Sunday, June 30, 2002

For a Foreign Policy Influenced by Principles of Federalism

FOR A FOREIGN POLICY INFLUENCED BY PRINCIPLES OF FEDERALISM

-OVERVIEW-

to meet the challenges of the post cold war era a new framework for our engagement with the world is needed. george kennan's containment theory was adopted as the doctrine of the cold war. that doctrine dealt with a bi-polar world in which two superpowers had the ability to destroy the other. because of that balance of terror, a hot war was to be avoided at all costs and the conflict between the two played itself out in proxy wars throughout the world where each side attempted to check the expansion and influence of the other. two major alliances, nato and the warsaw pact, dominated world geopolitics.

the current world situation is best described by samuel huntington in his 1993 article, "the clash of civilizations." by contrast with the cold war, the clash of civilizations is a multi-polar world. it is sometimes said that the world is now unipolar with the united states as the unchallenged superpower but huntington's paradigm better captures the subleties and complexities of the world today.

in this view the world is divided into seven or eight civilizational blocks, the west, orthodox-slav, china, japan, latin amerca, islam, hindu, and perhaps africa and huntington predicted that conflict would occur along the fault lines of those civilizations. he argued persuasively that these conflicts would be more intractable than even the ideological conflict between marxism and capitalism because of the stronger identification that people have with their cultures. as he put it, "a communist today can become a capitalist tomorrow but a turk can never become an armenian."

additionally, huntington said that conflict would be more tenacious because of the religious influence in civilizations. to fight for an ideology or even one's country is one thing, to fight for a religion, that claims control over not only this world but the next, is another.

while huntington's paradigm is the one adopted in this analysis it is not a doctrine of enagement as the containment theory was. within his framework however the new doctrine below is proposed.

-THE NORMATIVE BASIS OF INTERNATIONAL FEDERALISM-

america stands for many things, democracy, individual liberty, freedom of speech, capitalism, individual responsibility and self-determination, to name a few. sometimes these values come into conflict, as for example freedom of speech and individual responsibility sometimes do.

it is accepted here that the preeminent interest of any nation is security. that interest above all else must be accomplished. that interest also often times comes into conflict with adherence to and promotion of our values and when it does, the view here is that national security must prevail.

in constructing a new doctrine, how it is described, how it is presented to the world, is important. for example, the first bush administration was inconsistent in it's descrption of the reason for our intervention to prevent iraq's takeover of kuwait. at one point secretary of state baker said the fight was over "jobs," a wholly insufficient reason for our action even at home much less for the nations whose support we wanted.

the point is not just a semantic one. as indicated, it can significantly effect the perception of the acceptability of the conflict at home and abroad. it can also effect the conflict itself. it is a truism of politics that he who defines the terms of the debate has a better chance of winning the debate. implicit in this notion however is that each side must accept, tacitly of course, the same description because the point of a doctrine is to manage the conflict so as to avoid war. for instance, a conflict that is seen only in ascriptive terms, that is simply because one side is turkish and the other armenian or one side is arab and the other israeli, is going to be most difficult to channel onto less destructive planes than war since there is no commonality to which appeal can be made.

in the cold war it was "freedom" that was the value used to describe the raison d'etre of the conflict. the world itself was divided up into the "free" world, the communist world and the "third" world. the united states fought in korea and vietnam for "freedom." most importantly it was the appropriate term because it was accepted by the soviets who saw the struggle as about freedom too, just that their freedom was the more authentic one. this convergence in terminology was possible because capitalism and communism were both western inventions. huntington describes russia as a "torn" country, not wholly in one civilization but having the influences of the west and orthodox-slav civilizations, but at least ideologically the soviet union was western. in fact, one commentator cited by huntington even describes the cold war and both world wars as "western civil wars."

not so clear however is what value is appropriate to describe civilizational conflict. "freedom" may still be acceptable but the guess here is that it is not the word that would be used by, for example, islam in describing it's conflict with the west.

this is so first, because freedom is a term still redolent of the cold war paradigm. second, it is closely tied with democracy, a value that decidedly is not accepted by important segments of islam, for example. to select just one example, one islamic commentator writing in a pro-iranian publication stated that "subjective western terms must be avoided like the plague if their western baggage is to be successfully excluded from islamic political thought. democracy is perhaps the most important of these."1 if democracy is "excluded from islamic political thought" it does no good to describe the conflict with that term and that probably excludes "freedom" also as the most appropriate term of description.

third, freedom is just not a bedrock value of theocracies. there is no claim that the people know best. jesus knows best, or mohammad knows best and his laws must be followed, not because the people voted for them but because they are divinely pronounced. if the concept of freedom resonates at all in such a system it would be of the "in-our-slavery-there-is-freedom," type, a description that strips the term of any shared meaning with the west.

finally, freedom is almost a buzzword for islamic rage at the united states because the u.s. is seen as so hypocritical in using it. we say we stand for freedom but then we support undemocratic, positively oppressive regimes like saudi arabia and iran under the shah.

so freedom may not be a common point of departure for a world marked by competing civilizations, at least not one between the west and islam.

it is suggested here that the value that would best serve as a common point of departure is "self-determination," undoubtedly one of the core values of the west and also a concept used by other civilizations to justify their actions. of course, self-determination and freedom, or self-determination and democracy, are really distinctions without differences in the definitional sense but an important component of the doctrinal break proposed is that america change not only it's policies and it's doctrine but also it's discourse with other civilizations.

self-determination is a term that captures many of the strands of thought in other civilizations as well as one of their main objections to the conduct of the united states. china uses it as the rationale to tell the u.s. to get off it's "human rights" agenda. the palestinians claim the right to self-determination, perhaps because they so little value democracy, in their fight for statehood. arab states generally, even friendly ones like jordan, took great umbrage at america's involvement in the iraq-kuwait war, claiming that it was an arab problem, a matter of arab "self-determination" in which the united states, a member of another civilization, should stay out.2 most importantly, self-determination is an important term in civilizational discourse because it is the only way in which a civilization can survive.

self-determination also captures the complaint of so much of the world that american popular culture, from movies to tv to music to corporations like mcdonalds smothers anything different, obliterates any local popular culture. there is the understandable need to be different, not to be dominated by one country in all respects, and to preserve local ways. self-determination is a way of describing these desiderata.

finally, self-determination is the mantra of the nationhood movement, the most dynamic deveopment in the world after world war II. from the subcontinent, to the middle east, to latin america and africa the most desired thing was one's own state, so that a people could exercise "self-determination" once and for all.

simply as a forensic tool also, self-determination is preferable to freedom. as mentioned above, there is a need to come up with a new discourse, and as will be gotten into below in a discussion of implementation of the proposed doctrine, there is going to be a need for america to be adaptable in its strategies, to form new alliances for one purpose, then dissolve them and form others for another purpose, in general to be quick-changing in order to meet the realities of a multi-polar world and also to keep our enemies off-guard. to adopt the language of one's opponent is flummoxing, it is confusing, it signals the scope of the doctrinal change and forces one's opponent to react on the defensive rather than act on the offensive. one example from domestic politics was president clinton's coopting of the republican tax cut proposals in the middle of the 1996 election, an action that robbed senator bob dole of the most important forensic tool he had.

-INTERNATIONAL FEDERALISM-

MILITARY INVOLVEMENT

the doctrine proposed here borrows from concepts of governmental relations embodied in federalism. the differences between international affairs and national government are of course stark so it is only as a philosophy of governmental RELATIONS and as a mneumonic that federalism is used here.

to think of the characteristics of federalism is to think of a central government that maintains exclusive control over national security but in almost all other areas is distinguished from other systems by the degree to which it devolves power to other political units--in taxation, social services, education, religion, etc. in other words in cultural areas federalism is characterized by tolerance for diversity, respect for local conditions and desires, and an underlying faith in the creative value of constituent "laboratories" of social relations. this philosophy also imbues the doctrine of international federalism.

the united states is by far the dominant military power in the world today. paul kennedy has stated that it is the most powerful country the world has had at least since the roman empire. if anything kennedy undervalues america's might. rome may have had the biggest army in the ancient world, it may have defeated all rivals in it's region, but it had no control over other powers in other regions, e.g. china.

american military power by contrast is able to project it's dominance over any other nation, over any other civilization, at any time, anywhere in the world. no nation has ever had that capability.

under international federalism that power would be used unhesitatingly, massively and decisively to vouchafe national security but not to impose a pax americana on the world. where it's national security iss not directly threatened the presumption under international federalism would be against military involvement. this doctrinal shift would require a shift in nomenclature. current policy justifies all manner of intervention when it is in "the national interest." the value of that phrase, but also it's curse, is that it can mean most anything. undoubtedly we had a national interest in friendly relations with the shah, the dictator of an important country. noone an gainsay the national interest we have in friendly relations with the saudi government. but our national security was not threatened by iran nor is it by saudi arabia and yet we intervened in both by supplying the governments with the military hardware that they used to oppress their people.

