Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hobbes

Tigerhawk posts an open question for discussion on his site arising from the seemingly endless and morphing conflicts in the Middle East

The question is, are today's civil wars (1) the "natural" condition of Arab societies that are not repressively policed, (2) the product of neocolonial meddling on the part of other actors (including other Arab regimes, Iran, the United States and Israel) or (3) the expected result of generations and in some cases centuries of domestic and foreign repression?

I will propose a 4th possibility. That a few hundred years ago tribal and incessant warfare was in fact the norm, even in Europe. Especially in Europe, but that somehow many societies have learned how to live in relative peace and freedom; yet somehow this eludes certain societies in the Middle East.

Nothing follows.

31 Comments:

Blogger Fat Man said...

Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage by Steven LeBlanc and Katherine E. Register, St. Martin's Press; 1st edition 2003 ISBN-13: 978-0312310899

It took more than twenty-five years, and a great deal of additional fieldwork and library research, for me finally to change my initial naive view of the past and of humans in general. My take on warfare is now very different from what it was. Though these new ideas about conflict seem exceedingly obvious to me, I arrived at these conclusions not by means of abstract theory, but by being forced to look at warfare based on conclusive evidence I found in the ground. The central importance of warfare throughout human history came to me slowly, prompted by archaeological fieldwork in a number of different regions and reinforced as I tried to reconcile theoretical positions that became increasingly impossible to accept.

Why couldn't I-or any of my colleagues-see the magnitude and the implications of the warfare that was displayed before our eyes at El Morro? We were simply not conditioned to see it. The idea that all was peaceful long before writing in the ancient past was, and is, how most archaeologists and anthropologists see the world. The prevailing scholarly view is that warfare was of little social consequence in the past and is relatively unimportant in understanding the human condition. Though in the last three decades more archaeologists are prepared to see warfare for what it is, there continues to be an institutional reluctance within anthropology and archaeology to ignore or discount evidence for conflict among past societies. And that reluctance goes back to the eighteenth century. ...

In its simplest form, this misconception portrays humans as peaceful by nature and considers them to have been so for millions of years. This notion assumes that for much of human history people lived in nonviolent societies and maintained pleasant, helpful, symbiotic relationships with their neighbors. While there surely were bellicose periods, war was not the norm or a constant threat. Popular belief also holds that only after the development of "civilization," or highly complex societies, did things begin to change. The common assumption is that only when these increasingly more complex societies spread, and in particular when European civilization came to dominate much of the world through colonizing, was warfare introduced (and induced) to the far corners of Earth. This is the impression one comes away with when reading many books on how we became human and who wound up where on Earth. Such an impression misses the essence of human history. ...

6/13/2007 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

What?
Sunni fighting Sunni
Shia fighting Shia
Sunni fighting Shia
Help me understand?
5/01/2007 06:37:00 PM

If conflict with Iran is on the horizon, is strife in the ME a positive or negative?
5/01/2007 07:55:00 PM

Recent AQ threats against Hindus. Train bombings in India before hostilities last summer.

What effect does war have on open borders?

6/13/2007 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kenneth said...

Throughout history there has been more or less constant warfare among nations, towns or between clans. This issues have been political, economic, religious or personal, but the commonality has been human violence in every culture in all times. Periods of relative peace and calm are the exception. The great Empires of the past were significant in that they confined the strife to the regions beyond the borders. These empires fell when the fighting spread inward.

Was there a single year in the 20th Century when ther was no warfare anywhere on earth? I'm sure there was not.

6/13/2007 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Wretchard..

I would submit that any thesis that attempts to prove that man's natural state is not war is just that , a thesis.

One can go from pre Plato right up to today and read almost any philosopher worth reading and you will come across the same question.

What is man in a state of nature? What are his animating forces?

Practically every philosopher who has ever written has chosen one side of the coin or the other. Man as brutish and warring or man as peaceful,introspective and loving.

These variations are then usually supported by thousands of words in support of the obverse or reverse side of the coin.

However in the long march of man's history he has always eventually screwed his courage to a sticking place and fought. There is absolutely no dodging it as a fact.

"Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing." These words from Patrick Henry could be placed at the beginning of every chapter of man's history and always the wars come, again and again. War is the normative state of man and as with any proof in science that the replication of the experiment produces it's validity, so the history of man proves his normative state.

Those nations that have adopted argument as their regnant armament always perish under the force of the doer. We shall always war.

