The Barbary Wars and the Treaties with Tripoli

The Barbary Wars and the Treaties with Tripoli

by Saul Montes-Bradley II, edited by Larry Nathan Burns

Originally published in Flintlock & Powderhorn, Vol. 24, No 2, May 2006 [1]

Sailing the Mediterranean may be quite a pleasurable experience nowadays, a fact readily attested to by the thousands who cruise its blue waters every year and by the rich and famous who make it their playground. But while it has always been a busy commercial seaway, it was not always as safe as today. A merchant’s rich cargo was viewed as treasure or booty by avaricious pirates, and from Roman times marauders roamed the waters from the strait of Bosporus to Gibraltar plundering cargoes and enslaving crews. By the end of the 18th Century, things had not improved much. Pirates from North African countries from Libya to Algeria (Barbary Coast) would regularly attack ships of any nation with the consequent loss of treasure and liberty for their owners and crews. The usual way of dealing with such practices was to pay ransom for the hostages. Alternatively, protection could be purchased to prevent attacks altogether, and the great powers of that time found it generally more convenient to pay for protection (tribute) than to engage in a war of uncertain results. Perhaps a weightier consideration was the fact that paid-off pirates would leave British and French ships unmolested while continuing to prey on all of their competitors, thus not so unwittingly contributing to the perpetuation of Franco-British dominance over Mediterranean trade.

On the other hand, defeating the pirate states in war would have freed commerce for all nations and thus represented the loss of a clear advantage. American ships fell within the protection afforded British vessels until the break of hostilities in the Revolutionary War, and later under that afforded the French until the treaty of Paris made them wholly independent of any power. They then entered the wider category of “pay or become prey,” an unwelcome state of affairs that took a heavy toll on American merchant endeavors in the area. It appears that the American independence brought more to the world than just a new address, for the US ambassador to France, who would later become George Washington’s Secretary of State, was the first to propose what at the time was a revolutionary solution to the quandary: go to war if necessary, but pay no tribute. It was easier said than done. When Thomas Jefferson became that Secretary of State, he sent Joel Barlow, a known and able diplomat, to negotiate with the Bey of Tripoli. After long and tedious negotiations, Barlow managed to work out a treaty with two unique characteristics: It clearly stated the United States’ impartiality in matters of religion, and it consented to pay tribute in exchange for protection. It appears that Jefferson’s convincing arguments notwithstanding, the US Navy was in no position to wage a full-scale war across the Atlantic. The Treaty with Tripoli was eventually remitted to the Senate by Washington’s successor:

“Gentlemen of the Senate: I lay before you, for your consideration and advice, a treaty of perpetual peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary, concluded at Tripoli, on the 4th day of November, 1796. John Adams”

 The Senate, after due consideration and a report from committee decided:

“Wednesday, June 7, 1797. Mr. Bloodworth, from the Committee to whom was referred the consideration of the treaty of peace and friendship, between the United States of America and the Bey and subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary, made report, that it be adopted; and the report being amended, On the question to agree to the report as amended, It was determined in the affirmative, Yeas 23 [a unanimous vote]. The yeas and nays being required by one-fifth of the Senators present, Those who voted in the affirmative, are—Bingham, Bloodworth, Blount, Bradford, Brown, Cocke, Foster, Goodhue, Hillhouse, Howard, Langdon, Latimer, Laurance, Livermore, Martin, Paine , Read, Rutherfurd, Sedgwick, Stockton, Tattnall, Tichenor, and Tracy.”

And therefore, it was “RESOLVED, (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring therein,) That the Senate do advise and consent to the ratification of the treaty of peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary. ORDERED, That the Secretary lay this resolution before the President of the United States.”

Indeed, only three days later, President Adams proclaimed:

“Saturday June 10, 1797. Now be it known, That I John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty do, by and with the advice consent [sic]of the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof. And to the End that the said Treaty may be observed and performed with good Faith on the part of the United States, I have ordered the premises to be made public; And I do hereby enjoin and require all persons bearing office civil or military within the United States, and all others citizens or inhabitants thereof, faithfully to observe and fulfill the said Treaty and every clause and article thereof.”

These transactions and the full text of the Treaty were published in The Journal of the Senate, including the Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (John Adams Administration), and several newspapers in New York and Philadelphia.

It came as a surprise then that 134 years later the Treaty became subject of a controversy that lasts to our days. At issue was Article XI, which reads: “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [SIC],—and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan [SIC] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

It appears that in 1930, a Dutch scholar—Dr. C. Snouk Hurgronje—purportedly located the only surviving Arabic copy of the treaty and found that when translated, Article XI was actually a letter, mostly gibberish, from the Bey of Algiers to the ruler of Tripoli. No explanation was advanced for the obvious lapse of context between articles X and XII, nor of the provenance of the alleged copy. That sufficed to have numerous claims put forward as to the illegitimacy of Article XI and its “surreptitious” inclusion in the treaty itself. The fact, however, is that from 1796 until 1930 Article XI was cited numerous times in legal decisions, and successfully used at least once to further our diplomatic interests—during the American takeover of the Philippines. In fact, Hurgronje’s “discovery” was that of an alleged copy in Arabic, the authenticity of which was guaranteed by a Knight of the Order of Christ at the service of the Most Catholic Majesty of Spain that had been used for a translation into Italian widely circulated in the Papal States.

The reader will forgive the authors for sounding a bit facetious; as one cannot help but believe that an obviously flawed foreign-language copy of unknown origin, certified by a Portuguese warrior-monk at the service of a Spanish “Very Catholic” monarch to be used by a third foreign power has—as well it should have—no bearing on discussions regarding the value of a treaty affecting US law. Gibe at it—as one will— the evidence suggests that there was an Article XI, and that the gibberish contained in the Arabic and Italian translations was not it. Precedence should and must be given to the version studied by and advised and consented to by the Senate (unanimously at that), promulgated by the President and published in every compilation of Law since that promulgation for more than a century.

Ironically, and for all this 20th Century hullabaloo, the treaty was short lived on account of the second characteristic described above, and its real deficiency: contrary to Jefferson’s desires, the Treaty with Tripoli stipulated the payment of tribute to allow for the protection of American merchant vessels and, as he feared, tribute only begat more tribute and soon new hostile acts and demands of payment made the situation untenable for American shipping. To make matters worse, and expressing his discontent for lateness in American payments, the Bey of Tripoli exacted a penalty by resuming harassment of US ships. Jefferson, now President, ordered the US Navy to blockade Tripoli and to protect shipping lines for American merchants. After a series of successful encounters, on 31 October 1803 the Philadelphia, a 36-gun frigate under the command of Capt. William Bainbridge ran aground on an uncharted reef off the port of Tripoli, was quickly surrounded by Tripolitan gunboats, and surrendered—its crew yielding 300 prisoners to the Bey. There was no recourse but war. Later, on 15 February 1804, in what Admiral Horatio Nelson would call one of the most bold and daring acts of his age, Lt. Stephen Decatur, Jr. and a small party boarded and destroyed the grounded frigate.

After two years of war, Tripoli, Tunisia and Algeria agreed to the terms negotiated by US envoy Tobias Lear and signed a second Treaty with Tripoli in 1806. As if to answer critics of a later century, the Treaty of 1806 also contained a declaration of US impartiality towards religion, this time Article XVI: “AS the government of the United States of America has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility of Mussulmen, and as the said States never have entered into any voluntary war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [SIC] except in defense of their just rights to freely navigate the high seas, it is declared by the contracting parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two nations. And the consuls and agents of both nations respectively shall have liberty to exercise his religion in his own house. All slaves of the same religion shall not be impeded in going to said consul’s house at hours of prayer.”

The conflict with the Barbary States and its resolution strangely do not figure prominently in American studies and yet, they marked the first foreign challenge to Revolutionary America: the first war the US fought outside its own borders, the first time that the US flag flew victorious across the Atlantic—at the capture of Derna, under the able direction of William Eaton, who is well worth another article—and the first time that the American Navy was successfully used to protect shipping lines in the high seas. It also marked a qualitative change in the way nations faced extortion from outlawed countries and, while it would take one more war in 1815 to consolidate the notion, tribute was never again exacted for free passage of goods and people in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. In the end, the Barbary Wars proved Jefferson right: whatever the cost of war, no course of action is more damaging to nations than submitting to demands imposed by terror. Indeed, a concept that has lost none of its value, and rings especially true today.


