The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Overcoming Divide and Rule

Here is a concluding section to "An Important History To Remember About Iraq," the full body of which will appear in the next Strategy Review (formerly Strategy Gazette) newsletter.

The US invasion, occupation, nation-building, and counter-guerilla/terrorist war has done nothing less than unleash a revolution of the culture in Iraq. The complete political, economic, and social revision of that nation has thrown the norm in a new direction with no known destination point or stated US grand strategy (political policy) set as goal. The conundrum of US policy can follow different paths.
First, either the war, and the brutality, death and destruction, need to continue, even escalate or expand beyond Iraq’s borders. Indeed, only Nixon could go to China; and he could only get out of Vietnam by invading Cambodia. On this path, Iraq would remain one unified political and economic entity, under US protection or under the divide and rule policy of replacement power or coalition. Only China or Russia could fill as a replacement power at some point in the future. Iraq stays a fiction of a nation with present cultural differences, and it would continue to play the pawn in the transnational, post-Industrial game of the politics of oil and religion. This course only leads to more instability, and inevitably to Iraq as a barren, uninhabitable desert which the Romans called a “Carthaginian peace.” It means nothing less than the genocide of Iraq’s “people” and a minority, locally-managed dictatorship of those who remain. This is no better than Saddam Hussein. Nothing would be gained and much has already been lost. This course happens with or without the complete withdrawal of the US military. The war goes on and grows bigger.
The second course, a little more satisfactory, requires a consortium of all concerned powers in an international agreement to isolate the Iraq problem completely from everyone who could exploit it. This solution would internationalize its politics and its oil (another UN-sponsored “oil for food scam”?), suppress its social division under a crushing international military blanket and for as long as it takes a new stable order from within Iraq to take control. This is still a divide and rule concept. The stronger side emerges after five or ten years, Iraq grows strong enough to defend itself as a sovereign entity, and it remains one piece. Internal control comesin the same way: The strongest people or person emerges. Kosovo 9 years after the NATO intervention in the Yugoslav civil war remains the prominent example of this option. Bosnia, 13 years after NATO’s intervention, has stayed similarly occupied, policed, and more or less stable and suppressed under this formula.
While time and urgency preclude ideal option of creating a culture of an “Iraqi” national identity, what would such a formula look like? How could Iraq have turned out different if given a chance to develop an organic cultural norm since World War I? Exploring the possibilities hold the greatest potential for peace in the world of utopian-like choices. First, Iraq would have needed to govern itself independently, free from foreign manipulation. Communities in Iraq would have faced the same choice that diverse, but self-governing, societies like America had to face from 1776 to the of the American Civil War in 1865. The differences within and between local communities, and even the sectional differences of the opinions, cultures, nationalities, races, economics, AND religions in the US under the coercion of an empowered central government (Reconstruction, integration, Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts) would have to submit to living together peacefully or die in droves. After over a century of religious war, Europe invented international law, codified in the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, to lessen the probability of wars of genocide. Europe has reinvented its wheel twice since: 1815's Congress of Vienna and the 1955 Treaty of Rome. As in the US, Europe’s expectation of peace within became a cultural norm.
Iraq could have turned out better if rather than the manipulation of its politics, economics and social differences, the three strategic destinies faced by every nation (in other words, how geography, GDP potential, and demography determine history) could have coalesced and unified under the fourth strategic destiny that determines the future of every nation: Its imaginative belief, indeed hope, in its own intrinsic values and sense of self-worth. This destiny comes direct from the combination of a spirit; of fellowship, cooperation, self-acceptance, and commitment. It arises from a community, and people tied in firm bond to a sense of place. The destiny of “creative expectation” knows no limits, declines no challenge, shuns no effort, disrespects or dehumanizes none, and it forms the bond impenetrable by anything corporeal/material.
The high ideal of this fourth strategic destiny, if attained and maintained, may not force everyone to like everyone, but it does not kill its enemy, nor hate him or her. It deals firm with a sense of proportion and justice for the breaker of the laws of nature and nature’s god, but only in the honest court juried by the peers it creates and empowers to do the work of peace. The “creativity” of a society, of a nation guided by this destiny, does not destroy in the name of Rome, or for a king or kings man’s glory. It can build a tower to a nirvana or a heaven, or an escape from a conflict driven by greed and fear. (What have we lost in our own country by forgetting this basic teaching of the highest commandment? In this war dividing our country?)
This concept, even if Iraq had been allowed to pursue it on its own, and if the US had not forgotten this single purpose since the spirit of 1776, indeed possesses an ethereal/spiritual liberty. It relies on building and creation, first in sound ideas, then in the action of substance and form. It needs engineering details like a architectural plan. In politics, it needs a “master plan,” in other words a grand strategy. It does not derive within central system of “war socialism,” the New Deal, public/private cooperatives (fascism), a surge strategy, benchmarks, or a stimulus plan. The spirit and body of the “creative expectation” comes from everyone figuring it out and living it; thinking and then doing on their own.
Iraq never had the opportunity for its many different peoples to identify or create this expectation. No conquered people ever get the chance. And a people passive to believe others should solve their problems reduces the possibility of the imaginative hope in intrinsic value and self-worth overcoming evil that greed and fear do.
Iraq owns no choices for itself. The partition of Iraq and division among its neighbors, with Baghdad as an international city remain another viable option explored in another essay. The time to allow its own choices occurred in the 1920s. From here, the challenge faces the entire world. For more Iraqs become inevitable, as all recorded history has shown. The world needs to get lucky to avoid extermination due to some of the subtext discussed here. Let the idea of the strategic destinies fester in the mind. Humanity and all Americans need to ask themselves: Do we have the open-mind to see has become of our expectation? Do we have the willing-spirit to carry forward individual action before the options own us instead of us having choices?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home