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Placating Muslim Anger
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, October 14, 2006

Read this article through. All the way through.

Note the premise in the first paragraph:
While the U.S. debate over Iraq focuses mainly on the effects of the American military presence on Al Qaeda and its affiliates, the Bush administration has little appreciation for how its involvement in Iraq, as well as its staunch support of Israel, is radicalizing mainstream Muslim opinion.
Note the conclusion:
The bottom line is that a way must be found - and soon - to extract American troops from Iraq's shifting sands and to stop the shedding of Jewish and Palestinian blood.
Pretty standard fare. No debate about whether or not those who believe what they believe are wrong. No debate about whether there are steps which can be taken (or should be taken) to reverse these thoughts and beliefs. No argument concerning the belief that "America's military presence in the Arab heartland as a sinister plot to divide the world of Islam and subjugate Muslims."

Nope, none of that.

Simply an acknowledgment of the beliefs as valid (or at least to be taken seriously) and a suggestion to the West - capitulate. Cave. Get it over with, for heaven sake.

Don't you understand, it is the West which should make all the concessions, even to irrational belief?

Get out of Iraq and quit supporting Israel. Do what it takes to placate the misinformed.

Then, the Arab street won't be mad at the West (a West, the author notes, which the Arab street sees as "united" and makes no attempt to differentiate). They'll no longer have a reason to be "radicalized" and blow things, themselves and others up (cartoons, films, plays, books, speeches and Afghanistan (or wherever) notwithstanding).

Right?
 
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Well haven’t the Europeans been bending over backward to the Muslims for years now? As Dr.Phil might say, "Hows that working out for you?"
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
As usual, you don’t understand the issue. It’s not that the West should "make concessions," it’s about what policy will create better conditions for both the West and the Muslim world. It’s about policy choice. Iraq was clearly a fiasco; closer support for Israel in recent years has destroyed our ability to mediate effectively. It’s not concessions, it’s just about going from really bad policy to better policy. What you call "concessions" would actually be doing things to improve our security and position in the world. That’s just rational policy making.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
It’s not that the West should "make concessions, it’s about what policy will create better conditions for both the West and the Muslim world.
So you are all for banning homosexually and second class status for woman in the West, if it will create better conditions for both the West and the Muslim world?

Perhaps the West should allow Honor Killings too.
Muslim stabs wife when daughter becomes Christian in Australia

How about apply the same standards to the policy that will create better conditions for both the West and the Christian world?
i.e.
Banning abortion and art displays like piss Christ.
 
Written By: Paul L
URL: http://kingdomofidiots.blogspot.com/
So you are all for banning homosexually and second class status for woman in the West, if it will create better conditions for both the West and the Muslim world?
Of course not. The point is that policy is designed to achieve national interest and do what is best for security and society. Leaving Iraq is not a concession, it is a good policy choice. I can’t for the life of me imagine why banning homosexuality would be a solid policy choice to achieve the national interest.
http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
We should only be taking responsibility for "mainstream" muslims actions (terrorism) if they can’t take responsibility. Which would mean that they aren’t really people.
 
Written By: Josh
URL: http://
And all the Jews have to do to make the Muslims love them is to leave Israel. Gaza and the West Bank just don’t seem to be enough.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
As usual, you don’t understand the issue. It’s not that the West should "make concessions," it’s about what policy will create better conditions for both the West and the Muslim world. It’s about policy choice. Iraq was clearly a fiasco; closer support for Israel in recent years has destroyed our ability to mediate effectively. It’s not concessions, it’s just about going from really bad policy to better policy. What you call "concessions" would actually be doing things to improve our security and position in the world. That’s just rational policy making
I would concur.

For sake of argument, McQ, let’s grant your implicit premise: the views stated by Muslims identified in the referenced article are simply irrational. Let us assume that despite the policies of the Bush administration, no rational person of the Muslim faith living in the Middle East could rationally reach the conclusions made by the persons identified in the article.

So what? The author says in his editorial that we should end our occupation of Iraq and our relatively unwavering support for Israel. I agree with him. But for those of us who have believed from the get go that invading Iraq would turn out to be counterproductive to our interests for many reasons (included but not limited to the reaction such an invasion would provoke in the Muslim world), pulling out of Iraq is in our best interests for several reasons. Whether or not it has the salutary effect of quelling Muslim anger is beside the point. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, so what?

Our support for Israel operates on a different level. We support Israel militarily. Israel recently went to war with a Muslim terrorist/militia/social organization. We obviously sided with Israel. Hell, we sent Israels weapons that were presumably to be used to kill Muslims. That a Muslim could divine from our actions an intent to be on the side of those who go to war for the purpose of killing Muslims hardly seems completely irrational.

But let’s assume it is irrational. Again, so what? What strategic benefit does the United States get for our unwavering support of Israel? None, especially since the end of the Cold War. We don’t need Israel for military purposes; after all, there are plenty of Muslim countries in the Middle East who are willing to allow us to garrision our troops on their soil. And Israel provides us with no trade or commerce that we can’t conduct somewhere else. And Israel hardly needs us to defend it.

In other words, our support for Israel gets us nothing and only engenders irrational anger. How is that a benefit?

So if occupying Iraq and unwaveringly supporting Israel gets us nothing, and engenders irrationsl anger, what possible reason would justify continuing these policies?

McQ has an answer:
Simply an acknowledgment of the beliefs as valid (or at least to be taken seriously) and a suggestion to the West - capitulate. Cave. Get it over with, for heaven sake.
Translated: If we will pull out of Iraq, we will look weak. If we give up our unwavering support of Israel we will look weak.

But who will we look weak to? Answer: The very same people who McQ claims think irrationally in the first place. If these people are so irrational, as McQ seems to suggest, who cares what they think about what we do? Nothing we do or don’t do will change their minds. Right?

So, according to McQ, we must stay the course. Because, if we don’t, irrational people might draw the wrong conclusions.

Kind of takes wingnuttery to a whole new level.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Our support for Israel operates on a different level. We support Israel militarily. Israel recently went to war with a Muslim terrorist/militia/social organization. We obviously sided with Israel. Hell, we sent Israels weapons that were presumably to be used to kill Muslims. That a Muslim could divine from our actions an intent to be on the side of those who go to war for the purpose of killing Muslims hardly seems completely irrational.
Back up the truck Fred, if the Jews were being attacked by Italian launched missiles, I can pretty much promise they’d strike back at Italians just as forcefully as they do against Muslim terrorist organizations.
The Muslims want the Jews to stop aiming at them and shooting?, here’s a clue, the Muslims should probably stop aiming things at the Jews.
Do you think it’s really more complicated than that?
Is that such a hard thing to ask the irrational/rational Muslims to do?
What strategic benefit does the United States get for our unwavering support of Israel? None, especially since the end of the Cold War. We don’t need Israel for military purposes; after all, there are plenty of Muslim countries in the Middle East who are willing to allow us to garrision our troops on their soil. And Israel provides us with no trade or commerce that we can’t conduct somewhere else. And Israel hardly needs us to defend it.
I don’t know, suppose we’re doing it just because we don’t want to see Israel blotted from the map? Suppose we’re doing it because we really don’t like the whole genocide thing, and Israel is one place where, by helping the locals, we can actually prevent it?
You don’t like genocide do you MK?
I mean, what do you think Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran, have in mind for the Jews?
You’d agree that a large number of their neighbors seem pretty intent on finishing the job a certain Austrian started right?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
That a Muslim could divine from our actions an intent to be on the side of those who go to war for the purpose of killing Muslims hardly seems completely irrational.
Is that what the recent war was about? Israel woke up one day and decided to go to war because they felt like killing muslims?

You’re either dishonest MK, or woefully ignorant. What was the war about again? Lets see you dig your hole a bit deeper.

Again MK, everytime you and people like you open your yaps, you solidify my faith and belief that opposing you is the correct position. So thank you.
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
I would concur.
LOL!

I can’t tell you how little that surprises me.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So if occupying Iraq and unwaveringly supporting Israel gets us nothing, and engenders irrationsl anger, what possible reason would justify continuing these policies?
Rational answer it gets something, it prevents a war that would engulf the Gulf (including oil production), thus fufilling Americas greatest foreign policy objective in the region. By America allying with Israel, Israel becomes way too powerful to be attacked by the Arabs/Persians. The Muslims hate you for it, but even they are not stupid enough to think that they can beat you, so the Muslim nations start no wars of aggression against Israel. America also exerts influence over Israelli action, determining the degree to which Israel can act against the Muslims. If America were to withdraw support it would become the 100 million Arabs against 4 million Jews, with the Arabs having to swallow their pride and admit that they cannot beat Israel or go to war (Arabs are not culturally adept at pride swallowing).
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Translated: If we will pull out of Iraq, we will look weak. If we give up our unwavering support of Israel we will look weak.