To Bigotry No Sanction, To Persecution No Assistance

To Bigotry No Sanction, To Persecution No assistance

Lecture delivered by Sons of the Revolution in the State of Florida President Saul M. Montes-Bradley II at the Mechina Yeshiva in South Miami Beach on August 17th, 2005

Originally published in Flintlock & Powderhorn, Vol. 23, No 3, October 2005 [1]

The times immediately following the Revolutionary War were not easy for anyone in the fledgling republic. Economic difficulties added to political uncertainty to create a period of great anxiety. Among those wary of the changes taking place were the members of the Hebrew congregation of Newport, Rhode Island. One of the first communities to answer Roger Williams’ call to a new colony based on the utmost principles of tolerance, the fifteen families who arrived between 1654 and 1658 from Recife or perhaps Aruba and New Amsterdam, constituted the congregation of Kahal Kadosh Yeshuat Israel, the oldest Jewish Congregation in the US. In 1738, Peter Harrison, the same architect who would later design Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts—among other notable colonial buildings—donated his work for the design and construction of the Touro Synagogue as a new home for the congregation. The building still stands as the oldest continuously occupied synagogue in the nation, sporting several distinct architectural characteristics including a hidden room under the altar, a practice that harkens to the days when the Inquisition made such accommodations a necessity. Its status today as a National Historic Site belies the difficulties faced by its occupants in the years following the Declaration of Independence. The largest Jewish community in Revolutionary times, it was divided and impoverished like its Christian neighbors, facing the exodus of its loyalist members, the failure of the farms and businesses of those who remained behind and unpaid years of service to the cause of the Revolution. The uncertainties of the period of the Articles of Confederation only added to their chagrin. Finally, in 1789, a Constitution was approved and, of particular importance to the subjects of our study today, a Bill of Rights that guaranteed freedom of conscience and a separation of Church and State. Nevertheless, with caution dictated by experience, and taking advantage of newly elected President Washington’s visit to Newport, the Warden of the Newport Congregation wrote a letter to express the congregation’s anxiety and its desire that the new republic be based on toleration not unlike that promised by Williams:

Sir: Permit the children of the stock of Abraham to approach you with the most cordial affection and esteem for your person and merit, and to join with our fellow-citizens in welcoming you to New Port. With pleasure we reflect on those days— those days of difficulty, and danger, when the God of Israel, who delivered David from the peril of the sword,—shielded Your head in the day of battle: —and we rejoice to think, that the same Spirit, who rested in the Bosom of the greatly beloved Daniel enabling him to preside over the Provinces of the Babylonish Empire, rests and ever will rest, upon you, enabling you to discharge the arduous duties of Chief Magistrate in these States. Deprived as we hitherto have been of the invaluable rights of free citizens, we now with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty Disposer of all events—behold a government erected by the majesty of the people—a government which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance, but generously affording to all liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship, deeming every one of whatever nation, tongue, or language, equal parts of the great governmental machine. This so ample and extensive Federal Union, whose base is philanthropy, mutual confidence and public virtue, we cannot but acknowledge to be the work of the great God, who rules in the armies of the heavens and among the inhabitants of the earth, doing whatever seemeth to Him good. For all the blessings of civil and religious liberty which we enjoy under an equal and benign administration, we desire to send up our thanks to the Ancient of days, the great Preserver of men, beseeching Him that the angels who conducted our forefathers through the wilderness into the promised land may graciously conduct you through all the difficulties and dangers of this mortal life; and when, like Joshua, full of days and full of honors, you are gathered to your fathers, may you be admitted into the heavenly paradise to partake of the water of life and the tree of immortality. Done and signed by order of the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, August 17, 1790. Moses Seixas, Warden

Full of Jewish imagery and praise for the President, the letter is also a reminder of why the members of the congregation had joined the revolutionary effort, and it expressed in unequivocal terms their desire that the new government live up to its promise of civil and religious freedom. President Washington’s answer is singularly telling not only for what it says, but for how he says it. Unlike previous replies of the same kind (i.e. to the Jewish Congregation of Savannah, Georgia) Washington makes the words of Warden Seixas’ his own and delivers a reply that clearly establishes his views on religious freedom and his promise that it would be forcibly defended, giving “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance” while resorting to Jewish imagery as if it were his own. The message is as compelling today as it was in 1790 and just as relevant:

“Gentlemen: While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens. The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.” G. Washington

One can hardly imagine the relief and happiness these words from Washington bestowed upon the members of the old congregation of Yeshuat Israel. There it was, in terms that afforded no doubt, the promise of a continuance of the peace and prosperity they had enjoyed since the time their forebears answered the call of Roger Williams—and that remains unfettered to this day. Washington’s correspondence with the Newport Congregation was published in numerous newspapers in the 1790s, spreading a message of tolerance and establishing the free and equal status of all beliefs in the new nation. Alas, not all states were as quick to respond, but even as Maryland prepared to give political rights to its Jewish population in 1824, Governor Worthington resorted to the arguments made by President Washington in this correspondence as sufficient. In the months following Washington’s reply, many more congregations sent him congratulatory addresses, like the following from Manuel Josephson, president of Philadelphia’s Mikve Israel, on behalf of the Hebrew Congregations of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and Richmond, written on December 13th, 1790:

“Sir, It is reserved for you to unite in affection for your character and person every political and religious denomination of men; and in this will the Hebrew congregations aforesaid yield to no class of their fellow- citizens. …The wonders which the Lord of Hosts hath worked in the days of our Forefathers, have taught us, to observe the greatness of His wisdom and His might throughout the events of the late glorious revolution; and while we humble ourselves at His footstool in thanksgiving and praise for the blessing of His deliverance; we acknowledge you, the Leader of American Armies, as his chosen and beloved servant; But not to your sword alone is present happiness to be ascribed; that, indeed, opened the way to the reign of Freedom, but never was it perfectly secure, till your hand gave birth to the Federal Constitution, and you renounced the joys of retirement to seal by your administration in Peace what you had achieved in war. To the eternal God, who is thy refuge, we commit in our prayers the care of thy precious life; and when, full of years, thou shalt be gathered unto thy people, thy righteousness shall go before thee, and we shall remember, amidst our regret, “that the Lord hath set apart the godly for himself,” whilst thy name and thy virtues will remain an indelible memorial on our minds.” Manuel Josephson.

Today, we mark two hundred and fifteen years since Washington’s reply to Warden Seixas, and three hundred and fifty-one since the settlement of the first families of the Yeshuat Israel congregation in Newport.

Think of this, for it is no mean fact. And as you think of this, rejoice and applaud yourselves for continuing to give mankind “examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation,” and that we “all possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.” In the course of the life of many in this room, we will mark four hundred years of continued Peace and Prosperity for the Jewish congregation at Newport. Four Hundred years! There is no other example anywhere at any time in history of a Jewish congregation being free from persecution for four Centuries. Not one. Let me repeat that. There is no other example anywhere nor at any time in history of a Jewish community living free from persecution for nearly four Centuries. None, that is, except that afforded by the land of Roger Williams and George Washington. May we always prove worthy of their efforts, their love of freedom and their noble inheritance. So may it be God’s will.



The Radical Islam Canard

The Radical Islam Canard

Otto Skorzeny and Adolf Hitler at the Wolfeschanze, after the rescue of Mussolini from the Grand Sasso: “Skorzeny, you are a man after my own heart. You have gained the day and crowned our mission with success. Your Führer thanks you!”


In late 1975, after months of fighting lung cancer, SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny died what I hope was a slow and painful death. Thus came to the end a life that reads like an Ian Fleming story from Hell.

In his villa in Marbella, overlooking the Mediterranean, he penned his memoirs, published shortly before checking out from this world in August of 1975.[1]

A self serving tract exploiting his fame as a daring commando who rescued Mussolini from the Grand Sasso and his role in promoting Nazism after the war, he ends with a singular warning:

“We know that Hitler gave a great deal of thought – as did Lenin, by the way – to Clausewitz’s answer to the famous question: ‘What is war?’