the result in iran was a popular hatred of america that continues to this day. in time the same will be the result in saudi arabia. we are the globe's only super-power; we are it's dominant ecnomic power, we live in a world the farthest corner of which can be reached in day. in this world there are "national interests" for america everywhere. such a justification for international involvement is worse than meaningless. it sanctions intervention anywhere for anything.

the fact that america has unchallenged power requires that it exercise that power parsimoneously if it is to exercise it wisely. and to do that requires, as a start at least, that it redefine the justification for military intervention from "national interest" to "national security." emphasizing a significant distinction between those two can be scoffed at, but as discussed above words, are important in international relations. "national security" is a more limiting phrase than "national interest," just as "self-determination" is subtly but significantly different than "freedom" and it's "baggage."

with the new premium placed on national security, cases of local conflict, where the facts cry out for outside military intervention, as for example in bosnia-herzogovina and haiti, would be the responsibility of regional bodies and the united nations. a clear rejection of the role of america as world policeman would be made. however well-motivated, military action by the united states not done for national security often leads to local humiliation and resentment especially when that intervention is in another civilization.2

the doctrine proposed here would also diverge from the current in that america would be much more preemptive in it's actions. for example, america must not hesitate to use it's military power to enforce non-proliferatiion of weapons of mass destruction. there is no greater threat to national and world security. america should state clearly to the world that no further proliferation will be tolerated, that all non-possessing countries must to submit to random inspections and that refusal to, or the discovery of such capability will result in military destruction of the suspected sites.

further, those countries in hostile civilizations already possessing wmd capability would be ordered to dismantle such facilities, to submit to inspection for compliance and similarly to have compliance enforced militarily if need be.

america's military alliances would be redone to reflect new realities. as has been argued in this space previously, nato would cease to exist as a military alliance. in it's place would be not a single new alliance but a changing array of alliances depending on situational needs.

for example, in america's military dealings with islam an alliance of the u.s., england, and israel should be fashioned. and here i would diverge from huntington. at least militarily there is no such thing as a "western civilization." whatever shared cultural and historical past there is, the nations of the european union do not share the same security interests in the clash with islam as do the u.s., england, and israel. and the u.s., england and israel would probably not share the same security interests in a conflict with the orthodox-slave civilzation as the european nations would. so it makes no sense to claim there is an alliance with the european countries in the conflict with islam when already there are citizen protests of our post-sept. 11 actions and distancing of us by their governments. conversely, it makes no sense for the u.s. to become involved militarily in a bosnian conflict that is right on europe's doorstep and does not involve american national security.

by way of further illustration, if there were a threat from china to america it would be ludicrous to include israel in an opposing military coalition, just as including korea and japan, obvious partners in a coalition against china, in the conflict with islam would be ludicrous. to make a brief digression on china. as i have argued in previous criticism of nato, perpetuation of a military alliance is not a harmless anachronism. so it is with our self-defense treaty with taiwan. it is a vestige of the cold war and should be ended. just this year president bush belligerently and mindlessly recommitted america to that alliance. if the united states wars with china because of this outdated treaty it would be the biggest folly in military history.

to summarize the military component of international federalism:

I. primacy on national security over any other role for the military.
II. use of preemptive force on non-proliferaton.
III. new alliances.

NON-MILITARY CONDUCT

obviously the point of a foreign policy doctrine is to avoid war. war occurs when the doctrine is flawed and fails. the military component of a foreign policy doctrine focuses on managing hostilities so that they will not escalate into war. but engaging in a military exchange is a second-best alternative and only second-best because the other is war. it is not possible to avoid hostilities everywhere, all the time. but the non-military component of a doctrine seeks to minimize those occasions when force will be used. and it is in this area that i believe the greatest change must be made in american foreign policy.

as stated earlier in this post america stands for many things, democracy, freedom, self-determination, free speech, etc. for much, perhaps most, of the world, america remains the "shining city on the hill."

there is envy of the shining city of course, of our success, our prosperity, of our goodness and that criticism we can ignor. but for important parts of the world, even among our allies, there is hatred because the america they experience stands for corporate economics and an cultural gresham's law. a foreign policy based on federalist principles would change that, for one of federalism's key components is tolerance and encouragement of local diversity.

america has always been blessed by it's geographic isolation. it was less tempted by folly because of impracticality. but as the world has gotten smaller and america stronger america has involved itself in misadventures that are a direct consequence of lack of attention to the non-military component of a foreign policy doctrine. our support for the corrupt and unpopular south vietnames government led to a war that cost 50,000 lives. our support of the shah of iran led to the emeritic islamic republic of iran. we have helped overthrow popularly elected governments. we have ignored or opposed indigenous, legitimate populist revolutions. for half a century we have too often let our foreign policy be influenced by the interests of corporations-oil companies in the middle east, sugar companies in cuba, copper companies in chile-and all the while we have claimed that what america stands for is freedom.

of course none of the above is new analysis. but there has been no change in doctrine or actions. indeed there has never been a doctrine that has addressed this aspect of our foreign policy. the concentration has always been on the military.

america should preach self-determination. our foreign policy has almost without exception been based on government-to-government relations. the result has been that we have given support to "friendly" governments that horribly oppress their people. the previously mentioned shah of iran, the current saudi government, countless examples all over the globe. predictably, we have thus been midwives to generations of people who hate us, who hate what we stand for in reality and who hate our hypocrisy.

international federalism would replace this janus face with one less hypocritical. it would appeal to the people, not the governments. america does this sometimes now, but rarely and hypocritically. we appeal to the people of cuba for example. but we do not appeal to the people of saudi arabia because their government is "friendly", to our government, but not to its own people. american foreign policy, and the american president should speak directly to the people of the world.

president kennedy did this in his dramatic address to the people of germany in his trip to west berlin in 1962. he concluded a soaring, almost taunting speech on the differnces between the west and russia by declaring that "as a free man, i am proud to say "ich bin ein berliner." america is a free country but it was not freedom that fueled the american revolution. england was certainly a free country. rather, america was acountry born of the struggle for self-determination and an american president should be as proud also to say "i am a tibetan," or "i am a kurd." it is this kind of populist appeal that would be a feature international federalism.

of course there still would be seen hypocrisy in this. we would appeal to the people of saudi arabia and urge greater self-determination for them but we would continue to deal with the monarchy at the governmental level. that is the nature of realpolitik. we would make clear, we should say so explicitly, that we will not overthrow that or any government that doesn't directly threaten our national security but we should appeal to the masses and then use the philosophy of "constructive engagement" that we use with, e.g. china, with "friendly" regimes also.

this is not a matter of being morally penny-wise and strategically pound-foolish. america will reap what it sows in other civilizations and we will limit the likelihood of conflict with the seeding of self-determination in the peoples of the world.

the respect for diversity in local conditions that is at the heart of federalism plays itself out on our domestic front in the eternal conflict between majority rule and minority rights. there are no bright lines that can be drawn between the two. all that can be done is to be sensitive that one man's democracy not become another man's oppression.

this same concern would apply in a foreign policy based on federalism. the world trade organization and it's predecessor the general agreement on tarrifs and trade have done more than anything else to fuel the unprecedented expansion of the world economy. the uniform lowering of trade barriers has opened up markets all over the industrialized world and has given consumers greater freedom of choice than ever before.

but freedom, whether of speech or association or of the press, has always been limited in the american democracy. one cannot yell "fire" in a crowded theater, one can not form an american branch of al qaeda and one cannot publish pornography. the argument here is that america should self-impose minor limits on its corporations penetration of foreign markets.

a wry french saying has it that french law is perfectly fair, it prohibits panhandling by rich and poor alike. free trade is good for people worldwide but it is better for some than for others. it is best for american corporations, the most highly evolved at production and marketing. free competition in the fast food industry between mcdonalds and le grand mac may be free but it's not really competitive. in the vast majority of free trade cases se la vie. but when america restricts freedom from becoming oppression at home we must do the same abroad.

three concerns with regard to corporate conduct abroad come to mind. the first is the dominance of american popular culture. the second is the treatment of workers in other countries and the third is the support of regimes that oppress their people because we want to exploit their natural resources.













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(1)iqhal siddiqui, crescet international. june 16-30 2000.

(2) borrowing from krauthammer, some of the considerations would be, what is the national interest at stake; is there a moral issue at stake; what is the objective; can the objective be accomplished by non-military means; can the objective be accomplished by military means at an acceptable cost level in lives and money; is there support at home for the action; is there support abroad. note this is a list of considerations only. there is nothing formulaic, e.g. if you have 4 of the seven then you intervene. in some cases the national interest will be so compelling that it will subsume all the others. in other cases there may be both a security and moral interest involved but the cost i too high.

(3) huntington related that during the gulf war even erstwhile ally king hussein of jordan complained that the war was not "the world versus iraq" but "the west versus islam."

