASSIVE % of people under age 30. Thus, they are hardly on the short-end of the demographic stick (although I know you respectively think otherwise). It is natural fertility rates are going to drop after such a boom, and as demogrpahic “balls” move through the pipeline. Rates may drop more since the country is on the verge of a revolution / disaster. But Iran is well place geographically, population size, culturally to dominate the Mid-east if it doesn’t implode. Arabs very much are of this opinion.

    Russia, is becoming extremely wealthy, more so if commodity trends continue over the next 20 years & wealth trickles down to populace / income levels rise off such a miserable base. Rising fertility would accompany this and make the latest numbers not so useful. In any event, Russia’s commodity wealth is going to increase its stature in the world again going forward, and likely their arrogant imperialism. You already see this with renewed intervention in the former republics. Just the opposite trend predicted by simply looking at fertility rates.


  6. David says:

    Hi Paul, I realise I sometimes put too much emphasis on fertility rates, it’s just something that jumps out at me, but saying Russia is doomed because of low fertility was a bit of throwaway comment.

    As I understand it fertility rates are based on levels of female literacy, as you say, and levels of religious belief, and more generally confidence in one’s culture and future. But it’s probably a very difficult thing to measure.

    In world power politics terms, abililty to project power in a physical way, which I guess is the topic of this post, do nations that are vanishing have much will to carry out what they are technically capable of? Western Europe seems not to have. Russia and Iran though are quite different beasts.

    Iran though is facing a big crisis. Their oil is running out, they won’t, I think, be able to export what they have left in another 20 years. Plus they are going to be burdened with an aging population. This is hard for rich countries to deal with, imagine how difficult for poor or middling countries like Iran. Without oil what do they have? Are there many companies who want to relocate production to iran, like happens in China and India? What future do they have? I don’t know, I’m just asking.

    For Russia I don’t see how rising wealth equates with rising fertility? I’m not at all an expert on these areas though.

    I appreciate your input.

  7. Paul Dale says:

    Thanks for the added input.

    Yes, I am not contradicting any of your conclusions (good as mine that is for sure) it is the factual characterizations of aging Iran specifically on a couple occasions that I am trying to address – definitely easy to be worried about the place of course. But as for demographics specifically . . .

    Iran is young, by any measure, 28% under age 14! Something like 45% under 25? off the top of my head. The polar opposite of Japan. Raising issue about Japan aging, then Iran aging? You see? . . . yes, every country has a “lump” in the population that will someday be old, what country shouldn’t we worry about then? But Iran is +40 years off. I hope I am explaining that well.

    Also, oil reserves aren’t even close to running out, PROVEN reserves of many decades even with the lack of exploration over the last decade (which China will likely fund in coming decades).

    Side-note: Iran doesn’t have a social security system to go bankrupt, as you know they have extended families, and have dealth with aging populations many times over the millenia. Rich countries have the problem of mismatching liabilities of social security systems because wealth of course allows for breakdown of the extended family.

    I must say again though for the last time, not to be a kiss-a#*, your blog is much appreciated. Great links and commentary, very well done.

  8. Slava says:

    Don’t forget that Russians have fought more wars with Muslims than anyone else – with Ottoman Empire alone 23 wars. Russians are Europeans and they would never collide with anyone else. They flirt with you and China just to make Europeans and Americans value them more.

  9. Joe Bruno says:

    The description given above was only by the Moslems. Nothing was said by the Russians themselves. It sounds like more Moslem propaganda, which has a tendency to greatly exagerrate things. It;s the Moslem way to speak in grand phrases and make something big out of a small thing.

    This meeting, from the Russian perspective, is for economic and not military or political purposes.
    The Russian economy is hurting and they need trading partners and cash, which the oil-rich Arabs have. The Russians are looking for customers, not political allies and they have shown in the past that they will sell their goods to anyone. Look all over the world and see the Soviet AK-47 being used by every nation not allied with the United States.

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