October 11, 2005

Democracy is not a panacea for terrorism

Since part of Greg's wishes when he temporarily handed over the keys to Belgravia Dispatch was that Eric and I do a kind of dialogue, commenting on Eric's Swimming Against the Tide seems to me to be as good a place as any to start.

To begin with, let me just say that I agree with your fundamental point, namely "Empirical evidence simply does not support the contention that democracy would eradicate the mentality that gives rise to this virulent strain of Salafism. It is not more freedom that they want, nor would freedom extinguish their cause ... Unless of course, democracy would give legitimate power to the Salafists' ideological kindred spirits."

Indeed, Dr. Gunaratna makes much the same point in Time Magazine's Asia edition in which he writes:

The investigation into the Oct. 1 Bali bombings may lead to arrests and high-profile trials. But that will not stop the terrorism. In fact, Asia's vulnerability is likely to grow.

There are several reasons for this. The phenomenon of suicide bombers has become a grim new reality in the region, and it's here to stay. During the Suharto years, Indonesian authorities clamped down on any challenge to the state. Now the country is more open and democratic, but an unwelcome consequence is that militants have a freer run of the place.

I suspect that similar examples could also be offered as far as the increased role that Hezbollah in Lebanon following the Syrian withdrawl. When the Algerian political system opened up in the late 1980s, one of the immediate consequences was that the Islamist Front Islamique du Salut (FIS) became one of the largest political parties in the country. Part of the reason for this probably lies in the fact that because Islamists usually have large overt or clandestine support networks in existence prior to the fall of a dictatorship that they are among the groups best-poised to exploit its immediate aftermath. I suspect that at least part of this uncomfortable reality is one of the main reasons that Reuel Marc Gerecht has adopted the view that he has with respect to his belief that Western nations should support the rise of Islamist parties in nascent democracies on the belief that, once in power, they tend to discredit themselves that he lays out in greater detail in The Islamic Paradox.

One of the things that I think needs to be stressed when countering the threat posed by Salafist terrorism (and as an aside, I really wish that we could call it that, is it would seem to go a long way from differentiating adherents of Islam in general from the enemy and not get into some of the catch-all problems that Islamism poses in that it throws everyone from Osama bin Laden to Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey all under the same umbrella) is that there isn't a silver bullet on this one, no more than there was when it came to the issue of countering communism during the Cold War.

Dr. Gunaratna, to the best of my knowledge, is one of the few experts on al-Qaeda who has come up with a comprehensive strategy for defeating the terror network that you can find at the conclusion of Inside Al Qaeda. I first summarized his conclusions in the aftermath of the London bombings and they are as follows:

* Military and non-military responses to al-Qaeda on a region and issue-specific basis, with military responses providing the necessary security and political conditions to facilitate far reaching socio-economic, welfare, and political programs that will have a lasting impact.

* The destruction of al-Qaeda and allied infrastructure, denying them rear bases, killing their leaders, exhausting their supplies, and disrupting their recruitment.

* Ending Pakistani covert and overt military, political, and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri jihadis while mediating to provide diplomatic solution to the Kashmir issue.

* Strangling terrorist financing, tightening control over the manufacturing and supply of weapons, exchanging personnel and expertise with allies, and building common terrorist databases in the Third World.

* Developing new vaccines, medicines, and diagnostic tests, enhancing medical communication and disease surveillance capabilities, and improving controls on the storage and transfer of pathogens and their equipment so as to address the threat of a catastrophic terrorist attack.

* Enhancing the protection of nuclear facilities while monitoring rogue suspected scientists and technicians.

* Killing Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Mullah Mohammed Omar in order to diffuse the momentum of the terrorist campaign [to which we can probably add Zarqawi].

* Relying on black ops operations to assassinate terrorist leaders and ideologues.

* Recruiting intelligence agents and agent-handlers within Muslim immigrant communities and sharing existing intelligence with the wider decision and policy-making community.

* Engaging al-Qaeda as an organization militarily while working non-militarily to erode its active and potential supporters by discrediting its ideology through broader action in areas where international neglect has legitimized the use of violence among many Muslims.