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Under God

UNDER GOD

those words were added to the pledge of allegiance by congress in 1954 at the height of mccarthyism, with the intent that it distinguish us from "godless communism."

you don't hear this point being referred to very often in the "debate" over the ninth circuit court of appeals ruling yesterday holding that the pledge, with the reference to god violated the constitution's establishment clause. i say "debate" because seldom are we ever going to hear less dissent on an issue than on this one. the senate voted unanimously to condemn it. democratic leader tom daschle called the decision "nuts." from every end of the political spectrum, in this case all the way from gray to black, comes the rhetorical question "are they going to outlaw 'god bless america' next?"

no, and they wouldn't have struck down the pledge but for congress' overt act in establishing that this is a monotheistic nation, by adding the wods "under god."

examples like "god bless america" are inapposite because there was no state action involved. the lyrics were written by a private citizen. here, the state deliberately changed the wording of a private citizen's work to include the religious reference and did it, not blind to intent or consequences,but for precisely the reason the constitutin forbids.

previous supreme court decisions on the phrase "in god we trust" that appears on our currency have upheld the reference holding that over long usage the offending phrase had lost it's religious significance and become a part of common parlance. and that undoubtedly will be the rationale of the court in this case. even now one can just hear the sarcasm in justice scalia's opinion.

but "in go we trust" has been around for hundreds of years and was not used by the government with the same specific intent with which congress acted not 50 years ago when it added "under god" to the pledge. that precedent should not apply and the decision of the ninth circuit should be affirmed. but anybody who believes it will can obtain honorary membership in the "benjamin harris society for the advancement of lost causes."

-benjamin harris

Sunday, June 23, 2002

To The Future

TO THE FUTURE


one of the principals that informs the policies of this page is to be forward-looking. the search for "root causes" is often an excuse for inaction. the strands of history become ropes that bind the timid and guilt-ridden from acting.

in contrast, it matters not to me the source of islamic rage against the united states when the issue is what do we do NOW that 3,000 of our civilians have been murdered. islam has declared war on the united states and we should prosecute this conflict as such.

nor does it matter to me the source of islamic rage directed towards israel. islam, as a practical matter today, is anti-jewish, not just anti-"zionist" as it sometimes likes to say. as an ally and fellow westerner, as the inheritor of a joint religious history, as the homeland of a people who from time immemorial have been vulnerable and stateless, as the incarnation of the object of genocide that so many in this country died to defeat, israel would not be allowed to fall if the policies of this page were adopted.

having said that is not to say however that history is meaningless. it is instructive, though never determinative. for example the united states is the midwife of the eremitic islamic republic of iran. our support for the shah, one of the most ruthless, undemocratic rulers in the world, helped deliver the monster we and the west have been made to suffer for a quarter of a century.

for half a century the arab-israeli conflict has not been resolved. why? because the original u.n. mandate, which was supported by the united states, calling for the creation of a "palestinian" (whatever that is) state alongside israel has not been implemented.

to be forward-looking is to be not bound by the past, but to be action-oriented, to break the mold, and to be proactive. i have not been timid in proposing what needs to be done and predicting that it will need to be done in the future, to meet the islamic war on the united states, even as i acknowledge, because of the timidity and intellectual vacuity of present u.s. foreign policy, that it has no chance of ever being done at the present because the american public, bereft of leadership on the issue, is not ready for it.

in that spirit of clear thinking and plain talking i say this. the united states will reap a bitter harvest for it's support, for the most mercenary of reasons, of saudi arabia, one of the most dictatorial regimes on earth, just a it reaped what it sowed in iran 25 years ago. and for too long the u.s., the ultimate protector of israel, has been timid in not exercising it's influence, it's power, to ENFORCE the creation of a palestinian state. however we wage the war against islam, these are two policies that must be changed.

saudi arabia controls a massive amount of oil which it sells to the united states. because of that, and because, as a monarchy, it is a "conservative" government, one that is "reasonable," one we can "work with," we have supported it's harsh oppression of it's people.

this is one of the factors that causes rage in the islamic world against the united states. our support of saudi arabia belies our committment to democracy and human rights worldwide. it is convincing evidence that the only thing that motivates our foreign policy is money and this is particularly galling to a people whose religion is so culturally dissimilar that it considers even loan interest to be immoral, not to mention the cruder products of a free society like sexual license.

it is easy to see why, in this context, it would appear to muslims that the united states is engaged in cultural imperialism. support for a regime like saudi arabia prevents not only the exercise of individual freedoms that are the mark of our civilization but also encourages the oppressed to see our civilization as their oppresser. therefore it is not only inimical to our values but also contrary to our strategic interests to support such a government for when the house of saud falls, as it will, it will be bad enough if it is replaced with an iran-like fundementalist government. it will be worse if that government supports attacks on the american people. and that's just what happened in iran as a consequence of our support of a similar "conservative", "reasonable" dictatorship by the pavlevi family.

the saudi government is not a "friend" in any meaningful sense. they are dictators where we are democrats, they support us at the governmental level because we pay them handsomely for it. we give them the military resources to oppress their people, who, to take pressure off the government's hold on power, are then allowed to vent their rage at the united states and israel in the most vicious way, all sanctioned by the state that is our "friend."

the united states should end this hypocrisy and strategic mistake and announce that we want free elections in saudi arabia NOW and that we will end the sale of military hardware to the government. of course, free elections will not be held in saudi arabia now or anytime soon, but we should state clearly what we stand for.

it has been argued here previously that in our war with islam we should exploit the muslim male's particular fear of humiliation and physical pain by inflicting just those on osama bin laden and the rest of our muslim enemies.

that would be effective in war. in waging peace, we should be no less cognizant of cultural idiosyncracies. muslims also put more importance than even we do on acknowledgment of prior wrongdoing. and so, we should accompany these new policy pronouncements by an apology, as secretary albright made a start in doing to the iranian people in 1999, and to the saudi people, for our past policies. and we should assure that those mistakes will not be repeated.

but consistent with what was expressed at the beginning of this post, we should make clear that no amount of our past bad conduct will permit the establishment of a hostile state in place of the saudi monarchy. perhaps the saudi people will choose a constitutional democracy with a bill of rights, a free press, liberation of women, and seperation of church and state. and perhaps tomorrow pigs will fly.

practically, we can expect a hostile government but it need not be worst-case. the electoral process itself isn't always, but can be, a moderating influence in and of itself. our role in bringing elections about will not hurt our image and we should improve it by holding out the carrot of economic aid to a non-hostile successor government. but we will also have to influence events by the stick. we should state unequivocally that no iranian-like psychotic bastard-child state will be tolerated, that there will be no preachings of america as the great satan or that jews are pigs and there will be no shut off of the oil spigot, and if such were to occur we would occupy the oil fields and enforce a demilitarized nation, one with seperation of church and state, much as we instanty liberalized japan after wwII.

on the palestinian issue, we have always faced a difficult choice. on the one hand is our interest in carrying out our pledge for creation of a palestinian state which would also be consistent with our value of self-determination. on the other hand, we have good reasons to believe that such a state not only would be hostile to our values but to our security and that of israel also.

the difficulty of the choice however should not prevent us from acting. one may disagree with president bush's policy pronouncements on the issue this week but at least he has acted and if a palestinian state is the answer he has established some conditions to encourage a happy result. first, he called for free elections to help instill our values in the proposed state and in response the palestinian authority has said that it will hold free elections in 2003. second, he has stated that the palestinian people must choose new leadership. edward said has recently called for the same thing and urges that the leaders of palestinian civil society, the doctors, lawyers, and businessmen form a reconstituted palestinian authority. it is to the people, the people said mentioned, the people of saudi arabia, that a new american mid-east foreign policy should be aimed. third, as was suggested above in a new policy toward the saudi people, he offered economic assistance to a freely-chosen government.

what went unstated, but had better be clearly understood is that such a state will never be allowed to pose a threat to the security of the united states and israel. such a state will either be friendly by choice or demilitarized by fiat. and there will be no anti-american or anti-jewish teachings.

which brings us to israel. england and israel are america's two great allies in this war with islam and really are the only two nations in the west besides the united states that can be counted on to carry this fight. we have a "special relationship" with both and it is inconceivable that an attack on any one would not bring down the full wrath of the others on the aggressor but to implement the president's policy will require sacrifice by and risk for israel which we should take all steps to ameliorate.

first, a palestinian state on the west bank will require the dismantlement of most if not all of the israeli settlements there. the practicalities of this must be recognized. there are 250,000 israelis living on the west bank. 250,000! the logistics and cost of such a population transfer are daunting enough. but the political cost will be even greater. it must be acknowledged that in the present climate no israeli government could effectuate such a transfer. there would be civil war. this is the price of american inaction for 50 years and of israeli irredentism in allowing and encouraging the settlements.

if the bush plan for a palestinian state is to work, the conditions for israel must be carefully laid. obviously the israeli public must be prepared for it. but more will have to be done. america should hold out the carrot of economic assistance in meeting the costs but we cannot be put in a position of accomplishing the transfer. that will be up to israel, a sovereign state after all. the bush administration will also have to weild a stick. if it is committed to this result then it must force israel to effectuate the tranfer on pain of losing some american financial assistance. there is no other way.

i believe the creation of a palestinian state as outlined above is in the best interests of the united states and israel and is consistent with the values that we both share but it is not a no-brainer and to succeed it will require a greater measure of political fortitude than has ever been shown before, a willingness to act, and some luck.

