Slavoj Zizek and politicians on Middle East uprisings (eng sub), Part 4 of 13


This unexpectedness …
Bahrain is here also a very instructive example. Just to add a few more anecdotes.
Recently one museum invited me to Qatar. You must see these heavenly consumer countries.
Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi. I am Marxist enough to have asked them
where are those who actually work. I found some leftists who took me around Qatar.
You must leave the city and go to “Industrial Zone”, which is in essence a concentration camp
for workers who live as slaves. The don’t have a passport, their wage
is $ 150 per month without meals. But, they have a problem. They work during
the week. Friday, their Sunday, is the day off. How to prevent them from going into
the city and mix in the shopping malls. Ah! They found a nice civilized solution.
Seemingly unconnected. They realised that family is
in crisis nowadays. And to help family they declared
Friday as family day. The rule was that men without women
and children may not go to the stores. Of course, workers don’t have families,
it isn’t allowed. Under the pretext of saving families
they solved their problem. This is literally … slavery. OK, half-slavery.
Voluntary four-year slavery. Let’s go on. Another lesson is also
extremely important. We must reject all those flowery phrases
which we liked so much. That “understanding”. Even the Greeks know it. Recently
I’ve been to Greece to support hunger strikers. Someone said to me privately, a communist,
“You know, but democracy is just not for everyone.” If a Greek says “not for everyone”,
he means the Turks. How we all lived in this …
And now we see the secular political will, which we thought was our privilege,
egalitarian and so on, being extremely alive there.
It is here where we must remember from history. Just to finish with a few
so-called deep thoughts. Recall Afghanistan. We are old enough
to remember what Afghanistan was 40 years ago. Enlightened, relatively secular
monarchy with a pro-western king
who pushed for development. With a very powerful …
I’m not praising them, they are doomed … … autochthonous communist party,
which was powerful enough to make a coup. Beside this, religiously extremely
tolerant. According to some estimates,
Afghanistan was 40 years ago religiously the most tolerant
country in the Middle East. Who is on third place? Herat?
After Kandahar. There they had a long tradition of
joint rites between Buddhists and others … But then it began. Communist coup,
it doesn’t go well, Russians intervene. To screw the Russians, Americans
organise their agents. You know their agents.
Osama bin Laden and so on … No, no! You will discover here
great errors on our side. For example. And I didn’t find this in
some leftist magazine, but in New York Times. Do you know that a little more than 10 year ago
Israel financed Hamas? – Just a little. – Yes. But do you know why?
They had the fierce … divide and conquer. They wanted to weaken Arafat
at all costs. To finish quickly. How did Afghanistan become
a symbol of backwardness, of degraded women? There is no tradition here.
This was a country which was by our Eurocentric standards
relatively open. As a result of involvement in the
global capitalist process. About America… What is it in today’s global
capitalism that stimulates fundamentalism? American Afghanistan has a name.
It is called Kansas. You know Thomas Frank’s book,
What’s the matter with Kansas? Where he faces with an enigma. 30, 40 years ago,
Kansas had the most progressive tradition in USA. 150 years ago, John Braun.
Against slavery, support of Negros. Today Kansas is the most
bible-backed state. This paradox, how the left emancipatory
energy went into religious fundamentalism. And here is Walter Benjamin’s
thought topical. He said that behind every fascism,
there is a failed revolution. Radical Right always takes the place
of the Left. For me, the true key to this crisis is
the question, “Where is the secular Left?” It was strong in the 50′, 60′.
Here is a poetic paradox. Even Saddam was the last sprout
of this secular line. Only at the end, I think, he began
manipulating with Islam. He was, basically, a secularly patriotic
dictator. Just to finish. Israel. Here I am especially sad. Why?
I have contacts there; and in the West Bank. What is happening there is such a tragedy.
What is so depressive in Wiki-leaks, Palestinian papers? There you see how Palestinians were
willing to ease off. Why is this so horrific for me? A few years ago I was in Israel,
when there was much bombing. All my liberal Israeli friends were saying,
“We admit it. It is unjust. We must talk.” “But at least stop throwing bombs.
We can’t talk this way.” If we exclude Gaza, bombing did stop.
And what is the lesson? Palestinians are loosing even more.
This is so sad. They gave Palestinians the best possible argument for terror. All my friends are worried about what
is happening in Israel. I’ve written an article for Le Mond about
sexual relationships there. Don’t laugh. Young people are normal. Young Israelis
and Palestinians have sexual contacts. An ultra paranoia has started.
Because it is viewed as Palestinian terror when Palestinians seduce innocent
young Israeli girls. By the way, this is a commendation.
As far as I know them, an innocent young Israeli girl
is like woody iron. You don’t know how …
Our Slovene nationalists can learn from them. They have special phone numbers
which you can call if you think your daughter is in contact with a Palestinian. Guards will
pick her up and take her to the psychiatric ward, because this is considered an illness.
And so on and so forth … Not to mention … What is continuously
happening in the West Bank? My source is again NY Times.
Constant terror from … Fine, I won’t say from the settlers.
But is supported by the government. Horrific. They are poisoning their water,
setting trees on fire, burning crop, and so on. If we are concerned about Israel, then
Israel should change it’s sharp policy, and should be pleased with
these events. Isn’t it clear that any anti-Semitism
in the Middle East was strictly connected with autocratic regimes that emphasize
Israeli Zionism to gain legitimacy. And if you in any way resist,
you are an agent of Zionists. Gaddafi is saying this now.
Mubarak’s policemen did too. I think the affirmation of these forces
which have now exploded is the only serious grand opportunity
to break this anti-Semitic obsession. To really finish … with two more
points. What will happen now? Firstly. For me the key is the Left.