And although Plato is credited with saying, "Only the dead have seen the end of war" it's true author is lost in antiquity. But a clearer truth does not exist.

6/13/2007 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger mouse said...

How about a fifth and obvious possibility: This is Islam; Islam is important to Islamists; this is the modern world; Islam can not be modern; therefore all they have left is death. This of course assumes you pay attention to what they're saying.

This is from the Jerusalem Post article you linked in Two State Solution:

"Jamal Abu Jadian, a top Fatah commander, fled his home in the northern Gaza Strip Tuesday evening dressed as a woman to avoid dozens of Hamas militiamen who had attacked it. He and several members of his family and bodyguards were lightly wounded.

But when Abu Jadian arrived at a hospital a few hundred meters away from his house, he was discovered by a group of Hamas gunmen, who took turns shooting him in the head with automatic rifles.

"They literally blew his head off with more than 40 bullets," said a doctor at Kamal Udwan Hospital.


Somehow this doesn't strike me as modern, though I'm told Palestinians as a people are well educated. These are brutalized people brutally killing their neighbor only a few days into a domestic conflict, and that brutality is not the "product of neocolonial meddling", and it's not a simple expression of the constancy of wars between men. It's the particular expression of a brutal, primitive religion, dying.

The particular problem with Islam is that it's true in it's monotheism, there is one God, and all people who search for God know that God in their heart, and this explains why it captivates 1.4 billion people; but it's a God expressed through Mohammed, and Mohammed was a nasty fellow. It's pretty hard for a Muslim to separate Allah from Muhammad and still be a Muslim, but until that happens there will be brutality not as rage or policy but as righteous expression. And as I've said, righteousness is all they have left, in that they can not be modern.

The warring societies in Europe who somehow learned how to live together in relative peace and freedom did not have the burden of Muhammad.

6/13/2007 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Strategy Page argues that the key battle for Iraq is the battle against corruption. Many of the shortcomings that are attributed by the West to Islam are really shortcomings of the Third World. It so happens that most Islamic countries are Third World. Now we can argue about which came first, the chicken or the egg, but it's fair to point out that there is savagery in Peru, Colombia and Mexico too, though there are not that many Muslims there.

And if there's one fight that really hard to win, its against bribery and corruption.

6/13/2007 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard --

When the Nazis and Communists were brawling it out in the 1920's Weimar Republic, neither sought to stage battles in hospitals nor destroy physical infrastructure.

BOTH sought to rule, and intended to rule, a nation that they would build up to conquerors. Not primitive bandits reduced to vandalizing that which they cannot build.

You are right in saying that corruption is endemic not just to Muslim areas but non-Muslim third world places as well.

In all of these places though I would say that the big difference between brutal thugs like Hamas and Fatah and brutal thugs like the Nazis and Communists is one of orientation. Or rather motivation.

In the former there is no real, animating nationalism. No ideal of the Palestinian State as a conquering nation, conquering it's neighbors through the ability to mobilize the people to build. While in the latter there certainly was an ideal of the German state and people as conquerors of their neighbors.

I suppose the good points about Third World corruption is that it makes massive industrial scale genocide like that of the Nazis nearly impossible since no one can co-operate. Well until modern technology in the guise of nuclear proliferation anyway. While the very nature of modern cooperative states makes the kind of Nazi/Communist tyrannies fairly rare. More common is French style oligarchies or the Anglosphere democratic/civic-society organization.

I think much of the romanticizing of the Third World by Euro intellectuals has been the recognition that neither the Nazis nor Communists could produce Continental type slaughters, the best the Third World imitators could do was Saddam and Pol Pot. Who victimized their own people the most, perhaps their neighbors secondly. But had big problems after that.

The downside of that of course is the bleeding wound of Somalia. Likely to remain a hell hole for generations.

6/13/2007 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

What if there are no societies? No law, no borders, just rampant fanatics running wild, armed with seemingly endless AK's and C4 and RPG's, and not so long ago, fully fueled airliners.

That's the problem this post exposes, we're not facing another society, we're facing a cancer within humanity.

The "tribal and incessant warfare" you refer to was based on tribal wants and needs, not jihad for the sake of jihad.

Perhaps cancer in humanity is too gross, spontaneous combustion or lust for extinction may better describe this enemy that kills its host.

History doesn't record a lot of suicide bomber societies.

