Jonah Goldberg, writing at Townhall, lists among Chuck Hagel’s many disqualifications for an appointment as Defense Secretary, his wrong-headed belief that the Iraq war was a war for oil. (The whole article is worth reading.)
The Iraq war … was according to Hagel a war for oil.
This belief is prevalent all over the world and needs to be debunked. This thorough debunking job comes from the excellent Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy:
When the US-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003, one of the most common perceptions was that the primary motive behind the war was the country’s significant oil reserves.
According to a 2002 Pew Poll, 44 per cent British, 75 per cent French, 54 per cent Germans, and 76 per cent Russians were greatly suspicious of US intentions in Iraq and bought into the “blood for oil” narrative. … Only 22 per cent of Americans believed that the Bush administration’s policy was driven by oil interests.
At the time, experts pointed out that this argument was deeply flawed and a lazy mantra of the war opponents.
While Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world, its output in the early 2000s was modest and accounted for only 3 per cent of total global productivity. Due to the geology of the oilfields and, above all, the poor infrastructure destroyed by years of war, Saddam’s negligence, and the sanctions regime, Iraq had the lowest yield of any major producer, amounting to just 0.8 per cent of its potential output. …
By the end of 2011, the US had spent almost $802bn on funding the war and, as the Centre for Strategic and International Studies pointed out, Iraq had additional debts of over $100 billion.
On top of that, the US only imports 12.9 per cent of its oil from the Middle East. 8.1 per cent is provided by Saudi Arabia.
In other words, invading Iraq was an extremely expensive undertaking for the US-led coalition with no guarantee or prospect of considerable profitability.
As Daniel Yergin argued at the time: “no US administration would launch so momentous a campaign just to facilitate a handful of oil development contracts and a moderate increase in supply-half a decade from now.” …
10 years after the invasion of Iraq, who is profiting most from the country’s oil reserves? The US? The UK? No. PetroChina, Russian Lukoil, and Pakistan Petroleum – fierce opponents of the war.
On the other hand, as Germany’s leading weekly news magazine DER SPIEGEL reported this week, “America has not a single, significant oil deal with Baghdad” anymore.
EXXON is moving out of Iraq and PetroChina has taken the lead in the auction of West Qurna – one of the largest oil fields in the world – with Russian Lukoil as a potential competitor. If the Chinese bid is successful, the country will account for 32 per cent of total oil contracts in Iraq.
The “blood for oil” conspiracists owe President Bush an apology.
An apology to President Bush? Over a mis-ascription of motive for the Iraq War? It won’t happen, of course. But at least the truth is on record.
It seems that the (misnamed) “War on Terror” is over – not because Islam has been defeated, or Muslims have stopped waging jihad but because the US will no longer resist it.
America’s anti-America president would rather the US military does not fight. Maybe he’d allow it to do a little social work abroad now and then. But the US should have nothing as nasty as a formidable military capability.
This is from the Washington Post:
For most of the past year, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has stressed that the vast military complex over which he presides is at a “strategic turning point.”
A decade of grinding guerrilla war is drawing to a close. Defense budgets are shrinking. The implication is that major changes are coming to the military. …
And what is this civilian with no experience whatsoever of military service doing about it?
The watchword for Panetta’s tenure, senior defense officials said, has been “humble.”
“He’s told the service chiefs to be humble in their predictions of warfare,” one senior official said.
Be humble in their predictions? What does that mean? Humbly predict? Or predict US humbleness?
In an interview describing his defense strategy, Panetta said he has helped craft an approach that hedges bets against a range of potential enemies. “It really does provide maximum flexibility,” he said.
You bet they won’t attack you, and as you’re not committed to any kind of response (“flexibility”) you won’t have to do anything in particular about it if they do?
“The military is going to be smaller … “
“… but it is going to be more agile, more flexible …”
No fixed orders, no fixed plan, no fixed aim?
… and more deployable so that it moves fast and stays on the cutting edge of technology.”
Drones then, mainly?
Panetta’s vision is notable for some of the big questions left unanswered. A highly touted promise to shift the military’s focus to Asia has produced little in the way of major new deployments. Nine months after it was unveiled, there is scant evidence of how it will be implemented.
“This is a time when you would expect an intense focus on where we want to go and what we want to be,” said Andrew Hoehn, a senior vice president at the Rand Corp. and a former Pentagon strategist. Hoehn said such a debate does not appear to be happening inside the Pentagon or in the presidential campaigns, which have largely ignored national security issues.
Although the war in Iraq has ended and troops are being withdrawn from Afghanistan, Panetta has not pressed the ground forces to conduct a tough and detailed examination of their performance in the two long and costly wars, said Eliot Cohen, a military historian at Johns Hopkins University and an adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign.
In recent years, Army and Marine Corps officers have tended to blame their struggles on the State Department and other federal agencies, which were unable to provide the necessary help to rebuild the war-torn countries’ governments and economies.
Were unable to rebuild the enemies’ economies? Well then, the news isn’t all bad. Though the US did waste a vast amount of energy and money trying to do just that.
Cohen said the finger-pointing has prevented the ground services from acknowledging their own shortcomings, such as their inability to produce a core of experts in the culture, politics, history and languages of the two countries where they have spent most of the past decade fighting.
But since when have countries needed to be familiar with the culture, politics, history and languages of their enemies? The only mission has always been to defeat them.
Panetta said he would like to see the military do more in this area. “I think we have to look at the lessons that we draw, particularly from these last 10 years of war,” he said. “I’m not satisfied. I think more needs to be done.”
Good grief! Far too much social work has been done by the US military in Afghanistan. (See our posts Heroic inaction May 19, 2010; No victory or something like that June 15, 2010; No reason at all April 19, 2011.)
The Obama administration’s defense strategy, meanwhile …
So they do have one?
… plays down the likelihood of the military fighting major counterinsurgency wars in the coming years.
Not a likelihood of their having to fight such wars, but just not fighting them in any circumstances.
To that end, Panetta has ordered the Army to shrink to about 490,000 soldiers by 2017, a reduction of about 80,000 that will leave the force slightly larger than it was before Sept. 11, 2001.
A surprise pick to run the CIA in 2009, Panetta had spent most of his career as a congressman from California and … in the Clinton administration, including a stint as White House chief of staff.
Even after two and a half years at the CIA and 14 months at the Pentagon, Panetta’s speeches tend to steer clear of the kinds of detailed policy prescriptions and tough questions that were routine under Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, his immediate predecessor.
“Do we really need 11 [aircraft] carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?” Gates asked a Navy audience in 2010. He also challenged the Marines to consider whether, in an era of increasingly precise cruise missiles, they would be called upon again to storm an enemy’s shore — a question that cuts to the core of the Marines’ identity.
Gates’s goal was to encourage lower-ranking officers to challenge military pieties. By contrast, Panetta sometimes sounds more like a congressman representing the “Pentagon district” than the leader of the world’s largest military. …
Contradictorally, he is against the devastating reduction in the defense budget that the Obama administration proposes.
“It’s mindless, and it will . . . do incredible damage to our national defense,” Panetta said last month in a speech in New York.
But then, he is not a man who worries overmuch about depleting public funds:
As he did during his days as a congressman, Panetta spends most weekends in California, commuting home on a military jet at a cost of more than $800,000 as of this spring, the latest figures available. …
Although the Washington Post states that “the current list of crises stretches from growing unrest in Syria and Iran’s nuclear ambitions to a new leader in North Korea and rising tensions between China and its neighbors around the South China Sea”, it blandly reports that Michele Flournoy, “the Pentagon’s top policy official”, declared that -
“For the first time in a decade, the urgent priority mission is not staring us in the face.”
Got that? No urgent priority mission staring the US in the face.
Though Iran is rapidly becoming a nuclear power.
Obama delivered a commencement speech at the US Military Academy at West Point which was studded with ironies.
