Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff: Revolution
in Libya and the CIA
relations between the West (led by the U.S.) and Islamic countries
and states are achievable. Some rapprochement already exists. It
can be extended. Where peace exists, and much peace does exist,
it can be deepened and widened. That is one of the effects of rapprochement.
countries and states, I mean all those countries and states in which
Islam historically has been the dominant religion and still is.
I mean to include all such states, including those that have more
secular governments, like Turkey and Egypt, and those that have
more Islamic governments, like Iran.
that I envision gives rise to a higher degree of independence in
the Islamic states. They then deal with Western countries on a more
equal footing. These states should not be creatures of the West
or heavily influenced by the West; nor should the East dominate
them, for that matter.
exist even when two nations are officially at peace, that is, not
fighting a war. The U.S. once dominated Iran when it dislodged one
government and installed another. A higher degree of independence
augments freedom and peace by removing what is a hidden aggression
against a nation or hidden threats that are being used by one nation
in order to control another nation. That is why rapprochement that
strengthens a nation’s independence is a movement in the direction
of freedom and peace. Freedom, however, is always freedom to do
good or evil. A nation freed from the domination of another may
choose unwisely or badly.
what is involved, we can see a number of obstacles and problems.
We are not going to create a more peaceful world without a clear
vision of what greater peace looks like and what problems must be
surmounted to succeed in shaping it.
lack a vision of Western-Islamic rapprochement. Instead, they have
a vision in which the West is dominant and the Islamic nations subordinate.
leaders have not promoted a vision of peace to the American public.
What our leaders have gotten across to us is the dreadfulness of
9/11 and fear of more such occurrences, the prospect of a long global
war on terror, a vision of stubborn terrorists who forever arise
hating us, the supposed necessity of internal security measures
and loss of freedoms in the U.S., and a heightened uneasiness, insecurity,
and fear in the presence of Islam.
All of this
involves very negative emotions and thinking. It cannot last indefinitely.
Americans at some point are going to rebel against this negativism
and look for leaders with a truly constructive attitude and vision
who mean what they say and will follow through on it.
have also expressed a desire that every Islamic state should have
democracy. This is a convenient catchall category to deflect all
criticisms from their actions, such as attacking Iraq and Afghanistan.
What U.S. leaders actually want and support are governments that
are friendly to policies that the U.S. is pushing. When a country
isn’t doing what the U.S. wants, the U.S. will claim it’s not democratic
or perhaps harboring terrorists or perhaps sympathetic to terrorists.
One or more of these will provide it with an excuse for interference
of one kind or another. When a country is not democratic but is
doing what the U.S. wants, the U.S. will do nothing and provide
some excuses for why it isn’t interfering.
involves several elements like the following. One, the West withdraws
its forces from Islamic countries, especially Iraq, Afghanistan,
and Libya. Two, the West stops pressuring Islamic countries and
attempting to manipulate them into choosing one form of government
or another or one particular set of leaders or another. The goal
is that the Islamic peoples gain a greater degree of independence
in shaping their own political forms. Three, Islamic countries with
oil agree to sell it to all comers and not use it as a political
weapon. This is to assuage Western fears so that Western countries
are more willing to step back. Four, Russia agrees not to step into
a power vacuum in Islamic countries. Five, in return, Russia needs
to be given access to European and Islamic markets. Six, the parties
concerned resolve the Palestinian-Israeli problem. This is largely
a U.S. problem. The U.S. has to go against a number of Israel’s
positions in order to make any headway on this, and it has to do
so very strongly and sternly.
are feasible, although made very difficult because of longstanding
attitudes, positions, fears, and habits of thought. They are achievable
because nearly all the parties involved gain from bringing them
into existence. The exception will be Israel if it remains as intransigent
as in the past. Very little can be achieved unless the U.S. changes
some of its positions on Israel substantially.
problem is that it is often the case that the parties involved may
not see the potential gains, and they may not realize that their
countries and peoples will be better off if such changes are brought
doesn’t guarantee endless future peace. There still can develop
wars between one Islamic nation and another, just as the Western
countries have fought many wars against one another. There still
can be frictions that develop as a consequence of commercial and
economic relations among all the countries involved. There are still
going to be frictions that arise over other matters such as disputed
territories. There still can be very serious frictions within countries.
What can emerge
is a series of states that are more independent in that the West
stays out of them militarily. They would include all the states
in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia; also, the Islamic
states in Asia. One of the goals of rapprochement is a larger degree
of independence of the Islamic states. It is to stop treating them
as subordinate states or states that are playgrounds for West-East
competition, or as states that benefit from playing off one major
power against another.
large problem remains. The West, Russia, Brazil, China, India, and
other countries are all capable of selling sophisticated arms and
weaponry to Islamic countries. The selling of weapons usually brings
with it closer military and political relations for many reasons
such as training, maintenance, weapons upgrades, replacements, ammunition,
and financing of sales.
Arms can bring
stability if they even out a power imbalance and counter threats.