6/13/2007 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Guardian says the UN is blaming the US and Israel for causing the violence in Gaza by witholding money from Hamas. I guess the UN had to blame somebody, and doubtless this will be the new gospel in certain circles. However that may be it's all a shambles now, apparently. The greenhouses which used to earn hard currency are all burned down and looted. The UN schools, etc are probably closed. In all of this the fate of the missing BBC correspondent has been forgotten. It's a mess.

6/13/2007 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger patrick neid said...

civil wars are a necessary transit to becoming a society. will it always be this way? probably not. but it is now. i think problems arise with this thought because we tend to think of the world being all together in the 21st century scaled from rich to poor, educated to illiterate. the reality is, it stretches from now to probably back towards the 18th with pockets like radical islam trying to recreate the 8th.

if we were to accept this idea then we have to accept the ideas associated with each of those centuries. it wasn't 150 years ago that we killed 600,000 of our own with millions horribly wounded as we worked out our demons. in today's numbers that would be 6 million dead. despite the carnage who can refute our civil war as one of our defining moments.

i think all to often we try to prevent, for all the right emotional reasons, this natural growth--now taking place in the middle east--forgetting our own past.

is war our natural state? i haven't a clue. what i do know is every great nation living in the 21st century has gone through several civil wars to get where they are. thinking that other countries can skip this horrible rite of passage i think is naive. its akin to thinking teenagers can skip being teenagers before becoming adults. i don't believe it.

its with this in mind whenever a genuine civil war breaks out i see hope--we are getting closer to resolution.

6/13/2007 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger hoserjoe said...

Let's not overlook the influence of modern Christianity, a faith that constantly struggles to improve society. Sure, it drives Chris Hitchens to drink, but its constant message is,"You can do better." This message has been wrestled with (not always successfully) for the last hundreds of years, and mostly it works. Society improves when we urge each other to do better, as Christians have always believed.

This in marked contrast to some other faiths that feature revenge, navel-gazing, seeking virgins, or hypnotic chanting. They get nowhere. In some cases they are hurtling backward at an astonishing rate.

6/13/2007 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

patrick,

I think you are right that only the Arabs, maybe Islam in general, can work their issues out, although one hesitates to call war "natural" as if it were just a case of getting teenage acne.

Unfortunately, the world has gotten too small for anyone to stay out of this. Not only is the Middle East an petroleum source, it is the spiritual home to a billion Muslims and crawling with weapons and people just itching to use them. That means some of those guys are going to export their troubles, insecurities, doubts and ideas to London, Madrid and New York. And even more unfortunately, the people living in those places have advanced destructive technology. So we too have a role in managing this conflict to ensure that it doesn't get out of hand. Once it jumps a certain threshold then an element of irrationality or cruelty driven by necessity will start to enter the picture.

Maybe we went about trying to "bring democracy to the Middle East" all wrong. But it was a good idea deep down. Maybe we have to let them discover democracy for themselves but manage the process so that the whole world isn't blown up into the bargain. How exactly we do this, I don't know.

6/14/2007 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The UK Times reports that at the current rate of deterioration, Zimbabwe will collapse in six months. The currency, already debased, will become totally unusable. It will run out of everything. Already the Zimbabwean army has no money for rations. I guess when the last shoe is boiled for soup and the last dog is eaten all of Mugabe's Marxist admirers will ask themselves "what now?". What can you tell them?

You can say, for openers, that total collapse was not so much Zimbabwe's natural state as a manmade condition. It's true that Africans have some problems but even in other parts of Africa the average guy, left to himself, can manage to scare up some yams, raise a few goats. What happened to Zimbabwe is no different from what occurred in North Korea, the Ukraine and in 1950s China. It was a nightmare, but it started with a dream.

6/14/2007 12:21:00 AM  
Blogger mouse said...

"Corruption and lack of civic spirit continue to be the biggest problems in Iraq....what is done about corruption, will have more to do with Iraq's future, than the battle with terrorists."

Wow! How did I miss that? I've always thought that if the Iraqis loosened up a little and got back to some decent, ordinary, third world corruption they could grease the skids and spend more of their available funds on development. After all, in a well ordered third world country corruption is just a value added tax; everybody gets a little but nobody gets a lot and the work goes forward. But right now Iraqi bureaucrats are afraid to disperse monies for fear of charges of corruption for fear somebody will chop their heads off. How I would pine for the days when corruption was given a little respect.

