our years after the September 11 events, while many of the initial assumptions of the global war on terrorism (GWOT) have undergone an agonizing reappraisal, a new Washington consensus about the nature of the challenge facing the West and the moderate Muslim world has yet to emerge. Can the notoriously dysfunctional interagency process ever be fixed by organizational tinkering alone, without the elaboration of a common conceptual ground? However lively it may be at times, the Beltway’s ongoing “Operation Infinite Conversation” is no substitute for strategizing.
Does it make sense to keep framing the issue in terms of “terrorism” when the enemy itself, taking a leaf from the book of the most advanced American strategists, talks about “fourth-generation warfare?” At the working level, federal agency officers from DOD, DOS, DHS, AID and the intelligence community come to the GWOT with heterogeneous concepts, doctrines, lenses, frames of reference, metrics, etc. and talk past one another — when they don’t end up working at cross purposes.
Contrary to what is often argued, the main problem lies not so much in the difference of organizational culture between law enforcement and national security agencies as in the disconnect between the two lead foreign affairs agencies — the Pentagon and the State Department. In a nutshell: While there is no shortage of area expertise and cultural intelligence among U.S. diplomats, the State Department as an institution appears unable to make the transition from a bureaucratic to a strategic way of thinking.1 Similarly, there is no shortage of strategic brainpower and literacy among members of the U.S. military, but the Pentagon as an institution appears equally unable to shift from a network-centric warfare to a culture-centric warfare paradigm.2 The following twelve propositions constitute a provisional attempt to provide a common conceptual basis for more effective interagency coordination.
he challenge confronting the West today is at once less than a full-fledged clash of civilizations and more than some unspecified war on terrorism: It is first and foremost an insurgency within Islam, which began in earnest in 1979, and for which the West remained, at least until 2001, a secondary theater of operations.3 From 1979 on, the revolution in Iran, the invasion of Afghanistan, the re-Islamization from above in Pakistan, the surge of Saudi activism in the Broader Middle East and the concurrent marginalization of Egypt within the Arab world (following the Camp David accords) combined to give birth to a qualitative and quantitative change of paradigm whereby pan-Arabism — the main movement in the Middle East since 1945 — was supplanted by pan-Islamism. But precisely because this insurgency within Islam is an insurgency, the terrorism paradigm — with its traditional focus on the criminal nature of the act and its exclusion of the political dimension — is largely irrelevant, save at the tactical level. The West is no more at war with terrorism today than it was at war with blitzkrieg in World War II or revolution during the Cold War. The West is at war with a new totalitarianism for which terrorism is one technique or tactic among many. At the operational and theater-strategic level, then, counterinsurgency is a more relevant paradigm than counterterrorism; and at the national-strategic level, the nexus between insurgency and weapons of mass disruption will have to be given at least as much importance as the much-discussed nexus between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.4
If the form of this insurgency owes in part to the tradition of Arab warfare, it mainly owes to the revolution in guerrilla affairs of the twentieth century that culminates today in what postmodern strategists refer to as “netwar” and/or “fourth-generation warfare.”5 While still in their evolving stages, these two concepts highlight the nonhierarchical structure of the enemy’s organization, the asymmetric nature of their operations, and the focus on targeting the enemy’s political will rather than its military forces. The challenge for the West can hardly be overestimated: Even if only 1 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims were to end up being seduced by the global jihad, the West and moderate Muslim regimes would still have to deal with some 12 million jihadists spread across more than 60 countries. And if only 1 percent of these 12 million were to opt for “martyrdom operations,” the West would still have to deal, for a generation at least, with some 120,000 suicide bombers.
hile Islam is undoubtedly no monolith, it is not the pure mosaic complacently portrayed by some, either. In the past 30 years, one particular brand — pan-Islamic Salafism — has been allowed to fill the vacuum left by the failure of pan-Arab Socialism and, in the process, to marginalize more enlightened forms of Islam to the point where Salafism now occupies a quasi-hegemonic position in the Muslim world. The West is obviously not at war with Islam as such and its traditional Five Pillars; but it is most definitely at war with Jihadism, a pure product of Salafism, which posits that jihad is the Sixth Pillar of Islam. From the point of view of threat assessment, the much-discussed theological distinction between a greater (spiritual) and lesser (physical) jihad is utterly irrelevant, and the only thing that matters is the praxeological distinction between three modalities of jihad as practiced: jihad of the sword, of the hand, and of the tongue.
Today, the most effective jihadist networks are precisely those that — from Hamas to Hizbullah — have combined these three modalities in the form of urban warfare, relief work, and hate media. At the theater level, the best military answer to this three-pronged jihad to date remains the concept of “three-block war” elaborated by the Marine Corps, which posits that the Western military must be ready to handle a situation in which it has to confront simultaneously conventional, high intensity war in one city block, guerrilla-like activities in the next, and peace-keeping operations or humanitarian aid in a third. Yet, the West’s answer cannot be mainly military in nature. When, as in the aftermath of the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, 45–65 percent of the Muslim world ends up having a positive image of a Bin Laden, even a U.S. military victory at the theater level can lead to a political defeat at the global level. Since the end of the Cold War era, the U.S. has enjoyed an unprecedented “command of the commons,” but as the 2003 Iraq war made painfully clear, in contrast to the 1991 Gulf War (during which CNN had a global monopoly), the U.S. no longer enjoys the “command of the airwaves.” Throughout the 1990s, the emergence of global satellite televisions in Europe (Euronews) and the Arab world (Al-Jazeera) have combined to create a new correlation of forces; and while the Pentagon has recently traded the traditional concept of “battlefield” for the more comprehensive concept of “battlespace,” military planners and commanders alike have yet to fully realize that ours is as much the age of the “three-screen war” as that of the “three-block war.”6
nalytically, the ongoing global jihad is best defined as a three-layered phenomenon. At one level, it is an anachronistic, pre-Clausewitzian Holy War, and U.S. diplomats will have to significantly increase their level of theo-political literacy if they ever want to make the most effective use of ijtihad (the battle of interpretations) as counter-jihad.
