Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Letter to A Friend

This is an excellent timely piece on Harry's Place. It lays part of the blame for today's atrocities on the West. I don't think that's necessarily true but it's worth reading.
Is the West to blame? Yes, but not in the way you might think.

- We are to blame because we allowed societies to develop in which there was no democracy, where democracy was brutally suppressed, and the only opposition to failed arab nationalism was organised round, and hidden in mosques and universities. We did it because we needed oil, and were in a fight for it, and for "influence" with the USSR, but we still did it. Islamism developed by default. In a straight fight against democracy and pluralism, it would have lost. It knows this.
This is why Islamists fear the emergence of arab democracy above all else.

- We are to blame because economies have developed in the middle east which are either entirely oil dependent, and hopelessly corrupt, or excluded from world trade by EU and US tariffs, and in which there is no work for much of the (male) population, some of whom have been recruited to the cause. The people who have been recruited are not misfits. They're educated young men, with nothing to do, but dream of the Caliphate.

The failure of democracy in the middle east is our responsibility.We are suffering today our failure to have addressed it earlier.

If you think that we will defeat radical Islamism only by engaging with the Middle East, supporting democracies against tyrannies, and so on, you are right. If you think that - in the short term - that will make us less of a target rather than more of one, you are very wrong.

It's worth reading the whole letter.

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