The rise of the secular Left. Without it, they will have in the end
something similar what we have in Europe. Where the Left, in any meaningful sense,
has disappeared, what we have is some kind of dispassionate
technocratic liberal capitalist party, and the only serious alternative are
anti-immigration nationalists. Second is this. We shouldn’t simplify
the situation there. Yes, it is nice, this eruption of freedom
and so on. But, I worry about “the day after”. Who will profit from this?
There are several possibilities. One is that, as Videmsek has said,
shame he’s not here … He thinks this has already happened.
I’m more a believer in appearances. It doesn’t matter what is happening
at the back, but at the front. Anyway, one possibility is that
the revolution will get stolen. He described it as the “Romanian model”, where
Securitate organised a coup against Ceausescu. Here this is not the case. But still,
that somehow the “forces of continuity” will find its way. Second possibility is
the liberal market capitalism, which will not function in my opinion.
Only a secular Left can save the situation. And now really only two sentences more.
Some people in our (parliament) opposition like to draw this parallel … That here too
we must overthrow the “forces of continuity”. Look deeply into your heart.
A won’t mention any names. Ask yourself, is there any politician (in Slovenia),
whose name can begin with any letter … … for example with “J” …
Is there a politician whose public appearances, when he is really wrathful, remind you of
Gaddafi, of his speech two days ago? I think there is.
Thank you very much.

GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA WON’T SHOW YOU – Brussels: Terror VS Civilization –


Yesterday, after the horrible and tragic terrorist
attacks in Brussels, many people to express solidarity, started putting Belgian flags
on their profile pictures. The same happened last November, after the horrific Paris attacks.
But few people realize that between Paris and Brussels attacks, there were at least
38 more terrorist attacks in which 20 or more people died. So, if people were to change
their profile pictures, for each attack, this is what it would look like. All in all , between the Paris and Brussels
attacks, there were at least 304 other terrorist attacks in at least 35 countries, with at
least 2,906 people killed and many more injured. These attacks were all very different, but
there was one common trend among all these tragedies. The perpetrators, the ones who
killed innocent people are clear and obvious terrorists. If they appear in any public place
– they will immediately be arrested. However, few people know, that right in the
heart of Europe, in South-Eastern Ukraine region of Donbass,, more than 9000 people
have lost their lives. And the people in the Ukrainian government, the ones giving orders
to kill innocents, the ones waging an ugly war against their own citizens are hailed
as democrats, and welcomed in European capitals. The man responsible for the war and atrocities,
president Poroshenko of Ukraine, was himself in Brussels just last week.
And despite thousands of casualties, nobody in the West changes their profile pictures
for these dead – their tragedies are simply never reported. So to learn the truth government and media
don’t want you to know, please sign up for our channel – “War in Ukraine – the
Unreported Truth”

Robert R. Reilly: Diplomacy in the Modern Era


Thank you, Katie, and thank you- and- and-
Patrick and John more for your very kind remarks about my book, “The Closing of the
Muslim Mind.” I can really sum that up for you. The central thesis of that book in
one sentence the kind of Islam about which Stephen Ulph and Patrick Sookhdeo
were speaking, is a spiritual pathology based on a deformed theology that has
produced a dysfunctional culture a spiritual pathology based on a deformed
theology that has produced a dysfunctional culture well that’s about
it any questions actually my job today is not to talk about the subject of my
book but about the war of ideas in public diplomacy and you have already
heard some remarks about it I actually in the course of my 25 years in
government not done successful the success of port neither done
successfully or successively I spent most of it in public diplomacy in the us
information agency in the Reagan White House in the state department oversees
at the voice of america for more than 10 years and with the Defense Department
both here and in the Middle East so I’ve seen public diplomacy work and I’ve seen
it not work unfortunately most of my experience has been in the latter
category and this our failure in the current war of ideas by the way it seems
to be unanimously proclaimed upon consider this recent statement quote we
are losing the war of ideas because we are not in the arena the way we were in
the Cold War just at the moment when there is this ferment for democracy
breaking out,” unquote. Guess who said that? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in
her recent congressional testimony. It’s worth listening to a few
other of her words which I shall quote here. “We invested so much money and
effort over so many decades to get behind the Iron Curtain to talk about
what democracy was, to keep the flag of freedom unfurled in people’s hearts, to
get our messages in through every means of shortwave radio and smuggling bibles,
and we did all kinds of things just to give people a sense that they weren’t
alone and that maybe their ideas about the human spirit were not subversive.
Well, we don’t have those messages going out,” unquote. When’s the last time we
smuggle a Bible anywhere? Well, what- We don’t have those messages going out
anymore. Why is that? Well, there are two possible answers. We’ve lost the means to
get the message out and we’ve lost the message. Unfortunately, both of these
things are true and in the little time we have remaining I’m just going to have
to radically telescope my remarks here. John Lenczowski mentioned the
elimination of the U.S. Information Agency in 1999. Why do you
suppose that happened? Why would we eliminate the principal U.S. government
institution responsible for fighting our side in a war of ideas? Why would we do
that? …the what? The principal because we won,
right, and part of this was supposed to be part of the peace dividend. In fact, it
was expressed most powerfully in those days by Francis Fukuyama and the title
of his book, The End of History. History had ended in the sense that for a
democratic constitutional form of government with the free market stood
uncontested morally throughout the world as the model and all we would see is
more quickly or slowly this model being implemented throughout the world
depending upon local circumstances, right? What’s the logical conclusion if that
view prevailed? Well, you dismantle your institutions designed to fight in that
war of ideas. I remember Dr. Joseph Duffy, the last director of U.S.I.A. I was at VOA
at the time and he testified on [the] hill about our international broadcasting and
he said I’m not sure we should be broadcasting to the world. We should be
listening to it. Oh, the appropriators got out their red pens and there went a lot
of the funds for broadcasting. However, there was another version of the end of
history that wasn’t Hegelian. It was written in an article by Salman al Aude,
a Saudi who saw history culminating in a slightly different way not with the
triumph of free-market democracy but with the destruction of the United
States and surprise, history resumed on 9/11 at least for the Hegelians. For
the rest of us it had simply continued but now guess what? We were bereft of the
institutions that we once had to fight our side in that war of ideas and thus
the means had been destroyed. Now, there is- I was- The Voice of America- The
USIA was gone. Some of its functions were assimilated into the State Department.
