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Neoconservative ideology with regards American world power had been completely concentrated efforts in the Middle East focused on the Greater Israel plan to remake the region with Iraq as the test case of democracy which failed as most would agree.  But neoconservatism is new compared to the original American world empire strategy that Gore Vidal eloquently recounts.  The total failure of neoconservative dominance in American foreign policy cannot be understood without the response from China the rival economic hegemon: use of excess resources to produce infrastructure development in 100 countries neutral to political structures based on economic co-operation in their Silk Road project.

China is blocked militarily in the east with Taiwan an American protectorate and China incapable of overwhelming American naval forces and unable to ensure being able to claim dominance of the seas had responded with opening up the land route economic development including plans for development in the Middle East where the crucial part of the Silk Road connecting Tehran and Damascus.  This is fundamental reason that Iran is busy intervening and competing with Saudi proxies in Iraq and Syria which in American foreign policy circles is being discussed as a ‘Shia crescent’ for Iran’s bad behaviour of intervention but can be seen as securing under Russia’s military umbrella the Silk Road development path.  Both Russia and China have been making military alliances with Iran in order to secure the land route between Tehran and Damascus.  America and Israel have reacted with arming Kurdish nationalist ambitions to blockade the control of this path with a landlocked Kurdish nation.

The failure to produce a thriving western democracy in Iraq is fundamentally a failure of the neoconservative American foreign policy ideology that meshed with Zionist ambitions for the region that is obviously not going to be popular with the native peoples of the region.  Recently Turkey and Iran had acted to stop a Kurdish independence movement.  Netanyahu’s recent trip to Russia did not lead to an agreement to limit Iran’s presence in Syria.  The region is therefore still politically in flux.  China intends to expand with political friendly terms with Israel and Iran.

 

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This is something I had not considered before: that since Israel was a strategic American asset during the Cold War, there was no significant rational foreign policy justification for United States to continue enormous support for Israel ($3 billion per year etc.) and given the pressures of hostility with its Arab neighbors, so conducting 9/11 would serve as a significant operation that could produce an event that aligns Israeli prejudices and fears of radical Islamic threat to become American interests.  The hyper-nationalism of Israel and its struggle to ensure survival and expansion of Greater Israel could not be continued without firm American commitment to that project.  Whatever the official account is with 19 hijackers with box cutters and so on, Occam’s razor would definitely provide immense motive for 9/11 as enforcing a change in American public opinion regarding Arabs and Muslims and terrorism that could mobilize American power to destruction of Israel’s regional enemies.  Indeed, Israel lobby has been instrumental in guiding American foreign policy in the region including the Iraq war.  And of course there have not been any flurry of radical Islamic terror acts in America since 9/11 which suggests that the initial event was Israeli false flag.  The reason this is even on my mind these days is because the current preparation of war on Iran seems to be consistent with my picture of wars since 9/11 that expend American blood and treasure that seem to be in Israel’s interests.  My own view of American national interests in the Middle East is that America should be, as the global hegemon, enforcing a peace between Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iran because it is the Iraq war that had produced much of the chaos in the region and America needs a stable order in the region regardless of Israel’s geopolitical ambitions in the region — the Oded Yinon/Greater Israel plan or others.  If America moves into a war with Iran, even if the costs are justified with a further successful push by the Israel lobby and other forces in domestic American politics and the American public is moved to a sufficient antagonism toward Iranians the results would be highly destabilizing to the world order and give significant benefit to the aims of China and Russia unless America intends to pacify both powers as well.

The American leadership’s idea of how to get it’s way with Iran is sanctions and war, which is to say to beat Iran into submission.  This has not worked with Iran in the past.  Indeed, at the risk of repeating Trita Parsi, the only thing that has worked thus far is diplomatic negotiations with Iran which produced the nuclear deal.  Trump’s instincts are that since America is stronger economically and militarily the ‘frankly an embarrassment’ deal can be scrapped for tougher treatment of Iran and possibly a costly war.