But who will we look weak to? Answer: The very same people who McQ claims think irrationally in the first place. If these people are so irrational, as McQ seems to suggest, who cares what they think about what we do? Nothing we do or don’t do will change their minds. Right?

So, according to McQ, we must stay the course. Because, if we don’t, irrational people might draw the wrong conclusions.

Kind of takes wingnuttery to a whole new level.
Yeah; ultimately worrying about looking weak — or saving face — isn’t a very good basis for policy.

In this case, we already look weak in terms of Iraq — it’s no secret that to most of the world, especially Iran, we’re seen as being involved in a costly conflict with no true allies (I daresay the Iraqi government is in their heart of hearts closer to Iran than to us)and a lot of vulnerability.

But leaving Iraq — via negotiations with various Iraqi parties, and involving contacts with Iran and Syria — could ultimately put us a much stronger position globally.

As regards Israel, we can: a) make very clear that as a Security Council member we see it as our duty to do whatever we can to protect a UN memberstate from any existential kind of threat, and thus will stand by Israel if there is such a threat (though the idea Iran threatened Israel isn’t accurate — Ahmadinejad said Israel should not exist and someday will not, but that’s not the same as a threat to invade any more than American claims that Communism will be defeated were threats to invade the Soviet Union). Concurrently, the US could move away from the depth of support that the Bush Administration has given and work to mediate. Ultimately the only solution to that situation is a viable Palestine alongside a secure Israel. I think we can do more to achieve that if our foreign policy is not so connected to Israel.

But it is NOT stay the course or cut and run; it is not support Israel or dump Israel. Smart policy doesn’t adhere to extreme dichotomies. It’s negotiate the best possible method of withdraw from Iraq; it’s smart support for Israel, which recognizes that ultimately we can best help Israel (and the Palestinians) achieve peace by not siding completely with one side or the other.

Unfortunately policy debates have tended to be governed by emotion, false dichotomies, and an unrealistic appraisal of both American power (we’re not as powerful as many believe) and threats (Iran and North Korea, for instance, are not serious threats to the US). -scott
http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
Translated: If we will pull out of Iraq, we will look weak. If we give up our unwavering support of Israel we will look weak.

But who will we look weak to? Answer: The very same people who McQ claims think irrationally in the first place. If these people are so irrational, as McQ seems to suggest, who cares what they think about what we do? Nothing we do or don’t do will change their minds. Right?
Nothing, save fear of their own destruction.
Consider;
By most standards a serial killer is not rational. Yet they will often act to save their own skins. Does that make them any more rational in their particular crime?
I would concur.
My, that was a cliffhanger, wasn’t it? The idea that MK might disagree with Erb, truly shook my world for about half a second there.
The point is that policy is designed to achieve national interest and do what is best for security and society
Erb, you’ve just made a rather solid argument for backing out of the U.N., shutting off any international charity (The World Bank, as an example) that the United States has thus far contributed to over the years, and just basically telling the rest of the world go to hell.

If you’re really that narrow, let’s discuss it on that level... perhaps you’d care to explain to us why you think handing Iraq over to the terrorist mob will not negatively affect the United States and its interests, hmmm?

Butt kissing of those who would destroy us, Erb, is NEVER "Better Policy", even though Clinton and Carter did their best to do precisely that while in office, and have been doing their utmost to encourage us to do so since they were removed from it. indeed, the policies that you would have us follow are precisely why we ended up being attacked on 9/11.







 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
How about apply the same standards to the policy that will create better conditions for both the West and the Christian world?
i.e.
Banning abortion and art displays like piss Christ.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks I got so sick of hearing Left-wing commenters on the internet preaching that the only way to stop terrorism would be to "address the root causes" that I finally began asking these commenters why they didn’t apply that same reasoning to abortion-clinic bombers. Shouldn’t we address THEIR root cause too? After all, we could stop all abortion clinic bombings simply by outlawing abortion, right?

Here are a couple quotes from Al-Qa’ida spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith, explaining "Why we fight America":

"America is the head of heresy in our modern world, and it leads an infidel democratic regime that is based upon separation of religion and state and on ruling the people by the people via legislating laws that contradict the way of Allah and permit what Allah has prohibited."


