How To Convert Moral Outrage Into Convenient Inaction

1. A perceptive observer has concluded that for decades the world had to dread German militarism. Today, we need to fear aggressive German pacifism. Germany’s politics are determined by elements that intend to demonstrate a bold break with the past. Tellingly, no one besides the hysterical dreads that past. This course departs from the guild of the great grandfathers and promises to avoid without much effort in the future their past mistakes. For the observer that is able to distinguish between what “has been” and what “is”, it seems that this guilt is being exploited by putting it in the service of covert contemporary agendas. The demonstrative rituals –mainly staged by the Reds and the Greens- that disown the past, is used to avoid newly arising responsibilities. Meanwhile, the restraint preached is an opportunity for moralizing lectures. They are designed to improve in theory the practical actions of those that need to perform the world’s business.

Take the most recent case of the Libyan crisis. The morality that likes to demand convenient inaction has become a special problem for Europe, the West and the Atlantic Alliance. Germany’s political class has loudly professed their commitment to democracy and the condemnation of Gaddafi. Nevertheless, the country has done more than to avoid participation in the collective “massacre-prevention” in which even non-Nato member Sweden participates.  Berlin’s neutrality -essentially in favor of the “Revolution Leader”-  has not stopped at non-participation. Admittedly, supported by the general population’s consent, Germany is doing more than only to stand bye. Shrouded in a cloak of propriety and concerns for “civilian casualties” she is proving to be a stumble-stone on the practical path that leads to makeable solutions.


2. America’s foreign policy is in a real way, but naturally not officially, also a part of the foreign policy of all advanced nations. This is especially so if these are “Western”, or if they fall into the category of the “developed” such as Japan and the like. This condition bestows added significance to the US’ policy regarding Libya. At the time this is written, the ultimate outcome of the “Arab Revolution’s” Libyan chapter is still unfinished. Nevertheless, being deeply immersed in the crisis, a few “after the fact” insights stand out already. In such a review, some actors of the international scene appear in a dubious light. Besides the perennial election-related ramifications, a number of the decisions taken, postponed, or avoided, promise to have consequences.

Admittedly, some reservations regarding the outcome of the Arab street’s still ongoing struggle against their thieving tyrants are justified. Nevertheless, it seems to this writer that the attempt to improve governance and to create a better economic system –intentionally the term “democracy” is avoided - deserves international support. This is the case regardless of the makeable or intended purpose and outcome of the ongoing process. It is an open question what kind of systems will emerge in the future. Will they proceed along the road of modernization that has been blocked by power elites that feared modernity? The tendency to flee from the challenge of the day into the realm of comforting and excusing retrograde religion had and has mass approval. Support is extended to the forces of inchoate self-liberation. However, even the skeptical need to realize that, at least in the abstract, the best antidote to Islamism is the overcoming of those retrograde components of Muslim culture that dictatorship exploits to protect itself.

After much hesitation, in part due to arms twisting by France, Washington has consented to participate in actions to “protect lives” in the Gaddafi slaughterhouse. In the real world, this reluctantly assumed role has been the precondition of any humanitarian intervention that was to go beyond the symbolic.  Meanwhile, Moscow and Peking played an unsavory role in which, to some consternation, they were seconded by Germany. Rumor has it that initially Berlin had even intended to go beyond abstention by voting against the SecCouncil’s authorization. (An aside: The case demonstrates how much the UN’s protection is likely to be worth in case your freedom is imperiled.) Clearly, unlike Germany, the reluctantly abstaining superpowers had a “national interest” to protect. They have a motive to desire inaction because intervention in Libya upholds a principle that affects them potentially. Both the discontent and the local method of suppressing it have their Chinese and Russian correlations and parallels.

French, British and now Nato activities could not have scored without the power that the US could project into the Mediterranean. This is so, given Europe’s intention to carry a smaller and therefore cheaper stick than her size and wealth justifies. Even on her periphery and when facing a negligible power, Europe’s self-chosen condition results in impotence. Ironically, this self-imposed state mutes into a component of anti-American resentment. Due to its proximity to the jaw, nothing is easier to bite than the hand that feeds you. Now, at least formally, the States are slowly withdrawing from direct tactical action. Even so, in the strategic background, US support remains indispensable. American aloofness might express good or bad motives. At the same time, the position does exhibit a certain rationale.

American unilateralism, or even a formally leading role in and alliance to restrain Gaddafi, might bolster the functional efficiency of the undertaking. At the same time, this role also awakes hindering reactions. These stem from the anti-Americanism that has become an accepted and excusing creed of the Muslim world. The same sentiment also dominates Europe. Counting on the US, demanding her help in case of emergency and then criticizing the succor’s form and amount, are not a logical contradiction but an automatic sequence. Even a limited American role defangs and exposes the complacency that motivates those that would rather condemn Israel “for whatever” than to provoke the Clown-in-Chief as he performs his hand stands in his tent. By the rules of the ritual, in case of success followed by the removal of the danger, the Americans are declared guilty for being overbearing. Should the effort fail, the entire responsibility for that is attributed to American ineptitude, sanctimoniousness and lack of commitment.

There is a disadvantage to the withdrawal to the sidelines. If Gaddafi can be removed –allowing him to survive contradicts the interests of Europe and the USA- the Libyans will not be thankful to the US. Behind the scene roles make no stars. Similarly, a source of good will by the more progressive systems that might emerge in Arabia is being surrendered.

In case of the undertaking’s success, France and Britain but also “Europe” will take the credit. For America’s fundamental interests, this is only a minor loss. Decisive is that the general upheaval shall result in the collapse of blackguard dictatorships. Where the pieces of the collapsing edifices will fall is an open question. Supporting the process is, even in the light of the risks involved, worth taking. If the new regimes prove to be capable to deal with the backwardness bequeathed by centuries of inward-looking stand pattism, then all will benefit. As integrated parts of the world order, recovering Muslim societies can contribute to firm an international system committed to change by orderly procedures. An upshot will be the improved global position of advanced countries. In case that the process can unfold, the number of industrial democracies will grow progressively. Given that trend, modernized entities will face reduced challenges by the foes of progress and democratization. As an added bonus, as a result of this process, open societies will also become to a lesser extent a global minority.

Turkey leads the way

It is highly unlikely that new regimes will "prove to be capable to deal with the backwardness bequeathed by centuries of inward-looking stand pattism."  Islamic societies on't even know they are backward and it is not Islamism that confounds them but Islam itself.  Witness Turkey which mightily advanced with the Islamic idiots under control but is now slowly being drawn back into the maw. 

Any Islamic society will eventually be like the cartoon cat that runs and runs at the end of a long elastic band.  Eventually, however, it slows with pronounced sound effects of loudly creaking ropes and is then drawn violently back.  I think it was Baron Boddisey who observed that Islam is the perfect closed system.  Hopes of fundamental reforms that will resonate with Muslim populations and endure are baseless.