From the Washington Post:
Obama pledged to shape a new “international order” based on diplomacy and engagement.
His presidency has been notable for diplomatic failures and not a single success. As for “engagement”, his obstinate persistence in trying to “engage” Iran has given it all the time it needed to develop nuclear bombs and build the ballistic missiles to deliver them. But a record of failure does not prompt Obama to reconsider his policy.
“Yes, we are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system. But America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation,” he said. “We have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice — so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities, and face consequences when they don’t.”
Just where has he “steered currents in the direction of liberty and justice”? Where has he got nations that do not “meet their responsibilities” to “face consequences”? Russia invaded Georgia, took and occupied two of its provinces, and Obama has not done a thing about it. What international cooperation has there been to make Russia withdraw?
“The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times,” he said in prepared remarks. “Countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; preventing conflict and healing its wounds.”
He may be seeking such an international order, but he’s done nothing to bring it about. Far from “countering violent extremism and insurgency” he refuses even to name the perpetrators of it (Muslims) and the cause they serve (Islam). If he hoped his audience would assume he meant Iraq and Afghanistan, it should be remembered that he was always against the war in Iraq, has shown reluctance to win decisive victory in Afghanistan, and has told the enemy the dates when he’ll withdraw American troops from both battlefields regardless of whether anything that could be called victory has by then been achieved.
On “securing nuclear materials” he held a useless international conference, when Canada and one or two other non-belligerent states promised not to give fissile material to terrorists, but no real danger was eliminated.
And then he comes on to the tired and stupid mantra “combating climate change”. Combating climate? It’s a primitive and ignorant notion. Call in the rainmakers, or cool makers, or warm makers, and let them start their chants!
“Sustaining global growth”? How he feeds the buzz-words (such as “sustaining”) to his far left constituency and at the same time tries to give the impression that he is on the side of prosperity (“global growth”). But his flowery phrasing cannot conceal his lack of understanding.
In Iraq, he said, the United States is “poised” to end its combat operations this summer, leaving behind “an Iraq that provides no safe haven to terrorists; a democratic Iraq that is sovereign, stable and self-reliant.”
Since Obama came to office, there has been far less reporting of terrorist activity in Iraq by the anti-Bush and pro-Obama media. But in fact terrorism in that arrondissement of hell has not stopped. Lately it has intensified. The chances of Iraq becoming stable, “giving no haven to terrorists”, and evolving in this century into a truly democratic state are not worth betting on.
To address the military at all must, he knew, offend the far left constituency to which he long ago sold his soul. Much of his message was aimed at propitiating that radical left rather than reinforcing the morale of American soldiers.
Civilians, he added, must answer the call of service as well, by securing America’s economic future, educating its children and confronting the challenges of poverty and climate change.
His far left critics would understand that when he spoke of “securing America’s economic future” and “confronting the challenges of poverty and climate change” he meant with “green jobs” and redistribution. As for the education of children, they will take it to mean indoctrinating hapless kids with leftist ideology – a cause Obama served actively years ago in Chicago.
Here’s a dry summary of the speech by Arthur Herman in the National Review Online:
On Saturday, Pres. Barack Obama gave a commencement speech … which in effect told the thousand or so soon-to-be second lieutenants that, if he has his way, they’ll soon be out of a job.
Obama outlined for the cadets his vision of a new international order organized around bodies such as the United Nations. In Obama’s future, American military force will give way to American diplomacy joined together with new multilateral partnerships, while “stronger international standards and institutions” will replace unilateral assertion of national interests — including our own. Obama told West Point’s Class of 2010 that he sees them not battling our enemies but “combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth, [and] helping countries feed themselves” even as their citizens achieve their “universal rights.”
He’s still dreaming the dreams of his father.
World-wide, there have been over 15,000 terrorist attacks since 9/11, all of them carried out by Muslims in the name of Islam.
Almost all terrorist violence in the 21st century has been committed by Muslims. (Exceptions are so few they could be counted on the fingers of one hand, except in Sri Lanka, and there rebel Tamil terrorism has been defeated by government forces.)
American armed forces are at war with Muslim terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yet Obama does not want the words “Muslim” or “Islam” to be mentioned in connection with terrorism.
The Department of Homeland Security pretends that there’s a fearful danger of terrorism coming from conservatives. No one really believes it. Something more dramatic being needed to distract attention from the actual Muslim threat, a bunch of “Christian warriors” who like to shoot guns in the wild were arrested recently and charged with plotting to “overthrow the government” just so (we suspect) Obama’s spokesmen could make the claim that “not all terrorists are Muslim”.
Meanwhile, one of the chief directors of violent jihad issues his orders from a safe haven in the United States.
Paul Williams reports at Family Security Matters:
The most dangerous Islamist in the world is neither Afghani nor Arab. He comes from neither Sudan nor Somalia. And he resides in neither the mountains of Pakistan nor the deserts of the Palestinian territories. This individual has toppled the secular government of Turkey and established madrassahs throughout the world.
His schools indoctrinate children in the tenets of radical Islam and prepare adolescents for the Islamization of the world.
More than 90 of these madrassahs have been established as charter schools throughout the United States. They are funded by American taxpayers. …
His name is Fethullan Gulen and he resides in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. Gulen plots the overthrow of secular governments and oversees the spread of education jihad throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States.
Gulen is surrounded by an army of over 100 Turkish Islamists, who guard him and tend to his needs. The army is comprised of armed militants who wear suits and ties and do not look like traditional Islamists in cloaks and turbans. They follow their hocaefendi‘s (master lord’s) orders and even refrain from marrying until age 50 per his instructions. When they do marry, their spouses are expected to dress in the Islamic manner, as dictated by Gulen himself.
The Saylorsburg property consists of a massive chalet surrounded by numerous out buildings, including recreational centers, dormitories, cabins for visiting foreign dignitaries, a helicopter pad, and firing ranges.
Neighbors complain of the incessant sounds of gunfire – including the rat-tat-tat of fully automatic weapons – coming from the compound and the low flying helicopter that circles the area in search of all intruders.
The FBI has been called to the scene, the neighbors say, but no action has been taken to end the illegal activity.
Sentries stand guard at the gates to the estate to turn away all curiosity seekers. Within the sentry hut are wide screen televisions that project high resolution images from security cameras. Before the hut is a sign that reads “Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center.” …
Gulen fled Turkey in 1998 to avoid prosecution on charges that he was attempting to undermine Turkey’s secular government with the objective of establishing an Islamic government. Since his arrival in Pennsylvania, the Department of Homeland Security has been trying to deport him [really trying - for 12 years? - JB]. But in 2008 a federal court ruled that Gulan was an individual with “extraordinary ability in the field of education” who merited permanent residence status in the U.S. The ruling remains quizzical because Gulen has no formal education or training.
Gulen … was a student and follower of Sheikh Sa’id-i Kurdi (1878-1960), also known as Sa’id-i Nursi, the founder of the Islamist Nur (light) movement. After Turkey’s war of independence, Kurdi demanded, in an address to the new parliament, that the new republic be based on Islamic principles. He turned against Atatürk and his reforms and against the new modern, secular, Western republic. …
Turkey is now ruled by the Justice and Democratic Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma, AKP)- – a party under the Gulen’s control. Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s first Islamist President, is a Gulen disciple along with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Yusuf Ziya Ozcan, the head of Turkey’s Council of Higher Education.
Under the AKP, Turkey has transformed from a secular state into an Islamic country …
Despite the rhetoric of European Union accession, Turkey has transferred its alliance from Europe and the United States to Russia and Iran. It has moved toward friendship with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria and created a pervasive anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-America animus throughout the populace. …
Gulen’s followers, known as Fethullahists, have gained control of [Turkey's] media outlets, its financial institutions and banks, and its business organizations. …
Several countries have outlawed the establishment of Gulen schools and cemaats (communities) within their borders – including Russia and Uzbekistan. Even the Netherlands, a nation that embraces pluralism and tolerance, has opted to cut funding to the Gulen schools because of their imminent threat to the social order.
