January 17, 2005

Bush's War Leadership

Bush has in the past used presidential speeches to rally the country, but he has failed to follow through on the promise of his rhetoric. After 9/11, like Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor and John F. Kennedy upon assuming office, Bush lifted our spirits and brought much of the world to our side. He quickly defined what had happened -- War! -- and so readied us for sacrifice while warning friend and foe alike of our resolve. In a bold campaign, he overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan and put al Qaeda on the run. Those first months were the high point of leadership for a president fond of talking about himself as a leader.

But Bush identified the wrong enemy -- "terrorism" instead of "radical Islamic terrorists" -- and quickly slipped into the apocalyptic rhetoric of good and evil, complicating strategy and making success impossible to measure. He followed with actions uncharacteristic of wartime presidents and harmful to war-making. First, he implored the American people to return to normal, never asking for sacrifice (or even for youth to join the military). Then he refused to increase the size of our ground forces, even after embarking on campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Unlike Lincoln and Roosevelt, he turned the conduct of war over to underlings, eschewing active presidential involvement. He refused to abandon his domestic agenda (as Lyndon Johnson did in 1965) or to subordinate it to war's necessities (as Roosevelt did in World War II).

Bush never followed up his burst of bipartisan rhetoric with true bipartisan action, and, unlike his predecessors, he avoided the commitment of time and energy necessary to bring our allies together, antagonizing them instead with take-it-or-leave-it choices. Most divisive of all, he attacked Iraq without a unifying casus belli.

Unlike Lincoln, who freely admitted to error and once boasted that "my policy is to have no policy," Bush has made consistency into a fetish and refuses to admit any mistake, thus forfeiting credibility and respect.

Richard Kohn, a former chief of history for the U.S. Airforce, who is working on a study of presidential war time leadership, writing in the Washington Post.

Kohn is somewhat more critical of Bush than I'd be (Bush has made strategic readjustments, when necessitated, so that the consistency as fetish charge is a tad overblown. Witness ditching Garner for Bremer, giving the U.N. and Brahimi a major role in structuring Iraqi elections, negotiating with Sadr rather than pursuing all out assaults in places like Najaf). Nor do I think Bush should be, as a tortured, micro-managing LBJ was, hunched over picking specific bombing targets late night at the White House. And Kohn is more pessimistic on Iraq than me too (I'm not sure Iraq, per Kohn, is moving from insurgency to civil war-as I've previously analyzed here). But I do think Kohn makes some fair points about rhetorical excesses muddying the parameters of the struggle we are engaged in. For instance, I'm veering towards liking the term the "Global War on Terror" less and less. Like LBJ's war on poverty or Reagan's war on drugs--it sounds more like an amorphous soundbite than a specific enunciation of the strategic threat we face. On the other hand, calling the conflict, say, a war on radical Islam is, not only a bit clunky, but also too reminiscent of the Crusades. Aside from this arguably trival word parsing, however, the point is that the expansive rhetoric ("global war on terror", "good and evil" etc), while somewhat reassuring in terms of moral clarity (if the purposeful indiscriminate slaughter of innocents isn't evil, well, what is?) likely confuses monitoring progress in this struggle and stokes not inconsiderable confusion with allies about our objectives.

The closest analogue to Bush's present challenges, per Kohn, is probably Truman:

As his second term begins, Bush has few precedents on which to draw. His war resembles the Cold War more than any previous shooting war, making perhaps his closest analogue Harry Truman in 1949: winner of a narrow election victory; lacking in respect at home and abroad; facing a conflict and an enemy that is both unclear and elusive. Then as now, U.S. relationships with many countries were in transition, and the winds of change -- social and technological as well as political and economic -- were sweeping the world in the wake of a cataclysm that had remade the map. Just as in the Cold War, this fight is for people's loyalties and interests, ideologies and beliefs.

Like Truman, who used his inaugural address to define the enemy, reassert American values and outline a strategy for the future, Bush must in his address on Thursday clarify the nature and purpose of the global war on terror, so that he can bring about the domestic unity and improve the foreign relationships that will allow the United States to prevail.

More importantly, like Truman and then Eisenhower (who quickly ended the Korean War, a divisive local conflict that was harming the struggle against the larger enemy), Bush must understand that his legacy will be "foundational." He has created or strengthened many policies, programs, institutions and initiatives to prosecute this long conflict against murderous radical Islam, but the work has just begun.

What is to be done? To succeed, Bush must rebuild American intelligence. He must separate radical Islam from its host populations. He must dramatically increase the diplomacy and dollars devoted to preventing the spread of nuclear and biological weapons. He must formulate new policies about the detention of prisoners that command respect at home and abroad. And he must emphasize, as he promised in Canada last year, rebuilding the foreign relationships that will permit us to chase down terrorists anywhere in the world...

In this vein too, Bush must more effectively communicate to the world audience the nature of his global war on terror. Between a widely (though, it should be noted, not quite as widely as sometimes suggested) supported Afghanistan campaign and the so controversial war in Iraq--America's war on terror lost much support in the court of international opinion. I'm not talking here of the cheap Euro-Gaullist broadsides about Iraq simply consituting a bid for hegemony in the Middle East, or for access to cheap oil (that worked out well, eh?), or simply a dynastic clean up of Poppy's unfinished business. But the reality is, of course, that there exists much misapprehension and confusion about why, for Bush, the war in Iraq has been conflated with the war on terror. Bush must now, as his second term begins, communicate better what he means when he says Iraq is now the "central front" in the war on terror. This is particularly critical in the conspiracy-ridden Middle East. On that front, Bush (and, perhaps more important, his Arab-speaking diplomats) must increasingly pound in the message that: a) Iraq is already sovereign, is embarking on historical elections, and that a national assembly and consitution will take shape thereafter, b) U.S. forces remain in theater solely to help bring about the successful conclusion of this hugely difficult political process (but won't be rushed out until such goals are accomplished), c) that no permanent American bases will remain in Iraq, d) Iraq will have its own independent foreign policy (even an anti-Israeli, pro-Iranian one, if that's how things pan out, though I don't think they necessarily will); e) the perpetrators (at least the direct ones) of Abu Ghraib are being tried and jailed--in sharp distinction to the treatment afforded Saddam's torturers)--and that all efforts will be made to ensure no repeats of such horrific human rights violations, f) America's move to pressure the Arab world to democratize is not an exceptional singling out of that region--indeed it represents the reversal of a pre-existing 'democracy exception' whereby we didn't spearhead democracy there (unlike our democracy-promotion initiatives through the Cold War in Latin America and Asia) g) America has supported Muslims from Aceh to Zepa in the past odd decade and h) the U.S. will more forcefully re-engage in attempting to bring about a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.

