Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

***"To Defeat the Beast, Don't Feed the Beast"

by Joerg in Berlin Sun Sep 17th, 2006 at 05:01:39 AM EST

Germany's former Foreign Minister Fischer started teaching at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. The cause of the 9/11 attacks was not U.S. foreign policy, but the lack of modernisation in the Arab world, he explained at a discussion to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Prof. Fischer, however, is concerned that U.S. mistakes increase the conflicts. His candid advice according to the German Der Tagesspiegel was: "To defeat the beast, don't feed the beast."
He said more or less the same, but less outspoken in the NYT, as Dialog International reports.

***Back to diaries


"Stop blaming America for terrorism," says Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Price winning author Anne Applebaum in a British Telegraph op-ed that was widely quoted in the American blogosphere yesterday. She criticizes that many Europeans started blaming the United States already right after 9/11:

While not entirely incorrect, the notion that President Bush has wasted international post-9/11 sympathy is not entirely accurate either. As I say, at the time of the attacks, influential Europeans, and influential Britons, were already disinclined for their own reasons to sympathise with any American tragedy. Instead of pointing fingers, the fifth anniversary of 9/11 might be a good time to reverse course. If "war on terrorism" has become an unpopular term, then call it something else. Call it a "war on fanaticism". Or – as we used to say in the Cold War – call it a "struggle for hearts and minds" in the Islamic communities of Europe and the Middle East. For whatever it's called, it won't succeed without both American and European support, without American and European mutual sympathy.

I don't think the term "war on terrorism" is a significant problem that stands in the way of more cooperation, but rather it is the strategies and policies and their implementation that matter. Besides, what is often ignored is that American and European intelligence and law enforcement agencies have increased their cooperation significantly and successfully.

Doyle McManus discusses in The Los Angeles Times, whether the U.S. is winning this war:

In a series of recent speeches to mark the anniversary of the attacks, Bush has declared: "America is winning the war on terror" and cited a list of achievements: "We've removed terrorist sanctuaries, disrupted their finances, killed and captured key operatives, broken up terrorist cells in America and other nations, and stopped new attacks before they're carried out." But terrorism experts worry that those successes have been mostly tactical, short-term gains -- the equivalent of winning the first few battles in a long war. On longer-term strategic issues, they warn, the U.S. may have lost ground since 2001:

•  Al Qaeda, the initial focus of the "global war on terror," has been disrupted and dispersed. But it has been succeeded by a looser network of affiliates and homegrown terrorists -- like those who carried out bombings in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005 -- who could grow to be just as dangerous.

•  The war in Iraq has become a training ground for Islamic extremists from Saudi Arabia and other countries, and some have returned home with expertise in urban warfare and explosives. Some experts fear the Persian Gulf's oil terminals could be among their next targets.

•  Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon have damaged the image of the U.S. in much of the Muslim world and made it easier for terrorist organizations to win recruits. The wars and controversies over U.S. treatment of detainees also have made it more difficult for allied governments to cooperate with American counterterrorism programs, diplomats say.
•  When Foreign Policy magazine surveyed more than 100 experts earlier this year, 84% said they did not believe the United States was winning the war on terrorism. In a Los Angeles Times poll, fewer than one-fourth of Americans said they believed the nation was "winning"; more than half said it was too soon to tell.


And he quotes McCain on President Bush and Anti-Americanism:
"There is a certain amount of anti-Americanism which exists just because we're the world superpower," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "But in addition to that, deserved or undeservedly,the American image of hubris and condescension is damaging to our efforts.  We should be more humble; we should be more considerate." Asked whether Bush had made that problem worse, McCain smiled. "I think sometimes the president's passion is interpreted as hubris…. [But] I think he fully recognizes that we have a problem, and I think he's working at trying to help improve America's image."

Reading Recommendation: Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century by Julia E. Sweig (Amazon.com | Amazon.de):



ENDNOTE:
Anne Applebaum also writes in Der Tagesspiegel about the upcoming anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and ends on this note:
And now? Once again, the United States, with some lukewarm European support, has embarked on a policy of democracy promotion in the Middle East: in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Iran. Yet at the same time, America and Europe have clear economic interests in the stability of these regimes. Just as in 1956, it's far from clear that Western leaders have any intention of backing up their words with deeds. The Hungarian revolution took place sixty years ago – but for all the mourning that will take place during the anniversary this fall, it's not clear that its lessons have been learned.
Likewise, one could criticize the lukewarm American support for the EU's Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which promotes democratization and liberalisation already since 1995, but needs improvement like the US sponsored equivalent Broader Middle East initiative.

Multi-Million Dollar Question: What is the best and practical and realistic way to defeat the beast?
Trying to starve it isn't enough. IMHO it would not get much weaker if we don't feed it for the next few years.

======

AUTHOR'S COMMENT: I am the guy, who used to go by the ETB name "Atlantic Review", which sounded awkward and was based on a stupid error at the signing up. Atlantic Review is the blog on transatlantic relations I run with two other German Fulbright Alumni.

This diary is cross-posted in The Atlantic Review

Click here to read the comments I received in the Atlantic Review.

Display:
Multi-Million Dollar Question: What is the best and practical and realistic way to defeat the beast?

Wrong question. Islamicism barely existed before the US started arming the Mujahideen in the 1980s as part of the Warrrr on Commernism. And where it did exist, it had more to do with Oil Sheikhs flexing their political muscles than with any serious attempt to convert the West.

Islamic terrorism barely exists now. The background level threat in real terms in the West is no worse than it has been from other terrorist groups of the last fifty years or so. Iraq isn't suffering from Islamic terrorism so much as local tribalism - which is something very different.

Only someone clinically delusional could seriously believe that Iraq's Sunnis and Shias are at all likely to start attacking each other on the streets of Washington. But still - the US seems obsessed with this ridiculous confrontational narrative in which the West, and especially effete old Europe, is in imminent danger of being over-run by Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

I think this has less to do real Islamicists, and more to do with the fact that the US is charging headlong into economic and cultural decadence and needs a misdirection and a scapegoat to persuade itself that it's still a mighty and colossal military superpower.

Hence these massively assymetrical wars against countries which really shouldn't stand a chance against the US - but against which it still manages to lose, as often as not.

There's some kind of deep masochistic need to be punished and hated twitching around in the soul of the US at the moment. Secretly, Bush and the NeoCons may well realise they're bad, bad people. So they seem to be trying to get away with as much as they can before Mother comes along and spanks them.

(Or maybe not. But as explanations go, this makes as much sense as any other that I've seen.)

But anyway. The US has plenty of real challenges to deal with which don't require a fake Warrrr on scary brown people. If the leadership wasn't drifting along in a doomed and rudderless Zeppelin of political irrelevance, it would be tackling real issues - sustainable energy, sustainable and fair economic policy, sustainable health care - instead of fantasising about the threat from invading barbarian hordes.

With a professional Executive, the pre-9/11 security services were mostly capable of dealing with those invading barbarian hordes.

If the hordes succeeded on 9/11, it wasn't because of some astonishing new fundamentalist virulence. It was because Bush completely fucked up.

The US might want to deal with that reality before it starts trying to eliminate Islamic support from the rest of the planet. Who knows - it might even accidentally end up starving the beast if it goes down that parh.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 08:36:43 PM EST
I'm inclined to agree to a point.

This isn't really as new as you'd make it though.  The Much Olympics, The Iran hostage crisis of 79, the WTC bombing of 1993...

Bush's incompetence is hugely to blame for our current situation.  But Islamic fundamentalists did attack our country.  At some point, they are responsible for those actions.  

I focus on Bush because I can't effect the Islamic world.  But I sure hope to god someone is dealing with the insanity on that side of the coin too.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Wed Sep 13th, 2006 at 09:57:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Iran hostage crisis was something completely different and was almost pure blowback for US interference in Iran.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 02:32:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean Iran existed before 1979?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:25:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently so. Weird, isn't it? It's almost as if there was thousands of years of real history in the Middle East.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:36:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, seriously, what US meddling do you speak of?
Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown and the shah was forced into exile. (CIA World Factbook)


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not want to speak for Colman, but he may be referring to the CIA overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh. Covered in All the Shah's Men & Robert Fisk has a chapter on it in the Great War for Civilization. Fisk enters the story of Mossadegh by starting after the American Embassy has been taken over. The title of the chapter is "the Carpet Weavers". After the embassy was taken over, a group of Iranian students began taping together shredded documents. This was an effort to learn as much as they could about the US' involvement in Iran during the reign of the Shah after the overthrow of Mossadegh.

In reviewing "All the Shahs' Men" the Economist took a similar perspective about the taking over of the US Embassy to what Colman is saying. The Economist stated that the US embassy was taken over to make sure that the US could not meddle in Iranian history again, as it had w/ Mossadegh.

Fisk, describes how in the early days of the Iranian revolution there was not the blood bath/ reign of terror quality to it, that was soon to come. However, as the religious leaders became more seated in power, then it quickly turned into a killing spree with widespread public hangings.

There is a recording of a talk given by the author of "All the Shah's Men", Stephen Kinzer,  on Alternative Radio. Along with asking the question would we(the US) be in the mess it is today had it not overthrown a democratically elected Prime Minister (I think Mossadegh was a PM) Kinzer draws parallels between the intelligence back then and the intelligence leading up to the current Iraq war. Kinzer -or another journalist spoke with several of the foreign service officers who were in Tehran during the rise of Mossadegh. These foreign service officers were sending back information that Mossadegh was associated with Communist and that Communism was growing in Iran. Kinzer states that all other historical evidence does not show this to be the case. When he (or this other journalist) asked these foreign services officers about this discrepancy they replied that they were aware that their reports were overblown, but Washington wanted to hear that Mossadegh was a Communist and that there was a growing Communist threat in Iran.

by aden on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:35:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was a snark. I was pointing out that, conveniently, the CIA glosses over Mossadegh and the Shah in their little history blurb.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:37:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahh! Sorry. I didn't pick up on the snark.
by aden on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:00:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's for the lesson, even though Migeru was being snide.Reza Islam mentions that the revolution in Iran was hijacked by the religious crowd, somewhat to the surprise of a lot of the participants.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:46:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Thanks for the lesson."
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:00:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fisk takes a similar perspective about the revolution.

It is an interesting conundrum for the US. We have been hearing the rhetoric about spreading Democracy in the Middle East, but we never hear about Mossadegh.

by aden on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:23:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I long awaited an occasion to post this from Billmon:

This is the United States of Amnesia, and history is for losers. (A friend of mine likes to say that in the Middle East, what happened a thousand years ago is far more important than yesterday's news. Here, they're both irrelevant.)


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 04:48:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the Munich Olympics terrorists weren't Islamists.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 04:49:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree to a point that it was blowback, but blowback comes in different shapes and sizes. Nobody forced those people to take civilian hostages, even if they do represent the interests of the United States. Just like nobody forced the killing of the Israeli athletes in Munich. Two wrongs don't make a right. We do plenty of self-critique in here and discuss what the Western world does wrong, yet critisizing anyone else seems almost a taboo in here.

Mikhail from SF
by Tsarrio (dj_tsar@yahoo.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 01:08:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At what point did anyone suggest that it was right?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 01:12:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Calling diplomats "civilians" is somewhat a stretch. They certianly are a political target.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 01:13:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Calling diplomats "civilians" is somewhat a stretch. They certianly are a political target.