Arms can bring instability when one state has expansionist designs
on others. If the larger powers agree not to interfere militarily
in the Islamic states, that is the larger part of the problem. If
the Islamic states or some significant portion of them agree to
limit their arming, that might mitigate their potential hostilities.
powers may fear that several or many Islamic states would federate
and attempt to constitute or re-constitute an empire or some aspects
of an empire. If this fear dominates their thinking, they are going
continually to poke around in the Islamic countries, foment wars
between them, keep them off balance, and, in general, keep them
weak economically. They will want vassal states. The larger powers
are key to world peace and progress in this respect. If they can
overcome and set aside their fears of each other and of potential
empires, they can create an entirely different and better world.
The war on
terror initiated by Bush and continued by Obama is not central at
all to the larger issues facing the world’s states, one of which
I am pointing out here, which is the relations of the Islamic states
with one another and with the major powers, East and West. The war
on terror is only important because of its effect of badly diverting
attention away from the larger and far more important issues like
Western-Islamic rapprochement. The war on terror confuses and obscures
the larger issues facing the world’s peoples immensely. It is a
near certainty that most Americans now think of Islamic countries
in terms of their terrorist potential, which is extremely minor,
rather than in terms of political relations and geopolitical relations.
approach to terror (either you’re with us or against us) is wrongheaded
in all respects. It beclouds the issue. It confuses the public.
It creates antagonisms. It views many Islamic states as inferior
partners. It views the U.S. as dominant worldwide. It makes the
U.S. into a threatening and bullying party. It presumes that Islamic
states do not already view terrorism as an evil thing as do western
states or Russia or India.
the U.S. views several Islamic states, like Iran and Syria, as supporters
of terror. This confuses al-Qaeda terrorism with Hezbollah and Hamas.
It confuses terrorism with the Palestinian-Israeli issue.
have let loose large internal and travel security bureaucracies
that shape thinking about Islam and Islamic countries. Constant
references to 9/11 do the same. This is the "bloody shirt"
of a new generation. These are extremely negative ways to proceed.
The U.S. leaders
have often said that they are against terrorists, not against Islam.
This is fine, except if it is used to reinforce fears of terrorism.
But our officials have done a poor job of articulating what kind
of a world they are seeking, other than a world without terrorism.
They have not provided a picture of Western-Islamic rapprochement.
that the U.S. wants democracies or stable democracies or Western-style
democracies is not at all credible. The notion that our leaders
can tell what sort of democratic government is better for a people
is also not credible. There are as many different kinds of governments
and democracies as there are forms of shelter. One people cannot
tell another people what sort of shelters they should construct.
Government is even more complex. A few provisions of a constitution
can easily change the outcomes dramatically.
with regard to democracy and the Islamic states are often contradictory,
with one state being treated one way and another state being treated
the opposite. U.S. policies with regard to the Arab Spring similarly
vary according to the country. Libya is attacked while Syria and
Bahrain are not touched.
contradictions are resolved when one realizes that the U.S. vision
is that the U.S. control these states. Democracy is not the actual
goal. Even if it were, the term "democracy" is simply
too general and vague to give rise to a specific goal of U.S. policy.
What actually happens is that the U.S. chooses some form of government
or some persons to support that seem to give it the best deal. After
a rather short time, it often finds out that even when it got its
way, the results are not at all what it wanted.
To gain perspective,
let’s look at an interview
with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali
Khamenei, and let’s look at some of his biography
a great deal of dictatorial power. He can be and has been very brutal.
He has instituted many oppressive measures, so much so that resistance
to him is coming out in the open calling for his death. A long letter
written by Iranian clerics called him a dictator and demanded his
removal. Nevertheless, nothing that he or other Iranian leaders
have done or are doing is significantly different than what many
world leaders have done or are now doing, including American leaders.
When the U.S. sanctions Iran and regards it as in the axis of evil,
it is not because of Khamenei himself or other Iranian leaders,
it is for other reasons such as the nuclear issue, the Palestinian-Israeli
issue, and Hezbollah.
want the U.S. to interfere with Iran, but he doesn’t want to confront
the U.S. He distrusts the U.S. due to its past and present interferences
with Iran, and that is why he is extremely wary concerning an accommodation.
with the presidents who have served during his reign, Khamenei
has successfully scuttled President Rafsanjani's attempts to find
a modus vivendi with the United States, President Khatami's aspirations
for a more democratic Islamic state, and President Ahmadinejad's
desire for confrontation."