I don’t think the American leadership understands that it is possible to contain Iran’s ambitions much more by diplomacy than by military and economic acts of aggression.  This is a civilizational failure — Iran and other countries that have had historically dealt with colonial domination have developed immunity to these methods by and large in my view.   In fact, this COLONIAL and IMPERIAL mentality of Trump will also cause a great deal of problems in dealing with China which has also suffered their century of humiliation by the colonial powers in the past.  Indeed, Trump may be blissfully ignorant of the attitude of most of the world regarding this approach which it may not care about in the short run but this will surely return to haunt America’s future as China grows in power.

By breaking the Iran deal, Trump is giving Iran the option toward legitimately seeking nuclear capability. Of course America could just repeat an Iraq but the cost of that would be tremendously high for America. Trump wants to be a wartime President no doubt but this approach will not be in the interests of American hegemony at all. There is no control of the situation even in Syria where America could not force the removal of the Assad regime even arming all the Islamist militias. I don’t understand. Trump’s approach will ensure that Iran actually totally dominates the region which can be avoided by enforcing diplomatic peace between Israel and Iran. A war on Iran for Israeli local hegemony is essentially sinking American global interests at the altar of Israel.

China’s interests in development along the Old Silk Road and partnerships with all the smaller countries and development projects westward is a genius way in confounding the American containment and militarization of Chinese naval trade routes to the east where American military bases and alliances ensure that China cannot gain control eastward without military conflict. The genius of this strategy is that China can gain economic hegemony and political goodwill with a great region of potential economic development in ways that America cannot directly match with American methods of dealing with infuence with military and diplomatic coercion. China recognizes that the post-9/11 animosity toward Islamic countries will be a strategic long term benefit to China in west Asia and will be extremely keen to quietly back Iran as a reliable partner for Belt Road development. And this is the key for America: the Belt Road from Tehran to Damascus is I believe crucial to understanding Russian involvement in Syria and Iran. This trade route will be infinitely more important economically than even the oil resources in the region that America is interested in controlling. In fact for west Asia’s long term future, this Tehran-Damascus route will be the most important economic corridor that connects Europe to China regardless of politics. America should not attempt to continue with the old paradigm in the region and consider pacifying the region rather than focus on aggressive political coercion.

So my argument would be that it is in AMERICAN interests to facilitate and enforce diplomatic peace between Israel and Iran for an AMERICAN world order in the long term counter to CHINESE long term westward influence which will grow like wildfire with the Belt and Road initiative. It would be a strategic error for America to take an ideologically Zionist animosity toward Iran because behind Iran are both China and Russia and this animosity toward Iran from America will ultimately be to the detriment of AMERICAN world order and allow both Russian and Chinese interests to grow uncontrollably. In fact I would even say that it is in Israel’s own long term iterests to stop trying to get America to destroy Iran and open up direct diplomatic talks with Iran. This blockading Iran as evil enemy and Nazi Germany of 1938 or whatever is only going to delay the ENORMOUS economic power that will flow through Tehran to Damascus in the coming decades.

Maybe I’ll write a book one day on the current phase of American hegemony — how Israel did 9/11 and neoconservative Zionists took over American foreign policy to destroy the Islamic countries in Middle East and North Africa using American power with Presidents dragged by the nose. The whole thing is quite grand and impressive. If I don’t someone should. American people don’t have a damn clue about the expanse of this effort so busy they are mowing down and torturing brown people around the world.

This is all true but to flesh this out would require a gigantic amount of research for which I don’t have the time or the access.  This is a story that should be taken up by someone who is actually interested in the Middle East more directly.  Although my family is Muslim from Bengal, I don’t know much about living in Middle East or North Africa myself and don’t have first-hand experience of the cultures in the region.  All this came from my curious digging after nagging doubts and exploring further to satisfy my curiosity as someone who was living in Harlem when 9/11 happened and I was happy to believe the 19 hijackers official story.  I think of the entire actual story as something extremely important for Americans and for people in the region because this is a drama about geopolitical foul play, of power and of psychology of self-justification at the level of a global power that is sickness of a bizarre but common type of ways to be able to live with great self-justification while pursuing predatory barbaric structure, of imperial domination and destruction not even for the sake of exploitation.  All very disturbing.

