The Despotic, Blatantly Corrupt Palestinian Authority
The latter point about the corrupt despotic Arafat PA is worth elaborating on. Recently, over the objections of the EU Commissioner in charge of disbursing billions of dollars to the PA over the years, the EU Parliament agreed to investigate how the money was being spent. The two EU parliamentarians who initiated the investigation aren't themselves sanguine that they will ever get to the bottom of the money. Worse, as one of them observed a few days ago, the EU Commission generally has no desire to regulate its subsidies to the PA, however extensive the diversions into private Swiss accounts might be, if only because certain powerful EU governments with the complicity of many of the Commissioners see it as an alternative way to maintain EU influence in the Middle East as a rival there of the US. The same EU parliamentarian also observed that the EU Commission and governments know full well that some of the EU funds to the PA go directly into support for terrorism against the Israelis. See Frontpage
Will the Arafat-dominated PA change? Not likely. The CIA recently released its annual survey of trends around the world. The survey predicted that no settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be likely for another two decades . . . by which time the corrupt, despotic PA heads will have died off and a new generation will be in power. Bad news, as Victor Davis Hanson's article linked to below, for the EU countries, full of anti-Israeli prejudices and illusions about the Arafat leadership, shows. [Note: After this introduction was written, William Safire
, the NY Times
op-ed columnist, published an article that sets out his list of the dividends so far --- diplomatic, moral, and military --- that have ensued from our toppling of Saddamite Iraq. As it turns out, his list parallels ours.]
Are all these changes directly a result of effective American military and diplomatic policies? Ckearly so in most cases.
True, there's no way to be sure in the case of Libya or Iran, not when you're dealing with secretive dictatorial regimes. No one, though, doubts that American pressures and successes have been a big incentive to these welcome changes, which, of course --- to be solidified --- need careful follow-up diplomacy and hard-headed monitoring, backed by a combination of promised rewards for compliance and clear and credible threats for non-compliance.
Note in passing one other beneficial change afoot in the international sphere that has made the world safer, though whether it's been influenced directly by US pressures and mediation can't be determined at present:
- Pakistan and India, both nuclear powers that have fought three wars since 1947 --- the year Britain quit the Indian sub-continent --- and that have been waging a proxy war since 1988 over Kashmir in the north, have agreed to hold direct talks to improve relations, increase mutual confidence, and settle the Kashmir dispute.
Nothing would contribute more to stability in Central and South Asia then even partial success in the Pakistan-Indian relationship.
The US is the only country with major influence on both governments. Two years ago, the visits of our Secretary of Defense and a Deputy Secretary of State helped defuse the rising spiral toward a war then. Musharraf's hold on power is precarious: opposed by Islamo-fascist movements, fundamentalist extremists, and sympathizers within the military and powerful intelligence community. It's time he started showing more courage and taking them all on.
Meanwhile, here are three other positive changes afoot that can be subscribed to effective American policies the last year or so:
- Despite criticisms in France and Germany of the Bush policies abroad, NATO solidarity has survived the recent tussles, and --- in contrast to the stillbirth of the EU Rapid Reaction Force, a rhetorical commitment that never bore fruit --- NATO now has a RRF of its own, drawn mainly from European members.
- 18 of the 28 members of NATO have sent military forces to help with stabilizing post-Saddamite Iraq.
THOMAS FRIEDMAN'S TWO RECENT ARTICLES
- And North Korea --- in a move that Secretary of State Powell dubbed as positive --- offered last week to freeze its nuclear programs in return for US political and economic concessions . . . even as it agreed as well to a 6-Power Conference of concerned states in North Asia to deal with its nuclear and missile programs. Back last winter, alarmist critics were saying that unless we met with North Korea on its own terms, some sort of explosion --- diplomatic, maybe even military --- might erupt. Wisely, the Bush administration refused to cave in to the sort of blustering swagger that marks North Korea's diplomacy for decades, even as it apparently has kept open lines of communication to the monstrous totalitarian regime in Pyongyang.
