January 20, 2007
Insanity and the Mistake TrapBy Amil Imani
When people hear the word "insanity," they conjure up the image of someone out of touch with reality and out of control; a dysfunctional person fit to be tied. Yet, insanity comes in numerous types as well as degrees. It is also widely prevalent in groups, even in nations as a whole.
One common and troubling form of insanity is, "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," warned Albert Einstein.
When individuals make mistakes, the consequences are limited. But when nations make mistakes, the results can be catastrophic. It is disheartening to see the world's best hope for freedom and democracy, the United States of America, repeatedly making the same mistake at crucial junctures. Once again, America is at a critical point and facing troubles in several hotspots of the world. A particularly dangerous threat is gathering momentum in the greater Middle East. Iraq is an inferno, Palestinian Territory is ready to ignite, the Syrians are busy with their machinations, the Lebanese' Hezbollah is stirring, the Taliban in Afghanistan is resurging, and the Iranian Mullahs are working overtime fanning any and all fires while furiously racing to make the bomb.
The common denominator in all these troubles is Islam, with Iran's Mullahs its linchpin. The petrodollar rich Shiite Mullahs are busily bankrolling any and all who are fighting the "infidel" world, while their Sunni kin try to outdo them and claim the mantel of leadership for the Ummeh.
Islam, in actuality, is a house of cards. Once the Mullahs fall, the rest will quickly crumble with much less effort. Muslims are among the world's apt fence-sitters. They flock to the source of power, as flies to honey. The minute they sense the defeat of Islamism, they will likely abandon it en mass.
Presently, fanatical Islam is lashing out with mad fury before its own final demise. The "infidel" world has been complicit in the surge of Islamism through its mistakes, complacency, and greed.
"You can trust the capitalist to sell you the rope to hang him with," proclaimed V.I. Lenin. He was convinced that greed will blind the capitalists and will spell their doom. Today, Lenin's dictum applies to both the capitalists and the Communists alike. All manner of capitalists such as the French, the Germans, and the European Union stumble over one another, buckets in hand, rushing to the Muslims' oil spigots. The Communist Chinese, even in the face of having a potentially explosive Islamic problem of their own, are elbowing their way in the oil queue to the front of the line. The ever-duplicitous Russians are making a fortune selling arms and nuclear gear. One and all feel that they deal with the Islam problem when they absolutely have to and not a minute sooner. They also find perverse satisfaction in seeing the United States pay the price of fighting the Islamic menace, in both money and blood, for everyone else.
Such are the vagaries of this world.
Containing and defusing the present crises of the larger Middle East requires the united efforts of Americans and other free people. Regrettably, even the American house is badly divided and may not be able to deal effectively with the threat it faces. Lincoln's ominous warning, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," comes to mind.
The American public, as well as in-power and out-of-power politicians, sorely tried by the Iraq mess, are advocating vastly different piecemeal strategies for dealing with the crises. Some propose nuking Iran to stop it from bankrolling the Iraqi insurgency as well as preventing it from acquiring the bomb. Others want to negotiate with Iran and somehow mollify it. As for Iraq, some say that the United States has no dog in its sectarian bloodletting, that the American forces should be brought home or pulled back to safe barracks and let the parties slaughter one another until they run out of guns and blood. Similar "solutions" are offered in dealing with the other hotspots.
All extreme solutions, if unwise, are fraught with extreme dangers. During the presidential campaign of the Vietnam War, Barry Goldwater proclaimed, "Extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice." The collective wisdom of the American public prevailed and Goldwater didn't get a chance to put his belief into practice. It is prudent to reserve extreme measures for extreme cases. Just as important, it is best to follow the less glamorous solutions of the problems as they gather momentum and diffuse them.
With respect to the multifaceted problems of the Middle East, a multi-prong, long-term, strategy is needed. A partial set of proposed actions is listed below.
The overarching goal should be the ideological defeat of Islamism. A comprehensive long-term campaign of education, using all available media, and pointing out the errors and futility of this cult of death and destruction should be directed at the masses of Muslims. The ever-burgeoning Islamic communities in the West should be assisted in breaking with Islam and join the free people of their new homelands with a new vision of life.
The not so grateful world owes the U.S. an infinite debt of gratitude for defeating the evil of Nazism, and then the scourge of Soviet Communism. Once again, this champion nation of freedom is called upon to defeat the most tenacious and deadly enemy, Islamofascism.
The Mullahs' Iran is the heart and the nerve center of the battle with the U.S. Any mistake by either side poses a great threat to the survival of the other.
It is insane for the Mullahs to prematurely celebrate their victory over the "Great Satan," by citing the mess in Iraq and the divided house of the U.S. The U.S. may not win in Iraq, but the Mullahs are making a great mistake by believing that it will vacate the region for them to rule.
It is also insane for the U.S. to make the mistake of placating the Mullahs through concessions, attacking Iran militarily, either in a limited or comprehensive fashion and, failing to wholeheartedly support the Iranian democratic oppositions.
The U.S. has, in secular Iranians, its best friends in the entire Islamic world. It is imperative for the U.S. to help these Iranians to dislodge the vicious doomsday Mullahs, not as an act of altruism, but as a prudent measure of enlightened self-interest.
Amil Imani is an Iranian-born American citizen and pro-democracy activist residing in the United States of America. He maintains a website, http://www.amilimani.com/