Saturday, December 09, 2006


A powerful condemnation of the latest Iraq proposals by Ralph Peters

The superannuated membership of the Iraq Study Group shepherded by former secretary of state James Baker conjures a line from the film The Sixth Sense: "I see dead people." Two centuries ago, Europeans dreaming of reform and freedom must have felt just as crestfallen as they watched their continent's ghoulish elder statesmen gather for the Congress of Vienna. Both assemblies symbolize a victory for the ancien r‚gime, the bloody-minded refusal to accept that the world has changed profoundly and will continue to change.

If the Baker commission is the K-Mart version of the Congress of Vienna, its influence may prove no less pernicious. Baker is the dean emeritus of a reactionary school of diplomats--inaccurately labeled "realists"--whose support of the shah of Iran, the Saudi royal family, Anwar Sadat, then Hosni Mubarak, and, not least, Saddam Hussein delivered short-term stability that proved illusory in the long run. It was the "realist" elevation of stability above all other strategic factors--echoing Prince Metternich--that gave us not only the radical regime in Iran, but, ultimately, al Qaeda and 9/11.

The leading modern practitioner of this profoundly reactionary approach to international relations was, of course, Henry Kissinger, whose doctoral thesis championed the diplomats and heads of state who redivided Europe into reform-school states after Napoleon's defeat. A classic revisionist, Kissinger ignored the wisdom of 19th century observers who recognized that the oppression sponsored by the Congress of Vienna created only a mockery of peace. The century of Biedermeier sensibilities and Victorian manners was, in fact, punctuated by a long series of failed--and often grisly--revolutions that radicalized those who found the status quo unbearable. The Staats ordnung of the day created the cult of political assassinations that haunts us still. Metternich and his peers induced the social forced labor that gave birth to Marx and all the utopian extremists who came afterward. From the lesser figures, such as Kropotkin or Bakunin, down to Lenin and Hitler, the political distortions of the "orderly" 19th century led to the unprecedented bloodbaths of the 20th century.

The Kissinger school amplified our Cold War support for authoritarian and even dictatorial regimes, deforming the Middle East as Metternich, Talleyrand, Nesselrode, Castlereagh, Wellington, and their lesser contemporaries crippled Europe. For his part, Baker argued--wrongly--that Saddam Hussein should be spared in the wake of Desert Storm; tried to persuade the Soviet Union to remain whole after its comprehensive collapse; and pretended against the increasingly gory evidence that Yugoslavia could be preserved as a unified state. He tolerated Saddam's savage suppression of a Shia revolt we incited, and only grudgingly--and belatedly--acquiesced in our protection of Kurdish refugees.

One of the many tragedies of our experience in Iraq is that the incompetence of the Bush administration's occupation policy has obscured the necessity of igniting change in the Middle East. Removing Saddam Hussein from power was both an intelligent act and a moral one. But the aftermath was so badly botched that many in Washington now long--as did those powdered cynics in Vienna--for the status quo antebellum. They would renew our commitment to Saudi Arabia and other autocracies, while quietly selling out the Lebanese, the Kurds, and the region's moderates in order to get us out of Iraq. We would return to a version of the old order and might gain a brief respite from our troubles in the region. But the greater effects of a renewed stability-ueber-alles doctrine would play into the recruitment schemes of the most radical Islamist elements in the region, while instigating human rights violations on a breathtaking scale. We would throw away any hope of a better future for a brief timeout today.

More here



McCain disses the ISG report: One excerpt: "The report embraces the idea that peace between Arabs and Israelis - which, the report states, can only be achieved through land for peace - is a necessary element of success in Iraq. All of us desire peace in the region and peace between Arabs and Israelis. But it is impossible to see how such a peace can be achieved so long as Hamas, a terrorist group that rejects a two-state solution and the very existence of Israel, stands at the helm of the Palestinian Authority. We must not push our Israeli ally to make concessions to groups that refuse to recognize its right to exist. In addition, the linkage the ISG report makes between this issue and the violence in Iraq seems tenuous at best. While I desire peace for Israel in its own right, it is difficult to see how an Arab-Israeli peace process will diminish Sunni-Shia violence in Baghdad or al Qaeda activity in Anbar Province. The report recommends the establishment of a regional diplomatic conference on Iraq, to include Iran and Syria. We must be both cautious and realistic about what Iranian and Syrian participation is likely to achieve. Our interests in Iraq diverge significantly from those of Damascus and Tehran, and this is unlikely to change under the current regimes. I do not object to reasonable efforts that might modify these countries' behavior in Iraq, but if the price of their cooperation is an easing of pressure on Tehran over its nuclear ambitions, or on Damascus over the Syrian role in Lebanon, then that price is too high".

The Ayatollahs can't even pump oil out of the ground: "Iran has a surprising weakness: Its oil and gas industry, the lifeblood of its economy, is showing serious signs of distress. As domestic energy consumption skyrockets, Iran is struggling to produce enough oil and gas for export. Unless Tehran overhauls its policies, its primary source of revenue and the basis of its geopolitical muscle could start to wane. Within a decade, says Saad Rahim, an analyst at Washington consultancy PFC Energy, "Iran's net crude exports could fall to zero." That's not to say Iran doesn't have abundant resources. The country's 137 billion barrels of oil reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia's, and its supply of gas trails only Russia's, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Getting it all out of the ground, though, is another matter. Iran has been producing just 3.9 million barrels of oil a day this year, 5% below its OPEC quota, because of delays in new projects and a shortage of technical skills. By contrast, in 1974, five years before the Islamic Revolution, Iran pumped 6.1 million barrels daily."

Economic success for Australia's conservative policies: "Employment jumped sharply in November, more than reversing an unexpectedly large drop in the previous month, leaving the unemployment rate at a 30-year low of 4.6 per cent. Employment rose by a seasonally adjusted 36,200 in November after a 32,100 drop in the previous month. Full-time employment jumped by 57,400. Market economists had expected a 10,000 employment increase, and forecast the jobless rate to rise to 4.8 per cent. Federal Treasurer Peter Costello has hailed the figures as proof that a labour market that has seen "extraordinary" growth this year is still booming.... Mr Costelo has said it appears employers are now more confident in hiring new staff and the problem is not a lack of jobs, but a lack of workers. "There are more Australians in work than ever before," he has said. "It may well be people are putting on employees and they will slow their employment growth next year, but you would have to say, I doubt that we have seen a year like this." He has said unemployment has been below 5 per cent for seven months in a row. "We have gone below what used to be considered full employment." [A bit better than the 9% in socialist France! Reform of "unfair dismissal" laws succeeded in Australia, while it failed in France]



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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