I was very surprised yesterday when McCain got on TV saying that the Russians had been bombing
folks that were being trained and supplied (recently) by the CIA -- and he was clearly itching for war between US and Israel against Russia and Iran (something which the Third Caliphate folks want very badly, to cancel out and destroy both of the greatest barriers to their plans).
I mumbled out loud: "Yeah, folks that the CIA supported and trained. They supported and trained Al Qaida!" Luda responded, "Well, this group that Russia bombed, Al Nusrah, isn't EXACTLY
core Al Qaida, but it is an affiliate, with all the same goals and networked to the core."
That surprised me a little. Just who has been directing CIA to arm and support Al Qaida affiliates, after all? (I suspect that Obama was either playing golf, or watching his watch, when that was decided, and forcibly implemented by folks deposited into the government by Cheney.)
And today, the drumbeat of outrage continued. CNN ran a panel, including the guy who wrote the book "My Life in Al Qaida." I recommended that book many times to friends a few years ago, since it was very earthy and real and it shows some important aspects of Al Qaida which got missed in the more beautiful and abstract book by Scheuer (the former CIA top analyst for Al Qaida). And what did he say? Yes, he joined the bandwagon against Russia... but what did he actually say. "It is indeed very risky that they bombed Al Qaida in Syria. Don't they know there is a risk that Al Qaida and ISIL might join forces and both attack the US at the same time?"
Hello? A risk that Al Qaida MIGHT oppose the US harder if we got them a little upset by resisting them? It sounds as if the life in Al Qaida never ended. And Jeb Bush is energetically supporting their line. Of major US folks on the TV, only Trump seems to see through the scary illusions.
How is that?
I think back to the Oriental rug merchants who gave certain sweeping reassurances and hugs to the Bushes. Having had pleasant but controlled interactions with real Oriental rug merchants in the Middle East, I instinctively understand the balance of trust but verify which applies, as one strives for honest dialogue and Pareto optima while watching one's back and avoiding vulnerability to force majeure of predictable kinds. It sounds as if those drum beaters never had, and fantasize that they are loved and emulated by the world in a way which was never real in those places. (But then again, I also saw the Third Caliphate game plan in 2003, form primary sources.) It sounds as if Trump actually has dealt with oriental rug merchants, or the equivalent. This is a case where we either see through the illusions or commit our own suicide.
SOME of the conflicts we see now date back to the wars in the Balkans, where Clinton struggled hard to take a moral highground, when many Islamists violently opposed Clinton for not doing enough, while others like Russia and Japan vehemently opposed the US for doing as much as it did to try to protect local European Moslems. In fact, much of the history of Russia is one long struggle to be free of domination from oppressive Moslem overlords, and they became quite committed and effective in trying to win that war. (That is also true to a lesser extent of Spain ... and those who know Spain know this is a very strong statement.) Yes, Putin is taking a very strong us-versus-them approach, but most Russians would probably want a STRONGER assertion of the "us" component, and are probably baffled by why the US hasn't yet figured out what's going on. (Israel does not baffle them so much, as they tend to assume the worse from global Israeli politics, even as they deeply respect Israeli science and such.)
In fact... Putin is not quite so extreme in war against Islam as some would accuse him of. He really tried hard to make good peace with the Chechens, and won a lot of points in Russia for that... though a lot of that has started to unravel in recent years, as his friends committed acts of mass murder and terrorism inside Russia. (Some in Russia even suspected Putin himself in using that to strengthen his power. But lots of folks in Russia suspect all kinds of things.)
And what of Iran?
In the end, to be truly honest to ourselves at the highest spiritual level here, we need to seriously consider -- could Islamists be right THAT they are more spiritually enlightened than us, and that they have a responsibility to sacrifice to end the evil that WE and PUTIN bring to the world?
We really need to remember to ask that question, regularly -- just as properly trained psychiatrist knows he needs to be under regular therapy himself, as part of what his profession rightly demands.
Above all, almost everyone on earth needs to actively keep remembering what Jesus said -- about removing the beam from our own eye before we get too agitated about removing the splinter from the eye of our brother.
I previously mentioned very briefly my view that the US Constitution, or the constitution written for Germany after World War II, are the most credible Social Contracts ever devised on earth, for allowing diverse and growing humans to live together and learn to cooperate. That is certainly PART of the truth; sharia as a world system, as developed by ulema under the Abbasid caliphate, has gross instabilities and inhibitions which imply that its dominance would get us all killed. (Catholic canon law in its formal evolved version has the same problem.) But in recent years, developments in the US HAVE demonstrated a kind of incompleteness, and very deep dangers of instability and risks of oppression, both material and spiritual, even in the US. Some of these could actually be solved by switching to something like the German constitution, which was based in part on more advanced serious research building on our Founding Fathers but going beyond them! (Gerrymandered districts, for example, helped cause the insane extremism which forced even Boehner to resign.) But some are a matter of other requisites, beyond the formal social contract as such; for example, Jefferson once wrote that this new democracy could endure IF and ONLY IF all citizens received a free education which guaranteed they fully understood three core books at least -- Locke ("social contracts"!!),
Newton and Francis Bacon. PART of the recent fossilization in the US is due to a lapse in meeting Jefferson's prerequisite... a long story. But George Washington also had some thoughts on this...
Iran is very tricky, in part because Ayatollah Khomenei actually was hoping to implement a new constitution, to be an improved model of the US and European constitutions, to prevent the slide
he saw in the US and Europe. He overestimated the slide in the US and Europe, for obvious emotional reasons, since he thought that anyone who works with the Shah must support all of his errors... but in some ways the Shah was analogous to Obama, a well-meaning person whose greatest
mistake was to give too much leeway to evil people he did not have enough control over. In any case, most Americans thought at the time that we were being friendly with IRAN, not with all the acts of the Shah, which they simply did not see. (Yes, oil companies did bad things in filtering what Americans knew and saw, but they are not omnipotent here.)
So his new Constitution was intended to be as democratic as possible and open, subject to constraints to prevent what he imagined as the very worst evils in the US. He was in his way VERY SIMILAR to the father of the Koch brothers, who felt a need to use strong means to protect against extreme evils. And now, his son is very similar to the Koch brothers in the US ... but perhaps less dangerous to us than they are at the present time! His new Constitution is very similar in practice to what happens when pseudo-Conservatives work to convert the Supreme Court into a litmus-tested New Curia, giving precedence to the canon law of the Middle Ages over the free thinking attitudes of folks like Jefferson and Washington; when the Bushes cave into that rebuilding of America, they become as dangerous as the Koch Brothers whose funding they pant for.
In fact.. many in Russia understand something about the deeper history of Islam, which they have seen first hand. The folks leading the intolerant shariac Third Caliphate movement, which would want to kill all Christians and Shia who do not convert and accept rulership of their brains (to be supplemented with wires to the brain to maintain control... I kid you not... I have seen their links to the US brain initiative under Chakka Fattah...) .. have NO spiritual ground. I have mentioned more about that before. The greatest source of authentic spiritual light in core Islam... has been Rumi, and those who fully build on and absorb the teachings of Rumi. Rumi is very much a household name
in Turkey and Iran, who might argue over who "owns" him (a very healthy competition). And yes, he has links to the Mehlevi Sufis, whom I promised to say more about eventually. I am very grateful to the folks in Istanbul who gifted me with the annual over plan of that order, which ranged form practical issues to very deep and serious spiritual matters worthy of deep thinking.
It was THIS strand of Islam which would preserve and enhance the human spirit ... and Iran and Turkey are the main sources of light which bring hope to that region. Yes, that light has often been obscured by all kinds of nonsense, exactly as it has in Washington DC... but whatever spiritual hope exists for this planet and this species lies in strengthening and building collaboration as best we can between these sources of light, and muddling through in keeping the darkness from getting out of control. War between US and Israel versus Russia and Iran would be the worst possible outcome for the human spirit, as wall as its mundane future. Striving for light is not an easy path, but it is our only hope.
Having Trump as President might not be a totally easy path either... but selling out to the Third Caliphate and the war they desire would be an efficient road to doom. I hope that Hillary, Carson or Biden would also be able to resist that dark path, but for now it is a bit less clear in their case -- and clearly very bleak for all the others.
Best of luck. We all need it.
Next day... What I saw yesterday was a bit of a shock and a wakeup call. (Not that it was totally unexpected, given similar things I have been seeing here in DC.) How does it look in the hard cold light of the next morning?
Do McCain and Bush agree with some CIA assessment that they have come to a good secret agreement and alliance with Al Qaida now?
Luda comments -- even if there were a signed alliance agreement held in secret somewhere, how much do they really expect it to be honored when circumstances change? I remember how faith in secret alliances and agreements was one of the causes of World War I breaking out.