With greater protections under international law than civilians.  

by MarekNYC on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 02:13:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whenever anyone else is criticised, citizens or allies of that someone else call foul: "ET is anti-{American|British|Russian|Muslim|Semite}".

I personally feel entitled to justify those I can identify with in one way or another. To criticise "the other", especially when they are not a part of the conversation, doesn't seem very productive.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:12:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean "entitled to criticise"...

Damn typos.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 05:15:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would have been believable, had I not recently witnessed a barrage of posts aimed at critisizing the Israeli offensive in Lebanon without much presence of the "other" side to defend or argue on their behalf.

Mikhail from SF
by Tsarrio (dj_tsar@yahoo.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:35:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did say in that barrage that the reason I found Israel's behaviour so disturbing is that they're "us".

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:10:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beg your pardon? There were messy, you, wchurchill, Marek, kcurie and a few others to present various pro-Israeli-attack-on-Lebanon positions, and you did so. More fitting for the original argument, while messy is probably an Israeli and kcurie lives part-time there, we have not a single Lebanese (or Palestinian, or Arab) contributor.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 06:02:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, let's have a look at what you want equal time for.

  1. You made much of IDF allegations that the UN post was bombed because Hezbollah fighters hid nearby. I pointed out already back then that evidence doesn't support the claims -- and now the IDF changed its story, too: they shifted to claim errors on their map.

  2. As for the supposed careful targeting of Hezbollah fighters and the moral high ground, yet another thing Israeli PM Olmert said:

"The claim that we lost is unfounded. Half of Lebanon is destroyed; is that a loss?"


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 10:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Although I also think that Islamic hegemonism existed before the Afghan Mudjahiddeen (I was in Algeria in the 70's and the Islamists were supported by Saudi Arabia), the Afghanistan war gave it a huge boost.

However, the Munich Olympics has little to do with Islam. The hostage-taking was made by the Palestinian movements, which at that time were secular (in fact, some of their members were Christians).

 

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 04:51:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bush's incompetence is hugely to blame for our current situation.
You're too kind. Ok, maybe he was incompetent regarding the "AQ Determined to Strike in US" memo. But the administration's reaction and especially their manipulation of it to gut the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and International Law, and wage war on Iraq, was wilful and malicious. Maybe it was incompetently executed in whole or part, too, but a policy direction is not incompetence.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 05:48:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany's former Foreign Minister Fischer ... The cause of the 9/11 attacks was not U.S. foreign policy, but the lack of modernisation in the Arab world, he explained

Regrettably, Fischer shows himself to be too much of a 'Realo' here, to the extent of being unreal. (The establishment got the worse out of him.) First, the negative sides of US foreign policy very well served as frustation and inspiration for the attackers and Bin Laden himself. (To deny that seems motivated by fear that acknowledging this would amount to the justification of the attacks, which is based on a rather naive and irrational view of the relationship of morals and rationality.) Second, other parts of US (and US-supported Israeli) foreign policy actively helped the rise of Islamic terrorists, like the Pakistan policy, the support for the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, or the support of the rise of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to weaken the PLO during the First Intifadah. Third, half a century of US foreign policy of supporting dictatoral regimes and helping organise clampdowns on democratic movements helped ensure the very reason Fischer names, the lack of modernisation. Fourth, the worse forms of oth Khomeinist and Wahhabi Islamic fundamentalism don't simply consitute a lack of modernisation, but a reversal of existing modernisation, and not just that of the last one century.

Applebaum:

If "war on terrorism" has become an unpopular term, then call it something else. Call it a "war on fanaticism".

Which makes about as much sense.

Or - as we used to say in the Cold War - call it a "struggle for hearts and minds"

Which it isn't. It is a war, which involves shooting across hearts and blow up brains that hold minds.

Joerg in Berlin: what is often ignored is that American and European intelligence and law enforcement agencies have increased their cooperation significantly and successfully.

This is something to point out to many Americans; on the other hand, we Europeans should notice that that cooperation also included assisting to the illegal kidnap and outsourced torture of susspects, and the introducion of a number of security laws suspending basic rights like arrest without trial, neither of which I'd call either successful or morally right.

Doyle McManus in LA Times:

On longer-term strategic issues, they warn, the U.S. may have lost ground since 2001:

While McManus says the right things overall, I am annoyed by these over-cautious wordings like "...may have lost ground...". With such spin-down the establishment ensures that it will never grasp the full gravity of the problem, even if (belatedly) getting a sense of it. (McCain would be another example here, recognising that hubris is a direct problem but treating it as a problem of image, not deeds.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 05:15:59 AM EST
As a counterpoint, Juan Cole recently wrote an analysis of "the significance of 9/11 for Foreign Policy".

Juan Cole (via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Informed Comment): Think again: It's wise to challenge some 9-11 assumptions (Sept. 9, 2006)

The attacks on the United States were neither a clash of civilizations nor an unqualified success for al-Qaida. They were, however, a clash of policy that continues to this day.

As al-Qaida struggles to strike again, the United States wrestles with a confused war on terror that won't end until Americans are forced to choose between Medicare and missiles.

'Sept. 11 changed everything.'

No. The massive forces of international trade and globalization were largely unaffected by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. China's emergence as a new economic giant in East Asia continues, with all its economic, diplomatic, and military implications. Decades-old flash points remain.

...

'9-11 was a victory for al-Qaida.'

Only somewhat. The operation was certainly a tour de force of large-scale, theatrical terrorism.

But did it really advance the goals of the organization? As a result of the attacks, al-Qaida lost its bases and its Taliban hosts in Afghanistan. Some al-Qaida strategists had wanted to expand the Taliban's rule from Afghanistan to neighboring countries, including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and eventually Pakistan.

...

'Small attacks by local cells have replaced 9-11-style operations.'

Probably. Post-9-11 terrorism - from Bali to Madrid to London - has become the province of small, local groups who are emulating al-Qaida but not in direct contact with it. These cells can learn a few tricks on the Internet, and they can certainly inflict pain, but they cannot hope to accomplish much. At most, they can carry bombs onto trains. The economic and social disruption of these operations is limited, which is why al-Qaida itself would not bother with them.

...

'9-11 was a clash of civilizations.'

False. The notion that Muslims hate the West for its way of life is simply wrong, and 9-11 hasn't changed that.

The exhaustive World Values Survey found that more than 90% of respondents in much of the Muslim world endorsed democracy as the best form of government. Polling by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has found that about half of respondents in countries such as Turkey and Morocco believe that if a Muslim immigrated to the United States, his or her life would be better.

...

'The war on terror has no end.'

That's the plan. The Bush administration has defined the struggle vaguely precisely so that it can't end; President Bush clearly enjoys the prerogatives of being a war president.

So the administration has expanded the goals and targets of this war from one group or geographical area to another. There is an ongoing counterterrorism effort against al-Qaida and, more broadly, the Salafist jihadi strain of Sunni radicalism.

...

'9-11 radically changed U.S. foreign policy.'

No. American policy has changed only at the margins. The attacks temporarily removed constraints on U.S. political elites, allowing them to pursue their policies more aggressively.

As we now know, Bush and his advisors wanted to undermine Hussein's regime well before Sept. 11. Absent the attacks, the administration might have employed a limited bombing campaign, a covert operation or a coup attempt. The attacks suddenly made a years-long land war in the Middle East politically palatable.

...

'The next 9-11 will be even worse.'

It's anyone's guess. Al-Qaida's efforts to acquire nuclear material have been amateurish. In 2002, U.S. agents in Afghanistan seized canisters from Taliban and al-Qaida compounds, only to discover that al-Qaida operatives had likely been duped into purchasing phony nuclear materials.

...

I can't stand this knee-jerk anti-Americanism by self-heting libruls.

One this is certain, though, whether or not "the next 9-11 will be even worse", the political reaction of the US will be even worse.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 05:32:31 AM EST
Guys, why do you focus again on the United States and their wrongdoings???
This is a European forum...

The suspects in the failed train bombing in Germany mentioned the Mohammed cartoons as their (main) motivation.

The 9/11 pilots lived in Europe for several years...

The London bombers had some issues with the British.

etc. etc

Ergo:

  1. Terrorism is not just a threat for the US, but for Europe as well, but you don't discuss that.
  2. Terrorism is also motivated by what is taking place in Europe. The US might be doing a better of job of integrating immigrants.

What is and what should Europe doing at home and in the Middle East to decrease terrrorism?

How do we decrease the number of terrorist recruits and their supporters and the motivation and ideology to engage in terrorism?

How's the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership doing? How to reinvigorate it?

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 05:51:49 AM EST
What should be done?

End the War on Terrorism and the War of Civil Liberties going on under its cover. Treat terrorism as a crime issue as Europe has always done before the neo-cons came about. And address the political issues underlying it, politically.

Where did the Mohammed Cartoons come from? A Danish "culture editor" who is a fan of Richard Perle.

The 9/11 pilots also lived in the US for several years...

The London bombers has issues with British foreign policy going along with American post-9/11 policy.

Europe is trying to engage everyone in the Middle East instead of lecturing countries and peoples about values and democracy, endorsing war and occupation, or getting involved in an escalation of diplomatic snubs. The biggests recent failure of European Middle-East policy was getting dragged into an embargo of the Palestinian Authority's democratically elected government.

We stop bombing them. We stop supporting undemocratic regimes that suppress them. We stop making islamism the only political outlet people in the Middle East have left.

There is also the Alliance of Civilisations sponsored by Annan, Erdogan and Zapatero.

How's the Euromediterranean Partnership doing? I don't really know, I should read everything under that link.

The fact is, the US' middle-east policy is a big part of the problem. What is the Eu doing about it? Rolling over, containment, maybe stalling with the Iranians so Bush doesn't have a clear opening for another war.

Oh, and the EU is providing the bulk of the new UNIFIL.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:08:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and the EU is providing the bulk of the new UNIFIL.

Will UNIFIL reduce the risk of terrorism to Europe?
I doubt it. DoDo makes a good point on how peacekeeping looks from the ground.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:52:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you the same person who often asks why the EU doesn't commit troops to Darfur?

I think UNIFIL is more likely to piss off Israel then the Lebanese. It already has.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, not (yet) pissing off, but read this:

According to Alexander Ivanko, spokesman for the UN interim force in Lebanon (Unifil), there have been more than 100 recorded ceasefire violations by Israeli forces in the last month. These have been mostly over-flights and incursions by tanks, troops and bulldozers. Mr Ivanko said that 24 Lebanese civilians - including four men from Aita al-Shaab - had been detained at gunpoint by Israeli troops. All were later released.

In addition to the incursions, there have also been a number of shooting incidents - described by the residents of Aita al-Shaab as "intimidation fire".

...Talk of the UN met with a similar lack of enthusiasm. "We don't know them and they don't know us - so how can their be any real trust between us? They will not stand against the Israelis; they are Europeans that are coming now," said Kalamia. Villagers had seen UN troops roll through the village without stopping a few days earlier. "They have come and gone before, it's the same old story. Whether they're here or not, it doesn't make any difference to us," said Fatmeh Srour.

