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Posted: 1/1/2002 6:47:59 AM EDT
[size=4]The Iron Veil[/size=4] [b]Facing the new global reality[/b]. By Victor Davis Hanson The Muslim Middle East is baffling. It damns America for not supporting elections; yet its home-grown ayatollahs in Iran, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fanatics in Algeria are furious not about the absence a Bill of Rights, but over the difficulty in establishing Allah's absolute — and quite undemocratic — reign on earth. Reformers scream that they want the United States to support consensual government. But then they hate us because we use U.N. sanctions (rather than bombs?) to check the power of fascism in Iraq — the biggest killer of Muslims in the last two decades. Middle Eastern reformers berate us for giving any money at all to authoritarian regimes in Jordan and Egypt — then up the ante of their hypocrisy by shouting that democratic Israel receives more than they do. Intellectuals — and often the mullahs themselves — endlessly provoke the United States. But both lust for European and American sojourns, jobs, fellowships, and readership whenever possible. Bin Laden says the West is repulsive; however, in his creepy video he also seems delighted over his supposed resonance in Holland and America. His supporters shout his name and are proud of his blows against America — then claim his taped confession to planning that September 11 coup is doctored, and an American propaganda plot! They allege American conspiracies in releasing videos of bin Laden's rants, but then publish moronic accounts of how Israelis blew up the World Trade Center. Our citizens are hectored to be careful of falling into "Islamophobia"; yet blatantly racist and anti-Semitic news, entertainment, and commentary are broadcast daily from the Middle East. Americans are exhausted by the Middle Eastern use of the word "but." Remember the nightly choruses: "We deplore September 11, BUT." "We do not approve of the suicide bombings against Israel, BUT." "Osama bin Laden does not represent Islam, BUT." Adversative clauses then follow to damn us and almost every manifestation of American foreign policy. Overt threats and frenzied hostility — whether in the Arab street or in the chic enclaves of Gulf sheiks — rise and fall as little more than a barometer of current American military strength. Clinton's few Tomahawk missiles invited big talk against our national character; B-52s and daisy cutters prompt quiet respect, and have pampered grandees scurrying to Washington to assure us that they really do like us after all. How is America to deal in a methodical and intelligible fashion with such a contradictory and incendiary — and maddening — region of nearly half a billion people? Complete disengagement from such unpleasant regimes and hostile peoples is a very attractive idea — until we remember that the Middle East and surrounding area are home to the world's three great religions. They occupy a strategic nexus of three continents, hold a sizable percentage of the world's oil reserves, contain the Suez Canal, and lie in close proximity to Europe. Yet, we must accept the sad truth that our present ad hoc policy has been an unmitigated disaster. Giving billions to Egypt and providing military hardware to Saudi Arabia did not prevent their citizens from spearheading the murder of thousands of our innocents — to the cheers and quiet approbation of their own millions back home. - continued -
Link Posted: 1/1/2002 6:49:13 AM EDT
So we need a new direction that is logical, time-tried, and designed to be enduring and systematic in its treatment of all the countries of the Middle East. In other words, America must remember its past successful approach toward Eastern Europe — accepting that Islam in its increasing radical manifestation (along with its twin of military dictatorship) represents the same dire threat to freedom and civilization, both at home and abroad, as did the Iron Curtain of Soviet totalitarianism. [b]No Soviet nuke, after all, incinerated thousands of innocent Americans at once. Even Khrushchev's metaphorical "We will bury you" was not as bad as "Kill every American." The Polish never blew up four airliners in flight; nor did the Hungarian Communists bomb the Pentagon. Rather than continuing to give billions to illegitimate regimes in Jordan and Egypt, cozying up to fundamentalists in the Gulf, and labeling vast areas like Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Lebanon as supporters of terrorism — while doing nothing to prevent them from killing more Americans — we should treat the entire region uniformly, as we once did Poland, Hungary, Romania, East Germany, and the other members of the old Warsaw Pact[/b]. Just as an American-led NATO was ready for anything that came west, so too must we be ever vigilant against the Middle East bloc. Militarily, America should increase it forces in the region. The United States must accept the grim reality that in any given month we can be on the verge of war with almost any country of the Islamic world. Remember that, in the last two decades alone, we tried to use armed force to free our hostages in Iran, fought the Iraqis, had shootouts in the streets of Somalia, bombed terrorists in Libya, and tried to retaliate against killers in Lebanon and the Sudan — all this quite apart from supplying weapons to Israel, in the not-too-distant past, to fight the Syrians, Jordanians, and Egyptians. If we throw in Bosnia, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Yemen, and the barracks in Saudi Arabia, are there very many countries in the Islamic world where Americans have not been in the line of fire? Politically, we must accept that there is not a real democracy in the entire subcontinent. And when elections are