* Replacing unilateralism with multilateralism wherever possible and developing far-reaching policies designed to grapple with protracted conflicts and contentious issues currently fueling anti-Western sentiments by answering the real and perceived grievances of many Muslims and frustrating the current wave of open and clandestine support for al-Qaeda.

* The Islamic world as a whole must answer whether al-Qaeda and its actions are Koranic or heretical and credible Muslim communities and religious leaders must stand up and denounce bin Laden and his acolytes as power-hungry murderers rather than men of God.

* Muslim rulers and regimes must compete with Islamism and Wahhabi NGOs, building schools and community centers that both impart a modern education and instill humane, non-sectarian values.

* The international community should prioritize reform Islamic education, fostering an independent media, and establishing criminal justice and prison systems that truly reflect the rule of law rather than the whims of the current ruler.

* Terrorism as a tactic must be rejected and a societal norm built against its deployment similar to that which now exist to varying degrees against slavery, colonialism, fascism, Nazism, sexism, and racism irrespective of the legitimacy of the struggle.

As Eric seems to make quite clear, here agrees with Gunaratna on a lot of this: (emphasis mine)

As Fukuyama and Brooks point out, our goal should not be to appease the actual Salafists such as Zawahiri, Bin Laden, Zarqawi, etc. Nothing we could do would placate them, nor should we reward such behavior to begin with. For them, there are only violent solutions. But it is absolutely crucial that we engage the remainder of the Muslim world in an effort to take away the jihadists' base of support - that which they rely on in order to thrive. The recent bombings in Bali, and the reaction to them, provides an illustration of the two currents laid out above: the fact that democracy itself is neutral to the effort to purge terrorism, and how public opinion impacts our efforts to combat the jihadists.

Eric then contrasts what we need with the actual state of things in Indonesia:

From this reaction in Indonesia, it is easier to see the impact that certain facets of our foreign policy have had on our effort to combat the radical Islamists. The invasion of Iraq, regardless of any ancillary benefits (a conversation for another time), has not aided our effort to win over the moderate hearts and minds from the likes of Bin Laden and his ilk. In fact, it has set us back considerably by lending credence to Bin Laden's outrageous propaganda about US/Anglo/Israeli crusaders seeking to take over Muslim lands and humiliate Muslims - aided by images of civilian deaths and carnage that are the inevitable accompaniment to any military action no matter how carefully planned. Public opinion of America in the region has plunged so low, that many reformers and would be proponents of democracy have complained that the mere fact that their movements are associated with American ideals has made their work more difficult.

But as Dr. Gunaratna documents in Inside Al Qaeda (published in the mid-2002)), this problem goes back quite further than the invasion of Iraq:

... Leaving aside the Muslim elite, ordinary Muslims worldwide view the West through the prism of anti-Americanism. 61% of Muslims polled in nine countries - Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - denied that Arabs were involved in the September 11 attacks. The corresponding statistics were 89% in Kuwait, 86% in Pakistan, 74% in Indonesia, 59% in Iran, 58% in Lebanon, and 43% in Turkey. Only 18% of those polled in six Islamic countries said they believed Arabs carried out the attacks and just 9% said they thought US military action in Afghanistan was morally justified. In Kuwait, a country liberated by the US from Iraqi aggression in 1991, 36% said that the 9/11 attacks were justifiable. Just 7% said Western nations are fair in their perceptions of Muslim countries ... Clearly the US has no public support from the Muslim world either to fight terrorism or to remain in Afghanistan.

Now generally the usual conclusion reached by these kinds of statistics (which have changed significantly since, though Gunaratna's basic point still carries through) is that a majority of the Muslim world are at least tacit supporters of terrorism. I don't accept that formulation, if for no other reason that you can contrast these figures with the vote totals that Islamist parties receive in those areas where they've been allowed to operate openly - the totals are generally about the same as those that far right or neo-fascist parties pick up in Europe.