-benjamin harris

Jews Are Pigs and Snakes

JEWS ARE PIGS AND SNAKES

That was the answer to the question "What do you think of Jews" given by a 3 1/2 year old arab girl to an interviewer on mainstream Arab television. The interview was re-broadcast on a Brit Hume-hosted show on Fox a couple of weeks ago.

the interview began with the adorable little girl being asked if she liked jews. "no," she said. after giving the above answer to "what do you think of jews," the interviewer then asked her, "where did you learn that?" "in the koran," replied the girl.

this is islam in it's own words, without any "spin" or "bias" from the american media.

a quick search of islamic websites on google turned up one called "musalman top 100-sites." included were muslim dating services, muslim business websites and the like. all very tame stuff. i looked for one with a political theme and came across, #39 on the list, "muslimedia international." this is also islam in it's own words:

"[osama bin laden] has undoubtedly shown by his example and spirit of sacrifice that he cares for the ummah...his anti-american stance has enhanced his reputation. for all his brave talk and undoubted sacrifices, osama is not a threat to the u.s." zafar bangash, director of the institute of contemporary islami thougt. published in crescent international, june 16-30 2001 issue

"in short, two global civilizations, both claiming to be in accordance with the primordial state of nature, are now engaged in a titanic struggle." benjamin harris ad nauseum? no. samuel huntington, 1993? no. dr. kalim siddqui in 1992. reprinted in crescent international's april 16-30 2001 issue.

"islam, however remains the only non-western belief-system and world-view that the west has failed to destroy and that retains the potential to challenge the west." editorial, crescent international oct 1-15, 2001.

"subjective western terms must be avoided like the plaque if their western baggage is to be successfully excluded from islamic political thought. democracy is perhaps the most important of these." from "dangers of democratising islam and muslim political discourse, by iqhal siddiqui, crescent international june 16-30 2000.

"for years islam has been charged with the injustices that have been suffered by muslim women, yet the truth is becoming increasingly apparent: these injustices have resulted from the imposition of colonialist laws and from the inadequacies and deficiencies of other faiths and cultures." anisa abdel fattah, crescent international, october 16-31 2000.

"democracy: an unholy cow ripe for the slaughter." title of an editorial in crescent international, june 16-30, 2001.

this is also the voice of islam, in this case from a poll conducted from dec 19-24 2001 by the palestinian center for policy and survey research, as reported on the pcpsr website:

94% of palestinians opposed u.s. action against osama bin laden.

91%-98% view all israeli acts of violence as terrorism.

81%-87% do not think palestinian violence against israel is terrorism.

59% do not consider the sept. 11 attacks to be terrorism.

59% want a palestinian state to be politically like other arab states rather than like the united states, europe or israel. This is Public Occurrences.

Friday, June 21, 2002

Purel Drivel

PURE DRIVEL

in the book by the same name, steve martin has a chapter entitled "hissy fit." he imagines a world in which the laws of nature don't apply, where "two plus two no longer equals four. if a mathematician were suddenly transported and dropped into this unthinkable place, it is very likely that he would throw a hissy fit."

steven wolfram's book "a new kind of science" puts mathematics in a far less exalted place than it currently occupies. and although the professional reviews have been favorable, the great unwashed in academia are throwing a hissy fit.

for those who toil for years in deserved obscurity hoping to be able to convince one last class of coeds that they are so brilliant that they should let them in their pants, a book that is both scientifically important and a great commercial success is parrticularly galling. authors of such books are heaped with the most personal of scorn and invective. carl sagan got it. douglas hofstadter got it. and now steven wolfram, an easy target because of his undeniable megolmania, is getting it. the following are reader reviews of the book from amazon's web site:

"so what if wolfram is a genius or an ex-child prodigy." no professional jealousy there, certainly.

one reviewer claims a young assistant, not wolfram, made a key discovery "but was prevented from publishing his work by wolfram's lawyers for years while the Master (sic) was finishing his Books (sic)." well Pardon me while i go Stand in the corner and Hold my breath in a Hissy fit.

"paid bogus reviews"..."a chronic liar"..."a pathological liar"... wolfram apparently has some good lawyers. sure hope this reviewer does too.

"not new."

"pure speculation." uh, aren't those contradictory?

"as a viral immunologist, i can assure you..."

"i am a trained theoretical mathematician..." who has not had sex in sixteen months and will never get tenure.

but the best, and to avoid the charge of use of material without attribution that wolfram gets, i will mention him by name, comes from a reviewer named riley jackson:

"it is not how long your program is (was a little concerned where riley was going there) or what it is about (??), existence and meaning don't really exits (sic) outside of your head (????), but the relationships of this to that and this again." (??????????)

give that man a phd!

-benjamin harris

Truth and Consequences

TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES

i have proposed general war with islam. the logic of it to me is clear, the altenatives lacking. and although i have previously acknowledged that the consequences obviously would be dire i think it is important morally to spell them out in detail. writing is slower than thinking, it encourages contemplation and one should not propose something like this without being made to think about, to truly contemplate, the consequences.

to summarize my proposal. first we would tell the governments of egypt, saudi arabia and pakistan that they had some discrete time frame to kill the terrorists in their countries or we would. at the end of that period we would bomb iraq, iran, syria, libya, lebanon, and egypt, saudi arabia and pakistan if the latter three had not accomplished the task. the aim of this bombing would not be to wound or punish but to destroy and rebuild. after the military action was over we would rebuild these countries as we did japan and germany after world war II, including reform of their political systems.

the first and foremost consequence to consider of course is the loss of life. i believe in the quick use of overwhelming military force, first to minimize loss of life, second, because, as in japan, such a strike has an important stun effect that can shorten the hostilities, third to maximize the effectiveness of the operation, fourth to blunt the firestorm of protest at home and abroad that would ensue.

obviously the most effective way of doing all of the above is with nuclear weapons. but to cross the nuclear threshhold is a very dangerous step. as a civilian i do not know what conventional alternatives we have available. the "daisy cutters" used in the afghan conflict were, by all accounts devestating, but in the end in my view they were ineffective. our mission was to kill osama bin laden and al queda. we have certainly not done the latter. they have simply moved across the border into pakistan, with or without bin laden which has greatly complicated our mission. ever mindful of the horror of nuclear weapons it must still be said that our enemy would not have escaped a nuclear attack. i would want to use conventional weapons but off the experience of the afghan and gulf wars i believe nuclear weapons would in the end have to be used.

our nuclear capability today is infinitely more powerful than it was in wwII but it can also be more precise. my goal would be to bring down the governments, take out the military installations, destroy the transportation and communication networks--railroads, bridges, airports, telephone and television capabilities, secure the oil fields where applicable, in short to make the countries safe for occupation by american troops, all the while trying to minimize the loss of life. how many would be killed? hundreds of thousands died in the attacks on japan. simply to arrive at some number let's assume 100,000 per country. that's 700,000 without counting pakistan. the entire 500,000 people in the lawless western region would be killed, plus say another 100,000 for the attack on islamabad. that's 1,300,000 immediate casualties conservatively. how many others would die of radiation sickness, starvation and disease? double it maybe. 2,600,000. make it a rough 3,00,000. three million men, women and children dead. sickening.

besides the casualties, what would happen in the immediate aftermath. i propose such an attack, without warning, for maximum psychological effect on the enemy. but the psychological effect would be as great at home and among our allies. the president would be thought to have gone mad. impeachment proceedings would be begun. the country is completely unprepared for this. sneakiness goes against the american psyche. hitting first is what every school child is taught not to do. if the military end of the operation were to end quickly as i plan then the protests would not interfere with the operation. it would be over before any serious opposition could be massed. i think violence at home would be minimized.

our allies would not be so lucky though. there would be massive protests, perhaps threatening to bring down governments, say of france. our embassies would be attacked and some deaths would ensue. every european country has a sizable muslim population. these populations would revolt in the most violent way.

there might be breaks in diplomatic relations as the governments react. the u.n. would condemn us. the president might be indicted by the war crimes tribunal. perhaps there would be trade sanctions by the e.u. but in the end those would all be over a fait accompli. it would be time to move on, with helping out in the rebuilding, etc. and our explanation would be heard. it would incite some, placate others but in the end the world would get back to living.

a perhaps permanent casualty would be our moral standing in the world. we would not be seen as liberators as we were after wwII. we would be seen as murderers, perhaps forever. our position as honest brokers for the world would be ended. we would be isolated. we would be seen as a country whose policy is "might makes right," of establishing a pax americana over the world. and to some extent that would be right. we should never allow a hostile gov't or people to acquire wmd after this.

how sneaky could we be in carrying out this entire operation. granted we have the resources to do the bombing right now. but what of the occupation of the countries. it is estimated that 250,000 troops would be needed for an invasion of iraq. would it be less after a nuclear attack. our role would presumably be more as policemen than an invading army but to police an entire country would require lots of people. and we would be doing this for 8 countries. again, just to come up with a number, take 250,000 per country. that's 2 million troops. we used 500,000 in the gulf war. we would need to reinstitute the draft and there would be dodging and rioting. for that reason alone i might not get done.

