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reposnses to Bishvas and Bidyut

Reader comment on item: Hold Damascus Responsible [for Hezbollah Violence in Southern Lebanon]
in response to reader comment: Reply to Peter Herz

Submitted by Peter Herz (United States), Aug 17, 2006 at 17:06

G. Bishvas says that the issue is not returning land to the original owners, but an honest narration of history. I believe we are on the same page here. Let's admit that all civilized lands were conquered lands at one time in their histories; possibly many times. This is why I am not particularly impressed by either Zionist or Falastin Arab cases built on the argument of "original ownership".

Similarly, I cannot be impressed by Stalin's stance in 1945 that Kars and Ardahan should go to Soviet Armenia; or that Azerbaijan should have been united in the "fraternal embrace of Soviet Peoples" rather than northern Azerbaijan returned to Iran (after all, it was an 18th century imperial conquest).

When Bidyut argues that the USA is to blame for the rise of the Islamicists, I must respectfully disagree. There is a militant note sounded in the very ayat of the Qu'ran itself, which was written a little less than a millennium before the first English-speakers permanently settled in the New World. I sense that several of my interlocutors on this thread are of non-Muslim South Asian origins (whether Indian, Nepali, or Sri Lankan, I cannot guess); and surely they must know that there was Muslim aggression against Hindus and Buddhists long before the European discovery of America, too.

Further, as the USA is discovering in Afghanistan and Iraq, when it comes to secular democracy, it is possible to lead the proverbial horse to water, but you can't make him drink unless he wants to. It is increasingly clear that too few in the Muslim world are really prepared to grant that a legitimate polity that is not based on Sharia is possible. Further, in the sources of Islamic tradition (a point at which it differs greatly from the biblical sources of the other major Abrahamic religions), there is no point at which rule by unbelievers is at all theologically comprehensible. Islam's current crisis is that it has a hard time finding a theological alternative to triumphalism; yet Islamic history for the past couple of centuries is a tale of failure rather than success in its confrontations with non-Muslims. Hence, for far too many Muslims,. frustrations are bound to be on the boil for as long as non-Muslims see no reason to either submit to Muslim rule or convert to Islam.

Finally, I will add that when it comes to anti-Communism, America was insufficiently under the influence of capitalist money power. The postwar era in which American anti-Communism was born was one of pervasive liberal (close to European social democratic) illusion. Without Stalin's aggression and Mao's assault on US diplomatic personnel in NE China, American anti-Communism would never have become so important in US foreign policy. The post-Viet Nam era shows how eager Americans were to drop it--only to be driven to the anti-Communism of Reagan by Brezhnev's behavior.

Submitting....

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