I don’t think many people use the phrase ‘neoconservative Zionist’ besides yours truly. I just realize it is an incredibly good phrase because neoconservatism is abstractly a doctrine about AMERICAN power but neoconservative Zionism is describing the obsession of the actual neoconservatives with ISRAELI local hegemony in the Middle East.  I don’t mean Jewish neoconservative although it happens to be true that many neoconservative Zionists are Jewish.  I think a counterexample is John Bolton who is not Jewish but I would consider a neoconservative Zionist.

America is close to the center of world’s military power with closest rivals Russia and China far behind with world hegemony almost.  But there is no democracy in the the foreign policy establishment of America at least since 9/11.  One of the most influential erudite scholars respected by the foreign policy establishment is Bernard Lewis who is a neoconservative Zionist.  Since Iran is the center of Trump’s agenda it’s worthwhile to trace back to what Lewis’ analysis of Islam in general and Iran has been because it has influenced the rest of the establishment profoundly and affected American foreign policy for decades:

Views on Islam and debates with Edward Said

Lewis presents some of his conclusions about Islamic culture, Shari’a law, jihad, and the modern day phenomenon of terrorism in his text Islam: The Religion and the People.[58] He writes of jihad as a distinct “religious obligation”, but suggests that “it is a pity” that people engaging in terrorist activities are not more aware of their own religion:

Muslim fighters are commanded not to kill women, children, or the aged unless they attack first; not to torture or otherwise ill-treat prisoners; to give fair warning of the opening of hostilities or their resumption after a truce; and to honor agreements. … At no time did the classical jurists offer any approval or legitimacy to what we nowadays call terrorism. Nor indeed is there any evidence of the use of terrorism as it is practiced nowadays.”[59]

In Lewis’ view, the “by now widespread terrorism practice of suicide bombing is a development of the 20th century” with “no antecedents in Islamic history, and no justification in terms of Islamic theology, law, or tradition.”[60] He further comments that “the fanatical warrior offering his victims the choice of the Koran or the sword is not only untrue, it is impossible” and that “generally speaking, Muslim tolerance of unbelievers was far better than anything available in Christendom, until the rise of secularism in the 17th century.”[61]

Bernard Lewis in 2012

Lewis is known for his literary debates with Edward Said, the Palestinian American literary theorist whose aim was to deconstruct what he called Orientalist scholarship. Said, who was a professor at Columbia University, characterized Lewis’ work as a prime example of Orientalism in his 1978 book Orientalism and in his later book Covering Islam. Said asserted that the field of Orientalism was political intellectualism bent on self-affirmation rather than objective study,[62] a form of racism, and a tool of imperialist domination.[63] He further questioned the scientific neutrality of some leading Middle East scholars, including Lewis, on the Arab World. In an interview with Al-Ahram weekly, Said suggested that Lewis’ knowledge of the Middle East was so biased that it could not be taken seriously and claimed “Bernard Lewis hasn’t set foot in the Middle East, in the Arab world, for at least 40 years. He knows something about Turkey, I’m told, but he knows nothing about the Arab world.”[64] Said considered that Lewis treats Islam as a monolithic entity without the nuance of its plurality, internal dynamics, and historical complexities, and accused him of “demagogy and downright ignorance.”[65] In Covering Islam, Said argued that “Lewis simply cannot deal with the diversity of Muslim, much less human life, because it is closed to him as something foreign, radically different, and other,” and he criticised Lewis’ “inability to grant that the Islamic peoples are entitled to their own cultural, political, and historical practices, free from Lewis’ calculated attempt to show that because they are not Western… they can’t be good.”[11]

Rejecting the view that Western scholarship was biased against the Middle East, Lewis responded that Orientalism developed as a facet of European humanism, independently of the past European imperial expansion.[1] He noted the French and English pursued the study of Islam in the 16th and 17th centuries, yet not in an organized way, but long before they had any control or hope of control in the Middle East; and that much of Orientalist study did nothing to advance the cause of imperialism. In his 1993 book Islam and the West, Lewis wrote “What imperial purpose was served by deciphering the ancient Egyptian language, for example, and then restoring to the Egyptians knowledge of and pride in their forgotten, ancient past?”[66]