As Kohn points out, Bush has, of late, shown a greater grasp of what the war on terror portends. For instance, Bush has grasped that the war on terror is not a war that can be "won"--at least in any conventional sense. Nor, however, is the goal merely a Kerry-esque reduction of terror to mere "nuisance" levels--a locution that reveals a lack of comprehension regarding the massive security challenges America faces from the intersections of transnational terror groups, WMD proliferation, and radical Islam's pervasive appeal. It's a systematic, decades long endevour that aims to reduce the appeal of radical Islam to millions of potential adherents. As I've written before, a comprehensive strategy would include (in no particular order): peaceful progress towards promoting counter-revolutionary tendencies in Iran; stabilizing Iraq (as a unitary non-theocratic state); admitting Turkey into the E.U. (this would help constrain any potentially nefarious behavior from Ankara), robust counter-proliferation efforts (the goal should be a WMD-free zone a couple decades out, however utopian this may seem now); increased democratization of key governments (not at the barrel of a gun and at a realistic pace) like Saudi Arabia and Egypt; forging a just two-state solution for Israel-Palestine (yes this means most settlements need to be dismantled--as well as portions of the security fence--and that the Palestinians finally need to overhaul their security apparatus and do their damnest to put an end to the scourge of suicide bombings); getting the Israeli-Syrian track resolved; resolution of the Pakistani and Indian divide over Kashmir; increased state-support for moderate madrassas; better monitoring of financial flows to dubious charities serving as fronts for terror outfits; continued eradication of groups like al-Qaeda and staunch opposition to all radical jihadist groups and, finally, well thought out initiatives on preserving/distributing scarce water resources, fostering economic development and related issues.

Put simply, the time for a detailed, sober and intelligent delineation of our goals in this global campaign on terror has come. From such a wide-ranging exposition of our war aims we can better understand how best to translate and enunciate our objectives to the international community. This is part of what I hope people have in mind when they speak of their hopes for a "transformational diplomacy" in Bush's second term. This would involve a reassessment of grand strategy, ensuring it is married to concrete achievable ends, and that it is better communicated to key consituencies. Such parties include a) Americans, who must begin to think of this conflict along the lines of an long-term ideological struggle that will take place over decades, b) Europeans, who must be disavowed from the notion that we are simply in brutish, militaristic preemption mode, and who must be reassured that our actions are being coordinated strategically in order to achieve real ends, and c) to the Arab and Muslim worlds, we must be sure to stress, at every opportunity, that it is fanaticism and nihilism we combat--not one of the three great monotheistic religions of the world--which has been crudely hijacked by too many theocratic barbarians. (Also, I'd be remiss in not noting the increasing importance of Asia as a major force in world politics--and thus the need to better understand how best to communicate our objectives there too).

Is all this the kind of thing Bush has in mind? I'm unsure. Kohn sees some hopeful signs:

There are signs that Bush is moving to meet these challenges. Two new Cabinet choices promise less divisiveness and more effective management. Alberto Gonzales, a loyalist who exudes caution and cooperation, replaces the clumsy ideologue John Ashcroft at Justice. Michael Chertoff, who expresses sensitivity to the conflict between liberty and security, replaces the colorless (except for his warning system) Tom Ridge, whose Homeland Security department's disorganization calls to mind the chaos of World War I and "the mess in Washington" notorious during World War II. In Iraq, the unwavering march toward elections and "Iraqification" indicates that an exit strategy is in place.

Meantime, I was happy to see this snippet from Bush's interview with the WaPo:

Well, you know, it's interesting. The people of Afghanistan, which is a part of the Muslim world, are really happy that the government of the United States, along with others, liberated them from the Taliban. I suspect that people in the Muslim world, as we speak, are thrilled that supplies are being delivered by U.S. servicemen and women. The Iranians -- the reformers in Iran are, I suspect, very hopeful that the United States government is firm in our belief that democracy ought to spread. In other words, there are some places we're not popular, and other places where we're liked.

And there's no question we've got to continue to do a better job of explaining what America is all about; that in our country you're free to worship as you see fit, that we honor the Muslim faith, and that if you choose not to -- we don't want territory, we want there to be freedom. And I've talked to Condi [Rice, the nominee for secretary of state] about this, and she agrees that we need to work on a public diplomacy effort that explains our motives and explains our intentions.

I am happy to see the President state that he views public diplomacy as a priority for Condi Rice. By the way, and speaking of Condi Rice, she appears to view the Truman analogy as apropos too:

In campaign speeches for President Bush last fall, Ms. Rice likened the current world climate, including the daunting insurgency in Iraq, to the period of skirmishing that followed World War II, when the United States took the lead in establishing international institutions and the policy of containing the Soviet Union that rebuilt Europe and Asia and won the cold war.

"Europe and Asia are safer as a result," Ms. Rice said in October in Cleveland. "And so it shall be in the Middle East."

Oh, and here's my 'I told you so' for the evening:

Even some foreign policy experts who have been critical of Ms. Rice in the past say they see her selection of Robert B. Zoellick, the administration's top trade negotiator and a veteran diplomat, as deputy secretary of state as a sign that she intends to pursue a pragmatic, traditional Republican internationalist approach.


Posted by Gregory at January 17, 2005 04:07 AM
Comments

GD --

All of the above is rather comforting... But fairly ridiculous if you lend any credence to Sy Hersh's article in the New Yorker (online) this morning. The Pentagon is apparently busily at work, without Congressional oversight, and not at all in the direction you would like to suggest.

Posted by: else at January 17, 2005 01:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yes, go ahead, let's make friends with France and Germany, but don't expect to much help from them -- especially on Iraq.

