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The Fundamental Challenge of the 21st Century

August 22, 2006

OFFAL sez:

The United States of America must understand it’s in our interests that we help this democracy succeed. As a matter of fact, it’s in our interests that we help reformers across the Middle East achieve their objectives. This is the fundamental challenge of the 21st century. A failed Iraq would make America less secure. A failed Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will provide safe haven for terrorists and extremists. It will embolden those who are trying to thwart the ambitions of reformers. In this case, it would give the terrorists and extremists an additional tool besides safe haven, and that is revenues from oil sales. [Emphasis added. White House: Press Conference by the President]

Well, good thing we don’t have a “failed Iraq” on our hands! After all, it’s still only ranked 4th on the 2006 failed states index!

That aside, and I’m only reading in between the lines here and picking up the thinnest strand of an undercurrent; but if OFFAL is saying what I think he’s accidentally implying, then there may actually be some truth inside this statement, like the proverbial riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

See, I think the “fundamental challenge of the 21st century” will be increased competition for increasingly scarce energy resources. Also, to my mind, it seems as though “our interests” and “American security” consist of keeping the power to exploit world energy (and other) resources in order to maintain our exuberant way of life; without resorting to conservation or shelling-out to invest in a large scale conversion to renewable energy.

I’d call the elements in the Mid East who oppose women becoming educated, and religious freedom — who resist “the ambitions of reformers” seeking modernization — “extremists.” (But the extremists are not the sole proprietors of terrorism. All factions— including US —have resorted to terrorism in this snarly circle-jerk-cum-tug-of-war we call Iraq.)

But do we actually believe that a loosely organized band of suicide bombers and guerilla fighters will take control of a failed Iraq’s oil industry, whatever that’d look like, and begin reaping all the profits to fund more (and really expensive!) terrorist activity? No. We just don’t trust the extremists— who could very possibly shuffle a little of that oil money out to terrorists —to respect “our interests” and “American security” in the broader sense.

So, are we really there to help the reformers in Iraq? What do the everyday people in Iraq think about all of this?

Iraqi blogger and activist Raed Jarrar:

Why don’t you go and talk to any Iraqi in the street or talk with Iraqi leaders, elected officials or civil society leaders? All of them blame the occupation for the current sectarian violence, and all of them realize that Iraqis have been living in harmony and peace for the last 1,400 years. And none of these incidents used to happen before the occupation started in Iraq. So people blame the occupation there, and people say, “The day that the occupation will leave Iraq, this sectarian violence will go down. We know how to deal with our problems by ourselves. We know how to take out these people who are trying to increase the civilian conflict and civilian and sectarian tension in Iraq.” [Democracy Now!: Iraqi Peace Activist Forced to Change T-Shirt Bearing Arabic Script Before Boarding Plane at JFK]

So when a vast majority of Iraqi parliamentarians ask that we leave Iraq, why don’t we give them, 1400 years of history and the Iraqi people the benefit of the doubt?

Because we don’t really believe that a vast majority of Iraqi parliamentarians and 1400 years of history will champion “our interests” and “American security.” Mainly because, and rightly so, authentic democracies champion their own people’s interests and security.

MTT: We noticed last Friday, that the Administration is “considering alternatives other than democracy” in Iraq. Look for an Iraqi dictator, an obedient client, hand-picked for certain less-than-compassionate traits, propped up by the presence of permanent US military bases in Iraq.

It’s the permanent occupation of Iraq for strategic control of Mid-East energy resources, stupid!

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2 Comments
  1. August 22, 2006 11:45 AM

    Aside from your careful reading of Bush’s comments, noting the narrow “challenge” that he suggests will characterize the next 100 years and the focus on oil revenue (which, in the wrong hands, is yet another source of terror), I was amazed (not really) to read the Democracy Now transcript where Raed Jarrar was interviewed, and the re-cap of his encounter with security at JFK. It’s like a conflict between a high school student and the principal who doesn’t want him to wear the “Show Me Your Tits!” t-shirt to school, except on a much, much more serious level. The message of the event is made even clearer by the text on Jarrar’s t-shirt, which read “We Will Not Be Silent” in English and Arabic. This is not an isolated incident: Goodman and Jarrar note several other recent instances (in addition to the thousands of sidelong glances, uncomfortable shiftings, keepings of children at a distance, and so on, which characterize the state of fear and racism in the “West” today) in which racism (mass hysteria) has been accepted and acted upon by airline/security authorities. This deserves serious thought. While it is hardly unexpected (the logical result of the campaign of fear and terror that has been waged in the media and by the government is just that: fear and terror, targeting the objects of evil which the media/government (not really sure if those terms are separable any longer in the U.S., but in any case, the government is the dominant term) has placed in front of us: “Arabs”) it is frightening to me.

  2. August 22, 2006 2:59 PM

    Mediament? Governedia?

    Yes, the two or three separate airplane incidents I’d heard about over the past week have been disheartening. As well as the recent poll that indicated that 39% of Americans think Muslims should have to carry special identification. (A scarlet ‘M’, perhaps?)

    It is frightening how powerful this Governedia has become, and how influential it has been in steering the public mind into this “mass hysteria.” Indeed, serious (deep) thought is required. The answer is unlikely 42. But, just in case, what is the question?

    How can dissenting individuals, or little blogs like this one, affect the public mind in a significant way in order to resist the institutional brainwashing of the public mind? (Or something far more eloquent and precise along similar lines…)

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