His answer is well known;

‘War is only a continuation of politics with other means’

If these means have been fundamentally changed by the atom bomb, only the special action remains as the clearest expression of ‘continuation of politics.’ In most cases such an action is more of a matter of politics or economics than actual military science. Like it or not, a new type of soldier has arisen: an organized adventurer. He must have some of the qualities of a guerilla, a man of science and an inventor, of a scholar and psychologist. He can emerge from the water or fall from the sky, can walk peaceably along the streets of the enemy’s capital or issue him false orders. In reality war is for him an anachronism. In vain the ‘traditional’ generals view him with understandable suspicion. He exists and can no longer disappear from the battlefield; he is the authentic secret weapon of his fatherland.”[2]

He knew what he was talking about. After escaping Germany in 1946, with assistance from Spain’s Fascist dictator Francisco Franco, he landed in Argentina where he became a bodyguard to First Lady Eva Perón, (herself a veteran Abwehr agent) and, some say, her lover. He was not alone. Under the protection of President Juan D. Perón (another Abwehr agent whose campaign in 1946 was finance by Ludwig Freude, LATAM chief for the Abwehr and Peron’s campaign secretary), there were thousands of Nazis working to continue the Führer’s work. Out of their base in Buenos Aires —one might say, at the Presidential Palace there— they created a network that spanned nearly every South American country, hatching all kinds of plots to undermine the US and advance National Socialism.

One of the most prominent members of this singular club was Dr. Johann von Leers, a prominent and prolific apologist of National Socialism who continued his literary production in Buenos Aires, under his own name, until the fall of Perón in 1955. Within a couple of years, led by von Leers and Skorzeny, around 3,000 former SS officers made the trip from Buenos Aires to Cairo where they settled under the protection of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the National Socialist dictator there.  Upon his arrival in Cairo, von Leers proclaimed: Argentina is finished as a superstate. After Peron’s fall, the Jews and the clerics, the vultures and the ravens, took over.”

Johann (Amin Omar) von Leers Berlin, c.1939

From his perch in Cairo, von Leers promoted the destruction of Judeo-Christianism and the expansion of Islam in Europe to achieve a Euro-Arab union through the adoption of a common religion, while praising the persecution of Jews under Islam as an “eternal service to the world;” and proclaiming: “If there is any hope of liberating the world from Jewish tyranny, then with the help of the Muslims who unwaveringly resist Zionism, colonialism and imperialism.”  Even from Argentina, von Leers was already showing his sympathies: From Indonesia to Pakistan and Morocco the green banners of freedom and God’s justice fly against the iniquities of colonialism…and the powerful figure raises in the desert of the upcoming Mahdi, whom Muslims have been awaiting for centuries.”

Amin el-Husseini and Gamal Abdel Nasser Cairo, c. 1956

He found the Mahdi in el-Reis (Der Führer) Nasser, under whose patronage he was instrumental in developing the ideology that still mobilizes Skorzeny’s “new type of soldier.” Von Leers’ house villa on 52 Eleventh Street in the Ma’adi district of Cairo was a central meeting point for Nazis from around the world, and from there he managed a network extending the ratline to Arab countries. No one will ever know how many war criminals he assisted, but we do know of several of the most egregious. In 1950, he arranged for Adolf Eichmann and Karl Klingenfuss’s escape to Argentina. In 1952, he expedited Franz Rademacher’s to Buenos Aires and again in 1955 to Cairo. In 1958, when the Butcher of Buchenwald, Dr. Hans Eisele, jumped bail, he promptly reappeared in Cairo. Von Leers not only arranged for the trip, but also protected him in Egypt against extradition. Soon after, he arranged the trip to Cairo for former Nazi storm trooper Ludwig Pankras Zind, who immediately went to work for Von Leers and Appler.

Skorzeny’s role was to create a special commando unit, the Fedayyen, to carry out attacks within Israel, while von Leers directed the propaganda office.

