Policy Analysis No. 177

The “Green Peril”: Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat

By Leon T. Hadar
August 27, 1992

Executive Summary

Now that the Cold War is becoming a memory, America’s foreign policy establishment has begun searching for new enemies. Possible new villains include “instability” in Europe—ranging from German resurgence to new Russian imperialism—the “vanishing” ozone layer, nuclear proliferation, and narcoterrorism. Topping the list of potential new global bogeymen, however, are the Yellow Peril, the alleged threat to American economic security emanating from East Asia, and the so-called Green Peril (green is the color of Islam). That peril is symbolized by the Middle Eastern Moslem fundamentalist—the “Fundie,” to use a term coined by The Economist[1]—a Khomeini-like creature, armed with a radical ideology, equipped with nuclear weapons, and intent on launching a violent jihad against Western civilization.

George Will even suggested that the 1,000-year battle between Christendom and Islam might be breaking out once more when he asked, “Could it be that 20 years from now we will be saying, not that they’re at the gates of Vienna again, but that, in fact, the birth of Mohammed is at least as important as the birth of Christ, that Islamic vitality could be one of the big stories of the next generations?”[2]

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Leon T. Hadar, a former bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post, is an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute.