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Spengler

Contrary to Obama, the Terror War Has Barely Begun

May 27th, 2013 - 12:42 pm

The collapse of Middle Eastern states from Libya to Afghanistan vastly increases the terrorist recruitment pool, while severely restricting the ability of American intelligence services to monitor and interdict the terrorists. In addition, it intensifies the despair that motivates Muslims like the Tsarnaev brothers or Michael Adebolajo to perpetrate acts of terrorism. That makes President Obama’s declaration that America is winding down the “war on terror”–a misnomer to begin with–the worst decision by an American commander-in-chief since the Buchanan administration, perhaps ever.

Last week I took part in a Tablet magazine roundtable on the crack-up of Middle Eastern states and its strategic implications, along with Edward Luttwak, the New York Times‘ Robert Worth, Amos Harel of Ha’aretz, Lee Smith of the Weekly Standard, and Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group. Our group effort was one of several essays to appear in the past two weeks commenting on the disintegration of the system of states created after World War I by colonial cartographers. I argued:

 In their wisdom, the colonial powers characteristically created multiethnic and multisectarian entities based on the principle of minority rule. There is a reason that Syria has labored under brutal minority regimes for half a century, since the Ba’ath Party coup of 1963 led by the Christian Michel Aflaq, followed by the Alawite Assad dynasty’s assumption of power in 1971. If you create artificial states with substantial minorities, as British and French cartographers did after the First World War, the only possible stable government is a minority government. That is why the Alawites ran Syria and the minority Sunnis ran Iraq. The minority regime may be brutal, even horribly brutal, but this arrangement sets up a crude system of checks and balances. A government drawn from a minority of the population cannot attempt to exterminate the majority, so it must try to find a modus vivendi. The majority can in fact exterminate a minority. That is why a majority government represents an existential threat to the minority, and that is why minorities fight to the death. This meta-equilibrium is broken and cannot be restored.

Syria’s crack-up is at the top of the agenda, but the breakdown of putative nation-states extends across nearly all of the Muslim world. As Amos Harel reported in the Tablet symposium, the prime minister of Libya “has to cross checkpoints manned by five different militias, on his way home from office.”  In place of regular armies controlled by dictators, Libya is crisscrossed by ethnic and sectarian militias (including the one that murdered our ambassador last September). Egypt is on the brink of economic collapse and state failure; Iraq is in the midst of a low-intensity sectarian war; Syria’s civil war already is being fought out in Lebanon; and Turkey’s border has become unstable.

A vast number of young men have been drawn into irregular combat. Syria has become the cockpit of a Sunni-Shi’ite war, with Turkey and the Gulf states funneling money and jihadists into Syria while Iran sends Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah irregulars to the aid of the Assad regime. The young men of Libya already are mobilized into militias; Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood cells and Salafists and football mobs are not yet armed, but are organized. Iraq’s sectarians are armed to the teeth, in part thanks to American funding of the “Sunni Awakening” during the 2007-2008 surge. Very large numbers of young men are ready to fight to the death, while the breakup of the fragile civilian society of these countries draws more and more of them into the maelstrom. Terrorism has become a way of life in Syria, where both sides instigate atrocities, in part to intimidate their opponents and in part to bind their own fighters to the cause by making them complicit in such crimes.

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Top Rated Comments   
I don't know how anybody can believe that obama is just a bumbler, or even mistake prone. There is only one explanation that fits all of the available facts with respect to what is going on in the middle east, and here in America. The only explanation that fits the facts is that events in the middle east and here at home ARE BY DESIGN. Many people avoid the use of the word conspiracy even when a conspiracy is hitting them right in the face every day. All that is required to see it is to take the marxist obama at his own word- when he said "we are 5 days away from fundamentally transforming America", he meant it. Pull your head out of the ground and comprehend what is going on around you. obama's goal is to destroy America.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"... it intensifies the despair that motivates Muslims like the Tsarnaev brothers or Michael Adebolajo to perpetrate acts of terrorism. "

They are not motivated by despair. They are motivated by hatred.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Now we face a military challenge unlike any we have had in the past. Our military was designed to defeat the Soviet Union. Now we face tens of thousands–perhaps millions–of anonymous enemies armed with cheap weapons, but advantaged by the element of surprise and the will to commit suicide in order to damage us. We have entered a new and terrible epoch of war–and the president has announced that the war is over."