If UNIFIL would block IDF tank incursions, that would indeed constitute a move lessening the terrorism threat, by changing perceptions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:19:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Re your first sentence: Please, read my atlanticreview diaries again.
Re your second sentence: So far it was the other way around. Israel is happy to have basically NATO babysitters at its borders. Let me write a new diary about it. Otherwise we are getting too off-topic here.
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:35:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We saw a couple of days ago Israel is unhappy that France and Italy will actually be deployed armoured vehicles and anti-aircraft missiles.

But I agree, this is a diversion.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:40:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where did the Mohammed Cartoons come from? A Danish "culture editor" who is a fan of Richard Perle.

You are not saying that this was a US plot, are you?

The cartoons were published in many European papers out of solidarity. And EU politicians defended the publication.

The US media (with small excpetions) did not print the cartoons. And US politicians criticized the cartoons.

On the cartoon issue: The US was the appeaser, while Europeans defended our liberties. Fine, but some papers were overly insensitive to Muslim feelings.

Please excuse the generalization based on time constraints: Many Arabs have an inferiority complex. And we in the West are to blame, because we often rub into their face: Undemocratic, few liberties, bad economy, bad science, bad technology, hardly any internationally well-known authors/musicians/sports stars etc.
They only thing they have left to feel proud of is religion. And then our papers need to make a statement about press freedom and not being cowards and appeasers and they reprint the cartoons.

So, to answer my own question about what needs to be done: Forget about democracy promotion. We don't have much credibility or expertise to do so. Let's find a way to boos self-respect in the Arab world. Avoid humiliating the Arabs.

Of course, this is very difficult. And it should not mean appeasement or ignoring human rights violations etc.
I have no clue how to make Arabs more proud and self respecting and feel less humiliated and have less of an inferiority complex etc.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:03:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where do you get this idea that Arabs have an inferiority complex? I think it is we that have a superiority complex [e.g., trying to rub it in their faces that they're inferior].

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding the Cartoon Controversy, I would have to go and dig up a bunch of links to the dozens of diaries ET published on the topic, for which I don't really have time right now. Maybe tonight. Did you read our debates?

You oversimplified it in your first comment, and so did I in my reply. The cartoons are tangential to the present discussion and I am not really interested in repeating all I said in the ET debates on the topic.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:29:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read some of those diaries.

I brought up the cartoons, because the suspects in the failed train bombing plots in Germany mentioned them as their motivation.

That's why I think it is worth looking at the long-term consequences of the cartoon uproar.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:38:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hardly any internationally well-known authors/musicians/sports stars

Well, not known to you. This is something like Robbie Williams or Kylie Minoque being megastars in Europe, but virtually unknown in the US, and US writers concluding the UK has no internationally well-known pop musicians. Your line made me recall a scene on my Franz Ferdinand DVD, in a documentary of their concert world tour: an interview towards the end of the US leg of the tour with MTV in New York. Almost all questions were silly ones like "did you came here because a you'll be famous if you are famous in the US" [the already famous boys stopped for the second to find a polite answer], "so now you'll go to Buffalo then Chicago, and what comes after your world tour is over - recording a new LP?" [it was the middle of a world tour, not a US tour].

Also, regarding books, declarations of the lack of this or that based on ignorance and not speaking Arabic is something Angry Arab regularly fumes about, for example here.

Overall, I mostly agree with your above post. In particular that Europe is part to the problem, not just a sufferer of collateral damage. On the other hand, one can't talk about these problems without talking about the US, that would be the other extreme.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 08:15:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no clue how to make Arabs more proud and self respecting and feel less humiliated and have less of an inferiority complex etc.

Stop supporting political systems that inevitably leave them poor and less developed? Just a thought.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 08:19:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree.

Let's stop driving our cars today.

Colman, don't get me wrong. I am not saying this to criticize you, but just try to think it through.

I look forward to Energize Europe.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think that whoever got in power wouldn't want to sell us oil? Why?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't understand what this has to do with your earlier comment.

You wrote: We should stop supporting the undemocratic regimes.

I responded that we should not drive our cars then. Then we would withdraw our support of these regimes.

What do you suggest? How do you want to stop supporting those regimes?

Stop development aid for Egypt and others? Sure. What else?

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:39:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop development aid. Stop propping up unpopular regimes. Stop treating  Saudi princes as respectable world leaders. Speak against their human rights abuses and their suppression and their outrages. Let their governments fall. And above all, stop bloody interfering.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:43:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry for being explicit, but this is a silly discussion. The population of most oil-rich Muslim countries is not poor, those without oil (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Pakistan) or with major wars behind them (Iraq, Afghanistan, less so Iran) are really poor. To stop driving cars won't affect the regimes of the poor countries, and (unless oil production is throttled severely so that other customers buy less for much more) won't make the subsidized population of the oil-rich ones richer. On the other hand, stopping driving cars will help Europe to get closer to energy independence, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (I already don't have a car.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:44:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guys, why do you focus again on the United States and their wrongdoings???

Because of what you put in focus from Fischer. Your question is directly answered by the first paragraph of the first part of my reply.

The 9/11 pilots lived in Europe for several years...

Yet they attacked the United States.

The London bombers had some issues with the British.

Namely support for the US's Iraq War.

Regarding 1): I did discuss that, and implicitely so did others. When ThatBritGuy says terrorism is nothing new in Europe, looking back just a few decades, think of the IRA, the ETA, Munich, Red Brigades and the P2 in Italy, the RAF and its "Deutscher Herbst", plane hijackings, the Paris bombings in the nineties.

Regarding 2): correct. Opposing the spread of xenophobia and Islamophobia here in Europe is also an indirect means to battle terrorism. I'm not sure this is because the US does a better job, the US does a lot of filtering after all.

What is and what should Europe doing at home and in the Middle East to decrease terrrorism?

At home: stop intimidation, stop politicians who speak of integration as (only, mostly) the immigrants' job, dialogue, promotion of cutting loose of the US in foreign policy, Orientalism-free education about the complexity of all that is bundled together under "Middle East". In the Middle East: I think nothing much of practical positive effect can be done, beyond maintaining relations and (in the worst-hit crise regions) humanitarian aid. Foreign policy should be uncoupled from the US (including a stronger line on Israel), but this won't get even close to balancing bad US influence.

Now, what about some more serious problems -- say, how do we stop small-arms trade to conflict regions?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:51:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is and what should Europe doing at home and in the Middle East to decrease terrorism?

It appears that Europe's who resonse to this is either 1) getting on the GWOT train like Blair, pointing the finger at evil terrorists or 2)to do nothing, pointing the finger at evil America.  Well, I don't see either of those things as positive or proactive when it comes to Europe's position.  It creates this messed up dynamic of picking sides between the bullies and the victimized (and both sides: Bush/Blairland and Islamic/Arab terroristland think they are the victimized).

Eventually, Europe has to deal with these things on its own terms.  They may be bound in some ways by the UN or NATO, but that should not become a handicap.  Eventually Europe has to illustrate some independence and hold its own against the corrupt members of the Un, like the US.  It's like they have this complex like a shy kid in school, filled with a sense of dread when they called on for an answer.  

Also, aside from the overwhelmingly outrageous behavior of America in the Middle East in recent years, which is probably foremost in the minds of Islamic fundamentalists, Europe actually got the ball rolling to create the current mentality of victimization in the Middle East.  Before the US was strip mining it, Europe was, and with the very best of intentions too.  

The whole idea that neither Islam, the fucked up regimes in the Middle East, or the long history of European meddling there have anything to do with the current situation, that it rests in hands of one man alone, Geroge Bush, is pretty fairy tale to tell yourself so you can sleep at night (means no scary religious terrorists, no guilt, no responsibility on your part), but it's not going to solve any problems.  You need reality for that.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 08:50:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole idea that neither Islam, the fucked up regimes in the Middle East, or the long history of European meddling there have anything to do with the current situation, that it rests in hands of one man alone, Geroge Bush, is pretty fairy tale to tell yourself so you can sleep at night

True, but that is also a strawman.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 08:55:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to expound on one thing here: the long history of European meddling.

US meddling came into the discussion for two reasons: (a) current, active meddling: you can't make any policy ignoring it; (b) historical meddling in the context of Joschka Fischer's claims about 9/11 and al-Qaida. The long history of European meddling is not directly relevant in these contexts. On the other hand, I could add that French and British (and also Italian and Spanish) colonialism wasn't the best advertisement for Western modernism in the Middle East, nor was Soviet Cold War clientism serving the promotion of democracy. Then again, the West European colonial influence was over before all the Arab modernists among both the political leaders and the opinion leaders were out. What followed was some meddling as US vassals (arming Iraq) and reckless and/or corrupt business deals (German chemical weapons factory for Lybia), which at least developed into sizeable scandals at home.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:17:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be a strawman only if poemless was claiming that Bush wasn't part of the problem.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:31:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eventually Europe has to illustrate some independence and hold its own against the corrupt members of the Un, like the US.

True. As you said so well the other day, Europe is like the Democratic Party when it fails to form a separate position from the Repubs.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:18:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I more or less agree, and regret that so many Europeans and liberal Americans always blame Bush for everything rather than coming up with better suggestions and their own policies.
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:28:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For my part, I'm incensed of talk about doing nothing in face of a big new problem when in fact police, intel, governments are doing a lot in face of a not-so-big, not-so-new problem.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:32:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For example, I mentioned the GIA bombing series in France. That wave of terror was

  1. not related to any US policies,
  2. was aimed at Europe,
  3. was successfully investigated and stopped by the French state (though with some law violations along the way to criticise),
  4. was well before 9/11.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:36:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly, but this is often ignored.

I assume France stopped this "wave of terror" by using also some dirty policies in Algeria...

Something we like to forget now.

I would not be surprised about torture etc.

Anybody remember that story about a notorious prison ("dungeon") in France? That was compared to Gitmo a couple of years ago? The EU or the UN complained about holding prisoners without trial or human rights violations, if I remember. I can't find the article on google, thus I might be wrong, but perhaps others remember the story.

France still has some of the most wide-ranging surveillance laws if I remember correctly.

Anyway, my question about defeating the beast/hive/whatever, were more about long-term measures, i.e. reducing the motivations of terrorism etc.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:19:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So what are the motivations for terrorism? Are there no relevant politica grievances (actual or perceived) that need to be addressed, or is it all to be attributed to the backwardness of Arabic/Islamic societies and their inferiority complexes?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:28:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyway, my question about defeating the beast/hive/whatever,

One of the reasons for the "hive" and "whatever" alternatives is that I and others here don't think all groups that have empleyed or employ terrorist tactics need to be "defeated." (See the IRA example Colman brought.)

were more about long-term measures, i.e. reducing the motivations of terrorism etc.

I responded to that, too. But this brings us on one hand chiefly to current US and Israeli policies (and EU relationship to the latter) which you didn't want to hear about, on the other hand to allowing Islamic parties to be elected democratically, which you don't seem to be in favour of. (A lesser part of the first is also European immigration/integration policy which I mentioned earlier.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:35:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"beast/hive/whatever" is a convenient way of glossing over my trichotomy "beast/hive/social movement".

Whatever.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Beast" was the term used by Fischer to fit his wordplay of "defeat" and "feed".

Neither he nor I used it do describe what it really is.

Neither Fischer nor I are some stupid, evil Neocons, who are unaware of....and want to advocate...