But Gulen’s activities in the United States, including the establishment of an armed fortress in the midst of the Pocono Mountains, have escaped national press attention. …
Why has the federal government opted to turn a blind eye to Gulen and his mountain fortress? Why have Gulen’s madrassahs been kept under the radar screen of Homeland Security?
Why have the CIA and FBI allowed Gulen to wreak havoc and topple secular governments without interruption or intervention?
The questions beg answers.
It looks increasingly probable that America’s long military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan are ending in failure and ignominy.
Bush’s surge succeeded. Iraq was won. It seemed at least possible that the country’s experiments with democracy might continue. But Obama has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. His premature withdrawal of American troops is bringing its logical consequence – a resurgence of terrorism and civil strife.
And his announcement that American forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan next summer works like an instruction to the Taliban merely to have patience and they’ll be left a clear field.
Frank Gaffney writes:
Back in February, Vice President Joseph Biden declared: “I am very optimistic about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration.” Even for a politician much given to strategic ineptitude compounded by foot-in-mouth disease, that was a doozy.As has been pointed out innumerable times since, if Iraq turns out to be a truly “great achievement” in any ordinary sense of the word, Mr. Biden and Barack Obama – two of the most insistent opponents of George W. Bush’s efforts to consolidate Iraq’s liberation – are among the last people in Washington who should take such credit.
Worse yet, unfortunately for the Iraqi people and others who love freedom, it looks increasingly as though the Obama administration will have the loss of Iraq as one of its most signal accomplishments.
Three murderous suicide bombings in Baghdad over the weekend are but the latest indication of the renewed reality there: Those determined to use violence to destabilize the country, foment sectarian strife and shape Iraq’s destiny can do so with impunity.
The fact that the Iranian embassy was one of the targets suggests Sunni extremist groups – perhaps including the once-defeated al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) – are responsible for this round of attacks. Elsewhere in the country though, Shiite death squads that may or may not have ties to the pro-Iranian factions currently running the country are ruthlessly liquidating prominent tribal leaders and others associated with the movement in Anbar Province known as The Awakening. The latter were instrumental to the success of the U.S. surge and to the opportunity thus created for an Iraqi future vastly superior to its despotic and chaotic past.
Among the objects of the growing violence are individuals who stood for office in the recent parliamentary elections. This amounts to post facto disenfranchisement of the Iraqi voters whose turnout of over 60 percent – in the face of threats by anti-democratic forces that voting would be deemed a capital offense – powerfully testified to their desire to exercise the right enjoyed by no others in the Mideast except Israelis: to have a real say in their government and future.
Sadly, all other things being equal, that popular ambition seems unlikely to be realized. There is an unmistakable vacuum of power being created by President Obama’s determination to withdraw U.S. “combat” forces no matter what, starting with the cities a few months ago and in short order from the rest of the country.
Increasingly, that vacuum is being filled by Iran and its proxies on the one hand and, on the other, insurgent Sunni forces, both those aligned with al Qaeda and those that have, at least until recently, been suppressing the AQI. On what might be called the third hand, Iraqi Kurds are experiencing their own internal problems as well as an increasingly ill-concealed inclination to assert their independence from the rest of the country.
The signal of American abandonment was made the more palpable by Team Obama’s decision to dispatch Christopher Hill as its ambassador to Iraq. Hill is the diplomat best known for his determination during the Bush 43 years to appease, rather than thwart, the despot most closely enabling the realization of Iran’s nuclear ambitions: North Korea’s Kim Jong Il. The unreliability of the United States as an ally – a hallmark of the Obama presidency more generally – is reinforcing the sense that it is every man for himself in Iraq.
The prospects of any “great achievement” in Iraq are being further diminished by the direction to the Pentagon to shift personnel and equipment from Iraq to Afghanistan. The President himself reinforced that commitment during his speech to U.S. troops at Bagram Air Base last week. The detailed planning and ponderous logistics associated with such a transfer increasingly foreclose options to change course. Our commanders will soon be hard pressed to preserve today’s deployments of American forces in Iraq, let alone to have them take up once again the sorts of positions in the urban areas that they held to such therapeutic effect during the surge.
The inadvisability of relocating U.S. forces from the strategically vital Iraqi theater to the marginal Afghan one is made all the greater by another grim prospect: The mounting evidence that our troops will be put in harm’s way in Afghanistan simply to preside over the surrender of that country to one strain of Shariah-adherent Taliban or another. There, too, President Obama has publicly promised to begin reversing his mini-surge by next summer, again irrespective of conditions on the ground. And his insistence on “engaging” at least some of those who allowed the country to be used as a launching pad for al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks augurs ill for the Afghan people (especially the female ones) – and for us. …
The repercussions of the Obama administration losing Iraq will cost us dearly in the future as adherents to Shariah around the world are reinforced in their conviction of that our defeat and submission is preordained. Even if, at the moment, we cannot fully comprehend the implications of such a perception, we will know from here on out whose “great achievement” precipitated the resulting horror for America and the rest of what was once the Free World.
Is the world entering a post-American era? Will the 21st century be dominated by some other power, or several others?
In the splendid speech that John Bolton delivered at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2010, he said of Obama, “He is the first post-American president.”
In Obama’s eyes, American superpower status is already over. The decline is happening. There’s no reason to regret it, and it would be pointless and unnecessary to try to halt or reverse it. Obama is content to let America be a nation among the nations, no different in any important respect, and certainly no better. “He sees American decline as a kind of natural phenomenon,” Bolton said.
In Bolton’s own view, however, America is still exceptional and still the one and only superpower. If its status as such is under threat, that threat proceeds from Obama himself, who, almost casually – not caring very much, as John Bolton remarked, about foreign and national security policy – is himself weakening it.
What Obama does care about is domestic policy. To achieve his redistributionist goals he has put America into crushing debt; and being determined, it seems, to turn America into a European-style socialist state, he can only make the debt vaster and heavier. That alone weakens America.
China is America’s chief creditor, but that does not mean China is now a second superpower. A China growing in wealth and confidence, and becoming an increasingly significant world actor, may pose an economic threat to America but is not, or not yet, a rival world power. Militarily it is far from a match. Militarily, America is still far and away the most powerful nation.
But there again, if Obama has his way, it won’t be for much longer. He has, in Bolton’s words, an “incredibly naïve idea” that if the US would get rid of its own nuclear weapons, other countries would give up theirs; those that do not have them but want them – such as Iran and North Korea – would abandon their intense efforts to obtain them; and the world would live at peace forever after. This belief or ambition represents, as John Bolton put it, “a pretty deep-seated strain in the left wing of the Democratic Party.” Obama will soon negotiate an arms control agreement with Russia by which he will undertake substantially to reduce America’s nuclear capability. America will not develop new nuclear weapons, or arms in outer space, or even keep its existing arsenal battle-ready by testing for safety and reliability. It is as if America had no enemies; as if America were not under attack; as if 9/11 had never happened; and as if Iran and North Korea would not drop nuclear bombs on America and its allies if they could do it and get away with it.
Furthermore, with the rest of the dreaming Left both at home and internationally, he aspires to another vision of a new earth: one that is not only sweetly irenic but held forcibly in union by a supreme governing authority. Those proposals for world taxes that we hear of; the intricate business of trading in carbon indulgences in the name of saving the earth from being consumed by fire or ice; international treaty regulations that would result in banning the private ownership of guns – all these are measures to realize the tremendous objective of “world governance”. It would mean the end of American independence, the end of national sovereignty. It would mean that the Revolution was lost, as Bolton said.
In a sense it would be the end of America, because America is an idea of liberty. And it is an idea that the world needs. Its loss would be a colossal disaster, a tragedy for the whole human race.