Not MAD

NOT MAD

the doctrine of mutual assured destruction, or "mad" was the unseen hand of stability during the arms race with the soviet union. the doctrine held that if each superpower had more nuclear weapons than could be destroyed in a first strike then neither would be tempted to launch first, thus avoiding nuclear war. it has been proposed by one observer, col. david hackworth of the website millitary.com, that the mad doctrine be applied to the conflict with islam. he would announce to the countries of "lebanon, libya, iran, iraq, pakistan, saudi arabia, syria and north korea" that if we get hit with a weapon of mass destruction we would retaliate in kind. he does not say if he means we would retaliate against all or just against the country/ies of origin of the bombers.

first, let's get rid of this north korea nonsense once and for all. goofy as they are, they are not going to hit the united states with a wmd. second, they are in no way affiliated with the islamic threat. their inclusion in the president's "axis of evil" was nothing more than political correctness to veil the truth that we are at war with islam. and so third, hackworth can not mean that if we get hit with a wmd from north korea that he would retaliate against, inter alia, riyadh.

also egypt must be added to hackworth's list. the military.com website lists a dozen or so of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world and a couple are headquartered in egypt, and as we know some of the sept 11 hijackers were from egypt. so we take out north korea and add egypt.

to properly assess hackworth's proposal we need to examine the mad doctrine. mad was premised on an important assumption, that the leaders of the united states and the soviet union were in the end rational, that despite their ideological differences neither wanted his country destroyed.

already one can see the problem here. our enemy is not rational. martyrdom is encouraged. now hackworth knows this. at the end of his article he says things like "if we're lucky" mad will work, and "hopefully...even these misguided monsters will get the word." but let's follow his proposal through.

let's say we communicate the new mad doctrine to that list of governments. what would be the likely responses? iraq is already building wmd despite having had a war with us so there would be no effect there. pakistan has nuclear weapons but the present government would not use them against us. and when the musharraf government is taken over by islamic radicals they will not be deterred by the mad doctrine. iran may or may not have wmd, and although they are implaccable foes of the u.s., the government is not going to hit us with a wmd. col. qudaffi is crazy enough to do anything but there is no evidence he has or is trying to acquire wmd. the saudi and egyptian governments are our "friends" in the war on terrorism so we have nothing to fear from them. syria's government is not going to attack us directly even though, like saudi arabia and egypt, they harbor terrorist groups.

so it appears reasonably clear that none of the governments would be changed from their present course by an announcement of the adoption of the mad doctrine and consequently mad would not work. but obviously that does not mean that there is no threat of the u.s. being hit with a wmd. and that is because the present conflict presents an entirely different face than any previous enemy has. it is not so much the governments that are the threat it is the PEOPLE. and it is not so much the governments that are not susceptible to a rational cost-benefit analysis it is the people.

could mad work to get these governments to crack down on their people. well, first consider the nature of hackworth's proposal. he is saying we will retaliate with wmd if we get hit with one. but there is no evidence that any of the terrorist groups has wmd so does that mean these governments can go on supporting and giving safe harbor to terrorists as long as they don't hit us with wmd? hackworth doesn't have a proposal to deal with another conventional attack, far the more likely of the two, so his proposal actualy amounts to saying, for example, to a child who gets into fights at school, "listen do NOT take a high-powered rifle and go to the top of a building and start shooting people." it almost ENCOURAGES behavior short of that.

but the other problem with the proposal is it's credibility. mad worked during the cold war because each side knew the other would retaliate with nuclear weapons if struck first. if one crazed egyptian national with a dirty bomb in his brief case explodes it in manhattan, does hackworth really intend that all of the countries on his list be atttacked with nuclear weapons or even that just egypt be? i intend that and i say so explicitly but i really doubt that hackworth does so the threat is not credible.

thus as demonstrated above mad would have no effect on the governments if it was limited to requiring them to root out terrorist groups that may have wmd capability. although hackworth doesn't deal with it, would the governments be able to crack down on groups that just had conventional capability? this is one of the paradoxes of our relationships with the arab countries. governments like egypt and saudi arabia are supportive of us but they maintain their hold on power by giving vent to the most radical segments of their population so that the anger is not directed at them. so it is no surprise that egypt and saudi arabia had a large majority of the sept 11 hijackers and that nationals of those countries continue to be prominent in al queda and other of the most dangerous groups. i tuly believe that both these governments would want to crack down on dangerous groups in their countries but to do so would threaten their regimes. once again, unfortunately, it is the people of islam that we are at war with, not just the governments.

which brings us to another "friend," pakistan. since al queda is currently based in western pakistan that is the most likely source for the next attack. if anyone has shown courage in this war it is general musharaff but it is clear that his government has neither the means nor willingness to control the estimated 500,000 fighters in it's lawless western region. we would be asking a gov't to do what we know it cannot do. so again, mad would be meaningless as applied here.

now in the more expansive version of hackworth's proposal, an attack from one of these countries would be considered an attack by all and i think that is the proper way of looking at it since in my view we are at war with islam, and so when the next attack comes, which everyone seems to agree on, and if it is with a wmd then properly in my view the expansive version calls for retaliation on all. i think such a doctrine would have wide support in the administration and in the country and to that extent is preferable to mine, for which there is no support.

but popularity aside, and this is not to diminish the importance of popularity, what the hackworth proposal in either it's expansive or limited version amounts to is, " we do not have the political will at the present time to strike those who we know we must strike. we will wait until they strike us a second time." that, to me, is just unacceptable. we have already been struck once and it doesn't matter to me that it was not with a wmd, nor would it to me in another strike. we must end this threat and win this war and the hackworth mad doctrine will not do it.

-benjamin harris

Thursday, June 20, 2002

1. THE WAR IS WITH ISLAM
2. THE BEST WAY TO PREVENT WAR IS TO HAVE ONLY FRIENDS
3. ISLAM AS AN IDEOLOGY IS IMPLACCABLY OPPOSED TO US
4. ISLAM WILL NOT REFORM NATURALLY
5. ISLAM DOES NOT WANT A WORLD WAR??
6. WHERE WE CAN WE MUST REDUCE TENSION AND MISTRUST
- A PALESTINIAN STATE MUST BE CREATED.
7.WE MUST MAKE SURE ISLAM DOES NOT DESTROY US
-MAD
-WE MUST MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO WMD
-UN INSPECTORS MUST BE ALLOWED FREE ACCESS TO ALL OF THE HOSTILE ISLAMIC STATE TO SEE IF THERE ARE BIOCHEMICAL OR NUCLEAR WMB OR PLANS FOR THEM.
- IF NO ACCESS IS GRANTED THEM WE MUST TAKE OUT ALL FACILITIES THAT COULD BE PLAUSIBLE CENTERS FOR THEIR HIDING OR MANUFACTURE.
-IF THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE THEN THE GOV'T MUST BE TAKEN OUT.
-TELL ALL ISLAMIC STATES LIKE PAKISTAN, SAUDI ARABIA AND EGYPT TO BOMB THE TERRORIST BASES OR WE'LL TAKE THEM OUT. THESE PEOPLE CAN'T SIMPLY BE ARRESTED.
-WE MUST STOP THE TRANSFER OF ANY WMB TECHNOLOGY TO HOSTILE STATES.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

ARE THE FOLLOWING TRUE:

-TEACHING IN SCHOOLS AND MOSQUES IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD DEMONIZE JEWS AND AMERICANS AND CALL FOR VIOLENCE?
-HAS THERE BEEN A GOOD MEASURE OF POPULAR SUPPORT FOR BIN LADEN IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD
-ARE THERE A NUMBER OF OTHER ISLAMIC CELLS LIKE AL QUEDA
-HOW REALISTIC IS OUR RELIANCE ON FRIENDLY ISLAMIC GOV'TS TO ARREST TERRORISTS
-HOW LIKELY IS AN ATTACK WITH A DIRTY BOMB
-WOULD A DIRTY BOMB THAT HIT MANHATTAN PLUNGE US INTO DEPRESSION

ONLY WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT THE ISLAMIC THREAT STOP IS TO EITHER SHOCK ISLAM INTO REFORM OR HAVE IT REFORM ON IT'S OWN. THE LATTER IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. MY SHOCK THERAPY OF TAKING OVER THE COUNTRIES AND IMPOSING A SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE WOULD PROBABLY WORK.