France and Germany thinks Iraq was a mistake, and while intelectually, the know the U.S. must succeed in Iraq, in their hearts they want to see the U.S. fail... to teach us a lesson.

They may offer us help in the end, but only after the U.S. suffer a serious setback in iraq.

Explain the WOT? That's going to be tough, since the Mainstream Media, the source of information for most people, is anti-US and anti-Bush.

How do we counter the defeatist MSM?

And what's there to explain? if they still don't get it, they probably never will... until the get nuked in their own country.

Posted by: john marzan at January 17, 2005 02:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg is right (notwithstanding Mr. Marzan's cynicism). But who will write this statement, and who will say it? It will be too long for a speech. We know what we'd like to hear (e.g., a fleshed-out version of Mr. den Beste's "Strategic Overview"), but we're just spectators here.

Posted by: Sammler at January 17, 2005 03:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yeah, take the Truman/Eisenhower exit strategy. That worked so well that over 50 years later we are still stationing troops there.

Posted by: Bullshark at January 17, 2005 05:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"France and Germany thinks Iraq was a mistake, and while intelectually, the know the U.S. must succeed in Iraq,"

There's a misstatement here that I don't know how to correct.

I know the one about "can" and "may". "Can we succeed in iraq?" asks whether it's in our capabilities, while "May we win in iraq?" asks permission.

But "must" is ambiguous. There's a sort of side meaning that it's inevitable. "Tomorrow must come." Then there's the other meaning, that it isn't inevitable but that horrible things may happen to us if we fail. "The nazis must win the Battle of the Bulge. They will have no second chance."

You are using the second meaning with no implication that we will win or that we can win, only the implication that if we fail our government will fall and we will be enslaved and perhaps exterminated.

But if we fail in iraq that does not mean as much for france or germany. They did business with Saddam (as we did) and they can do business with whoever can bring stability to iraq -- provided he doesn't owe it to the USA not to do business with them. If we lose all they lose is the time it takes for stability to arrive, and that might be quicker after we lose than it would be if we could and did "succeed".

Our losses are likely to be less if we lose now than if we grit our teeth and sacrifice and eventually "succeed".

Anyway, I haven't found the proper grammar for your statement. How about, "... while intellectually they know that the USA has no backup plan in iraq, ...."

Does that carry the gist of it?

Posted by: J Thomas at January 17, 2005 07:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Remind me why you voted for George Bush again?

Posted by: praktike at January 17, 2005 08:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pratkike, we should have voted for Kerry because he has a plan.

Posted by: john marzan at January 18, 2005 04:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg --

The problem leading up to 9/11 was that policy relating to terror and the Islamic World (Carter-Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush) was predicated on: "Let's make them love us." Or at least, avoiding "angering the Muslim Street."

Bush, to his credit, shortly after 9/11 understood that the problem was "they do not fear us" wrt terror attacks.

Terrorism against the US had gotten to the point where there was no consequences, not for the groups themselves or governments which tolerated their presence.

Unfortunately, Bush faces considerable opposition from the Democrats and Europeans on this broad policy; they view bin Laden, Salafist terror, Al Qaeda, 9/11, etc. as a problem of "why are they angry at us?" with the corollary of "if we pay them off or be nice to them they'll go away."

The Europeans are essentially useless since they have no military assets, and this conflict will be primarily a military one. Unless there is a downside to harboring Al Qaeda weak/divided governments in the region will do so; diplomacy *REQUIRES* a credible use of force rather than "shooting a $5 million missle to blow up a $5 tent."

That the US actually REMOVED Saddam is a useful demonstration of power, showing that there are real consequences for being both hostile and threatening to the US. Recall that Saddam essentially picked a fight with the US viewing our policy as weak and the possibility of being removed as nil.

Collective security is a challenge, frankly the current arrangement is broken. The UN is useless (seen in the Tsunami relief) and NATO toothless. The French had to rent all their helicopters in Afghanistan from the Russians. Bush seems to have no real policy to either fix or replace the current broken collective security system, merel ad-hoc stuff.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at January 18, 2005 04:10 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree that the abysmal communications skills of this administration has hurt the US to a degree no one could have imagined. I also agree with most of GD's analysis above. I would take exception with arguing that we are only in a war on Islamofascism rather than a general war on terror, however. The last 25 years have taught all disgruntled groups in the world that terror works. Within month's, not years, the PLO will have accomplished their goal by shooting up nursery schools, the Olympic Games, and pizza parlors. Look at what happened after the Chechens murdered hundreds of school kids in Beslan: everyone on the left from Matt Ysglesias to the EU thought the poor little Chechens should go to the front of the queue to have their grievances resolved. In the meantime the aspirations of the Kurds, and hundreds of other more deserving groups, are ignored. History will not end when the Muslim world gets integrated into the world community - their are over 3,000 language groups in Africa alone. Nationalist and subnationalist passion is going to be with us for a long time, and we have to address the tactic of murdering innocents to get your way.

Posted by: wayne at January 18, 2005 06:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"It's the policy, stupid."

I really don't think any of the Admin's considerable failure to bring the world along can be laid on Powell. It really doesn't look to me like the WH wanted him to do more to get the world to be with us, but Powell just wouldn't go along. Sometimes the conventional wisdom is right: it worked the other way 'round. For this reason, it doesn't seem to me that putting Rice in place of Powell is going to make public diplomacy any more effective.

Wayne hits it on the head on why a 'war on terror' is such a bad idea. If we're going to have to teach everyone, at all times, that violence doesn't get you what you want (unless you're a superpower??), we're going to be spending a lot of time at war. An awful lot of people are going to get killed. It's one thing to ask volunteers to risk their lives in protection of their country, but to risk their lives in the course of teaching moral lessons? Should any US soldier die teaching ETA a lesson about attacking Spaniards? Should any U.S. Marine be wounded bringing that lesson to the remnants of the IRA?

