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Why Are Politicians Corrupt

(category: Commentary, Word count: 484)
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Most politicians bend the laws of the land and steal money or solicit bribes because they need the funds to support networks of patronage. Others do it in order to reward their nearest and dearest or to maintain a lavish lifestyle when their political lives are over.

But these mundane reasons fail to explain why some officeholders go on a rampage and binge on endless quantities of lucre. All rationales crumble in the face of a Mobutu Sese Seko or a Saddam Hussein or a Ferdinand Marcos who absconded with billions of US dollars from the coffers of Zaire, Iraq, and the Philippines, respectively.

These inconceivable dollops of hard cash and valuables often remain stashed and untouched, moldering in bank accounts and safes in Western banks. They serve no purpose, either political or economic. But they do fulfill a psychological need. These hoards are not the megalomaniacal equivalents of savings accounts. Rather they are of the nature of compulsive collections.

Erstwhile president of Sierra Leone, Momoh, amassed hundreds of video players and other consumer goods in vast rooms in his mansion. As

electricity supply was intermittent at best, his was a curious choice. He used to sit among these relics of his cupidity, fondling and counting them

insatiably.

While Momoh relished things with shiny buttons, people like Sese Seko, Hussein, and Marcos drooled over money. The ever-heightening mountains of greenbacks in their vaults soothed them, filled them with confidence, regulated their sense of self-worth, and served as a love substitute. The balances in their bulging bank accounts were of no practical import or intent. They merely catered to their psychopathology.

These politicos were not only crooks but also kleptomaniacs. They could no more stop thieving than Hitler could stop murdering. Venality was an

integral part of their psychological makeup.

Kleptomania is about acting out. It is a compensatory act. Politics is a drab, uninspiring, unintelligent, and, often humiliating business. It is

also risky and rather arbitrary. It involves enormous stress and unceasing conflict. Politicians with mental health disorders (for instance,

narcissists or psychopaths) react by decompensation. They rob the state and coerce businessmen to grease their palms because it makes them feel better, it helps them to repress their mounting fears and frustrations, and to restore their psychodynamic equilibrium. These politicians and bureaucrats "let off steam" by looting.

Kleptomaniacs fail to resist or control the impulse to steal, even if they have no use for the booty. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical

Manual IV-TR (2000), the bible of psychiatry, kleptomaniacs feel "pleasure, gratification, or relief when committing the theft." The good book proceeds to say that " ... (T)he individual may hoard the stolen objects ...".

As most kleptomaniac politicians are also psychopaths, they rarely feel remorse or fear the consequences of their misdeeds. But this only makes them more culpable and dangerous.

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A Dialog About Anti Semitism And The Fate Of The State Of Israel

(category: Commentary, Word count: 3761)
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Rabid anti-Semitism, coupled with inane and outlandish conspiracy theories of world dominion, is easy to counter and dispel. It is the more "reasoned", subtle, and stealthy variety that it pernicious. "No smoke without fire," - say people - "there must be something to it!".

In this dialog I try to deconstruct a "mild" anti-Semitic text. I myself wrote the text - not an easy task considering my ancestry (a Jew) and my citizenship (an Israeli). But to penetrate the pertinent layers - historical, psychological, semantic, and semiotic - I had to "enter the skin" of "rational", classic anti-Semites, to grasp what makes them click and tick, and to think and reason like them.

I dedicated the last few months to ploughing through reams of anti-Semitic tracts and texts. Steeped in more or less nauseating verbal insanity and sheer paranoia, I emerged to compose the following.

The Anti-Semite:

The rising tide of anti-Semitism the world over is universally decried. The proponents of ant-Semitism are cast as ignorant, prejudiced, lawless, and atavistic. Their arguments are dismissed off-handedly.

But it takes one Jew to really know another. Conditioned by millennia of persecution, Jews are paranoid, defensive, and obsessively secretive. It is impossible for a gentile - whom they hold to be inferior and reflexively hostile - to penetrate their counsels.

Let us examine anti-Semitic arguments more closely and in an unbiased manner:

Argument number one - Being Jewish is a racial distinction - not only a religious one

If race is defined in terms of genetic purity, then Jews are as much a race as the remotest and most isolated of the tribes of the Amazon. Genetic studies revealed that Jews throughout the world - largely due to centuries of in-breeding - share the same genetic makeup. Hereditary diseases which afflict only the Jews attest to the veracity of this discovery.

Judaism is founded on shared biology as much as shared history and customs. As a religion, it proscribes a conjugal union with non-Jews. Jews are not even allowed to partake the food and wine of gentiles and have kept their distance from the communities which they inhabited - maintaining tenaciously, through countless generations, their language, habits, creed, dress, and national ethos. Only Jews become automatic citizens of Israel (the infamous Law of Return).

The Jewish Response:

Race has been invariably used as an argument against the Jews. It is ironic that racial purists have always been the most fervent anti-Semites. Jews are not so much a race as a community, united in age-old traditions and beliefs, lore and myths, history and language. Anyone can become a Jew by following a set of clear (though, admittedly, demanding) rules. There is absolutely no biological test or restriction on joining the collective that is known as the Jewish people or the religion that is Judaism.

It is true that some Jews are differentiated from their gentile environments. But this distinction has largely been imposed on us by countless generations of hostile hosts and neighbors. The yellow Star of David was only the latest in a series of measures to isolate the Jews, clearly mark them, restrict their economic and intellectual activities, and limit their social interactions. The only way to survive was to stick together. Can you blame us for responding to what you yourselves have so enthusiastically instigated?

The Anti-Semite:

Argument number two - The Jews regard themselves as Chosen, Superior, or Pure

Vehement protestations to the contrary notwithstanding - this is largely true. Orthodox Jews and secular Jews differ, of course, in their perception of this supremacy. The religious attribute it to divine will, intellectuals to the outstanding achievements of Jewish scientists and scholars, the modern Israeli is proud of his invincible army and thriving economy. But they all share a sense of privilege and commensurate obligation to civilize their inferiors and to spread progress and enlightenment wherever they are. This is a pernicious rendition of the colonial White Man's Burden and it is coupled with disdain and contempt for the lowly and the great unwashed (namely, the gentiles).

The Jewish Response:

There were precious few Jews among the great colonizers and ideologues of imperialism (Disraeli being the exception). Moreover, to compare the dissemination of knowledge and enlightenment to colonialism is, indeed, a travesty.

We, the Jews, are proud of our achievements. Show me one group of people (including the anti-Semites) who isn't? But there is an abyss between being justly proud of one's true accomplishments and feeling superior as a result. Granted, there are narcissists and megalomaniacs everywhere and among the members of any human collective. Hitler and his Aryan superiority is a good example.

