Nations Worth Disconnecting

A House Divided,” by Pearl S. Buck,, pg 80, 1935.

IRAQ: Gunmen seize Indonesian TV journalists,” Committee to Protect Journalists,, 18 February 2005.

In real, present-day Iraq

Two Indonesian television journalists and their driver were seized by Iraqi gunmen in the city of Ramadi this week, an Indonesian government spokesman told reporters today.

Reporter Meutya Hafid and a cameraman identified as Budiyanto, who work for Indonesia’s 24-hour news channel Metro TV, went missing on Tuesday while driving from Amman, Jordan. The journalists had gone to Iraq to cover this week’s observance of Ashura, one of the most important religious events for Shiites, according to station officials.

At least 23 other journalists have been kidnapped by armed groups in Iraq since April 2004, when insurgents began targeting foreigners for abduction. The most recent was Feb. 4 when gunmen seized Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter for the Rome-based daily Il Manifesto, near Baghdad University. On Wednesday, her kidnappers released a video showing her pleading for her life and calling on U.S. and coalition troops to leave Iraq.

As in Pearl S. Buck’s novel of Revolutionary China

Sometimes he heard some news of those who plotted, how this one had been found with a bomb hidden in his room to throw at some great man, and once a band of plotters went and beat a certain teacher whom they hated for his friendship with foreigners, but when he heard such things Yuan turned more steadfastly to his books and would not lend his interests elsewhere.

This thuggery and violence is the mark of this old new style of warfare. The enemy’s purpose is to destroy relationships between their countrymen and the outside world. Once they have their people isolated they can create their utopian perfect society. We have seen how well that turned out in Russia, China, Korea, and Cambodia.

We cannot let it happen again in Iraq.


Shiite Iraq,” by Juan Cole, Informed Consent,, 18 February 2005.

Present Conflicts, Looming Conflicts ,” by Juan Cole, Informed Consent,, 19 February 2005.

At Least 55 Dead, Over 100 Wounded In Ashura Bombings,” by Juan Cole, Informed Consent,, 20 February 2005.

Chalabi Interviewed by Stephanopoulos,” by Juan Cole, Informed Consent,, 20 February 2005.

Bearing in mind my previous criticisms, and my deference to Mark, some more incoherence from Dr. Cole:

Dr. Cole talks up the guerrilla war

Contrary to what Hilary Clinton said in Baghdad on Saturday, this series of huge explosions does not demonstrate that the guerrilla insurgency has failed or is weakening. Rather, the attacks demonstrate that the guerrilla war is still being waged fiercely.

Dr. Cole talks up the Sunni Arab boycott in Anbar province

In a startling development to which the Western press is paying little attention, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq has won the provincial governments in 8 of the 18 provinces in the country, including Baghdad. Over-all Shiite lists won 11 of the 18. Sadrists won Wasit and Maysam, and perhaps one other. Dawa doesn’t appear to have run well at the provincial level. The Kurds won several of the northern provinces, including Ta’mim (where Kirkuk is) and Ninevah. The Iraqi Islamic Party won Anbar province, even though it withdrew from the elections. (It couldn’t properly withdraw because the ballots had already been printed.) But only 2 percent of the residents of Anbar voted, so the IIP victory doesn’t mean much.

Dr. Cole discusses the catastrophy that de-de-Ba’athification has been

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim accused Iraqi police of torturing and killing three members of the Shiite paramilitary, the Badr Corps, under mysterious circumstances, according to Ash-Sharq al-Awsat. Al-Hakim, the leader of the victorious United Iraqi Alliance, said that the deed was done by ex-Baathists who had been re-recruited into the police corps. The rehabilitation of Baathists under the interim Allawi administration is likely to produce many such conflicts now that the religious Shiites are in power.

All while Dr. Cole accuses Dr. Ahmad Chalabi of an irrational Sunni-Arabophobia

What all this tells me is that Ahmad Chalabi still has a highly vindictive, almost violent attitude toward the Sunni Arab community, many of whom were Baath Party members even though most were not guilty of actual crimes. I personally can’t imagine a process through which Chalabi emerges as prime minister from the United Iraqi Alliance, or at least not a process that did not involve a lot of bribery. But if such a disaster occurred, it is obvious that he would throw the country into further chaos immediately.