Broadcasting was brought under a broadcasting Board of Governors,
including the Voice of America where I was and in my last year there I was the
director of the Voice of America and we were in the process of eliminating our
Arabic service, which was 12 hours a day of content rich discussions, reviews,
editorials on U.S. policy to a pop music station called Radio Sawa, which began
with 50 minutes in the hour broadcasting a melange of American pop music, JLo,
Eminem, Britney Spears, and Arab pop music. The chairman of the Board of
Broadcasting and the chairman of the Mideast Committee of the board both paid
the same remark to me separately to explain why we were doing this and this
was the remark: MTV brought down the Berlin Wall. I waited a beat because i
thought this has got to be a laugh line and- and they didn’t laugh. They were
serious. MTV brought down the Berlin- MTV didn’t- didn’t leak over into East
Germany. I mean even that part of it was wrong but having been a foot soldier in
the Cold War myself, I seem to remember John Lenczowski’s account of who won
the Cold War. John Paul II and Ronald Reagan. And how was the Cold War
won? I remember distinctly in 1990 I used to read the Soviet press every day
through FIBIS. I had prior met Alexander Yakovlev in Moscow, a member of
the Politburo principally in charge of the promotion of and offensive Soviet
ideology. The chief ideologue of the Soviet
Union and in the Soviet press in 1990 I read a statement by Yakovlev saying, “I
have come to understand that Leninism is based upon class struggle and class
hatred and that this is evil. It was in 1982 that President Reagan made his
courageous statement to which John Lenczowski referred about the evil empire
over which so many people in the West became apoplectic. Less than 10 years
later semantic unanimity was achieved when the chief of Soviet ideology used
the same term to describe that ideology as had Ronald Reagan. Semantic unanimity:
applying words back to reality, achieve the end of the Cold War and I sent that
statement around Washington by fax in those days. That’s how primitive things
were, saying it’s over and indeed it was. We just witnessed over the following
year the collapse of the Soviet Union, so what we need to achieve in this new war
of ideas, ladies and gentlemen, is the Yakovlev moment. I remember Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put out this famous snowflake message, “How do we know
when we’re winning? How do we know,” you know, are the number of terrorists we’re
killing- is that creating more terrorists than the number we’re killing as if
there could be some kind of quantitative standard by which you find out when you
win a war of ideas. Well, ideas aren’t quantitative. They’re qualitative and
they’re spiritual, so i use the Yakovlev moment as the means by which you could
come to judge when you have won a war of ideas. John Lenczowski made a
wonderful remark about the fact that it is we today who are seen as evil.
Who could have imagined during the Cold War when we used religion so effectively
against the Soviet Union whether it was Jews in Russia, Muslims in Afghanistan,
Catholics in Poland. It was any religion against the Soviet Union because it was
atheistic – that now we would see religion turned against ourselves. We
are now the ones defined as evil. I use this little remark in some of my
lectures at the military academies with some of our seasoned officers all of
whom have been in one or two wars and I asked them to tell me who made the
following remark. Quote, “This great America: what is its worth in the scale
of human values and what does it add to the moral worth of humanity and by
journey’s end what will its contribution be? I fear that a balance may not exist
between America’s material greatness and the quality of its people and I fear
that the wheel of life will have turned and the book of time will have closed
and America will have added nothing or next to nothing to the account of morals
that distinguishes man from object and indeed, mankind from animals,” unquote. Who
said that? I’ve had- I’ve had some of our officers say well that sounds like
Churchill or I get in- The answer it is from Sayyid Qutb, the principal ideologue
of the Islamist movement written in his Reflections: What I saw in America in the
Early 1950s. I have much of this sort of material, which I won’t read to you this
afternoon because we don’t have time but the point- let the point be made that-
that this is a moral attack on the United States. It’s not a policy critique.
There’s no policy that we could change- that would- that would render, say, Sayyid Qutb’s judgement of us superfluous. In the early 50s, we weren’t known [as]
supporting the Arab autocracies, Israel was not such a big issue back then, but
you can find reflections of Qutb’s critique of us daily in the Muslim press.
It is what animates and outrages the Muslim world against us, which has now
successfully equated the United States with unbelief and we have reinforced
that impression of ourselves by officially embracing and endorsing
American pop culture as our own view of ourselves. How would you like to have an
adolescent superpower in your neighborhood? Well, let me move on here to-
The first duty of our public diplomacy therefore ought to be to answer this
moral critique and that’s what we ought to be focused on, and of course we’re not-
we don’t have the institutions with which to do that and nor do we have the
message. And let me move on now to the message. Since we don’t have public
diplomacy anymore we can more or less just refer to the themes that President
Obama has been offering the Arab and Muslim world about this new war of ideas.
As he said in his inaugural address our security emanates from the justness of
our cause, so how is he presenting that to the Muslim world? Well, his initial
outreach as you know was in June of 2009, the famous speech in Cairo, which he gave
immediately after having been in Accra, Ghana where he gave a very tough love
talk about African despotism and corruption and what needs to be done to
have a true rule of law, democratic, constitutional order. It was a very good
speech. It was a very tough speech. However, immediately after he goes to
Cairo and he gives it a completely different kind of speech. Why did he do that? These hard truths
were absent from his Cairo speech. In other words, he spoke powerfully to the
poor and meekly to the powerful or truth to the poor and fantasy to the powerful.