However, as one can see from the statistics cited by Dr. Gunaratna, the West in general and the US in particular has a major problem as far as how we are viewed by much of the Muslim world that well predates the invasion of Iraq and unless we make a serious effort to engage the masses as opposed to the governments we are likely to be in that pickle for quite some time. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations have been singularly lacking in this regard even after the full extent of the threat became clear.

As a side note, I should probably point out that ETA, November 17, Baader Meinhof, Aum Shinrikyo, and the Shining Path don't enjoy anything like the kind of popular support that bin Laden and his followers currently do (and have since at least 1998). Aum Shinrikyo was after all a cult while the Shining Path was largely based around the person of Abimael Guzman, which is one of the reasons why it has all but fallen apart following his 1992 capture. I strongly suspect that much of FARC's support, moreover, lies in the fact that there is a great deal of money to be made with regard to its role in the international drug trade, which depending on your figures brings in at least several billion dollars a year.

Another thing that needs to be kept in mind (as I'm sure Eric would agree) is that we need to define what democracy is before we set about spreading it. As Eric correctly noted when discussing recent developments in Iraq:

... the issue remains whether even the most well intentioned Iraqis really grasp what "democracy entails." Yes, the concept of majoritarianism seems easy enough to get a hold of (especially for the Shiites who can now reap the benefits of their majority status), but democracy, at least a healthy functioning version, is so much more than the edict that the majority rules. There needs to be respect for minority rights and interests, respect for institutional integrity along horizontal and lateral lines, respect for the rule of law and the rules of the game, etc.

In terms of an institutional framework, democracies require several loci of power and influence - an elaborate web of checks and balances capable of withstanding strains and eccentricities pushing and pulling in certain directions. These include, but are not limited to, a powerful and independent judiciary, a robust and free press, an open and free economic system relatively unfettered by corruption enabling a middle class to emerge, a civic minded populace, quality educational systems and a free flow of ideas, etc. Absent this matrix, power tends to be concentrated at the top, with the ruling faction's influence constricting the mechanisms of democracy that lead to liberal rule.

If all democracy means is simply the idea of popular majority rule, then promoting it is reasonably easy, but there are also a whole multitude of reasons why this is Not A Good Thing. Indeed, if one goes back and reads many of the critiques against the idea of a democratic state, one of the primary arguments that is often encountered is the fear that democracy will lead to exactly that kind of crude majoritarian rule. How such a system would serve to prevent terrorism as beyond me, if nothing else it seems as though it would hasten it as minority groups became increasingly chafed under the yoke of the majority.

One thing that I think that the United States needs to be exceedingly careful of as it goes about the whole business of democracy promotion is making sure that the first definition is not over-stressed at the expense of the second. Countries like Nigeria or pre-Musharraf Pakistan appeared to understand the whole idea of voting and elections, but neither were all that keen towards any of the other aspects of democracy that Eric mentions above. Both countries suffered as a result and I certainly don't think that you can make the argument that either had a reduced level of terrorism or political violence as a result.

Then there is the issue of the European Muslim population. As praktike notes, it's cool to be a jihadi in far too many European Muslim circles these days. The problem here is not in my mind the absence of democracy but rather than absence of assimilation, with the predictable enough results being that the political culture of the Middle East is now being imported in its entirety to much of Europe with predictable results. Then, on the somewhat reverse side of the coin, is that those portions of Europe (with the UK being particularly notorious in this regard) that have opted not to adequately act against the extremist elements on their own soil, in my view doing a gross disservice to the Muslim community by essentially putting the wolf in charge of the hen house.

Finally, there is the issue of state sponsorship to consider. Here in my view is where the democratization argument makes the most sense, as an authoritarian state pursues terrorism as a matter of policy and then undergoes democratization is not likely to revive the practice. Iraq, for instance, is not going to reviving its support for the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, Hamas, or the Abu Nidal Organization at any point in the near future as a matter of state policy.

So in summary:

1. Democracy is not a panacea for dealing with terrorism.

2. Extremists often fare quite well in emerging democracies by virtue of being the best-organized.

3. There is no silver bullet in dealing with the threat of Salafist terrorism and an in-depth plan is instead needed - Dr. Gunaratna provides one.