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:50:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Metaphors, narratives, memes, frames... are important in that they shape the debate by setting its context and influence what is and what is not possible to discuss without an abrupt change of context.

I personally reject the metaphor used by Fisher and the way it influences the direction of the debate.

There isn't a Fafnir for Siegfried to slay.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:54:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't it possible that the GIA wave of attacks in France, that you presume required dirty war in Algeria in order to defeat it, was blowback from France's endorsement of the coup against the FIS' election victory?

You reap what you sow.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny how almost all discussion of US policies usually come up with their  "but France was just as bad" episode...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:38:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is a matter of parallels.  Parallel form/philosophy of government (Enlightenment ideals) and parallel screwing with Muslim and Arab countries (colonialism, occupation).

You're several steps ahead of us though.  Hopefully that bodes well for America.  If France can pull it off, maybe we can too.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:44:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The global village is not big enough for the both of you...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:47:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the original topic had been US policies, I would agree with you.

I thought the original topic was what Europe did wrong and could do better. This led to a discussion about US and Israeli wrong-doings who hamper all European efforts etc.

I don't think the constant focus on the US and Israel is interesting/fair/justified. That's why I wanted to bring the discussion back to European issues.

Jerome, what's your opinion of France's counter-terrorism policies and on Algeria/FIS/GIS in particular?

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:54:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is my opinion that Europe by and large acts at cross-purposes with the US and Israel in the Middle East. You disagree that is relevant/fair/justified.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:59:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU policy is wrapped up with US and Israeli policy because it has to try and contain both since they're intent on being counterproductive.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My opinion is that, all things considered, France's anti-terrorist policies were and are pretty smart - and most important, have always been under explicit rules and under the supervision of judges. There is due process, even if it has been made more favorable to the police.

There is also a lot of intelligence gathering.

I won't comment on France's Algerian policies because it's damn hard to know what's going on and I don't care enough and thus I really don't know enough.

My general position on the region is that we need to let all these countries get their Islamist governments in order to be vaccinated against them. They are seen as the only legitimate political opposition, so any election will brign them in, and the parallel experiences of Iran and Algeria show that preventing the rise of an Islamic government is ultimately more deadly to the local population (cf cival war in Algeria)and more dangerous to us (cf Algerian terrorism in France) - and that at least Iranians, if given a choice, would ditch fundamentalists now.

Further, we have to wean ourselves of oil - that will downgrade the importance of the region.

In the meantime, as stated by others, getting to a formal Israeli-Palestinian peace would solve a lot of things.

So there you go:

  • democracy - including Islamist governments
  • pushing for Near East peace
  • dropping our oil&gas use

As to terrorism, we should ignore it - or give it no more attention than bank robberies or bus accidents.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 01:11:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My general position on the region is that we need to let all these countries get their Islamist governments in order to be vaccinated against them.

I've created a monster!

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 05:17:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or a beast?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 05:22:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever it is, don't feed it (especially after midnight).

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 05:29:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Thank you!
I am looking forward to the next Energize Europe drafts.
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:33:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the original topic had been US policies, I would agree with you.

Jörg. your diary is all about US policy and how European criticism of it is misplaced, not about European policy.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:08:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny how almost all discussion of US policies usually come up with their  "but France was just as bad" episode...

Because the majority of the Europeans on this site urge Europe to break with the Atlanticist tradition in favour of a European foreign policy that seeks to contain the US. You do so on moral grounds.  Among the EU states that seem sympathetic to this approach the most important is France. Yet on purely moral grounds France is just as bad as the US, albeit with less power - for both better and worse. So us Atlanticists, on both sides of the ocean, call bullshit. Your position may be justified on realpolitik grounds, though I'd disagree, but at least there's a decent argument there.  So we'll stop bringing   up France when you stop saying that the alliance with the US is bad because the US policies are immoral. Deal?

by MarekNYC on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 02:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"is" just as bad as the US or "was" just as bad as the US?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 02:24:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
currently better, in the nineties worse, in the eighties just as bad, in the sixties better, in the fifties worse. In the next decade?
by MarekNYC on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 02:27:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not as bleeding heart as you suggest. My primary problem with US policies is their astonishing stupidity and counter-productiveness. It's not clear that switching party would help at all. Their unusual and brazen immorality is the icing on the cake.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:01:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the US is soooo stupid -- no matter which party is in power -- why is the US still the most powerful country that sets the international agenda?

Why are the enligtenend brainiacs running the European countries and the EU not setting the international agenda?

Why haven't they settled the Iranian dispute in the last three years, if they are so much smarter and more moral and productive than those stupid, counterproductve, immoral Americans?

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:32:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:49:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that the GOP mascot?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:56:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but that's entirely coincidental.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:59:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think leaving aside the recriminations, everyone seems to agree on what the situation actually is.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if you're familiar with the history of the world for the last fifty years or so?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 02:38:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The history being that it is all the fault of the US and Israel?

Is that all you have to say to these questions?

If the US is soooo stupid -- no matter which party is in power -- why is the US still the most powerful country that sets the international agenda?

Why are the enligtenend brainiacs running the European countries and the EU not setting the international agenda?

Why haven't they settled the Iranian dispute in the last three years, if they are so much smarter and more moral and productive than those stupid, counterproductve, immoral Americans?

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:15:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your question boils down to "how did we get where we are?" So see the last fifty years of world history.

Why haven't they settled the Iranian dispute in the last three years, if they are so much smarter and more moral and productive than those stupid, counterproductve, immoral Americans?

Do you have any suggestions how I could possibly answer that question while ignoring US policy? Please? I'm not allowed mention Iraq. I'm not allowed to mention US belligerence against Iran. I'm not allowed mention threats from Israel. I'm not allowed mention the effects of US-led polities on internal Iranian politics. I don't have a whole lot to work with.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:51:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After the Gnomemoot 0 ran its course, what was our best guess at Europe's goals and strategy regarding Iran?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:53:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Try to persuade Iran not to build nukes and try to stop the US attacking them.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:55:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So why hasn't the EU succeeded in settling the dispute after all these years?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 10:04:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What makes you say it hasn't succeeded? The only goal is to avoid irreversible steps (acts, not words) by the crazies on both sides. That has worked, so far.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 01:20:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm paraphrasing Jorg's claim.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 01:59:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Developing nuclear technology know how qualifies as "irreversible steps"
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 03:50:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be technology they're entirely entitled to under the NPT, remember? And it's not important. If Iran wants to build nukes nothing we can do will stop them. Nothing short of a massive invasion can do that, and I don't see anyone with the required forces. Only persuasion can stop them making bombs.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 03:57:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can bomb their entire infrastructure. Israel just did a test run of the concept.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 03:59:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Worked real well I heard.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:03:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes, the infrastructure is destroyed, the economy ruined and that power plant is still leaking fuel oil.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:30:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU could not settle the Iran conflict, because of the bad US. Okay. But who is to blame for the EU failure to bring peace to Algeria during the ten years of civil war? Why did not the EU negotiate a peace? Is the US to blame for that as well?

Or what about the decade old conflict in the Western Sahara?

Or Northern Cyprus?

Or Bosnia? Or Kosovo?

An independent European Foreign Policy would be great. It would be great to discuss it rather than blame the US for EU failures. The EU had all the time in the world to solve the Western Sahara or Algeria conflict, if the EU would be a good negotiator/mediator. You can't blame the US for interfering here, can you?

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 12:20:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have discussed the Algerian conflict, and you thought it was ok for Europe to tacitly or explicitly endorse the coup that led to the civil war, so don't give me  any more crap about it.

Responsibility for Western Sahara lies originally with Spain.

Northern Cyprus is a conflict in which Greece, a EU member state, is an interested party, and so it is hard for the EU to be a mediator.

As for Bosnia, Europe's failure there is responsible for the decision to create a European Common Foreign and Security Policy, which did not exist before. So, again, you can't fault Europe for not using a tool that did not exist before 1995.

Regarding Kosovo, UpstateNY has provided interesting insights into the less-than-helpful diplomacy conducted by the US. I shall dig up the links.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 02:05:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1.) Algeria Tacitly endorsing the coup does not mean you should not try to end the civil war that took place for ten years.

2.) "Responsibility for Western Sahara lies originally with Spain."

What are you saying?
I think it has been a humanitarian crises for decades. It is close to Europe, the EU should try to broker a solution, if Spain can't do so or is considered biased (?) for historical reasons (?) I don't know.

3.) Re Cyprus: Still, it is a conflict in our backyard. And then you got the issue of Turkish EU membership and those silly Turkish-Greek quarrels that resulted in that fighter plane crash recently. These conflicts don't appear to be sooooo difficult as Darfur/Iran/Iraq, but the EU hasn't solved them. Why?

4.) Re Bosnia: I criticize that there are still thousands of our troops in Bosnia. The EU should bring peace to Bosnia and withdraw its troops rather than babysit for decades. European papers criticize the political failures in Iraq. The political issues in Bosnia and Kosovo don't appear to be as complicated, but the EU does not make any progress.

5.) Conclusion:
Colman criticizes US failures and blames it on their stupidity; not just on Bush, another party in power would not make a difference, hes wrote.

Perhaps I exaggerate, but for me this suggests that Colman assumes that the European governments are smarter and more successful in solving conflicts, if those stupid Americans don't interfere as they do Iran. Thus I pointed to some other ongoing conflicts, which the EU should have solved. Instead of discussing those conflicts and EU shortcominings, most European newspapers and citizens discuss US failurs.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:04:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2.) "Responsibility for Western Sahara lies originally with Spain."

What are you saying?
I think it has been a humanitarian crises for decades. It is close to Europe, the EU should try to broker a solution, if Spain can't do so or is considered biased (?) for historical reasons (?) I don't know.

Jorg, with all due respect, how much do you actually know about the Western Sahara conflict apart from the fact that it has been festering for my entire lifetime?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And people wonder why I get grumpy.

These conflicts don't appear to be sooooo difficult as Darfur/Iran/Iraq, but the EU hasn't solved them. Why?

Because it's complicated and difficult and takes time and patience.

We don't expect to fix things quickly. The trick is trying not to make them worse while you try to find a solution.

The EU should bring peace to Bosnia and withdraw its troops rather than babysit for decades.

Doesn't work like that though, does it? What would the consequences of pulling out be?

Colman criticizes US failures and blames it on their stupidity; not just on Bush, another party in power would not make a difference, hes wrote.

Well, since the current "opposition" party seems to be scared to criticise the basis of the Bush policies that seems to be a reasonable conclusion. The Iraq war wasn't badly executed it was a bad idea that could never have worked. The Democratic party are so afraid of appearing "weak on terror" that I have little hope they'll pursue sensible policies anytime soon.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:16:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IMHO, the Democratic Party is as committed to Imperial policies as the Republican party, they are just nicer about it.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:20:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Joerg: But who is to blame for the EU failure to bring peace to Algeria during the ten years of civil war? Why did not the EU negotiate a peace? Is the US to blame for that as well? ... Or Bosnia? Or Kosovo?

*Migeru": Regarding Kosovo, UpstateNY has provided interesting insights into the less-than-helpful diplomacy conducted by the US. I shall dig up the links.