More concretely -- yes, we officially hate Assad, but if we had a three-way choice between Syria run by Al Qaida, Syria run by Al Qaida, and Syria run by Assad -- as a sober choice, which would we pick? Do we really want to use US resources and special skills and new commitments to flow to strengthen Al Qaida? It was one thing when the US paid to augment the skills and weapons of Osama bin Laden back before we knew who he really was in Afghanistan, but now we know...
Yes, it is embarrassing to us that Assad stays in power, but is embarrassment a justification for giving
an entire nation state base to EITHER Al Qaida OR ISIL? Is the fault not one of overcommitment
on our part?
The President of Iraq just showed up on TV (France24) this morning, and said much the same.
For him, this is a matter of life or death. It is for us too, but he sees them right at the gates right now where he is.
The analogy between the new Ayatollah Khamanei and the Koch brothers really runs very deep, and is quite interesting. Both are extremely sincere, in their own way. Both believe they represent the true moral highground, and are very dismissive and disrespectful of others. Both believe they have to use repressive tactics because of their mistrust of everyone else. And in both cases, the tactics are bad enough that they seriously endanger the people in the place they now live in. Still, it is worse in places where the inner life has already been extinguished to a much greater degree.
These shocks remind me of what Cameron, PM of UK, recently said about the Syrian refugee crisis: "We too promise to support more Syrian refugees... IN SYRIA." But does that mean sending them to Al Qaida camps?
Perhaps instead of threatening war with Russia, and insisting on eliminating of Assad, we might as for new internationally protected zones within Syria to provide a decent place for these people to go back to... a humanitarian goal, not a goal of pride and power. Maybe we could pay for cosmopolitan real schools in that zone (and other basics), and spend US money via the UN for schools rather than
To follow up on that I yesterday posted to two lists:
Many in Europe view the Syrian refugee crisis as a kind of existential crisis for them.
It was a major turning point when David Cameron, PM of UK, pledged to support more Syrian refugees -- IN SYRIA ITSELF. (This, after Merkel offered to take lots of them into Germany -- and aroused some of the munchkins in a way we have not seen for almost a century. Not a hot button we should be fighting to press real hard, especially when so many Europeans worry about what is happening already with second generation folks.)
That sounded interesting -- but WHERE in Syria and how?
I wondered a little -- but the REALLY worried when I learned where we
English speakers are now sending our support:
If we should face a flat out three-way choice, between Syria run by Assad, Syria run by ISIL, or Syria run by Al Qaida -- are we really the kind of people who would sooner die than be embarrassed? I did not really allow for the existence of people so irrational until a few years ago... (Russians do not like embarrassment either, but that's not what's moving them just now in Syria...). What if ALL THREE include murder in their agendas -- but on different scales, and only two of them including us here?
If we feel we need a very vigorous response to what is happening in Syria... perhaps instead of threatening war with Russia, and demanding what we cannot have short of something even worse...
WHAT OF ASKING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
Instead of telling the whole world we demand our pride and our right to say exactly who rules other nations, why not ask for creation of a kind of UN protected zone within Syria -- a HUMANITARIAN zone -- designed with two goals in mind: (1) as much assurance as possible to the Syrian refugees that they want to go there; and (2) as little US military involvement as possible, subject to whatever is needed to get to goal (1). Why not spend billions on humanitarian things to support such a thing, as part of a UN effort, rather than start yet another war? Good schools, hospitals, and protection from wandering murder squads. Not a camp, but a zone.
Is there hope to make lemonade out of two lemons?
There would be risks, but not nearly so much as with support for Al Qaida.
Best of luck,
A special zone like that could have some analogies to the West Bank Palestinian zone within the borders of Israel, which raises some questions which need to be explored as part of the process. Above all, how to keep out infiltrators who come to murder?
One aspect of the refugee crisis right now is that we can easily figure out who came to Europe. More precisely,
they can be given identity cards and recorded, while still in Europe, and get some kind of special rights in the new international zone linked to those cards.
Some paranoid folks in Europe argue that half the refugees may actually be ISIL or Al Qaida infiltrators,
there to create trouble, using others as human shields. We should not plan on that... but in the contingency where that is true, there would be all the more reason to send them to a new humanitarian zone in Syria proper,
and work to make it as nice and free and open as possible, subject to adequate security (including gun control and such within the zone).