THE ISSUE IS PREVENTING A SMALL GROUP FROM GETTING A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION LIKE A DIRTY BOMB. AGAIN, THE BEST WAY TO PREVENT THAT WOULD BE TO HAVE THESE PEOPLE BE OUR FRIENDS. SHORT OF WWIII AND MARSHALL PLAN REBUILDING THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS.

-BRING BACK MAD AND INFORM THE TERROR CRESCENT NATIONS OF IT. WE WOULD TELL THE ISLAMIC COUNTRIES THAT WE WILL NOT USE WMD FIRST BUT IF THEY ARE USED AGAINST US WE WILL USE THEM ON IRAN, IRAQ, LIBYA, SYRIA, PAKISTAN AND
-THAT DOCTRINE APPLIED TO NUKES AND PROHIBITED FIRST STRIKES. SHOULDN'T WE USE NON-NUCLEAR MILITARY ACTION AGAINST THE TERROR CRESCENT NOW.
-TELL THE GOV'TS OF HOSTILE COUNTRIES THAT THEY MUST DISMANTLE WMD PROGRAMS AND ALLOW UN INSPECTORS TO VERIFY COMPLIANCE OR WE WILL TAKE THEM OUT.
-THIS HAS GOT TO BE EFFECTIVE. WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO KNOW IF THEY HAVE THEM. IF THIS CANNOT BE DONE, IF WE HAVE NOTHING BUT SPECULATION TO GO ON ABOUT THESE PROGRAMS THEN SOMETHING MORE DRASTIC LIKE TAKING OUT ALL POSSIBLE FACILITIES OR THE GOV'T ITSELF MAY BE NECESSARY. SAME WITH NUKES. THEY WILL USE THEM IF THEY HAVE THEM. IF THEY CAN MAKE A DIRTY BOMB FROM A COMMON NUCLEAR POWER PLANT THEN THEY CAN'T HAVE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS. THIS PLAN IS DEPENDENT ON OUR ABILITY TO REALLY KNOW IF THESE COUNTRIES HAVE THESE THINGS. IF WE CAN'T KNOW THEN THEY WILL USE THEM ON US.
-

COULD WE DO SOMETHING LESS DRASTIC AND ACCOMPLISH JUST AS MUCH?

MUST BE SURE THE WAR REALLY IS WITH ISLAMIC PEOPLE AND NOT JUST EXTREMISTS. MY EVID FOR THIS-POLLS, MEDIA REPORTS. IS THAT ENOUGH? IS THERE ANY OTHER EVIDENCE? ANY COUNTER-EVIDENCE? BROWN SAYS THE IRAQUI PEOPLE WELCOMED US. I'M CONFUSED BY THE IMPLICATIONS OF THAT. IF THEY WELCOMED US THEN WOULDN'T THEYAGAIN AND WOULDN'T THAT LEAD TO LESS BLOODSHED. BUT IF THAT'S THE CASE THEN ARE WE AT WAR WITH THE ISLAMIC PEOPLE? MY GUT IS THAT THEIR CULTURE AND RELIGIOUS TEACHINGS ARE IMPLACABLY VIOLENT TOWARDS US BUT MOST HUMAN BEINGS ARE GOOD AND THEY WOULD NOT KILL US AND THEY DO WANT SOME OF THE THINGS OF OUR CULTURE.

CONSEQUENCES OF MY PLAN:
-DEATHS.
-HOW MANY? PROBABLY NOT ALOT TO TOPPLE THE REGIMES, OFF THE EXPERIENCE IN THE IRAQ AND AFGHAN WARS.
-HUGE EXPENSE IN MARSHALL PLAN FOR ISLAM
-REINSTITUTON OF THE DRAFT
-LOGISTICAL AND MANPOWER NEEDS TO NEUTRALIZE THE CONQUERED STATES. SEIZURE OF MILITARY INSTALLATIONS, OIL FIELDS, AIR PORTS, COMMUNICATIONS OUTLETS. NYT 6-19-02 SAYS MILITARY SAYS ABOUT 250,000 TROOPS NEEDED TO CONQUER IRAQ, HALF THAT USED IN THE GULF WAR. OBVIOUSLY AN ENORMOUS FORCE WOULD BE NEEDED TO CONQUER IRAN.
-OUTLAWING OF ANTI-AMERICAN/ANTI-JEWISH RELIGIOUS TEACHINGS. WHAT KIND OF MANPOWER WOULD THAT TAKE?
-?SETTING UP SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE GOV'T?
-SAUDI ARABI FALLS AND WE MUST OCCUPY IT TO PREVENT CREATION OF A RADICAL ISLAMIC REPUBLIC.
-SAME THING IN PAKISTAN
-SAME THING IN EGYPT?
-JORDAN?
-TURKEY?
-UZBEKISTAN, ETC?
-ANTI-WAR SENTIMENT AT HOME
-WORLD CONDEMNATION LIKE HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE
-VIOLENT ANTI-AMERICAN RALLIES IN EUROPE
-VIOLENCE BY MUSLIM POPULATIONS IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
-?TRADE REPERCUSSIONS?

WE CARRY OUT THE PLAN AND BUSH DELIVERS SPEECH TO BE BROADCAST IN ARABIC ALL OVER THE ARAB WORLD. WE ARE NOT DOING THIS BECAUSE WE HATE YOU BUT BECAUSE WE ARE GOING TO END THE THREAT TO OUR COUNTRY. WE HAVE NO INTENTION OF OCCUPYING YOUR COUNTRY BUT WE WILL TOLERATE NO VIOLENCE TOWARDS OUR TROOPS. WE WILL FIRE WHEN FIRED UPON. WE WILL HELP YOU REBUILD BUT WE WILL MAKE CHANGES TO PROTECT OURSELVES. YOUR RELIGION IS GREAT BUT IT HAS BEEN USED TO TEACH HATRED OF US AND OF JEWS. THAT WILL NOW BE AGAINST THE LAW. YOUR RELIGION IS GREAT BUT THERE WILL BE SEPERATION OF YOUR GOVERNMENT AND RELIGION.

WOULD MY PLAN WORK? CAN'T GUARANTEE IT BUT ALL STATES SUPPORTING TERRORISM WOULD BE DEFEATED AND THE CAMPS WITHIN THOSE STATES AND OTHERS WOULD BE CLOSED AND THE LEADERS ARRESTED OR KILLED AND THEY WOULD BE MADE TO STOP THE TEACHINGS. THE CANCER HAS SPREAD TO OVER 60 COUNTRIES HOWEVER, THE PHILLIPINES, AFRICA, EVEN MUSLIM COMMUNITIES IN EUROPE. THOSE LATTER ARE PRACTICALLY UNTOUCHABLE. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO, INVADE FRANCE AND GERMANY?

THIS WOULD HAVE TO BE DONE QUICKLY AND WITH OVERWHELMING POWER. CROSSING THE ATOMIC THRESHHOLD WOULD BE A LAST RESORT BUT WOULD HAVE TO BE USED IF DAISY CUTTERS, ETC WERE NOT ENOUGH. IF A-BOMBS WERE USED THEN THE LOWEST LEVEL RADIATIONS ONES AVAILABL SHOULD BE USED.

QUICK-RESPONSE INVASION FORCES WOULD HAVE TO BE READY TO GO INTO IRAQ, SYRIA, IRAN, PAKISTAN, SAUDI ARABIA AND EGYPT.

PLAN:

SIMULTANEOUSLY BOMB THE GOV'TS, AND MILITARY INSTALLATIONS, ROADS, BRIDGES,TERRORIST TRAINING CAMPS AND COMMUNICATIONS OUTLETS AND SECURE THE BORDERS IN IRAQ,IRAN, SYRIA, LIBYA AND WESTERN PAKISTAN, PERHAPS SOMALIA. BOMB TERRORIST CELLS EVERYWHERE, THE PHILLIPINES, EGYPT, SAUDI ARABIA, ETC.


KILL 'EM ALL VS GHANDI:

ROOTS OF THE CONFLICT. IS THERE SOMETHING BESIDES OUR SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL THAT WE CAN CHANGE? CAN WE CHANGE THEM WITH LOVE, WITH DIPLOMACY.

WHAT ABOUT THE ANALOGY TO BLACK CRIME? 40% OF BLACK MEN ARE UNDER COURT SUPERVISION. SOMETHING LIKE 30% OF PAKISTANIS SUPPORTED BIN LADEN IN THE POLL. COMPARABLE NUMBERS. ANTI-AMERICAN TEACHING IN THE BLACK COMMUNITIES, E.G. TO STUDY IS "WHITE." ARE WE NOT AS MUCH AT WAR WITH BLACK AMERICA AS WITH ISLAM?

YET I DON'T SUPPORT IMPRISONING ALL BLACK MEN OR EVEN MARTIAL LAW. I SUPPORT IMPRISONING THOSE WHO BREAK THE LAW BUT SIMULTANEOUSLY EFFORTS TO REHABILITATE AND TO GET TO THE ROOT CAUSES OF VIOLENCE: LACK OF EDUCATION, POVERTY, DISCRIMINATION.