Can America be saved?
In his book titled The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria asserts that “America is closing down”, but allows that it “won’t be demoted from its superpower position in the foreseeable future” because “it’s not that the United States has been doing badly over the last two decades. It’s that, all of a sudden, everyone else is playing the game.”
America can “remain a vital, vibrant economy, at the forefront of the next revolutions in science, technology and industry, as long as it can embrace and adjust to the challenges confronting it”.
“The challenges” come from other nations, now rising, which he groups together as “the rest”.
China is the first of them because it is becoming an economic giant. The 21st century, he considers, may be the Chinese century.
What if [China ] quietly positions itself as the alternative to a hectoring and arrogant America? How will America cope with such a scenario – a kind of Cold War, but this time with a vibrant market economy, a nation that is not showing a hopeless model of state socialism, or squandering its power in pointless military interventions? This is a new challenge for the United States, one it has not tackled before, and for which it is largely unprepared.
Next in line is India. Poorer but democratic, India is “the ally”. Then come Brazil and Chile (plausibly); South Africa (less plausibly); and (implausibly) Russia. (Russia is a demographic basket case.)
Ironically, Zakaria says, these nations are rising because they learnt from America:
For sixty years, American politicians and diplomats have traveled around the world pushing countries to open their markets, free up their politics, and embrace trade and technology. … We counseled them to be unafraid of change and learn the secrets of our success. And it worked: the natives have gotten good at capitalism.
America, then, has not been a malign power, or not always. In Roosevelt’s day other countries believed that “America’s mammoth power was not to be feared”. It was after it had won the Cold War, when it became the only superpower, that it began to go to the bad. “Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has walked the world like a colossus, unrivaled and unchecked”, and this “has made Washington arrogant, careless, and lazy.” Furthermore, he tell us, “people round the world worry about living in a world in which one country has so much power.”
To relieve that worry, America “must reduce its weaponry and work towards a non-nuclear world.” It is hypocritical for the US to insist that other countries should not have nuclear weapons while it is hoarding a nuclear arsenal of its own. By giving them up it would “gain credibility”, an end he apparently considers so desirable that it would be worth risking the nation’s very survival to achieve it.
The summer of 2002, Zakaria says, was “the high water-mark of unipolarity”. The world felt sympathy for America after 9/11. America went to war in Afghanistan, which was not good but not too bad. But then it invaded Iraq, which was very bad, and the world’s sympathy dried up. America was being too “unilateral”, too “imperial and imperious”.
George W Bush and “the nefarious neoconservative conspiracy” antagonized the world. He and his conspirators “disdained treaties, multilateral organizations, international public opinion, and anything that suggested a conciliatory approach to world politics.”
So the world’s dislike, contempt, and fear of America were justified, or at least understandable, in the light of the foreign policies of the “arrogant” Bush administration. Zakaria even claims that the animosity filled the Republicans – already full of “chest-thumping machismo” – with pride.
Can Washington adjust and adapt to a world in which others have moved up? Can it respond to shift in economic and political power? … Can Washington truly embrace a world with a diversity of voices and viewpoints? Can it thrive in a world it cannot dominate?
The advice he gives to “Washington” for success in adjusting, adapting, responding, embracing, and thriving is to be conciliatory, apologetic. It must listen more; proclaim universal values”, but “phrase its positions carefully”; be like the chair of a board gently guiding a group of independent directors. America must “learn from the rest”. The president must meet more non-government people, have smaller entourages, rely more on diplomacy. Consultation, cooperation, compromise are the key words. He objects to such accomodations being called appeasement. Consult and cooperate, he urges, with Russia, and with “multilateral institutions” such as the UN, NATO, AFRICOM, OAS, and the International Criminal Court. (Even internally, the US legal system “should take note of transnational standards”.)
The federal government has been “too narrow-minded” about terrorism. When bin Laden got America to “come racing out to fight” him (in response to 9/11) this was “over-reaction.” Zakaria’s advice: “take it on the chin” and “bounce back”. The government must stop thinking of terrorism as a national security issue, and think of it as criminal activity carried out by “small groups of misfits”. Although Democrats were on the whole “more sensible” about terrorism, both parties, he says, spoke “in language entirely designed for a domestic audience with no concern for the poisonous effect it has everywhere else.” His solution is better airport control round the world. The more urgent problem in his view is that American Muslims have become victims of over-reaction to terrorist attacks. Instead of being “questioned, harassed, and detained” they should, he urges, “be enlisted in the effort to understand the appeal of Islamic fundamentalism.”
Zakaria does not consider himself anti-American. He does not even see himself as a man of the left. He reiterates that he is a free marketeer. It is because America became “suspicious of free markets”, he says, that partly explains its “closing down”.
He wrote his book before the economic crisis. He saw a globalized economy bringing about an increasingly prosperous world in which the poorest nations were rising strongly enough for him to declare that “the world is swimming in capital”, and “there really isn’t a Third World any more “. But even then the dollar was sliding, and America was showing signs of being “enfeebled”.
At a military-political level America still dominates the world, but the larger structure of unipolarity – economic, financial, cultural – is weakening… every year it becomes weaker and other nations and actors grow in strength.
For all its military might, its chest-thumping phase is over and now it is “cowering in fear”. It must, he says, “recover its confidence.” ‘It must stop being “a nation consumed by anxiety”, with a tendency to “hunker down”, unreasonably “worried about unreal threats” such as terrorism, and rogue nations like North Korea and Iran. (Iran, he explains, has good reason to fear the United States, with its armies on two of its borders. It’s only to be expected that Iran would try to arm itself with nuclear bombs and missile delivery systems. He does not explain why America should not fear this as a real threat.)
He is certain about what America needs to do to propitiate and serve the world it has alienated. It should ‘‘build broad rules by which the world will be bound’’, rather than pursue “narrow interests”.
What the world really wants from America is … that it affirm its own ideals. That role, as the country that will define universal ideals, remains one that only America can play.
We know Obama has read Zakaria’s book, or at least looked into it, because there is a photograph of him holding it, one finger marking his place. Obama is doing much that Zakaria advises in foreign affairs. But that’s less likely to be because the writer has impressed the president with his arguments than because they have both drunk from the same ideological well.
Obama’s foreign policy lets us see if Zakaria’s theory works. So far it has not.
So is America’s decline beyond all remedy?
It’s a relief to turn from Zakaria’s dull and weakly reasoned book with its uncongenial credo to an article titled The Seductions of Decline (February 2, 2010) by brilliantly witty and insightful Mark Steyn. If America believes it is in decline, he says, it will be. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The view that America has been too arrogant a power; that it is not and should not be exceptional; that humility and apology are required of it; that only endlessly patient negotiation in a spirit of compromise will improve foreign relations and dissuade states like North Korea and Iran from acquiring nuclear arms; that Islamic terrorism should be treated as crime and not as the jihad its perpetrators declare it to be; that Russia should be consulted on, say, the deployment of American missile defense; and that the US should reduce its nuclear arsenal and work towards a non-nuclear world – will bring about the decline.
National decline is psychological – and therefore what matters is accepting the psychology of decline.
His answer to the question “is America set for decline?” is yes, because of the policies of Obama and the Democrats, which arise from their acceptance of decline.
Strictly on the numbers, the United States is in the express lane to Declinistan: Unsustainable entitlements, the remorseless governmentalization of the American economy and individual liberty, and a centralization of power that will cripple a nation of this size. Decline is the way to bet.
American decline, he says, “will be steeper, faster and more devastating than Britain’s – and something far closer to Rome’s.” It will not be like France’s, or Austria’s.
Why did decline prove so pleasant in Europe? Because it was cushioned by American power. The United States is such a perversely non-imperial power that it garrisons not ramshackle colonies but its wealthiest “allies”, from Germany to Japan. For most of its members, “the free world” has been a free ride.