Ok, here we go. The claim seems to be that the Vance/Owen plan [drafted by EU diplomats] was a pretty good agreement
As well, I don't believe Bosnia should have been split up as envisioned by Izebetgovic/Tudjman/Milosevic early on. The Vance Owen plan seemed to present a perfectly functional framework for gov't, one that worked elswehere, and without 100,000 deaths that ensued, the people would have been much more capable of getting along in a power-sharing gov't.
and that this plan was shot down by American diplomacy, specifically James Baker, Madeleine Albright and James Rubin:
I think Holbrooke was one of the few who did things correctly. He essentially fought for the plan that Jim Baker killed three years earlier (Vance/Owen). If you look at Dayton and Vance Owen, they are very similar. Holbrooke was also very critical of Albright and her boy Jamie's conduct of Kosovo diplomacy. I dare say that if Holbrooke were still in charge, Kosovo would be a very different (and much better place) today.

When it comes to American diplomats dealing with the Balkans in the 90's, I rank them like so:

1. Holbrooke
.....
.....

  1. Albright and Jamie
  2. Jim Baker
Jamie is James Rubin.
Well, it depends on what you mean by integrity. Jamie was instrumental in sidelining the Kosovo Albanian leadership like Ibrahim Rugova in favor of KLA leaders like Hasim Thaci who were previously considered a bit too thuggish (by Holbrooke). By isolating Rugova and keeping him out of the talks, Rubin effectively triggered the collapse of talks at Rambouillet, especially when Thaci rejected the Serb acquiescence to Albright's demands for Kosovo.

I listened to Amanpour closely during that period. Her portrayal of the KLA as freedom fighters and her reportage PRIOR to western bombing were all too closely linked to the work of her husband on the ground. That's what I question. There were definite decisions for the West to make at that point, and Holbrooke would have opted for Rugova and a peaceful settlement. Instead, Albright opted for Rubin's way, and the clash ensued.

Now, here's how Albright and Rubin are supposed to have screwed things up at Rambouillet and precipitating a war:
The Serbs AGREED to Albright's demands at Rambouillet. They did NOT refuse a NATO military presence in Kosovo at Ramby. They allowed it. The Albanian side came into the room with Albright, as Albright was sponsoring them. She was reported to be completely livid by the Albanian response. When the meeting reconvened, the new text of the agreement included a proviso which stated that NATO would deploy to Serbia proper and have effective free reign. That's what the Serbs refused.
In more detail:
Look into the Rambouillet negotiations. There you will find your answer. The Serbs agreed to permanently give up the province so that the UN and NATO could rule it. This was 6 months before the war. However, because Albright had sidelined the peaceful elements of the Kosovo leadership (i.e. Ibrahim Rugova) she was left with egg on her face when the Serb capitulation at Ramby surprised both her and Hasim Thaci sitting beside her. To the Serbs, "Yes, we agree," Thaci replied with a "No, we Albanians do not agree." Albright was absolutely stunned. They left the room, and they came back with an additional demand. The Serbs would not only leave Kosovo and give it up to the UN, but they would allow the UN and NATO unfettered control of Serbia proper. A non-starter. Obviously. And there you have the blown diplomacy that led to the war. Without the hostilities that ensued, both sides would have been more amenable to a bicommunal federal state on the order of Bosnia. First off, 35% of the population were non-Albanians at the time as opposed to the 95% today. Fromm Racak to Operation Horseshoe, the West concocted an ethnic cleansing plan which had no basis in reality. before the bombs started dropping, Kosovo was a low-level counter-insurgency skirmish in which less than 1,500 had died in gun battles, about a third of those Serbs, and one thousand Albanians.
So, what is the conclusion?
Since Serbia is a regional power, the UN and EU will have to provide protection for many many years to Kosovo, and in so doing they will also have to prop it up financially. Until that time when both areas are integrated into the EU--if they ever are. Albania will be an EU member before this comes to pass.

Really, this is what happens when political neophytes like Madeliene albright try to make a necessary political point (punishment of Milosevic) without considering the consequences. If the Serbs see Kosovo as their land (and they surely do) they will regard it as such until that time that the fact of Kosovo's independence is completely erased from their cultural memory. That takes a long time. Probably a century. The fact that there have been 6 Balkan Wars in the last century, not including warring between these factions during the World Wars and the Kosovo War of 1999 shows that the two sides are not averse to fighting it out again and again and again over this same patch of territory. The colossal failure of diplomacy at Rambouillet is to blame for this mess. Had Albright done the proper thing and stuck by her initial proposals (which the Serbs accepted much to her consternation) then we would have had a viable peace, a Kosova for Albanians run by Albanians, and a small chunk of Mitrovica for the Serbs. The war itself created such hostility that this division is no longer possible, especially now that the West is on the ground and seen as protectors.

Yet another diplomatic screw-up among the many screw-ups that characterized the ex-Yugo wars of the 1990s.

And you think
The political issues in Bosnia and Kosovo don't appear to be as complicated [as in Iraq], but the EU does not make any progress.
Well, I think you're wrong.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 06:51:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, crap, all this work and I missed two links...

Look into the Rambouillet negotiations.

Since Serbia is a regional power

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 06:55:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When the US can't achieve peace: They are stupid.
When the EU can't achieve peace: The conflicts are complicated.
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 07:07:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU and the US act at cross-purposes.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 07:08:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mind addressing the substance of what I quoted, for a change?

The US is not stupid. Holbrooke wasn't stupid. Baker is looking positively evil. Albright comes through as stupid [never mind her "500,000 dead iraqi children is a price the US is willing to pay"].

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 07:11:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Joerg, if you want to be taken seriously here, you have to stop such stupid knee-jerk comments.

Migeru provided a fairly extensive comment, with a lot of information and sources. I am in no position to say if all in there is true, but he certianly makes a compelling case that smart European and American diplomacy could have solved the Balkan crisis early on each time, and that it was shot down for stupid reasons, in some instances by otherAmericans.

How this was a Europe vs US comment escapes me.

So if you are irremediably convinced, after the past week of intense discussion, during which several regulars gave you extended comments/explanations/information, that this site is hopelessly anti-American, all I can tell you is - stop reading it before I start writing rude replies to more comments like this one.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 17th, 2006 at 05:22:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am personally of the opinion that the race by European countries to recognize their WWI allies (France recognizing Serbia, Germany recognizing Croatia, if I remember correctly) was a big early mistake, too.

But that is beside the point. The point is that as a result of all their failures, which were openly acknowledged, the EU decided to create the Common Foreign and Security Policy which did not exist back then.

I am also still waiting for the US military to do an honest appraisal of its failures like the Netherlands did regarding Srebrenica.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 17th, 2006 at 05:49:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fully agree with all this.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 17th, 2006 at 05:59:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome,

Scroll up and look how this started with Colman several times calling the US stupid. For example with this:

My primary problem with US policies is their astonishing stupidity and counter-productiveness. It's not clear that switching party would help at all. Their unusual and brazen immorality is the icing on the cake.

When this discussion continued, I got the impression that EU difficulties were explained with how complicated everything was, while US difficulties were just called "astonishing stupidity" or "insanely stupid" by Colman and similarly by others in several threads of various diaries.

I did not have an issue with Migeru and his arguments. Therefore did not feel I needed to respond to his account of the Balkan history.

Colman was not talking about the Balkans, but in general. I should have made clear that I am mostly referring to Colman's comment. My mistake for not making that.

Sorry!
Sorry, Migeru.

Jerome, I don't see how my reply was "rude" or more "knee-jerk" than your response to the French prison comment.

"Provocative" or "harsh" or "unfair" maybe, but not "rude".

Read Migeru's comment:

We not only are bombarded with US information but we spent a disproportionate amount of time reading their tea leaves. Everyone thinks they know enough about the US to have an opinion. If you look at any other global or regional actor that is not the case. Hopefully ET will improve our own understanding of the EU and its member states. It's not easy.
http://www2.eurotrib.com/story/2006/9/15/125116/948#29

That won't happen, if the focus in many discussions on the Middle East is about highlighting US wrongdoings and "stupidity." I thought ETP is different from Dailykos.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Sun Sep 17th, 2006 at 01:44:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you should add a "current" to Colman's comment, but otherwise I don't see anything wrong with his comment. I'd be curious to see you defend the Bush administration's international policies in the past few years.

As to my comment on French prisons, it was (probably like yours intended to be)  ironic but (i) i did not defend French actions and (ii) I did not retort with accusations in return, so I refuse the comparison. I just did not see the relevance of the reference to Algeria at this point, apart from the "you did it too" argument.

You were quite specific in accusing us of having extremely simplistic, and anti-American, views, which I find offensive and, quite simply, untrue.


That won't happen, if the focus in many discussions on the Middle East is about highlighting US wrongdoings and "stupidity."

Well, if we keep on being accused of being anti-American, we'll spend disproportionate time justifying our criticism. Try to be around when we discuss Europe without reference to the USA. It happens a lot more than you may think.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Sep 17th, 2006 at 06:59:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As to my comment on French prisons, it was (probably like yours intended to be)  ironic but (i) i did not defend French actions and (ii) I did not retort with accusations in return, so I refuse the comparison.

I did not defend US actions either.
I did not accuse anybody of "Anti-Americanism", but you repeatedly say so.
Yes, irony. A general comment about what often happens in European discussions, not just on ETB. Nothing more, nothing less.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Mon Sep 18th, 2006 at 11:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You wrote:


When the US can't achieve peace: They are stupid.
When the EU can't achieve peace: The conflicts are complicated.

Obviously trying to interpret everybody else's opinions, and yes, quite explicitly calling us all anti-Americans (who think that everything the US does is stupid).

That came after a VERY substantial comment (and not anti-American) by Migeru which you completely ignored. It was totally out of place and frankly, callous to Migeru.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for YOUR opinion on all of the topics you've raised.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 18th, 2006 at 11:26:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"calling us all anti-Americans"

I did not.

"we're still waiting for YOUR opinion on all of the topics you've raised."

I gave a lot.  ;-)

I replied to your question. I also responded to your criticism re Migeru, but yet you bring it up again. Do I want me to repeat myself?

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Mon Oct 2nd, 2006 at 12:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The history being that it is all the fault of the US and Israel?

Jöerg, we haven't spared the British and French of responsibility for the way they conducted decolonization in the middle east, or the way they carved it up after the Ottoman defeat in WWI.

As for your questions: the US is still the most powerful country, and so it mostly sets the international agenda. But that may not last if the US keeps acting stupidly.

Who has claimed the EU and its member states are run by enlightened brainiacs? Why should that mean they sould be able to set the international agenda?

Jerome's opinion [and I apologize if I'm putting words in his mouth] semms to be that the Iranian dispute is ultimately between the US and Iran, that the EU cannot "settle it" beyond bringing the US to the negotiating table, and that failing that they are settling on stalling the diplomatic process to defer the prospect of military action. I am not entirely convinced, but I have not seen another account of the EU's goals and strategy that makes more sense than this.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 10:04:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"the US is still the most powerful country, and so it mostly sets the international agenda."

Only because the EU and others can't organize themselves very well.

If the US is so stupid as Colman claims, the EU should be able to get more international support for its policies and be considered a global player and an important power broker, deal breaker, conflict solver, and security, investment etc provider, who sets the international agenda.