The Anti-Semite:

Argument number three - Jews have divided loyalties

It is false to say that Jews are first and foremost Jews and only then are they the loyal citizens of their respective countries. Jews have unreservedly fought and sacrificed in the service of their homelands, often killing their coreligionists in the process. But it is true that Jews believe that what is good for the Jews is good for the country they reside in. By aligning the interests of their adopted habitat with their narrower and selfish agenda, Jews feel justified to promote their own interests to the exclusion of all else and all others.

Moreover, the rebirth of the Jewish State presented the Jews with countless ethical dilemmas which they typically resolved by adhering uncritically to Tel-Aviv's official line. This often brought them into direct conflict with their governments and non-Jewish compatriots and enhanced their reputation as untrustworthy and treacherous.

Hence the Jewish propensity to infiltrate decision-making centers, such as politics and the media. Their aim is to minimize conflicts of interests by transforming their peculiar concerns and preferences into official, if not always consensual, policy. This viral hijacking of the host country's agenda is particularly evident in the United States where the interest of Jewry and of the only superpower have become inextricable.

It is a fact - not a rant - that Jews are over-represented in certain, influential, professions (in banking, finance, the media, politics, the film industry, publishing, science, the humanities, etc.). This is partly the result of their emphases on education and social upward mobility. But it is also due to the tendency of well-placed Jews to promote their brethren and provide them with privileged access to opportunities, funding, and jobs.

The Jewish Response:

Most modern polities are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural (an anathema to anti-Semites, I know). Every ethnic, religious, cultural, political, intellectual, and economic or business group tries to influence policy-making by various means. This is both legitimate and desirable. Lobbying has been an integral and essential part of democracy since it was invented in Athens 2500 years ago. The Jews and Israelis are no exception.

Jews are, indeed, over-represented in certain professions in the United States. But they are under-represented in other, equally important, vocations (for instance, among company CEOs, politicians, diplomats, managers of higher education institutions, and senior bankers). Globally, Jews are severely under-represented or not-existent in virtually all professions due to their demography (aging population, low birth-rates, unnatural deaths in wars and slaughters).

The Anti-Semite:

Argument number four - Jews act as a cabal or mafia

There is no organized, hierarchical, and centralized worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Rather the Jews act in a manner similar to al-Qaida: they freelance and self-assemble ad hoc in cross-border networks to tackle specific issues. Jewish organizations - many in cahoots with the Israeli government - serve as administrative backup, same as some Islamic charities do for militant Islam. The Jews' ability and readiness to mobilize and act to further their plans is a matter of record and the source of the inordinate influence of their lobby organizations in Washington, for instance.

When two Jews meet, even randomly, and regardless of the disparities in their background, they immediately endeavor to see how they can further each other's interests, even and often at the expense of everyone else's.

Still, the Jewish diaspora, now two millennia old, is the first truly global phenomenon in world affairs. Bound by a common history, a common set of languages, a common ethos, a common religion, common defenses and ubiquitous enemies - Jews learned to closely cooperate in order to survive.

No wonder that all modern global networks - from Rothschild to Reuters - were established by Jews. Jews also featured prominently in all the revolutionary movements of the past three centuries. Individual Jews - though rarely the Jewish community as a whole - seem to benefit no matter what.

When Czarist Russia collapsed, Jews occupied 7 out of 10 prominent positions in both the Kerensky (a Jew himself) government and in the Lenin and early Stalin administrations. When the Soviet Union crumbled, Jews again benefited mightily. Three quarters of the famous "oligarchs" (robber barons) that absconded with the bulk of the defunct empire's assets were - you guessed it - Jews.

The Jewish Response:

Ignoring the purposefully inflammatory language for a minute, what group does not behave this way? Harvard alumni, the British Commonwealth, the European Union, the Irish or the Italians in the United States, political parties the world over … As long as people co-operate legally and for legal ends, without breaching ethics and without discriminating against deserving non-members - what is wrong with that?

The Anti-Semite:

Argument number five - The Jews are planning to take over the world and establish a world government

This is the kind of nonsense that discredits a serious study of the Jews and their role in history, past and present. Endless lists of prominent people of Jewish descent are produced in support of the above contention. Yet, governments are not the mere sum of their constituent individuals. The dynamics of power subsist on more than the religious affiliation of office-holders, kingmakers, and string-pullers.

Granted, Jews are well introduced in the echelons of power almost everywhere. But this is still a very far cry from a world government. Neither were Jews prominent in any of the recent moves - mostly by the Europeans - to strengthen the role of international law and attendant supranational organizations.

The Jewish Response:

What can I say? I agree with you. I would only like to set the record straight by pointing out the fact that Jews are actually under-represented in the echelons of power everywhere (including in the United States). Only in Israel - where they constitute an overwhelming majority - do Jews run things.

The Anti-Semite:

Argument number six - Jews are selfish, narcissistic, haughty, double-faced, dissemblers. Zionism is an extension of this pathological narcissism as a colonial movement

Judaism is not missionary. It is elitist. But Zionism has always regarded itself as both a (19th century) national movement and a (colonial) civilizing force. Nationalist narcissism transformed Zionism into a mission of acculturation ("White Man's Burden").

In "Altneuland" (translated to Hebrew as "Tel Aviv"), the feverish tome composed by Theodore Herzl, Judaism's improbable visionary - Herzl refers to the Arabs as pliant and compliant butlers, replete with gloves and tarbushes. In the book, a German Jewish family prophetically lands at Jaffa, the only port in erstwhile Palestine. They are welcomed and escorted by "Briticized" Arab gentlemen's gentlemen who are only too happy to assist their future masters and colonizers to disembark.

This age-old narcissistic defence - the Jewish superiority complex - was only exacerbated by the Holocaust.

Nazism posed as a rebellion against the "old ways" - against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the European order. The Nazis borrowed the Leninist vocabulary and assimilated it effectively. Hitler and the Nazis were an adolescent movement, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state. Hitler himself was a malignant narcissist, as Fromm correctly noted.

The Jews constituted a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that was "wrong" with Europe. They were an old nation, they were eerily disembodied (without a territory), they were cosmopolitan, they were part of the establishment, they were "decadent", they were hated on religious and socio-economic grounds (see Goldhagen's "Hitler's Willing Executioners"), they were different, they were narcissistic (felt and acted as morally superior), they were everywhere, they were defenseless, they were credulous, they were adaptable (and thus could be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They were the perfect hated father figure and parricide was in fashion.