Two very stimulating articles dealing with the clash of civilizations --- being played out almost entirely inside the Islamic world, between modernizers on one side, and on the other, the forces of regressive, intolerant fundamentalists who would like to impose an intolerant, rigidly monolithic theocracy based on the Shari-a, especially rigid interpretations of the four strands of Islamic law, while combating all western influences as demonic and supporting Islamo-fascist terrorism --- were published this week by the NY Times
op-ed columnist, Thomas Friedman: January 8 2004 Jan 11 2004
Friedman spent years in the Middle East as a journalist back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, then published a book, From Beirut to Jerusalem
, when he returned to the States. About a decade old, it has an updated chapter and is still one of the best introductions to the Middle East conflicts, or it is provided you keep in mind that he's not a scholar, but instead an intelligent, open-minded journalist with excellent contacts throughout the Arab world and Israel, even today.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON THE EU'S ANTI-ISRAELI HATRED
One of the most prolific and learned of military historians, the classicist Victor Davis Hanson --- now at the Hoover Institute at Stanford, a man who can roam over all periods of history and different civilizations and compare and analyze warfare in all of them with astute insight --- has emerged as a influential intellectual source in Bush foreign policy circles, thanks to the force of his writings. In his latest article, a weekly that he publishes at the National Review Online
, he looks at the long history of anti-Israeli biases in much of the EU, especially France and Germany . . . the flip side of their preferences for dealing in managerial diplomacy and large industrial and arms contracts with the 22 Arab dictatorships and clerical-fascist Iran. He traces it back to the early 1970s, noting the refusal of overflight rights to their US ally in NATO during the Yom Kipper war of 1973, when Israel was attacked by Syria from the east and Egypt from the West. It was a surprise attack. After two days of reversals, the far superior Israeli military --- Israel 4 million people then, Egypt and Syria together around 60 million --- routed the Syrians and Egyptians and crossed the Suez, with Cairo lying open.
The Origins Go Back to 1967
Hanson could have pushed the powerful anti-Israeli biases of the French government --- institutionalized now for decades --- back to the 1967 6 Day War, when Egypt's dictator, Colonel Nasser, ordered the UN peacekeeping forces off the Sinai, blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba (Israel's access to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean), and reaffirmed his conviction that Egypt and the Arab world were at war with Israel. That led to the Israeli pre-emptive riposte that destroyed the Egyptian air force and led to huge tank battles in the Sinai Desert --- far larger than those in Russia during WWII between Nazi and Soviet armor --- and the Israeli first crossing of the Sinai. As it was destroying the Egyptian military, it was simultaneously attacked out of the blue by the bloodsoaked Syrian dictatorship and the more moderate tyranny run by King Hussein in Jordan. The Israelis, fighting on two fronts --- facing far superior forces, but again with far better equipment, training, officers, and morale (the kill ratio in air fights was about 70:1 in favor of the Israelis) --- then destroyed the Syrian forces and occupied the Golan. They drove the Jordanians out of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The war was over in a few days, the Arabs routed. The Israeli Labour Government then offered to trade all the land taken in return for peace with the Arabs. They all refused. At a conference, they issued the 3 famous No's: no negotiations, no recognition, no peace.
It was immediately after the 6 Day war in June 1967 that President Charles de Gaulle slashed the Israelis for daring to go to war without his permission. A haughty man, who spoke of himself in the third person when he addressed the French like the Sun-King, Louis XIV in the 17th century --- "L'etat c'est moi"
--- de Gaulle excoriated the Jews --- yes, not Israel but the Jews ("un peuple d'elite" . . . "an elite people, sure of themselves and domineering"). It was the first clear expression of anti-Semitism by a European leader since the Holocaust. Until then, apparently, it was OK in West Europe to tolerate noticeably small and weakl Jewish communities that survived the Holocaust. That was one thing. A militarily tough Israel --- like the US, full of patriotism and a dedication to its independence and a willingness to act on that against its enemies: all anathema to the EU pc-oriented media and most of its elites --- was and is another thing, evidently intolerable for 3/5 of the EU population . . . the percentage recently surveyed that believed Israel was the greatest threat to world peace.
De Gaulle's outburst in June 1967 provoked a withering book from France's leading intellectual of the moderate center, Raymond Aron: De Gaulle, Israel, and the Jews
. He worried, rightly, that it would unleash a new surge of anti-Semitism. [On this incident, see gordon-newspost.
The New Rife EU Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israeli Prejudices
Not surprisingly, in the two surveys of the new, rapidly spreading anti-Semitism in the EU, France --- not surprisingly, along with Germany --- ranked among the highest. The EU average for clear, strong anti-Semitism was 33%, established in these two European administered surveys --- academically informed --- that the ADL in this country sponsored in 2002. It was close to 40% in Germany, over a third in France. Britain was at the lower end, 22%, and Holland the lowest of all: 9%. The US average was found to be 17% at the same time. Since then, there has been at least one EU government survey of anti-Semitism in its country, Italy. That was this last fall. It found that 22% of the population expressed clear strong anti-Semitism . . . exactly the figure that the ADL-sponsored surveys had found the year before. Good cross-checking verification.