CAN'T SOMETHING ALONG THESE SAME LINES BE DONE WITH ISLAM.

ACCORING TO AN ONLINE ENCYCLOPEDIA ON THE CRUSADES THOUGH, CHRISTIANITY SPREAD PEACEFULLY THROUGHT THE MIDDLE EAST BUT BECAUSE ISLAMIC TEACHINGS SAID GOV'TS SHOULD BE ISLAMIC ISLAM STARTED INVADING THE WEST EVENTUALLY ENTERING SPAIN! THE POPE CALLED ON CHRISTIANITY TO RESPOND AND IT DID AND THAT WAS HE BEGINNING OF THE CRUSADES. SO THIS IS MORE SUPPORT FOR THE VIEW THAT THIS IS ISLAM AGAINST US.

BUT ISN'T IT THE CASE THAT FROM THE END OF THE CRUSADES TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ISRAEL THE MUSLIM WORLD AT LEAST DIDN'T ATTACK US LIKE THIS. SO IS ISRAEL THE CAUSE? OR WAS THAT JUST AN EXCUSE TO RESTART THE ATTACKS ON THE WEST BECAUSE THE TEACHINGS STILL CALLED FOR IT? IF ISRAEL WAS THE CAUSE THEN THE CREATION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE SHOULD END IT. BUT I DON'T THINK ANYONE THINKS THAT WOUD HAPPEN.

WHY DID THEY BESIDES OUR SUPPORT OF ISRAEL? IF A PALESTINIAN STATE WERE ESTABLISHED WOULD THIS END. MY GUT SAYS NO.

HAVE WE DONE TO THE MUSLIM WORLD GENERALLY WHAT WE DID TO IRAN. OUR SUPPORT FOR THE SHAH JUSTIFIED THE CREATION OF THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION. OUR SUPPORT OF THE SAUDIS WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT US IN A SIMILAR WAY. OR IS PERHAPS HAUNTING US NOW.

BUT WHAT OF EGYPT. ONCE THE MOST IMPLACABLE ARAB FOE OF AMERICA IT HAS BENEFITED ENORMOUSLY FROM MAKING PEACE WITH ISRAEL. SO WHY ARE SO MANY OF THE AL QUEDA LEADERS EGYPTIAN. SADAT WAS SEEN AS A SELL-OUT AND WAS MURDERED.

IS IT JUST A HATRED OF OUR CULTURE, OF LIBERALISM, PLURALISM, TOLERANCE, ETC WHEN THEIR CULTURE PREACHES INTOLERANCE. IF SO, THEN LET THE WAR BEGIN. BUT TO DO WHAT I PROPOSE, I MUST BE SURE THAT NO PEACEFUL SOLUTION, HOWEVER HUMBLING, IS NOT AVAILABLE.

OR IS THE PROPER ANALOGY, AGAIN, WITH NAZI GERMANY AND JAPAN. THERE WERE CERTAINLY ROOT CAUSE TO THE RISE OF HITLER; VERSAILLES IS CONVENTIONALLY BELIEVED TO BE A PROXIMATE CAUSE OF GERMANY'S POST-WWI HUMILIATION AS WELL AS CONTRIBUTING TO IT'S HYPERINFLATION. THAT DOES NOT JUSTIFY HITLER OR MAKE OUR WAR AGAINST HIM LESS JUST.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE BUSH WAY:

WE TOPPLE SADDAM HUSSEIN
-BUSHIES OBVIOUSLY BELIEVE THAT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED WITH A MINIMUM LOSS OF LIFE
-WHAT EFFECT ON THE OTHER ARAB STATES?
- THE BUSHIES CERTAINLY BELIEVE ISLAMIC OPPOSITION WILL NOT RESULT IN THE OVERTHROW OF OTHER ARAB GOV'TS

-EFFECT OF TOPPLING HUSSEIN
-DO WE DO SOMETHING TO THE RADICAL ISLAMICISTS IN IRAQ?
-DO WE END THE ANTI-AMERICAN TEACHINGS?
-DO WE SECURE THE OIL FIELDS, OCCUPY THE COUNTRY IN SOME MANNER OR JUST KILL HUSSEIN AND OUST THE GOV'T?
-PRESUMABLY WOULD END IRAQ AS BASE FOR TERRORIST OPERATIONS
-WOULD DO NOTHING ABOUT THE CAMPS IN OTHER ARAB STATES.

PRESUMABLY WE WOULD RELY ON DIPLOMATIC PRESSURE TO GET THE GOV'TS IN E.G. PAKISTAN, EGYPT, SAUDIA ARABIA TO ARREST TERRORISTS. AND TO GIVE US INTELLIGENCE.

BUT NOONE CAN BELIEVE THIS WILL STOP AL QUEDA AND AL QUEDA-LIKE GROUPS. THERE'S NO EVIDENCE PAKISTAN WOULD OR CAN OUST TERRORISTS IN THE LAWLESS REGION. THEY JUST CHANGED ADDRESSES AFTER THE AFGHANISTAN INVASION.

BUT WHAT OF THE NO NEW ATTACKS SINCE SEPT 11? ISN'T THAT EVIDENCE WE SHOULDN'T AND NEEDN'T GO WITH A WAR ON ISLAM? SOME HAVE BEEN FOILED BUT THE DIRTY BOMBER WAS IN THE EARLIEST STAGES OF PLANNING HIS ATTACK. THERE MAY BE OTHER GROUPS WHO WOULD LIKE TO DO THE SAME TO US BUT THEY DON'T HAVE THE MEANS. CAN'T WE TRY TO KEEP THEM DOWN WITHOUT STARTING WWIIII.

MY POINT WAS ANOTHER ATTACK IS COMING AND TO WAIT IS INDEFENSIBLE. AND WHAT IF THE NEXT ATTACK TAKES OUT OUR ECONOMY?





Saturday, June 15, 2002

ONE OF THE PROBLEMS SELLING MY VIEW IS THAT ISLAM IS A RELIGION. THAT CLOAKS IT WITH A PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE. RELIGIONS, AMERICANS GENERALLY BELIEVE, ARE GOOD. ALL HAVE THEIR FAULTS. MANY MILLIONS HAVE DIED IN THE NAME OF CHRISTIANITY. MY VIEW IS THAT ISLAM IS, AS HITCHENS SAID, NOTHING BUT A TENTH-RATE PENAL CODE BUT SELLING THAT IS GOING TO BE DIFFICULT.

THE ARGUMENT ABOUT ISLAMIC SUPPORT FOR US IS LIKEWISE GOING TO BE A DIFFCULT ONE TO OVERCOME. THIS IS THE KIND OF ARGUMENT THAT MAKES MY PROPOSAL SEEM IMPOSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO SUPPORT. LIKE SO MUCH ABOUT THE CURRENT SITUATION, THIS IS NEW FOR PEOPLE; IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. "IF I CAN GET PAST THE IDEA THAT WE ARE TO GO TO WAR WITH A RELIGION HOW CAN I RECONCILE THAT WITH THIS SUPPORT OF ISLAMIC COUNTRIES." THAT SEEMS TO DEFEAT MY POSITION ALL BY ITSELF. IT IS A HARD SELL. THE FACT IS THOUGH THAT ONE, IT IS THE PEOPLE IN THE ISLAMIC COUNTRIES THAT ARE SO AGAINST US, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEIR GOVERNMENTS SAY. THAT IS PROVABLE BY THE SITUATION IN PAKISTAN NOW AND IN EGYPT AND SAUDI ARABIA TOO. BOTH OF THOSE GOV'TS ARE STAUNCHLY IN THE AMERICAN CAMP ON THIS AND MANY OTHER ISSUES BUT THOSE GOV'TS ARE REPRESSIVE AND MAINTAIN THEMSELVES IN POWER BY SANCTIONING THE INCULCATION OF THEIR PEOPLE IN THE MOST VICIOUS ANTI-AMERICAN AND ANTI-JEWISH PROPOGANDA. IT IS WORSE THAN USELESS TO HAVE FORMAL GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT BUT REAR A GENERATION IN ANTI-AMERICAN HATRED. THAT IS WHY SO MANY OF THE HIJACKERS WERE SAUDI.

THE POINT ABOUT THE INSTABILITY MY VIEW WOULD CREATE IS A VALID ONE. SAUDI ARABIA WOULD FALL, PAKISTAN WOULD FALL, EGYPT WOULD FALL. THE UAE, JORDAN--ALL OF THEM WOULD BE TURNED INTO RADICALIZED IRAN-LIKE STATES. THE VIEW BELOW WOULD HOLD THAT THE BAD FEELINGS TOWARDS THE U.S. ARE BAD ENOUGH RIGHT NOW, THAT THE ONLY WAY OF RIGHTING THEM IS TO BRING PEACE BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE ARABS AND TO AVOID AT ALL COSTS WHAT I PROPOSE.