The differences were pronounced. The only rhetorical strategy that can make sense
of the Cairo speech is this. Instead of confronting the unreality of the world
in which most Arabs live, Obama decided to embrace it, enter into it, and then
try to change it from within by changing the meaning of some words. As Egyptian
writer and businessman Tariq Hagee said in reaction to the speech, quote, “It is as
if he, Obama is a magician,” unquote. This magical approach produced [Obama]’s absurd
claim that Al-Azhar, instead of being an intellectual backwater retarding the
Muslim’s ability to enter the modern world, was a light to the world and laid
the foundations for the European Renaissance and Enlightenment. There were
other such gaffes. For instance, his praise of Muslim tolerance in
Andalusia and Cordova during the Inquisition. However, the Muslim presence
in Spain in the period of the Inquisition did not historically overlap,
making the comparison ludicrous. There were other such examples, which I don’t
have time to go into and of course he lauded Bangladesh, Turkey, Pakistan,
and Indonesia for having elected women heads of state and said we here in the
United States are still struggling for women’s equality. He proclaimed that quote, “In ancient
times and in our times Muslim communities have been in the forefront
of innovation and education.” As Stephen Ulph and Tawfiq Hamid know the
translation for innovation is bida’ah, which means heresy. I don’t know how they
translated it in his speech but it’s a very amusing… As the Arab Human Development
reports from the UN written all by Arabs point out, the Arab educational system in
the world today is the second worst. Next- The worst is sub-Saharan Africa and- and
next comes the education in the Arab world and- and they are a ‘leader’. These
distortions and fantasies were received with understandable enthusiasm by the
audience. Despite the absurdities of the remark obviously delivered is obsequious
to the Arab world, the president did try to express and advance principles of
equality and democracy within the Muslim world. However, he never mentioned any
obstacle to those that might emanate from Islam itself. It is after all the
dignity of all human beings to which he spoke, in which he vigorously
espoused, that is at question in Islam, according to its own revelation and
legal doctrines, which are inimical to the proposition that all people are
created equal. Why not simply say this? Well, one reason he didn’t say it is
because he holds the United States responsible for the problems within the
Middle East. We are the victimizer. You are the victims. Once you enter the world
of unreality in which Arabs live, accept it, embrace it, you then pretend that the
United States is the problem and that none of these problems are indigenous
and this was reflected throughout his policies: look away when the Iranian
people are in the streets, demonstrating against a stolen election in hopes
they’ll out of gratitude reach a nuclear compromise. The Iranian regime- The nature
of the Iranian regime is irrelevant, so long as it does not possess nuclear
weapons. This ignores the fact that it’s the nature of the Iranian regime which
makes its possession of nuclear weapons a problem. Pretend that Syria is not
subverting Iraq, your ally, and is implicit in killing American soldiers in
that country and to merely turn away in hopes that by doing so Syria will give
you a deal to stabilize Iraq and Lebanon. Pretend that Syrian President Bashar
Assad is a reformer and perhaps he will become one. This mistaken mission of
giving Arabs a new vision of themselves from within their own delusional world
was reflected in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent extraordinary
remark about President Assad that what, quote, “We had tried to do with him is to
give him an alternate vision of himself,” unquote. Apparently, he has not embraced
his doppelgänger and is perfectly content with his old self, which he
maintains in power at the cost of hundreds of [thousands of] Syrian lives. In other words,
magic does not work in foreign policy. It is, in fact, just another version of
realpolitik, which was exposed in the president’s most recent speech to the
Middle East in another famous example of his having led from behind in his
belated endorsement of Arab revolutions. He did finally give a version of the
tough love speech in Ghana, acknowledging the corruption and despotism in the Arab
world and he also imagined that the Arab Spring means that the ideology of bin
Laden is now obsolete it’s true that bin Laden’s name was not chanted during any
of the uprisings. However, neither was the United States’s nor were there any
statues of Liberty constructed as was famously the case in Tiananmen Square in
1989. In fact, the case could be made that the Arab Spring demonstrated the
irrelevance of the United States more than it did Al Qaeda’s. Obama’s leading
from behind did not impress this one Arab Muslim who said he should have said
something from the beginning but we’ve been waiting most people have realized
that what the United States does or does not do is no longer important
because people took matters into their own hands and decided their own future,
so why should people care what he says? America is no longer an issue and
perhaps President Obama failed to notice that these uprisings have come close to
achieving one of Al Qaeda’s principal goals: the elimination of the apostate,
authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and North Africa. What is to replace them
is still very much up in the air. That is why bin Laden, in his posthumously
broadcast audio tape, saw in the Arab Spring such potential for the achievement
of Al Qaeda’s aims. That this might be the case did not seem to occur to
President Obama other than by his saying that the changes made may not be to the
immediate tactical advantage of the United States, which would never
nevertheless accept them if they were produced democratically. This is
confusing process for substance Obama characterized the uprisings as
democratically inspired and therefore deserving of American support what will
happen however will very much depend on how Islam is understood in the
respective countries of the Arab Spring curiously though the word Islam did not
appear once not once in President Obama’s Winkley speech Obama said that
this is quote a chance to pursue the world as it should be unquote rather
than as it is but what the world should be is exactly what is an issue within
Islam itself the President’s speech assumed that Egyptian aspirations are
identical to our own however one must ask whether the desired freedom is truly
based upon the proposition that all people are created equal how many
Egyptians actually believed that cops and Muslims men and women believers and
non-believers are equal to say nothing of Jews and Muslims where is the
underlying support in their culture for this truth the truth of this proposition
if it is not there it will be freedom for some and oppression for others I
recently was watching an interview with abu jahn doll who was Osama bin Laden’s
former bodyguard he now lives in Yemen this is such a wonderfully revealing
remark he said that politics is illegitimate quote for one reason when
you accept the other as he is then you are in agreement with his infidelity and
lowliness if you accept the other as he is then you are an agreement with his
infidelity and lowliness unquote I think that means he doesn’t believe
all people were created equal I understand that remark right well
pretending that this is not a problem does not make the problem magically go
away assuming that the Arab Spring was a rejection of bin Laden does not
necessarily make it one doctor tell fake hameed sitting with us here today in
egyptian physician and penetrating analyst of Islamism did an analysis of
several thousand readers comments on the web pages of al-jazeera and Al Arabiya
in response to the announcement of bin Laden’s death what did it reveal
60-second quoting calfee sixty-seven percent support for bin Laden nineteen
percent against bin Laden unclear answers fourteen percent unquote bin
Laden after all was just another product of the Muslim Brotherhood whose
spiritual leader Sheikh Yusuf al-qaradawi was recently welcomed in
Tahrir Square by a gathering of millions speaking of current events in Egyptian
knock weeps aware us one of the founders of free Egyptians party had this to say
they have substituted the dictatorship of Mubarak with the dictatorship of the
Muslim Brotherhood that’s where Egypt is going now unquote what’s Obama doing
about this he proposes some economic programs I don’t mean to gainsay though
those because the price of wheat has doubled in the last year and that by
itself could derail any democratic transition in Egypt in other parts of
the Middle East however Obama listed in his speech a litany of human rights of
assembly of a religion of expression of press and so forth which i believe is
entirely inadequate to achieve the establishment of those what is required
is a natural theology to undergird them any
sincere examination of whether that natural theology is compatible with
Islamic revelation if it is not it is not of course for a non-muslim to answer
the question as to whether it is or not but it is perfectly appropriate indeed
vitally necessary to pose it Muslim writer Ishod mangy author of the trouble
with Islam today writes that quote bin Laden and his followers represent a real
interpretation of Islam that begs to be challenged relentlessly and visibly as
Patrick and Stephen told us this morning Obama chooses not to do this preferring
to pretend that it has gone away he seems to believe that speaking of it
brings it into or at least sustains its existence while not speaking of it
denies it existence this nominalist or magical approach is reflected in the
tortured rhetoric of the Obama administration used to portray the
current conflict is I don’t have to go through this you know about wars are now
overseas contingency operations terrorist attacks are man-made disasters
according to mr. clapper the Muslim Brotherhood is a secular organization
according to mr. Brennan jihad and this is worth quoting jihad is a holy
struggle an effort to purify for a legitimate purpose conceding the
legitimacy to your enemy in a war of ideas is not a good move performing a
lobotomy on yourself in a world ideas it’s not not a good move don’t do these
things well why the semantics obfuscation well it exists today for the
same reasons it existed during the Cold War so I won’t go into an analysis of
that because it’s been spoken of so brilliantly by John Moore and john Lynch
offski and it is also based upon that the same problem of moral relativism
that’s reflected in Obama’s own writings where he said that the idea to
of liberty is that there are no absolute truths truth does not free truth in
prisons it’s rigid it can’t be changed therefore there are no absolute truths
so it’s it’s confusion over these matters are a sure sign that the United
States is suffering from the same kind of conflict within itself over the
nature of the threat that it was facing during the Cold War there exists the
same reluctance to name things for what they are and therefore to do the things
that are necessary how do you fashion a public diplomacy strategy based upon the
belief that the United States does not represent any permanent truths during the Cold War when we were
suffering from this syndrome we were a form of relativism fighting a form of
absolutism it’s always the form of epilepsy lute ism that has the upper
advantage who wants to die to prove that nothing is absolutely true how exactly
is one supposed to promote this idea by playing pop music and hoping the walls
come tumbling down in the current war of ideas we have lost the means and we have
lost the message we won the Cold War because we developed the means and we
recovered the message if we still have something to tell the world if we still
stand upon the embrace of a universal truth as the foundation of the justness
of our cause then we will be impelled to find the means to reach others with this
truth if not we will have lost ourselves for reasons having nothing to do with
the challenge of Islam public diplomacy should aim for a new yakovlev moment of
semantic unanimity a point at which the moral legitimacy of the radical Islamist
vision is self-confessed a point at which its adherence admit that its
central tenants are evil we cannot expect them to use this vocabulary if we
do not thank you

Nation-Building | Model Diplomacy


The term nation-building should be applied
to a very deep intervention in a country of the sort that we can do really when
we are in control. You go in, you defeat an army, you conquer a country; there is no
government except you. Now you have to engage in nation-building. The other
example would be a place that essentially had no government, like
Afghanistan, where in those ungoverned spaces, terrorists can grow and
ultimately threaten the United States so the president makes a decision: “this is
going to be costly, but it is more costly to leave it alone.” The goal of nation-building
when we do it is I think to change significantly another country’s
political structures and it requires the ability to make lots of changes. Every
piece of the infrastructure, every piece of the economic system, every piece of
the political and military system, comes under your control. It’s a very big task. The question of nation-building for the
United States is directly tied to the rise of the United States as a world
power. It worked pretty well in the cases of both Germany and Japan at the end of
World War II and they very quickly, within about five years, became real
democracies. In both of those cases we had a lot to build on: Germany for
example had been a democracy at the end of World War I. Both countries were very
advanced industrially. We weren’t creating, we were rebuilding – and that’s a
lot easier. The Korean War starts in 1950 and ultimately
we win South Korea; we have had troops in South Korea since 1950 and we kept
having to intervene, not militarily but politically. It’s a true democracy now, but
for many years it was a military dictatorship, so it really took a long
time. In Vietnam, of course, we ultimately failed in nation-building. The North Vietnamese
took over South Vietnam and established the communist government that is there
still. Once we were attacked on September 11th 2001, we kind of backed into
nation-building in Afghanistan and we went in there for one reason: al Qaeda
was headquartered in Afghanistan and we were gonna go after them. We then went into
Iraq in 2003. Most people would say those were two unsuccessful experiments with nation-building. Neither one is now really a democracy.