On the new anti-Semitism in the EU, see the three buggy articles on this subject published in December 2003. One Two
Hanson Right About NATO Though?
Whether Hanson is right about the loosening ties with Europe is another matter. Whatever the pc-oriented elites want --- almost all the media on the Continent, and most of the French elites and politicians who run the huge centralized French state (and hence much of its economy), or the EU political left or extreme right --- most of the governments in the existing EU who are in NATO want a close relationship with the US. In the war to topple Saddamite Iraq, 5 of the existing 15 members supported us: Holland, Denmark, Italy, Spain, and Britain. All had conservative governments. Only France had a conservative coalition that opposed us, but whether the left or the right is in power in France is immaterial; it will oppose American initiatives almost anywhere unless it sees its interests served by them. Britain, ruled by the moderate Labour Party, is no exception; that party is like a centrist party on the Continent in its policies. Of the remaining 9 EU countries, 4 are neutral and not in NATO. Hence opposition was from 5 countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Greece, and surprisingly Portugal. Oppositely, all
the new NATO members scheduled to join this spring --- 10 in all --- were outspoken in supporting the US-UK line, and chastised openly by the French for being so "badly reared."
Right now, of the 28 member countries that will add up to NATO in May, 18 have forces operating on Iraqi soil to support the US-led efforts to transform that brutal system under Saddam and the fascist Baath party into a consensual government, the only one in the Arab world.
WORLD WAR III? THE FORMER CIA HEAD IN THE CLINTON ERA SEES IT AS WORLD WAR IV
Note, in the first article linked to earlier, Friedman's vigorous argument why the war on terrorism is World War III and a grave and unprecedented threat to our national security and even survival: what with the hatreds afoot in parts of Islam, the terrorism of a suicidal nature, and the prospect of the terrorists getting hold of weapons of mass destruction: biological, chemical, or nuclear. Later on in political science 129 --- see the syllabus in the previous buggy article, part III --- you'll find a more accurate depiction of the existing war on terrorism by the outspoken, highly intelligent former head of the CIA in the Clinton era, James Woolsey
. He calls it World War IV. His reasons are carefully set out. No need to duplicate them here.
In another article written not long after 9/11's assaults on New York and Washington D.C., Woolsey denounced the useless, politically correct stuff on the Middle East put out by the standard, orthodox, toeing-the-line scholars in almost all US universities, many of them affiliated with Middle East Studies Centers generously funded by the Saudi Mafioso-gangster regime . . . out of pure love for scholarship, you understand. Not only did none of the orthodox types remotely predict something like 9/11's terrorism, a good year later at their Middle East Studies annual conference --- where close to a thousand papers were read --- only three even dare mention the name terrorism, and then in quotation remarks. See the buggy analysis of this published in gordon-newspost.
The Alternatives to Conformist, Self-Perpetutating Scholars of a Mediocre Cast
For Woolsey, the truth-tellers of astute, hard-headed insight into the nature of Islamo-extremism and Islamo-fascist terrorism are those who have been marginalized by the mainstream orthodoxy: the great Bernard Lewis, now an emeritus professor at Princeton ---- several of whose writings political science 129 will be using; Fouad Ajami, a Lebanese by origin, a professor of political science at John Hopkins (note: a political scientist at one of the best departments in the world) . . . called by an Arab-American hothead of my acquaintance, a former student enraged by the non-pc platitudes in earlier buggy courses, an "anti-Arab Arab" for not kowtowing to the totems of conformist orthodoxy, generously funded by Saudi money; the journalist Steve Emerson --- investigating extremist Islamist groups in the US, also largely funded by the Saudis mobsters, for years now, and threatened to the point that the FBI had to warn him to go underground; and Daniel Pipes, the head of the Middle East Forum, likewise stigmatized like the former quartet for daring to confront realities head-on.
