November 8, 2017

Blame Woodrow Wilson for Radical Islam too

An American, a Frenchman, and a Brit walk into a bar and form ISIS. No joke Retweet

By Perry Willis

I’ve been reviewing the results of U.S. wars. So far we’ve covered…

I’m hoping to persuade you of 3 points…

  1. Our “patriotic holidays” need to honor soldiers without mischaracterizing U.S. wars.
  2. The claim that U.S. soldiers “defended our freedom” is sweet-sounding but false. Freedom may be what they wanted to defend, but that’s not how our politicians actually used them.
  3. We must curtail the ability of politicians to wage war.

As you read what follows, please remember this crucial point — I am not blaming America for anything, but I am blaming U.S. politicians for lots of things. With that in mind, let’s consider the following question…

Did U.S. intervention in WW1 aid the rise of radical Islam?

When WW1 began, President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech admonishing the American people “to be neutral in thought as well as deed.” Sound advice. But Wilson didn’t follow it. Instead, he favored Britain and France almost from the beginning by honoring Britain’s blockade of our trade with Germany. This meant that Americans funded and supplied Britain and France against Germany, long before German submarines started sinking our ships to compensate. Let’s recall who we were aiding.

By comparison…

In other words, there was no obvious “clash of ideology” that required Wilson to choose sides against Germany. There were actually many reasons to prefer Germany to Britain, France, and Russia. There was no good side in WW1, but it’s pretty obvious that the U.S. was supporting the more evil set of gangsters. Let’s drive this point home by looking at what Britain, France, and Russia were doing in the Islamic world prior to WW1…

All these conquests came at the expense of the Islamic Caliphate that ruled the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, Russia fought eleven wars against the Ottoman Empire between 1568 and 1878. These wars were designed to seize access to the Mediterranean through the Turkish controlled Dardanelles. So it’s not surprising that the Ottoman Empire joined Germany and Austria-Hungary when WW1 began. Now consider these two questions…

  • How would you feel about Britain, France, and Russia if you were a Muslim?
  • How would you feel about the U.S. giving victory to Britain and France?

The answers come pretty easy, right? You would hate Britain, France, Russia, and even the U.S. You might not seek future prospects for revenge, but you wouldn’t be surprised by or necessarily opposed to a neighbor who did. Well…

The motivations for hatred and revenge were about to get even worse.

WW1 began in August 1914. By 1915, the British were negotiating with various Arab leaders for an alliance against the Ottoman Turks. The Arabs wanted a British commitment to a pan-Arab state. It would run from…

  • the 37th parallel in the North (near the southern border of Turkey)
  • to Iran and the Persian Gulf in the East
  • the Mediterranean in the West
  • the Arabian Sea in the South

Barring such a commitment the Arabs would side with their Islamic Turkish brethren against Britain, France, and Russia. The British accepted the Arabic proposal on October 24, 1915 with the limitation that the new Arab state would not include the Mediterranean coast of Syria. With this agreement concluded, British officer T.E. Lawrence joined the Arab forces. The Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire began in June 1916. The story of that revolt is told in the classic movie, Lawrence of Arabia. Alas…

The Arabs would fight and die for promises that would not be kept.

Having made one agreement with the Arabs on October 24, 1915, the British then made a contrary agreement with the French on May 16, 1916. This second agreement lives in infamy as the Sykes-Picot Treaty because of the “diplomats” who negotiated it — Mark Sykes for the British and Francois Georges-Picot for the French. Th eSykes-Picot Treaty was negotiated in secret, and for a good reason. It violated every commitment the British had made to the Arabs. It’s not for nothing that Britain gained the nickname Perfidious Albion. The two empires agreed to divide the lands promised to a pan-Arab state into five parts…

  • Region 1: The British would control an area extending from Baghdad to the Persian Gulf (including modern day Kuwait).
  • Region 2: The British would also have influence over a region covering what is now Northern Iraq, Jordan, and the Negev desert down to Sinai.
  • Region 3: The French would directly control Lebanon and the coastal part of Syria.
  • Region 4: The French would have influence over the Syrian desert east of Damascus.
  • Region 5: Palestine would be a supposed “international zone,” but it would really be controlled by Britain.

