July 07, 2005

Politics: Oh.. Good, Then.

(A late night coming home, and I've just heard about the London bombings. Sorry if this one's is a little disjointed.)

Hello to Fox News' Brian Kilmeade:

"...I think this works to our advantage..."

Nothing like a few more people dying to perk up your cause, eh? Oh, wait: are we talking about Al-Qaeda, or the supposed "War on Terror"?

One last time for the kids who haven't been paying attention, okay? "Terrorism" is a concept, not a country or a group or anything else concrete. There are acts of terror, certainly; likewise there are terrorists. But what counts as "terror", and why does anyone think that an actual, physical war can defeat it? It cannot be contained in concrete form, which is all that an army can fight.

The only way - the ONLY way - that an idea can be contested is with other ideas: do you understand? This is why replacing the rule of law with the rule of force is a losing proposition. Dictatorships and empires have a habit of being overthrown: the most stable nations are those of ideas first, armies second. For better or for worse. The only real down side to democracy, for instance, is it takes work to maintain. The down side to, say, theocracy, would be everything else. So if you want to convince a people who have been living under a totalitarian dictatorship for their entire lives to change their government, do you:

A) invade their homeland with your army, disrupting their lives, destroying their infrastructure and giving their current leader cause to become a martyr; or
B) convince the people who live there that the ability to choose their own leader can be a hell of a lot more fun?

Or let me put it another way: which seems to have worked? The Soviet Union had to change governments because it was going bankrupt trying to produce in a system that is simply not designed for it. Why would it want to do that? Because the people in the Soviet Union could see outside its own borders, and wanted more than what the current style of government could proovide. Look at the Soviet Union twenty years ago, and say to yourselves this: welcome to Iran. Reagan (and to a lesser degree US Presidents since 1945) fucked the dog when he massively supported "strongman" regimes around the world throughout his presidency, and problems with them have been cropping up ever since. China, on the other hand, is experiencing a slow evolution brought about by information and ideas - and don't think the Chinese governments best efforts are going to stop it: it's being co-opted by being offered a piece of the pie.

Think very hard about the saying: the pen is mightier than the sword. A war of philosophies is slower, harder, and sometimes bloodier than a physical invasion. It means hard decisions, and knowing how and when NOT to act.

The current war in the middle east isn't about terrorism, or even about oil - that's merely profit and bribes for some of the individuals involved. The real kick the Vulcans are on is power, and they are playing a bad game of it, trying a short cut, trying to force a "final victory" without realizing that you cannot play at toy soldiers when your battlefield is metaphorical.

The current American administration has forced all democracies into this short cut, goaded viciously by a weaker opponent. We have better weapons in the philosophical war, but that's no longer where the fight is taking place. Originally, the presidential rhetoric was correct: we do want democracy to thrive, in the middle east and everywhere else. Such a change has happened with military intervention, on very rare occasions, and only if one condition is met: the empires have to leave the territories first.


posted by Thursday at 10:50 pm


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