Recruits for the Feddayeen where Cairo University students who were generally members of the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the most infamous was an engineering student and later Lt. in the Egyptian Army, known to us as Yasser Arafat.[3] Other than Skorzeny, training was in charge of former Gestapo agent Erich Altern, Kreishauptmann in Galicia, Poland, and SS-Untersturmführer Wilhelm Boerner, a brutal guard at Mauthausen who also worked with von Leers in the Information Ministry.[4] Other trainees also sound familiar, including Aymann el-Zawahiri, Abbud al-Zumar, and Sayyed Imam al-Sharif.[5]

Amin el-Husseini and Adolf Hitler Berlin, November 28th, 1941

These many years later, Skorzeny’s “new type of soldier,” still led by his disciples, create havoc in the streets of Western cities while, in a style reminiscent of Neville’s appeasement, we engage in a policy marked by ignorance and inaction, while the social democrats in Europe and the US become willing or unwilling apologists prevented by their own socialist ideologies from identifying the threat.

Tragically, even those who do see the looming danger are blinded by the cloak of Islamism devised by von Leers and al-Hussseini and do not see the National-Socialist agenda pursued by these groups. Many who are ready to launch religious crusades fail to see that these Islamo-Nazis count on alliances and support from “Christian” partners throughout the world, especially in South America.

It’s time to get our eyes on the ball and confront Skorzeny’s new soldiers, from al-Qa’ida to Sacerdotes por el Tercer Mundo or the Talibanes del Altiplano for what they are: the spawn of Nazism, irrespective of the religion behind which they choose to hide or which they use to recruit cannon fodder, and leave religious arguments to theologians. Paraphrasing a 1990’s election slogan: “It’s the ideology, stupid.”

Aymann al-Zawahiri founder and commander of al-Qa’ida. Recruited as a commando when a young medical student at Cairo University


[1] Otto Skorzeny, Maine Kommando Unternehmen, Munich, 1993

[2] Idem, p. 468

[3] Arafat claimed to be a nephew of Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,  SS-Gruppenführer of the Handschar Brigade, who was von Leers friend and mentor. Indeed, von Leers converted to Islam and changed his name to Amin Omar von Leers, “in honor of my friend, the Grand Mufti”.

[4] Saul M. Montes-Bradley II, Gander: Terrorism, Incompetence and the Rise of Islamic National Socialism, South Boston, 2016, Appendix II.

[5] This three were among the founders of al-Jihad while students at Cairo University in 1967. In 1988, al-Zawahiri and al-Sharif became founders of al-Qa’ida, still today under the control of al-Zawahiri.


The Refugee Canard

Barbarians at the Gate, 376

In 376, Fritigern led his downtrodden Thervings to the Danube River, in a desperate drive to escape the advancing Huns. There he was joined by Alatheus and his Greuthungi, and the two Gothic tribes requested asylum from Emperor Valens to settle as refugees in Roman territory. Their numbers cannot be known with precision, but estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000. With Roman armies fighting from Spain to Croatia, Valens was actually pleased at the arrival of the refugees, some 20,000 of whom were already proven soldiers, and allowed Fritigern to cross. For reasons we do not know, the Greuthungi were not granted asylum and remained on the wrong side of the Danube. To be sure, this was not the first time that Rome had accepted refugees in its territory. Valens’ mistake, however, was to part with the custom of breaking up the refugee population into small groups scattered across a vast empire, and to allow Fritigern’s Goths to choose their settlement and remain together.

The traditional method guaranteed both the reduction of any threat by keeping any given population’s numbers low on any particular location, which also facilitated integration — a question that still plagues governments today from Berlin to St. Denis-sur-Seine. However, Valens’ decision to allow the Thervings to settle en masse in Thracia (in the Balkans, modern day Croatia and Serbia), undermined his position by denying him control of the newcomers. Never mind integration.

The rest, as they say, is history. As it so frequently happens in refugee camps even today, the concentration of so many in a small area soon taxed supplies to the limit causing hunger and discontent. The Goths rebelled. The Greuthingi crossed the Danube — damn the Emperor’s permission — to join Fritigern, and the combined forces marched on Scythia (on the border of today’s Romania and Bulgaria), giving the Romans a gigantic black eye in Marcianopole, where the defeated Romans became a source of weapons and armor.