has been described as consistent in his opposition to the United
States and the Western World in general, reportedly including
this theme into his speeches no matter whether the topic is foreign
policy, agriculture or education. He has declared that it is ‘clear
that conflict and confrontation between’ Islamic Republic of Iran
and the U.S. ‘is something natural and unavoidable’ since the
United States ‘is trying to establish a global dictatorship and
further its own interests by dominating other nations and trampling
on their rights.’ However, while ‘cutting ties with America is
among our basic policies,’ and ‘any relations would provide the
possibility to the Americans to infiltrate Iran and would pave
the way for their intelligence and spy agents,’ Khamenei holds
the door open to relations with the U.S. at some future date,
saying ‘we have never said that the relations will remain severed
forever. Undoubtedly, the day the relations with America prove
beneficial for the Iranian nation I will be the first one to approve
of that.’ However, in a speech to Iranian students on October
29, 2008, which was quoted on Iranian TV (as translated by MEMRI),
Khamenei stated that ‘the Iranian people's hatred for America
is profound. The reason for this [hatred] is the various plots
that the U.S. government has concocted against Iran and the Iranian
people in the past 50 years. The Americans have not only refused
to apologize for their actions, but have continued with their
badly the CIA operations in Iran have poisoned the possibility of
restoring good U.S.-Iranian relations. Since the CIA infiltrates
a country through the U.S. embassy and peaceful business and other
missions, and since Iran experienced this and more in the past,
Khamenei is wary of any relations at all with America. Notice also
that he recognizes the American desire for empire and domination
of other nations as a second basic obstacle to relations.
this, Khamenei leaves the door open for relations that may benefit
the Iranian nation:
March 21, 2009, a day after US President Barack Obama unprecedentedly
offered Iran a ‘new beginning’ of diplomatic engagement between
the two old foes, Khamenei said a change of US ‘words’ was not
enough and added: ‘We will watch and we will judge (the new US
administration) ... You change, our behavior will change.’"
In a recent
statement, Khamenei said
West is very afraid of the establishment of a government with
Islamic persuasions in Libya and (it) wants to prevent it."
This is true.
If Gaddafi is dislodged, we shall see whom the West backs. It won’t
be the kind of Islamic fundamentalists that Khamenei probably means.
The West will seek the most secular government possible.
aggression in Libya is Obama’s doing. It shows that the U.S. ambition
to control nations has not changed. This reinforces Khamenei’s caution,
which is shown to have been warranted.
to take a real change in U.S. actions before a process of rapprochement
stands a chance of being initiated and conducted to a satisfactory
conclusion. Michele Bachman is the latest person seeking the Republican
nomination. She hasn’t ruled out a nuclear strike against Iran.
Neither has Obama. Romney, who is a leading contender, has said
that Iran is "unalloyed evil" and that it’s run by "ruthless
and fanatical" leaders.
as fanatical as they come. Look at her
remarks about America and Israel. But how different in terms
of policies would be most of the other Democrats and Republicans
on Israel, even if they do not have the same religious reasons for
holding to these policies? Not much different.
Need we go
on in order to demonstrate that the U.S. vision of Western-Islamic
relations is wildly warped and that it doesn’t even come close to
contemplating rapprochement and peace? Is it any wonder that Khamenei’s
position is not to deal with the U.S. until some concrete change
It has not
my goal here to present what I think can be or will be achieved
at any time soon, and it has not been to go into detail about the
knotty problems. My goal has been to present an alternative view
(rapprochement) that I think is a goal consistent with greater liberty
and peace. By doing so, we can see more clearly that what’s going
on now in U.S. foreign policy is really very negative.
The war on
terror is really a very bad excuse for a foreign policy that benefits
Americans. It’s really an insignificant sideshow that is confusing
the foreign relations of the U.S. badly and diverting them from
far more constructive channels. Thinking about rapprochement and
peace helps us see that this is not what the U.S. has been about
for decades and not what it’s about now. It helps us see why Khamenei
thinks the way he does about the U.S. and that he has good reason
to think that way, even though he has some positions that are as
far out and fanatical as Bachman’s (like suppressing music in Iran).
Obama has toned
down the rhetoric on the war on terror somewhat while maintaining
and enhancing its substance. So when it came to Libya, he didn’t
invoke the war on terror or terrorism that much. Instead he invoked
a prospective massacre. The idea is the same: There are these bad
guys about to do something bad and we must stop them. This too is
a policy that doesn’t benefit Americans. All it does is give the
U.S. leadership an excuse to intervene when it wants to intervene
for other purposes that typically involve domination; for there
are always some killings going on somewhere or some prospective
killings, or some instabilities or prospective instabilities, or
some civil wars or prospective civil wars. It’s very easy to manufacture
interventions under cover of excuses like terror and humanitarianism.
and neutrality are the foreign policies that would end all of this
U.S. interference overseas, and then as a consequence the U.S. could
develop harmoniously peaceful relations with many more nations and
states. This, by the way, is not isolationism.
If a Western-Islamic rapprochement actually occurred, the war on
terror could be shelved and the U.S. could start to find its way
back to normality. Terrorism would not disappear, but a lot of its
current reason for being would evaporate so that it would probably
For those of
you who vote, my advice is straightforward. Look at the candidate’s
foreign policy positions on Iran, Israel, and the war on terror.
If he or she shows no constructive attitude but instead is anti-Iran,
pro-Israel, and pro-war on terror, forget them. Candidates like
that are going to keep America embroiled overseas endlessly and
that’s going to hurt us domestically. These candidates are blind
to your welfare, or else they lack vision, or else they lack the
courage to lead us to non-intervention. Or perhaps they’ve sold
out to special interests.
S. Rozeff [send him mail]
is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.
He is the author of the free e-book Essays
on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book
The U.S. Constitution
and Money: Corruption and Decline.
© 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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