In Regard to the Muslim World, What Do We Do Now?

The key take-away of the recent events in the middle east, for me, is that whatever we were trying to do in the Muslim world, it is now in shambles.  Whether one wants to take the leftwing/Islamist view that Islam is angered by our wrongdoing or if one wishes to point out that Islam has been the aggressor for more than a thousand years is immaterial – whether it is war or the olive branch we were trying to bring to the Muslim world, both our war and peace policies have failed.  We have no victorious war while also having no peace.  However we go forward, we should go forward as a blank slate.  The first thing for us to do, then, is to figure out what we want.

The Muslim world is a billion people sitting on a strategic crossroads and also containing a very large amount of the exceptionally valuable substance, oil.  This reality is just there – it can’t be argued with.  Whatever we might want, our policy has to take in to consideration that it is there and has to be dealt with.  So, the first thing we can dispose of is any concept that we can just entirely walk away and pretend it doesn’t matter.  For good or ill, the United States will be involved in the affairs of the Muslim world.  That said, we still have to define what we want our involvement to be.

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The Libyan Revolution

Hot Air has the best running thread – but it does look like the end has come, and perhaps not just for the regime.  From Twitter:

Mohammed Gaddafi to Al Jazeera: (gun fire got louder here) “I..I… I am being attacked right now..inside, inside my house, inside”

So, now what?  No one knows – I don’t think anyone has anything but the haziest notion of what is going on among the rising power players in Libya.  The vacuum caused by the downfall of a 40+ year regime is bound to be large and difficult to fill.  All sorts of people with motives from noble to base and everywhere in between will be vying for power.  It could get messy.

Mostly we’re just going to have to be spectators – we can try to help (and certainly must help in humanitarian matters), but until at least some sort of nationally recognized authority emerges, there’s no “side” for us to take, as it were.

I would like to pause a moment here and remember – Gaddafi has been in power for most of my life.  He’s been reviled and lauded…hated and admired.  But in all the commentary I’ve ever seen on him, no one has dared to hit the nail on the head…he was merely a corrupt and cruel man who for his own, personal ambition took control of a nation and ran it as a private estate.  Everyone, as far as I can tell, took the man seriously – that he actually had something of an ideal in his mind that he was striving for, even if a mistaken ideal.  No one ever said, “hey, a man who claims he wants justice and murders his opponents, who claims he’s an Moslem purists but buys his arms from an atheist USSR; who claims to be a man of the people but sets his family up in a lavish lifestyle is nothing more than a lying sack of feces.”

This is what bothers be about the world – the way we go along with whatever someone says.  No one is courageous enough to say the emperor has no clothes.  Utter BS draped in rhetoric and aping rationality is treated as the real thing.  It isn’t just Gaddafi…it is all such regimes we’ve seen..starting with Lenin’s Russia, Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany.  Here’s the truth about someone like Lenin – he kept a stash of western cash and a fake passport with him while he was ruling Russia, in case he had to make a quick getaway.  People who do evil know full well they are doing evil…they dress up their wickedness in fine words because it works…it hoodwinks people.

Stop being hoodwinked – the next Gaddafi to happen along, treat him as he is…a thief, a murderer, a liar, a philanderer…a complete creep who managed to gain power, and nothing more.

Gaddafi Quits?

From the Telegraph:

…Following an emergency EU meeting of foreign ministers on the situation in Libya, Mr Hague was asked if Britain, or other Western countries, knew if Col. Gaddafi had left Tripoli.

“About whether Col. Gaddafi, is in Venezuela, I have no information that says he is although I have seen some information that suggests he is on his way there,” he said.

British officials stressed that Mr Hague was referring “not to media reports but information from other channels”. “This is credible information,” said a diplomat…

We’ll know in a day or two if this is the case – good riddance to bad rubbish.  But, also, quite a mess to be cleaned up…and one which would have been cleaned up months ago, at much lower cost in blood and treasure, if President Obama had acted with force and decision early on.

What our concern must be now, outside of humanitarian assistance to those injured and displaced by war, is what sort of government emerges.  Reasonably sane, sorta-democratic – good.  Screwball Islamist, not so good.  And I would discount all current information on those leading the rebels – we don’t really know what they are about, and there could be massive changes in that area as the spoils of victory get divvied up.

Syrian Army Crushes Rebels

From Bloomberg:

Syrian soldiers stormed Hama and other flashpoints of unrest, leaving at least 121 dead, an activist said, as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces sought to reassert control on the eve of Ramadan, when protests are likely to intensify.

Tanks shelled Hama, Syria’s fourth largest city, where at least 100 people were killed today, said Mahmoud Merhi, head of the Damascus-based Arab Organization for Human Rights.

Three people died near the city of Daraa, and fighting in other areas raised the toll to 121, Merhi said…

Why is the Syrian government doing this?  Because they know that the one nation on earth which can enforce decency won’t act…or, even if we did act, then under Obama we would act with sufficient speed and power to affect the outcome.  Get used to this boys and girls – because Obama has abdicated America’s leadership role, the world now belongs to whomever is willing to be the most evil.  This massacre in Hama is just a slight foretaste of what is to come.  Tyrants around the world are watching events and getting ready grab what they can and settle scores…all in the knowledge that Obama is more likely to condemn a US ally than an enemy.

The world is becoming a very dangerous place…and to help you sleep better, the word is that the Democrats want 50% of all spending cuts to come out of defense, alone.