4. The US has little if any real support among the general populace of the Muslim world for reasons that well pre-date the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Our public diplomacy efforts for dealing with the general public rather than the governments of the Muslim world have been grossly ineffective and mostly non-existent.

5. This is a problem because al-Qaeda currently enjoys far more popular support than any earlier terrorist groups.

6. Setting up merely a democracy in the sense of voting and majority rule is pointless as far as preventing terrorism or political violence if the institutions needed for such a society to function or flourish do not exist or are not being respected.

7. The European Muslim population is attracted towards jihadi groups through a combination of the Middle Eastern political culture being imported to Europe and/or European governments being unwilling to deal with known Islamic radicals in their midst.

8. Democratization is effective with regard to dealing with state sponsors of terrorism since the issue there is one of state policy rather than popular support.

Posted by at October 11, 2005 06:33 AM | TrackBack (3)
Comments

Interesting post. In particular your comments on levels of Western/US support within the Muslim world are valid but one must consider that the general Muslim population, from back street worker to political elite, border on irrationality in their beliefs towards the West. It's all well and good talking of bolstering support for the West among them, but that might prove difficult when most are by any Western standard quite brain washed and delusional. There is a firm belief in the Middle East that the "Chronicles of the Elders of Zion" are a real document to be taken seriously and that Mossad are responsible for nigh on everything, from 9/11 to the recent Tsunamis. Bringing around such a paranoid people will be very difficult, so ingrained are conspiracise and anti-semitism/anti-christinanity in their culture.

Posted by: Andrew Paterson at October 11, 2005 11:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interesting post. In particular your comments on levels of Western/US support within the Muslim world are valid but one must consider that the general Muslim population, from back street worker to political elite, border on irrationality in their beliefs towards the West. It's all well and good talking of bolstering support for the West among them, but that might prove difficult when most are by any Western standard quite brain washed and delusional. There is a firm belief in the Middle East that the "Chronicles of the Elders of Zion" are a real document to be taken seriously and that Mossad are responsible for nigh on everything, from 9/11 to the recent Tsunamis. Bringing around such a paranoid people will be very difficult, so ingrained are conspiracise and anti-semitism/anti-christinanity in their culture.

Posted by: Andrew Paterson at October 11, 2005 11:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interesting post. In particular your comments on levels of Western/US support within the Muslim world are valid but one must consider that the general Muslim population, from back street worker to political elite, border on irrationality in their beliefs towards the West. It's all well and good talking of bolstering support for the West among them, but that might prove difficult when most are by any Western standard quite brain washed and delusional. There is a firm belief in the Middle East that the "Chronicles of the Elders of Zion" are a real document to be taken seriously and that Mossad are responsible for nigh on everything, from 9/11 to the recent Tsunamis. Bringing around such a paranoid people will be very difficult, so ingrained are conspiracise and anti-semitism/anti-christinanity in their culture.

Posted by: Andrew Paterson at October 11, 2005 11:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interesting post. In particular your comments on levels of Western/US support within the Muslim world are valid but one must consider that the general Muslim population, from back street worker to political elite, border on irrationality in their beliefs towards the West. It's all well and good talking of bolstering support for the West among them, but that might prove difficult when most are by any Western standard quite brain washed and delusional. There is a firm belief in the Middle East that the "Chronicles of the Elders of Zion" are a real document to be taken seriously and that Mossad are responsible for nigh on everything, from 9/11 to the recent Tsunamis. Bringing around such a paranoid people will be very difficult, so ingrained are conspiracise and anti-semitism/anti-christinanity in their culture.

Posted by: Andrew Paterson at October 11, 2005 11:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

However, as one can see from the statistics cited by Dr. Gunaratna, the West in general and the US in particular has a major problem as far as how we are viewed by much of the Muslim world that well predates the invasion of Iraq and unless we make a serious effort to engage the masses as opposed to the governments we are likely to be in that pickle for quite some time. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations have been singularly lacking in this regard even after the full extent of the threat became clear.......
4. The US has little if any real support among the general populace of the Muslim world for reasons that well pre-date the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Our public diplomacy efforts for dealing with the general public rather than the governments of the Muslim world have been grossly ineffective and mostly non-existent.