The Islamic war against the West has barely begun. Obama lacks the intelligence to understand the problem. Spengler 's use of the term "radicalized Muslims" is an evasion. Islam's only rationality is supremacism. Violence is necessary because how in the world could you persuade any rational person that Islam is good and beneficial.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (90)
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We all have a tendency to try and bend reality to match our ideology, but liberalism in general and President Obama in particular have a very bad case of the ideological bends.

Islam and Liberalism are facing a very similar problem. Both believe they are possessors of the one all encompassing truth that is supposed to lead the world to enlightenment and peace.

Facing the reality that their big truths don't work, and in fact lead instead to collapse and despair is unacceptable and so they must keep bending that darn reality to explain their failure as being the fault of others.

We are not fighting a war on terror. We are fighting a war on tyranny. A war as old as history itself. Whether it is in the form of Islam's desire to force us to worship their god, or Liberal's desire to force us to join their welfare state, or crony capitalists desire to use the government to force us to buy their products, it may look different outwardly, but at root it always shares the same desire to coerce others into doing what you want.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Goldman, PLEASE stop with this nonsensical "war on terror". We are not at war with terror, nor even terrorism. Terror is an emotion, and terrorism is a tactic.

We are at war with Islam, and it is very harmful to continue this myth of being at war with "terror".
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
So if the Terror War has "barely begun," as Spengler suggests, the obvious next question is: what kind of U.S. foreign policy can we expect in the coming years? For how many years will we be actively intervening in the Middle East? How many more Iraqs will we have to overthrow? How many more "friendly dictators" will we be funding militarily in order to fight the Jihadist threat?

I can tell you right now that if you see 50 years of heavy U.S. involvement in Middle East relations, I won't support any of it. I won't pay taxes for more multi-trillion dollar wars, I won't "patriotically" stand behind every single military action our government tries to get us into.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"With this background, it is not so shocking that we are not grasping the reality facing us in Syria. That reality is a humiliating defeat of the United States at the hands of Iran and Hezbollah, aided by Russia, in a manner that destabilizes and weakens all our allies and our influence in the Middle East, emboldens our worst enemies, and has a significant geopolitical impact." excerpt from the weekly standard
Elliot Abrams

Islam is not the problem it is the perversion of Islam. Look at all the good Islam people in USA. The same thing can be said about Christians. Why do so many Christians believe abortion is good when abortion is a culture of death practice? But all three Abraham faiths have people called to repentance.
it is nasty to say but if Hitler won Christians would still be hunted down the last remaining few Jews in the world as if this was the holy thing to do.
The atheist perversions are the worst as we see in North Korea and what that will mean when China becomes the superpower (Russia will go back to Christian , China will see one day christian is useless along with Islam)
What kind of world awaits us if USA practices isolation?



46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
""With this background, it is not so shocking that we are not grasping the reality facing us in Syria. That reality is a humiliating defeat of the United States at the hands of Iran and Hezbollah, aided by Russia, in a manner that destabilizes and weakens all our allies and our influence in the Middle East, emboldens our worst enemies, and has a significant geopolitical impact." excerpt from the Weekly Standard
- Elliot Abrams

Well neocons, you picked this fight, you thought your boys the Saudis and Qataris would put up enough cash and dumb Libyan jihadis it would be smooth and clean. Instead it's been horrifying and messy, and now all you can say about your strategic brilliance is that you have Sunnis and Shi'a fighting each other instead of fighting us. Now you Weekly Standard niks have to pretend John McCain hugging the Al-Heart and Lung Eaters Brigade's suit-wearing representatives is somehow as patriotic as apple pie.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
so get your little enemies to rub elbows with you and your goodness rub off on them as you unite to battle the real enemy
The Three Abraham faiths have much in common with each other when the enemy is exposed and the three faiths heal from culture of death ideas and practices
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are no "Three Abraham faiths". Mohammed (if he was even a real person) ripped off some of the features of Judaism and Christianity, pasted them onto the local worship of the Moon God, added his own ideas (to justify his sexual perversions), and called it an Abrahamic faith.