One of the problems we have here is we’re Americans: we say, “now we have to
build a democracy.” Why a democracy? Because we’re Americans, that’s what we believe in – and we
kind of edge into this nation-building almost without preparing for it. I don’t think nation building is a very
popular concept in the United States because people think it means very
expensive interventions elsewhere – expensive in money, expensive in blood. But there are
going to be cases where there is a widespread view that we should intervene.
There may be humanitarian cases where government is so vicious and genocidal
that there will be a widespread international view that “look, something
has to be done here!” One of the things we’ve learned about nation-building from
Afghanistan and Iraq is that we may not have the expertise to do it in a number
of cases. There are a lot of countries around the world that have the resources
to help us do this. One of the difficulties we run into is that it
usually follows a military intervention, but it’s not primarily a military
activity. We haven’t quite mastered the segue. There are a lot of negative
consequences when we intervene someplace and it doesn’t turn out well. The next
time we are contemplating doing something we may say “no” when the right
answer would have been “yes”. There has been a lot of discussion in the U.S. government
about: how we do this better? What kinds of expertise or what kinds of
capabilities do we need? So I think this is gonna be a perennial question.

Explosive investigative report says U.S. government misled public on war in Afghanistan


JUDY WOODRUFF: Today, The Washington Post
has a blockbuster story, the results of several years of reporting and legal pursuit of government
documents. For the last 18 years, according to the government
reports obtained by The Post, senior U.S. officials have been misleading the American
public about the war in Afghanistan. John Yang has the story. JOHN YANG: Judy, it was called Lessons Learned,
a project started by a special inspector general tasked with probing U.S. operations in Afghanistan. And those lessons tell a very different private
story, one of misguided and fatal dysfunction, that violently contradicts the narrative pushed
by three successive U.S. presidents and their administrations. GEORGE W. BUSH, Former President of the United
States: There has been a lot of progress since 2001. After all, girls are back in school. BARACK OBAMA, Former President of the United
States: In pursuit of our goal, we’re seeing significant progress. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
We will see what happens. But we have made tremendous progress. JOHN YANG: The Washington Post waged a three-year
legal battle with the government to obtain these Lessons Learned. Craig Whitlock is the lead reporter on the
story. And he joins us now from the Post newsroom. Craig, you read through some thousands of
pages of these interviews. What was the big takeaway that you came away
with? CRAIG WHITLOCK, The Washington Post: Just
how blunt the people in charge of the war were about the failings of the strategy, about
why we were there, about who the enemy was. One of the first quotes that leapt out at
me was from Army Lieutenant General Doug Lute. He was the Afghan war czar in the White House
for both Bush and Obama. And he said, we didn’t have the foggiest notion
of what we were undertaking in Afghanistan. We didn’t know what we were doing. He said, 2,400 lives lost, were they lost
in vain? When you see things like that from generals
in charge of the war, they grab your attention. JOHN YANG: And you talked to a lot of these
people who were interviewed. Did you get any sense from them why they weren’t
— they were saying these things in private to these — the interviewers, but why they
weren’t saying these things in public? CRAIG WHITLOCK: You know, that’s a really
good question. And a lot of them haven’t elaborated. I think what happened is, these people were
being interviewed by another government agency, and many of them had assurances that they
wouldn’t be quoted by name, or that their comments wouldn’t make it out without their
approval. And The Washington Post took the position
that these are public records. These are people, senior government officials,
criticizing the war from top to bottom, that the public has a right to know that. So we have been fighting that for a long time. And we finally managed to pry a good number
of them loose. But I think most of these people, they never
— they never thought they’d be quoted in public. JOHN YANG: And you also say that these reports,
as you say in the story: “Written in dense bureaucratic prose and focused on an alphabet
soup of government initiatives, left out the harshest and most frank criticisms from the
interviews.” Did you get a sense of why that was? CRAIG WHITLOCK: Well, I asked the inspector
general whose office was behind this project. I said, here you have these commanders and
ambassadors and White House officials all saying what a disaster the war was. How could you keep that from the public? If your job is to hold the government accountable
for the war, how could you sit on this? And I didn’t get much of an answer. They said, well, maybe they would get around
to it in a forthcoming report. But I think there was a — this was so explosive,
what people were saying, I think another government agency just found it too hot to handle and
decided it would be better to bury it. JOHN YANG: But also, given the title of the
project, Lessons Learned, you think they would want the harshest and most frank commentary
to teach these lessons. But they were not interested in sort of spreading
this around the government? CRAIG WHITLOCK: I think part of the issue
here is, when they started this project in 2014, you have to remember, everybody assumed
the war was coming to an end. And I think they thought it was a safe time
to do a Lessons Learned project and get people to look back in time to see what happened. Of course, at that point, President Obama
said he was going to withdraw all troops by the time he left office. That didn’t happen. And then, when Trump took office, he’s actually
escalated the war. There are more troops there. The bombing from the air — the air wars have
intensified greatly. So, I think the war went on much longer than
even this agency or anybody in government thought. So I think it became much more sensitive,
and they felt they had to keep it under wraps while the war was still going on. JOHN YANG: And the people interviewed not
only just talked about the military strategies, but also talked about the other strategies. You pointed out that more than — the amount
of money that’s been spent on Afghanistan, if adjusted for inflation, is more than the
United States — the United States spent on The Marshall Project after World War II. And what’s to show for it, as it were, from
this report? CRAIG WHITLOCK: Well, not much. I mean, what we heard in interview after interview
that these people gave, particularly aid workers in the field, military officers, diplomats,
they all said, this was more money than they could possibly spend, that they were ordered
by Congress and officials back in Washington during the Obama administration to spend,
spend, spend as quickly as they could as much as they could. And they were — they really just graded on
how much money they spent, not on whether these projects made any sense. And the people who had to do this, they said,
not only didn’t it make any sense, but it backfired because it fueled corruption, it
alienated the Afghan people against the Afghan government, and it just made everything much,
much worse. JOHN YANG: And you’re going to have more coming
up in The Post in the coming days? CRAIG WHITLOCK: We are. Every day, we’re going to come out with a
new volume. Tomorrow, we’re going to have a piece on just
how flawed the strategy was both for Bush and Obama, and, again, in the voices of the
people who ran the war. JOHN YANG: Craig Whitlock of The Washington
Post with some very important reporting, thank you very much.