But anyway the present issue is the "toxicity" left by the jihadi as he brutalizes his society and I have to say this is something I utterly did not anticipate when we entered Iraq. I just had no knowledge that they would kill their own people just to sow discord rather than just kill Americans as a way of encouraging Harry Reid. I thought the real problem would be establishing the sense of nation. That people will vote for their own political freedom I consider axiomatic; that they will extend that concept to other groups within the concept of nation is more problematic. To my mind they're doing better than I'd expected.

There is the problem of some sort of separation of church and state. No nation can function without a religious core of basic, shared values. It has no force without that core, so Islam has to somehow be a part of Iraqi government. But man, that's tough. How can a government remain legitimate if at any time, by the core values shared by that government, any nut group can charge that it isn't properly Islamic and so is apostate and so must be destroyed?

Tough being a politician in Iraq.

But we're not there yet and anyway it's off topic from shooting off a guy's head just because it feels good.

6/14/2007 01:07:00 AM  
Blogger Wafeira said...

This may sound like one of those despair posts Wretchard mentioned a thread or so ago, but it's not really- just Fat Mannian and Habuian re the human fight club:

Our churches and textbooks, conscientious objectors and partisans teach us war is an aberration, a catastrophe, a breakdown of normal civil life. We intuitively “know” that it’s absurd, bloody and destructive, and contrary to the peaceful life and comfort that humans solely want and naturally seek. But is it, and do they? Maybe war offers meaning, aspiration, glory, adventure, trial, vengeance, defense, acquisition, expansion, invention, advancement, social release, competence, tension/ friction/ and resolution (too Freudian?) and genetic selection via “co-mingling” and attrition (sex and death there for sure). Don’t we need war to protect, validate and invigorate culture and to experience growth in peaces between bouts?

Maybe instead of being more civilized than the Islamist barbarians who constantly war, we’re overcivilized (enervated, disinterested, distracted and soft) and have lost our sense of righteous war. We have a dedicated military full of gung-ho GIs (when not frustrated by their being hamstrung and by our defeatism), but too many civilians are bowed and apologetic with votes for the anti-war party or blue dove signs in their yards. “War Is Not the Answer,” because we’re evolved. We’re so sorry, because the West should know better than to fight back or spill blood.

We smugly disregard or rewrite the past since we’ve now embraced the ideal of enlightened humanitarianism; yesterday’s bloody struggles and battles aren’t relevant to us today except as a reductionist lesson that war is more evil than any people or cause. Consequently, when faced with Islamist aggression, we insist upon living in an unnatural state by rejecting the real War we could fight and need to fight on multiple levels, and treat it (by those who dare this much) like a boxing match in which we enter a few good men and stake some good money on. We choose to fight a cheating nasty foe with Queensbury rules, doing our damnedest to minimize casualties and damage among hostiles who know they are at war with us and who want badly to war against us (and each other, it would seem, but that’s a gift we don’t always know what to do with).

A sufficiently conquered people might decide to retool their mores, society and politics so that one day they could be more successful and ascendant and ready to expand through trade (and war), but we’re handicapping the ME with our mercy and generosity, by news coverage and political opposition that says we’re the bad guys, and with our fear of acting uncivilized, violent and on the offense. Our conceit and historical amnesia have led us to believe we shouldn’t be enthusiastic warriors and that we don’t need or want war. Of course this is to the bad for everybody. Autocratic-backward-corrupt-extremist Muslims lose their chance to reform to the bone and modernize, because they don’t see that they’ve lost in a civilization clash of their choosing. They won't want a constructive peace without having experienced a convincing level of destruction and defeat in their regions and in the media. Their dysfunctionality will prevail, though valiantly we try to beat it down with acts of kindness and random killings.

We in the West will lose ourselves by forgetting the human condition of war and peace and peace and war. We won’t get a constructive peace without dispassionately identifying our enemies and conquering them in a war of the flesh and word-- we must know we win and sing epic songs about our win. We’ve also got to face down their sympathizers among us and shame them to their marrow, as if it hadn’t already been sucked out in a trendy Manhattan restaurant along with their pickled jackal brains and a side of braised bunny.

6/14/2007 02:34:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wretchard:

Relative to Zimbabwe, I recall that after the USSR collapsed, one Russian official said that the world owed the occupants of the former superpower for running a Great Experiment that proved that communism did not work.

Of course, that attitude is the essence of the problem – that we “owed” someone who had caused 74 years of immense pain and suffering for us as well as others a multi-trillion dollar bailing-out just shows an attempt to impose communism by other means.

In Zimbabwe, as well as Palestine, as you point out, there will be and are plenty who insist that it really is our fault - and even if it is not - that we should bail those po’ folks out. More communism by other means. The guy in ragged clothes on the corner has a tin cup - and maybe an atomic bomb.