proclaimed, as in Iran and on the West Bank, they are quickly subverted into little more than referenda for autocracy. The only mystery hinges on whether unelected mullahs or authoritarian councils will allow "radical" or "moderate" candidates to take over the reins of government. Are purportedly friendly governments, in truth, either moderate or neutral? Just as the supposedly maverick states of Romania and Yugoslavia proclaimed their independence from the Soviet Union, and falsely postured as nonaligned countries who were not practitioners of totalitarianism, so are the unelected governments of the Gulf, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia telling us they are not as bad as Libya and Syria — even as they thwart us, and their young men crash airliners into our skyscrapers. [b]"Friendly" Saudi citizens have killed far more Americans than have "enemy" Cubans[/b]. - continued -
Link Posted: 1/1/2002 6:50:43 AM EDT
So, we must return to a comprehensive and systematic approach that recognizes that America cannot be allies with any existing government in the Middle East — that an Iron Veil has fallen across the region preventing all free intercourse — until the entire region has been liberated from mullahs like those in Iran; killers such as Saddam Hussein, Assad, and Khadafi; plutocrats like the sheiks; and even the benevolent dictators in suits and ties in Jordan and Egypt. In the past, Radio Free America and our official policy made it clear to the Eastern Europeans that we saw them as captive peoples of commissars, who someday could rejoice under democracy. America should treat the unfree millions of the Arab world the same way. The more we hate their governments now, the less they will hate us later. We did not seek military alliances with Communist Hungary, sell weapons to Czechoslovakia, welcome in students from Bulgaria, or encourage cultural ties with East Germany. So also after September 11. We should not expect such reciprocal exchanges with countries that are either theocratic or autocratic, in which hate-mongering mullahs and servile media are either subsidized or at least government-sponsored. Neither students nor intellectuals from undemocratic countries of the presently constituted Middle East should come to the United States. Nor should regular air flights continue — in either direction. Nor should Americans be allowed to travel freely to visit Bethlehem, the Pyramids, or the bazaars of the Gulf. In other words, we should begin to see all the governments of the Middle East as we do Iran and Libya, keeping only minimal, thoroughly frosty ties on an official level — even as we wage a desperate political and cultural war to appeal directly to the people themselves, so that they might rise up and fight for legitimate government. On the theory that Eastern Europe, prior to Soviet-installed Communism, had a distinguished pedigree, so too we must at least profess that before the recent batch of dictators and theocrats, the Middle East at least had no prolonged history of exporting terrorists to kill Americans. Critics on the right will no doubt dub such efforts to promote democracy in areas without literacy, secularism, the rule of law, or viable economies as naïve — while leftists will dismiss a new cold war as retrograde or worse. But we must remember that the Cold War was a victory. Our faith in the people on the other side of the Iron Curtain proved to be warranted, and half a continent is now legal rather than renegade — a bulwark, not a nemesis, of Western Europe. - continued -
Link Posted: 1/1/2002 6:51:24 AM EDT
Nor must we sigh that our vigilance will bear no fruit until a half-century hence. Ad hoc strongmen and even bloodthirsty mullahs do not possess the power or resilience of Soviet-inspired terror. The world is also a different place than it was in 1946. Nearly all the promised utopias of the past — fascism, Communism, Third-World liberationist kleptocracy, and Islamic theocracy — have now had their day and failed miserably before the eyes of billions. A Westernized and secular minority in the Middle East knows that the future lies only with freedom and democracy. They may be hostile to America in a variety of ways, but liberty remains still the only hope of millions. America must stand ready to go to war with any country of the region that kills our citizens — and stand aloof from all the illegitimate governments of the Middle East bloc — even as it wages a desperate fight over the airwaves, through thousands of agents and dissidents, and with subsidies and encouragement to thousands more democrats-in-exile to free an oppressed population. If we adopt a principled and tough resistance to Middle Eastern governments — while at the same time offering the carrot of honest friendship and material support for any of their silenced citizens who aspire to democracy — then what once happened among the enslaved peoples of the Warsaw Pact could occur again in the Middle East — and in a decade or less, rather than 50 years. The same old dominoes of repression are now tottering. With a concerted push, they could set off a chain reaction as quickly and unexpectedly as they once did in Eastern Europe. See article at:[url] http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson122101.shtml[/url] Eric The(SoundsReasonableToMe)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 1/1/2002 7:03:25 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/1/2002 7:49:45 AM EDT
I think everybody over-analyzes the militant muslims leaders. They are much like other leader that craves power. The only way for them to obtain power is the path they've chosen. It's nothing to do with us don't understanding their "values" or the reverse. I think 43rd is handling it correctly.
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