On Our Enemies
A good portion of Americans have been -recently- taught that Islamic fundamentalists are some sort of ungodly enemy that is attacking us... because they hate our freedom? Because they are some sort of imperialists that want to dominate the world? Somehow, most Americans seem to think that these cruel fanatics arose spontaneously out of a vacuum - and are attacking the US despite our altogether altruistic motives and actions.
I am old enough to remember previous "Emmanuel Goldsteins". The Vietcong, Commies, secular Arab nationalists, the Lebanese and Iranian Shiites, and a long etc. of enemies. I am also enough well-versed in history to know that it takes two to tango, and that enemies don't create themselves out of a vacuum.
There has to be a real or perceived or created motivation to designate an enemy, particularly when the enemy is the strongest nation in the world - capable of vaporizing the world dozens of times over.
I do not justify the use of terror as a weapon and I am a pacifist. But surely Americans should be smart enough to realize that the "war on terror" is a war against a symptom and not against the disease.
So what's really at play in geopolitics? Money of course.
The immense majority of Muslim states are artificial creations, built on the ruins of colonial empires. Nonsensical borders were drawn without contemplating ethnic or religious or historical realities in order to create a post-colonial world that would maintain certain aspects of the colonial period. IOW, the economic and political dominance of the UK and France, later taken over by the US.
The borders are bogus - and the leaders of most Muslim countries (especially oil producers) are or were retainers of US economic interests. They are in an unenviable position.
Much is said, for example, about Saudi greed and power. Little is said, however, about the half century milking of Saudi oil at a pittance: in 1933, 35,000 UKL down, 20,000 more after 18 months, 5,000 more plus a royalty of 8 shillings per barrel... for 50 year exclusive oil rights.
To get this deal and to maintain it, US companies from Socal to Bechtel regularly paid backsheesh to Saudi government officials - in exchange for depriving the S. Arabians of a fair share of their nation's wealth.
Similar stories can be said of Libya, Iran, Indonesia and other countries.
Needless to say, this was and is not popular amongst "the natives" -- and grass-roots movements arose to remedy the situation. Nasser, arose in Egypt, Mossadeq in Iraq, Egypt and Syria united as the UAR, revolts in Iraq overthrew the corrupt royal house... and our reaction was to stamp out these movements. This included the overthrow of democratic, Westernized regimes and the support of oppressive and murderous dictatorships.
IOW, we were against democratization, the economic improvement of Muslim peoples, self-determination. The "liberal" opposition was emasculated, partially through the cynical use and support of Islam by the oppressive regimes.
So is it at all surprising that Islamic fundamentalism, originally used as a tool to counter reform, should finally outgrow its shackles? Is it surprising that it should identify itself with anti-Americanism?
We created, or helped create, a viper.
Having painted ourselves into a corner, so to speak, what can we do?
Well, it's pretty clear that what we've done is nothing more than addressing superficial issues in a short-sighted manner. Our government, like some of the lesser lights on this board, propose to "eliminate" the menace, preferable by military means. This clearly plays right into the hands of our enemies, who can very rightly say that the US, not content with maintaining an atrocious status quo, is after the only existing solution proposed by Muslims (fundamentalism). "Neocolonialism" is not only alive, but the US has returned to the gunboat diplomacy of the 19th century and even outright occupation of Muslim countries.
It would take imagination and balls to do the right thing. What we SHOULD be doing is to remedy the core problems. IOW, we should cease to support the corrupt regimes in Muslim countries, we should reign in the greed of multinationals that are exploiting and abetting the corruption. We should treat the Palestinian problem fairly and firmly - removing one of the fundamentalists' raisson d'etre. And needless to say, we should cease to intervene in the politics of other countries - unless it is to inobstructively support political, economic and social reform.
Some will say that oil producers have us by the balls. This, of course, is a red herring. While we need their oil, they need our patronage: what use is having oil if they can't sell it? And it is in our hands to expedite what is an eventual need - to find energy alternatives.
The Muslim world is not and cannot ever be a true military threat to the US or the West - even if it were to unite under one banner. We are already at the worst-case scenario: the biggest threat from Islamic fundamentalism is terror. Such a threat would disappear if self-determination took place - an enemy state is much easier to confront than underground movements.
But the FIRST thing we should do is to remove our blinders. We are as much to blame for the "war" as our enemies are, if not more so. Frankly, given the inequities between the "North" and "South", between the wealthy and poor nations, we are damned lucky that Africa and L. America haven't yet become hotbeds of terror. The next thing we should do is to remove corruption AT HOME - it is incredible that our government policies should be virtually dictated by corporate interests.
THEN we can talk...