WHY THE COMING RETURN OF ABE SHINZO IS GOOD NEWS FOR JAPAN AND THE WEST
"The Liberal Democratic Party elected hawkish former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as its new president Wednesday, pinning its hopes on him to guide the party back into power in the next general election. The race was especially important as recent polls suggest the LDP, the largest opposition party, could eclipse the ruling Democratic Party of Japan's majority in the next Lower House election, which must be held by summer 2013. Under that scenario, Abe, whose term as party president is three years, would become the nation's next leader.
The former prime minister came from behind in a runoff to defeat ex-defense chief Shigeru Ishiba by a vote of 108-89. But despite his victory, strong internal and public criticism has stigmatized Abe, who quit as prime minister in 2007 while suffering from ulcerative colitis, which he insists is cured now. After the vote, Abe thanked LDP members for giving him another chance to lead the party after his abrupt exit five years ago....
At age 52, Abe became Japan's youngest leader in postwar history in 2006. Now, at 58, he is expected to push Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, 55, and the DPJ to dissolve the Lower House as soon as possible for a snap election. At a news conference later Wednesday, Abe said he was willing to negotiate with Noda to overcome the deadlock in the Diet. At the end of August, the LDP and several other opposition parties slapped Noda with a censure motion and refused to hold deliberations in the Diet, which recessed on Sept. 8. "The Upper House expressed its will and Prime Minister Noda should take it seriously. But at the same time, I don't intend to reject all discussions. . . . We are not a party that puts party politics first at any cost," Abe said.
The new LDP president is intent on revising the Constitution and has vowed to protect Japanese territorial claims amid strains with neighboring China and South Korea over the sovereignty of disputed islands. Analysts and some LDP lawmakers, however, have expressed concerns that Abe's hawkish streak could worsen the disputes".
Masami Ito, "Hawkish Abe wins LDP Presidency." The Japan Times
. 26 September 2012, in www.japantimes.co.jp
BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- China was outraged by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's remarks to reporters at the UN General Assembly, and has urged Japan to cease immediately all actions that infringe China's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
"China is strongly disappointed and sternly opposes the Japanese leader's obstinacy regarding his wrong position on the Diaoyu Islands issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a written statement on Thursday. Qin's remarks came following Noda's insistence when responding to reporter's questions at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday that the Diaoyu Islands "are an integral part" of Japan's territory in light of history and of international law.
"China has sufficient historical evidence and legal basis to prove the Diaoyu Islands have been an inseparable part of Chinese territory since ancient times," Qin said, citing the fact that the Qing court was defeated in the Sino-Japanese War in 1895 and forced to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki and cede to Japan "the island of Formosa (Taiwan)," together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa including the Diaoyu Islands. After World War II, China took back all the territories that were invaded and occupied by Japan including Taiwan according to the international legal documents such as the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation, Qin said, explaining that such a move indicates the Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islands were returned to China's sovereignty in terms of international law.
"The Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation are among the most important anti-fascist achievements and a significant basis for the post-war international order, and were publicly accepted by Japan in the Japanese Instrument of Surrender," Qin noted.
According to Qin, the Chinese government has voiced its stern opposition ever since the United States and Japan made backroom deals concerning the Diaoyu Islands, and never acknowledged such deals.
"The Chinese people made a huge sacrifice and remarkable contribution to the victory in the World Antifascist War; however, a defeated country wants to illegally occupy the territory of a victorious nation," Qin pointed out.
"Where is the justice?" he asked.
Japan's position and acts regarding the Diaoyu Islands issue gravely trample on the principles of the UN Charter. Their essence shows an inability to engage in introspection and thoroughly repent and condemn Japanese militarism's history of invasion. They are a gross attempt to deny the outcomes of the victory of the World Antifascist War and a dangerous challenge to the post-war international order. These actions call for a high degree of vigilance from the international community, Qin warned.