Re: Iran: I agree to a large extent, but the EU-3 is also supposed to mediate between Iran and the US/Israel. So far the mediator wasn't successful.
The "success" of stalling so far isn't really the result of great EU-3 work, but based on the fact that the US does not have the ressources to attack Iran anytime soon.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 11:59:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is some chatter about a new EU ambitious initiative for the Middle East that is supposed to drive the neocons nuts, when it is revealed...
Anybody know more about it?
Probably largely hot air, but I would love to be wrong.
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 12:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any links to the chatter?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 12:02:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 12:53:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just read this on Darfur:
International Crisis Group:
"John Prendergast in The Philadelphia Inquirer
14 September 2006
The Bush White House has made 10 grievous mistakes that have only made matters worse."
http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=4378

Most of the mistakes are about the peace talks.
Where was Europe at those negotiations?

The US tries to solve conflicts around the world and screws up very often. Somalia, Eritrea, Darfur etc.

Europe does not embarras herself making such mistakes. The EU embarrasses herself for not trying very hard to solve conflicts.

The EU provides a lot of development aid around the world. More than the US. That should give the EU some cloud, but Europe does not seem to be all that involved in peace talks, democratisation etc.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 12:19:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU can't even get a joint UN Sec Council position, let alone a reform of the UN.

The US isn't that powerful in the UN General Assembly. The US could veto a reform in the UN SC, but that would be very embarrassing. It would be a huge victory, if the EU could convince other countries in the UN GA to vote for a reform, but it failed so far.

Ergo: I disagree with the notion that the US sets the international agenda despite its "stupidity" because it is more powerful than the EU.
Rather: I think the problem is that the EU can't get organized.

Rather than discussing how to change that, ETB and other Europeans constantly criticise the bad US who prevent peace and progress etc.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 12:25:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll certainly agree that the EU is powerless because it has shown itself unable to find common positions and to stick to them.

Chirac, Blair and others love to strut on the world stage and appear important, forgettign each time that the only way that they ever get anything done is when they find a common position, which they've found extremely hard to do.

Part of it is the toxic relationship between the two men, part of it is outsiders who alos enjoy playing them off one agaisnst the other (but that works only because our European leaders let them and play along), and part of it is the history of mistrust between European countries, especially these two.

The Constitution was a first institutional step to try to solve this; but at the" core countries like France and the UK have to admit that they cannot go it alone anymore. Having a joint EU seat at the UN and other organisations would be the appropriate step to have a seachange in Europe's influence.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 01:26:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To a large extent, the EU is a group of 25 countries that like to add up their statistics to look big.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 02:06:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've just re-read your comment: fuck your "calling bullshit".

Current US policy is insanely stupid and guaranteed to cause more problems than it solves. For that reason it needs to be contained. The moral argument is a horrified aside. We've detailed a hundred times.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:08:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can I remind us all of the first rule of keeping things civil on the net? Assume the best about your interlocutors.


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:29:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Current US policy is insanely stupid and guaranteed to cause more problems than it solves. For that reason it needs to be contained.

Yup. But the commenters here are not talking about a short term tactical shift in European foreign that will then revert back to Atlanticism when US policy goes back to a sanity, but rather a long term strategic reorientation.

The moral argument is a horrified aside.

That's not the way I read the comments on this thread and many others. From what I can tell the moral argument is an integral part of what I see as a call to something akin to US containment policy during the Cold War - though of course conveniently eliding the moral compromises such a policy would require if it were to be anything more than EU isolationism.

by MarekNYC on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:36:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the commenters here are not talking about a short term tactical shift in European foreign that will then revert back to Atlanticism when US policy goes back to a sanity, but rather a long term strategic reorientation.

Perhaps you'd like to explain the point of Atlanticism to us? Maybe a diary that explains what the strategic benefit of it to Europe is? Because in the changed strategic environment that applies now I don't see it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:39:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe a diary that explains what the strategic benefit of it to Europe is?

Will do.

by MarekNYC on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 04:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am looking forward to Marek's diary.
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:22:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Marek, you have now attained a level of unsubstantiated assumption, or interpretation, of what people say here and what it may be supposed to entail, that you have a diary to write elucidating just quite what you mean. Otherwise, if it's all the same to you, I'll call bullshit.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 03:52:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Give him a break. He is going to write a diary on a difficult subject. Give him some credit.

So many folks constantly complain about the US rather than outlining what an independent European policy would look like.

Such a European policy independent from the US would be great and much better than staying on the sidelines and complain about US policy 24/7.

Why hasn't the EU progressed any furhter with such European Foreign Policy?

It has been declared a goal for ages, but the EU countries can't get their act together.

Even the mission in Lebanon isn't an EU organized mission. Solana wasn't even coordinating it very much. The EU member states did not let him.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:27:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The atlanticist EU member states did not let him.

Remember who opposed an EU call for an immediate ceasefire? The UK, Germany, Czechia and Netherlands according to press reports.

The fact is, Atlanticism is a major axis of opinion [in the sense of the dimensions of the Political Compass: I lack a name for the opposite direction to Atlanticism] in the EU. There doesn't seem to be any likelihood of a consensus on that dimension for the foreseeable future.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:39:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If pressed, what I personally would probably advocate is an independent foreign policy for Europe, and I see Atlanticism [embdied in NATO] as submitting European policy to US diktat. Sure, with Bush in the White House "containment" seems like a fair description of what Europe should be (or maybe is increasingly) doing. With a more civilised administration that is actually interested in working within the international system, Europe would likely act as an ally of the US.

Less NATO, more UN, a multipolar world. Feel free to make a realpolitik argument for why it can't work.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 04:19:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the commenters here are not talking about a short term tactical shift in European foreign that will then revert back to Atlanticism when US policy goes back to a sanity, but rather a long term strategic reorientation.

I mean, before Europe has the leeway to tactically shift its position with respect to the US, a strategic reorientation needs to take place. Right now, US strategy seems to define the boundaries of Europe's tactics.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 04:22:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the majority of the Europeans on this site urge Europe to break with the Atlanticist tradition in favour of a European foreign policy that seeks to contain the US.
---
Yup. But the commenters here are not talking about a short term tactical shift in European foreign that will then revert back to Atlanticism when US policy goes back to a sanity, but rather a long term strategic reorientation.

That's a rather limited account of what some of us advocate. For example, have you read this reply to wchurchill?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:50:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd be curious where you see moral arguments in anything I've contributed herde

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 04:16:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You do so on moral grounds.

You are probably conflating me and some others with Jérôme. This is a problem because (a) Jérôme as he says is more of a realpolitik guy, (b) criticising French policy on moral grounds is not beyond me (in fact, look back how I described the nineties bombings affair). On the other hand, I note that for me moral and rational realpolitik don't separate clearly.

One elephant in the backgroom throughout this discussion has been that the promotion of "modernity" in the Middle East is seriously hampered by its source and advocates not living up to its ideals in their policies towards the region, and this is also widely perceived and seen as important (as opposed to say Africa, but not unlike say Latin America). The immorality of even the most clever realpolitik will erode the soft power of its applier.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Solutions take time, especially when the problem at hand involves politics, economics, sociology and culture. But politicians and pundits want results now.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:36:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is supposed to bring long-term results.
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:46:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A lot of things that Europe is doing are supposed to bring long-term results and proceed at glacial speed and without generating headlines, which is not to the liking of liberal hawk, neo-con, or interventionist politicians and pundits.

Your question about what the Euromed has done, is doing, and what can be done to strengthen it is a good one. I have acknowledged it. I have pointed out where to find out more. I have said I don't know more. OK?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:53:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole idea that neither Islam, the fucked up regimes in the Middle East, or the long history of European meddling there have anything to do with the current situation, that it rests in hands of one man alone, Geroge Bush, is pretty fairy tale to tell yourself so you can sleep at night (means no scary religious terrorists, no guilt, no responsibility on your part), but it's not going to solve any problems.  You need reality for that.

Where did that come? What drove you to write that?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:48:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is lot of rhetoric, mostly in America but also in Europe, that Bush is responsible for all these problems.  He's responsible for the current escalation of fear and violence, but colonialism, racism, fundamentalist religion, oil, oil dependance, tyranical regimes in the Middle East all existed before he came along.  

We had all the ingredients for a bomb.  He just decided to use it.  

We need to get rid of Bush, America needs to pull out of its wars and stop this insanity.  But better yet to reform our lifestyles, to acknowledge our past mistakes and try to level the playing field for those we've abuse, to stop our double standards, etc. so that we don't have a bomb sitting around waiting for a nutjob to come along and use it.  And to do this, we, in my humble opinion, need to stop giving religious fundies, on both sides, immunity from responsibility, we need to hold everyone equally accountable for their actions, not just Bush, but those who actively incite hate, and I'm not talking about cartoons but about teaching kids how to make bombs, those who deny having played a role in this, whether by being addicted to resources in the Middle East or by having gone in and fucked things up and left without compensation, or by just sitting by and watching the clock tick and not doing anything to prevent a crisis and then when a crisis happens running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and we must must must provide opportunies to all children to given them better choices in life than to be a terrorist or joining the army.  Sure the idiots calling the shots had good opportunities, but we need to stop their ability to recruit.

That's the only way to end that cycle of violence.

And basically stop treating people like dirt, if we want them to stop wanting to kill us.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:10:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is a long-term project, not a matter of what we can do now.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:13:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is never too early to start.  

This is a long term problem; it is going to require a long term solution.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:23:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is lot of rhetoric, mostly in America but also in Europe, that Bush is responsible for all these problems.  He's responsible for the current escalation of fear and violence, but colonialism, racism, fundamentalist religion, oil, oil dependance, tyranical regimes in the Middle East all existed before he came along.  

We had all the ingredients for a bomb.  He just decided to use it.

That is actually very dangerous rhetoric, because when Bush is finally gone people will breathe a sigh of relief and think all is well, things will sort themselves out and they can stop being concerned.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:28:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.

It's the underlying narrative of 'We own the planet - so fuck you, and give us all your resources' that needs to change.

Bush is just the most visible mushroom head of a much deeper established moral rot among the Western elites.

There's nothing complicated about this. The US is reviled the world over because many of the people in its elites are thieves and criminals, with not infrequent Fascist leanings.

If it stopped its regular scheduled program of invasions, coups, destabilisations, torture camps, extraordinary renditions, and economic pillage, all promoted under the deeply cynical label of 'democracy', the rest of the world might suddenly become more pleasantly disposed to it.

As it is, people know exactly what they're getting. Which - unsurprisingly - is why they really, really don't like it.

Sugar coating the abuse with Mickey Mouse and CocaCola can only go so far when your loved ones have been disappeared, or buried under what's left of a building.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 01:12:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding Applebaum's 1956 article, I would quibble about a few details, and one serious omission: her leaving out that the rebellion included part of the communists, which was one reason the Eisenhower government wasn't too enthusiastic about support.

The analogy carries on to that so-called "democracy promotion" in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. So-called because upon close inspection, it is purposeful window dressing in the first two cases, ignorant rhetoric for the service of conflict buildup in the last -- e.g. even less than words without deeds, words covering other deeds. Now the Western leaders' problem with a true promotion of democracy is that it is quite likely to produce an empowering of various Islamists, including ones associated with terrorism (as seen in different contexts in Iran, Algeria, Lebanon, yes Iran again, Palestinian Autonomy, Pakistan's tribal areas, Iraq).