Islam is completely antithetical to Judaism and Christianity.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ralph Peters says...

Iraq was carved out for British interests, while Syria was France’s consolation prize. Now Syria’s collapsing in a too-many-factions-to-count civil war. And Iraq’s in the early stages of its own dissolution; even a would-be dictator — another of our one-time “friends,” Nouri al-Maliki — can’t keep the “country” together.

We don’t even know how many new states will emerge from the old order’s wreckage. But the Scramble for the Sand is on, with Iran, Turkey, treacherous Arab oil sheikdoms and terrorists Sunni and Shia alike all determined to dictate the future, no matter the cost in other people’s blood.

We had our chance to extend the peace and keep both Iran and Wahhabi crazies at bay after we defeated Iraq’s insurgencies. But a new American president, elevating politics over strategy, walked away from Baghdad, handing Iraq to Iran. Now it’s too late. If George W. Bush helped trigger the Arab Spring, Barack Obama made this Arab Winter inevitable.

We must not be lured into the current fighting — centered, for now, on Syria — by cries of humanitarian necessity. The local powers could step in to stop the killing. But they won’t. Once again, they want us to pay the bill. (It’s time for the Saudis, especially, to give their own blood.)

We’ve paid enough

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/the_arab_collapse_tfjo7W92EreoUHdxdQq1DN
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
We need to dump the Defense Department and bring back the War Department. War is to important to be left to the community organizers.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't forget David the John McCain supported al-Heart and Lung Eaters Jihadi Brigades.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think DG needs to look at Muslim capabilities here: poplulation does not equate to power. Mussolini prated about 12MM bayonets but did not mention that they travel by foot.

The only true danger Islam presents is simply allowing within our borders. Beyond that they are impotent, and disorganized by any measure, unless a Mahdi or some such make the scene.

Islam is hoping to start a war or at least claims that the West is at war with them, in the hope of recruiting more people.

I suggest that helping them in anyway is unproductive as they will see it as simply a sign of weakness or rather an expression of Allah's will.

Some believe we have a duty toward them, which I do not: if they want to fight, it should not be on our dime.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
DB, I agree that if we take stern countermeasures we can turn away the threat. But we do not want to allow circumstances that might (for example) shut down the Straits of Hormuz or destabilize Saudi Arabia. We might be headed for energy independence (although we are still far from it) but we have allies who depend on it. Do we really want Europe entirely dependent on Russia for energy?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
OMG! Because the Russians will turn off the taps...not...

David your Cold War nostalgia is showing. Russia is already facing fierce competition from Norway for energy supplies, not to mention all that liberated light, sweet Libyan crude the Duck of Death was removed to free up....in fact the worst problem Gazprom has is not tankerloads of LNG being shipped from the U.S. (and just by coincidence, my favorite Russophobe fanatic Craig Pirrong has a relative who works at Cherniere Energy) but dirt cheap U.S. coal and customers in southern Europe that simply can't pay their gas bills, ala Ukraine in 2005.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The oil will be sold to someone. So the global market will be affected to a much lessor degree. It will also spur more rapid development in the saner parts of the world.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not so.

With the proper amount of chaos, oil production collapses.

As for spurring oil drilling elsewhere: that's been under way for a generation. OPEC has gone from 50% of the market to, say, 20%.

Indonesia left OPEC entirely.

Iran and Iraq have NEVER gotten back to where they were in 1980.

46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only true danger Islam presents is simply allowing within our borders. - bob

Needs to be repeated, until it sinks in.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"winding down the “war on terror”–a misnomer to begin with"

I think perhaps the Bushies had an intuition of just what Spengler is saying here: the Jihad terrorist disintegrates states and fights not on behalf of any state or national liberation movement one might name, but on behalf of chaos in service to a vague Utopian eschatology of Caliphascism. War on terrorism is just short for war on Islamic Utopianism or Islamic militantism. I've never quite understood why so many get upset shouting "you can't have a war on a tactic". Well, you can, when the means and the ends are one and the same.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remember the '60's rubric "What if they had a war and nobody came?". True to the faith, the left is trying for half a loaf..."What if the have a war and we don't go?"
I assume it will work as well as all their other brilliant ideas.
ta
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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