"The historical verdict can never be overturned. The disaster and sufferings brought about by World War II shall never be forgotten. The peace and security order maintained by the United Nations cannot be undermined, and generally acknowledged international truths and human conscience shall never be challenged," Qin stressed.
He reiterated that Japan's "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands is totally illegal and invalid and will never change the historical facts of Japan's illegal occupation of Chinese territory, and therefore China's sovereignty over the islands".
"China slams Japanese PM obstinacy regarding his wrong position on Diaoyu Islands." English Xianhuanet
. 27 September 2012, in www.xianhuanet.com
The impending return to the premiership of Abe Shinzo, is something that the West has reason to be glad of. Grandson of a Premier and son of a Foreign Minister, Abe has the 'commanding heights' of Japanese politics in his blood stream from birth. Unlike (until recently) the current Cabinet in Tokyo, Abe and the LDP are much firmer in their positions on the dispute with the Peking over the Senkaku Islands 1. Something which the West has reason to applaud. As the rhetoric from Peking's official English-language mouthpiece shows above, only diplomatic firmness and if need be, the threat of brute force, by Japan cum
the West will prevent Peking from running roughshod over international law and other countries territorial sovereignty. In that respect and in that respect only, does 'preventative diplomacy' by the Western powers, have a place in the current dispute between these two countries 2. Diplomatic myopia that seeks to convert the dispute into something which 'both sides' must make compromises is a dangerous delusion. Peking is still (to use an appropriately Maoist mot
) a 'paper tiger'
, vis-`a-vis its neighbors and the allied Western powers. If however, Japan and the West allow current regime in Peking to become convinced that the language of force pays dividends, then there is no knowing what Peking may do next. In short, a Kennanesque policy of 'containment' `a la the 'long telegram', is absolutely the correct policy to follow towards the PRC for a long time to come 3.
1. Mure Dickie, "Abe returns to lead Japanese Opposition." The Financial Times
. 26 September 2012, in www.ft.com
2. For the concept of 'preventative diplomacy' employed in a thoroughly disfunctional fashion and thus contrary to how I am employing this term and concept, see: Sheila Smith, "A Deep Chill or a Heated Clash between Japan and China."
The Council on Foreign Relations
. 24 September 2012, in www.cfr.org
3. For George F. Kennan's 'Long Telegram', see: George Kennan (Moskva) to State Department, 8 February 1946, in Foreign Relations of the United States: 1946, Volume VI,
(1973), pp. 696-709. For the best analysis of what Kennan was trying to say in said telegram, see: John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment
, Revised Edition (2005), pp.18-21, 390-391 and passim. For a cogent argument along these lines, which appeared on the internet, after I penned most of this piece, see: Aaron Friedberg, "Bucking Beijing: An Alternative U.S. China Policy." Foreign Affairs.
September / October 2012, in www.foreignaffairs.com
TOWARDS A LARKIN 'NON-SOLUTION' IN AFGHANISTAN? A COMMENT
>"More than 50 US and British soldiers have been killed by their Afghan partners this year. The attacks have been described as Taliban infiltration of the police, which could be addressed by better vetting. But the very words “Taliban”, “police”, and “vetting” are misleading. Insofar as it is possible to understand the motives of the attackers (almost all are killed immediately) it seems that only a quarter have any connection to the Taliban. The “police” in question are a hastily formed, poorly trained militia. Ninety-two out of 100 recruits in a Helmand unit I visited last year were unable to write their own name, or recognise numbers up to 10. Their five weeks of training amounted to little more than weapons-firing and basic literacy. Thirty per cent of recruits deserted that year. With up to 10,000 villagers recruited in a month, “vetting” was not a serious option. This gap between the language of policy makers and the reality is typical. It is time to be honest about Afghanistan: we face a desperate situation and an intolerable choice....
