Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald offers some strategic considerations:
The polypragmonic impulse is the result of all the most unattractive, and some of the attractive ones as well, of the American character, and of our rulers who do not take ideologies seriously because they fail to recognize that they, too, have an ideology — that of Economic Growth, and Enlarging the Pie, and the Rising Tide Lifting All Boats, and Economic Performance as the Measure of All Things, and the Sheer Rightness, in All Aspects of Life, of the “Free Market” As It Currently Operates. Nor do they recognize that that ideology is not exactly wonderful, or should go unchallenged always and everywhere.
This polypragmonic impulse ranges from mere busybodiness to all the way to an outright messianic fervor — as when Bush believes that there exists an universal “desire for freedom.” Which “freedom” is that? The freedom to trade? The freedom to beat the Infidels? The freedom for complete license? He also seems to believe that the United States is here to solve all problems around the world. For the American people like nothing better than to solve, with their lives and their money, all the world’s problems. Who cares if it cannot be done? Who cares if it can only be done over centuries? Who cares if no one else cares, and regards us with continued indifference or hostility?
Successive American governments did very little to encourage, in the right way, the taking hold of “democracy” in post-Communist Russia. The kind of busybodies who thought that Russia could simply be plunged into a cold bath of capitalism did not factor in either human nature, or its Russian variant. Jeffery Sachs, the deplorable Master Busybody, has been taken apart for his misunderstanding of Russia — or rather, his general negligence and ignorance of the specifics while he is so intent on Curing the World of Poverty and doing other great things. And there are lots of such Sachses all over the place — perhaps not each with his own World Institute, but not for want of trying.
Nor was the bombing of the Serbs undertaken with sufficient consideration of what it would do in Russia. It was not the only, or even the best way, to deal with Milosevic. It has had a terrible effect on the Russian view of the United States, leading to a deepening and completely unjustified — but to many Russians plausible — conspiratorial view of the Americans as plotting Russia’s further weakening. This is particularly unfortunate now that the Americans would like nothing more than a strong, prosperous Russian state able to withstand both Islam’s possible demographic conquest of Russia from within and the threat of China.
It is not true that the “whole world wants freedom.” It is not true among those who have been raised up in a system where the Perfect Man was a despot and a warrior, far more reminiscent of Stalin in his works and days than of any of the American Framers or overlapping Founders. It is not true that what goes on in Baghdad is not, despite the absurd remarks of both Bush and Rice, reminiscent of what went on at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. The habit of mental submission in Islam and the acceptance of rule by the most powerful, and the locating of legitimacy not in the people — a sine qua non of democratic theory — but rather in the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the Holy Law of Islam or Shari’a that is based on both — mean that Islam will accept democracy only in the narrowest sense of vote-counting, without any acceptance of the idea that the will of the people can ever be permitted to violate the tenets or attitudes of Islam.
Among the lessons to be learned from tarbaby Iraq is that knowledge of Islam must properly precede attempts to deal with Islam. The word “war” should not fool Infidels into thinking that the only instruments of war are those of combat or terrorism; all the instruments of Jihad need to be dealt with. And another lesson is to be alert to those fissures within the camp of Jihad which, if properly exploited, could help to divide, demoralize, and weaken that camp.
Surely some remember that during the Cold War, the Americans were pleased at Tito’s defection in 1948 from the Eastern bloc. They sent secret aid to the “Forest Brotherhood” (the “leshii”) in Lithuania, did not expect but surely welcomed the Hungarian Revolution as a sign of disaffection, and the same with Dubcek and what became known as the Prague Spring. And of course they always welcomed signs of a Sino-Soviet split.
Yet there has been not a single article — save here at Jihad Watch, where a hundred odd pieces have gone over and over the same ground — about the usefulness of the ethnic (Kurd-Arab) and sectarian (Sunni-Shi’a) fissures being not patched up by the Americans, but allowed by a natural process to lead to the reversion of Iraq to the three Ottoman vilayets from which it was originally formed. This would occur with the expectancy and hope that Shi’a elsewhere will be inspired by this new Shi’a, oil-possessing entity, and possibly, everywhere from Bahrain (70% Shi’a chafing under a Sunni ruler) to Yemen to Lebanon to Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, the Sunni fear of Shi’a, and the Shi’a fear of Sunnis, will take its natural, almost inevitable, course.
The Bush Administration, obstinate and not knowing quite how to admit to itself, much less to the American public, that after late 2003, or certainly, in no case later than the day that Saddam Hussein was seized, it made sense to leave Iraq, will never, it seems, find a way out of tarbaby Iraq until the voters force it. This is a pity. It is a pity because it may mean that the Administration, fearful of doing the most important thing — destroying Iran’s nuclear project — will continue instead to pretend that it is on the verge of “success” in Iraq, when the definition of “success” that the Bush Administration offers is in fact a definition for “failure.”
But one does not get the sense that in the Pentagon there is even an office devoted to the worldwide anti-Jihad. One does not suspect that even now plans are being drawn up for shoring up black Christians in Nigeria, the Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania, Ethiopia. One does not have the sense that a room exists with a map of Europe, and with all the demographic figures about Muslims and non-Muslims, and the list of local leaders who need support, and those who are in the camp of appeasement. One does not get the sense that a propaganda war has been launched, in which the Infidel publics will cleverly be made aware of what is actually contained in Qur’an, Hadith and Sira. One does not get the sense that Rumsfeld, Rice, Bush and many others have spent a day, a week, two weeks reading Islam and Dhimmitude or Onward Muslim Soldiers or The Legacy of Jihad or While Europe Slept or any of the available literature. One does not have the feeling that enough people have printed out, from this site, the three parts of “Islam for Infidels,” as a handy short-course in the subject.
It will happen.
But will it happen after another year or two goes by, with more squandering of men, money, materiel, army and civilian morale, and diversion of attention from Iran? Or will it happen now, in a few months? The Iraqis have provided every opportunity for the American administration to call a halt and insist that by, say, September 1 it will leave. That is plenty of time to get everyone out, and not to leave a single rifle behind (well, maybe a few rifles, and a few Jeeps, but only for the Kurds, and only if they agree to protect any Christians who wish to flee to a safe area while the Sunnis and the Shi’a have it out).
There are the squanderers, and the husbanders. The Bush Administration’s continued ignorance and obstinacy puts it among the former, not the latter. We don’t have all the resources in the world, certainly not enough to last for decades. Husbanding resources will also husband morale for a longer term.
Where are the mahans and the mackinders and those who wrote Casablanca? Where are those who helped persuade, or created the conditions in which they persuaded themselves, the penkovskys of the Soviet Union? Where are they hiding? Or are they being kept deliberately down, and out for the count?