Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Well, that is how we delt with "The German Problem."

In some ways, the majority opinion of the American public prior to our entry into WWI, and then from post-Versailles to 06 DEC 41 towards the always flinty Europeans was "let them fight it out and kill each other. We'll trade with the last man standing."

Some, like Diana West are thinking the same about the Shi'ite - Sunni conflict. First she dismisses, with good reason, her Option 1,
The first option is military, but it carries a seemingly insurmountable cultural override. The fact is, the United States has an arsenal that could obliterate any jihad threat in the region once and for all, whether that threat is bands of IED-exploding "insurgents" in Ramadi, the deadly so-called Mahdi Army in Sadr City, or genocidal maniacs in Tehran. In other words, it's a disgrace for military brass to talk about the 21st-century struggle with Islam as necessarily being a 50- to 100-year war. Ridiculous. It could be over in two weeks if we cared enough to blast our way off the list of endangered civilizations.

As a culture, however, the West is paralyzed by the specter of civilian casualties, massive or not, that accompanies modern (not high-tech) warfare, and fights accordingly. It may well have been massive civilian casualties in Germany (40,000 dead in Hamburg after one cataclysmic night of "fire-bombing" in 1943, for example) and Japan that helped end World War II in an Allied victory. But this is a price I doubt any Western power would pay for victory today.

So, the military solution — which isn't the same as boosting ROE-cuffed troop levels in Baghdad — is out, unless or until our desperation level rises to some unsupportably manic level. The great paradox of the "war on terror," of course, is that as our capacity and desire to protect civilians in warfare grows, our enemy's capacity and desire to kill civilians as a means of warfare grows also. Our fathers saved us from having to say, "Sieg Heil," but what's next — "Allahu akbar"?
That would take another 911+ to politically made this a go. But then she offers Option 2.
There's another Middle Eastern strategy to deter expansionist Islam: Get out of the way. Get out of the way of Sunnis and Shi'ites killing each other. As a sectarian conflict more than 1,000 years old, this is not only one fight we didn't start, but it's one we can't end. And why should we? If Iran, the jihad-supporting leader of the Shi'ite world, is being "strangled" by Saudi Arabia, the jihad-supporting leader of the Sunni world, isn't that good for the Sunni-and-Shiite-terrorized West?

With the two main sects of Islam preoccupied with an internecine battle of epic proportions, the non-Muslim world gets some breathing room. And we sure could use it — to plan for the next round.
Interesting concept, but being that between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, the oil the entire world needs it there. Not a good idea. With the economic blow back making the 1930s look like the 1990s, what would come out the other end is probably something we would wish we never had.

Back to the drawing board Diana.

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