To suggest that in the Muslim world there was no difference in perception of the US under the leadership of Clinton and Bush flies in the face of the facts --- and demonstrates the general intellectual dishonesty of the right wing. The primary determinate of Muslim opinion (especially in the Middle East) was US policy with regard to the Israel/Palestine issue. The significantly reduced tensions brought about by Clinton's efforts to broker a peace agreement between Palestine and the Labor government of Israel resulted in more positive views of the US. When the Bush regime abandoned the peace process, and tacitly endorsed the scorched earth policies of the Likud government of Israel, Muslim perception of the US plummeted.

By mid-2002, the ham-fisted "public diplomacy" of the Bush regime had sent a clear message to Muslims, especially in the middle east---and that message was not positive. Darling would have us disconnect US policy toward Israel/Palestine from Muslim public opinion, but doing so is grossly intellectually dishonest, and a sign of the partisan and ideological perspective that Darling brings to these issues.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 11, 2005 01:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The significantly reduced tensions brought about by Clinton's efforts....

Psst. The latest intifada was planned and "broke out" while Clinton was president and brokering the peace talks. (By the way, have you read what Clinton, in his autobiography, says about Arafat?)

When the Bush Administration abandoned the peace process....

And just when one may have thought you couldn't possibly discredit yourself any further....

...the scorched earth policies of the Likud government of Israel...

It would appear that you have no idea what "scorched earth" means. Which is not terribly surprising, mind you. Most useful for Israel bashing, to be sure.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at October 11, 2005 02:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What if the Iraqi gov't did support Hamas? It's not inconceivable at all, frankly, given the guys were talking about here (e.g. SCIRI, Da'wa--who has connections in southern Lebanon w/ you-know-who). Far more likely, though, is Iraqi support for Shi'ite Arabs in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, though as to what form that might take, I can't say.

Posted by: praktike at October 11, 2005 03:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"What if the Iraqi gov't did support Hamas? It's not inconceivable at all, frankly, given the guys were talking about here (e.g. SCIRI, Da'wa--who has connections in southern Lebanon w/ you-know-who)."

From what i understand, the Shiite parties role in regard to the Iraqi policy on Israel is restraining the Kurds and secularists from their inclination to recognize Israel.


Again it seems to be a mistake assuming that the Shiite parties share the view of Iran - especially Dawa.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 03:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The significantly reduced tensions brought about by Clinton's efforts to broker a peace agreement between Palestine and the Labor government of Israel resulted in more positive views of the US. When the Bush regime abandoned the peace process..."

Or rather when Yasser Arafat turned away from the peace process, and declared the intifada.


Arafats rejection of peace is documented BY Clinton. While Clintons efforts were worthwhile, even Clinton could not overcome the rejectionism of Arafat. Fortunately that particular obstacle to peace is no longer operative.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 03:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think that the point w/ promoting democracy is not that it will eliminate terrorism, or that terrorist acts will not be carried out in democratic countries. Rather, democracy discredits the terrorists. Democratic institutions tend to be centered towards the needs of the public. The terrorists are centered on the needs of themselves. Let's see Hamas work on the problems of infrastructure, health and basic utilities. Efforts spent on serving the needs of the masses would automatically detract from being able to serve their own needs.

Posted by: Chris at October 11, 2005 03:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Arafats rejection of peace is documented BY Clinton. While Clintons efforts were worthwhile, even Clinton could not overcome the rejectionism of Arafat.

The issue at hand is not the Israel/Palestine conflict, it is the intellectual dishonesty of asserting that the level of anti-Americanism found prior to the invasion of Iraq existed during Clinton's presidency. (I have no intention of debating the Israel/Palestine issue with wingnuts....)

