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Neo-Con versus Neo-Caliphate

oldreliable67

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James Robbins, writing in the nationalreviewonline has an interesting column titled “Going Medieval: The Nature of Jihad and This War We’re In”. In commenting about a new book titled “TheLegacy of Jihad”, he observes,

“One learns very quickly that the caliphate was established not by evangelism but by the sword, and the non-Muslims who were subjected to the rule of the caliphs were either forced to convert, allowed to live as social inferiors under a religious caste system called dhimmitude, or simply killed outright.

There was no question among the early Muslim scholars that their faith should spread to the four corners of the world, and as quickly as possible. According to Islamic teaching, the time before the advent of Mohammed was the period of Jahiliyyah, or ignorance of the guidance from God. Once Mohammed brought the word of God, there was no longer any excuse for ignorance. And once an area was liberated and its people enlightened, they could not go back. Any place that became Muslim had to stay Muslim; thus groups like al Qaeda define the hoped for neo-Caliphate as encompassing not only areas where Muslims currently live, but all such places were they ever had influence. More to the point, this is only the first phase of consolidation. They will not stop there. The ultimate step in the al Qaeda program is the conversion of the world to their brand of Islam, and the realization of the vision first pursued by Mohammed and his successors.”


Robbins writes that the nature of jihad is of course one of the central questions of the war on terror. Some Muslims maintain that true jihad is a moral struggle within each person to enjoin the good and resist evil; some say that the idea that force can be used to convert is not Islamic: it would make the greater jihad impossible because the convert would not sincerely believe. Would that everyone felt that way. As the Ayatollah Khomeini said of those who argued Islam was a religion of peace that prevents men from waging war, “I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”

Now contrast the "Neo-Caliphate" vision with that articulated Condi Rice in last Sunday's WP. Her points can be summarized as follows:

> Since its creation more than 350 years ago, the modern state system has always rested on the concept of sovereignty. It was assumed that states were the primary international actors and that every state was able and willing to address the threats emerging from its territory.

> Today, however, we have seen that these assumptions no longer hold, and as a result the greatest threats to our security are defined more by the dynamics within weak and failing states than by the borders between strong and aggresive ones.

> Absent responsible state authority, threats that would and should be contained within a country's borders can now melt into the world and wreak untold havoc.

> Our experience of this new world leads us to conclude that the fundamental character of regimes matters more today that the international distribution of power.

> The goal of our statecraft is to help create a world of democratic, well-governed states that can meet the needs of their citizens and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system. Supporting the growth of democratic institutions in all nations is not some moralistic flight of fancy; it is the only realistic response to our present challenges.

Rice articulates the fact that Islamic jihad finds havens in weak and failing states and flourishes among those states too weak to contain them. She posits that our goal, therefore, is to support and facilitate the spread of representative, well-governed states that will presumably provide the economic well-being for its citizens and the strength to contain the threats to world security.

So lets pose this proposition: One, Islamic jihad is a major threat to the security of the non-Islamic world today. Two, the appropriate response from the non-Islamic world is to facilitate democratic reform those weak and failing states in which Islamic jihad is able to organize and export its jihad. Yes or no?
 

RubberDucky

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So lets pose this proposition: One, Islamic jihad is a major threat to the security of the non-Islamic world today. Two, the appropriate response from the non-Islamic world is to facilitate democratic reform those weak and failing states in which Islamic jihad is able to organize and export its jihad. Yes or no?

Yes on both counts. The concern is not what the threats are or what needs to be done, but rather on how to do so.

The U.S. has attempted to combat terrorism by fighting conventional wars. Freezing economic assets and working with other international organizations for faster response times and identification of terror suspects is an alternative/addition to this practice. The conventional war we have fought in Iraq can only result in animosity toward the U.S. and its political standards as Iraqis will attribute deaths of family and friends to the "outsiders" rather than people who share their reglion, customs, and culture.

Moreover, historically a large majority of artificially implaced governments have either failed or resulted in human rights abuses. Consider the instability of many African governments placed in power by European powers after the colonialist era. Further consider the failures of the Weimar Republic, the First French Republic, and the current failures in the Russian system due to mafia control of certain powerful industries. We can only encourage, not force, democratic and peaceful changes in the M.E.

Note: the U.S. left the power vacuum in Afghanistan which allowed the reactionary Taliban government to come to power in 1996. If we were to have provided aid and assistance in developing democratic governmental systems following the drawn out war between Afghani warlords and the USSR, the Taliban likely would have been unable to come to power, we would have had another ally in the area, and Al Qaeda would have one less major base to train their operatives. We must follow the model of investment rather than forcibly instituting government systems on other groups.
 

oldreliable67

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rubberducky said:
The conventional war we have fought in Iraq

While the initial conquest phase of Iraq was rather conventional, it has been anything but conventional since, IMO.

rubberducky said:
If we were to have provided aid and assistance in developing democratic governmental systems following the drawn out war between Afghani warlords and the USSR, the Taliban likely would have been unable to come to power

Positing alternative futures is always tricky, but I tend to disagree with this. Had we provided assistance to a faction of the Mujahdeen following the Russky withdrawal from Afghanistan, we would most likely have ended up in a true quaqmire, just replacing the Russians as the target. The memories of Vietnam were still way too fresh for us to get involved, even on an advisory level, IMO. Besides, we did what we wanted to: we helped eliminate the Russky presence.
 
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