Our current strategy is seriously lacking, the Islamic and Islamist revival isn’t over, the Syrian conflict is helping to cause serious instability, and our Iraq strategy under both Bush and Obama’s leadership isn’t working out as advertised.
We could use some fresh thinking:
‘A rejuvenated al-Qaeda-affiliated force asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on Friday, raising its flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state in one of the most crucial areas that U.S. troops fought to pacify before withdrawing from Iraq two years ago’
We’re being guided by more liberal internationalist and further progressive Left ideas at the moment, but more conservative and neo-conservative ideas face similar challenges, and as a nation we’ve got a lot of work to do given the state of our politics.
Addition: Eli Lake at the Daily Beast notes that the Sunni Sheiks aren’t too happy with the situation in Fallujah.
Perhaps you won’t agree with all of Samuel Huntington’s ideas, but he maintained a deeply learned understanding of the animating ideas behind Western/American political organization with keen observation of what was happening on the ground in foreign countries.
Robert Kaplan’s brief summation of Huntington’s ideas here:
“• The fact that the world is modernizing does not mean that it is Westernizing. The impact of urbanization and mass communications, coupled with poverty and ethnic divisions, will not lead to peoples’ everywhere thinking as we do.
• Asia, despite its ups and downs, is expanding militarily and economically. Islam is exploding demographically. The West may be declining in relative influence.
• Culture-consciousness is getting stronger, not weaker, and states or peoples may band together because of cultural similarities rather than because of ideological ones, as in the past.
• The Western belief that parliamentary democracy and free markets are suitable for everyone will bring the West into conflict with civilizations—notably, Islam and the Chinese—that think differently.
• In a multi-polar world based loosely on civilizations rather than on ideologies, Americans must reaffirm their Western identity.”
Worth thinking about. His Political Order In Changing Societies challenged modernization theory.
“Huntington was instinctively a conservative because he valued an ordered society, but he also championed conservatism as a necessary instrument to defend liberal institutions against communism. In many of his books he attacked idealistic liberals for holding such institutions to impossible, utopian standards that undermined their effectiveness in the world.”
“An iconoclast to the core, Huntington never threw his lot in with left or right. He was too statist to be a libertarian, too realist to embrace neoconservatism, and too sympathetic to nationalism, religion and the military to identify with liberal Democrats. As a conservative Democrat, then, he is an intellectual rarity.”
from The World Economic Forum’s photostream.
Click here if you’re interested in some of the backstory of Al Qaeda (The Egyptian government’s brutality, its socialism and the extremely rigid Islamic backlash that’s formed in the Arab world) Lawrence Wright’s article has insight.
Did Bush over-simplify both the depths of the neocons and the American left?
From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work…From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington…From Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’
Christopher Hitchens At Slate: ‘Lord Haw Haw And Anwar Al-Awlaki’
Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’…From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’…Repost-Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads
Via Youtube: ‘Roger Scruton On Islam And The West’…Seth Jones At Foreign Affairs: ‘The Mirage Of The Arab Spring’
Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’
How do we deal with the rise of Islamism: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill