May 05, 2004

Letter to the Paper XVIII

Steven Den Beste just got an e-mail from me and I hope he will address the issues I raised in a future post. For my own readers, my letter is below:

This e-mail is going on my blog as a "letter to the paper" entry but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on a critique I have of your most recent article on the three way war. I believe that things are a bit more complex than the three way conflict. There is a separate conflict regarding connectivity. Here, the three sides still exist but the alignments are different. The p-idealist dominated EU has an interest in extending connectivity and they are doing real work to bring in countries to become new members of the Functioning Core. In this, they are the US' allies in fact, not just in rhetoric. The common EU law body that they are imposing on the candidate states for the EU is something that is fundamentally compatible with the US as it can be modified and improved without resort to violence and revolution.

Islamists, in practice, are advocates of disconnection, though they theoretically want some sort of unified Caliphate which, if it ever happened, would impose a very different sort of connectivity incompatible with the current global system. In this, they are both the US and EU's enemy.

Adding this layer to the conflict creates a very complicated mosaic where a single action is best if it fits national strategy in both the three way philosophical war and the connectivity/disconnection conflict. The high technology industry has this sort of two layer relationship all the time where cutthroat competitors turn around and genuinely cooperate in certain areas of mutual agreement. Sometimes the conflict dominates, other times the competition dominates. The general term for the phenomenon is cooptition. Company CEOs do not serve their companies well when they spurn cooperative opportunities with their competition out of personal pique (see Mcnally and Ellison for real world examples). Similarly, we should not be so quick to close the door on cooperation with p-idealist governments in Europe. They can be our allies in truth, not just in rhetoric. We just have to remember that the position of ally in a multilayer geopolitical conflict is not exclusive. You can be ally on one layer and enemy in another.

Let me give you a particular example. There is a huge hand grenade available to us against the Islamists but we, the US, have not dared touch it. All Islamists are literalist muslims who believe that the Koran has not changed one letter except for the addition of accent marks as a pronunciation aid. Not all literalist muslims are islamists, but there are no islamists that I've heard of who do not hold to this belief. This belief is objectively false and there is archeological evidence in Yemen to prove it.

France, with its position on veiling, has demonstrated that it is perfectly able to sponsor an international symposium on the alternative Koranic texts found in Yemen and to take rigorous action to ensure the conference is both widely publicized and without violence. The changes themselves are rather small, minor stuff that non-extremists could work around, but islamists and very hidebound traditionalists can't because the idea that the Koran has no history is what sets their text above the Torah or the New Testament.

The US dare not sponsor such an effort because the kind of security necessary to pull such a thing off is beyond the ability of the private sector to pull off and government involvement raises basic 1st amendment issues on the establishment of religion.

So let's kick France and the rest of p-idealist dominated Europe when they deserve it but let's keep it very businesslike, with an open mind for cooperation where it serves our interests and let us call them allies and partners when they merit the term. I strongly suspect that they do merit it more often than anybody without a security clearance knows.

Update: Welcome USS Clueless readers. As you already know SDB linked but didn't address my point of the same players fighting multiple conflicts. That doesn't mean you can't. This blog does have a unithreaded discussion group, Flitters and if you have some thoughts, please post them there.

Posted by TMLutas at May 5, 2004 01:47 PM