On the other items in GD's list, I think you're projecting wishful thinking on to Bush: (a) Iraq may be sovereign in name, but it can't be in fact until the US stops acting like the boss. No more signalling that we'll ask the Shi'a to appoint Sunnis to government posts, should the Sunni boycott result in insufficient Sunni representation in the assembly, for example; (b) & (c) if there was a disclaimer on long term bases, I missed it; (d) it's fine to say that Iraq will have an independent foreign policy, but so long as it is dependent on us, it will know where its bread is buttered; (e) the promotion of Mr. Gonzales, and unrepentant denial of reality among many of the Admin's supporters will prevent this one -- it does not matter how many times supporters of the Admin pronounce themselves satisfied with the response, the question will be out there so long as the achitects of the policy remain free: and being better than Saddam is not relevant to anyone (OK, it's a necessary but not sufficient condition of support); (f) This'll be good -- the Admin intentionally pursuing policy that is a short-term real detriment to itself in order to gain a long term benefit: can you give any example at all?; (h) the Admin has neither ability nor inclination to lean on Israel, and there cannot be a settlement without concessions too painful for Israel to make.

Posted by: CharleyCarp at January 18, 2005 10:08 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jim,

You said:

"The problem leading up to 9/11 was that policy relating to terror and the Islamic World (Carter-Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush) was predicated on: "Let's make them love us." Or at least, avoiding "angering the Muslim Street.""

I think this is very wrong. The policy relating to the Muslim world was largely one of indifference to conditions on the street, with a focus on strategic exigencies and natural resources. We continued to pump foreign aid and military assets into countries whose govts. were repressive to the people and continued to use America as a scapegoat for all their ills as a means of distracting their publics from their own crimes.

In addition, we continued with our unabashed and unconditional support for Israel and each and every Israeli policy, no matter its nature or scope.

This seems to be a profound apathy, if not reckless disregard, for whether or not we were "loved" and certainly has nothing to do with a fear of riling the anger of the Muslim street. If that was our main motivation, or even a concern, there should have been more of a correlation to policy.

As far as deterring terrorism through fear of death, that gets a little complicated when you are dealing with people who actually want to die. To my knowledge, a fear of death would not have deterred any of the 19 hijackers. The same goes for other suicide bombers.

When dealing with failed states, there is also no deterrence on a grander scale. If there is no central government, there is no object to threaten with annihilation.

The problem must be addressed militarily as well as with intelligence assets, diplomatically, with law enforcement, with public relations, etc. In other words, with the full array of resources brought to bear on the Cold War.

Posted by: Eric Martin at January 18, 2005 10:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric, there's a good case to be made that failure to act in the face of provocation merely encouraged it, going back to the attacks and murders of US diplomats back in 1970.

Presidents from Nixon to Bush 43 did essentially NOTHING in the case of direct terror attacks against the US that killed Americans. Thus, actors from Arafat, Assad, Khadafi, Khomenie, the Saudis, the Taliban etc found no consequences of any note to merely giving terrorist groups what they wanted (State support, logistics, training bases, etc) or actively planning these attacks, and political straddles in between. This lack of consequence is WHY terrorism against the US grew.

We certainly did support ala the "realists" like Scowcroft to Clinton various dictatorial regimes in the ME; however that was in the vain hope that they would repress the "natural" terrorism inherent in the ME peoples themselves, and support our Cold War policies. When it came to directly confronting our clients over their support of terror against Americans, we faltered (see Saudi, Egypt, etc).

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and called considerable muhajadeen to that country, Khomenie protected the Soviet Embassy with all the troops he could muster. He FEARED the Soviet response while correctly fingering Carter as weak and easily bullied. The Soviets HAD deterrence because they were seen as being able and willing to back up military action against regimes that threatened them. For their part, they also supported dictatorial regimes and actually INVADED a Muslim Country. Bin Laden never dared attack them insided say, Moscow. Only when the Russian state became weak did they, as Putin put it, get beaten.

What is deterrence? It rests on the idea that terrorism aimed at killing Americans will not work politically, and cause the removal of the regime that allowed the terror groups to operate in their country, political excuses or not. It rests on killing as many senior terrorist organizers, plotters, logistics, and support personnel as possible, regardless of political consequences in third countries. It rests on the ability to massively intervene in failed states and upset the apple cart of the elites.

Even in Somalia, the ability to move in massively and kill a lot of tribal leaders can concentrate minds wonderfully on the need not to collaborate with Al Qaeda to kill Americans.

I agree that other parts of the equation will have to play a part, including diplomacy, public relations, etc. However all of that will ONLY work if the military component of killing people is on the table and realistic. Clinton to the best of his ability tried to work with the military option and it failed; given that Clinton was likely the most politically gifted President since FDR that says something.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at January 18, 2005 11:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jim,

I would recommend Mark Bowden's article on the hostage taking in Iran circa 1979 in the December Atlantic.

Bowden claims that Khomeini did not authorize or initiate the hostage taking, but that the approval was granted by a hardliner underneath him. The underling used the rationale that he didn't want to implicate Khomeini in the plot. Once the hostage taking occurred, and the population embraced it so wholeheartedly, Khomeini had no choice but to support it - even though he was uncomfortable with the implications.

Maybe this experience informed his decision to guard the Soviet embassy in the 1980's.

I can't say Bowden is right about this, but I generally find him to be a reasonable voice, and he makes a compelling case.

Posted by: Eric Martin at January 18, 2005 11:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jim,

You raise valid pints regarding the growth or increase in terrorist actions against the US, but (and I mean this in the nicest possible way) without an understanding of what underpinned the original Anti-American/Anti-Western Sentiment in the first place.

This is somewhat complex so forgive me if in my attempt to simplify things I overlook some details.

The key word really here is Oil. My understanding of things here, is that Post World War 2, the US and her Western Allies sort to establish secure supplies of oil so vital to economic growth and development. The unfortunate thing being that the area with the greatest reserves of oil also happened to be located under an area of largely despotic rulers, ruling over largely totalitarian regimes which combined an alien (at least to the West - going back to the crusades) religion to opress and control the populace. This religious ideology unfortunately also has a long history of conflict with the dominant religious ideology of the US and her Western allies.

Unfortunately this lead to some rather ill-advised and poorly considered "meddling" with various ruling parties in the regions, from secretly engineering the overthrow of some regimes, to providing support to other equally despicable regimes in order to help them over throw neighbouring regimes. All rather nasty stuff. Add the combustible tinder of opposing and at times highly radical religious ideologies with a history of over a millenia of conflict, and its not really that hard to see where the antecedents of the current Western/Islamic crisis has come from.