Sykes-Picot even gave parts of Turkey to Russia, Greece, and Italy. But the promised Arab state was reduced to the bottom part of the Arabian peninsula.

Oh, what a blessing to future generations!

The Bolsheviks (Russian Communists) found a copy of the Sykes-Picot agreement when they seized Russian government offices in November 1917. They promptly revealed the secret treaty to the world. You would think this would have put the kibosh on the whole criminal enterprise, if not immediately then at least by the time of the 1919 Paris peace conference. After all…

  • The U.S. had given victory to Britain and France
  • The U.S. was by far the most powerful country negotiating the final peace settlement
  • Woodrow Wilson had declared on January 8, 1918, in the very first point of his 14-point plan for the peace, that he wanted “Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.”

The Sykes-Picot Treaty was the very opposite of that!

And yet, Wilson basically endorsed Sykes-Picot during the Paris peace talks. To cover the hypocrisy he and his fellow gangsters adopted a euphemism. The captured Arab lands would not be called “colonies,” they would be called “mandates.” Eventually, the regions created by Sykes-Picot would cease being mandates/colonies. They would become independent nations. But these nations were Frankenstein monsters. They contained unstable mixtures of Arabs, Persians, and Kurds — of Sunni and Shia. This instability led to a long succession of dictators, who held these unnatural states together by brute force. For the remainder of the 20th Century, Britain, France, Soviet Russia, and the United States would back these strongmen in order to contain the explosive forces they had created.

What was the antidote to this tyranny for the oppressed citizens?

For many religious minds, if things are going badly it must be because you’ve offended God. The normal cure for that is increased devotion, a.k.a., fundamentalism. Religious institutions also provide a good infrastructure for political resistance. So, if you look for the origin of ISIS, you will find it here — U.S. intervention in WW1 gave Sykes-Picot the force of law.

If you find these articles valuable, please share them with others. Start a conversation about the correct way to honor veterans and the war dead. We believe it should be possible to celebrate their courage and mourn their loss, without telling lies about how the political class misused them. And if you’re new to our work, and you like what you see, please subscribe using the form near the bottom of our homepage! It’s free!

Thank you for being an ACTIVE DC Downsizer. If you like our work please consider making a contribution or starting a monthly pledge here.

Perry Willis
Co-founder, Downsize DC
Co-creator, Zero Aggression Project

PS: Please remember the three points I am trying to demonstrate with these articles…

  1. Our “patriotic holidays” need to honor soldiers without mischaracterizing U.S. wars.
  2. The claim that U.S. soldiers “defended our freedom” is sweet-sounding but false. Freedom may be what our soldiers wanted to defend, but that’s not how our politicians actually used them.
  3. We must curtail the future ability of politicians to aggress against foreign countries.

Please also remember this crucial point — I’m not blaming America for anything, but I am blaming U.S. politicians for lots of things.

PPS: Here’s a list of books I’ve consulted in this series.

If you buy these books using the links below, Downsize DC will get credit we can use to expand our research library. Thank you for your interest and support.

The impact of WW1 on the Islamic world

A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin
Paris 1919 by Margaret MacMillan

Impact of U.S. policies on the rise of Nazi Germany

Paris 1919 by Margaret MacMillan
The Forgotten Depression by James Grant

The Russian Revolution

Comrades by Brian Moynahan
Russia Leaves the War by George F. Kennan

World War 1

The Illusion of Victory by Thomas Fleming
World War I by Richard Maybury
The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson
The Forgotten Depression by James Grant

The Spanish-American War, the conquest of the Philippines, and Teddy Roosevelt’s betrayal of Korea…

Bully Boy by Jim Powell
The Politics of War by Walter Karp
The War Lovers by Evan Thomas
Honor in the Dust by Gregg Jones
The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley

The Mexican War

A Wicked War by Amy S. Greenberg

If your comment is off-topic for this post, please email us at



  1. Chris Thomas
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    After reading below, we can see that the blame falls on ALL men/women due to sin. To think that we can ever stop future wars from happening is a lack of knowledge of God’s Word to us in the Holy Bible.