Woolsey also praised the work of the novelist Tom Clancy, whose imagination allowed him to move beyond the confines of bureaucratic infighting and their own orthodoxies that handicapped the CIA and FBI before 9/11, to say nothing of the poll-parroting, largely blinkered Middle East Study Institutes in this country and their association . . . to the point that Clancy's books foresaw attacks of this sort in the US. That's true of an even better novelist, Nelson DeMille. His Lion's Game
--- the best fiction work on a terrorist and the hunt for him ever published --- came out in 2000, a year before the 9/11 massacres. Among other things, it foresaw how an Arab terrorist would kill all the passengers on a plane that lands in New York, then take off on a methodical killing spree across the country. The book is not only exciting, with more believable characters than in Clancy's novels; it also features far more careful and authentic police work on the part of a New York cop and an FBI agent, working together, to hunt down the terrorist. The terrorist himself is treated as a fully believed, if enraged and murderous human, out to avenge what he regards as wrongs against his family committed by the US. It turns out he is mistaken. All the same, you get a sense that DeMille has faithfully caught the fury, the intellectual workings, and the crackling desire for revenge that must motivate large numbers of Al Qaeda and Hezbollah and other Islamo-fascist terrorists . . . people, as Thomas Friedman notes in the first of the two articles listed above, who hate us more than they love life.
The book, as you might expect, is gripping from start to finish --- an intellectual and artistic achievement of the first order. No surprise that DeMille, who fought in Vietnam, has also written probably the best novel on that country, especially under Communist rule . . . Up Country
, based on his field work there in the late 1990s. For a long review that places the book in historical perspective, see the buggy article on it: June 2003.
All his books are a marvel. They underscore a point that has been clear for two or three decades now: certain so-called genre forms of fiction --- in this case, thrillers and police-or-mystery novels --- can easily rise above simpleminded formulas and rival or overshadow the more pretentious avant-garde works of so-called serious novelists.
THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS?
For a wider survey of the clash of civilizations --- Samuel Huntington's prescient thesis, worked out in the mid-1990s --- see the buggy series on this that appeared last spring and winter: buggy one
; buggy two
; buggy three
; and buggy four
The Clash of Civilizations Clarified
Note something important, repeatedly underscored and then clarified in these four articles: to call Huntington prescient is not to say he has been fully accurate. Huntington saw the clash between
civilizations, especially the West as opposed to Islam, with what he called its "bloody frontiers" everywhere . . . the latter probably in alliance with Sino-civilization centered on China. Leave aside China. The pivotal arena where the clash of civilizations is being played out isn't between Islam and others, but rather inside Islam itself . . . especially the forces of modernization and the forces of clerical Islamo-fascisms of various sorts, full of hatreds and fears and raging racism, with its tendencies to blame the backwardness and autocracy rife in all the 22 Arab countries --- just to stay with them --- on scapegoats, all viewed in a conspiratorial paranoid manner: especially Jews and their alleged domination of the USA and even the world.
The rage and related conspiratorial scape-goating paranoia afoot in parts of were set out and explained in a lengthy four part series on the New Racist Jew-Hatred in the Arab world . . . a fusion of European racist anti-Semitism that flourished in the late 19th and early 20ths centuries and came to a head in the Nazi Holocaust, on the one side, and on the other the crackling frustrations, seething resentments, and hate-blasted paranoid rage that have emerged in the Arab countries especially, and to an extent in much of Islam beyond, the last 30 to 40 years.
HOW MUCH SUPPORT DO RADICAL ISLAMIST FUNDAMENTALISMS ENJOY?
As the buggy series showed, extremist Islamic fundamentalisms --- whether of the Sunni or Shiite versions --- probably have the sympathy to one degree or another of the majority of Arabs, given the few survey polls that deal with the matter . . . if only tangentially. Only tangentially
. An important qualification. With each and every one of the Arab countries ruled by despotic tyrants --- small, tribal-based clans and clientele networks connected to them, ultimate authority and power-holding resting on pervasive secret-police rule (with only the degree of brutality the main variable across the 21 Arab countries aside from post-Saddamite Iraq) --- no open survey polls probing such anti-regime sentiments are permitted.
