Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pakistan, Terrorism, Dictatorships and the Global War Over the Legitimacy of Israel

Here is another excerpt from Musharraf's November 3, National Emergency speech:

Then, the madrasas which were engaged in extremism were ordered re-opened by the Court. We want to build madrasas. The government has a plan to construct 'Model' madrasas where the poorest children can go study, live with the finest standards. It is not the case that government is against madrasas. We want them in finest locations, with great education and living quarters. That is our plan being set in motion. But those madrasas where extremists are operating - those were reopened by the Court.

Terrorism is a tactic. The Global War Over Terrorism really is not a war against terrorism. Like the US war against Japan in the Pacific was not a war against naval surprise attacks. The US arming of PJAK and MEK to conduct terrorist operations against Iran (which tragically for US interests, spills over into Turkey) is not inconsistent with the US aims in the conflict. The hypocrisy stems solely from the misleading label the US applies.

The war against terrorism is really a war fought by the West, led by the US, against those that would use force, or condone the use of force to oppose Israel's continuation as a Jewish state. Pakistan is far from Israel, but it is nuclear-armed and it is able to harbor people like Osama Bin Laden. For those reasons, Pakistan is a part of the struggle over Israel's legitimacy.

It is often said that the Islamists are working to reestablish the caliphate and reconquer Spain. That is comparable to the charge that Zionists want to occupy all of the land from the Nile to the Euphrates. It is doubtable that they are even motivated by that in an abstract sense, but that is certainly not the current issue of dispute.

It is true that Saudis like Bin Laden and Egyptians like Zawahiri are working to overthrow the corrupt pro-US dictatorships in their countries. These governments are far more accomodating to Israel and thereby the US than their people want and the leaderships have turned their countries into laughing stocks throughout the Muslim world.

But this is only a matter dispute because of Israel. Without Israel, the West would not need to support corrupt dictatorships in order to persuade these countries to follow acceptable foreign policies. The West offers notably less support to non-Muslim corrupt dictatorships. Removing these dictatorships does not require a Caliphate any more than what Zionists really want, an area with a secure Jewish political majority, requires the conquest of the land from the Nile to the Euphrates.

It is sometimes said that the West is working to ensure that Muslim women don't have to wear veils. I hope nobody reading this takes that seriously. For like one thousandth of the cost of that, the West could stamp out genital mutilation. For the cost of this war, the West could probably eradicate malaria in Africa. I've spent two too many sentences refuting that idea already.

The issue of dispute between the West and the Muslim world is: Should there or should there not be a Jewish state in Palestine - given that establishing a Jewish state required the removal of Palestinians because they were not Jewish and maintaining a Jewish state requires preventing Palestinians from returning because they are not Jewish.

Nearly all Muslims think the answer is no. The West thinks the answer is yes. Those Muslims who think not only is the answer no, but the issue is worth fighting over are what the Western side of the conflict calls "Islamic extremists" or "violent extremists".

Musharraf's closing of madrasas, to later open "model madrasas", that teach a US approved curriculum is an tactic of the West in this fight over Israel's legitimacy. Musharraf, on behalf of the West, is hoping to win the argument by force.

Of course, this tactic can't work in the long run. As Putin says, fighting a people is pointless. But no democracy of people who do not accept Israel's legitimacy is going to close madrasas for teaching Israel's legitimacy is an issue worth fighting against. The US needs a dictatorship to do that.

In a well known blog post, a blogger dsquared, explained how he, against the overwhelming consensus at the time, predicted that the US would find no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It is appropriate to more than just the invasion of Iraq, but to the entire War Over the Legitimacy of Israel.

Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance.

I was first made aware of this during an accounting class. We were discussing the subject of accounting for stock options at technology companies. There was a live debate on this subject at the time. One side (mainly technology companies and their lobbyists) held that stock option grants should not be treated as an expense on public policy grounds; treating them as an expense would discourage companies from granting them, and stock options were a vital compensation tool that incentivised performance, rewarded dynamism and innovation and created vast amounts of value for America and the world. ...

Our lecturer, in summing up the debate, made the not unreasonable point that if stock options really were a fantastic tool which unleashed the creative power in every employee, everyone would want to expense as many of them as possible, the better to boast about how innovative, empowered and fantastic they were. Since the tech companies' point of view appeared to be that if they were ever forced to account honestly for their option grants, they would quickly stop making them, this offered decent prima facie evidence that they weren't, really, all that fantastic.

Application to Iraq. The general principle that good ideas are not usually associated with lying like a rug about their true nature seems to have been pretty well confirmed. In particular, however, this principle sheds light on the now quite popular claim that "WMDs were only part of the story; the real priority was to liberate the Iraqis, which is something that every decent person would support".

Winning the war over the the legitimacy of Israel by force would require Musharraf-like dictatorships not only in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan where they are now. Winning the war requires the same throughout the entire Muslim world, including Pakistan, a new Shah in Iran, and beyond.

Mislabeling this conflict from a war over Israel's legitimacy into a war against terrorism as a tactic is deliberately designed to misdirect attention from both the scope and the implausibility of the endeavor. Deliberate misdirection is a key indicator of a set of policies that is inherently unworkable.


Anonymous said...

"But this is only a matter dispute because of Israel. Without Israel, the West would not need to support corrupt dictatorships in order to persuade these countries to follow acceptable foreign policies."

Although I agree that the war in Iraq is fought for the benefit of Israel by really dumb american goys, yuo are forgetting that corrupt pro West governments in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait et al are needed to keep the flow of cheap oil towards America.

The whole US foreign policy changed when OPEC closed the spigot to the US in support of a political goal/action (oil embargo).

Since that time, it became the MAIN foreign policy priority to ensure the oil flow no matter what.

The war in Iraq, and the attack on Iran (if and when it comes) and Syria (are americans really this dumb to allow this criminal group to get away with it?) are fought and will be fought PRIMARILY for the benefit of Israel.

Arnold Evans said...

Israel makes it harder to keep the corrupt dictatorships pro-US.

The dictatorships enacted an oil embargo to advance a political goal. The goal of opposing Zionism. If there had not been US support for Zionism, that embargo just would not have happened.

You make a very valid point that US Middle East policy is not completely farmed out to Israeli policymakers. I talk about the balance in more depth here.

But if not for Israel, the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait could easily be populist -and Bin Laden and Zawahiri would love them - and either way opponents of these dictatorships would not turn against the US.

Also the US would be a lot more comfortable with the idea that democracies could take over. Countries with small populations and a lot of oil generally want low prices anyway because pumping more oil raises revenue more than the lower price decreases it.

So you're right that US policy is not solely motivated by defending Zionism, it is not the case that the most important objective is low oil prices or oil flowing freely. If that was the most important objective, the US would abandon Israel.