And after “Washington’s retreat from la gloire” as hegemon of the world, when America “becomes Europe in its domestic disposition and geopolitical decline, then who will be America?”
Of the many competing schools of declinism, perhaps the most gleeful are those who salivate over the rise of China. For years, Sinophiles have been penning orgasmic fantasies of mid-century when China will bestride the world and America will be consigned to the garbage heap of history. It will never happen: As I’ve been saying for years, China has profound structural problems. It will get old before it gets rich.
Not China then. Russia?
The demographic deformation of Tsar Putin’s new empire is even more severe than Beijing’s. Russia is a global power only to the extent of the mischief it can make on its acceleration into a death spiral.
Not Russia. How about the Caliphate that the terrorist war is being fought to establish?
Even if every dimestore jihadist’s dreams came true, almost by definition an Islamic imperium will be in decline from Day One.
So what might the post-American world look like? Mark Steyn’s answer is deeply depressing:
The most likely future is not a world under a new order but a world with no order – in which pipsqueak states go nuclear while the planet’s wealthiest nations, from New Zealand to Norway, are unable to defend their own borders and are forced to adjust to the post-American era as they can. Yet, in such a geopolitical scene, the United States will still remain the most inviting target – first, because it’s big, and secondly, because, as Britain knows, the durbar moves on but imperial resentments linger long after imperial grandeur.
But nothing is inevitable, and Mark Steyn offers a last hope. Though “decline is the way to bet”, the only thing that will ensure it is “if the American people accept decline as a price worth paying for European social democracy.”
When in 2008 a majority of the American electorate voted for Barack Obama to be president of the United States, it seemed that the deal had been made. But now Obama is failing, the Democratic majority is under threat, and the Tea Party movement is reclaiming the Revolution.
This could be another American century after all.
Jillian Becker March 1, 2010
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
- W. B. Yeats
We were for the war and regime change in Iraq. We were glad Saddam Hussein was deposed and hanged. We would like to see all despots brought to the same end.
But we never believed in Iraq’s becoming a true democracy, however many Iraqis cast their votes in however many elections. Nor is it.
The ritual imitation of democratic procedures is now being performed again.
Here’s a graphic report (perhaps a little too strained for emotional effect) on election campaigning Iraqi-style:
The slaughter of the al-Kaabi family last week horrified Iraqis who had prayed that the parliamentary elections next Sunday would be free from political violence.
Eight-year-old Ahmed was found hanging from a ceiling fan, blood dripping from slashed wrists tied behind his back. Little Rafel, her throat cut, was still in the purple and pink T-shirt she had worn to bed. The killers had gunned down Hussein al-Kaabi, 46, the children’s father, when he opened the front door last Monday night. They then appear to have gone methodically through the house in the Al-Wehdah district in southern Baghdad, knifing his wife and six children, some of them as they slept.
Photographs from the scene are shocking. Pretty nine-year-old Rafel looks almost peaceful, with locks of her dark hair hiding the wound on her neck. Seven-year-old Mais has a scarf wrapped around her mouth, obscuring the bloody wound on her neck. Ahmed looks painfully young and fragile, his football shirt evidence of his obsession with the game. Their mother, Widad, 36, was pregnant when she was shot and butchered. Family members said she appeared to have been running to help her husband.
Relatives said the only crime committed by Hussein, a guard for a wealthy farmer, was to have been hanging posters for Entifadh Qanbar, a candidate standing for the Shi’ite Iraqi National Alliance (INA). …
“It was a premeditated act of political terror,” said Abdullah al-Kaabi, 52, Hussein’s cousin. “The people who did this are trying to make people fearful of working for their candidates, or scared to vote.” …
Qanbar [the candidate] blamed members of Saddam Hussein’s [banned] Ba’ath party for the killings. …
Many Iraqis had hoped the vote would be an opportunity to move past the old divisions but the slaughter of the Kaabis suggest they are still raw.
Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, is running as head of a secular Shi’ite-led bloc … [His] support has waned as his claim to have brought security to Iraq was undermined, not only by the murder of the Kaabi family, but also by a series of spectacular bombings.
Last month suicide bombers mounted co-ordinated attacks just minutes apart on Baghdad hotels that had been expected to house foreign election observers, killing 36 people and injuring 71. Following in the wake of similar attacks in August, October and December, they wrecked what had been a fragile but growing sense of security in Baghdad.
Since last summer, army and interior ministry security forces have assumed sole responsibility for security after the withdrawal of American troops from patrolling Iraqi cities. Officials had already warned that violence would escalate in the run-up to the vote.
Survivors of the blasts blamed hardline Ba’athists, believed to be allied with Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown terrorist group linked to Osama bin Laden.
Maliki’s government, already under fire for a lack of tangible improvement in basic services, and allegations of corruption, is facing its toughest challenge from the INA, whose main partners are the pro-Iranian Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and Moqtada al-Sadr, the anti-US cleric whose strength comes from the mostly poor Shi’ite majority.
Here is an account of how and why twenty million Muslims were imported into Europe, and to what effect.
The information is condensed from Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye’or. (The wording is largely hers, with some added notes and comments of my own – JB.)
1969 France sells 110 Mirage jets to new Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi. Explores with him the concept of a Euro-Arab dialogue. Becomes in the following years a major supplier of arms to many Arab states.
1973 May: London. Conference of Islamic Cultural Centers. Islamic leaders decide to create, fund and support cultural centres in Europe as ‘a great need was felt [in Europe] for the tenets of Islam’ and such centres would help Muslim communities in Europe play this role [of teaching the tenets of Islam] effectively and fruitfully.’ The Conference also ‘decided to establish the Islamic Council of Europe to serve as an organ of co-ordination among all Islamic institutions and centres.’ It was to ‘propagate the true teachings of Islam throughout Europe.’ Thus there was to be a ‘stepping up of the activities of the Islamic Da’awa [proselytism]’. To this end, an International Islamic News Agency was to be established, also a Jihad Fund open to subscription ‘with no restrictions’.
The ‘rights’ of immigrants to preserve their beliefs, traditions and national cultures were to be guaranteed by the Europeans. Facilities for the teaching of Arabic were to be ‘improved’. The establishment of a Euro-Arab University was proposed (and initial steps to do so were taken in subsequent years including the founding of the Euro-Arab Business Management School in Granada in 1994).
October 16-17: Kuwait. Mortified by the defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan in their war against Israel, the Arab oil-producing countries meet and decide to quadruple the price of oil and to reduce their production of crude oil by 5% each month until Israel withdraws from the territories those three countries lost to Israel in 1967 and failed to recover in 1973. Impose an oil embargo on the US, Denmark, the Netherlands as states friendly to Israel. Sheikh Yamani of Saudi Arabia threatens that the oil states could ‘reduce production by 80%’ and asks the West ‘How could you survive with that?’ In response the US stands firm, France and Germany panic.
November 6: Brussels. Meeting of the EEC nine members. Ignoring objections from Washington, the meeting insists on starting an appeasing approach to the Arab oil states. They issue a joint Resolution based on their dependence on Arab oil, in which they pledge themselves to support the Arabs diplomatically in their conflict with Israel. This was sufficient to induce the Arab states to increase oil supplies and ‘open a dialogue’ (as already conceived in discussions between France and Libya). Thus began a Euro-Arab political solidarity pact that was hostile not only to Israel but also to America.
November 26-27: Georges Pompidou, President of France, and Willy Brandt, Chancellor of West Germany meet. Reaffirm intention to ‘engage in a dialogue with the Arabs’.
November 28: Algiers. Sixth Summit of the Arab Conference. Arab heads of state address a Declaration to the EEC, noting with interest ‘the first manifestations of a better understanding of the Arab cause by the states of Western Europe’, and setting out Arab political preconditions for the projected dialogue. The Declaration stresses that the political and economic aspects are interdependent and non-negotiable – ie the supply of oil depends on EEC acceptance of Arab political conditions concerning Israel.