We may wonder why politicians and soldiers have insisted for so long that things are improving. We have been isolated from Afghan reality, and obsessed with misleading jargon. But it is not all the west’s fault. Afghanistan is poor, fragmented and traumatised; and blame should also be put on the Afghan government and on neighbours such as Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of brains and hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested over a decade in understanding failure, without overcoming it. The culture and behaviour of foreign troops, diplomats, Afghans, the Kabul government and Pakistan are not likely to change in the next two years. What we have seen is roughly what we will get.
In the absence of “victory”, three alternative strategies have been proposed: training the Afghan security forces, political settlement with the Taliban and a regional solution. But training Afghan forces, which cost $12bn in 2010 alone, will not guarantee their future loyalty to a Kabul government. Two years and many regional conferences have passed since the formation of the Afghan Higher Peace council, and the clear Nato endorsement of reconciliation: but there is no sign that insurgents, the Kabul government or its neighbours will reach a deal, or feel much desire so to do. So there is no military solution, and no political solution either. Nor will there be before the troops leave. We will have to deal for decades with a troubled Afghanistan, which is not likely in my lifetime to be as wealthy as Libya, as effectively governed as Iraq, as educated as Syria, or as institutionally mature as Pakistan.
What then? The point is not what the US and its allies ought to do but what they can. We have reached the limit of our knowledge, power and legitimacy. Whatever the west feels obliged to do, it is not capable of bringing a political or military solution. That task will be for Afghans. The west should continue financial support, so the Kabul government does not collapse, as it did in 1991, and give enough military support – air power in nearby bases, for example – to prevent the Taliban mobilising tanks and aircraft, as they did in 1995. But this is support, not a solution. Honesty about this will be the start of better policy".
Rory Stewart, MP.,"Time to be Honest about Afghanistan." The Financial Times
22 / 23 September 2012, in www.ft.com
"Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home / For lack of money, and it is all right. Places they guarded, or kept orderly, We want the money for ourselves at home / Instead of working. And this is all right.
It's hard to say who wanted it to happen, But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here, Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen. Next year we shall be easier in our minds.
Next year we shall be living in a country / That brought its soldiers home for lack of money. The statues will be standing in the same Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same. Our children will not know it's a different country. All we can hope to leave them now is money".
Phillip Larkin. "Homage to a Government
." January 10, 1969.
Notwithstanding the moral truth of the sorts of criticisms that a modern-day Phillip Larkin could make of the West's-not-so-far away 'scuttle' from Afghanistan, the usually wise, Rory Stewart, in his piece in this past week-end's Financial Times makes the same points that I did a while ago in this journal 1. Namely that however much it would have been worthwhile and splendid, nay indeed an act of Christian charity, to have succeeded in modernizing a wretched country like Afghanistan, bringing peace and the virtues of good government to its unfortunate peoples, this has proven to be beyond the capacity of the Western powers to contrive. Or should one say beyond the capacity for patience of Western public opinion in an age of 'austerity'. That and of course the little fact (not so little en faite
) that au fond
, the modernization of Afghanistan is not in realpolitik
terms an important Western 'interest' or concern. It is of course something which should be aimed at and the world in its totality would indeed be a better place if Afghanistan were by an act of God or of Man to become, deus ex machina
like, the Switzerland of Central Asia. Unfortunately, such has proven at least for the moment beyond anyone's but God's abilities. With that crucial, if rather depressing point accepted and assimilated, by all and sundry then the aims of Western policy in Afghanistan becomes relatively easy to understand: keep the current Kabul government in power and the Taliban out of power.
Ideally, if the Taliban can be convinced by a magic wand to accept the rules of the political game in Afghanistan all well and good. Unfortunately, a few Dr. Pangloss's like Ahmed Rashid, notwithstanding, there is little evidence (qua
Rory Stewart's piece) that the Taliban at this stage of the game will indeed chose to hand over their weapons to join the political jungle that is Afghan politics 2. Especially, with the approaching hand-over by the Western powers of their positions on the ground to the so-called Afghan National Army. However, the key point that Stewart makes and which indeed I have made on several occasions in this journal is that in order to keep the Taliban out of Kabul and most of the other urban centers of the country there is no real need for the current Western ground presence in Afghanistan. Elite special forces units, drones and regular air power will suffice to do the job. Again, as Stewart states openly, this is not a cause for celebration and certainly the Western Powers will and should be on the hook for military and other assistance in the billions of dollars for x
number of year to come. But overall this non-solution, is the very best that can be hoped for in the present circumstances.