What we do have is a Gallup poll taken in 10 Arab countries after 9/11 terrorist assaults in New York and Washington D.C. Administered four to five months afterwards, 60% --- roughly 2 out of 3 Arab respondents --- denied that Muslims were involved in the assaults. It had to be due to conspiracies run by the CIA, Jews, and the US government. A poll administered later in Egypt in September 2002 --- a good year after the attacks --- found only slightly lower results. On a different plane, when fundamentalist parties were able to put up candidates for general election to a national parliament in Algeria in the early 1990s, they received about 40% of the vote. No other elections of a similar nature have been staged in the despotic Arab countries, with Algeria itself then plunged into a decade of cruel and viciously bloody civil war between enraged fundamentalist terrorists and the brutal Algerian military regime. There has, however, been a recent election to a new Muslim council in democratic France; and again, about 40% of the delegates chosen to that council by Muslim voters were of a clear fundamentalist sort.
The Duplicitous Use of the State-Controlled Media in the Arab World:
What you can say, clearly, even in shorthand, is that the spread of rampant Jew-hating racism in the Arab world --- inspired by fundamentalist rage and paranoia --- has been spread with the complicity and even encouragement of every one of the Arab regimes. They have allowed the fundamentalist bigots to have access to their state-controlled media --- newspapers, radio, TV, movies, and for that matter mosque sermons --- as a means of diverting the frustrations and anger of the rapidly growing masses of Arab people, half of them under the age of 15, with unemployment among men alone averaging around 25% of the work force, outward . . . against the foreign devils. The extent to which this double-dealing propaganda ploy has been used for diversionary purposes this way does vary across the 22 Arab countries --- now 21, given that post-Saddamite Iraq has a relatively free media --- but all of the governments have used it extensively the last two decades or more. Dennis Ross, our former chief envoy to the Middle East in the Bush-Sr. and Clinton administrations --- the man who was in charge of the Oslo Peace Process from beginning to end in early 2001 --- has explicitly referred to the Arab media and its conspiratorial racism and bigotry as systematic hate-machines, badly in need of being turned off. In a TV interview immediately after 9/11 --- by which time he had left the US government and was the head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy --- he stated bluntly that pressuring the Arab regimes to turn off those hate-machines ought to be a primary aim of our new Middle East policies. They breed hatred of the West and keep vicious regimes in power.
The Double-Dealing Joker In The Pack
Note that the encouragement given to fundamentalist paranoia and rage rests in all the Arab countries on a clear understanding: the vitriol and hatred have to be directed outward, at the powerful Jewish cabals and domination of others. Any efforts by fundamentalists to challenge the existing secret-police run Arab governments will be met with withering, merciless repression: as in Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, and increasingly in Tunisia now.
For the four-part buggy series on the New Arab Jew-Hatred --- Its Causes, Its Implications, Its Relations with the Double-Dealing Arab Regimes --- see one two three four
WHY ISRAEL IS MODERN, DEMOCRATIC, AND RICH AND THE ARAB COUNTRIES AREN'T
In early April, a buggy article
that has been accessed more than most appeared with the length title: "1) Palestinians Found to Admire Israeli Democracy. 2) Israel: A Democratic State with a Rule of Law, Unique in the Middle East. 3) Why Israel Is a Rich Advanced Country and the Arab Countries Aren't."
Israel is also the only country with a rule of law, applicable to all citizens --- even the government and the military. That was brought out strikingly in April 2002. Israeli special forces were fighting a battle inside the West Bank city of Jenin against terrorist networks. As the battle raged, Israeli forces removed dead bodies; that is what all militaries do to avoid the spread of disease. Arab members of the Israeli Parliament, worried that the Israeli forces might be covering up Palestinian civilian casualties, then petitioned the Israel Supreme Court to order the Israel High Command to stop the removal. The Court accepted the petition. The High Command was told to halt the removal. It complied. Despite widespread accusations of mass civilian casualties --- the Palestinian Authority at one point claimed several thousand, and then several hundred, claims poll-parroted by almost all the biased EU media --- it turned out when international groups combed through the city that there had been about 55 Palestinian death: Israeli casualties were about half the number.
The notion that any Arab court anywhere --- whichever of the 22 Arab countries --- could order its government to do anything it wanted to, let alone have its military in the midst of a battle do something, is so derisory and at odds with reality that it couldn't even be featured in a science-fiction story. Not that it matters for the Arab hate-machines and their propagandists, including their poll-parroting followers on US campuses. They continue to refer to the Israel Nazi-state, deny Israel's democratic system and rule of law, or ignore the fact that one million Arabs alone live in a country with democratic rights --- those who are citizens of Israel. All the other 300 million Arabs live in secret-police run states ruled by tyrants, with post-Saddamite Iraq now in transition . . . let us hope toward something like a consensual solid government and a rule of law too.