Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Open Thread

Wishing U.S. readers of TWR a restful and enjoyable Independence Day. The Washington Realist will be on hiatus for the rest of the week. Spent most of today continuing to comment on the Kennebunkport mini-summit (good summaries of my further thinking in today's National Review and in tomorrow's International Herald Tribune.) A number of interesting topics for discussion over at National Interest online, including Thomas Carothers, Andrew J. Bacevich, Wayne Merry, Robert W. Merry and Amitai Etzioni debating democracy (something I'll do in a taped segment that will appear tomorrow on the Newshour, along with Lorne Craner, Amr Hamzawy and Anne-Marie Slaughter). Alexis Debat on what the UK terror plots should force us to re-evaluate about Al-Qaeda. The beginnings of a further conversation about the implications of a "world without the West." Plenty of material in the news headlines for discussion.

Since this is an open thread, and everybody in the US is getting drunk and blowing up watermelons…

"Al-Qaeda is now an ideology, and the attacks were not orchestrated from the top command".

Mr. Debat is convincing in his refutation of the home-grown hypothesis. But is it possible that there is more than one top command in play? The Japanese experience with leftist radicals in the 60s and 70s is that an ideologically driven movement will easily splinter (and that the violence between factions can be at least as horrifying as those inflicted on the enemy of the people). If indeed there are multiple sources of motivation, technology, and financing, then the struggle against the militant and radical Islamic version of terror will be that much more of a hard slog. There is an upside to fragmentation, though, in that resources will be fragmented as well (and possibly turned on each other).

"Poverty, lack of education and lack of integration feed radicalization and terrorism."

I thought that 9.11 had done away with this one. Maybe it's different in the UK. These most recent attempts are eerily reminiscent of the Aum Shinrikyo sarin attacks, which came with their own coterie of doctors and engineers from top Japanese schools.
Jun, in keeping with an earlier and very justifiable complaint, no one here really pays much attention to the Japanese experience especially with terrorism because that would be "different."

Off to get firecrackers to blow up watermelons.
You guys just do not seem to understand that you are in a religious war - Protestant states against Sunni Islam.

Large majorities of Muslims are convinced that you are out there to destroy Islam; i.e. the core of their personality.

An equivalent thing would have been the perception that US war aims in WWI were the destruction of Nihonismo; i.e. being Japanese.

Think of Bin Ladin as John Borwn and the attacks of 9/11 as equivalent to the attack at Harper's Ferry. Many Northerners, while disagreeing with John Brown's methods, agreed with his aims. The capture nd execution of John Brown did not prevent the Civil War eiher.

And the way you are going soon you will be at war with the Shia Muslims as well.
Starting another thread of conversation--Nik, do you think that the president is changing course again on Russia back toward closer partnership with Putin. I can't imagine he's too troubled by Putin's methods in Russia if he thinks he's the right guy to be running the country. And is Bush doing this in spite of the advisors around him?

In Japan, we whack our watermelons with a bat, blindfolded. You see, we're different.
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