"The Entire Earth Must Be Subjected to Islam
How can [a Muslim] possibly [accept humiliation and inferiority] when he knows that his nation was created to stand at the center of leadership, at the center of hegemony and rule, at the center of ability and sacrifice? How can [he] possibly [accept humiliation and inferiority] when he knows that the [divine] rule is that the entire earth must be subject to the religion of Allah - not to the East, not to the West - to no ideology and to no path except for the path of Allah?…"

http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?ID=SP38802

How are we to tweak our foreign policy in order to accomodate principles like these?
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
If these people are so irrational, as McQ seems to suggest, who cares what they think about what we do?
They don’t just stop at thinking, mkultra. They also act, and often it has nothing to do with anything we’ve done.

So, their victims care. I thought that was obvious.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
In other words, our support for Israel gets us nothing and only engenders irrational anger. How is that a benefit?
You seem to be assuming that there is some level of support that we could give Israel, short of the current level, that would not engender irrational anger.

If you and Erb want to directly make the argument that the US should reduce our level of support for Israel based on the premise that we are not getting enough return on our economic and political investment, and/or that doing so would make it easier to mediate a two-state solution to the Palestinian problem, I would probably agree with you.

I you want to openly make the argument that the US should retreat from Iraq for strategic reasons I probably will not agree with you.

I think it morally and intellectually wrong, though, to argue for these propositions on the basis that it will appease the jihadists and cause them to stop attacking us.

The Left seems to understand that basing policy on the demands of religious fanatics is a bad idea when the fanatics in question are Christian, but when the fanatics are Islamic they seem to hold a double standard.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
As typical on this blog, none of you want to address the root cause of Arab (both Christian and Muslim) anger at the US: the continued occupation and Israeli settlement in the West Bank, millions of refugees living in camps for over 50 years, the strangle hold on the Palestinian economy and society, AND the Israeli Nuclear Arsenal.

Just look at the latest Lebanese war. After both sides agreed to a cease-fire and waiting for the internaitoal troops to arrive in Lebanon, Israel dropped 1000’s of cluster bombs throughout southern Lebanon. Since the fighting had alrady stopped there was no military strategic point for dropping these horrible bombs (which the USA produces and supplies to Israel). The consequence is that children and farmers (both Christian and Muslim) are being killed and disfigured by these bombs scattered around their villages and farms. Does our press say anthing about this? Does the US censor Israel on this? NO.

Look at the saber rattling against Iran: The only country in the MidEast with known nuclear bombs is Israel. However, the US will not let the UN or the Int’l Non-profliration bodies inspect Israel and abide by international laws. No media outlet in the USA would dare detail the fact that Israel started the nuclear arms race in the MidEast. Now do you start understanding why the Islamic world no longer trusts the US?

The US administrations (both Clinton and Bush) continue to blame the Palestinians for not wanting peace, not following the Oslo accords, etc. etc. The basic reality is that the Israeli-Palestinian confict is about land and who governs that land. Since the 1990 Oslo accord in which Israel agreed to freeze settlement building, the growth of legal and "illegal" settlements in the West Bank has continued. Are the Palestinians just to continue watching someone take their land? Just in August Olmert approved the further building of settlements near Jeruselem in the West Bank. This is the road to peace?

And when the Palestinians do have a free and open election, Israel and the US refuse to accept its outcome because they have to deal with Hamas which hasn’t been bought out and run by corrupted officials like Fatah.

The pinnacle of the US arrogance is the horrible disaster Iraq has become. 600,000 dead!! An economy destroyed, sheer anarchy!

Muslin anger at the US is not isolated. I travel a lot to Europe and Asia. Even among well to do conservatives, there is a growing hatred of this administration. The destruction of Lebanon over 3 kipdnapped soldiers only solidified their view point that the US will do nothing to force Israel 1) allow a viable Palestinian state, 2) allow international inspection of its nuclear facilities, 3) stop and destroy the illegal settlements, etc., etc., etc.

Why doesn’t the US do this? Because too much money is being made pumbing billions into the Defense Budget and Homeland Security. The creation of the Terrorist Boggie Man has unleashed the funds right into the firms and companies of the neo conservatives. If you doubt this, go to http://www.washingtontechnology.com and read from the industry spokeman who is getting huge bucks for ridiculous contracts. Just as Hitler used the Jews to foment the rise of the German war machine, the NeoCons use Islam to create a new enemy and rationalize another $200 billion increase in Defense spending.

