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Simple minds think alike

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: Kosovo

Submitted by Sword of Islam (United Kingdom), Feb 8, 2006 at 21:46

An inablility to distinguish between ignorance and comments deliberately designed to provoke discussion speaks volumes. The giveaway is generally spelling, grammar and/or punctuation. However, despite the relative knowledgability of your remarks, I am left with the distinct impression that English is not your first language and consequently this lack of discernment and literalism is understandable.

The expression 'the lesser of two evils' is maxim that you obviously have little understanding of. Or political expediency. Or 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'? Perhaps you could try looking up the Art of War by Sun Tzu which is obviously a more appropriate piece of literature in this context than The Prince. Unless of course you regard politics as solely being about the pursuit of personal power and political influence for the 'furtherance of said personal ambitions'. The Prince must be the bedside literature of every dictator or aspiring dictator on the planet. However, as a model it is not particularly well suited to an established military or economic power. We've all read it. Old news..

Modern Western civilisation is littered with examples of what appear to be catastrophic interference in the affairs of other states. However commentators on such events rarely, if ever, are able to offer a cast iron explanation as to what the alternative action should have been. Non-interference? Let's you off the hook , doesn't it? Always the easy option.

Your diatribe implies that it is a good thing that the Shah of Iran was deposed and the enlightenment of the Ayatollah ushered in by 'the people' to take it's place. People such as you simply don't see the whole jigsaw puzzle - just the individual pieces that grab your attention. We can see examples of that enlightenment every day on the television news - what a wonderfully intelligent, articulate and well groomed representative of the people of Iran the prime minister is (lower case letters are deliberate in this instance)

When a despot or dictator is put in place and kept there by a foreign power it is generally by a totalitarian state and by definition a perpetuation of oppression and despotism. When this happens to a democracy it is generally a means for an occupying power to show the 'friendly face of totalitarianism' while power is consolidated. It is incredibly naive and simplistic to believe that having one puppet dictator serving our interests is any different from the opposition (ie, the Soviets) having one of their puppet dictators in power. It is an accident waiting to happen. It is just as likely that there were plenty of other wannabe despots waiting in the wings to take their places, maybe even condemning them privately for being 'too soft'. Unless, of course, you believe that 'regime change' should take place every time we see a nation that we don't like. Perhaps we could engineer a race of gentically modified Supermen to do this for us and clean up the world in one, fell swoop.

Obviously not. When there are 'clear and present dangers' in the world we have to deal with them as best as we can and sometimes that means making compromises with scoundrels. There's no other way of doing things short of war in many cases. It is precisely this kind of cold hard reasoning that has stopped us all disappearing in one great mushroom cloud over the course of the past 40 years.

Certainly the US supported Saddam Hussein 20 years ago. Did they actually facilitate his rise up the ranks of the Ba'ath party and the gradual elimination of his political rivals? Obviously not. Did they put the Ba'ath party in power? Obviously not. Do you believe that the US should have 'taken him out' way back then? Obviously not. Unless of course you would like to have seen the spread of the Islamic Revolution at this time. Was it convenient to have ties to the most secular state in the Middle East? Of course it was. Was it better to have him serving our interests than it was to have an even greater Soviet influence (great friends of the Ayatollah) in the Middle East? Of course it was. He served his purpose. For a while. We tolerated his despotism. For a while. Then what do you know? We caused the Soviet Union to collapse and the entire geopolitical map started to change. We could start to be a little more particular about who we made deals with.

Saddam may have been causing outrageous harm to his people over the course of the preceding years but he was the ruler of a sovereign nation. We could have intervened. And faced the wrath of the entire Muslim world - the same world that supported the liberation of Kuwait, the defence of Saudi Arabia but drew a line at supporting an invasion of Iraq to remove the guy during Gulf War I. Therefore, the subsequent sanctions and general bulls*it that followed can be laid squarely at the door of the Arab League and the fact that I still have no idea what it actually does!.

However, I defy any conspiracy nut to offer any evidence to support the fact that simply because one of our despots was in power the given situation was made worse than it was or had the potential to be. Do you imagine that the US deliberately placed despots in power and sought to eradicate democracy in these countries as a matter of policy? Tacit support of these situations is immoral but the ultimate responsibilty has to lie with the states in concern for a) allowing themselves to be manipulated in these ways as states b) allowing themselves to be manipulated in these ways as citizens.

One regular mockery of the West (surprised you overlooked it) is the training of Bin Laden by the CIA to combat the Soviets and his subsequent shift of target to the very people who trained him. Apparently the West was at fault for helping the Mujahideen to kick the Russians out and not rebuilding the country afterwards. We train them, fund them to liberate their country from the Soviet Union and we're the villains! There's gratitude for you. Why? Probably the similarity in our skin tones...

The rules and the nature of the game have changed. Most of the puppet dicatorships of the past arose as pawns in the game of 'war by proxy' that the West and the Soviet Union played in the era of Communism. Obviously a direct confrontation between such nuclear powers was unthinkable. Other countries paid the price and are still continuing to do in Africa, etc. Amazing. The Soviet Union seems to have dropped completely out of the minds of the conspiracy nuts out there!

However, must confess to ignorance as to which continent was stolen with casualties in excess of 100 million natives. I'm sure the answer is obvious to everybody else but I need a little help with this one. Answers on a post card please!
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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