Thursday, August 24, 2006

Contra Appeasement

Barry Rubin has an interesting piece on "the new era" in the Middle East, which he sees, perhaps in line with Marx's famous dictum, as Nasserism in a new guise. The popular support generated throughout the Arab world by such figures as Osama bin Laden and now Hassan Nasrallah certainly invites such a comparison. Rubin's main claim is that
After the war in Lebanon, the Middle East entered a new era, which was already on the way for a half-dozen years and in which radical Islamism sets the ideological and political agenda. It marks the end of hope for peace or democracy.
This trend, Rubin argues, goes back to the Palestinian leadership's rejection of the Barak offer (whether you think it was generous or not). A consensus has emerged that Israel and the West are weak, and that now a
violent struggle in pursuit of total victory rather than pragmatism, democracy, compromise, and economic construction
can cure all the problems afflicting the Arabs and the Muslim world more generally.

For Rubin, appeasing this new "resistance axis," is the biggest mistake that that West could make (and is making):
If only Iran, Syria, or Hizballah is offered concessions, [those who favor appeasement] argue, the threat will go away. This view actually feeds the problem. The radicals have far-reaching goals (including genocide in Israel) and powerful ideologies that make them not so eager to make any deal.
It is often argued that Israeli actions weaken moderate forces. Thus, the bombing of Beirut rallied the entire Lebanese population to fight Israel and to support Hizbullah. Likewise, many argue that Israel's actions in the territories incite Arabs in Egypt and Jordan against the West and democracy. But few of these critics consider the effects of appeasement on local pro-democracy forces who see the incitement against Israel for what it is. Appeasement bolsters the most intransigent and fundamentalis forces, because
they [the extremists] think they are winning. Western efforts to achieve understandings are consistently viewed as weakness inviting escalation. This is clear in any reading of the radical leaders' speeches. Why should Arab governments, reformers, or Lebanese factions oppose the extremists if they believe--correctly in general--that the West will not help them?
Apologies for not writing earlier. Temporary time pressures conspired against us, and someone on Kishkushim got married this week (it wasn't me).


tod0001 said...

This is reminding me of the Western Powers' policies of appeasement and concessions during 1936-39.

They are taking turns feeding the big, bad wolf( iran), hoping to be the last to be eaten.....

Good luck and God bless the new couple in their union(wedding).

Anonymous said...

9/11 was bad, very bad, 7/11 and the other bombings are bad as well,
I see the real end game being when some arab country gets something and tries to or successfully hits tel Aviv,

They will get bold, and do something like that, but the consequesnce will be something like once tel Aviv is hit and Arabs want their equivalent of the 6 day war, it will be a 2 day war, once they hit and if they get lucky, the gloves come off, and Israel has the green light to launch their nukes,

The thing arabs and moslems should be asking themselves is what major moslem metropoises are targeted?

Damascus and Tehran, probably,what about Mecca, the grand daddy of moslem life?

The yshould ask themselves do they REALLY want to take that chance?

I would bet that more than one ISraeli nuke is hardcoded in targeting for the center of Mecca that big black rock.

If arabs and moslems suceed in getting off a lucky shot, the UN or China and Russias input will be mute, UN is too weak, Russsia and China don't really have a dog in the race and damn sure won't put themseves at risk to save a bunch or arabs they are only using for oil anyway.

Thewre will be a day, if this happens, the arab league and moslem leaders from around the planet will be sitting on an aircraft carrier signing an unconditional surrender, with a lot of rules about moslems and how they will be watched and what they can and cannot do,

Japan did it, and they were as hard core as Moslems seem to be, the difference is moslems have not been hit yet, Hiroshima WAS 50 years ago, 1 megaton, what will 100 megatons do especially over several major moslem metroplitan areas,
what will the evaporation of several million out of a billion do to the collective moslem conscious,

How WILL they act when the real gloves are taken off?

My take is they should go to Japan because Japan will say " NO fuckie with round eye! They make BIG BOOM, no happy ending"

Stephen Ames Berry said...

...and someone on Kishkushim got married this week (it wasn't me).
Yes, but there's an uncanny resemblance. :)

Congratulations, John, and best wishes to you and your lovely bride. (And thanks to Carmia for the wedding pictures.)

Steve & Linda

Amos said...

Hey guys :) I'm not sure how his internet access is at the moment, but hopefully he will see this eventually. Thanks a lot for reading!

philippe m. said...

congratulations john,
Derek passed along the link for kishkushim a while back . .it has been a great regular read for the past few months. No warning on the big news though!

John said...

Thanks for all the wishes, guys!

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