6/14/2007 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

One thing's clear. There will be no peace in Iraq for many years. What's the point in leaving our men there to die?

6/14/2007 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

In all of this the fate of the missing BBC correspondent has been forgotten.

Don't you think the BBC correspondent is in cahoots with the dreadful Pals and agreed to be kidnapped for both the headlines and for the scoop? It wouldn't be the first time a journalist spent time with the Palestinians or other terrorists for an inside story, nor would it be the first time someone from the West acted as a human shield to protect his terrorist buddies.

The LA Times even won itself a Pulitzer for its coverage of the Palestinians who took over and desecrated the Church of the Nativity in 2002 while trying to escape pursuing Israeli's.

This missing BBC reporter has probably agreed to a 10% cut when his ransom is finally paid.

6/14/2007 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger Fausta said...

One possibility that no one has mentioned is that, as societies become more productive (i.e., producing goods and services that meet consumers' demands, both in those societies and abroad), they have greater incentives to not wage war.

As Lawrence Wright pointed out when he spoke at Princeton last May 1/5 world's population lives in Muslim countries but those countries account for 1/2 of the world's poor. If you take the oil out of those economies, 300 million Arabs produce less than Nokia corporation.
1.3billion Muslims mostly living in the 57 countries of Organization of Islamic Countries produce less than the German GDP.


The reason I am very optimistic about Brazil is because it is transforming itself into a productive society.

I don't see any opportunity of that happening in Arab societies in the forseeable future.

6/14/2007 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

As usual some very thoughtful comments here.

Two things come to mind:

Our gracious host mentions the thought that corruption might be a core issue in the ME. He relates corruption to the poor conditions in the third world and mentions three countries as examples.

All three are former Spanish Colonies. clearly Spain spread corruption in the new world with the same enthusiam as their good friars spread mustard seeds on the California hillsides.

but where did the Spanish learn about corruption? It is my opinion that the Spanish were taught the fine art of bakseesh during their days as a muslim vassal state.

Corruption at a level that can stall the economic development of an entire country requires almost complete complicity. That complete complicity is therefore a way of life.

so failure, the net result of corruption, has been spread like a disease vector from the Arabs themselves to the new world via a series of historical accidents.

Next, I believe there is an economic link between the current fighting in the palestinian areas and the level of charity funding arriving there.

there is an old joke that goes: "Why are the fights in academia so bitter? Because the stakes are so low." I suspect that this is the dynamic here. As the crumbs get scarcer the fight is no longer for an incremental improvement over the neighbors, its for survival itself. the factions are simply convenient methods of sorting and have no real deep seated meaning beyond that. this is the Gambinos Vs the Sopranos.

hey, was sicily ever controlled by the Arabs?

6/14/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

This post brings to mind the following snippet from Stephen King's The Stand:

Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.

6/14/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger BigLeeH said...

One thing's clear. There will be no peace in Iraq for many years. What's the point in leaving our men there to die?

No point at all. You've got us there, Rick.

On the other hand, they are warriors and the war has gone on long enough now that each and every US soldier in Iraq has enlisted or reenlisted since it started.

Leave them there to die? No. Bin Laden was right about that, if not much else. We're not into dying. That's more their thing.

Let's leave our men there to fight.

6/14/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Achillea said...

For me, it brings to mind the reference to the Iterated Prisoners' Dilemma in this post. Money quote:

When I look out into the Third World, this is what I see: short-term strategies for immediate gain at the cost of long-term success. A swarm of trinket vendors on a beach in Mexico all need to make an immediate sale in order to eat that day, even if the cost is being so annoying and frustrating to the tourists that it prevents them from ever returning. Short term gain, long term loss.

I make no value judgment on that behavior, because it works on some level or it would not be so prevalent. In societies where short term values trump long-term ones, it is easy, safe and stable to Screw the Other Guy. But in the long-term, nothing of consequence grows, because nice, forgiving and non-envious are advanced strategies that require a topsoil of general goodwill, trust, and respect for the rule of law.

Societies that embrace these qualities will always out-compete those that don’t.

6/14/2007 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger patrick neid said...

wretchard,

who can argue with your response. what i would add though is the "civil war" process can't be stopped. we will do what we do no matter how ham fisted because that's a 21st century imperative vs the centuries following behind.
any successes we have i think will always be transient as the larger deeper historical imperative plays out.

that said, with or without our participation/manipulation i think the middle east, if we are lucky, is entering their "french revolution" stage. romanticized as that period is now we should not forget it comes with Robespierre, the Reign of Terror and the guillotine. the amount of heads rolling and put on spikes makes today's terrorists look like pikers.....