1. See: "The Coming End-game in Afghanistan". Diplomat of the Future
30 April 2012, in www.diplomatofthefuture.blogspot.com
2. Ahmed Rashid, "The Way out of Afghanistan." The New York Review of Books
. 13 January 2011, in www.nybooks.com
. For my own comments on this idea, see: "Talking to the Taliban? A response to Anatol Lieven". Diplomat of the Future
. 31 July 2012, in www.diplomatofthefuture.blogspot.com
THE SINO-JAPANESE CRISIS: AN UPDATE
"Tension between China and Japan over a group of disputed islands escalated on Tuesday as 11 Chinese patrol boats headed towards the Senkaku archipelago and anti-Japan protests spread across China. Thousands demonstrated outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing to mark the 81st anniversary of Japan’s invasion of Manchuria. Protests erupted again in dozens of other cities, including Shanghai, Chengdu and Shenzhen, prompting many Japanese companies to halt operations.
The growing spat has thrown relations between the world’s second-largest and third-largest economy into one of their worst crises since the two established diplomatic ties 40 years ago. Tensions between the two powers have risen in recent months over the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Japan controls the islands – called the Diaoyu in Chinese – which are also claimed by China and Taiwan. China has seen a spate of anti-Japan protests over the last week, when the Japanese government bought three of the islands from their private Japanese owner....
“This time that China and Japan are facing off directly . . . has triggered a reaction that exceeds past ones,” said Zhou Weihong, a professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University. In Beijing, some demonstrators threw rocks and water bottles at the Japanese embassy. Protesters chanted “Diaoyu Islands are China’s” and “Kneel down bastards”. One group urged Beijing: “Flatten Tokyo, destroy Japan!”.
Tokyo called on China to ensure the safety of its citizens given “the important role that Japanese companies play in China’s economy”. There are about 141,000 Japanese living in China, according to the latest data from the Japanese government. However, there were signs that Beijing does not want the protests to escalate out of control. In Beijing, police blared warnings over loudspeakers, saying: “Japan has violated China’s rights and it is only natural to express your views . . . However, we ask that you please express your patriotism in an orderly, lawful, rational fashion....”
“The problem is once it starts, it’s very difficult to stop,” Mr Dujarric said"
By FT Reporters, "Anti-Japanese protests spread across China." The Financial Times.
18 September 2012, in www.ft.com.
"The most recent explanations of the outbreak of war in 1914 have emphasized less the Realpolitik logic of what happened than the ways in which domestic policies influenced state action. Foreign policy in the imperfectly democratized societies of Europe was not simply directed outward at potential foes or allies. International security mirrored domestic insecurity, and foreign policy provided a means of escape. The link between domestic instability and foreign expansion has been applied most often to Germany and to the ramshackle eastern empires of Austria-Hungary and Russia. The political impasse had its most explosive international consequences in the case of Germany—the Reich's "world policy" was born of efforts to construct a coalition between the middle class and agrarian conservatives; the collapse of that coalition and the increasing electoral power of the Social Democrats led some to toy with the idea of an escape through war. Austria-Hungary faced a dual threat, democratic and national. The latter had a direct connection with foreign policy through the South Slav question and the Serbian threat. Despite a stabilization in Russia after the 1905 Revolution, rapid industrialization and continued political backwardness combined with pan-Slav sentiment to push the czarist regime toward risky ventures. The absolutist states relied increasingly upon nationalist appeals to maintain support against exaggerated external threats. The old social order made its last stand in the higher civil service and the officer corps, which were awarded unusual power and often escaped firm political control.... The greatest incentive to risktaking is present when the internal prospects do not foreclose action altogether but are bad enough to encourage a foreign move that might aid in consolidation, particularly when this perception is coupled with an international setting that can still be challenged but with declining probability of success. From 1912 on, this set of perceptions came to be shared by the elites of Austria-Hungary and Germany".