America’s Afghanistan Fiasco | The Daily Show


The war in Afghanistan. It’s basically
the Grey’s Anatomy of wars. We all thought
it ended years ago, but somehow,
it’s still going strong. And now, with the war
in its eighteenth year, we’re learning
for the first time how badly
Americans have been played. Tonight,
newly-released documents raised serious questions about whether
the American people were lied to about the progress
of the war in Afghanistan, the longest in our history. MAN: A massive new trove
of confidential documents obtained
by the Washington Post reveals U.S. officials systematically
lied to the American public about the Afghan war, virtually since the beginning,
18 years ago. The objective:
to conceal widespread fears that America was losing. The rosy picture
that’s been painted by our political
and military leadership, uh, is not the real picture
on the ground. Yes, for 18 years, the American government has been
painting a rosy picture, telling Americans everything has
been going great in Afghanistan, when, in reality,
it’s a total shit show. It’s basically the technique every failing couple uses
on Instagram, you know? It’s just like, “#datenight,
#couplegoals. Send.” It’s like, “Are you done
with your phone now?” “Well,
if you didn’t smile so shitty, I wouldn’t have to take so many
pictures, you dick. I hate you!” “I hate you more!” “Let’s do one more
in portrait mode! Ah!” (laughter) But, yes, we’re now learning from this bombshell
Washington Post exposé that the government manipulated
every detail about the war in Afghanistan. They used numbers
they couldn’t back up. They hyped small successes when they knew the big picture
was getting worse, and they even tried
to spin suicide bombings as a sign of success, which is
confidence, if nothing else. You know, it’s like making
a Tinder profile that says, “You know I’m a catch “because I have my own room
in my mommy’s basement. Swipe right.” Now, it’s not unusual for governments to try
and make things seem like they’re going well in a war
when they aren’t. But what makes the story
even more egregious was that they lied
about even having a plan. MAN:
It says, blunt as can be, “We didn’t know
what we were doing.” WOMAN: We didn’t know
exactly why we were there or how we could get out, and not a soul
could define victory. WOMAN 2:
Retired General Douglas Lute, the Afghan war czar,
saying in 2015, “What are we trying
to do here? “We didn’t have
the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.” MAN 2:
We didn’t have a strategy. We didn’t even know
who the enemy was. Who were we there to fight? Wow. America sent its troops to Afghanistan for 18 years, and they didn’t even know
who they were going to fight? That’s not how you go to war. That’s-that’s a strategy
of a group of drunk dudes who are going out in Boston,
you know. Just like, “Someone’s getting
(bleep) up tonight, bro.” “Who?”
“I don’t know. Probably us.” (laughter) But basically,
part of the problem is that the people in charge
didn’t know how to define victory
in Afghanistan, right? Was it beating the Taliban,
or beating al-Qaeda, uh, making the country
a democracy? And if you don’t know
how to end it, then you should just wrap it up
and get out. You know, like they did
with Game of Thrones. She’s dead, he’s gone,
the bird kid is king. Roll the credits.
Roll the credits. Take the money, let’s go. But these people
stretched it out, and this report shows that America’s government
had little success and not much
of a strategy going in. But there was one thing
they had plenty of– money. The problem is,
as any rapper will tell you, more money,
more unnecessary expenditures. Aid workers in the field,
military officers, diplomats– they all said
this was more money than they could possibly spend. That they were ordered
by Congress and officials back in Washington to spend, spend, spend
as quickly as they could, as much as they could. Nearly a billion dollars on helicopters and planes
for the Afghans. Trouble is,
there is serious doubt that the Afghans can fly them. MAN 2: A half million
of your dollars wasted on a building that melted
four months after it was built. $34 million went
to a soybean-growing project, and soybeans don’t grow
in Afghanistan, and people in Afghanistan
don’t eat soybeans. MAN 3:
The Pentagon wasted millions on uniforms for the Afghan army. It was to buy
a forest camouflage pattern. Forests cover
only two percent of Afghanistan. Okay, that is just insane. $28 million
for forest camouflage in a country that’s all desert. The only way that
could have been a bigger waste is if it was
for Forest Whitaker camouflage. Yeah. At least that
would have confused the people. “Makhmoud! We’re being invaded
by the guy from Wakanda! “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!