6/14/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus said...

re: skipsailing, "hey, was sicily ever controlled by the Arabs?

Not sure of the caliphate, but Muslims (Berbers? Arabs?) conquered Sicily, which was retaken by the Normans (i.e. Scandinavians), who ruled it for a long time. Tough dudes, those Normans, tough on both the Muslims and on the Greeks/Byzantines.

6/14/2007 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/14/2007 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

Excellent thread--Re skipsailing and Marcus and Sicily. Robert Putnam has written a book entitled Bowling Alone--its about rhe creation of social capital and he uses Northern and Southern Italy as points of comparison in terms of how Southern Italy generally and Sicily in particular developed a clan association culminating in the mafia-type organizations. Its a good read, and while Putnam didnt aim it as a history text, it has some very relevant lessons about what it takes to hold a society together.

6/14/2007 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger CW said...

A tenet of Islam is that if Muslims do not control government whenever and wherever they have the opportunity to seize it, then they are in a state of humiliation. However, they are not in such a condition when Muslim dictators or crazies rule over them. From an Islamic POV, therefore, Gaza is experiencing happy times. Let the Gazan Arabs be so joyous for the foreseeable future.

However, the UN has to play the spoilsport. Apparently, Mr. DeSoto reports that things are not so wonderful and it's all the fault of President Bush and Israel. His report to the Secretary-General says that Gaza's economic conditions result from an aid boycott orchestrated by the US (like the EU and others participate). Moreover, DeSoto and his staff of deranged anti-semites wrote that the present chaos in Gaza is a direct result of Israel’s decision to withdraw. Therefore, they blame Israel for occupying Gaza, then they blame Israel for withdrawing under UN directives. It isn’t just Mr. DeSoto who needs to be shown the door, but the entire corrupt secretariat because it cannot be reformed for the foreseeable future.

Ambassador Bolton had begun to force reforms when he corralled the countries which provide almost 90% of UN funding to push for UN reforms. Of course, most of the General Assembly consists of foreign aid sponges who voted these reforms down. The next step might have been a devastating (to the UN) financial boycott. However, this impetus died when Congress refused to confirm Bolton to a permanent position. With a Jackass Party administration likely after the 2008 elections, there is little likelihood that a Democratic Bolton equivalent would be appointed. Hence, the UN will remain corrupt and it will continue to countenance Hamas, Hizballah and other murderers.

CW

6/14/2007 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Lady of Mercia said...

"...somehow many societies have learned how to live in relative peace and freedom; yet somehow this eludes certain societies in the Middle East."

While it does seem like the West has it made security and morality-wise over the barbarians, the killing civil wars over there seem perversely more straightforward than the not so civil battles being pitched among us over global warring versus warming, individual sovereignty vs. trans-bureautopianism, whether to fight men-enemies or the wind, to change our destiny or our light bulbs.

Fighting is important, but we have to agree on for what, whom and why. We can’t afford to simply let the Muslims duke it out on their turf if they use oil and terrorism weapons against us on ours and nuclearize their sick fantasy of genocidal greatness, while we bicker and dicker ourselves into a degraded state of static and statism. Letting the Islamist problem slide won't cause our internal war to subside.

A world war is definitely on… between (fill-in-the-blanks).

6/14/2007 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

The most interesting development in the Palestinian's civil war is that while Hamas is rounding up Fatah supporters in Gaza, Fatah is busy rounding up Hamas supporter in the West Bank. What happens when there are two Palestinian states?

6/14/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I expect it will always go back to VDH's math - free capitalist societies have always invented the most malevolent war-winning solutions. You could look it up, Hanson already has documented this fact convincingly in his books like "Why the West Has Won."

Lepanto, Poitiers, Vienna. All battles won by united allies who understand they are at war against the same enemy. History is the story of War, told by the Victors.

But that was back when the material world was simple, before AK's, C-4 and RPG's. Materialism turned out to be the scourge the commies warned us about, but not in the sinful lust for a Chevrolet and TV in every pot sense. More in the sense of tools of war everywhere, thank you very much.


Then ... World Trade Center... we'll see.

The West has been rather harsh in the past in these confrontations.

6/14/2007 07:55:00 PM  

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