The Holocaust was a massive trauma not because of its dimensions - but because Germans, the epitome of Western civilization, have turned on the Jews, the self-proclaimed missionaries of Western civilization in the Levant and Arabia. It was the betrayal that mattered. Rejected by East (as colonial stooges) and West (as agents of racial contamination) alike - the Jews resorted to a series of narcissistic responses reified by the State of Israel.

The long term occupation of territories (metaphorical or physical) is a classic narcissistic behavior (of "annexation" of the other). The Six Days War was a war of self defence - but the swift victory only exacerbated the grandiose fantasies of the Jews. Mastery over the Palestinians became an important component in the psychological makeup of the nation (especially the more rightwing and religious elements) because it constitutes "Narcissistic Supply".

The Jewish Response:

Happily, sooner or later most anti-Semitic arguments descend into incoherent diatribe. This dialog is no exception.

Zionism was not conceived out of time. It was born in an age of colonialism, Kipling's "white man's burden", and Western narcissism. Regrettably, Herzl did not transcend the political discourse of his period. But Zionism is far more than Altneuland. Herzl died in 1904, having actually been deposed by Zionists from Russia who espoused ideals of equality for all, Jews and non-Jews alike.

The Holocaust was an enormous trauma and a clarion call. It taught the Jews that they cannot continue with their historically abnormal existence and that all the formulas for accommodation and co-existence failed. There remained only one viable solution: a Jewish state as a member of the international community of nations.

The Six Days War was, indeed, a classic example of preemptive self-defense. Its outcomes, however, deeply divide Jewish communities everywhere, especially in Israel. Many of us believe that occupation corrupts and reject the Messianic and millennial delusions of some Jews as dangerous and nefarious.

Perhaps this is the most important thing to remember:

Like every other group of humans, though molded by common experience, Jews are not a monolith. There are liberal Jews and orthodox Jews, narcissists and altruists, unscrupulous and moral, educated and ignorant, criminals and law-abiding citizens. Jews, in other words, are like everyone else. Can we say the same about anti-Semites? I wonder.

The Anti-Israeli:

The State of Israel is likely to end as did the seven previous stabs at Jewish statehood - in total annihilation. And for the same reasons: conflicts between secular and religious Jews and a racist-colonialist pattern of deplorable behavior. The UN has noted this recidivist misconduct in numerous resolutions and when it justly compared Zionism to racism.

The Jewish Response:

Zionism is undoubtedly a typical 19th century national movement, promoting the interests of an ethnically-homogeneous nation. But it is not and never has been a racist movement. Zionists of all stripes never believed in the inherent inferiority or malevolence or impurity of any group of people (however arbitrarily defined or capriciously delimited) just because of their common origin or habitation. The State of Israel is not exclusionary. There are a million Israelis who are Arabs, both Christians and Muslims.

It is true, though, that Jews have a special standing in Israel. The Law of Return grants them immediate citizenship. Because of obvious conflicts of interest, Arabs cannot serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Consequently, they don't enjoy the special benefits conferred on war veterans and ex-soldiers.

Regrettably, it is also true that Arabs are discriminated against and hated by many Israelis, though rarely as a matter of official policy. These are the bitter fruits of the ongoing conflict. Budget priorities are also heavily skewed in favor of schools and infrastructure in Jewish municipalities. A lot remains to be done.

The Anti-Israeli:

Zionism started off as a counter-revolution. It presented itself as an alternative to both orthodox religion and to assimilation in the age of European "Enlightenment". But it was soon hijacked by East European Jews who espoused a pernicious type of Stalinism and virulent anti-Arab racism.

The Jewish Response:

East European Jews were no doubt more nationalistic and etatist than the West European visionaries who gave birth to Zionism. But, again, they were not racist. On the very contrary. Their socialist roots called for close collaboration and integration of all the ethnicities and nationalities in Israel/Palestine.

The Anti-Israeli:

The "Status Quo" promulgated by Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, confined institutionalized religion to matters of civil law and to communal issues. All affairs of state became the exclusive domain of the secular-leftist nomenclature and its attendant bureaucratic apparatus.

All this changed after the Six Days War in 1967 and, even more so, after the Yom Kippur War. Militant Messianic Jews with radical fundamentalist religious ideologies sought to eradicate the distinction between state and synagogue. They propounded a political agenda, thus invading the traditionally secular turf, to the great consternation of their compatriots.

This schism is unlikely to heal and will be further exacerbated by the inevitable need to confront harsh demographic and geopolitical realities. No matter how much occupied territory Israel gives up and how many ersatz Jews it imports from East Europe, the Palestinians are likely to become a majority within the next 50 years.

Israel will sooner or later face the need to choose whether to institute a policy of strict and racist apartheid - or shrink into an indefensible (though majority Jewish) enclave. The fanatics of the religious right are likely to enthusiastically opt for the first alternative. All the rest of the Jews in Israel are bound to recoil. Civil war will then become unavoidable and with it the demise of yet another short-lived Jewish polity.

The Jewish Response:

Israel is, indeed, faced with the unpalatable choice and demographic realities described above. But don't bet on civil war and total annihilation just yet. There are numerous other political solutions - for instance, a confederacy of two national states, or one state with two nations. But, I agree, this is a serious problem further compounded by Palestinian demands for the right to return to their ancestral territories, now firmly within the Jewish State, even in its pre-1967 borders.

With regards to the hijacking of the national agenda by right-wing, religious fundamentalist Jewish militants - as the recent pullout from Gaza and some of the West Bank proves conclusively, Israelis are pragmatists. The influence of Messianic groups on Israeli decision-making is blown out of proportion. They are an increasingly isolated - though vocal and sometimes violent - minority.

The Anti-Israeli:

Israel could, perhaps, have survived, had it not committed a second mortal sin by transforming itself into an outpost and beacon of Western (first British-French, then American) neo-colonialism. As the representative of the oppressors, it was forced to resort to an official policy of unceasing war crimes and repeated grave violations of human and civil rights.

The Jewish Response:

Israel aligned itself with successive colonial powers in the region because it felt it had no choice, surrounded and outnumbered as it was by hostile, trigger-happy, and heavily armed neighbors. Israel did miss, though, quite a few chances to make peace, however intermittent and hesitant, with its erstwhile enemies. It is also true that it committed itself to a policy of settlements and oppression within the occupied territories which inevitably gave rise to grave and repeated violations on international law. Overlording another people had a corrosive corrupting influence on Israeli society.

The Anti-Israeli:

The Arabs, who first welcomed the Jewish settlers and the economic opportunities they represented, turned against the new emigrants when they learned of their agenda of occupation, displacement, and ethnic cleansing. Israel became a pivot of destabilization in the Middle East, embroiled in conflicts and wars too numerous to count. Unscrupulous and corrupt Arab rulers used its existence and the menace it reified as a pretext to avoid democratization, transparency, and accountability.

The Jewish Response:

With the exception of the 1919 Faisal-Weitzman declaration, Arabs never really welcomed the Jews. Attacks on Jewish outposts and settlers started as early as 1921 and never ceased. The wars in 1948 and in 1967 were initiated or provoked by the Arab states. It is true, though, that Israel unwisely leveraged its victories to oppress the Palestinians and for territorial gains, sometimes in cahoots with much despised colonial powers, such as Britain and France in 1956.

The Anti-Israeli:

This volatile mixture of ideological racism, Messianic empire-building, malignant theocracy much resented by the vast majority of secular Jews, and alignment with all entities anti-Arab and anti-Muslim will doom the Jewish country. In the long run, the real inheritors and proprietors of the Middle East are its long-term inhabitants, the Arabs. A strong army is not a guarantee of longevity - see the examples of the USSR and Yugoslavia.

Even now, it is not too late. Israel can transform itself into an important and benevolent regional player by embracing its Arab neighbors and by championing the causes of economic and scientific development, integration, and opposition to outside interference in the region's internal affairs. The Arabs, exhausted by decades of conflict and backwardness, are likely to heave a collective sigh of relief and embrace Israel - reluctantly at first and more warmly as it proves itself a reliable ally and friend.

Israel's demographic problem is more difficult to resolve. It requires Israel to renounce its exclusive racist and theocratic nature. Israel must suppress, by force if need be, the lunatic fringe of militant religious fanatics that has been haunting its politics in the last three decades. And it must extend a welcoming hand to its Arab citizens by legislating and enforcing a set of Civil Rights Laws.

The Jewish Response:

Whether this Jewish state is doomed or not, time will tell. Peace with our Arab neighbors and equal treatment of our Arab citizens should be our two over-riding strategic priorities. The Jewish State cannot continue to live by the sword, lest it perishes by it.

If the will is there it can be done. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

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Unforgettable Announcement That Shook The World

(category: Commentary, Word count: 519)
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It has been more than a decade since the Cold War is over. Being used to the surprises of history, we need to recall some of the facts of the past in order to trace the political movements of that time and their ways to get public attention. International sporting events is a great way to attract attention to s certain issue. When the Cold War reached its peak of development, the delegation from Soviet Union boycotted the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984. It was something that might happen and a direct proof was received by officials two-three weeks before the official opening. The bad news was that some other countries from the East of Europe joined the boycott. Romania was the only country to participate in the Olympic Games representing the East of Europe. Actions of Cuba that also joined the boycott also were surprising and even shocking.

Official delegation from the Soviet Union accused the US of commercialization and poor security precautions that may put athletes in danger. After careful analyses of the situation the analysts came to the conclusion that these actions are a fair response to the boycott of the Olympic Games of 1980 by American athletes. This was a protest against the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 by Russian troops. I remember my preparation to article writing when I was tracing the details of the situation. There were only a few officials that believed in stated reason. The others didn't believe in USSR's explanations and supported the White House who considered all this to be another political act. The officials stated that the security level is high enough for athletes to feel comfortable. Nearly 140 athletes took part in the competition. But the overall view of the competition highlights the average level of quality of the Games. Most of the athletes that boycotted the event were the medal holders of the previous games in 1980. Therefore every Olympic Champion of 1984 feels that his title could have been taken by the other athlete if there was a chance to reduce the conflict.

The Games were quite successful, but the essence of politics being involved in every sporting event still exists, though now The Olympic Games are quite profitable an don't have to rely on the financial aid of the government. Nowadays, same as a decade ago, countries fight over a right to hold Olympic Games. Sometimes these events are used for political gains and features. We remember the games held in Nazi Germany that were dangerously politicized and is remembered not only for outstanding results, but also for shocking accidents that took even people's lives. Nowadays there are no major conflicts but some countries claim the Olympiad of 2008 in Beijing is another political discrimination act. Though the Olympic Committee stays categorical, the conflict will be about to appear closer to the beginning of the games. The truth is that politics and sports will be inseparable in the future though it is told that the main aim of such events is only to gain International friendship.

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Blood Extravasation Israel S Journey To The Precipice Of Nowhere

(category: Commentary, Word count: 1119)
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Western civilization's lone bastion in the Middle East has lost sight of its holistic long-term visage, and is behaving like a fracturalized cornered animal, lashing at all within its grasp. Israel fails to remember Chaim Weizmann's precursor to entering Palestine, an inclusive benefice for both Palestinian and Israelite, while Hezbolla solidifies its political gains by building hospitals, schools, and sadly, but historically predictable, terrorism. Israel lurches forward in its current flailings as a self-destructive proponent of blood extravasation, adding and fortifying its enemies amidst its long and arduous journey, not to peace and prosperity, but instead towards slowing progress as it perches on the precipice of...nowhere.

Let us delve into a little pragmatism and prognostication. Israel's current war against Hezbolla, Gaza, and Lebanon will result in nothing gained except a continuance and perpetuation of a shortsighted blood extravasation. Blood extravasation, a leakage of blood from a vessel to tissues surrounding it, applies here as Israel's current destruction of infrastructure in Gaza and Lebanon will lead to further extravasation to the Middle Eastern societies and cultures, galvanizing the blood letting and hatred with further participation. Israel is simply demarcating its status as she holds the power to walk through her neighboring states as easily as a scythe through wheat. Apparently, albeit falsely, Israel feels a demonstration of this power will somehow help her towards her long-term goal of peace. Under normal circumstances Israel would be in no position to be throwing its teenage temper tantrum, as the United States would have slapped them upside the head for confusing an already tense situation. But alas the US is in no position to provide the corporeal punishment that Israel so richly deserves as the US herself participates in an awkward and ungainly foreign policy that Stephan Hawkings would be hard put to figure out.

So prognostication as follows: Israel will stomp around Lebanon and Gaza, because they can, to no result except more extravasation, they will eventually tire out, or decide they have done enough damage and find some pretense for ending the carnage, but feel better. Syria is the cat on a hot tin roof, as it doesn't really want to participate at all, but will buck up with verbal support for their so-called breathen, lets remember they were just forced by Lebanon and the international community to unoccupy Lebanon, and privately will enjoy watching their little breathen get the stuffing knocked out of them. Iran the recent proverbial peacock, will puff out its chest and make lots of noises, but will participate in the morass clandestinely, as usual. Recall that Iran, at the cost of a whole generation of their male population, couldn't even beat Iraq in a real war and fought to what war always fights to, a simple redemarcation of the status quo. As Iran furiously tries to gain 60 year old technology and a certain hegemony in the area, it means little, Israel is specifically letting them know that even if Iran had the bomb, which Israel will never let them do, they have had historical successes against its middle-eastern foes time and time again and they could walk through Iran if needed . This is a simple reiteration of the fact, demonstrated for all to see.

So much ado about nothing, civilian death, mutilation, infrastructure destruction aside, extravasation proceeds in a bloodletting to no purpose.

Let us then give a whack at pragmatism for a paragraph or two. The problem is cultural. Funded by our lack of understanding of the middle-eastern mind, western culture reveals its hardheaded thinking that tries again and again to fit its square head into a round hole. Lets identify first that Israel's problem is systemic and comes from a lack of clear and long-term thinking. The 20th century, bless its heart, tried to deal with the age old problem of the Jewish nation that wasn't a nation, and Chiam Weizmann with the Balfour Declaration in tow, gave light and hope to the Zionist cause to battle the diasporas and pogroms of those times. They proceeded to buy their way into Palestine, a really great deal for the Palestinians at the time as the area was the proverbial backwater of the middle east, by bringing electricity, sewer systems, schools and libraries into the region: the very same infrastructure which Israel is now blowing up. In return, Zionism would have a place to start, a beacon of light so to speak for the Jewish nation to look to as they were being systematically brutalized around the globe. Unfortunately the 20th century also brought the Wilsonian 14 points and an intense desire for any type of nationalism. The Palestinians were no different than any other sovereign nation and could clearly see they would be overwhelmed by the influx of Jews into Palestine, and fought back well before the war of 1947 that formalized the nation of Israel.

Here we come to the systemic problem, both are right. As with all real problems both are right, and if you were born on either side you would be swayed depending on what birth mother you have. The solution is complex and as with all things will take time, education, understanding, and TOLERANCE. Instead of territorial war, which by definition would require that the winning side commit genocide to actually win, Israel must go back to their initial policy of investment, infrastructure, education, largess, and benevolence. They are a western civilization smack in the middle of an old eastern culture. Israel is no longer and has not been for thousands of years a middle eastern country, but rather a western country surrounded by middle eastern culture, which unfortunately isn't ready and hasn't evolved to WANT to participate in a western way of life. They may be close, but they certainly are not there. Hence the democracies that elect Islamic fundamentalist governments and our square headed lack of patience and tolerance in waiting for our fellow humans to be ready, then and only then, can we lend support for a true change in subjective thinking. Until then refer to the above, bury your dead on both sides and wait patiently to celebrate with unbridled glee your day of redemption, peace and prosperity.

As a fundamental policy Israel must return to its long-term thinking and think holistically about its real goal of peace and harmony with its perpetually hostile neighbors. A documented historical reminder, war never works, I repeat, NEVER works. She must return to her long-term policy of benevolence and understanding in the midst of terror instead of participating in a blood extravasation that will lead only to her perpetuating her time on the precipice to...nowhere.

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Thanks Mankind

(category: Commentary, Word count: 249)
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I got to thinking today and i have to say, we rock! Humans I mean. For some reason, as I sat there, eating my McDonalds, I started thinking about technology. Man was I impressed! We have so much, and we dont think about it enough. I suppose it really doesnt make much of a difference to think about it anyways, but life would just be so much harder if it wasnt 2005.

We have evolved into quite the creatures. We have technology like computers and IPOD's to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. When was the last time we said thanks? Better yet, who are we saying thanks to? I suppose we thank God. He did, afterall, create us.

What else did I think about? Medicine! How about all those machines and stuff we have to make sure we get a proper diagnosis, so that we can get proper treatment. Like MRI's and X-Rays and Blood tests and all that. Go us!

And all those medicines that we have, which allow us to enjoy a long happy and healthy life. Basically, we have made life more entertaining with technology, and then in turn technology made our lives longer so that we could enjoy it. Thats a good cycle, and you can sign me up for it again this year.

Pretty much, I just wanted to take a moment and think about what mankind has done, and thank those who did it for us. THANKS!

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America Beware Hillary Clinton May Run For President

(category: Commentary, Word count: 794)
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America is the greatest country in the world. Our citizens are caring, generous, trusting and forgiving. Those are some of the traits that make our country so great and so strong. Those traits can also be some of our biggest weaknesses. We are always willing to give people a second, third or even a fourth chance. We want to believe in the goodness of others even when they have shown us time and again that they are not good. We are always ready to give others the benefit of the doubt. Because of the foregoing, we get taken advantage of over and over again. We believe that France is our friend and ally, even though it has proved, time and again, it cares only about itself. The cold war is allegedly over and we call Russia our ally, even though they try to sabotage almost everything we get involved with and even though they constantly support our enemies. We call China our friend and trading partner, even though the leaders of China would like nothing better than to oversee the demise of the United States. Some of us cheer at the thought that, Hillary Clinton might be our next President, even though, in my opinion, she cares nothing about the United States or it's citizens.

In my opinion (Note: These are all strictly my opinions. I am not not an expert and I don't know everything.), Hillary Clinton, cares for nothing, other than her own desires for power over the rest of us, and I don't trust her any further than I can throw the White House. She is very intelligent, probably far more intelligent than I am, and she can be very charming when she wants to. She talks the talk, but I have never seen her walk the walk. She talks about dealing with the rights of women, but as far as I can tell, she has never done anything other than talk. She talks about helping minorities, but again, the only thing, that I can tell that she has done is talk about it. She talks about supporting the war effort, however, she always adds a 'but' to her statements and by the time she gets through explaining the 'but' you don't know what she really thinks. She seems to leave everthing open to interpretation. The only person, that I know of, that is better at 'doublespeak' than she is, is her husband.

If Hillary Clinton runs for the Presidency, she will have liberals voting for her because they will believe that she is a liberal, not as liberal as they are, but liberal enough. She will have moderates voting for her because they will believe that she is a moderate, not as moderate as they are but moderate enough. She will have some conservatives voting for her because they will believe that she is a conservative, not as conservative as they are but conservative enough. Some people will vote for her solely because she is a Democrat and others will vote for her solely because she is a woman. No one, however, will really know what she truly believes in or stands for. I believe that no one can know because, the only thing that she believes in or stands for is herself.