I want his autograph! The strength
of the Black Panther!” So America spent
nearly $2 trillion on the war in Afghanistan with basically nothing
to show for it. And maybe that’s how
you get the U.S. Government to put money into things like
health care or teachers, right? That’s what Americans should do. Just tell them
the Taliban is there. Yeah. Then Congress
will be like, “The Taliban is attacking
schools and hospitals? “Give them more money! Give them
as much money as they need! “And send in three
Forest Whitakers just in case! -(cheering, applause)
-Do it!” Now… you might be thinking, “Who did this to us, Trevor? “Who can we be mad at?
Is it Trump? “Is it Bush? Is it Obama? “‘Cause I didn’t want
to say anything, (whispers):
but I think he’s black.” Well, actually, the answer is… all of the above. U.S. officials have misled
the American people about the conflict
across three administrations, with decades of upbeat
presidential pronouncements about the war. Our progress is a tribute to the
spirit of the Afghan people… and to the might
of the United States military. Here, in the predawn darkness
of Afghanistan, we can see the light
of a new day on the horizon. Great progress is being made. The spirit– and I’m hearing it
from everybody. Everybody that goes over
comes back and say… said, really,
it’s like a different place. Yeah. It turns out that Bush,
Obama and Trump all did their part to exaggerate
America’s success in Afghanistan. And I guess that’s
the silver lining in this story. In a country
increasingly divided every day, it’s nice to learn
that there’s one issue that brings
America’s leaders together: lying about war.

Great Power Competition is a Myth | Avoiding the British Empire 6


Hey there. Over the past two years Great Power Competition
has supposedly become the guiding light of US strategy. It is also, as we will show today, a ridiculous
myth. In foreign policy discussions we hear over
and over that the world is a dangerous neighborhood. We should be scared, and we need to be ever
vigilant, because there are bad people out there beyond our front door, and they are
coming to get us. There are bad people in the world. But the thing is, we in the United States
are not just one neighbor among many in the bad neighborhood that is the world. We are the landlord. If the neighborhood is falling apart, that’s
on us. In January of 2018, US policy changed dramatically. Since 2001, The main foreign policy priority
of the United States had supposedly been fighting terrorism. I have a 40 + video series, called Everybody’s
Lying About Islam on how useless that effort has been, but at least it was something the
American people thought they wanted. With January 2018’s new defense strategy the
Pentagon quietly announced a shift to Great Power Competition against countries like Russia
and China. This seismic shift went largely unexamined,
because we were all too busy watching the President Trump show. The only nice thing about this shift in strategy
is that it’s more honest. We in the United States have already been
counter productively pursuing this great power competition strategy for like 30 years now. We have a huge foreign policy establishment
that was built to fight the cold war, and it just kept on fighting it, long after the
Soviet Union voluntarily dissolved itself. Our main target for much of a century now
has been Russia. When this competition started the Soviet Empire
out weighed the US population by tens of millions of People, and the cold war opened with their
ideology swallowing up whole continents. 70 years later the Soviet Empire is gone,
Russia has embraced a crappier version of our guiding ideology and there are almost
200 million more of us than them. Despite all the hype, in the six years since
NATO expansion finally turned them rogue, Russia isn’t taking continents, it’s largely
failing to take individual provinces of its old empire. The parallels between the US and British Empires
should be jumping out at you here. A Russia that is never as intimidating as
advertised was a key feature in the drive towards militarism in both empires. As I keep emphasizing in this series, this
isn’t just stupid and fraudulent, it’s dangerous. This drive towards war, territory, and formal
empire is what killed the British Empire and it’s probably what will kill the US Empire
too. Don’t think the US is building formal territorial
empire? Well what If I told you that the United States
has already been militarily involved in Iraq for three times as long as the British Empire
was? The British had semi-formal influence in Afghanistan
for longer than us, but they never managed to physically occupy the place for more than
a year or two. We are closing in on 20 years. We also have a metastasizing network of military
bases all over the world. We don’t technically control any of these
countries, but if you don’t think these bases represent a heavy finger on the scales in
the politics of all host countries you are fooling yourself. All this empire has cost trillions. Those trillions could have built the world’s
best healthcare system, or brought us back to 1950s levels of income equality. Or it could have cut US national debt to a
quarter of what it is today. Hell, the money we have spent on forever war
could have done all of that. Instead, all it has really accomplished is
to turn Iran into a somewhat annoying regional power. Iran, a problem created by US empire building,
is now being used to justify more empire building. This great power competition thing really
is a perpetual motion machine. By putting military installations everywhere,
we spread our vital national interests everywhere. In so doing we embarrass ourselves, pumping
up every local bully into an Adolf Hitler level threat. We spend trillions to defeat foes that spend
hundreds of dollars to kill our soldiers. At the turn of the 20th century the British
did exactly the same thing in South Africa.The British eventually won the Boer war, but only
after incredible financial and moral cost. That’s the best case scenario for what we’re
building up to with the Iranians. The conflict with Iran is taking on more tragic
dimensions every day, but it’s US empire building in another area that is likely to bring the
war that ends US power. I am no utopian. I believe that US competition with China will
define the 21st century. But as the more powerful player we get to
define rules of the game. The competition could have been about building
better electric cars and the race to cure cancer. Instead, we spent 20 years doing a war on
terror, so the competition is about missiles and who can do a better job brutalizing Muslims. It’s some pretty sick stuff that will only
lead to sicker stuff, much like that scramble for Africa the British started back in the
1880s. This is all pretty grim, but none of this
is hopeless. The US is still so much more powerful than
anybody else, that all we have to do to end the pointless tragedy of hyper military “great
power competition” is decide to end it. I believe one of the best ways to convince
Washington DC to do this is to learn from the British Empire’s bad example, so I wrote
a book about it. Avoiding The British Empire is available now
in paperback and ebook form. Please do check it out. Come back next time when we will discuss Halford
Mackinder, the man who originated a lot of the bad ideas behind US empire.