Further to that the creation of the State of Israel pitting a second equally reviled religious ideology into the mix, largely supported and funded by the West and in particular the US, and it shouldn't require a great deal of thought to see where this conflict really began.

Its easy to say with hindsight that this should never have happened, but it has. If it were simply a conflict about ideology AND the West weren't so dependent on Oil, the simple answer would be to withdraw from the region, retreat behind large imposing "barricades" (In the metaphorical sense) and wait until the Jihadi's simply ran of of steam - after all if there were no "infidels" on Middle Eastern soil then their cause would eventually run dry.

Which of course sounds wonderfully simple, and completely naive. Unfortunately the important of Oil to Western economies is critical (as in our economies will fail without adequate supplies of oil - or at least suffer dreadfully). In addition the enemnity is now so deeply entrenched it will take generations to pry out of the collective consciousness of both "sides" of this conflict.

I know this will offend some people but the West and America in particular has long suffered under the guise that freedom and democracy are wonderful and fundamental ideals - which they are to those who have them. For those who don't they are often irrelevant. Unfortunately some of the meddling in the region was done under the guise of bringing freedom and democracy (with a good dose or Christianity for flavouring) to those who "needed it". Lovely ideals, but tainted by the behind the scenes wrangling in the name of oil (amongst other things)

So when the rhetoric flows forth has it has for many years about how the West's meddling in the affairs of other nations has brought freedom and democracy to others we kinda missed the point. Democracy and freedom can not be installed at gunpoint. They can be WON at gun point, but only when those who want it are prepared to fight for it, OR when another agent move to opress them. This appears to be a lesson the West has not yet learned, despite our at times noble intentions.

Parallel the cold war and "battle" against communism to the current conflict. Again guns and tanks ultimately did little to stop the spread of communism. A simplistic view which over looks the role the some conflicts did play in preventing the spread of communism in some places, but I would suggest otherwise relatively accurate.

Overcoming opposing ideologies requires intellect, cooperation, diplomacy, tact, SUPPORTED by military strength - not lead by it.

Do I support taking actions against the imperialistic desires of some radical muslims who seek a Pan Islamic state across Asia and the Middle east - Yes - where they attempt to do so by force. However if they present a better argument than us for adoption of their way of thinking - no matter how we despise it, to try to stop it by force is wrong, and ultimately will result in less support for "our way" of doing things - not more. The state of affairs in Iraq and Afganistan - despite what is reported in the mainstream largely right wing oriented media, is testamount to this - are the Iraqi people more happy now than they were prior to the invasion - I doubt it.

America in particular MUST learn this lesson - after all if we look at the business world - people buy products fromthose who sell them the best - not because they are forced to. The way to spread democracy and freedom is tro make it attractive for others to want - not force upon others at the point of a gun. Not that I for a second believe this is easy or do I beleive that taking military action is not appropriate in some circumstances.

Unfortunately things are now in such a mess I cannot really advocate a clear way out. Suffice to say that if there is ANY truth what so ever concerning any operations taking place against Iran in the future without the mess in Iraq being sorted, will be a mistake of the worst kind. If it occurs (and I to be honest wont be surprised given the Bush administrations gunboat approach to diplomacy) then history will look back on the first decade of the 21st century as one of the worst periods of American foreign relations in their history.

Posted by: Aran Brown at January 19, 2005 02:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And what's there to explain? if they still don't get it, they probably never will... until the get nuked in their own country--John M.

This is exactly correct.This fetish for 'explanation'and 'education' in regards to the WOT,is seemingly based upon the assumption that there are magical words and phrases that if only they could be uttered,would change the historical dynamic in play.This is a very superficial approach.The opponents of Bush's policies are never going to be convinced or even molified by ANYTHING said or done by this administration.Well,unless it simply gives up and surrenders to 'world' opinion.The opposition to Bush is NOT related to HOW this administration choses to act;it is based upon WHAT this administration chooses to DO. Its goals are simply not shared by its opponents and no amount of 'communication'is going to chage that.
A Rose is a Rose is a Rose,and calling it a tulip changes NOTHING.

Posted by: dougf at January 19, 2005 07:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Everyone here--nearly all--think Iraq is 'a mess' of some extraordinary dimension. How do they know this? From travel to the Middle East? Or from the MSM? My guess it's the latter. The same MSM that did all it could to defeat Bush...and if that meant rigging the news to be bad news, all the time. Or faking documents. Or declaring that WMD was the only reason to go to war. Vide: Boxer and Kerry at the Rice hearings. Whatever it takes to demoralize the nation and discredit Bush. It ain't happening. The Democrats act like they're in charge of dictating policy. Wrong...you lost the election. The handwringing from the idiotic left isn't informed by any insight into the WOT or Iraq, it's spiteful revenge on Bush. Pure politics...and bad politics at that.

I see a very different Middle East and Afghanistan. I see the vast majority hoping and praying we'll succeed--it's to their benefit. The showboating anti-war factions--and nations--see Bush as an impediment to their vision of a new world order...a nasty, brutish socialist international state.


Posted by: JK at January 19, 2005 07:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

JK

So because I think GWB is the worst president since Nixon, somehow I'm an idiotic hand wringing leftie?? Lets take an objective look at some facts shall we.

The Bush Administration's domestic policies have managed in 4 years to:

- Take the US economy to its greatest budget deficit in history (from its largest, and only budget suplus in history under Clinton - and a substantial surplus at that)

- Whilst overseeing one of the biggest devaluations in the US currency in recent history

- Seen major increases in unemployment and possibly the largest economic downturn since the 1970's

- Presided over the worst atrocity on American Soil and despite having the greatest airforce on the planet somehow failed to intercept not 1 but 4 hijacked airliners - despite having over an hours notice of the hijackings (which would be sufficient time to launch an interecept from a number of airbases within range) at the same time failing to oberve something like 1400 Federal and military policies put in place specifically to prevent such an event. Yet no one has ever been fired or even censured for the most significant period of incomptence in recent US history (the activities of the administration aside)

- Despite this atrocity which initially gave the US support from every developed nation on the planet, has now managed to Alienate most of Europe, Most muslim nations, and a number of South American nations, whilst further destrying relationships across the developing world.