Miles Kahler, "Rumors of War: the 1914 analogy." Foreign Affairs
(Winter 1979 / 1980), pp. 385-386.
The latest outbreak of anti-Japanese demonstrations in China proper over the two nation's conflict concerning the Senkaku islands in the East China Seas and the verbal threats by the regime in Peking to take "further action" raises many questions at least for this observer 1. Specifically, are there any rational, realpolitik
rationale for China's policies on this issue other than some variant of primat der Innenpolitik?
Per se, on the surface, Peking's policies on this subject appears to be extremely dysfunctional and self-defeating. By endeavoring to browbeat Tokyo over an issue, in which China has little or no international support, or argument in terms of international law, would seem to indicate that Peking's policies are founded upon a felt need to garner domestic political support, by banging the drum of Anti-Japanese, Chinese nationalism. As Miles Kahler's comments about the domestic forces pushing for war in Europe circa 1914, seem to indicate, the parallels with modern-day China are somewhat uncanny. Added to which is the fact that there is currently a leadership transition ongoing this annum
in Peking. This rather than any causation due to say energy deposits in the waters in the vicinity of the islands, is I would argue why Peking is behaving in the fashion that it is. And make no mistake, per contra
commentators like Ian Buruma, who are inclined to yell: 'plague on both you houses'
, this conflict is one that has been deliberately stoked by Peking 2. Whatever else one may say about the Japanese government, in this conflict Tokyo has been infinitely more sinned against than sinned itself. The reader might now ask that based upon the above analysis, what is the role of the Western powers? A simple question and a simple answer: support Japan
. Support it overtly if in line with proper diplomatic etiquette, so that those in power in Peking who are pursuing this conflict cannot doubt for a second that by prolonging this crisis, it will be Peking and not Tokyo which will be the loser. Something given the overwhelming superior firepower of the Western powers, Peking should harbor no illusions on that score. If the argument could be made that the Great War occurred due to the fact that Kaiserreich
Germany was unsure of the fact that Great Britain would join the Entente powers (France and Russia) in any continental war, one hopes that the current Chinese leadership suffers from no such malentendu
1. Neil Connor, "Anti-Japan protests as China boats in disputed area." Agence France-Presse
. 17 September 2012, in www.afp.com
2. Ian Buruma, "East Asia's Nationalist Fantasy Islands." Project Syndicate
. 7 September 2012, in www.project-syndicate.org
3. For the discussion on this point, that the Great War was made possible by Sir Edward Grey's failure to make clear to Germany's leaders that in any continental war, London would be on the side of its Entente allies, see: Niall Ferguson. The Pity of War
. (1999), pp. 76-81 & 153-160 & passim; Hew Strachan. The First World War, Volume I: To Arms
. (2001), pp. 73-97.
THE CRISIS OF ISLAM OR THE MUSLIM WORLD IN CRISIS?
"Chris Stevens, US ambassador to Libya, and three colleagues were killed on Tuesday as they fled armed protesters attacking the consulate in Benghazi. The deaths are a stark reminder that, despite the civil and democratic awakening that has swept the region, America’s relationship with the Muslim world remains fragile. The attacks came just hours after protesters in Cairo stormed the US embassy to tear down and burn the US flag. Both assaults were sparked by an amateur film reportedly backed by controversial anti-Muslim pastor Terry Jones, which protesters say insults the Prophet Mohammed.
