Monthly Archives: April 2007

Echoes

Tarek Heggy writes at Winds of Change:

Before Second World War broke out in 1939, the Soviet Union was contained within its borders although, it had patriarchal relations with other communist movements worldwide through an organization that the Soviets established to support such movements, which was called Communist International or the Comintern.

The military defeat of Germany and Japan, created a power vacuum in the international arena after the Second World War. In Europe, the German army began withdrawing westward after it had reached the gateway to Stalingrad. Simply speaking, as the German army retreated from east to west, the Soviet army occupied the territory that they abandoned. At first the Soviet forces moved forward within their own territory then they advanced into other countries that later formed the Warsaw Pact and the Comecon and were known as the Eastern European countries or the countries beyond the Iron Curtain. Consequently, all the lands that were removed from the realm of German sovereignty became new areas of influence for the Soviet Union and its political and economical ideologies. As a result of the German retreat to the west the bloc of countries in Eastern Europe was formed and became like planets orbiting around the Soviet Union.

A similar process took place in Asia. When the Japanese army retreated from the vast territories that it had conquered outside of the Japanese home islands, communist parties in those areas took over the evacuated lands.

Although this process took place in more than one country, there are numerous examples including; Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Mongolia, the greatest and the most important case in point was that of Mao Tsetung in China. He, and after him the remnants of his communist followers, proceeded to replace the withdrawing Japanese forces and simultaneously swept away the Chinese anticommunist alternative led by Chiang Kai-shek who withdrew from the Chinese mainland and settled on the island of Formosa.

I commented on the post there:

When the Nazis and Japanese withdrew from conquered areas as WW2 drew down the resulting power vacuum led to the domination of communist parties. When the USSR left Afghanistan the Taliban took over. When the Shah of Iran fell the Khomeinistas took over Iran and Wahhabist hardliners took more power in Saudi Arabia. Also see Somalia, Gaza, Lebanon, Chechnya and Algeria. Is this the genesis of a new world war, that wherever communism or autocracy fails as a system and political islam is available, political islam will take over?

What does this promise for Egypt, Libya, Morroco, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma? What does it promise for France and Netherlands?

Heggy addresses what Muslims must do in this post. Read it all.

The follow-on question for the free, non-Muslim world is: What strategy is available for containing this pattern? There are hard questions that need to be answered after much thought. Only after these questions are answered will it be possible to define, understand, and communicate the proper strategy for the new Cold War against the Assassins.

  • Should the free world prop up failing dictators?
  • Should the free world prop up failing communist states?
  • What can the free world do to reclaim its own renegade academy and media, that reflexively sides against difficult freedom and with easy tyrrany and barbarism whenever possible?
  • What can the free world do to strengthen itself?
  • What can the free world do to weaken the appeal of political islam?
  • Should the free world attempt to weaken political Islam?
  • Should the free world attempt to weaken Islam? Is there anything in Islam uniquely worth saving?
  • What can the free world do to protect ex-Muslims from the vengeance of political Islam?

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Petraeus talks to the Sadrinistas

After the 5,000 to 7,000 man protest in Najaf where Sadr’s remaining zealots protested against the U.S. led Coalition, Gen. Petraeus reminded Iraqis how they gained the freedom to protest.

“Those who take to the streets to protest … should recall that were it not for the actions of coalition forces in 2003 (and to be sure actions by Iraqis and coalition forces since then) they also would not have been able to celebrate the recent religious holidays as they did in such massive numbers.”

The protests Monday in Najaf, the holiest city in Shia Islam, were primarily followers of cleric Muqtada Sadr, who claims one of the largest militias in Iraq and believed to be behind much of the sectarian violence in Baghdad and elsewhere.

Petraeus wrote in his April 9 message that it was particularly important to him that the people of Najaf remember that it was the 101st Airborne Division that he commanded in 2003 that liberated Najaf and nearby Kufa in 2003, battling Saddam’s forces.

“Our soldiers sacrificed greatly to give the Najafis and millions of other Iraqis the freedoms, however imperfect they may be, they enjoy today,” Petraeus wrote.

Petraeus has not been reluctant to highlight the mistakes and failures of the U.S. occupation.

“The past four years have been … disappointing, frustrating and increasingly dangerous in many parts of Iraq for those who have been involved in helping to build a new state in this ancient land,” he wrote. “I would add however that the coalition has, at the least, consistently sought to learn from its mistakes.”

Petraeus called on all Iraqis to “reject violence and the foreigners who fuel it with their money, arms, ammunition and misguided young men.”

