Saturday, November 25, 2006

Demagogy about a Third World War - William Pfaff

David Seaton's News Links
I keep pushing William Pfaff at my readers, hoping they will finally become as enthusiastic about his deep knowledge, experience and uncommon, common sense as I am. Guru Jai Jai. Guru maharaj. I always knew he was good, but until the war in Iraq, I didn't know how good. He was one of the few (like chicken's teeth) American commentators that was exactly right about Iraq from day one. As Iraq is the major political, geostrategic, human and historical disaster of our time, from which an endless chain of disasters are flowing and will flow, therefore; the world of analysts is forever divided into those of us who got it right from the beginning and those who didn't. DS
Abstract: Last week at Harvard, General John Abizaid, head of the American Central Command, responsible for operations in Iraq, said that if a way is not found to stem the rise of Islamic militancy, there will be a third world war. I do not understand from where in the labyrinths of Pentagon and Washington think-tank deliberations, grounds are found for such sensationalist forecasts by people in responsible positions in and out of American government. Henry Kissinger has made the same forecast, while readjusting his personal position from support for the war, to a prediction that the war can’t be won, but that it nonetheless should continue. Who is going to fight this third world war? Presumably Islamic militants against the United States (with such allies as remain, now that Britain is leaving). That is not a world war. It is war of American intervention in foreign countries to stamp out movements supported by at least a part of the people there. We are doing that in Iraq and it’s not working, nor did it work in Somalia or Vietnam.(...) Ah, the promulgators of the new world war theory say, the terrorists have already told us that they will first seize power in Iraq (and Iran), proclaim a new universal caliphate, and take power with the support of the masses in Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, and the Maghreb. Then Western Europe, enfeebled by welfare governments and cowardice, in need of oil and subverted from within by Islamic minority populations, will submit to al Qaeda, or appease it (Europe’s people turning themselves into “Euarabs,” as one recent American scenario has it). That will leave a heroic America standing alone, battling the Islamic hordes. This is puerile fantasy. Yet Abizaid said to his Harvard audience: “Think of [today] as a chance to confront fascism in 1920. If we only had the guts to do it!” More fantasy and misinformation. There was nothing to confront in 1920. The Fascist party did not exist until 1921, and Mussolini did not form a government until 1923, when it won general praise in America and Britain for its spirit and efficiency.(...) The only way there now can be a “third world war” is for the United States to insist on staying on in Iraq, and go into Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and other states as well, no doubt allied with Israel. Even in that case it would not be the great clash of ideology and geopolitics General Abizaid foresees. It would be a narrow war of illusion and ideology which most American allies would wish to avoid. It would be a struggle by the Islamic people to get the United States out of their countries and out of their lives. American intervention in the Islamic world started long before 9/11. The U.S. is fighting the ignored legacy of its own past policies. It is time to call an armistice, and go home.

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