No matter how serious the offence to religious sensibilities, there is no justification for these brutal murders. Libya’s authorities must do all in their power to bring the killers to justice. The film is, nonetheless, a deliberate provocation. It depicts the prophet as a megalomaniac, a child molester and serial womaniser. When posted on YouTube, where it has now attracted more viewers than it ever would have done in the cinema, it was translated into Arabic and is being promoted by a notoriously anti-Muslim Egyptian Copt. This was bound to inflame tensions in Egypt, where relations between Christians and Muslims are on permanent simmer.
Free speech is an inalienable right in a democracy. But there should also be a duty to exercise that right responsibly. Those involved in the film must have known their actions would be offensive and potentially explosive. They share some blame for the tragedy. Yet so too does Libya’s government. The transition to democracy is fraught with danger, especially when armed bands still roam the country. But this can only succeed if there is a will to force all parties to abide by a clear framework of laws. Not enough is being done to rein in the extremists who encourage such violence. This is a lesson that should be closely heeded by Egypt’s new Islamist government.
These are serious and delicate questions that should not become political footballs in the US presidential campaign. They require a response. Free speech does not include the right to cry “fire!” in a crowded cinema. Nor does political freedom entitle fundamentalists to murder citizens of countries that helped to liberate them from dictators. It is always hard to judge where freedom’s limits should be drawn, but they are surely this side of gratuitous bloodshed".
Leader, "Death in Benghazi." The Financial Times
. 12 September 2012. in www.ft.com
"I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between - as they were called - three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole - which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.
In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...' "
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict
XVI. "Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections." 12 September 2006, in www.vatican.va
The most recent violence in the Near and Middle East puts paid to any illusions that anyone might still carry about the so-called 'Arab Spring', being a simple and seamless transition to a peaceful, Democratic future for the peoples of the region.
The inability of the new regimes in Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt to peacefully harness the energies thrown-up by the crisis of the last twenty months, seems to indicate that the challenge offered up by the 'extremist' wing of Islamist political groupings in these societies has not yet been determined. The mere fact that a film, albeit perhaps a stupid and indeed a 'provocative' film at that, has caused so many deaths and injuries seems to indicate to the unprejudiced mind that we are dealing with a regional body politic, as indeed with a religious tradition (not necessarily mind you the same thing as the 'religion' itself), which seems profoundly violent, profoundly backward, profoundly filled with hatred for any concept of societal pluralism. To put a fine point on the matter, one is hard put to remember such religiously based, popular violence in either Central or Western Europe since the
mid-18th century. Au fond
really the days of Chevalier de la Barre
. One is in fact hard put to offer up any better analysis of the crooked nature of Islam than that offered up by the Holy Father in his Regensburg lecture of a few years back 1. Which is not to say that the peoples of the region are imprisoned by history to repeat the torments and the errors of the past or indeed the recent present. For all their own flaws, the peoples of Indonesia, Malaysia and indeed Turkey itself are all examples of nations where there is a degree, in certain areas a good degree, of societal pluralism allied with political pluralism. Perhaps it is naive to expect that the peoples of the Near and Middle East, to make the same transition as these countries. Still that is indeed the only hope that one can see for the future. Since none of the other alternatives: another cycle of authoritarian, military rule or some type of Western 'colonial' involvement, however attractive on the surface, are non-solutions in any real sense. Indeed both would only, indeed, inevitable lead to the same developmental cul de sac
, that the area has suffered from low these many year, if not centuries now.
1. For a more historically based argument about the nature of Muslim intolerance of societal 'difference' and pluralism, and that au fond
, 'tolerance' is fundamentally a Christian rather than a Islamic or indeed a Jewish tradition, see: Bernard Lewis: What went wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response
. (2001), pp. 96-116 and passim, where Lewis notes: "Secularism in the modern political meaning--the idea that religion and political authority, church and state are different, and can or should be separated--is, in a profound sense, Christian. It origins may be traced in the teachings of Christ, confirmed by the experience of the first Christians; its later development was shaped and in a sense imposed by the subsequent history of the Christendom
." See also his: From Babel to Dragomans: interpreting the Middle East
. (2004), pp. 319-330 and passim.