December 15: Copenhagen. An EEC summit, called by President Pompidou of France, considers the planning for co-operation between the EEC countries and the Arab League. Four Arab foreign ministers, delegated by the Algiers Arab summit, are invited to monitor the project. They suggest various strategies in the context of the conditions that the Arab states place on any accord with the EEC.
1974 February 24: Lahore. The Second Islamic Conference, organized by the recently created Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) confirms and elaborates the conditions for co-operation with the EEC.
June 10: Bonn. Britain (which had joined the EEC in 1973, as had Ireland and Denmark), had vetoed the Euro-Arab Dialogue in protest against Holland being under an Arab embargo ‘for being pro-Israeli’, but the embargo was lifted against Holland, so now the foreign ministers of the EEC states meet to discuss ‘the Dialogue’. Areas of co-operation between Europe and the Arab states include industry and agriculture, science and technology, finance, education, and ‘civil infrastructure’. The Arab states, in other words, are being promised massive transfers of money and know-how with programmes to industrialise and modernise their countries.
Note: All this was desperately desired by the Arab states, and the provision of it could have been used by Europe as a counter-lever to the oil blackmail which the Arabs had brought to bear on Europe. Furthermore, the Arab oil states needed to sell their oil to Europe, and needed to invest in a thriving European economy. The European governments could have dictated terms. But the EEC, under insistent French leadership, preferred to appease rather than negotiate. The motivation for France was not only commercial. It was a desire to re-acquire a large sphere of influence in the Arab world, in pursuit of an intense ambition to achieve super-power status and so to rival the United States.
July 31: Paris. The first official meeting at ministerial level between the Europeans and the Arabs to discuss the organization of the Dialogue. An institutionalized structure is created to harmonize and unify the trade and co-operation policies of each of the EEC countries with the member states of the Arab League.
The EEC founds The European Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation ‘to improve political, cultural, and economic cooperation between Europe and the Arab world’. Its Executive Committee set to meet regularly every six months. All the political parties and groupings of Europe are members of it. It is to keep in regular contact with European governments, the Presidency of the European Council of Ministers, and the EEC Commission.
September 14-17: Damascus. To meet Arab demands in preparation for the next summit of the Arab Conference, the Association convenes representatives of all the parliamentary parties of the EEC member states except Denmark and resolves, inter alia, to permit the participation of the PLO and its leader, Yasser Arafat, into all negotiations, and to bring pressure to bear on the United States to shift its Middle East policy in favour of the Arabs. Also to permit Arab countries to export millions of their populations into all the EEC countries, along with their culture and their customs.
October: Rabat. The Seventh Summit of the Arab Conference confirms that the indispensable political preconditions for the Euro-Arab Dialogue have been met by the EEC. The Arabs stress that the interdependence of the political and economic aspects of European-Arab cooperation is not negotiable, ie European oil supplies are dependent on European support for Arab political demands.
A permanent Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) secretariat of 350 members is created, with its seat in Paris, for the purpose of promoting economic and political cooperation. The EAD is organized into various committees charged with planning ‘joint industrial, commercial, political, scientific, technical, cultural, and social projects’. European members are for the most part persons with vested interests in the Arab and Islamic world, whether commercial or in relation to their academic jobs as Arabists and Islamists.
Note: The EEC had been conceived of as an economic institution, dealing with markets, finance, and trade. The Arab states’ pressure for a unified European policy to meet their political demands were a vital factor in the development of the EEC from an economic to a political union.
1975 June 10: Cairo. First meeting of The Euro-Arab Dialogue. EEC delegates meet with those of 20 Arab states and the PLO. The basis of the agreement with Europe is emphasised: economic deals with Europe in exchange for European alignment with Arab policy on Israel.
With that locked in place, other agreements could follow.
July 24: Rome, and November 27: Abu Dhabi. EAD meetings. Co-operation extends and deepens.
1976 May 18-20: Luxembourg. EAD organization and procedures are defined. ‘The Dialogue’ is composed of three organs:
A General Committee – presidency jointly held by heads of Arab and European delegations. All delegates on both sides are of ministerial and ambassadorial rank. Purpose, to keep the Dialogue on track. (No wavering on Europe’s part from the founding commitments.) Meetings secret. No recorded minutes. Can publish summaries of decisions and issue press releases.
A Working Committee. Made up of business experts, economists, oil specialists along with Arab League and EC representatives. Again, joint Arab League/EC presidency.
A Coordinating Committee. To co-ordinate the work of various working parties set up by the other committees.
Further EAD meetings (several in Brussels, then in Tunis in February 1977) establish the conditions for an intertwining of Arab and European policies: the establishment of a Palestinian state with Yasser Arafat as its leader; a campaign to bring worldwide political and economic pressure on Israel to force its withdrawal to its 1949 armistice border [as a step in a policy of ‘stages’ with the ultimate aim of extinguishing the State of Israel]; an international boycott of Israel and opposition to any separate peace treaties; promotion of Anti-Israel media propaganda.
Note: The Arabs at this point had not got all they wanted from Europe. They had to accept some significant failures – attested to by the fact that Israel continued to exist, which is nothing short of astonishing in the light of the jihad campaign working so persistently and in most respects triumphantly against it - but they contented themselves temporarily with partial success.
Meetings of the EAD committees continue into 1978. Then the Camp David agreement between Egypt and Israel acts as a brake on EAD activity.
1980 The EAD meets again when the Europeans are worried about declining oil production in Iran, and the Arabs want to complain to Europe about the Israeli-Egyptian treaty.
1981 January 25-28: Mecca and Taif. The Third Islamic Summit Conference issues a Declaration of Holy Jihad ‘as the duty of every Muslim, man or woman, ordained by the Shariah and the glorious traditions of Islam; to call upon all Muslims, living inside or outside Islamic countries, to discharge this duty by contributing each according to his capacity in the cause of Allah Almighty, Islamic brotherhood, and righteousness.’
One of the chief aims the declaration specifies is ‘to save Al-Quds’ – ie to take Jerusalem into Arab possession. To this aim, through the EAD, Europe accedes, co-operating with the Arab campaign to isolate and vilify Israel and helping to deliver the United Nations as an instrument of Arab jihadic purpose.
Note: The EC/EU’s moral commitment to connive at the Palestinian jihad compromised the very foundations of freedom and Western culture, and did not make Europe safer.
Europe is also a designated target of jihad. The national governments are not unaware of the threat that hangs over them, and from early on fear has been one of the motivating causes of the European policy of appeasement:-
1998 Damascus: Three years before ‘Islamikazes’ carried out the 9/11 mass murder of Americans in New York, six years before the massacres of commuter-train passengers in Madrid, seven years before the underground and bus bombing atrocities in London, a conference of the Euro-Arab Parliamentary Dialogue is held in Syria, under the auspices of the murderous dictator Hafiz al-Assad. Members of fourteen national European parliaments and the European Parliament attend, also representatives of the European Commission. Arab members of sixteen non-democratic parliaments and representatives of the Arab League bring a heavy threat to bear openly on the Europeans: they stress that ‘peace and stability in Europe’ is ‘closely connected’ to Europe’s compliance with Arab Middle East policy. The official reports of the Dialogue constantly reiterate this point. It could not have been impressed more firmly on European parliamentarians and the EU Commission that jihad could be unleashed against Europe itself if Arab conditions were not met.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the EAD continued to serve as a vehicle for policy decided at Islamic Conferences. It was the principle instrument for implementing the resolutions of the Arab conferences. It advanced the Arab mission of implanting millions of Muslims into Europe who come with no intention of integrating into European culture and society, but arrive with the desire and the legal right, granted by the EEC/EU, to impose their own culture upon the host country - a culture fired by a fundamentalist mission of violent jihad.