Clinton's efforts to broker a peace agreement, and his "even handed" approach to the Israel/Palestine issue, earned him (and the US) high marks in the Arab/Muslim world. Bush's abandonment of the peace process, and his support for Sharon's aggressive militaristic tactics in the Occupied Territories, soured the Muslim/Arab view toward the US.

Those are the facts, and regardless of how you feel about the policies involved, pretending those facts don't exist is intellectually dishonest.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 11, 2005 04:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yes but Chris, democracy in Western Europe has not succeeded in discrediting terrorists, or diminishing the appeal of "jihadism." Similarly, al-Qaeda will not be "discredited" if democracy takes hold in Iraq - at least not in terms of forcing them to come to grips with governance methods. Their appeal, their raison d'etre and their goals will remain relatively unperturbed by democracy - or at least there is no reliable model to base predictions on how democracy may impact those aspects.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 11, 2005 04:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dan,

One thing in Guarnata recommendations that you cover - which is very strange, in my view - is that the economic interrelationships between countries - particluarly the U.S. - is hardly touched.

So, I look through all those recommendations, and I see nothing about either the history or the future of how the US deals with countries that have oil.

And the economics are paramount. There's a reason why we didn't do anything in Darfur when we should have, and we did attack Iraq, and that reason is the black gold.

On the positive side of the attack in Iraq, the power and money that the black gold gives a thug like Hussein, would have been bad for the whole world.

On the negative side, the attack on Iraq can be viewed as a simple attempt to insure stable suppliers.

There has been a 50 year history of supporting dictators and murderers if they insured a stable supply of the black gold. And I understand the reasons - if the U.S. didn't coddle the dictators and murderers who had the black gold, then the Soviet Union would have - and did, quite often. And then where would we have been?

My view is that we have to combat Muslim fundamentalism, and any terrorism that results - and ESPECIALLY Al-Queda - where because of the history, the peculiarities of the religion and the region, Al-Queda is very good at PIGGYBACKING onto discontent.

What is the strategy regarding oil, authoritarian leaders, to discourage this piggybacking?

Posted by: JC at October 11, 2005 06:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Yes but Chris, democracy in Western Europe has not succeeded in discrediting terrorists, or diminishing the appeal of "jihadism." Similarly, al-Qaeda will not be "discredited" if democracy takes hold in Iraq - at least not in terms of forcing them to come to grips with governance methods. Their appeal, their raison d'etre and their goals will remain relatively unperturbed by democracy - or at least there is no reliable model to base predictions on how democracy may impact those aspects."


For that minority of western european muslims who support jihadism, western european democracy isnt "theirs" its the alien western system of the infidel westerners, and acknowledging its superiority is out of the question for all the good Bernard Lewis reasons. The fact that while living in England or France they have encountered further personal humiliations of various types only reinforces that sense. Not at all the same as forming an ISLAMIC democracy, a true alternative source of appeal.

OTOH, IIUC the level of support for Jihadism and OBL is far lower among Western European muslims than for muslims in the muslim world, DESPITE the humiliations they undoubtedly face. Wouldnt that argue that Western European democracy HAS diminished the appeal of jihadism? Are we falling into the fallacy of dismissing every solution that doesnt 100% eliminate the problem?

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 06:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The issue at hand is not the Israel/Palestine conflict" Luka

Translation

"ooops - my BlameBushforeverything mode has gotten me into another idiotic statement - better say it has nothing to do with anything - beats admitting I was wrong - can NEVER DO THAT!"

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at October 11, 2005 06:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1. The issue at hand is not the Israel/Palestine conflict, it is the intellectual dishonesty of asserting that the level of anti-Americanism found prior to the invasion of Iraq existed during Clinton's presidency.

Im not sure if it did, but thats also not the same as asserting it was due to a change in US policy.

2. (I have no intention of debating the Israel/Palestine issue with wingnuts....)

I voted for Clinton twice, and for Gore. Does that make me a "Wingnut"?


3.Clinton's efforts to broker a peace agreement, and his "even handed" approach to the Israel/Palestine issue

At the time, and afterward, the apologists for Yasser Arafat were quite vocal that Clinton was NOT evenhanded, but was pro-Israeli.

