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Join Gab (@StFerdinandIII) Western Civilisation was and is superior to anything Islam has developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Raising the alarm about the fascism called Submission since 2000.  

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

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Iraq - what is the alternative but to stay?

Asymmetrical wars are long and bloody

by Ferdinand III




Many of us “Neo-Cons” (whatever Neo means- maybe shining brightly like a Tokyo billboard?), were dead wrong about the Iraq war. We got the initial war’s duration right- about 3 weeks- but much of the rest wrong, except of course for the final objective which lies decidedly in the far future. That end goal is a stable U.S. protectorate which will support and aid the “West” in the long war against Islamic radicalism. No other policy option makes sense.

It is interesting to read of British Middle Eastern hegemonic rule during the early and mid 20th century, to get an idea of the high stakes involved in the current Iraq conflict. The Brits had two major geo-political aspirations in the region- protect India (which was in effect financing the empire), from Russian or Persian imperialism, and safeguard the Suez Canal and the trade routes in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. To achieve these goals the British effected two complementary policies.

The first involved the creation of naval and military bases stretching from the Straits of Hormuz, to the Mediterranean, Cairo, Aden, Kuwait, Bahrain, and various intermediary points. These strategic positions were controlled by British Naval and Military might and integrated with European - Asian trade routes. Seaborne trade routes were thus protected and mobile and powerful units of the Royal Navy and Army ensured security and political diplomatic power. Soft power or moral suasion without military strength is puerile fantasy. Imperial Britain understood this.

The second element of British hegemonic control entailed light (or indirect) nation state rule and governance. Egypt became a protectorate in 1882- formally inside but de-facto outside of Ottoman control. During and after World War One, Southern Persia, Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait were at various times, and in different ways, under British control. In Iraq the British, through Iraqi leadership and initiative, created a so-called “unnatural” Iraqi state, where rule was indirect and control enacted through local proxies, as with India, British Imperial footprint in Iraq and elsewhere was kept to a minimum threshold.

Light British Imperialism in the Near East was shattered by World War Two. Britain post- 1945 was weak. The 1956 Suez debacle destroyed any British pretence (using Post- 1945 American money), at controlling Middle Eastern Affairs. With the Cold-War, the rise of Nasser- fueled pan-Arabism, and the American unwillingness to take over Britain’s rule in the region, geo-political instability and regional violence was assured for decades to come.

So how does Britain’s experience in the Middle East, with “Empire on the Cheap” relate to Bush’s Iraq war and the greater long-term war with radical Islam?

First and most obvious, an imperial protectorate is only created after a military victory. The British were clear victors in sundry wars from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century throughout their occupied territories in the near East. Only with a military inspired peace can effective government take root in an imperialist venture.

Second, an indirect political presence, supported by overwhelming military muscle, achieves more at less cost than annexation or formal territorial control. Economic vigor; clean, representative and lawful governance; and social cohesion can only be achieved via “native” rule. Economic stimulus, financing and general institutional development can be underwritten by the imperial power, but only with local acquiescence and political control.

Third, and most importantly, a light Imperialism takes a lot of time and money to setup. The British lost patience, budget and the P-R battle for Iraq from 1926- 1932. An asymmetrical insurgency attacked British bases, demanded Iraqi independence, and drove up the economic and political costs to such a level, that the British felt compelled to exit. Public opinion was incensed by body-bag counts and Churchill’s disastrous decision in 1925 to re-link the British pound to a gold standard. As Keynes rightly expounded, economical misery followed. With a contracting economy the British had little appetite for foreign adventures.

With today’s Iraq war much emotional energy is vented over the interminable amount of time it is taking to truly liberate Iraq. Other complaints highlight the 30.000 US soldiers killed and wounded- truly an atrociously extravagant number- and the $100-200 billion being spent per annum. Other analysts fret about spiteful world opinion, and anti-Americanism. Such concerns find their echo in British Parliamentary debates on Imperialist Middle Eastern Policy circa 1918 to 1932.

The objections are valid. But withdrawal is not. There is no September 10th, 2001 World Order to defend. Islam and the Middle East cannot be left alone. Far from doing too much in Iraq, the Americans, like the British in the 1920’s are doing too little. Perhaps 0.7% of U.S. GDP is going to Iraq. The military is under-funded and over-stretched. A military victory over fascists; terrorists; and criminals is thus delayed. Without this victory political, civilian, infrastructure and humanitarian aid- needed in enormous amounts- cannot be built-up and deployed. Iraq; reconciliation and peace without a clear U.S. military and security, victory is impossible.

U.S. withdrawal, which would create a civil war and unimaginable human and societal destruction, is not an option. Unfortunately in asymmetrical warfare, “Empire-On-The-Cheap” is impossible. The Americans need to commit more money, more troops and better strategies to save victor in Iraq. We can’t repeat the British mistakes of 1926-1932. There are no other options.

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