IT'S MY VIEW, AN IMPOSSIBLE ONE TO SELL PERHAPS, THAT THE ISLAMIC WORLD IS IMPLACCABLE IN IT'S OPPOSITION AGAINST.US. BUT I MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THE CONSEQUENCES HERE. WE WOULD HAVE TO OCCUPY THE ARAB OIL FIELDS. I ALWAYS ENVISIONED NATION-BUILDING AS WE DID AFTER WWII. OCCUPATION, AND A DRAFT TO SUPPORT IT, WOULD BE NECESSARY. WE HAVE HAD A GENERATION OF ATTACKS ON US, FROM IRAN, IRAQ, LIBYA, AND FROM EGYPT AND SAUDI ARABIA AS REPRESENTED BY THE 9-11 HIJACKERS. IT IS NOT JUST A MATTER OF CHANGING GOVT'S. IT IS THE PEOPLE WHO ARE AGAINST US. BUT EVEN IF PEOPLE BELIEVE THIS, THEY WON'T USE IT AS A JUSTIFICATION OF THE MASSIVE MILITARY CONFLICT I PROPOSE.

THE ARGUMENT ON THE SIZE OF AL QUEDA IS SIMILARLY A POWERFUL ONE. IN MANIFOLD WAYS, THIS JUST DOESN'T "LOOK" LIKE WWII. PERHAPS THAT ANALOGY SHOULD NOT BE USED. IT MAY JUST ADD TO PEOPLE'S CONFUSION. MY RETORT WOULD BE ONE, THAT THIS IS THE WAY ISLAM HAS TRADITIONALLY FOUGHT AND TWO, WITH MODERN WEAPONRY IT IS NOT ONLY NOT NECESSARY TO FIGHT THE OLD MANPOWER-INTENSIVE WAY BUT IT IS STRATEGICALLY UNWISE. A SMALL MOBILE ARMY POSSESSING THIS MUCH LETHAL CAPACITY IS PROBABLY BETTER THAN A HUGE TRADITIONAL ARMY.

I DON'T KNOW IF AL QUEDA IS ALONE IN ATTACKING US. I THINK NOT BUT I DON'T THINK THIS IS A VALID POINT. IT IS NOT LIKE HAMAS, ETC ARE BRANCHES OF THE RED CROSS. THEY HATE US. THEIR RHETORIC PROVES IT.

MAYBE MY ONLY UNASSAILABLE POINT IS THE RHETORIC COMING FROM THE ISLAMIC WORLD. WORDS ARE NOT ACTION BUT IF MORE OF THESE WORDS WERE PUBLICIZED IN THE WEST MINDS MIGHT BE CHANGED.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

On NATO

ON NATO

the defining example of the lack of fecundity that characterizes american foreign policy in the post-cold war era, to say nothing of the post-sept. 11 world, is the recent decision by nato to admit russia as a non-voting member.

the absurdity of this move is so apparent as to be demonstrated syllogitically:

(1) the soviet union is the great threat to western civilization.
(2) nato is an alliance of the western democracies to contain and deter the soviet union.

that was the syllogism before 1989. in that year however a new condition was added:

(3) the soviet union ceases to exist.

what should have followed as the conclusion to the syllogism, "#4 nato ceases to exist," never happened. instead, of course, just the opposite happened. not only was nato allowed to live but it was expanded to include the countries of the former soviet bloc in central and eastern europe and the baltics.

this is not just another amusing but harmless example of bureaucratic rigidity, like the continuation of a cavalry division in the us army until the 1950s. the continuation and expansion of nato in a non-bipolar world involves america in affairs in which it has little or no national interest.

the case for sanguinity is made by charles krauthammer in a may 24 essay in the washington post entitled "re-imagining nato." in that article, krauthammer stated that "nato is dead" as a military alliance and that russia was to be welcomed into the new nato "political club."

krauthammer may re-imagine nato as something other than it is but it remains a military alliance, it's charter obligating all member states to consider an attack on one as an attack on all. so now the united states, in an era when the threat of the soviet union is long gone, is to consider an attack on, say, warsaw--and perhaps someday moscow-- as an attack on washington, d.c.

integration may have made europe less susceptible to war, certainly to world war, than at any time in the past two centuries, but it has not eliminated it. indeed, as the balkan conflict demonstrated, european integration sometimes equals european paralysis, with the effect that the united states considers itself obliged to act in the face of european inaction, even in the latter's back yard. this is a consequence of america's lack of development of a doctrine, like the cold war policy of containment, to deal with new realities.

the expansion of nato therefore is a recipe for disaster, of involving the u.s. in matters not of it's national interest. the immediate post-cold war era was best captured by francis fukyama's "the end of history" but fukyama's era lasted only until sept. 11, 2001. on that date a new era was initiated, the era of samuel huntington's "clash of civilizations." it it to that era that a new military alliance must be fashioned.

-benjamin harris

Sunday, June 09, 2002

STEVEN WOLFRAM'S NEW SCIENCE

although the pace of human intellectual achievement quickened dramatically in the 20th century, few generations of mankind can claim to have been alive for, much less to have understood, a paradigm-shifting advance in understanding when it occurred

van gogh, one of the most important artists in the western canon, never sold a single painting in his lifetime. few, certainly fewer of the larger public, understood the general theory of relativity when it was published by an obscure swiss patent office bureaucrat.

steven wolfram's "new kind of science" is an advance of that magnitude and his discovery is easy for the general public to comprehend. as a friend said, it is a real "page turner," which makes it unique in the serious scientific literature.

to understand how astounding wolfram's discovery is, consider the state of theoretical physics today. it still operates in the einsteinian paradigm and has struggled for years to develop a mathematical formula that would serve as a grand unified theory of the five fundamental forces of nature. it is no closer now than it was a generation ago and exotic modifications like "string theory," and "membrane theory" hve been advanced to shoehorn the workings of the universe into a mathematical model.

now, just as newton did to the copernican paradigm and einstein did to the newtonian paradigm wolfram says the einsteinian paradigm is insufficient as a means of moving physics forward and that he intends another revolution . never one for false modesty, wolfram states this explicitly in the first senence of the book: "three centuries ago science was transformed by the dramatic new idea that rules based on mathematical equations could be used to describe the natural world. my purpose in this book is to initate another such transformation and to introduce a new kind of science..."

as theoretical physicists and mathematicians have labored producing blackboard-long formulae of daunting complexity to explain less and less, some have thought that when a comprehensive formula was discovered it would be simple and "elegant." they were right that it would be simple and elegant but they were wrong that it would be a mathematical model.

wolfram's discovery is the "cellular automata" and it's astonishing ability to show how even notoriously complex physical phenomena like the common snowflake can be produced by the repeated application of simple rules.

in the chapter titled "the crucial experiment" wolfram describes what led to his discovery. starting with a single black square or "cell" on a computer grid wolfram devised a simple "rule" that would dictate the generation of additional cells in succeeding steps. so, for example, if the cells to the right and left of the starting cell were black, the newly-produced cell was to be white, if the adjoining cells were white, the new cell would be black, and so on. in this simple program there were only eight different possibilities of color combinations. wolfram then ran the program and as he puts it, what he saw "i did not believe...could possibly be correct."

this simple cellular automation produced patterns of staggering complexity that, as a theoretical physicist, wolfram recognized only the most intricate mathematical formulae could produce. as he continued to run the program, for 50 steps, then 500, then 1500, the pattern became more complex, or dissolved into randomness, or repeated itself endlessly, or died out, depending on the rule.

in the end there were 256 different patterns that could be produced by variations on that initial eight-component rule and the resulting patterns ranged from pure white grids to pure black grids to grids with diagonals to fractal "nested" structures. the implications, even to the non-scientist are clear. on one level this is the language of evolution itself. starting with a single cell and the simplest cosmic code, immensely varied life forms can be produced. looking at these patterns one's sense is that a look behind the curtain of creation itself is obtained.

wolfram's second, equally important, discovery was that making the rule more complex did not make the output more complex. he used mobile automata, turing machines substitution systems, tag systems, and others whose workings are unimportant because their output was not more important than that produced by rules of child-like simplicitly.

and so it goes for over 1200 pages. the only criticism one can make of "a new kind of science" is that wolfram badly needed an editor. that is tribute to the simplicity and "elegance" of his discovery and for the general reader repetition of the basic theme at least reinforces learning.

both in the beginning of the book and then in succeeding chapters wolfram considers the implications of his work for: "mathematics," "physics," "biology," "social sciences," "computer science," "philosophy," "art," and "technology," in other words, every aspect of human comprehension.

over 30 years thomas kuhn revolutionized the understanding of scientific epistemology with "the structure of scientific revolutions." in that book he showed how the conventional wisdom that scientific advances were made as the product of incremental steps each piled on top of the other was false and that instead scientific history was characterized by periods of quiescent "normal" science interrupted by occasional "revolutions" that resulted in the creation of a new scientific "paradigm," indeed, a "new science." copernicus fashioned one such revolution, newton another, einstein a third. with "a new kind of science," steven wolfram has made another.

-benjamin harris