4. , earned him (and the US) high marks in the Arab/Muslim world. Bush's abandonment of the peace process,

The peace process collapsed due to events on the ground in the Middle East. When Abbas was briefly appointed PM by Arafat (under pressure) the Bush Admin supported Abbas and the Road map. However Abbas was pushed out - not by Bush, but by Arafat.

5.nd his support for Sharon's aggressive militaristic tactics in the Occupied Territories, soured the Muslim/Arab view toward the US.

Sharons tactics have received the support of every major national Democrat, AFAICT. (and with good reason, as they have been, for the most part, remarkably restrained under the circumstances) IF that is the reason for Muslim hatred of the US, then we need to look elsewhere for solutions.

ISrael has now withdrawn from Gaza. Will we now see major declines in muslim support for jihadism?

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 06:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The issue at hand is not the Israel/Palestine conflict" Luka

Translation

"ooops - my BlameBushforeverything mode has gotten me into another idiotic statement - better say it has nothing to do with anything - beats admitting I was wrong - can NEVER DO THAT!"

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at October 11, 2005 07:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

When Israel withdraws from Planet Earth the arabs will consider ending the violence

( End the Occupation of Andalusia! )

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at October 11, 2005 07:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

BTW, im not sure we wouldnt all have been much better off if the coup in Algeria had NOT taken place, and wed let the Algerian Islamists take power.

Either theyd have continued to respect the rules, and wed have an Islamist democracy, a powerful tool against Jihadism.

Or theyd have gone for one man one vote, once, and and installed a taliban style regime, and the people would have turned away from Islamism, and wed have a democratic revolution to support.
Not much different from the actual outcome, though with probably a better regime at the end, and less alienation of muslim hearts and minds outside algeria.

I suppose the third possibility would be an illiberal quasidemocracy, under Islamist control. IE much like Iran. Which we couldnt support the overthrow of, cause of qualms on the part of the antijacobins.


So yeah, the third option makes support for the military in Algeria look wise. It should be noted - the hostility to Jacobin democracy promotion, has a tendency to force us to prostability options in cases like this (and KSA and Egypt are other such possibilities) Yet its our support for such regimes that hurts us in the hearts and minds struggle.


HOw much of the hearts and minds fallout of Iraq was due to events in Iraq, and how much was perceived hypocrisy due to our coddling of authoritarians in KSA and Egypt and central Asia?

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 09:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think your article misses a key point: it is not democracy that will cure Jihadist extremism, but rather *liberalism*. And democracy is key in promoting liberalism. How strong a movement do liberals (and here I use "liberal" in the broad, classical sense of the word) become in autocratic dictatorships, theocracies, or communist states? Liberals are firmly oppressed in autocracies as the the autocrats themselves have a great interest in keeping the population distracted by strong anti-anybody-but-us sentiment.

Few democracies that are given the chance to remain stable fail to become liberal. It is thus vitally important that "democracy" not be a one-off affair that sets in place a regime that cancels the next election. As long as the people do not lose the ability to replace their rulers, democratic governments tend to become moderate and freedom-oriented as their people recognize that any course other than liberalism leads to oppression and (almost always) poverty. Democracy is not a panecea, but it is a necessary corequisite of what is.

Posted by: Dan Larsen at October 12, 2005 02:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
Reviews of Belgravia Dispatch
"Awake"
--New York Times
"Must-read list"
--Washington Times
"Pompous Ass"
--an anonymous blogospheric commenter
Recent Entries
Search
English Language Media
Foreign Affairs Commentariat
Non-English Language Press
U.S. Blogs
Columnists
Think Tanks
Law & Finance
Security
Books
The City
Western Europe
France
United Kingdom
Germany
Italy
Netherlands
Spain
Central and Eastern Europe
CIS/FSU
Russia
Armenia
East Asia
China
Japan
South Korea
Middle East
Egypt
Israel
Lebanon
Syria
B.D. In the Press
Archives
Categories
Syndicate this site:
XML RSS RDF

G2E

Powered by