Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill


A quote from Hill’s forward to Ajami’s new book on Syria as discussed in the video:

“[The] greatest strategic challenge of the twenty-first century is involves “reversing Islamic radicalism”‘

Both men want to see more leadership out of this administration.  They probably won’t get it.  They both argue that there needs American led involvement of some sort in Syria.  It’s a bad neighborhood.

Hill pushes further to suggest that if America doesn’t lead onto a new set of challenges that now face the West (and not just subsume ourselves to liberal international doctrine) then Europe surely isn’t capable of it either (the wellspring of the Westphalian State that provided the model for the modern State but which is now subsidized by our military and economic strength).

And China leading?  Russia?  Goodness.

What about some as yet to be conceived international order by many of the same ideals and thinkers that have led to the failures of the Eurozone and the U.N that don’t understand how dangerous a world this can be?  There seem to be design problems in those models which likely require independent American thought and action.


How about a coalition of free traders, that works for the common self-interest of protecting the life-blood of our respective economies with naval forces against piracy, drug-runners, and corrupt and aggressive regimes that agitate in international waters?  Perhaps America, Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Germany, France, Israel, Brazil, Chile (China down the road) could start something like a cleaned up, international, merchant marines?

I’m just throwing ideas out there.  Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Related On This Site:  From The Wall Street Journal: ‘Charles Hill: The Empire Strikes Back’

What are some downsides of liberal internationalism?: Richard Fernandez At PJ Media: ‘The New Middle East’

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Is Manaf Tlass’s Defection a Sign That Assad’s Regime Is Cracking?”  Thursday Quotation: Jeane Kirkpatrick – J.S. MillFrom Foreign Affairs-’Former Syrian General Akil Hashem on the Uprising in Syria’From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘Syria’s Regime Not Worth Preserving’

Democracy as we envision it requires people to constrain themselves within laws and institutions that maintain democracy…through Mill’s utilitarianism?: Thursday Quotation: Jeane Kirkpatrick – J.S. Mill  Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’
Do we try and invest in global institutions as flawed as they are…upon a Kantian raft of perpetual peace?:  Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy
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Fareed Zakaria At Newsweek: ‘Terrorism’s Supermarket’

Full piece here.

Zakaria suggests that Pakistan’s roots may hold part of the problem:

“The Pakistani scholar-politician Husain Haqqani tells in his brilliant history, Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, how the government’s jihadist connections go back to the country’s creation as an ideological, Islamic state and the decision by successive governments to use jihad both to gain domestic support and to hurt its perennial rival, India.”


‘Those [terrorist groups] that threaten and attack the people of Pakistan have suffered the wrath of the Pakistani Army. But then there are groups that threaten and attack only Afghans, Indians, and Westerners—and those groups have largely been left alone.’

A few thoughts:

1.  One moving piece of this puzzle is the use of American military force to quell terrorist activities, or extreme and violent groups whose goal is to cause terror, strike at Western and other targets, and enact violence wherever possible. It’s obvious that these groups vastly overstep the bounds of reasonable action (beyond legitimate grievance and a response to injustice which works against genuine understanding, and also uses religious claims to justify such actions).  We have our national security at risk, which is probably the main reason we continue in the AfPak engagement, but the use of military force has other consequences that are worthy of long term consideration.  What are other ways of containing terror?  Are they working? Where are the Europeans?

2. Another piece is Muslim immigration to Western societies for economic and educational opportunity, and how those countries have and haven’t successfully integrated them (for Muslims certainly bring their religion with them; coming from countries that do not have freedom of speech, separation of Church and State, and not often representative government as we mostly know them).  One of my main interests is the failure of Western multiculturalism and excessive relativism to maintain a reasonable outlook which serves the people of these Western countries in handling that influx.

3.  Another moving piece is the availability of technology for communication, travel, weaponry, and training which has made the world quite small, and much more interconnected.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome…

Also On This Site:  What map are you using to understand this conflict:  From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington

Ayan Hirsi Ali has used the ideals of the West (especially women’s rights) to potentially confront Islam; which has served her politically as well:  Repost-Ayan Hirsi Ali At The CSM: ‘Swiss Ban On Minarets Was A Vote For Tolerance And Inclusion’

Is Islam incompatibile with freedom as we define it here in the West, or is this a false choice?:  From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

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Obama’s Decision On Missile Defense And A Quote From Robert Kagan’s: ‘The Return Of History And The End Of Dreams’

Book here.

Obama has pulled out of the missile defense program in Eastern Europe, and some are calling this a capitulation to Russia. Here’s a quote from Robert Kagan that perhaps could clarify that position a little better:

“That is the primary motive behind Russia’s opposition to American missile defense programs in Poland and the Czech Republic.  It is not only that Russians fear the proposed sites may someday threaten their nuclear strike capacity:  Putin has suggested placing the sites in Italy, Turkey, or France instead.  He wants to turn Poland and other eastern members of NATO into a strategic neutral zone.”

Because, as Kagan argues, we’re not living anymore in the heady days after the fall of communism and a coming liberal international order (See Francis Fukuyama’s The End Of History).  We’re living in a world where Russia is playing old-style, nation-state power politics to regain its former scope, complete with a lot of strong-arming its former satellites and shutting off access to its resources when it sees fit.

Kagan broadens the picture further:   China and India are gaining national strength (though still fragile) and their governments’ and peoples’ conception of their own identity will change accordingly.  They will want more resources, to have more control over their own waters and trade routes, and have larger and larger spheres of influence.   Matters of national pride and identity (Taiwan) are not to be taken lightly.  They will push nations into potential conflicts, shifting alliances, and a scene more closely resembling 18th and 19th century European states and geo-politics.

Philosophically, Kagan clearly has doubts about the Enlightenment roots of the popular vision of  liberal international order (with roots in Kantian “perpetual peace” and Hegelian dialectical progress…).  However, he argues that there is a future, and there are moral obligations that (I would imagine individuals have in it), and that democracies have to one another to shape that world going forward (as we progress through our collective will?).

It’s definitely worth a read for its keen eye on the international scene and its challenge to a liberal internationalism.


So,  as for the missile-defense program…was it an appeasement to Putin…do you trust Obama’s vision for the world and America’s place in it…is he positioning us well between our own interests and our own moral obligations?

Addition:  A reader links to this piece and argues that this is Obama trying to forge common interest with Russia, which may bear fruit.

Yet Another Addition:  It’s looking like Russia’s not on board with Iranian sanctions.

See Also On This Site:  From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington…From The Chronicle Of Higher Ed: Russian Forum…Dick Cheney Travels To Georgia: Is the U.S. Allied With Georgia?

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