Sonntag, Dezember 03, 2006
Iraq And Disaster...
The rhetoric of the chatterers is such that Iraq is "now" classified as a "disaster." One of the old media channels even calls the violence there a "civil war." And it's all Bush's fault.
Why is this wrong?
"They" believe that Iraq wasn't a disaster before the Ba'ath party was deposed and Saddam Hussein was pulled out of his hiding place. They believe that the entire region just needs some stability and then everything will get back to normal, that Bush's greatest failure was to believe that the people in the Middle East actually wanted democracy, how naive could he have been? And how stupid he has been not to have followed "their" ways of reconstructing Iraq, of having disbanded the army, of having destroyed the society. Bush's policies, they maintain, have led to the disaster, indeed have *been* the disaster.
I had a brief exchange of mails yesterday with one of FT's editors, where he raised the question of whether our choice was now between clever people without character or stupid people with it. It's a legitimate question, but underscores the popular, popular amongst the so-called intelligentsia, that Bush is stupid. And with that stupidity came an arrogance - how often that has been repeated - that America can change things in the Middle East.
The reality is that the whole region is a disaster, a catastrophe of an imposed and unsustainable attempt at stabilizing that which isn't stable. But it's not Bush who caused this disaster: it is the entire post-colonial era that is a catastrophe: this is the root cause. The problem is with autocratic rulers, creating new political dynasties in countries like Syria and Egypt; the problem lies in generations held in ignorance, manipulated by theocrats whose very existence, their lives of luxury, is deeply and permanently threatened by the secular and oh-so-successful West. The entire Middle East - and I am deliberately not naming countries, since the borders in the Middle East are arbitrary and meaningless, since they do not follow the reality of demography and society - is an abject failure in terms of economic development, scientific and technical development, social development - my god, they systematicaly mutilate their daughters - and virtually all indicators of civil society.
What has happened in Iraq is the pulling off of the blindfold. But it's the blindfold the entire western world wears: it's the blindfold that masks the critical factor.
The situation in Iraq isn't limited to Iraq: we just cannot avoid seeing it there. You can now scarcely avoid seeing it in Lebanon, where it really has been visible for many years; it is well hidden in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iran.
You don't see it in Israel at all.
Remember, if you can, the policies of past administrations: stability in the region. Keep things stable, keep things under control, keep things manageable. Don't get the people upset (don't upset the "Arab Street"!) in those countries, everything could get completely out of control.
But what has happened is that you've had a pressure cooker that you've been keeping "under control," one that is now well past its maximum pressure. If you've ever dealt with industrial processes and controlling complex reactions, you know that the greatest nightmare is that the process gets out of control, that backpressure builds and fittings fail, that chemicals mix that must be kept apart and that the whole thing blows up.
Do you see where I am heading here?
The greatest disappointment in the Middle East since Iraq's attempted takeover of Kuweit and the lack of closure to that event has been the abdication of responsibility of the West, more specifically of those who created the problem in the first place (and yep, you old Colonial powers, I *am* speaking of you), the craven abdication of these countries, of their abandonment of their fundamental responsibilities.
Europe just doesn't have the will to go in and work to establish civil society: they prefer to finance instead the terrorists, followig their - the European's - odd sense of "justice." This isn't justice in the broad sense: this is justice in the narrow, narrow-minded, political sense, of redressing political grievances against, as a French diplomat put it, "that shitty little country."
But I'm getting off topic.
The disaster in Iraq isn't that the US went in and screwed everything up - 20/20 hindsight is at best useless and and at worst sanctimonious posturing (and yes, you progressives and leftists, I *do* mean you) - but rather that the world can now see what the real problems in the Middle East are: tribalism, crushing poverty and overpopulation, ignorance and the accompanying demagogery that passes for religion, the perversion of the modern that sees the pinnacle of western technological development - the Internet - being used to push an agenda that would have meant that the Internet would have never been developed.
And the disaster in the West is the preference of the left to pillory the right for having pulled off the blindfold, instead of working to push a progressive agenda as policy for the US in the Middle East. Help those countries in need? Sure, but tied to education of girls and health care for women; where are the feminists who decry female mutiliation and the repression of literally hundreds of millions of women across the world?
That is the disaster: that there is, amongst the left, no vision of what they want the world to be, based on their principles, but rather only a nagging gaggle of nattering negativism, dead in the water and unable to see beyond their own feet of clay. The left still hasn't understood that Marxism and all of its nuances are dead, dead, dead in the water, and not pining for the Norwegian fjords. Progressivism might have a chance yet, pushing a humanist, secularist agenda and goals, but instead has latched on to that obscure and opaque beast, transnationalism, pushing not human liberty and dignity, but rather control and repression.
Sad. The Iraqi disaster could be an object lesson in what to do and what not to do: instead the collective lie of the failure of intervention will be trumpeted from the rooftops until the Big Lie is established as memes in the collective consciousness.
Once upon a time the Left was also a critical left. Marx's critique of western capitalism wasn't poorly done (it was mistaken in more than one aspect, but that's another story entirely), but the capability for critical thought on the left was destroyed by the totalitarian parties that took the mantle of Marxism to the extreme and brutally repressed critical thought.
That reverberates today. Critical thought is as rare as hen's teeth: what passes for critical thought is rote recessitation of dogma from the left, learned and learned (pronounce those two words differently to get what I mean) uncritically and as a new catechism.