It facilitated the creation of those fundamentalist trends. It introduced the educational and cultural programs of the European Islamic Centres into European schools – programs enthusiastically accepted and applied by European political leaders, intellectuals, and activists. EAD facilitated the creation of fundamentalist trends.
2000 The European Commission provides funds to revive a dormant organisation called the European Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation, known as MEDEA. (The Euro-Arab political partnership was increasingly called ‘Mediterranean’, the Arab states being referred to as ‘the South’ and the EU states as ‘the North’.) MEDEA is now chaired by a Belgian minister for foreign affairs who reorganises MEDEA’s European Parliament section of over 100 members. There are also MEDEA sections in individual national parliaments. Subsequently the organisation issues regular press releases to opinion- makers, intellectuals and pressure groups, and plays a major role in spreading Arab influence in Europe.
2001 September 11: New York and Washington. ‘Islamikaze’ terrorists fly hijacked planes into the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, killing close on 3000 people. Another hijacked plane is forced down by its passengers near Shanksville in Pennsylvania. President Bush declares ‘War on Terror’.
October: The US, its military assisted by seven other countries, the UK primarily, also Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and Italy, invades Taliban-ruled Afghanistan to overthrow that fundamentalist Islamic government. The Taliban had equipped al-Qaeda, the organization, led by Osama bin Laden, which had despatched the terrorist attackers of America. The Taliban is (temporarily) overthrown.
2002 June 20. Brussels: The Arabs ask for special privileges for Arab immigrants into the EU to put them ‘on an equal basis with Europeans’. The host countries are exhorted to provide Arab immigrants with vocational training, freedom of movement, suitable living conditions, and financial aid if they should choose to return to their homelands.
2003 March 20: The US and Britain invade Iraq to overthrow the dictator Saddam Hussein. Other countries, including Spain, lend various degrees of military assistance. France and Russia emphatically oppose the invasion. Anti-war demonstrations, intensely anti-American, are staged throughout Europe.
In this year the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI) reports to the European Commission that the economic outlook for Europe is gloomy but would be brightened if there were to be increased Arab immigration. In Britain, however, the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, warns that the imposing of mass immigration on a populace that did not want it, threatened the social fabric of Britain because of “the disintegration of community relations and social cohesion”.
December 2-3. Naples: At a Euro-Mediterranean Conference of ministers of foreign affairs, EU officials reaffirm Europe’s ‘solidarity’ with its ‘Mediterranean partners’. At this conference even more foundations, committees and subcommittees are proposed. The European Bank – an institution funded entirely by Europe’s tax-payers – will open a subsidiary to serve Arab (sharia conforming) requirements. The absence of democracy in the Arab states, their economic stagnation, continuing terrorism carried out in many parts of the world in the name of Islam, are not matters on which the Europeans choose to lay stress.
2004 March 11. Madrid: Terrorist bombs are exploded by Muslim residents of Spain on commuter trains. Nearly 200 people killed, nearly 2000 injured. The response of the Spanish electorate a few days later is to vote Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who supported President Bush in his war on Iraq, out of power, and vote in Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who has opposed Spain’s participation in the Iraq war. The change favours the Islamic terrorists. The result amounts to a national capitulation to terrorism.
November 2. Amsterdam: Theo van Gogh, Dutch film maker, is shot, stabbed and has his throat slit by a Dutch-born Muslim. The victim had made a film about the abuse of Muslim women.
In this year Eastern European countries are admitted into the EU. Arab leaders fear that their immigrants will no longer be welcome in Western Europe. They ask for and are granted assurances that Europe’s chief sources of immigration will continue to be ‘above all the Mediterranean Arab countries.’ So EU policy in this regard is (yet again) shaped to conform to Arab demands. It will ‘balance’ its expansion into Eastern Europe with an increase in Arab immigration.
2005 July 7: London. Terrorist bombs explode on three underground trains and a bus in central London. 56 killed, about 700 injured. The killers are identified as British born Muslims.
Violent jihad had been unleashed against Europe from within.
Increasingly the continent is being made to feel the tragic consequences of its policies. In the light of the demographic facts on the ground – a drastic shrinking of indigenous populations and an exponential rise in the numbers of Muslims – it seems it may now be too late for it to save itself.
Jillian Becker February 11, 2010
The President told the truth (uncharacteristically) when he conceded, some days after a terrorist tried to blow up a plane over Detroit, that America is at war.
But he did not tell the whole truth when he said who the enemy is. He named al-Qaeda, but that’s like naming one battalion in a conventional engagement. There are many battalions on the enemy’s side in this fight: Hizbullah, Hamas, the Taliban, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and many more.
It is absolutely necessary to say plainly who the enemy is.
To call it ‘terror’ was always a misnomer. Terror is an emotion. Even the more accurately referential ‘terrorism’ would not be right. Terrorism is a method, a tactic, a means, not a movement or a cause.
What else has been tried?
‘Extremists’ and ‘extremism’ ? Wide of the mark.
‘Islamism’ ? Nearer. But wait – ‘Islamism’ does not exist. There is no ‘Islamist Manifesto’. There is no tradition of ‘Islamism’. Can it even be defined? It is an invention of Western pundits who want to avoid offending what is charitably called ‘the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims’.
For years now American politicians have been pretending not to see it, refusing to speak it, but they know very well the name of the enemy. And it brings them up against a peculiar difficulty, because it is the name of a religion, and freedom of religion is a foundation stone of the Union. The United States of America is a conscientiously tolerant nation. Within its boundaries, no religion may be prohibited.
Or is that not entirely true? Would religions that require human sacrifice be tolerated? They still exist in Africa and India. Immigrants have brought them to Europe. A couple of years ago the remains of a child was found in the Thames and investigators found that he had been ritually sacrificed by an African religious sect.
It may be argued that such tribal cults of ritual magic cannot deserve the same respect as a moral religion that has well over a billion followers worldwide, as is the case with Islam.
And Islam is the name of the enemy. In must be said however shocking it feels to say it: The name of the enemy is Islam.
It certainly has over a billion followers, but is it a moral religion? ‘An immoral religion’ would describe it more accurately.
In view of the difficulty Western civilization has in declaring a religion to be inimical, even when it has declared itself to be so, it’s better to think of Islam as an ideology – which it is. All religions are ideologies, even if all ideologies are not religions.
Islam is the religio-political ideology of an illiterate warlord of the dark ages.
It is a totalitarian ideology.
It is a collectivist ideology, and like all collectivist ideologies, it claims to be the unique repository and disseminator of truth, and demands unquestioning submission to its authority.
It is centered on a dual power, a divinity and a particular man inseparably bound to each other. The man, as the sole conduit of divine truth, dictated a book and a body of sayings that established a code of conduct and set of laws. These can never be altered and must be taken literally. They ordain that to kill and be killed for their deity is the highest duty of the faithful. They declare that females are inferior to males, and imply that females exist solely to serve the physical needs and appetites of males.
It is universalist. It assumes the obligation to bring all mankind into its community, or umma. It holds that everyone is born a member of the umma but many fail to realize this and are drawn away to false beliefs and practices. It is the duty of all the faithful to recover the lost members. It will use persuasion, offering to welcome ‘reverts’, but those who cling obstinately to their false beliefs must be forced to capitulate or die. It is therefore unremittingly at war with the rest of humanity. Peace will only come, it teaches, when the whole world is Muslim. In the meantime Islam will allow certain other religions to continue if they are not overtly polytheistic and if their devotees accept social abasement and legal discrimination, and pay tribute to their Muslim overlords.
That is the nature of the enemy. It has always been in a state of war against the rest of us by the compulsion of its beliefs. From time to time since its inception in the 7th century, it has risen and hurled itself in furious battle against the ramparts of our culture. For the last half-century or so it has been in active conflict with the West in general and the United States of America in particular. From its own point of view it is continuing the war it has always waged to subdue the world in accordance with the will of its god and prophet.
This is the war being waged against us now. We have no choice but to fight it.