I end with the best quote of the week: Poverty breeds Terrorism
 
Written By: Mike Tracy
URL: http://
How are we to tweak our foreign policy in order to accomodate principles like these?

Written By: Aldo
I know, I know! (raises hand)

We change our wishy washy namby pamby policies into: Kill all the Jihadists, everywhere, send death squads into every place where mullahs preach Jihad and whipe em out.
You would not have to do it for very long. You see, the secret is that the old men in beards who send young men off to their death are not so quick to want to die themselves.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Look at the saber rattling against Iran: The only country in the MidEast with known nuclear bombs is Israel. However, the US will not let the UN or the Int’l Non-profliration bodies inspect Israel and abide by international laws.
Perhaps you’d better start looking a little more closely. Our "sabre rattling" as you call it, was in response to Iran’s aggression, it was not the cause of it.

You’d better also face the fact Israel, sans nuclear weaponry, would have ceased to exist as a state some years ago. Which, I suspect, wouldn’t hurt your feelings at all.

The fact is, Israel is not looking to invade or take over Iraq and Iran or any other place on the planet.... they simply want to be left alone, in peace. Can the same be said for the other powers in the region who are scrambling for that same nuclear weaponry? You and I both know better.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
" millions of refugees living in camps for over 50 years,"

After that long they are immigrants, not refugees. What does it say about the Palestinian people if they spend 50 years whining about the loss of their beloved mud hovel and refuse to actually do anything to face reality and make a better life for their children?

"the strangle hold on the Palestinian economy and society"

Perhaps if they would stop shooting and start building that stranglehold would disappear.

"allow a viable Palestinian state,"

No doubt the Palestinian definition of a viable state includes possession of a good seaport such as Haifa and a good airport like the one in Tel Aviv.

"Poverty breeds Terrorism"

Could be. Many terrorist from well-off backgrounds use it as an excuse. Most poor people are at most low-level cannon fodder. Of course, they would find another excuse if poverty was eliminated. They always do.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The point is that policy is designed to achieve national interest and do what is best for security and society
Erb, you’ve just made a rather solid argument for backing out of the U.N., shutting off any international charity (The World Bank, as an example) that the United States has thus far contributed to over the years, and just basically telling the rest of the world go to hell.
I think such actions would harm our security and interests, both economic and political. I daresay most Republicans would agree wholeheartedly with that assessment, the extremists who want out of the UN are a tiny minority — they recognize that the UN, the World Bank and other institutions have functioned as tools of American policy since we dominate them. I suspect you’ve been reading pamphlets.

To another issue a few posters discussed: no one should appease the jihadists in order to get them to stop. That would be stupid, they aren’t going to stop. The key is to make it harder for them to recruit, to help moderates and the majority non-jihadists in Islamic states gain and keep the upper hand. Getting out of Iraq would not be to appease anyone, it would be a rational policy decision based on what’s best for the United States (and again, a negotiated withdrawal engaging Syria and Iran would work best, give us leverage, and potentially help lead to solutions on other issues). Bush wants to be a Wilson or a JFK; I think at this point we need a Nixon.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
Considering that Israel isn’t sitting on a huge known reserve of petroleum and that it’s not a moderate democratic Islamic state, I tend to think that the US relationship with Israel is the sort of entangling alliance that our Founding Fathers cautioned us to avoid. That being said, I’m open to arguments as to how the close US-Israel relationship is beneficial to US interests because to be honest, I’ve heard few compelling arguments of that sort here or elsewhere. I guess what I’m saying is that I really would like to hear aruguments that transcend the usual think tank talking points.
 
Written By: storm72
URL: http://
Poverty breeds Terrorism
You should have said that first so I could have ignored the rest of your screed. See here:
We examined the educational backgrounds of 75 terrorists behind some of the most significant recent terrorist attacks against Westerners. We found that a majority of them are college-educated, often in technical subjects like engineering.

[...]