Stance on the Iraq War

In 2002, Lewis wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal regarding the buildup to the Iraq War entitled “Time for Toppling”, where he stated his opinion that “a regime change may well be dangerous, but sometimes the dangers of inaction are greater than those of action.”[67] In 2007, Jacob Weisberg described Lewis as “perhaps the most significant intellectual influence behind the invasion of Iraq“.[68] Michael Hirsh attributed to Lewis the view that regime change in Iraq would provide a jolt that would “modernize the Middle East” and suggested that Lewis’ allegedly ‘orientalist’ theories about “what went wrong” in the Middle East, and other writings, formed the intellectual basis of the push towards war in Iraq.[69]

Writing in 2008, Lewis did not advocate imposing freedom and democracy on Islamic nations. “There are things you can’t impose. Freedom, for example. Or democracy. Democracy is a very strong medicine which has to be administered to the patient in small, gradually increasing doses. Otherwise, you risk killing the patient. In the main, the Muslims have to do it themselves.”[70]

Ian Buruma, writing for The New Yorker in an article subtitled “The two Minds of Bernard Lewis”, finds Lewis’s stance on the war difficult to reconcile with Lewis’ past statements cautioning democracy enforcement in the world at large. Buruma ultimately rejects suggestions by his peers that Lewis promotes war with Iraq to safeguard Israel, but instead concludes “perhaps he loves it [the Arab world] too much”:

It is a common phenomenon among Western students of the Orient to fall in love with a civilization. Such love often ends in bitter impatience when reality fails to conform to the ideal. The rage, in this instance, is that of the Western scholar. His beloved civilization is sick. And what would be more heartwarming to an old Orientalist than to see the greatest Western democracy cure the benighted Muslim? It is either that or something less charitable: if a final showdown between the great religions is indeed the inevitable result of a millennial clash, then we had better make sure that we win.[71]

Alleged nuclear threat from Iran

In 2006, Lewis wrote that Iran had been working on a nuclear weapon for fifteen years. In August 2006, in an article about whether the world can rely on the concept of mutual assured destruction as a deterrent in its dealings with Iran, Lewis wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the significance of 22 August 2006 in the Islamic calendar. The Iranian president had indicated he would respond by that date to U.S. demands regarding Iran’s development of nuclear power. Lewis wrote that the date corresponded to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427, the day Muslims commemorate the night flight of Muhammad from Jerusalem to heaven and back. Lewis wrote that it would be “an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and, if necessary, of the world.”[72]

According to Lewis, mutual assured destruction is not an effective deterrent in the case of Iran, because of what Lewis describes as the Iranian leadership’s “apocalyptic worldview” and the “suicide or martyrdom complex that plagues parts of the Islamic world today”.[73] He then suggested the possibility of a nuclear strike on Israel on 22 August 2006:

What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to “the farthest mosque,” usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back[Quran 17:1]. This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for 22 Aug.. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.[72]

Lewis’ article received significant press coverage.[74][75] However, the day passed without any incident.[76][77] In his 2009 book Engaging the Muslim World, the American academic Juan Cole responded that there was no evidence to suggest that Iran had been working on a nuclear weapon for fifteen years. He also disagreed with Lewis’ suggestion that Ahmadinejad “might deploy this weapon against Israel on 22 August 2006”:

 

Saudi Arabia is politically irrelevant in the long run — the challenge in the Middle East is diplomatic peace between Israel and Iran. If this is not understood clearly by the American leadership, America will end up being in the wrong side of history not only in the region but in the emerging world order vis-a-vis rise of Chinese world empire.

New York Times just had a joint editorial opinion asking Mr. Trump not to scrap the Iran deal and there was a useful Charlie Rose interview with Iranian Foreign Minister.  A Hudson Institute discussion about Iran’s land bridge crossing Iraq into Syria gives me the impression that the think tank world is speculating wildly about Iranian intentions while strategizing ways to obstruct it.  My own speculation is that the future of the region is likely determined by Chinese Belt and Road development to which Iran is an eager participant and therefore Iran is probably securing the path with a view to the future.

Ultimately these sorts of efforts can only be resolved with direct diplomatic negotiations with Iran directly and with entry into the Silk Road development talks.  Iraq is a destroyed country that needs a great deal of international assistance in order to regain its normal life and economy and China’s development program is likely to be quite attractive to Iraq.