- Carried out an illegal invasion against a tinpot dictator (and the Iraq invasion is illegal - it was in direct breach of international law) on the flimsy pretext of WMD. Which they have now admitted they cannot find (and lets fdace it never existed in the first place). Despite this they have managed to lie cheat and fool the general American public into somehow believe that despite lying to them somehow invading Iraq has made the merican public safer and that the Iraqi's are grateful to have democracy thrust upon them at gunpoint.

- In Both Afganistan and Iraq have failed miserably to overcome internal resistance and maintain control over limited areas of both countries - despite claims to the contrary in Afganistan (do some research and you'll see I'm quite correct about Afganistan)

- Presided over one of the most disgraceful elections I've seen in a Western Nation in recent years (how can you have an impartial election when key overseers in certain states are also key campaign members?? That is utterly ridiculous). To use Free and Fair in the same sentence as the 2004 US election is a farce. Regardless of the result the simple fact is that the 2004 election has so many irregularities and such a lack of safeguards if it was held anywhere lelse there would have been international condemnation.

- Presided over the greatest reduction in Civil liberties since the Civil Rights movement in the 60's overturned segregation.

- Has had the first president in recent US history to actively and publically allow Torture (under the guise of extreme questioning), imprisonment without trial, and other human rights abuses in the name of the WOT.

- Allowed US troops to engage in combat without proper equipment, and had a president who allowed his Secretary of Defence to send out machine signed forms to US troops killed in action, and failed to Censure him for allowing such breaches.

Now if we look at these simple facts about the Bush administration, its hard to see what if any good that they have done. I'm not Anti-American, but I'm anti-bush - and not for politics as I also happen to be a supporter of Free Market Economics and am opposed to Socialist Government.

That said the only nasty Brutish regime in Power in the Western World is the Bush administration. If you don't believe me re-read the Constitution and see how many freedoms that afforded the US people which had been taken from you right under your noses.

I'd be interested to see where you source your information concerning the attitudes of people in afganistan and the middle east. Mainstream Media in the US seems to agree with your POV concerning this - which is Vastly different to the attitudes I see across a number of other media sources.

I find it odd that you'd suggest that people who share my views have no insight into the Middle East. Having spent time in Jordan I can assure you my insight into the Middle East appears to be far more accurate than yours...

Posted by: Aran Brown at January 19, 2005 09:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Love this comment section - even the fired up lefties that make it entertaining.

CharleyCarp says I require nuking everybody to teach them a lesson. Nope, but a couple of daisy cutters dropped on the bunker of a guy paying $25K a suicide seemed to have a marvelous focusing effect on the Khaddafys of the world. It is the state nexus with groups like ETA that we have to worry about. As well as much better special forces, increased intel, etc.

Regarding the back and forth about the hostage taking in Iran in '79; I think if you go back and look at the newsmedia's reaction to that event in the first few days, you will see they did not want to provide oxygen to these nuts. They were very off balance and looking for leadership from the White House. Unfortunately, the WH was then occupied by Saint Jiminy Carter, who's first instinct was to manipulate the crisis into a "Rose Garden Strategy" and get him out of debating Ted Kennedy. This was the origen of those stupid yellow ribbons, and also what emboldened Khomeni to throw his weight behind his "brave students."

Posted by: wayne at January 19, 2005 10:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"What is deterrence? It rests on the idea that terrorism aimed at killing Americans will not work politically, and cause the removal of the regime that allowed the terror groups to operate in their country, political excuses or not."

Mmmm. So Jim, if the IRA does start killing americans, should we go after the british government or who?

"It rests on the ability to massively intervene in failed states and upset the apple cart of the elites.'

I have some sympathy for that, provided we start with mexico.

Posted by: J Thomas at January 19, 2005 11:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1. In all of these strategic discussions I have never seen anybody mention The Russian War in Afganistan as affecting U.S. policy, Yet I have noticed that the most troops we have ever had in that country is about 15,000. Which to me reflects a clear strategic understanding of Russian failures.
2. I have rarely heard anybody mention that in addition to Saddam's Iraq being our enemy it is also an Arab nation unlike Afganistan. If the Islamic terrorists can be drawn into battle in a place of our chosing it seems to me that their own land would be the place that it would happen.
3. The election has created the event needed to draw the terrorists out to battle us, The events of the last few weeks indicate they are committing all their resources to win this battle as we are committing ours. It seems January 2005 will decide the Iraq war. I personally don't believe we will lose it.

Posted by: J Rustad at January 20, 2005 12:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"It rests on the ability to massively intervene in failed states and upset the apple cart of the elites."

Ahhh... preemptive action...

Lets look at the Doctrine of Pre Emptive strikes in a "real world" setting.

A very nasty person who you feel is "possibly" a threat to you upsets you to the point where you decide to take action. Knowing full well that as the most powerful person on the block you can take him out you do so, despite the fact that even thought you feel threatened by this individual, they have a no time taken any course of action that directly harms you.

What would hapen??

You'd be prosecuted for assault or whatever depending on how much harm you caused.

See the incongruity between the law than we as individuals are required live by in our communities with the activities of the Bush Administration within the wider International Communities.

Within that International Community there are laws that govern the behaviour of the members of the community, with the UN appointed as the Policemen to esure members of the community play by the rules - supported by the members in the community. However when the stongest member of the community decides to become a vigilante - what do you do then??

Great point J. I guess I'm just trying to make the point that many posters here have an extraordinarily one-eyed view of the behaviour of the US government. To question and challenge this behavious is not unpatriotic - its essential. If more people in Germany had done so in the 20's and early 30's then perhaps the Nazi's may not have been able to create their dictatorship so easily.

Posted by: Aran Brown at January 20, 2005 01:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Aaron,

By "real world", do you mean to imply the opposite? Because that's what scare quotes are for.

But if you erroneously wrote "real world" instead of real world, your analogy doesn't hold. Because citizens are not states.

I am 5x5 on the current Pre-Emptive Doctrine of the United States, and I'd be willing to answer your question - but you'll need to clarify what it is you're asking first.