Hillary Clinton, in many ways, reminds me of President Nixon. The main difference, as far as I can see, is that she is better at hiding her arrogance, ruthlessness, lack of respect for the American people, etc., than he was and she is smoother and much better at fooling the American people into believing that she stands for whatever they stand for, no matter what they stand for. Additionally, she probably will not be foolish enough to tape her White House conversations.

She also reminds me, very much, of her husband, except that she appears to be smarter, considerably more ruthless and I doubt if she is a womanizer. She is, however, just as good at fooling the people, just as good at taking credit for good things done by others, just as good at laying the blame for bad things, that she may have done, on others and just as hungry for power.

I believe that if Mrs. Clinton does run for the Presidency, she will make whatever behind the scenes deals that she has to, make any promises that she has to and step on any people that she has to in order to assure herself a place in history as America's fourty fourth President. I also believe that when she leaves office she will, like her husband, leave this country is worse shape than, it was in, when she took office.

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True American Patriot

(category: Commentary, Word count: 1908)
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A TRUE AMERICAN PATRIOT SPEAKS OUT

By Bill Gallagher

It ain't fair, John Sinclair

In the stir for breathing air.

Won't you care for John Sinclair

In the stir for breathing air?

- John Lennon, 1971.

DETROIT - Those were the days of Nixonian madness - the hopeless war in Vietnam, the illegal invasion of Cambodia, riots on college campuses, secret police, break-ins, enemies lists, IRS audits, the White House leak-plugging "plumbers unit," and on and on. But Nixon's paranoia, crimes, abuses of power, trampling on civil liberties and the Constitution are tame, almost benign, by the standards of the Bushevik regime.

"These guys make Nixon look like a Cub Scout," says John Sinclair, a poet, musician, journalist, veteran radical, cultural icon and professional disturber of the establishment peace. The native of Davison, Mich., near Flint, became an international cause celebre in 1969 when a fascist-leaning judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison for possessing two marijuana joints. "They gave him 10 for two," John Lennon wrote in his song about Sinclair's draconian sentence.

The sentence - right out of Stalin's guidelines - had nothing to do with the gravity of his offense, but had everything to do with his political views. Sinclair founded the White Panther Party and included among his radical and freethinking friends Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Timothy Leary. He, along with photographer Leni Arndt, his partner and later wife, organized the Detroit Artists' Workshop, a communal group of artists from all disciplines.

His love of music further branded John as a dangerous subversive and put him under the eyes of the FBI creeps J. Edgar Hoover assigned to watch every move he made. Sinclair used music as a conduit for his poetry. Until his imprisonment, he was the manager and Svengali of legendary Detroit rockers the MC5, who made sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll a national pastime.

It was for his thoughts, poems, music, politics and passion that Sinclair was deemed a dangerous enemy of Nixonian Amerika, and he paid a horrible price for his revolutionary ways.

Sinclair did hard time for his soft crime at Michigan's infamous Jackson State Prison. "Jack Town" was, and still is, a hellhole, the largest walled prison on earth, an American gulag where the goal is to degrade and dehumanize the inmates and expect that society will improve as a result. Sinclair spent his time reading and writing, but most of all just surviving.

I met Sinclair on Thursday, Dec. 8, the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's murder. We met at Agave, a fine Mexican restaurant near the campus of Wayne State University. His presence in Detroit on that day was entirely serendipity. He was in town for a poetry reading and concert at the university honoring the poets and music of Katrina-battered New Orleans, a town Sinclair loves and where he lived for 10 years.

I asked where he lives now.

"Amsterdam, for obvious reasons," he replied, with a laugh and a twinkle in his eye. But his voice softened and his eyes moistened when we talked about John Lennon.

"I always remember him on this date every year. It was so close to the date where our lives intersected, because it was Dec. 10 when he came here to Ann Arbor and got me out of prison," Sinclair said.

He shook his head, thinking about his friend John Lennon.

"For any artist to be assassinated in his prime, on his way home from work, going into his home, it's horrifying. For it to be a guy like John Lennon, who represented and believed in peace, love and communications between human beings, probably more than anyone else in the music world, you just shudder to think of this," he said.

Sinclair had been rotting in Jackson State Prison for nearly three years when his life intersected with John Lennon's. Sinclair's lawyers had challenged his sentence and the constitutionality of Michigan's marijuana laws. The case went before the Michigan Supreme Court and Sinclair won, but a lower court refused to grant an appeal bond, claiming he was a "danger to society." He remained in prison.

Friends and supporters organized a rally at the Chrisler Arena on the campus of the University of Michigan set for Dec. 10, 1971. The organizers hoped the "Free John Now Rally" would be a major event, drawing attention to the grave injustice that kept Sinclair locked up.

But filling the 15,000-seat arena worried Sinclair.

"So I was very concerned. I thought it would be awful if we staged this huge thing and nobody came, and then they'd say, 'Oh, man, this guy ain't nowhere. Nobody cares about him,'" Sinclair recalled.

Then, one of his lawyers from Ann Arbor visited Sinclair at Jackson and told him about a surprising phone call he had just gotten.

Sinclair's lawyer told him, "Oh, man, I really got good news. John Lennon is going to come. He's written a song for you."

Sinclair scoffed at the claim, saying, "Man, don't mess with me. I'm already at my wits' end here."

The lawyer went back to his office, called Lennon, tape recorded his offer to help, then went back to the prison the next day and played it for Sinclair.

"It was just unbelievable. You're in prison. People in prison are pretty much abandoned. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here," Sinclair laughed.

Lennon showed up and sang his new song "John Sinclair" to a sold-out crowd.

"Immediately, the whole complexion of my situation changes," Sinclair recalled. "Instead of people saying, 'Why doesn't he just shut up and serve his 10 years?' all of a sudden, they're saying, 'Well, jeeze, John Lennon says this is wrong; maybe we ought to think about this. You know, the Beatles are coming here to look into this guy's case.' Everything changed. Ten days later, I was out. It was like a miracle."

Out of the slammer, Sinclair went to New York to meet and thank John Lennon.

"He wasn't above anyone, even though he was probably the greatest popular creative artist in the world at the time. He was just a regular guy, a beautiful cat. We hit it off pretty good."

Lennon and Sinclair thought of a project to go on a concert tour following Nixon on his 1972 re-election campaign. They'd sell tickets for three bucks and give the money to community organizations.

"The poor guy wanted to have songs, and tell people to make peace. You know, really ugly stuff like that," Sinclair said. But J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and Attorney General John Mitchell's Justice Department were going to put a stop to those plans. Hoover and Mitchell, both serial felons, by the way, got the Immigration and Naturalization Service to tell Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, both foreign nationals, that they were going to have visa problems unless they stopped mixing politics with pop music. "First, the government hounded him out of public life. And then, when he decided to come back, some nut blew him away," Sinclair said. "You just shudder to think of this. He was my age. He would have had another 25 years of productivity, genius, works of art. It's so sad."

Sinclair finds the violence and gun culture of America appalling.

"You'd think, at one point, they'd rethink the concept of everybody being armed. It's so stupid. And now they're taking this kind of thuggery to an international level," he said.

Sinclair believes Lennon would have found the Bushevik regime "frightening," and if he were alive, he would be doing everything he could to end the war in Iraq. Sinclair finds Bush's appeal and ability to sell the war in Iraq disgusting and more harmful than Vietnam.

"This is the worst, in my view. This is the one that took America out of the realm of civilized nations and put us in with Hitler, bliztkrieging some poor little nation because you want their oil. Lying. It's just so ugly. How long are the American people going to put up with this?" he said.

Sinclair watched the BBC in Europe as American democracy unraveled in the 2000 presidential election.

"It was frightening to me. You expect the right wing to do bad things. You don't expect the people to endorse this and cheer them on. You expect them to have more sense. This is a democratic country with a long history of intelligent, informed citizenry, and now they don't have a clue," he said.

We talked about the mainstream media, the American Pravda that helped sell Bush's war in Iraq and failed to question the phony reasons for invading the country. But beyond the propaganda, Sinclair sees a disturbing need in the American people for a leader with such horrible traits and instincts.

"I finally understand what Hitler was all about," Sinclair said, sipping black coffee. "You know, all my life I wondered, how did Germany let this little weird guy gain power? How did they give him everything? He spoke to something in them and that's what this guy does. He doesn't speak to me. I look at him and can't believe someone would follow him across the street. But they like this guy for some reason. He gives them what they want and I don't understand it. I guess I've lost any understanding of mass psychology."

Sinclair still performs with his band, the Blues Scholars, and he loves traveling around the country in an Amtrak train. He hosts a weekly radio show from Amsterdam on the Internet at www.RadioFreeAmsterdam.com. It's also available as a podcast, and his radio show archives are found at www.johnsinclair.us.

"I've never been a big fan of the way our country organizes itself socially. I think that's on the record," he chuckled, "but now more than ever. That's why I spend most of my time in Amsterdam. It's the opposite of here."

Sinclair acknowledges Europe has "right-wing religious fanatics." But unlike the fundamentalist Christianity the Busheviks are trying to impose as a state religion, the European zealots "aren't trying to get into your home. They really don't care what you do in your bedroom. They don't really care what you do to alter the inside of your head, which is as it should be, in my view. And they aren't armed."

Touring with the Blues Scholars is a haven for Sinclair. "I present a moving target," he said. His beard is gray these days and he'd love to experience another miracle like a MacArthur grant or the appearance of some wise and inspired patron to help fund his work and art. His laugh is hearty and contagious. But he is perplexed and saddened that the nation and culture he began challenging more than 40 years ago is in the worst state of his lifetime.

Asked about Lennon's song, Sinclair said, "I light up. I love to hear that song. The ironic thing about it is, I'm a blues man. It's about the closest thing to a blues song he ever made, with the snare drum and slide guitar. So I enjoy it on several levels. But most of all, it was my ticket to freedom."

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Relations With China

(category: Commentary, Word count: 432)
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As far as I am concerened, the leaders of China are not now and never will be our friends or allies. The leaders of China do not care about anything other than amassing power and destroying their enemies and since everyone not Chinese is their enemy they feel that it is their duty to someday rule the world. As far as they are concerened the United States is the largest hurdle to their attaining their dreams, therefore the first thing that they have to do is destroy us. They are not currently capable of defeating us militarily so they have decided to attempt to defeat us economically and so far they are doing a fairly good job at it. They are not our trading partner, they are our trading enemy and they are currently trading us into the ground.

Shock of shocks, today I was reading the op-ed section of the paper and found myself agreeing with the author about American relations with China and the VIP treatment Chinese President Hu is recieving in this country. Both of us agreed that President Hu does not deserve such treatment. My shock was, I was agreeing with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. I never agree with her.

Her article stated in part "TODAY, PRESIDENT Bush will roll out the red carpet for Chinese President Hu Jintao, a leader whose government brutally crushes freedom, democracy and the religious expression of the Chinese and Tibetan people. Hu will receive the best welcome U.S. taxpayer money can buy, including full military honors and a 21-gun salute.

This is the same regime that provides military technologies to countries that threaten international security, including Iran and North Korea. The same regime that threatens Taiwan with a military attack, detains and tortures Chinese people for expressing their political and religious beliefs and arrests Tibetans for carrying a picture of the Dalai Lama.

While open dialogue is essential, many of us on both sides of the aisle in Congress oppose the celebratory nature of this official visit.

This is not about isolationism. We must have engagement with China, but it should be sustainable engagement that enables us to maintain our values, continue our economic growth and uphold our national security.

Our growing national debt to China is a national security issue. Countries such as China that own our debt will soon not only be making our toys, our clothes and our computers, they will be making our foreign policy.

U.S. policy toward China is ineffective in upholding the pillars of our foreign policy

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The Clash Of Islam And Liberalism

(category: Commentary, Word count: 1521)
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Islam is not merely a religion. It is also - and perhaps, foremost - a state ideology. It is all-pervasive and missionary. It permeates every aspect of social cooperation and culture. It is an organizing principle, a narrative, a philosophy, a value system, and a vade mecum. In this it resembles Confucianism and, to some extent, Hinduism.

Judaism and its offspring, Christianity - though heavily involved in political affairs throughout the ages - have kept their dignified distance from such carnal matters. These are religions of "heaven" as opposed to Islam, a practical, pragmatic, hands-on, ubiquitous, "earthly" creed.

Secular religions - Democratic Liberalism, Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Socialism and other isms - are more akin to Islam than to, let's say, Buddhism. They are universal, prescriptive, and total. They provide recipes, rules, and norms regarding every aspect of existence - individual, social, cultural, moral, economic, political, military, and philosophical.

At the end of the Cold War, Democratic Liberalism stood triumphant over the fresh graves of its ideological opponents. They have all been eradicated. This precipitated Fukuyama's premature diagnosis (the End of History). But one state ideology, one bitter rival, one implacable opponent, one contestant for world domination, one antithesis remained - Islam.

Militant Islam is, therefore, not a cancerous mutation of "true" Islam. On the contrary, it is the purest expression of its nature as an imperialistic religion which demands unmitigated obedience from its followers and regards all infidels as both inferior and avowed enemies.