The 1993 World Trade Center attack involved 12 men, all of whom had a college education. The 9/11 pilots, as well as the secondary planners identified by the 9/11 commission, all attended Western universities, a prestigious and elite endeavor for anyone from the Middle East. Indeed, the lead 9/11 pilot, Mohamed Atta, had a degree from a German university in, of all things, urban preservation, while the operational planner of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, studied engineering in North Carolina. We also found that two-thirds of the 25 hijackers and planners involved in 9/11 had attended college.
Why don’t you pay attention to what the terrorists actually say instead of engaging in your self-loathing paternalism? They want nothing short of a new Caliphate. Read the writings of Sayyid Qutb, too.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
The key is to make it harder for them to recruit, to help moderates and the majority non-jihadists in Islamic states gain and keep the upper hand. Getting out of Iraq would not be to appease anyone, it would be a rational policy decision based on what’s best for the United States (and again, a negotiated withdrawal engaging Syria and Iran would work best, give us leverage, and potentially help lead to solutions on other issues).
Yes, another Islamic state in the Middle East is really in our best interests. A win for Al Qaeda and the prestige that comes with it is also in our best interests.

A democratic state in the Middle East will do far more to curb extremism than surrendering to terrorists (and yes, that’s what we would be doing) will.
...(and again, a negotiated withdrawal engaging Syria and Iran would work best, give us leverage, and potentially help lead to solutions on other issues).
Iran’s been so cooperative in discussing its nuclear program, why surely they’d be open to dialogue on this front too. I’m shocked, nay shocked that you’re a political science professor.

/sarcasm
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
How are we to tweak our foreign policy in order to accomodate principles like these?

Exactly the kind of strawman that this debate always gets pulled down into. The goal is not to accept the supremacy of the ideology promoted by these quotes in any way, shape, or form. The goal is to isolate the destructive and unsustainable ideological aspects from concrete reasons to fight the United States of America, especially relating to specific, aggressive behaviors on our own part.

A good example of this is Fatah vs. Hamas. Some people on this board tend to emphasize the "they’re Islamists, they’re out for the caliphate, we’ll all fight to the death." If that was US policy - if that was the genuine inevitable truth that ought to drive US policy - then we should have US soldiers wiping out Hamas nests right now. Carpet bombs away and rank up the draft. If we are inevitably fighting to the death and they’re not dead, then we’re dead, right?

Instead, the Bush administration, less unwisely than the policy I create here in theory, recognizes the possibility of evolutionary change and ideological disenchantment, and leaves the door open for Hamas to play a functional role, based on accepting ideological conditions that seem reasonable to a lot of people.

This is, in general, the right type of smart policy. The possibility of cooperation has split Hamas and paralyzed it, and is leading the state towards hardliner-softliner war.

This is a better policy than an endless collective terrorism/reprisal cycle. Terrorism/reprisal cycles are wars that neither side achieves victory in.

It’s still a crappy policy in the specifics, both because while pressure to avoid a civil war is useful, an actual civil war is going to backfire badly, yet we are headed there, and secondly because the conditions are stupid conditions that sacrifice the important thing - the end of aggressive violent actions right now - to silly sentimental things - "recognition" of Israel. It’s not enough to fight Hamas until they agree to a truce, we have to try to fight until they promise to be friends.

These are the sorts of tweaks that need to be made, not relating to our core values, but according to the specifics of how we implement that policy. Mostly involving supporting less violence and taking fewer sides in conflicts that don’t directly threaten the homeland. What they resent most of all is our attempt to control. And a smart GWOT strategy peels off those who resent us for localized and situation-specific reasons from those who have a deep and persistent commitment to a broader and violent anti-US agenda.

In other words, it makes a lot of sense to pacify those who can be pacified at little cost, or who will agree to restrain their anti-US bias to non-violent forums of competition, while continuing to kill those who won’t.

The collective argument here is that, as far as I can tell, everyone’s a die-hard.
History suggests otherwise.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I end with the best quote of the week: Poverty breeds Terrorism
The bin Laden family owns a business turning over $5 billion dollars per year. I wish I was that "poor" then I could legitmatise jihad against moronic quotes.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
I end with the best quote of the week: Poverty breeds Terrorism
Further to the above excremential quote. Organising a globe spanning terror organisation, supplying it with weaponary, recruiting, indoctrinating, running security, setting up training facilities all require vast amounts of money. Terrorism is expensive business.

The only link poverty has to terrorism is it allows terrorists to recruit cheap, pliable, resentful, meat sacks to act as cannon fodder or car-bomb guidance systems.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Perhaps you’d better start looking a little more closely. Our "sabre rattling" as you call it, was in response to Iran’s aggression, it was not the cause of it.
US sabre rattling started by putting Iran in the "axis of evil," back when a moderate Khatami was in power. That, plus the war in Iraq, helped push Iranian youth and others towards a nationalist response, allowing the hardliners to win the Majles and the Presidency for the first time since the revolution. Yet Ahmadinejad has not directly threatened Israel, and in fact has said the opposite, that Iran looks for a peaceful settlement. His statement that Israel should be wiped off the map is typical for the region, Israel isn’t even on most maps in the Muslim world. That’s different than Iran threatening to, and even if they had the bomb Israel’s force could easily deter them. The kind of fear mongering being done by militarists these days is pathetic.

(no matter what I do, I can’t change how my URL appears, so I’ll just type here the correct one: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
Why don’t you pay attention to what the terrorists actually say instead of engaging in your self-loathing paternalism? They want nothing short of a new Caliphate. Read the writings of Sayyid Qutb, too.
Paying attention to what they say has to be taken with a grain of salt. They are delusional in their goals, just as extremists of all stripes tend to be. Certainly we can’t let fear drive us based on what an extremist minority says! The reason the government didn’t see the looming failure of the Iraq invasion was because they didn’t understand the role of political culture and social structures; they thought will power, military power, and money could shape the region. The reason the extremists will never get some new Caliphate is that they also can’t counter political culture and strong forces of history and society.

http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
Yes, another Islamic state in the Middle East is really in our best interests. A win for Al Qaeda and the prestige that comes with it is also in our best interests.

A democratic state in the Middle East will do far more to curb extremism than surrendering to terrorists (and yes, that’s what we would be doing) will.
You cannot simply create a western style democracy, that project has already failed. It will be an Islamic state, but not an Iran. Iraqi Shi’ism rejects the kind of theocratic state that Iran has. But it already is an Islamic state, that’s something you cannot avoid. Reality bites.

...(and again, a negotiated withdrawal engaging Syria and Iran would work best, give us leverage, and potentially help lead to solutions on other issues).

Iran’s been so cooperative in discussing its nuclear program, why surely they’d be open to dialogue on this front too. I’m shocked, nay shocked that you’re a political science professor.
You should pay attention and learn something. All we’ve done with Iran is give them ultimatums, and they have a point that their research does not violate the NPT, and that it is economically rational for them to develop nuclear energy for a modern economy that can prosper after the oil era. We haven’t even tried to talk to them or do anything more than threaten and insult. They realize that we are in a position of weakness because of the Iraq fiasco, and essentially have decided that until we show them respect, they’ll just ignore us, realizing we’re impotent to do much.

Mao’s quotes about violence to the West were worse than anything Ahmadinejad said. The Soviet Union occupied other states. Yet President Nixon opened dialogue with them, and that altered the landscape and allowed a realistic policy to develop.

The fact is that we are playing with limited options in the Mideast. Our military is spread thin and vulnerable. We lack allies, and other rivals, like China, Russia and even our allies in the EU realize that by not getting too involved they can be in a position to come out better if there is some clash between the US and Iran. I don’t think you quite comprehend the strategic situation and the fact that the neo-conservative fantasy is in flames, crashing, and cannot be recovered.
http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
Erb, you’ve just made a rather solid argument for backing out of the U.N., shutting off any international charity (The World Bank, as an example) that the United States has thus far contributed to over the years, and just basically telling the rest of the world go to hell.
One error in your post I should have pointed out last time: the World Bank is not a charity, and in fact has generated profits. It’s current head is Paul Wolfowitz who is, admirably, undertaking an anti-corruption drive.
http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~blog.htm
Paying attention to what they say has to be taken with a grain of salt. They are delusional in their goals, just as extremists of all stripes tend to be. Certainly we can’t let fear drive us based on what an extremist minority says!
Well, these delusions inspire the extremists to attack us, so I don’t care whether their goal is reachable or not. The point I was making was that we could give them all the money in the world and it wouldn’t deter them, despite what Mr. Mike "Root Causes" Tracy thinks.
You cannot simply create a western style democracy, that project has already failed. It will be an Islamic state, but not an Iran. Iraqi Shi’ism rejects the kind of theocratic state that Iran has. But it already is an Islamic state, that’s something you cannot avoid. Reality bites.
That remains to be seen. But if we leave, Al Qaeda gets a brand new base of operations to replace Afghanistan and we’ll be back there a few years down the road after the next 9/11.

Frankly, I find it sad (but not surprising) that you think we can trust anything Ahmadinejad says, especially when his government sponsors conferences whose themes are the destruction of Israel and the U.S., and whose Friday prayer sessions always end in "Death to America!"
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
But if we leave, Al Qaeda gets a brand new base of operations to replace Afghanistan and we’ll be back there a few years down the road after the next 9/11.
Think the Shia will decimate the Sunni and some sort of Shia dominated state will arise. Not somewhere Al "Shia are kafir" Qaeda would want to be.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Well, these delusions inspire the extremists to attack us, so I don’t care whether their goal is reachable or not. The point I was making was that we could give them all the money in the world and it wouldn’t deter them, despite what Mr. Mike "Root Causes" Tracy thinks.
The extremists are not to be given money or placated; yes, they are the enemy. They are also a small minority with limited capacity. 9-11 was, in real terms, not that major of an attack (compare to the devastation we’ve done to Afghanistan, Serbia, or Iraq, for instance). It was a spectacle and had intense symbolic power, but they aren’t really able to bring down our country — compared to the Cold War threat, they are minor. Moreover, they need us to be violent and aggressive in order to have any chance of motivating others to join them. Their war is primarily within Islam, and most violence is Muslim on Muslim. We need to rethink our approach and recognize that if the war is perceived as the west vs. Islam, we’re screwed. If it is the West supporting moderate and reforming Islam vs. radicals and extremists who are a minority resisting change, we’ll have a good shot.

That remains to be seen. But if we leave, Al Qaeda gets a brand new base of operations to replace Afghanistan and we’ll be back there a few years down the road after the next 9/11.
Democracies take a long time to build (it’s a process — we had slavery and women couldn’t vote in our early democracies; Germany, France and other countries had failed attempts, etc.). Moreover, they rely on certain shared values, such as a culture of compromise, tolerance of diverse views, and a sense that it’s OK if one side wins since the differences are not so great that the republic is in peril if the wrong party wins. That’s hard to achieve and Iraq is far, far from it. Moreover, democracies have real problems stabilizing if there is corruption, and Iraq is full of corruption. So the evidence is not good that Iraq will become some kind of stable democracy, they’d have to buck history big time.

Al Qaeda won’t have a base in Iraq though — al qaeda is hated there, and the Shi’ite majority is more likely to fight a war with al qaeda. The Sunni Bathists, if the country is partitioned, would see al qaeda as a threat to their authority. I don’t really think Iraq can be anything to al qaeda except a way to try to bleed the Americans and keep us out of Afghanistan (while the NATO mission lacks enough personnel).
Frankly, I find it sad (but not surprising) that you think we can trust anything Ahmadinejad says, especially when his government sponsors conferences whose themes are the destruction of Israel and the U.S., and whose Friday prayer sessions always end in "Death to America!"
Turn the tables, how can Ahmadinejad trust anything Bush says, especially when he puts them in the axis of evil, refuses to reply to communications or engage in dialogue, and instead talks of regime change and force? And, of course, how could Nixon have trusted anything Mao said given his virulent attacks on the West and threats of nuclear weapons use?

Ahmadinejad isn’t even the main actor in Iran. It may be that we can’t improve relations, but not trying at all and simply asserting the other side evil, despite efforts they make to open dialogue, is bad policy — especially when we’re operating from a position of weakness. Iran has interests, we have interests, and even if the two sides distrust each other, you can talk and build verifiable agreements. And if it turns out that we can’t do this, well, then we’ll have evidence that we made the effort and were rebuffed. In such a case it will be easier to gain needed help and support.

Look, Iran is Shi’ia in a predominately Sunni neighborhood (15% of world Muslims are Shi’ia, 85% Sunni). There are real rivalries between the Shi’ia and Sunni, as well as between the Persians and Arabs. They don’t want a regional civil war, and I doubt that’s going to happen, but it’s not like Iran isn’t balanced by other powers and interests. There are even differences between Iraqi Shi’ite Arabs and Iranian Shi’ite Persians/other Iranian ethnic groups. Iran’s capacities are limited, and potential opponents are numerous. There is opportunity for us through solid diplomacy; there isn’t much we can achieve through military force at this point.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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