Multi-Million Dollar Question: What is the best and practical and realistic way to defeat the beast?

Methinks that beast is a rather minor beast blown out of proportion, much smaller and wreaking much less havoc than the beasts of small-arms smuggling, African militias, deforestation business, unchecked global corporations meddling in the previous, water pollution, oil depletion, global warming, and yes Western military and economic policies outside the West. It should have been waaay down the priority list.

It is also not a monolythic beast as Westerners are made to think about it, meaning that whatever policies we'd think about, there is no one-fits-all. The latter philosophy will sooner or later make the policy some form of elimination, leaving no room for policies like prompting of change of tactics by engagement, delegitimisation by addressing problems serving as their causes.

There is also the issue ignored by many starry-eyed European liberals just like US neocons, the issue of practicality. People are rather ignorant about how "peacekeeping" looks on the ground, and to what extent they have been failures lately. One could just recall how Bundeswehr soldiers just stood by on force protection during the major anti-Serbian riots in Kosovo a few years back. Or just the other day, regarding the Afghanistan mission, we read about British 'peacekeepers' screwing up counter-insurgencyby repeating every error of the Americans, and illustrating that, an account of constant heavy battles faced by British troops who just aren't in control.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:11:29 AM EST
...Egypt... Now the Western leaders' problem with a true promotion of democracy is that it is quite likely to produce an empowering of various Islamists

As an illustration:

According to the preliminary results of a recent public opinion survey of 1,700 Egyptians by the Cairo-based Ibn Khaldun Center, Hezbollah's action garnered 75 percent approval, and Nasrallah led a list of 30 regional public figures ranked by perceived importance. He appears on 82 percent of responses, followed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (73 percent), Khaled Meshal of Hamas (60 percent), Osama bin Laden (52 percent) and Mohammed Mahdi Akef of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood (45 percent).

The pattern here is clear, and it is Islamic. And among the few secular public figures who made it into the top 10 are Palestinian Marwan Barghouti (31 percent) and Egypt's Ayman Nour (29 percent), both of whom are prisoners of conscience in Israeli and Egyptian jails, respectively.

The article I quote this from is worth to read in full, but I will quote the conclusion (which follows the above quote):

None of the current heads of Arab states made the list of the 10 most popular public figures. While subject to future fluctuations, these Egyptian findings suggest the direction in which the region is moving. The Arab people do not respect the ruling regimes, perceiving them to be autocratic, corrupt and inept. They are, at best, ambivalent about the fanatical Islamists of the bin Laden variety. More mainstream Islamists with broad support, developed civic dispositions and services to provide are the most likely actors in building a new Middle East. In fact, they are already doing so through the Justice and Development Party in Turkey, the similarly named PJD in Morocco, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in Palestine and, yes, Hezbollah in Lebanon.

These groups, parties and movements are not inimical to democracy. They have accepted electoral systems and practiced electoral politics, probably too well for Washington's taste. Whether we like it or not, these are the facts. The rest of the Western world must come to grips with the new reality, even if the U.S. president and his secretary of state continue to reject the new offspring of their own policies.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:29:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We saw what happened in Algeria in the 1990's when we didn't "come to grips with the news reality".

Those whom the gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:42:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
news -> new

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:46:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In what part was that we, rather than the Algerian generals?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:54:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Political endorsement, explicit or tacit.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:55:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean?
Are you saying France (and the rest of the EU?) should not have supported the generals, who stopped the elections, when the FIS were about to win?

Earlier you wrote:


The biggests recent failure of European Middle-East policy was getting dragged into an embargo of the Palestinian Authority's democratically elected government.

Do we have support democratic governments (like Hamas) that are hostile to our allies (here: Israel) or that want to end democracy like FIS in Algeria?

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:08:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying.

If we supported the Algerian coup, what right did we have to feel shock and horror at the brutal civil war that ensued?

And what right do we have now to feel shock and horror at Israel arresting PA parlamentarians and cabinet members, and reports that the Gaza economy has completely collapsed and people are fishing for scraps of food in garbage dumps?

You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:12:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you seriously suggesting that the correct policy for the EU is to ignore the results of democracy if we don't like it? Is that to be the foundation of our foreign policy? Are you seriously suggesting that the correct approach to the election of Hamas was to say "silly children, you voted wrong"?  
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:13:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's the US "promotion of Democracy™" policy, so it must be the right approach.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:14:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I am saying is that we neither have nor should always send millions (billions?) of Euros to the Palestinian Authority no matter who is running it and no matter what their goals are.

Talking to Hamas: Fine.
Sending them money: Not unless they recognize Israel etc

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:21:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I presume that Israel also shouldn't get aid?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:23:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, no, they're democratic and committed to the viability of the Palestinian Authority.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:24:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We would not be sending money to Hamas, we'd be sending money to the Palestinian Authority. Or are you saying that my 5 years of taxes in the US went to the Republican Party?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:23:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I would like to discuss is: How do defeat the beast?

Are you saying that sending money to the Hamas government and/or stop sending money to Israel would reduce the risk of terrorism to us?

I doubt that would help us.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:50:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Contributing to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza sure helps.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:53:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would have several effects:

  • It would reduce the pitiable state of the Palestinian people. Ideally it would make the Palestinians better off than most Arabs, thus reducing the utility of the Palestinian issue for extremists. That speech about your poor Palestinian brothers doesn't work so well if they live better than you do.

  • It would reduce the anger and hopelessness of the Palestinians. One of the reasons that the peace-process in Northern Ireland was possible was that the UK government pumped loads of money into people's pockets. People with nothing to lose have no reason to come to an agreement.

  • It would show that we respected the democratic process in fact rather than in principle. It would help make our talk about democracy believable rather than a running joke.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:56:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would reduce the pitiable state of the Palestinian people.

Europe has sent billions to the Palestinians in the last couple of years and it did not change!

Hamas may be less corrupt right now, but I am not sure they would spend that money on development.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:24:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant decades.
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:25:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Decades? The PA has not been in existence for multiple decades.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:29:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe has sent billions to the Palestinians in the last couple of years and it did not change!

You forget that in the meantime, Israel destroyed property worth billions (including civilian and police buildings financed by that EU money), and keeps the occupied areas under an almost total blockade that also ruins the economy.

Hamas may be less corrupt right now, but I am not sure they would spend that money on development.

There are controls on that money.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:28:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would reduce the pitiable state of the Palestinian people.

Europe has sent billions to the Palestinians in the last couple of years and it did not change!

Well, Israel kept destroying the infrastructure built with the EU's money.

In addition, as long as Gaza was under occupation there was no chance of the economy improving.

How long of a respite did Gaza get between Sharon's disengagement and Hamas' election victory?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:28:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but Israel destroying the infrastructure is hardly the only thing that prevents the Palestinians from developing their economy.

Lebanon has been more successful developing their economy in the 90s than Palestine was in the 90s.

What drives me nuts is this constant focus on the US and Israel.
Why do you focus on them?

I never said that the US or Israel are not creating problems. But they are not the only ones to blame for the misery in the Arab world. I am sure you agree. However, in most of your comments, Migeru and Colman and others, you bring up US and Israeli wrong doings. If I may be frank: That is boring.

Can we also talk about Europe's faults and what Europe could do better?

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first thing that prevents the Palestinian from developing their economy is the fact that they are under military occupation, and destruction of infrastructure is a pretty big stumbling block.

On Gaza, the EU has been extremely engaged, and provided lots of financial and diplomatic support. Remember the Madrid summit and the Oslo agreements? It so happens that, on Gaza, Israel plays a major role. It also happens that the US does too. I don't focus on them, but they're part of the picture, and not exactly in the background either. I have brought up what I think the EU has and has not done, as has DoDo.

I have also given some of my opinion of what Europe does and should do, and its failures. You chose to react to an afterthought mention of UNIFIL, and to the issue of the Mohammed Cartoons. How about

Europe is trying to engage everyone in the Middle East instead of lecturing countries and peoples about values and democracy, endorsing war and occupation, or getting involved in an escalation of diplomatic snubs. The biggests recent failure of European Middle-East policy was getting dragged into an embargo of the Palestinian Authority's democratically elected government.

...

There is also the Alliance of Civilisations sponsored by Annan, Erdogan and Zapatero.

How's the Euromediterranean Partnership doing? I don't really know, I should read everything under that link.

The fact is, the US' middle-east policy is a big part of the problem. What is the Eu doing about it? Rolling over, containment, maybe stalling with the Iranians so Bush doesn't have a clear opening for another war.

Good things, bad things, and what should be done.

Seriously, Spain was the only EU country to send its foreign minister to Syria during the Lebanon crisis. Things are being done on the diplomatic level. It takes time. I am getting bored with you coming in and screaming "WHAT SHOULD EUROPE DO?" "WHAT IS EUROPE DOING?"

Then again, "Europe" is not monolithhic. One of the problems is that it is actually hard to formulate 1) what is Europe's interest; 2) what is Europe actually doing as a unit [never mind which of the various definitions of "Europe" to use].

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, when I complain that Europe tacitly supported the Algerian military's suspension of the electoral process, your position seems to be that it was fine (what else could we have done?) and that the civil war and its hundreds of thousands of dead and exiled in the 1990's was an acceptable detour on the road to democratisation since the end result has been free elections with no strong islamist parties in the last 5 years.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:25:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but Israel destroying the infrastructure is hardly the only thing that prevents the Palestinians from developing their economy.

Nobody said it was.

What drives me nuts is this constant focus on the US and Israel.

Because they're part of the problem. And when the topic under discussion is, as it often is, the Israeli-Arab conflict it's sort of hard to avoid them.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:53:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but Israel destroying the infrastructure is hardly the only thing that prevents the Palestinians from developing their economy.

Total economic blockade, barring off farmland behind the Wall, disruption with checkpoints inside the West Bank also have something to do with it, don't you think?

Why do you focus on them?

Because they are there, and because you started your diary with Fischer bringing up the matter.

Can we also talk about Europe's faults and what Europe could do better?

I did talk about both. I think your criticism is partly justified when considering the sub-thread on the Danish cartoons controversy, but if you are interested in Europe's faults and what Europe could do better, you could have responded to my lines on integration or past terrorism in Europe or UNIFIL.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:56:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a feeling we've touched all bases and we've reached the point of agreeing to disagree.

One last thought. I don't know how to "defeat the beast". It's not even clear what "the beast" is exactly, different analyses of the problem seems to be confronting a different "beast". It might not even be a "beast", it might be a "hive". And it might be a social movement.

So, when you don't know how to "defeat the beast", you should concentrate on containing it. Some people think they know enough about "the beast" to move on to the kill. I don't.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:57:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
or that want to end democracy like FIS in Algeria?

Unlike those nice democratic generals?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:14:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or like Musharraf in Pakistan?

There's another one that we told ourselves was "a necessary evil for the sake of stability". He said he'd call elections within 2 years, and sanctions were slapped on him. Then 9/11 came about and all he became a useful dictator.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:17:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I expressed myself poorly.

What happened in Algeria as far as I understand it: The generals started a bit of democratization. The people voted for FIS in the first round of elections.
The generals then ended the democratization project.