    I’d like to share this with you:

    November 11, 2017

    Today’s Devotional is by Jim Scudder Jr.

    Jim Scudder Jr. is the senior pastor of the Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church, president of Dayspring Bible College, and host of In Grace TV and radio.

    The Only Peaceful Solution

    For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Jeremiah 8:11

    Today on Veterans Day, or Armistice Day, we pause to remember the many brave men and women who have fought in America’s wars throughout the years. Originally designated to mark the end of hostilities in World War I, the holiday was later changed to include veterans of the wars that followed. We are very thankful for those who have been willing to serve their country in the armed forces.

    Nothing has changed since November 11, 1917. The world still clamors for peace. This is how it will be until the Prince of Peace returns. War is a result of greed, selfishness, and a lack of love for people. Certain people will cry “give peace a chance”, but the answer does not lie in mothballing our weapons or denying reality.

    The only true peaceful solution lies in returning to our Creator through the forgiveness of sins, made possible through Jesus Christ. Only the grace of God can change the sinfulness in men’s hearts. Unfortunately, we know a lasting peace will not happen until our Lord returns. Until then, let us be proactive in spreading the good news of the Prince of Peace.

    • Jim Babka
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Is everyone to assume, from what you wrote, that you believe Jesus is pro-war? Because we cannot stop poverty, illness, or death, should we take the same approach to hunger and disease? Perhaps, to be logically consistent, we should even repudiate His miracles and ignore his commands? (Also, Matt 10:16)

  2. Joseph A. Veca
    Posted January 29, 2019 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I disagree that Radical Islam is the product of Woodrow Wilson’s or the actions of any of the colonial powers.

    While many of the practices of the Western imperial powers in the governance of their colonies were clearly unjust, it is utterly unwarranted to regard Western imperialism — as it often is — as an endemic criminal enterprise that is the basis of modern resentment against the West.

    This worldview has existed since Muhammad. He, like his successors, engaged in imperial jihad, near the end of his life, Muhammad sent letters to the great empires of the Middle East demanding their submission to his authority. Kind of dispels any notion that the Prophet intended Islam’s expansion to stop with Arabia. Indeed, as Muhammad had fought and subdued the peoples of the Arabian peninsula, his successors Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali (known as “the four rightly-guided Caliphs”) and other Caliphs fought and subdued the people of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe in the name of Allah. And has continued for well over 1200 years.

    Religious violence is written into Islam’s DNA. Muhammad Taqi Partovi Samzevari, in his “Future of the Islamic Movement” (1986), sums up the Islamic worldview:

    Our own Prophet … was a general, a statesman, an administrator, an economist, a jurist, and a first-class manager all in one. … In the Qur’an’s historic vision Allah’s support and the revolutionary struggle of the people must come together so that Satanic rulers are brought down and put to death. A people that are not prepared to kill and to die in order to create a just society cannot expect any support from Allah. The Almighty has promised us that the day will come when the whole of mankind will live united under the banner of Islam, when the sign of the Crescent, the symbol of Muhammad, will be supreme everywhere. … But that day must be hastened through our Jihad, through our readiness to offer our lives and to shed the unclean blood of those who do not see the light brought from the Heavens by Muhammad in his mi’raj {“nocturnal voyages to the ‘court’ of Allah”}. … It is Allah who puts the gun in our hand. But we cannot expect Him to pull the trigger as well simply because we are faint-hearted. (Samzevari, 1986)

    I would say Radical Islam hasn’t changed at all.

    • Perry Willis
      Posted January 31, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      I would agree that the framing of my article isn’t very good. Many threads contribute to radical Islam, including, just as you say, the nature of Islam itself. But it must also be said that millions of individual Muslims have shown themselves quite capable of NOT stressing the violent aspects of Islam’s origins. Such moderation is made more difficult by aggressive Western meddling. The post-WW1 settlement is an example of that and is remembered and resented in the Islamic world. So having said, I will probably be revising this article in the future to reframe the nature of my claim. Thanks for the feedback.

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