Posted by: Tommy G at January 20, 2005 02:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Aaron, I'm more than a little surprised you would post such a long list of misrepresentations as "simple facts".

Your first three bullet items on the economics of the first G.W. Bush term are in fact blatantly false. They were nothing but rather gross examples of your own failures of either comprehension or honesty.

Posted by: Robin Roberts at January 20, 2005 04:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dumb, Aran. Or as the kids say, stoopid. First, I only migrated over here from a link...though I think I'll have to put Belgravia back on my 'must read' daily bookmarks. I've been remiss--sorry BG--great site. The length of the rants from the likes of Aran are truly impressive--recalling the halcyon days of the fabulously looney Tony Foresta at Daily Pundit. Hmm...the typos, tortured syntax and obsessive-compulsive typing (Ritalin?)....Tony? Is that you?

Anyway...I get my views on Afghanistan and the ME from the oddest source: I travel there! And no (logic?) the MSM doesn't actually agree with me on the prospects for these nations. When international journalists sit and have a beer with me in say, Dubai or Peshawar or Kabul, they sing a different tune than what's piped back to us in the States or Great Britain or Australia. It's just their home editors don't like these stories. Afghanistan is a very different place than the one you (don't) read about. Guess that's why it's off the map right now, huh? When's the last time you read a story about Afghanistan? Without bad news, there will be no further news from Afghanistan!


Posted by: JK at January 20, 2005 08:44 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Aran Brown, your idea of "international law" would be a LOT stronger if the genocide in Sudan was being stopped by your "International Communities".

In fact, in reality, the UN has been MORE a talking shop to support dictators than to support human rights.

The UN has NOT been appointed the "policeman". And as long as there are dictatorships in that organization, they do not have the moral authority to act as policeman.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at January 20, 2005 03:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hey Aran, great discussion. This is a good site, definitely adding to my list of places to regularly visit. I am somewhat surprised to see all the right wingers here, but I guess that shows that BD is in the middle but leaning that way. No big deal, he has good points, so do you. Hope you have a blog out there somewhere.

You hit all the points I would have mentioned so I'm not going to add to the flame war. Except I have to laugh at JK's and other's mention of the Mainstream Media (MSM?). See, on the left side, we call it the SCLM, or so-called liberal media. With the ascendency and influence of the New York Post, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Washington Times, these guys have the balls to say it's the MSM that is forcing opinions against Bush? Say it ain't so! I like what others have noted, if there was a liberal-biased media, Bush would not have won. The MSM is very right-wing supportive, and the SCLM is not pressing the administration on any of its excesses or faults.

Posted by: J. at January 20, 2005 04:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Cheers J!!!

JK: Hey man - fair enough - its contrary to my experiences in Jordan a few years back when to even mention the United States was asking for big trouble. Its also contrary to much of what I read in a variety of media sources, but if you've been there and that's your assertion, thats cool.

Afganistan absolutely is a different place - and I will be the first to admit it would be undoubtedly better - but if you're trying to infer its a working model for imposing democracy, is stretching things a Tad in my opinion. After all, from the various reports I've read, many of the outerlying regions have slid back into the control of the warlords, and opium production is up significantly. But I'd believe life has vastly improved for the average person since the removal of the Taliban.

Robin: Perhaps you'd care to post some links of evidence to refute my assertions - I'd be happy to reply in kind to show that my assertions concerning the Bush Admininstrations domestic performance are quite accurate.

Tommy G: Sorry for the confusion - I merely used quotation marks to suggest that my real world discussion was something that could be applied to everyday life.

What I was trying to show was not that States should behave the same as citizens, but to parallel the fact that both citizens and states belong to communities, and that by failing to oberve the laws, conventions and rules that the members of those communities have agreed to observe ultimately would ultimately lead to the distruction of those communities.


Tom: Absolutely fair point. The UN is a weak toothless organisation that drastically requires a rehaul to make it more relevant and able to act more quickly. Again my point is is that by "going it alone" and acting more or less unilaterally, the US has not only made the UN weaker, but by also violating international law sets a precedent making it easier for other nations to do the same.

Ultimately it means the UN becomes weaker and less relevant, which in turn may splinter the international community further, which does no good for anyone.

Had the UN supported the invasion of Iraq, then it would have been legal, and I would have supported it wholeheartedly - as I did the invasion of Afganistan.

Posted by: Aran B at January 20, 2005 08:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Cheers J!!!

JK: Hey man - fair enough - its contrary to my experiences in Jordan a few years back when to even mention the United States was asking for big trouble. Its also contrary to much of what I read in a variety of media sources, but if you've been there and that's your assertion, thats cool.

Afganistan absolutely is a different place - and I will be the first to admit it would be undoubtedly better - but if you're trying to infer its a working model for imposing democracy, is stretching things a Tad in my opinion. After all, from the various reports I've read, many of the outerlying regions have slid back into the control of the warlords, and opium production is up significantly. But I'd believe life has vastly improved for the average person since the removal of the Taliban.

Robin: Perhaps you'd care to post some links of evidence to refute my assertions - I'd be happy to reply in kind to show that my assertions concerning the Bush Admininstrations domestic performance are quite accurate.

Tommy G: Sorry for the confusion - I merely used quotation marks to suggest that my real world discussion was something that could be applied to everyday life.

What I was trying to show was not that States should behave the same as citizens, but to parallel the fact that both citizens and states belong to communities, and that by failing to oberve the laws, conventions and rules that the members of those communities have agreed to observe ultimately would ultimately lead to the distruction of those communities.


Tom: Absolutely fair point. The UN is a weak toothless organisation that drastically requires a rehaul to make it more relevant and able to act more quickly. Again my point is is that by "going it alone" and acting more or less unilaterally, the US has not only made the UN weaker, but by also violating international law sets a precedent making it easier for other nations to do the same.

Ultimately it means the UN becomes weaker and less relevant, which in turn may splinter the international community further, which does no good for anyone.

Had the UN supported the invasion of Iraq, then it would have been legal, and I would have supported it wholeheartedly - as I did the invasion of Afganistan.


Cheers!