The name of the enemy is Islam, and once it is identified the next thing to do is devise ways to vanquish it.
How then? If another country is your country’s enemy, you can invade it, or wait for it to invade you and defend yourself from its attack, or you can do both at the same time.
American armed forces are engaged with this enemy in two of the countries where he predominates and in which he plots against us. We may win those battles, but if we do we’ll not have won the war. Victories on geographical battlefields will not vanquish this enemy. Psychological warfare will achieve much more.
Consider this for an act of psychological warfare: At the heart of the haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are enjoined to make at least once in their lives, is the holy Kaaba, a huge cube of a building covered with black silk in the middle of a mosque. Although it existed before Muhammad was born, it is Islam’s holiest site. All Muslims everywhere turn towards it every time they pray. It shelters the Black Stone, a piece of a meteorite that Islam dates ‘from the time of Adam and Eve’. If the Kaaba were bombed and the Black Stone pulverized, just think how demoralizing that would be for the enemy.
And how else can we defeat a foe who is not only spread over many countries but is also here in our midst, thriving and increasing dangerously amongst us, and striking at us unpredictably and at random?
(More to follow.)
President Obama’s speech on what he is planning to do about the war in Afghanistan was the speech of a deeply committed radical with a mind soaked in the toxic ideology of the Left, challenged to explain to himself and his ideological comrades just why he was continuing to wage war in a Third World country in defiance of all their passionately held ideals.
Pity the man! What a task he was forced to set himself!
As president of the United States, addressing men serving in his country’s military, he had to present his decision to commit 30,000 more troops to the war as a move reflecting an unswerving appreciation of their willing sacrifice, a determination to win, and a passion for upholding the honor of the country he leads. In none of this he believes, but he had to say he did. He had to come across as encouraging, dedicated to the cause, intent on achieving goals for which his audience were willing to give their lives. He had to sound sincere when he was not. As part of the act, but making his task even harder for himself, he chose to announce his new strategy for the war at the Military Academy at West Point, which Chris Matthews of MSNBC called, speaking for peaceniks of the left everywhere, the ‘enemy’s camp’.
At the same time he had to be true to his political faith, which is in absolute opposition to any war waged by the United States on or in a Third World country, especially against an Islamic movement. His speech had to signal to the pacifist faction of the American left, the whole of the international left, and to Muslims world-wide that he was in principle against the war, against all war, against America being militarily strong, against America being the mightiest power and the most successful capitalist country in the world.
No wonder it took him months to work out what to do and how to spin it. Did he succeed? Superficially, yes. The speech, amazingly, so well fulfills his contradictory needs that it could almost be called a masterpiece of equivocation. At least until it is scrutinized in detail. Then the irreconcilable bits show up all too plainly.
How did he do it?
Pick the speech apart and you can see how it was done. For instance, for the voters and the patriots, for the generals and the soldiers, for the fulfillment of the duties of his office – let’s put all of these into a category headed Patriots – he says:
‘On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women and children …’
Then for the left revolutionaries, for the pacifists, for Islam, for America-haters, for the panel of Marxist advisers in his White House, for his dead communist father, his hippy mother, his wife, his best friends, for his Marxist professors and mentors and benefactors, his pastors, his erstwhile Alinsky-team employers, for his terrorist associates, for ACORN and the SEIU, for his whole revolutionary base, and for Islam their ally – let’s put all these into a category headed the Left – he says:
‘… without regard to their faith or race or station.’
What could this mean? What faiths or races or stations in life could have been regarded, taken into consideration, which would have qualified the evil of the act? We know the answers. If the only people to be hit had for certain been white, been captains of the ‘military-industrial complex’, been Christians and Jews, then the attack would have been more understandable, perhaps excusable, perhaps even justified. No, it isn’t said. But it is implied. What other meaning can be found in the words?
In paragraph after paragraph the pieces stand out as these for the Patriots, these for the Left. (And there are a few that do for both, such as those strongly condemning al-Qaeda – safely enough since many Islamic states are fervently against it.)
First for the Patriots: He tells the soldiers that he has been very good to them; they really have nothing to complain about. He has ’signed a letter of condolence to the family of each American who gives their life in these wars’; he has read the letters sent to him by ‘the parents and spouses of those who deployed’; he visited wounded warriors at Walter Reed; and he ‘traveled to Dover to meet the flag-draped caskets of 18 Americans returning home to their final resting place’. And here are more sops to Patriots: ‘A testament to the character of our men and women in uniform’; ‘thanks to their courage, grit and perseverance’; ‘as cadets you volunteered for service during the time of danger’; ‘as your commander in chief I owe you a mission that is clearly defined and worthy of your service’; ‘I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan’; ‘we will pursue a military strategy that will break the Taliban’s momentum’; ‘to abandon this area now would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al-Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies’; ‘the struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly’; ‘it will be an enduring test of our free society, and our leadership in the world’; ‘where al-Qaeda and its allies attempt to establish a foothold – whether in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere – they must be confronted by growing pressure and strong partnerships’; ‘we have to improve our intelligence so that we stay one step ahead of shadowy networks’; ‘our country has borne a special burden in global affairs’; we have spilled American blood in many countries’; ’we have not always been thanked for these efforts’; ‘more than any other nation, the United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades’; ’unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination’; ‘we do not seek to occupy other nations’; ‘we are still heirs to a noble struggle for freedom’; ‘men and women in uniform are part of an unbroken line of sacrifice that has made government of the people, by the people and for the people a reality on this Earth’.
Most of the rest of the speech is primarily to placate the Left and Islam. It would be tediously long to quote, so here’s a summary and interpretaion: Al Qaeda has ‘distorted and defiled Islam’; it has even attacked Muslims, for instance in Amman and Bali; our use of force in Afghanistan was fully sanctioned by both Congress and the UN’s international approval; then we were distracted from pursuing it properly by the unjustifiable, illegal war that Bush (not named but fully blamed) waged on Iraq; although I am going to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, after 18 months all our troops will begin to come home; after that we’ll keep a kindly eye on the progress the Afghans make in becoming a country that is not corrupt, holds elections without fraud, and grows something more desirable than opium; we must exercise restraint in the use of military force; in any case we cannot afford to wage war because we have an economic crisis and what resources we have must be used to change America to you-know-what; I don’t really like bothering with foreign affairs at all very much, but since I have to let me remind you that we’ve got other tasks to do in the world, for instance in ‘disorderly regions’ (such as, not needing to be named to those who know, the Middle East); we’d rather negotiate peace than fight for it, even with the Taliban; but if the Taliban has to be fought let Pakistan do the fighting, we’ll pay them to do it; I am pursuing the goal of a world without nuclear weapons; I’ve prohibited torture; I’ll close the prison at Guantanamo Bay; I’ll speak out for human rights everywhere in the world (okay, not in China, or Cuba, or Venezuela, or Saudi Arabia, or … No, he doesn’t imply this, it just happens to be the case.)
But he fears he might not have pleased both sides after all. He anticipates disagreement and rebukes it:
‘This vast and diverse citizenry will not always agree on every issue — nor should we. But I also know that we, as a country, cannot sustain our leadership nor navigate the momentous challenges of our time if we allow ourselves to be split asunder by the same rancor and cynicism and partisanship that has in recent times poisoned our national discourse.’
He ends with a series of grandiose but entirely empty rhetorical flourishes designed to elicit applause, which they did as a mater of courtesy and custom, though most of the speech was listened to without it. No wonder. It was a self-serving exercise, not improved by the flattery bestowed on the audience.
‘America, we are passing through a time of great trial. And the message that we send in the midst of these storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our resolve unwavering. We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might, and with the commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world that is more secure, and a future that represents not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes. …’
Are the Patriots deceived? Is the Left placated and are Muslims appeased? It remains to be seen.
Jillian Becker December 2, 2009