The same can be said about Democratic Liberalism. Like Islam, it does not hesitate to exercise force, is missionary, colonizing, and regards itself as a monopolist of the "truth" and of "universal values". Its antagonists are invariably portrayed as depraved, primitive, and below par.

Such mutually exclusive claims were bound to lead to an all-out conflict sooner or later. The "War on Terrorism" is only the latest round in a millennium-old war between Islam and other "world systems".

Such interpretation of recent events enrages many. They demand to know (often in harsh tones):

- Don't you see any difference between terrorists who murder civilians and regular armies in battle?

Both regulars and irregulars slaughter civilians as a matter of course. "Collateral damage" is the main outcome of modern, total warfare - and of low intensity conflicts alike.

There is a major difference between terrorists and soldiers, though:

Terrorists make carnage of noncombatants their main tactic - while regular armies rarely do. Such conduct is criminal and deplorable, whoever the perpetrator.

But what about the killing of combatants in battle? How should we judge the slaying of soldiers by terrorists in combat?

Modern nation-states enshrined the self-appropriated monopoly on violence in their constitutions and ordinances (and in international law). Only state organs - the army, the police - are permitted to kill, torture, and incarcerate.

Terrorists are trust-busters: they, too, want to kill, torture, and incarcerate. They seek to break the death cartel of governments by joining its ranks.

Thus, when a soldier kills terrorists and ("inadvertently") civilians (as "collateral damage") - it is considered above board. But when the terrorist decimates the very same soldier - he is decried as an outlaw.

Moreover, the misbehavior of some countries - not least the United States - led to the legitimization of terrorism. Often nation-states use terrorist organizations to further their geopolitical goals. When this happens, erstwhile outcasts become "freedom fighters", pariahs become allies, murderers are recast as sensitive souls struggling for equal rights. This contributes to the blurring of ethical percepts and the blunting of moral judgment.

- Would you rather live under sharia law? Don't you find Liberal Democracy vastly superior to Islam?

Superior, no. Different - of course. Having been born and raised in the West, I naturally prefer its standards to Islam's. Had I been born in a Muslim country, I would have probably found the West and its principles perverted and obnoxious.

The question is meaningless because it presupposes the existence of an objective, universal, culture and period independent set of preferences. Luckily, there is no such thing.

- In this clash of civilization whose side are you on?

This is not a clash of civilizations. Western culture is inextricably intertwined with Islamic knowledge, teachings, and philosophy. Christian fundamentalists have more in common with Muslim militants than with East Coast or French intellectuals.

Muslims have always been the West's most defining Other. Islamic existence and "gaze" helped to mold the West's emerging identity as a historical construct. From Spain to India, the incessant friction and fertilizing interactions with Islam shaped Western values, beliefs, doctrines, moral tenets, political and military institutions, arts, and sciences.

This war is about world domination. Two incompatible thought and value systems compete for the hearts and minds (and purchasing power) of the denizens of the global village. Like in the Westerns, by high noon, either one of them is left standing - or both will have perished.

Where does my loyalty reside?

I am a Westerner, so I hope the West wins this confrontation. But, in the process, it would be good if it were humbled, deconstructed, and reconstructed. One beneficial outcome of this conflict is the demise of the superpower system - a relic of days bygone and best forgotten. I fully believe and trust that in militant Islam, the United States has found its match.

In other words, I regard militant Islam as a catalyst that will hasten the transformation of the global power structure from unipolar to multipolar. It may also commute the United States itself. It will definitely rejuvenate religious thought and cultural discourse. All wars do.

Aren't you overdoing it? After all, al-Qaida is just a bunch of terrorists on the run!

The West is not fighting al-Qaida. It is facing down the circumstances and ideas that gave rise to al-Qaida. Conditions - such as poverty, ignorance, disease, oppression, and xenophobic superstitions - are difficult to change or to reverse. Ideas are impossible to suppress. Already, militant Islam is far more widespread and established that any Western government would care to admit.

History shows that all terrorist groupings ultimately join the mainstream. Many countries - from Israel to Ireland and from East Timor to Nicaragua - are governed by former terrorists. Terrorism enhances social upward mobility and fosters the redistribution of wealth and resources from the haves to haves not.

Al-Qaida, despite its ominous portrayal in the Western press - is no exception. It, too, will succumb, in due time, to the twin lures of power and money. Nihilistic and decentralized as it is - its express goals are the rule of Islam and equitable economic development. It is bound to get its way in some countries.

The world of the future will be truly pluralistic. The proselytizing zeal of Liberal Democracy and Capitalism has rendered them illiberal and intolerant. The West must accept the fact that a sizable chunk of humanity does not regard materialism, individualism, liberalism, progress, and democracy - at least in their Western guises - as universal or desirable.

Live and let live (and live and let die) must replace the West's malignant optimism and intellectual and spiritual arrogance.

Edward K. Thompson, the managing editor of "Life" from 1949 to 1961, once wrote:

"'Life' must be curious, alert, erudite and moral, but it must achieve this without being holier-than-thou, a cynic, a know-it-all or a Peeping Tom."

The West has grossly and thoroughly violated Thompson's edict. In its oft-interrupted intercourse with these forsaken regions of the globe, it has acted, alternately, as a Peeping Tom, a cynic and a know it all. It has invariably behaved as if it were holier-than-thou. In an unmitigated and fantastic succession of blunders, miscalculations, vain promises, unkept threats and unkempt diplomats - it has driven the world to the verge of war and the regions it "adopted" to the threshold of economic and social upheaval.

Enamored with the new ideology of free marketry cum democracy, the West first assumed the role of the omniscient. It designed ingenious models, devised foolproof laws, imposed fail-safe institutions and strongly "recommended" measures. Its representatives, the tribunes of the West, ruled the plebeian East with determination rarely equaled by skill or knowledge.

Velvet hands couched in iron gloves, ignorance disguised by economic newspeak, geostrategic interests masquerading as forms of government, characterized their dealings with the natives. Preaching and beseeching from ever higher pulpits, they poured opprobrium and sweet delusions on the eagerly duped, naive, bewildered masses.

The deceit was evident to the indigenous cynics - but it was the failure that dissuaded them and others besides. The West lost its former colonies not when it lied egregiously, not when it pretended to know for sure when it surely did not know, not when it manipulated and coaxed and coerced - but when it failed.

To the peoples of these regions, the king was fully dressed. It was not a little child but an enormous debacle that exposed his nudity. In its presumptuousness and pretentiousness, feigned surety and vain clich

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