Posted by: Aran B at January 20, 2005 08:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Aaron,

"What I was trying to show was not that States should behave the same as citizens, but to parallel the fact that both citizens and states belong to communities, and that by failing to oberve the laws, conventions and rules that the members of those communities have agreed to observe ultimately would ultimately lead to the distruction of those communities."

Here's a way that you can show how states can behave like citizens - try being honest. Analogy is that by which we try to explain some other by comparing it to the something similar. As such your attempt is a failure.

To wit:

What's the nation you have in mind that is soley powerful, and yet never attacked?

Who "fail(ed) to oberve(sic) the laws, conventions and rules that the members of those communities have agreed to observe"? Let me guess - Iraq, right?

What neighbors have chosen to live in our neighborhood and are therefore forced to be our community?

How do Policemen enforce rules outside of the nation-state? The policemen in my community are reactionary. Once a violation has occurred, they are sent to detain law-breakers. They are policemen and not soldiers because I live in a civil society - they don't expect me to destroy their squad cars when they're out and about on patrol. They're not particularily concerned about who used to own my house before I did, and whether or not I have the right to live in it.

Tell you what - let's just declare your analogy invalid, and try again.

What do you feel is unjust about the US policy of pre-emption?


Posted by: Tommy G at January 21, 2005 09:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Carried out an illegal invasion against a tinpot dictator (and the Iraq invasion is illegal - it was in direct breach of international law)"

Ni, it wasn't. Only someone who is either a) completely ignorant of international law, b) compeletely ignorant of the legal situation prior to the invasion, or c) deliberately lying can say that it wasn't perfectly legal.

Because, you see, we were already unquestionably at war with Iraq; Iraq was unquestionably the agressor in that war; and it is absolutely legal to invade when you're at war with a party that was the agressor in the war.

The Gulf War never ended; it was suspended by a cease-fire. This cease-fire was both violated by Iraq by nonconformance with the terms, and with an attempted assassination of George H.W. Bush, at whicch point the legal state of war was reinstated. As Iraq was both the agressor in the original war and the party that violated the ceasefire both by breaking its terms and committing an act of war, Iraq was the agressor.

From that point forward, there was no cession of hostilities -- the U.S. and U.K. actively occupied Iraqi airspace, Iraq regularly fired upon U.S. and U.K. warplanes, the U.S. on an irregular schedule launched attacks on Iraq, and the U.S. declared a stated war aim of overthrowing the Iraqi government. That is, we were at war with Iraq. Low-intensity, yes, but unquestionably, under international law, at war.

So, when the United States and United Kingdom invaded Iraq, they were invading an agressor state they'd been at continuous war with for over a decade. That is absolutely, perfectly, unquestionably legal under international law, including all applicable provisions of the UN Charter. Period.

You may respond by claiming that all I speak of are technicalities. Well, you're the one worried about law. Law, expecially international law, is entirely a body of technicalities -- why else pretend that a ridiculous body like the Security Council, whith its utterly nonrepresentational composition and arbitrary rules of proceedure, has the power to authorize wars in the first place?

Argue that it was immoral, or unwise, or excessive; all those cases can be made, though people can disagree. But illegal? Not hardly. The last time the U.S. engaged in an illegal war was in Kosovo, when without UN authorization we bombed a soverign state in order to intervene in its internal affairs, violating not just the UN Charter but the very foundation of all international law, the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at January 21, 2005 11:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tommy:

In your desire to pick apart my argument against preemptive strike you've missed the wood for the trees. Preemptive strike is bad for the following reasons:

1. It's illegal unless supported by a UN resolution authorising it

2. Its makes the perpetrator no different to the enemies. The doctrine of first strike has largely been that of the lawless and the rogues states - up until now.

3. It damages the International Community and the UN by breaking down solidarity between allies, and provides more of a ratianale for Rogue States to act outside of International Law

4. In this particular case was based on frabricated evidence and unsubstantiated intelligence.

2 other points for you while I'm at it -

1. Please do me the courtesy of spelling my name correctly - its been written several times correctly for you.

2. You asked me to explain what I meant, which I duly did. In your reply you go off on a complete tangent. How was I not being honest??? Let me explain it to you again:

States - like Citizens, belong to a community. As all states exist on the planet earth all states belong to the community of States that exist on the Planet Earth. MOST (but not all) of these Sates recognise the need to have some rules and laws that amongst other things, govern how states should interact with each other. One of those laws that most States agree on is that it is illegal for a State to Attack another sovereign state without having being attacked itself first, or without UN agreement.

The analogy simply highlights that whilst if an individual citizen acts contrary to the rule that govern the society they belong to they are punished. However in the international community if a state is large enough and powerful enough they can choose to act outside of those rules without being punished. Without the threat of punishment or censure for such actions, those who engage in such actions ultimately are likely to reduce such a community to anarchy...

Is that straight forward enough for you?? Feel free to take another tangent if you want. One thing I've learned about arguing with close minded Neo-cons. The only logic you lot subscribe to is the same warped and twisted logic used to invade Iraq.

War: Nearly a valid point except: The US and the UK were never at War with Iraq in the First Gulf War. The Repulsion of the invasion of Kuwait and subsequent Invasion of Iraq, took place under a UN banner. As such whilst the US and UK amongst others were members of the UN coalition, they ultimately were acting as part of the UN and not as Sovereign nations going to war with another sovereign nation.

Secondly at the end of Hostilities from the first Gulf War, a cease fire was put in place and eventually a set of conditions was agreed to by Saddam's regime. This means that the War at that point officially ends.

Enforcing the No Fly zones and the like did not mean the US and UK etc, where still at War with Iraq. The UN according to what I've read, was responsible for enforcing the terms agreed to by Iraq, and therefore the US and UK were simply acting on behalf of the UN

Ergo the US and UK were never at War with Iraq in the first place. Secondly the war had actually finished and therefore the US and the UK were still required to gain UN authorisation for the latest Iraqi invasion to have been legal. Afterall if they were still in a state of war with Iraq, why bother with the UN at all. The fact that they went through numerous UN resolutions to apply pressure to Iraq and continually pushed for a resolution after 1441 to allow the invasion indicates that the theory that the US and UK were still at war with Iraq to be erroneous.

Posted by: Aran B at January 23, 2005 10:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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