Now, after a more than a decade of war and hundreds of thousands of deaths, Algeria had elections, that were considered not so bad. Not perfect democracy, but more free and a fair than in many other Arab countries.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What would have washed out if the generals had gone forward with democracy in the first place?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And when the Generals ended the democratization process, Europe should have stomped its foot and put pressure on them instead of tolerating them because they're protecting us from evil islamists on our doorstep.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:25:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't have to support governments we don't agree with, but we have to respect the democratic process.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:21:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did FIS want to end democracy?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 08:20:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It wanted to institute Sharia law.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 08:22:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found a rather good account that more or less answers my question. The basic picture is that FIS had two important divisions: the Islamic-revival and the reform-Islam wings, and the democratic-route advocates vs. the Afghan veterans; and that by the elections, the second wing resp. the first group was in power within the party.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 08:40:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's quite possible the realities of government would have split the moderate wing from the radical wing. But we will never find out. As we will never find out what Hamas would have done had it been allowed to normally take power in the PA.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 08:41:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, as the linked account says, the 'radical wing' was effectively neutered by the elections (its two leaders were under arrest and the sole 'moderate' who remained taking over the party structure), so the question is how much the Salafists would have been allowed back into (central) power (or climbed back on their own using local power as basis) should election victory force their leaders' release.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, while both committed atrocities, one should make the distinction between the AIS (FIS's armed wing) and GIA (the latter was also responsible for the bombings in France).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 08:52:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fact: the main effect of U.S. et all-try foreign policy for the middle east have been to prevent modernisation in the Arab world and promote the rise of fanaticism!
the middle eastern nations are ruled by despotic democracies, most of them friendly of the US. but only when the nations which do not do business the way the US wants they are called dictatorships!

do you remember what happen to Craig Murray when we critised the at-the-time friendly ruler of Usbekistan for boiling people? he got fired.

How many communist and social democrats were killed in muslim countries during the cold war and after? What was left to oppose their governments? the religious fanatics. They spread like a species in a ecossistem whose competitors species were removed. I mean real people who vanished from the face of the earth.

In august 15th, 1971, Nixon ended the convertability of the USD to gold. at the same time, Nixon and Kissinger made agreements with the Saudis and OPEP in general. in contrast to the rest of third world producers of raw materials, they could control the price of their resource, as long as they sold it in USD.

Shortly after (1973), there was a huge jump in oil prices. oil companies started to make much more money and the US Fed. Reserve could now print much more bills. Inflation started to be exported from the US to the rest of the world; a hidden tax.
In 1971, precious metals made up about one third of the wealth stored in banks; nowadays is about 3%. The speculation economy boomed. The "glorious thirty" years  of growth in Europe ended. then came Thatcher and the rest of vulture politicians, who were in waiting.

The end of cheap oil will be though - especially because oil and gas is involved in the production of food -, but it is also a blessing, first and foremost for the people of the middle east.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 06:55:22 AM EST
Fact: the main effect of U.S. et all-try foreign policy for the middle east have been to prevent modernisation in the Arab world and promote the rise of fanaticism!
the middle eastern nations are ruled by despotic democracies, most of them friendly of the US. but only when the nations which do not do business the way the US wants they are called dictatorships!

The prize goes to...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:06:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This being 2006, I'll say Pakistan, a country which already has nukes, and has a rate of children per mother of about 7. Pakistan may be the next really big problem.
by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:23:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mind you, it was an intended effect; because one dictatorship is much more inexpensive to bribe than a million voters. Also, a dictatorship needs to spend money in weapons, to fight his own people. you can even outsource torture there. raising friendly dictatorships is like raising ostriches; it's all profit.
by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:11:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In august 15th, 1971, Nixon ended the convertability of the USD to gold. at the same time, Nixon and Kissinger made agreements with the Saudis and OPEP in general. in contrast to the rest of third world producers of raw materials, they could control the price of their resource, as long as they sold it in USD.

Aside from your (excellent) other points, this is one of the key turning points in recent history that's often overlooked.

It didn't just lead to the Oil Crisis - which was an obvious economic disaster, and a direct contrast to the relative prosperity of the previous decade. It also seeded two narratives that have dominated the landscape since then - one being Islamicism, and the other the threat of inflation.

The fact that the Saudi sheiks aren't particularly Islamic, and that the inflation created by the oil crisis and related financial changes was only notionally related to worker efforts to increase wages, has largely been forgotten.

Instead we have these two folk tales - aggressive Islamicist bad people, and aggressive working class bad people who aren't prepared to 'reform' or be 'flexible' - that have become foundational talking points among the elites.

They're both nonsense of course. But Tricky Dick enabled both of them.

What someone like Joerg clearly doesn't get is that not only are the narratives self-serving nonsense, they're also disconnected from the really important issues.

DoDo put together an excellent list of more important things elsewhere in this thread. As far as I'm concerned 'slaying the dragon' means giving up on fairy stories and tackling those much more important problems head on.

The best way to do this is to change the narrative. At this point climate change and energy sustainability are a much bigger threat to 'our way of life' than scary brown mad beumbers are.

We should be dealing with those problems directly, and not wasting time blowing shit up in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because the reality is that neither of them are even slightly important in the longer term.

If you want to worry about a clash of civilisations, consider how much of a civilisation you're going to have left when almost no one can afford to run a car or heat their home, and most of the big cities are underwater.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 12:42:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you. The point you quote is indeed very important.
It is the basis of the current attack on our "world" (not only physical, but of ideas). I will write a diary some day about it, with graphics.

Notice that there is a blind spot on the general discussion of modern fundamentalism which should be addressed. there is christian fundamentalism in the US which has some important similarities with Islamic fundamentalism, namely the subordination of women to their husbands, such as their acceptance of aggressive sexuality - better known as abuse. See Manuel Castells' masterpiece "The Information age: economy, society and culture"; Volume 2 - "The Power of Identity". (main meme:  the network society); can't remember the chapter.

Sorry for the delay in noticing your comment. my reply comes too late, I guess.

by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 07:12:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you could diary Manuel Castell's work, I'd really appreciate it.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 16th, 2006 at 07:13:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fischer's framing, "Don't feed the beast" makes me hugely uncomfortable because it is disturbingly close to the neocon battlecry of "Starve the beast", the goal of "shrink[ing] government to a size where we can drown it in a bathtub" (Grover Norquist). I am surprised that Fischer overlooked, or chose to overlook, this association in his first lecture at a US university. But perhaps I am being overly sensitive.  

As to the "war on terror", or the "war on fanaticism", or however we wish to term it (I'll just call it "the gwot"), the problem is not merely the name, but (as others have noted before) the fact that the concept is so vague as to be meaningless (or alternatively, so capable of being arbitrarily applied). This fact has multiple implications; unfortunately, none of them have any relevance to reducing the frequency of fanaticism-motivated attacks.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:28:44 AM EST
I thought "Don't fed the beast" was amusingly like "don't feed the troll".

It's interesting what associations different people have to figures of speech.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:30:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no war. It's pure nonsense that should be challenged at every turn. There is no enemy to fight a war against. "Terror" isn't an enemy, neither is terrorism, nor fanaticism. The assorted terrorists are a nuisance, not an existential threat.

There was a war in Iraq. There was a war in Afghanistan. Now there are occupations, insurgencies and civil wars in both places.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:32:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean? We've always been at war with Eastasia.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:38:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PLEASE don't just read one sentence, but follow the sources that I gave to understand what Fischer means.
by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 02:35:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, but I read the Tagesspiegel piece BEFORE posting. I was initially curious to see whether this was an artifect of translation, and found it was a direct quote.

I think perhaps you did yourself a disservice by citing the Tagesspiegel article, because it is (IMO) little more than a puff piece about Fischer, with no serious analysis and few actual facts (except perhaps the "rolling of the eyes" in the first sentence).

Specifically, it does not explain what Fischer means by "Don't feed the beast"; this is merely the closing tagline. This vacuum certainly facilitated my association.

More generally, we are all judged by the quality of our metaphors, and people like Fischer moreso. The scorn that W received for talking about a "crusade" was entirely justified. I personally would have hoped that Fischer would have been savvy enough to avoid this kind of pitfall.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 04:44:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another metaphor that has been floated in relation to terrorism is "to fight malaria it is not enough to kill mosquitos, you have to drain the swamp".

Metaphors are not neutral and I fault Fischer for painting the problem as a "beast".

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:10:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he only used the word "beast" so that he could play with the words "defeat" and "feed"

He would probably agree with your mosquito-swarm metaphor.

Both you could read his piece in the NYT, linked to in the diary to see clarify his position.

by Joerg in Berlin ((joerg.wolf [AT] atlanticreview.org)) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 09:13:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the beast would be tractable if we weren't so busy setting fire to it and pulling its teeth out.

of course the moslems want the good things we have: the tech, the human rights, the sports stars (!).
what they would rather leave off the plate is the porn, prostitution, alcohol-fueled stupidity, usury and whatever else gets their collective goat.

when the moderates on our side have flaked off the wingnuts, and likewise on their side, we could meet in the middle with mutual respect, due to all peeps, whether they bend over 5 times a day, kneel, or choose not to worship at all.

if we hadn't been arming and propping up unconscionable leaders, diktats and regimes for decades to slake leviathan's thirst for oil (and blood), we'd be less dependent on the black gold and they'd be learning how to play nice with us.

ping pong did wonders for relations with china in the 50's, right?

and ditto to dodo about the small arms...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 07:34:19 AM EST
"of course the moslems want the good things we have: the tech, the human rights, the sports stars (!).
what they would rather leave off the plate is the porn, prostitution, alcohol-fueled stupidity, usury and whatever else gets their collective goat."

Ha! What do you think is booming in "free" Iraq? Tech, human rights, sport?

The first things that changed in Iraq was the rise of porn, prostituion and booze.

Those are the real universal human values.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 09:11:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i hate to say it, but evidence supports your (cynical) contention..

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:30:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know that home-brewing is a major pastime in Iran, right?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:40:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"seem to be a major pasttime"
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:41:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
according to unconfirmed sources...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:43:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the sources are confirmed, but they're a pretty biased sample.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:47:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the sources practice home brewing...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:49:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To defeat the beast, inebriate the beast.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 15th, 2006 at 05:44:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bush has again invoked the clash of civilizations and also a "third awakening" of religiosity in the US.

People should listen to what he says. What he means is that the WASP, frat boy, privileged environment he grew up in is being threatened. He is absolutely right. The US has become more diverse and, more importantly, the dominance of his social class in politics and business is waning.

The same thing is happening in the EU. More foreigners entering into what were previously pretty homogeneous populations. Some of these are even getting a certain amount of political power.

The power elite never gives up without a struggle. The proven technique is to disguise their interests and instead make it sound like they are supporting everyone's issues. So the rich start wars and the poor fight them. The rich start wars and get tax breaks. The poor lose social services which we can no longer "afford". The rich start wars and the military firms that they own make huge profits. The poor see the rest of the manufacturing sector in decline.

Can the "clash of civilizations" be won. Of course not. Can this mindset lead to decades of misery, well just look at the 20th Century.

Is there anything those not in the elite can do to prevent this type of aggression. Never yet in recorded history.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Thu Sep 14th, 2006 at 10:08:27 AM EST


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