My thoughts on this are best said by Tom Friedman, in an op-ed from before the election

That is probably true – but we are already in a civil war in Iraq. That civil war was started by the Sunni Baathists, and their Islamist fascist allies from around the region, the minute the U.S. toppled Saddam. And they started that war not because they felt the Iraqi elections were going to be rigged, but because they knew they weren’t going to be rigged.

They started the war not to get their fair share of Iraqi power, but in hopes of retaining their unfair share. Under Saddam, Iraq’s Sunni minority, with only 20 percent of the population, ruled everyone. These fascist insurgents have never given politics a chance to work in Iraq because they don’t want it to work. That’s why they have never issued a list of demands. They don’t want people to see what they are really after, which is continued minority rule, Saddamism without Saddam. If that was my politics, I’d be wearing a ski mask over my head, too.


Geo-Green Perspective,” by Thomas Heckroth, My Side of the Story,, 20 February 2005.

Tom Barnett writes:

Meanwhile, Friedman’s rerunning his get-off-oil op-ed for like the 20th time. Really good stuff showing he’s basically out of ideas since 9/11. He wants to be a serious thinker on security but he doesn’t know how to be. So he shoots for the moon on economics, hoping it sounds really profound. It doesn’t. It sounds like pie in the sky.

TMLutas isn’t much more hopefully

This Geo-Green strategy is one that will put these societies in a corner and when they lash out at us (perhaps in another 9/11?) we’ll have to kill them off. Instead of doing that, we need to lead them out of their current dead end and give the elite an exit strategy that makes lashing out to retain power highly unattractive. I don’t see how $18 a barrel oil is going to get us there.

But as I have written, Tom Friedman’s geo-green strategy is wise. States that do not evolve beyond subsidies, be they government-to-government or God-to-government (natural resources) end up failed states. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are perfect examples of this.

So, I am happy that fellow blogspiriteur Thomas has discovered the movement

Geo-Green is the combination of environmentalism and geopolitics. As Friedman says, “As a geo-green, I believe that combining environmentalism and geopolitics is the most moral and realistic strategy the U.S. could pusruse today.” We have a need to promote environmentalism, which will free us from the stranglehold of Saudi Arabia and other “dealers” we addicts can’t say no to. We have a need to promote economic freedom and a strong global economy inorder to truly transform those same undemocratic nations. When we combine geopolitics and environmentalism we in turn get a focus on human rights, world peace, and the advancement of freedom and liberty.

So to get to the point. Towards the end of Friedman’s Op-Ed he points out that this change of focus must start at the grassroots level, and he asks where the typical leaders, the college students, are. So because of that, I have a desire to stand up and say, RIGHT HERE! I would like to start a group whose focus is to change the debate within this country toward one of the “Geo-Green Perspective”. If there is ANYONE who would like to join me in this effort, please feel free to comment. Send me your thoughts and your ideas. I am in the process of trying to start a student organization here at the University of Iowa. Right now the ultimate vision would be a national non-profit organization, but to get there we must start small and local.

Good luck to you Tom!

Barnett’s Back!

Having finished up The Pentagon’s New Map Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating, or somesuch, Dr. and all around genius Thomas P.M. Barnett is back to blogging up the news!

From February 19th:

â–  The deal we’re not making with China on North Korea
â–  Yet another scary article on India and China wanting MORE OIL!
â–  Pol Pot was a monster from hell, but Kim’s bodycount (while passive) is higher
â–  Who owns the Amazon?
â–  The Kurds want their federalism

And February 18th:

â–  Working all the evil axes
â–  2007: the globalization urbanization tipping point
â–  News that cheers this frequent flier
■ Qatar’s doing this just to thwart Tom Friedman!
â–  The SysAdmin goes high-tech as the environment regresses
â–  U.S.: I nominate anybody but us to do Sudan
â–  Supermen to overpower the Super-Empowered
■ Egypt getting a thumb’s up
â–  Big Man on big buying spree, and Venezuelans are certainly the winners here!
â–  Europe is basically right across the board
â–  Mongolia finds its voice in the New Core
â–  The vanishing girls of China
â–  Star Wars remains a great work of fiction
â–  If crazy Pakistan can have nukes . . .
■ Who shouldn’t define what’s a threat to the United States

Relatedly, Zen Pundit has some recommended reading and ways for President Bush to change the world.