“This is a time for Iraqis to demonstrate to the world their innate goodness, their desire to respect those of other sects and ethnic groups, and their wish to stitch back the fabric of Iraqi society,” Petraeus wrote. “Only in this way can the dreams of those who live in a country so rich in blessings and promise be fully realized.” (UPI)

It does a man good to remember how things have worked in the past, so as not to attempt the impossible in pursuit of the ineffable.

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Genocide Maps on Google Earth

Foreign Policy points to a Google Earth map for genocide in Darfur. Also see a timeline for Nazi death camps and a Google Earth map of the Holocaust Encyclopedia.

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Nuclear Iran & Polls

One who participates in polls can quickly become confused. At least that is the most obvious conclusion that comes out of a March 14-16 Zogby International poll of 4,824 Americans concerning Iran.

Iran’s Nuclear Program

  • 88.1% of those asked believe that the purpose of Iran’s nuclear program is to develop nuclear weapons. 5.5% believe that the purpose is to generate electricity.
  • To break down the 88.1% who believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, 39.3% said Iran is developing nuclear weapons for its own use, 18.4% said Iran is developing “a weapon to sell to terrorist organizations,” and 30.4% said Iran is trying to balance a nuclear threat from other nuclear powers.

The balance rubric seems strange. How does it change the facts of whether Iran is developing nuclear weapons for military purposes? Is it more acceptable for Iran to threaten to use nukes against nuclear powers such as the U.S., France, and Israel than to use them to bully Turkey and Iraq?
Middle Eastern Nuclear Arms Race

  • 88.2% of those asked answered that if Iran developed nuclear weapons, then it was very or somewhat likely that other countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt would race to develop their own weapons, leading to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

This would lead to the nightmare of the Three Conjectures scenario. Continue reading

Renaming the (Global) War on Terror

From the Military Times:

The House Armed Services Committee is banishing the global war on terror from the 2008 defense budget. […]

The “global war on terror,” a phrase first used by President Bush shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., should not be used, according to the memo. Also banned is the phrase the “long war,” which military officials began using last year as a way of acknowledging that military operations against terrorist states and organizations would not be wrapped up in a few years.

Committee staff members are told in the memo to use specific references to specific operations instead of the Bush administration’s catch phrases. The memo […] provides examples of acceptable phrases, such as “the war in Iraq,” the “war in Afghanistan, “operations in the Horn of Africa” or “ongoing military operations throughout the world.”

This could have three effects.

  1. On one hand, as the Wall Street Journal’s editorial staff notes, this helps those democrats who want to divide the battles of the war into small, discrete, less important pieces so they can subject the overall effort to a death of a thousand cuts.

    What the Democrats object to, however, is the idea that it is a “global war.” In particular, they are trying to sell the fantasy that Iraq is a discrete problem with no relation to any broader conflict–so that surrendering in Iraq would have no deleterious consequences for U.S. national security.

    It would be nice for Americans (albeit brutal for Iraqis) if the U.S. could simply cut its losses and abandon Iraq. But it seems to us there is far more wisdom in the holistic approach of the “global war.” America has failed to engage its enemies, or tactically retreated when the going got tough, repeatedly since Vietnam: Iran in 1979, Lebanon in 1983, Iraq in 1991, Somalia in 1993.

    There is ample reason to think that these shows of weakness–or, more precisely, of irresoluteness–emboldened America’s enemies. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, provided strong–at the time, seemingly irrefutable–evidence that taking the easy way out did not enhance American national security.

  2. On the other hand, the phrase Global War on Terror is suboptimal. It is demonstrably false or meaningless. Terror is a tactic, not an enemy. It is an abstract noun, just like Crime or Drugs or Childhood Obesity. Wars against these abstract nouns appear to be un-serious because of the term used, however serious the goal might be. In my experience this is the first objection most leftists have to the War on Terror. This is a war on a tactic. There is not even an enemy. They are right. Is there a better name that names a concrete enemy that can be named, defined, and opposed?
  3. I’m out of hands, but the third effect of changing the name is confusion. Changing the term in mid-stream will confuse people. Is the war on terror the same as the global war on terror? We’ve already suffered from this renaming confusion with the War in Iraq. Why would the U.S. stop chasing after Bin Laden and the Taliban before the enemy was crushed? And why would they take on a different enemy instead, especially one that had a personal beef against the father of the U.S. president? Without a brand that encompassed the entire range of action it could be named by peacemongers, jihadist facilitators, and communist agitators. They called it a war for oil, a grudge match, a Halliburton plot, a rejection of the Powell doctrine, and a war against Islam.

Continue reading