To make a long story short, after years of depredations, riots, massacres and the intervention of Theodosius I, the new Eastern Emperor, the Goths were finally beaten into submission at great cost to the Empire. In 382, four years after the uprising begun, a peace treaty was reached, though the chiefs of the Goths were never heard from again. The victory, however, was not quite what victories used to be. The Goths were allowed to remain inside the Empire as a united, distinct force. This negotiated peace, a sure sign that Rome had ultimately failed to defeat them militarily, created a fifth column within Roman territory that ultimately led to the sacking of Rome by the same Goths, now led by Alaric, only 28 years later in 410.

Barbarians at the Gate, 2017

History repeats itself, and it is not a stretch to state that the uncontrolled admittance of hundreds of thousands of “refugees”, mostly young males in good fighting condition, into Europe and —if some had their way— the US, their settlement in enclaves where integration is made all but impossible, and the logistic difficulties in catering to this restless mass has a worrisome and, indeed, scary resemblance to the arrival of the Goths on the shores of the Danube 1,641 years ago. Seeing the depredations of rioting masses of refugees up the very same river into Hungary, Germany and France is not reassuring either.

While in the West we are distracted by sterile pseudo-theological argumentations and misplaced sympathies, the flow of history is taking us to an uncomfortable and potentially self destructive place. Today’s Goths, just like their predecessors, count on the support of part of our population, the ignorance and apathy of others, and the fact that hunger has always provided a more robust motivation than comfort. While our professors and politicians look for reasons to empathize with the Barbarians, the classic ways of putting down these invasions —by fighting and killing the invaders, of course— seems an ever more unpalatable and remote possibility.

The Bush administration’s attempt to establish a Pax Americana in Mesopotamia as a first step towards regaining control of an already dangerous situation in the Middle East —due mostly to decades of development of National Socialist regimes that created a quintessentially anti-western culture— almost succeeded. Between 2003 and 2009, at a relatively small cost in both treasure and lives, things were beginning to look better. As Vice president Biden crowed in 2009, “I’m very optimistic about—about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration…You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.”[1] And in July of that year, during a visit to Baghdad, expanded: “I sound corny, but I think America gets credit here in the region. And I think everybody gets credit, from George Bush to [President Obama].”[2] That one of the most vociferous detractors of the Iraq war was so brazen in taking credit for the success of a policy he admittedly hated and strongly opposed, is quite telling.

Of course, the next step of the Obama administration, immediately after taking credit for the success of the war they opposed, was to abandon Iraq to its own devices. The debacle that followed in Iraq and Syria over the following years — a direct consequence of the misguided policies of the Obama administration coupled with the pusillanimity of the policies of the European Union — transmuted the historic marches for democracy and regime change from Tunisia to Iran in 2009-2011 into the seemingly unstoppable march of Da’esh (ISIL) and al-Qa’ida and its offspring from Sana’a to Damascus and the gates of Baghdad, turning the Arab Spring into the Arab Hell. In the process, like the Goths at Marcianopole, the weapons left for the defense of Iraq became the property of the advancing Barbarians.

This chaos, in the face of the Obama administration’s inaction and cupidity, has destroyed countries, uprooted millions, and finally yielded a new Gothic invasion on the shores of the Danube. But this time, there is no empire willing to fight them off.  Instead, Socialoid leaders in Europe are more worried with protecting their ideology than their countries. By the time they realize their folly, the only recourse will be repressive regimes spurred by chaos on the streets as the new Barbarians fight the locals and put their host countries upside down. Or maybe they won’t realize the danger until they get to witness Rome burning under their feet again. The next four years will be crucial in determining our collective fates.

One cannot deny that the refugee crisis in Europe and the insane —almost suicidal— stance pushed by Germany weighted heavily in the minds of voters that decided Brexit. This crack in the armor of the EU can become a chasm as the peoples around Europe face the consequences of their leaders’ folly. It’s already happening in the US, where the pseudo-intellectual morons who control most media, universities and the Democratic Party are still at a loss to explain the historic backlash unleashed on their socialist programs, not to mention attitudes. As these idiots in campuses and courtrooms make their last stand for nonsense, the push to keep the Barbarians out has already started.

If it fails, I fear there will be no recourse but to prepare for the death of our Open Society. A slow, protracted, ignominiously stupid death.

[1] Interview with Larry King, CNN, February 11th, 2010.

[2] USA Today, Biden on Democrats: “Reports of Our Demise Are Premature”, July 6th, 2010.