At another level, it is a postmodern, post-Clausewitzian netwar, not only in the organizational sense (i.e., network vs. hierarchy), but in the sense that the media networks are at once actors and vectors, platforms and weapons systems, front lines and theaters of operations. If the U.S. military is to conduct smart “info ops,” the Pentagon will have to dispense with crude and misleading slogans (like “disconnectedness defines danger”), to undertake a rigorous mapping of the Muslim media terrain, its electronic empires and satellite kingdoms and their respective orders of battle, and develop a crisper understanding of the grammar and logic of cross-cultural communications.
At a third level, the global jihad is but the latest manifestation, in the age of globalization, of the timeless phenomenon known as warlordism/piracy; here, an interdisciplinary understanding of the political economy of warfare will be required of all players if the interagency process is ever to succeed.7 This three-layered character of the global jihad at the macro-political level holds true at the micro-political level as well. A phenomenon like suicide-bombing is likely to endure so long as there are: a) a theological incentive (the proverbial 72 black-eyed virgins in Paradise); b) glamorization of “martyrdom ops” by the Muslim media; and c) significant financial incentive for the family of the “martyr” — the $25,000 reward offered by the Saudis to families of Palestinian suicide-bombers being the equivalent of $600,000 in the West in terms of purchasing power.
deologically, Salafism is to Jihadism what Marxism is to Leninism, even though psychologically, the jihadist disease appears closer to Nazism (i.e., pathological fear of, rather than faith in, modernity, along with virulent anti-Semitism). Just as the communist project of yesterday was summed up by the proverbial slogan “the Soviets, plus electricity,” the jihadist project today is best captured by “the sha’ria, plus WMD.” Like the Communist International, the Salafist International has its Bolsheviks and its Mensheviks, its Bernsteins and its Kautskys, and even its Leninesque What Is to Be Done? (Qutb’s Milestones). As for the debates over what priority to give to the “far enemy” vs. the “near enemy,” they are but the equivalent of yesterday’s clashes between Trotskyite partisans of “permanent revolution” and Stalinist supporters of “socialism in one country.”
Yet, Jihadism differs from communism in three ways. 1) Since fitna (dissension) is as old — and as central — a tradition in Muslim history as jihad itself, Salafism is even less monolithic than Marxism. For the West and its Muslim allies, then, the first order of business is to exploit systematically all rivalries and dissensions, be they strategic, operational, tactical, doctrinal, organizational, ideological, personal, generational, national, confessional, or ethnic/tribal. 2) While communism was merely a “secular religion,” jihadism — however heretical it may be — cannot but appear to many Muslims to be rooted in a genuine religion, and religiosity has never been defeated with a communications strategy based on rationality alone. To be effective, the battle for hearts and minds will have to focus as much on emotion as on intellection, on seduction as on persuasion, on images as on ideas, on memories as on policies, on identity as on democracy — in short, as much on hearts as on minds. The communication mix (messengers/messages/media) will have to be radically different from that of the Cold War and that, in turn, will require the kind of radical transformation of public diplomacy and information operations called forth by both Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld. 3) Finally, dawa (nonviolent activism) is not to jihadism what Euro-Communism was to Soviet Communism. While professing to reject violence, dawaist networks (Hizb-ut-Tahrir) are in fact in symbiosis with jihadist networks (al Qaeda), each playing its part in the Islamist version of the “good cop, bad cop” routine. In short, dawa is not so much a reformist alternative to revolutionary jihad as the first phase (Trotskyite institutional infiltration coupled with Gramscian cultural hegemony) of a jihad that, ever since Muhammad, has always been conceived as a three-phased struggle.8
trategically, the fact that the global jihad does not have one single master plan or one single mastermind in no way means that the enemy lacks clearly identifiable centers of gravity. At the risk of considerable simplification, the global jihad can be said to actually rest on five asymmetrical “pillars”: al-Saud, al-Azhar, al Qaeda, al-Jazeera — with the proverbial “fifth column” in the role of fifth pillar. In a nutshell: In the past thirty years, through clever manipulation of financial, educational, and informational levers, Saudi Arabia has used its soft power to alter the theo-political balance of power in the Muslim world and to turn itself into a virtual Caliphate, using Muslim IOs and NGOs as force multipliers. The concurrent transformation of the Cairo-based al-Azhar University during the same period is possibly the most overlooked element in the global jihad; more than just the oldest Muslim university, al-Azhar is the closest thing to an informal Supreme Court of the Muslim world, denying or granting legitimacy to a peace treaty with Israel (1965 and 1979 respectively) or calling for jihad against the American presence in Iraq (March 2003). In the past 30 years, the Saudi takeover of al-Azhar has so shifted the center of gravity of the Muslim political discourse that the rhetoric of al-Azhar today is indistinguishable from that of the Muslim Brotherhood, its former nemesis. Al Qaeda and Al-Jazeera, though more recent phenomena, have managed in less than two decades to become the recruiting, training, and advertising bases of the global jihad. Last but not least, the academic Fifth Column in the West, ever faithful to its historical role of “useful idiot” (Lenin), is increasingly providing both conceptual ammunition and academic immunity to crypto-jihadists, making Western campuses safe for intellectual terrorism.9
Taken together, these five pillars constitute something halfway between the “deep coalitions” theorized by contemporary Western strategists, and an informal command-and-control of global jihad. If only in a metaphorical sense, then, command-and-control warfare (C2W) offers the best template for a counter-jihad at the level of grand strategy. The identification of these five pillars as centers of gravity is meant to remind us that the destiny of 1.2 billion Muslims is today inordinately shaped by a few thousand Saudi princes, Egyptian clerics, and Gulf news editors, and that therefore the guiding principle of the war of ideas should be the principle of economy of force. Don’t say, for instance, “Islam needs its Martin Luther,” if only because his 95 theses ushered in a 150-year-long bloody insurgency within Christendom. Say instead, “The Saudi Caliphate needs to undertake its own Vatican II.”10
ogically and chronologically, a forward strategy of freedom cannot but give priority to religion-shaping and knowledge-building over democracy-building proper. Religion-shaping will not aim at the Protestantization of the global umma, but rather at the de-Salafization of the global ulema. Don’t say, “Unlike Christianity, Islam does not recognize the distinction between public and private spheres.” Say instead, “So long as there is no adequate knowledge base, any religion in any society will occupy a hegemonic position in the public sphere.” Be it ethnic or religious, identity-shaping is not rocket science. Since U.S. marketers do that routinely every day, it can be outsourced to a large extent by the public diplomacy bureaucracy. Knowledge-building will require a three-pronged approach. Now that the famous 2002 UNDP Arab Development Report has revealed that the number of books translated by the whole Arab world over the past thousand years is equivalent to the numbers of books translated by Spain in one year, the most urgent program will have to be an old-fashioned, if massive, book-in-translation program, which will contribute to the shrinking of the role of religion in the public sphere.11 Additionally, putting an end to rote learning will allow factual knowledge to lead to critical thinking, while containing the current Muslim brain-drain to the West will help create a critical mass for a knowledge-based civil society.
Religion-shaping and knowledge-building are the two logical prerequisites for Phase II: state-shrinking and market-building. While attempting to turn “scimitars to plowshares,” U.S. policymakers will do well to keep two things in mind. First, in the Middle East, not only is political power in the hands of the military, but the armed forces are also economic actors in their own right, and incentives will have to be found if we ever want to see the military disengage from economic life. Second, the promotion by the West of a Russian-style “shock therapy” approach would not only alienate the Muslim Street (and thus undermine the battle for hearts and minds), but it would also be the surest way to contribute to the emergence of new mafia states.12 One thing is sure: Between phase one (religion-shaping and knowledge-building) and phase two (state-shrinking and market-building) of a forward strategy of freedom, the two crucial target audiences of public diplomacy and information operations will have to be not women and youth (the current fashion), but the Muslim clergy (first line of offense) and the Muslim military (first line of defense). When it comes to the battle for hearts and minds in the Middle East, the old Clausewitzian trinity (government, people, military) will have to give way to a more focused mullah-media-military trinity.
n the context of the Middle East, it is simply impossible to overestimate the centrality of “defense diplomacy” for a forward strategy of freedom.13 Yet, Beltway debates over the respective merits of hard vs. soft power invariably “misunderestimate” the importance of military soft power, be it called military diplomacy or security cooperation, and be it conducted at the multilateral level (the various NATO schools) or at the bilateral level (the joint DOD-DOS International Military Education and Training program). At the multilateral level, the NATO Partnership for Peace format, until now reserved for new allies and partners from Eurasia, should gradually be extended to member-countries of the NATO Med dialogue. At the bilateral level, the IMET program, traditionally long on training and short on education, will need a major overhaul if it is to become synonymous with genuine “Edu Ops.” Rather than peddle a Western theology of civil-military relations (of the kind elaborated fifty years ago by Samuel Huntington in his classic The Soldier and the State), IMET programs should be based on the reality of mullah-military relations on the ground and take into account both the political and economic role of the military in Muslim societies. Then, and only then, can a useful praxeology of civil-military relations for democratic transition be developed. What the Muslim military needs most is a compass, not a catechism — and it may well be that, for a generation at least, the most useful/realistic model of civil-military relations will have to follow the Turkish rather than the American model. If exporting democracy is to be the name of the game, then it will be necessary to intellectually empower the Muslim military with a knowledge of successful strategies of democratization (and the specific role of the armed forces in the “operational art” of democratic transitions) in the past three decades in Latin Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. If exporting security (a more minimalist policy) is to be the preferred U.S. policy, then it will be best to keep in mind that there is nothing more culture-specific than the notion of security, and that any attempt to export a purely American concept of security (as if it were universal) would only create the mother of all security dilemmas.
he return of Islam in history after a three-century-long eclipse (1683–1979) does not necessarily mark the beginning of the desecularization of the world. It does, however, mark the end of the “End of History.”14 Contrary to some utopian expectations at the end of the Cold War, History is on the move again, and the magnitude of the jihadist challenge is no less universal than that of the communist challenge in its time. De jure, to be sure, the appeal of jihadism would appear to be limited to 1.2 billion Muslims; but due to the combination of mass migration and mass communication, the sociopolitical umma is no longer confined to the geopolitical dar-al-Islam, and this globalization amounts to a de facto universalism. In the coming decades, strategic immigration (hijra) will continue to be promoted by Islamic states and nonstate actors alike. Since it is now established that the experience of expatriation is the single most important factor in the conversion to jihadism, and that the Internet as a medium favors Salafism as a message, the combination of alienation (due to expatriation) and escapism (made possible by the existence of an e-umma) can only result in an exponential increase of potential jihadists in the West. Though suicide-bombing as such (i.e., extreme jihadism) is likely to remain the choice of a minority, the multiplication of so-called “third-generation” gangs will increase the likelihood of suburban warfare in Western cities (for which the November 2005 Parisian intifada may well have constituted a dress rehearsal of sorts). In short, given the combination of the most primitive (demographic warfare, suicide-bombing) and the most sophisticated (4GW, WMD) modes of warfare,15 the threat represented by jihadism for the West is in fact significantly greater than that of communism in the previous century. Back in 1992, the former head of the French Intelligence Service Alexandre de Marenches had already raised the specter of a “Fourth World War.” In the aftermath of 9/11, the concept was given a new currency by former CIA Director James Woolsey and others, both in the U.S. and abroad. So long as it is clearly understood that “World War IV-as-Fourth-Generation Warfare” will not be a copycat either of War World II or the Cold War, it is indeed no exaggeration to speak in terms of a fourth World War.16
orld War IV being only in its early stages, reports of the failure of political Islam are therefore worse than premature. Western essayists who, in the early 1990s, argued that the failure of political Islam was there for everyone to see were guilty of the classic rationalist fallacy. By the early 1920s already, the failure of communism was also equally “obvious” to anyone who cared to look; yet the communist disease continued to spread throughout half the world during the next 50 years. The bottom line: Not only is the logic of collective epidemiology distinct from that of individual rationality but, unlike communism, which took place in the pre-information age, jihadism today can count on the global electronic media as force (and speed) multipliers.
The illiteracy rate in the Middle East being around 38 percent, television is the most common source of information — and disinformation. Granted, not all the 120 existing Muslim satellite television stations are jihadist; but thanks to those that are (from al-Manar to al-Jazeera), the percentage of Palestinians endorsing suicide bombings has already jumped from 20 percent to 80 percent between 1996 and 2002. In Iraq itself, and for similar reasons, the number of suicide bombings has jumped from one a week to 20 a week in the past 18 months; and 12 months after the beginning of the Iraq war, the percentage of Muslims worldwide supporting suicide bombing against U.S. forces in Iraq ranged from 31 percent in Turkey to 70 percent in Jordan, according to a Pew survey. As it now stands, the Middle East is at once undereducated and over-(dis)informed. Saudi Salafism is today spreading in Europe and America faster than the elusive Euro-Islam is spreading to the Greater Middle East; and while disinformation continues to travel at the speed of light, the effects of education will be felt only in a generation. Against the backdrop of the rapid proliferation of WMD, these two chronopolitical asymmetries are today the main challenge in the battle for hearts and minds, and will require the right balance between hard power, soft power, and stealth power projection.
ow that the new National Defense Strategy (March 2005) has replaced pre-emption with prevention, a strategy of containment of global jihadism should become the logical complement to a forward strategy of freedom. In its original form, the doctrine of containment was never meant to be synonymous with a defensive or reactive posture. For George Kennan himself, containment was no “siege warfare” but, if anything, the continuation of “protracted maneuver warfare” by other means. While containment was lambasted by the partisans of rollback (e.g., James Burnham) as the continuation of appeasement by other means, Kennan himself was actively — if secretly — promoting a rollback strategy through covert action.17 Unlike outsiders like Burnham, Kennan understood that it is always better to speak softly (overtly) and carry a big stick (covertly). Kennan also knew that a certain restlessness in foreign policy can quickly become synonymous with recklessness. Hence his decision to put time (i.e., the change of generations in Russia) rather than space, and staying power rather than speed, at the center of his containment policy. However, restlessness was to become official policy during the so-called Second Cold War (1979–1989), and the effects of the unqualified U.S. empowerment of the mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan War are still being felt today.
Similarly, throughout the 1990s — and much to the dismay of Europe — an impatient America ended up giving legitimacy to Muslim forces in the Balkans known to have been heavily involved in drug, arms, and human trafficking, and of having links to al Qaeda. Despite this record of recklessness in Afghanistan and the Balkans, covert action remains more indispensable than ever, if only because public diplomacy is by definition an overt activity and, since America’s image is at an all-time low, there are today systemic limits to what overt advocacy can accomplish (even with a larger budget). But as during the early Cold War, covert action today will have to take the long view and stick to a “strategy of truth” rather than succumb to the post-Cold War temptation of the quick fix and of spin control.18
uslim outreach — the latest buzzword in Washington — should under no circumstances become synonymous with intellectual capitulation. All too often, the same Western lumpen-intelligentsia that embraces a constructivist interpretation of Christianity is only too willing to subscribe to the essentialist view of Islam promoted by the Salafists. The same academics who deride the American, British, or French “nation” as a mere “imagined community” are only too prone to reify the idea of a fantasmatic “Arab Nation” (not to mention a “Palestinian Nation” — an imagined community of recent vintage). Public diplomacy professionals would do well to remember that in the Middle East, dialogos is but the continuation of polemos by other means, and that the Arabs — good Mediterraneans that they are — have nothing but contempt for the twin temptations of Anglo-Saxon public diplomacy: sanctimonious preaching and political correctness.
If neoconservatives got only one thing right in the past three years, it would have to be this: It is simply ludicrous to argue that nothing can change in the Muslim world so long as the Palestinian question is not settled. Let’s get real: In the 1970s, Catholic Europe (Spain, Portugal) and Latin America embarked on their own democratic transitions without waiting for the fate of their Catholic brothers of Northern Ireland to be settled. In the 1990s, similarly, Orthodox Europe (Romania, Bulgaria) and Russia followed suit without second thoughts for the fate of their Orthodox brothers in Bosnia. Whatever the current plight of the Palestinians (which owes less to the indifference of Crusaders and Jews than to the deliberate callousness of Arab leaders), the same should apply for the Muslim world.
Both Europe and the United States have a definite share of responsibility in the empowerment of the Salafists in the 1979–89 decade, and the West should all the more readily acknowledge this fact that it has little else to apologize for. Rather than legitimize the jihadist jeremiad over Palestine,19 Western policymakers and opinion leaders would do well to keep the agenda of any dialogue with Islam on the main issue, namely, Middle East exceptionalism.
Bluntly put: Back in 1945, the Middle East was at the same level of development as South Asia; where are, today, the economic “dragons” of the Muslim world? It is not the fault of the West if the Middle East is now the only region of the world that has not undertaken regional economic integration; if the oil monarchies have invested $500 billion in the West instead of the East; if Arab governments spend the highest percentage of GDP on military hardware, and the lowest percentage on nonreligious education; if half the workforce (women) is used in reproductive rather than productive tasks; if the population of the Arab world has doubled since 1980 while its share of world trade has fallen by two-thirds during the same time; if only 19 percent of Muslim countries have democratically elected governments, in contrast to 77 percent in the non-Muslim world; and — oh yes — if Palestinian Arabs can become citizens of just about every Western country, but have been denied this right by every Arab country (Jordan excepted) for the past 50 years.
The Palestinian issue will undoubtedly continue to be the pet issue of a professional chattering class more representative of Arab governments (which subsidize them) than of the genuine Muslim Street (which cares little for the issue); but when all is said and done, the Palestinian question is a sideshow at best, a diversion at worst, compared to the two defining features of twentieth-century Middle East history: on the one hand, the kind of negative Middle East exceptionalism outlined above; on the other, the rise of a Saudi Caliphate which now spends more on propaganda than the Soviet Empire in its heyday.
he Sino-Islamic connection is not the fruit of some fertile neocon imagination, but a fundamental fact of international life for anyone who cares to take a closer look at China’s energy policy. The “it’s about oil” mantra heard in some Western quarters is indeed not unfounded — so long as one remembers that in little more than a decade, China has changed from a net exporter of oil into the world’s second largest importer, and that in the not-so-distant future, the energy needs of 1.2 billion Chinese will dwarf those of 300 million Americans. The oil factor does indeed explain why China has a more proactive policy than the U.S., and a more reckless one as well. As the most populated country in the world, China is also the country that cares the least about the danger of nuclear proliferation involved in some of its more Faustian bargains.
But there is more than oil at stake in China’s strategic relations with Muslim countries. If 1979 marks the return of Islam in history, it also marks (more significantly than 1949 ever did) the return of China in history. Throughout the 1980s, China experienced phenomenal growth rates and was catching up fast with the West, when the advent of the information revolution widened the gap anew. Since the Chinese leadership cannot go into overdrive without destroying the social fabric (and ultimately its own power base), it can only hope to narrow the gap by slowing down the West. For Western historians, all this has a deja-vu all over again feel. Just as imperial latecomers like Germany and Japan did not hesitate to play the Islamic card for all it was worth in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, today China has — to put it mildly — no reason to be a priori hostile to the idea of using jihadism as a weapon of mass disruption against the West.
The congruence between the Islamic 4GW jihad and China’s own Unrestricted Warfare20 doctrine is therefore no surprise. This Sino-Islamic connection has been largely ignored by European elites too busy indulging in anti-American posturing instead. In the EU media, China is invariably portrayed as being all (economic) opportunities and no (political) threats; from the Spanish and French media in particular, one would never guess that China in fact has a rather proactive — and sophisticated — policy in Spain’s and France’s former colonies. As for the Islamic question, EU elites continue to believe that it can best be solved by keeping as much distance as possible between the U.S. approach (Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative) and the EU approach (Euro-Med Partnership).21
The recent referenda on the EU Constitution have proven, if anything, how disconnected EU elites have become, not just from world realities, but from their own constituencies. It should now be clear to all that the intra-European gap between elites and public opinion is greater still (and in fact older) than the transatlantic gap between the U.S. and the EU. For Washington, there has never been a better time to do “European Outreach” and drive home the point that the existence of a “Sino-Islamic Connection” calls for closer transatlantic cooperation and a reassertion of the West. In short, if the Atlantic Alliance did not exist, it would have to be invented.22
The chronopolitical challenge
our years after the September 11 events, and barely two years into the occupation of Iraq, there are signs that the Beltway talking heads are once again having the vapors. Yes, Iraq has been costly in both blood and treasure, and conducted in a sub-optimal manner. But Iraq was a necessary war,23 and it was worth it: For the first time in their history, Iraqis have the opportunity to draft their own democratic constitution. But while the U.S. ought to stand ready to do its part (regime change) when need be, the responsibility for nation-building ultimately rests on the shoulders of local elites. In that respect, either the Shiite, Sunni, and Kurd elites will realize that their respective interests are best served by some sort of Spanish-style federalism, and Iraq — a country rich in human and natural resources — stands a good chance of becoming a modern-day al-Andalus; or Iraqi elites will revert to tribal infighting, in which case they — not America — will bear the historical responsibility for the transition of Iraq from rogue state to failed state. One way or the other, Arab elites cannot go on blaming everyone but themselves for the Arab predicament.
Whatever the outcome in Baghdad, the Iraqi tree should not be allowed to mask the jihadist forest. In that respect, there is something vulturesque in the doves’ recent assault on the hawks. Though in the past four years the neoconservatives, confronted by a “new kind of war,” have indeed at times come up with the wrong answers, the fact remains that in the previous decade, the same neocons, more consistently than any other group, came up with the right questions — and nobody listened. And while some military paleo-cons undeniably showed early on a better grasp of tactical and operational realities at the theater level, the civilian neocons overall continue to have a crisper perception of the real challenges at the strategic level — and yes, that includes Iran.24
In retrospect, if neoconservatives got only one thing wrong, it would have to be this: The greatness of a policy is not measured by the breadth of a geopolitical vision or the boldness of its goals and objectives; ultimately, it is measured by the mastery of the chronopolitical dimension in the course of policy implementation. For the past four years, Time, in all its manifestations — duration, sequencing, timing, tempo, but also memory25 — has been the single most neglected strategic dimension of the Bush administration.
That said, it is far from clear that a different administration would have done any better. Since the end of the Cold War, the strategic management of time seems to have eluded U.S. elites, whose timelines now rarely extend beyond the 24/7 news cycle, the quarterly financial report, and the midterm elections. Economic “shock therapy” and military “shock and awe” are the twin results of the same impatience, the same short-sightedness. The coming World War IV will make for interesting times indeed, for if the grammar of guerrilla warfare has significantly evolved over the centuries, the strategic management of time, from Muhammad’s three-phased jihad to Mao’s three-phased people’s war and beyond, will always constitute the logic of insurgency.26
When it comes to fighting power and thinking power, the lone remaining superpower is still in a better position today than at the end of World War II; but when it comes to staying power (to use J.F.C. Fuller’s trinity), U.S. elites lately have come across as a pale shadow of the “greatest generation.” If the project of converting a mere “unipolar moment” into a New American Century is ever to succeed, not only will U.S. elites have to develop the same staying power as their forefathers27, but the neo-Wilsonian messianism (be it Democrat or Republican, economic or military) of recent years will have to morph into a cultural realism attentive to the rhythm of civilizations and the chronopolitical dimension of statecraft.
1It is no surprise that the 20-some reports on “re-inventing public diplomacy” that have appeared since 9/11 have invariably focused on empowering the bureaucracy rather than on devising a grand strategy. Between 1989 and 1999, USIA’s budget was slashed by 30 percent, and academic and cultural exchange programs worldwide dropped from 45,000 to 29,000; by 2003, the U.S. government was spending only $150 million a year on Muslim-majority countries, and the overall public diplomacy budget amounted to a mere 3 percent of the intelligence budget, and less than one-third of 1 percent of the defense budget.
2Briefly stated, network-centric warfare is technocentric, while culture-centric warfare is anthropocentric. See Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, “Network-Centric Warfare,” Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute 24:1 (January 1998), and Major General Robert H. Scales, “Culture-Centric Warfare,” Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute (October 2004).
3David W. Lesch, 1979: The Year that Shaped the Modern Middle East (Westview, 1992).
4On the similarities and differences between counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, see Ian O. Lesser et al, Countering the New Terrorism (RAND, 1999), and Bard O’Neil, Insurgency and Terrorism: From Revolution to Apocalypse, Second Edition (Potomac Books, 2005). On the use of weapons of mass disruption in asymmetric warfare, the focus of research has so far been on technological means (cyber-warfare) rather than on economic-financial goals. Yet, “bleeding the West financially” is one of al Qaeda’s stated goals, and while the terrorist network has spent on average less than $50,000 on each of its operations, the costs to local business have run in the tens or hundreds of millions.
5At the tactical-operational level, some of the most salient features of the Iraqi insurgency (“tribalism,” “vendetta,” “honor,” etc.) are in fact neither specifically “Islamic” nor “Arab,” but common to the “Mediterranean” culture as such. On Tribalism, see Richard L. Taylor, Tribal Alliances: Ways, Means, and Ends to Successful Strategy, Carlisle Papers in Security Strategy (August 2005), Montgomery McFate, “The Military Utility of Understanding Adversary Culture,” Joint Forces Quarterly 38 (Summer 2005), and David Ronfeldt, “Social Studies: 21st Century Tribes,” Los Angeles Times (December 12, 2004). On Netwars, see John Arquilla and David Ronfelt, Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime and Militancy (RAND, 2001). On Fourth-Generation Warfare, a concept first developed in 1989, see William S. Lind et al.: “The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth-Generation,” Marine Corps Gazette (October 1989). The concept has now gained currency not only among Western strategists, but also within the jihadist leadership itself (see Chuck Spinney, “Is 4GW al-Qaida’s Official Combat Doctrine?” www.d-n-i.net/fcs/comments/c438.htm (February 11, 2002). For a brief introduction to 4GW, see Thomas X. Hammes’s Insurgency: Modern Warfare Evolves into a Fourth Generation, Strategic Forum 214, INSS, NDU (January 2005) www.ndu.edu/inss/strforum/SF214/SF214.pdf. While the concept of 4GW itself was developed the year of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, all the elements of 4GW were already present in the French-Algerian war of 1954-1962. See Matthew Connelly’s remarkable A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post Cold War (Oxford University Press, 2002).
6On the Sixth Pillar, see Johannes J.G. Jansen, The Neglected Duty: The Creed of Sadat’s Assassins and Islamic Resurgence in the Middle East (Macmillan, 1986), and Walid Phares and Robert G. Rabil, “The Neglected Duty: Terrorism’s Justification,” In the National Interest 31:18 (May 2004). On the “Jihad of the Hand” carried by Islamist NGOs, see Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, Jihad Humanitaire – Enquete sur les ONG Islamiques (Paris: Flammarion, 2002) and Velko Attanassof, “Bosnia and Herzegovina:Islamic Revival, International Advocacy Networks and Islamic Terrorism, Strategic Insights 4:5 (May 2005). On the “Jihad of the Tongue,” see Avi Jorisch, Beacon of Hatred: Inside Hizballah’s Al-Manar Television (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2004). On the concept of Three-Block War, see General Charles C. Krulak, USMC, “The Three-Block War: Fighting in Urban Areas,” Vital Speeches of the Day (December 15, 1997), and by the same author, “The Strategic Corporal: Leadership in the Three-Block War,” Marines Magazine (January 1999). On the global commons, see Barry Rosen “Command of the Commons: the Military Foundations of American Hegemony,” International Security 28, no1, summer 2003, and my forthcoming “Command of the Airwaves: the Revolution in Guerilla Affairs from Ho Chi Minh to Osama.”
7On the need to re-open the interpretation of the Quran (officially closed for the past five centuries), the clearest introduction is Ijtihad: Reinterpreting Islamic Principles for the Twenty-First Century (U.S. Institute of Peace, August 2004). See also Brian M. Jenkins, “Strategy: Political Warfare Neglected,” San Diego-Union Tribune (June 26, 2005) (www.rand.org/commentary/062605SDUT.html). Symbolically, “Ijtihad as Counter-Jihad” may be said to have begun on the first anniversary of the Madrid bombing (03/11/05), when the official Spanish Islamic Commission issued a fatwa against al-Qaeda. Since the London bombings of July 2005, Tony Blair has increased pressure on the Europe-based Muslim community to take a more proactive stand in the counter-jihad (see Joseph Loconte, “Fatwa Frenzy,” Weekly Standard (August 18, 2005). For a preliminary mapping of the Muslim media “terrain,” see Naomi Sakr, Satellite Realms: Transnational Television, Globalization and the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2002); Gary Bunt, Islam in the Digital Age — E-Jihad, Online Fatwas and Cyber Islamic Environments (Pluto Press, 2003); Mark Frohardt and Jonathan Temin, Use and Abuse of Media in Vulnerable Societies (U.S. Institute of Peace, October 2003); Gabriel Weiman, WWW.Terror.Net: How Modern Terrorism Uses the Internet (U.S. Institute of Peace, March 2004). Beyond the mediasphere proper, smart “info ops” will have to take into account that the most effective means of communication — including the all-pervasive “rumor” — outside the media and the mosque include the bazaar and the coffee shop. On the ongoing “clash of civilizations” within the Pentagon between the numerates and the literates, suffice it to say here that the network-centric approach has so far produced two ideas dangerously disconnected from real life: the Gospel of World Peace through Global Connectivity (see Thomas P.M. Barnett, The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century [Putnam, 2004], and a narrow vision of military soft power centered on Infowar (Leigh Armistead, ed. Information Operations: Warfare and the Hard Reality of Soft Power [Potomac Books, 2004]). The culture-centric approach, by contrast, is more promising in that it tries to connect the dots (in an interagency perspective) between cultural intelligence and strategic communication. See the U.S. Marine Corps’ Small Wars Manual for the 21st Century (www.smallwars.quantico.usmc.mil) and the Defense Science Board Task Force’s Report on Strategic Communication (September 2004) (www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports/2004-09-Strategic_Communication.pdf). On the political economy of warfare, see Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era (Stanford University Press, 1999) and Loretta Napoleoni, Terror Incorporated: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks (Seven Stories Press, 2005).
8In Europe today, the essayist Tariq Ramadan (who is none other than the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood) is considered the leading representative of this Trotskyte-Gramscian tactic. See Caroline Fourest, Frere Tariq: Discours, Strategie et Methode de Tariq Ramadan (Grasset, Paris, 2004), Paul Landau, Le Sabre et le Coran:Tariq Ramadan et les Freres Musulmans a la Reconquete de l’Europe (Paris: Rocher, 2005) and the report of the Dutch Ministry of Interior, From Dawa to Jihad: The Various Threats from Radical Islam to the Democratic Legal Order (December 2004) (www.aivd.nl/contents/pages/42345/fromdawatojihad.pdf). On violent and non-violent ways of spreading Sharia, see Paul Marshall, Radical Islam’s Rules: The Worldwide Spread of Extreme Sharia Law (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005).
9On the Saudi Caliphate, see Dore Gold, Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism (Regnery, 2003), and the Center for Religious Freedom Report, Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques, (Freedom House, January 2005); on the use of Muslim IOs, NGOs, and News Agencies by the Saudis, see Jacob M. Landau, The Politics of Pan-Islam: Ideology and Organization (Clarendon,1990). On the Saudi doctrine of soft power, see former Saudi Minister of Petroleum Hisham M. Nazer, Power of a Third Kind: The Western Attempt to Colonize the Global Village (Praeger, 1999). On the Saudi/Al-Azhar connection, Franklin Foer, “Moral Hazard: The Life of a Liberal Muslim,” New Republic (November 18, 2002), and Laurent Murawiec, “The Saudi Takeover of Al-Azhar University,” Terrorism Monitor, (Jameston Foundation, December 2003). For a detailed study of Al-Azhar, see Malika Zeghal: Gardiens de l’Islam: Les Oulemas d’Al-Azhar dans l’Egypte Contemporaine (Paris: Fondation des Sciences Politiques, 1996). (Among its many functions, Al-Azhar is the training school for would-be imams from 100 countries, its Islamic Research Council has a major say in what can and cannot be published in Egypt, its alumni sit on the board of all Muslim banking networks, its fatwas influence legislators throughout the Muslim world.) On the influence of Saudi money in U.S. universities and think-tanks, see Jon Kyl, “Terrorism: Growing Wahhabi Influence in the United States,” FrontPageMagazine.com (July 3, 2003); Lee Kaplan, “The Saudi Fifth Column on Our Nation’s Campuses,” FrontPageMagazine.com (April 5, 2004); and, more recently, the refreshingly candid GAO Report, Information on U.S. Agencies’ Efforts to Address Islamic Extremism (September 16, 2005).
10However thorough and objective they try to be, sociopolitical analyses of the jihadist phenomenon (e.g., Gilles Kepel’s Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam [Belknap, 2003]) cannot but present a flawed picture of the jihad given the marginal attention paid to the geopolitical dimension as such (in particular to the leading role of Saudi Arabia and its various fronts). The methodological parti-pris favored by Western academics (intra-national approach, focus on “civil society” rather than state apparatus) both downplays the manipulation from above and especially from abroad, and gives the phenomenon of re-Islamization an authenticity (“revolution from below”) that it does not have in real life. At its worst, this kind of sociologism (e.g., Olivier Roy’s Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Umma [Columbia University Press, 2004]) leads to the implausible claim that “there is no such thing as a geostrategy of Islam” — a conclusion not supported by Roy’s own findings. (Among “area studies” specialists, a disturbing gap is developing today between their ever-increasing cultural expertise and their ever-shrinking strategic literacy.) On the concept — so relevant for the Middle East — of “deep coalition” between state and nonstate actors in contemporary strategic thinking, see Alvin and Heidi Toffler, in John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, eds., In Athena’s Camp: Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age (RAND, 1997).
11On identity-shaping, see Marilyn Halter, Shopping for Identity: The Marketing of Ethnicity (Schocken, 2000), and Richard Cimino and Don Lattin, Shopping for Faith: American Religion in the New Millennium (Jossey-Bass,1998). Identity-shaping in the Arab world itself is made easier by the multiplicity of competing tribal/ethnic/national identities (see Bernard Lewis, The Multiple Identities of the Middle East [Schocken, 1999]). On the sorry state of translation in the Arab world, see the much-discussed UNDP Arab Development Reports of 2002. On religion-shaping and knowledge-building, two studies stand out: Cheryl Benard, Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies (RAND, 2004), and Robert Satloff, The Battle of Ideas in the War on Terror: Essays on U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Middle East (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2004).
12Hossein Askari, Rana Atie: “Scimitars to Plowshares,” National Interest (Fall 2004). For anyone involved in nation-building, Samuel Huntington’s classic Political Order in Changing Societies (Yale University Press, 1968) is still required reading — as surely as Daniel Pipes’ The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy (Palgrave Macmillan, 1996) should be required reading for anyone involved in the Battle for Hearts and Minds. On the perils of the shock-therapy approach, see Marshall Goldman, The Piratization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry (Routledge, 2003). On the Ulema, see Muhammad Qasim Zaman, The Ulema in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change (Princeton University Press, 2002), and Gibreel Gibreel, “The Ulema: Middle East Power Brokers,” Middle East Quarterly (Fall 2001). On the Muslim military, see John Walter Jandora, Militarism in Arab Society: An Historiographical and Bibliographical Handbook (Greenwood Press, 1997); Mehran Kamrava, “Military Professionalization and Civil-Military Relations in the Middle East,” Political Science Quarterly, 115:1 (Spring 2000); and Paul A. Silverstein, ed. Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa (forthcoming).
13As Joseph Nye himself hinted: “The military can also play an important role in the creation of soft power. In addition to the aura of power that is generated by its hard power capabilities, the military has a broad range of officer exchanges, joint training, and assistance programs with other countries in peacetime. The Pentagon’s International Military and Educational Training programs include sessions on democracy and human rights along with military training.” Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (PublicAffairs, 2004). On the need to re-think defense diplomacy, see also Timothy C. Shea, “Transforming Military Diplomacy,” Joint Forces Quarterly 38 (July 2005).
14Peter Berger, ed. The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1999); Fareed Zakaria, “The End of the End of History,” Newsweek (September 24, 2001), referring to Francis Fukuyama’s best-selling The End of History and the Last Man (Free Press, 1992). As Fukuyama himself reluctantly conceded recently: “The War on Terror is, in other words, a classic counter-insurgency war, except that it is being played out on a global scale. There are genuine bad guys out there who are much more bitter ideological enemies than the Soviets ever were, but their success depends on the attitudes of the broader population around them who can be alternatively supportive, hostile, or indifferent — depending on how we play our cards.” “The Neoconservative Moment,” National Interest (Summer 2004).
15On Expatriation and Escapism, see Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), particularly 160–163. On the “third-generation gang” phenomenon, see John P. Sullivan, “Gangs, Hooligans, and Anarchists: The Vanguard of Netwar in the Streets,” in Arquilla and Ronfeldt, Networks and Netwars, 99-126; Max G. Manwaring: Street Gangs: The New Urban Insurgency (U.S. Army War College, March 2005); and Robert Leiken, “Europe’s Angry Muslims,” Foreign Affairs (July/August 2005). On demographic warfare — the most neglected subfield of security studies — Milica Zarkovic Bookman’s The Demographic Struggle for Power: The Political Economy of Demographic Engineering in the Modern World (Frank Cass Publishers, 1997), is a useful introduction. Demo-war, which goes beyond natalist policies (“the battle of cradles”) and ethnic cleansing, and includes strategic emigration and human trafficking, is the least understood aspect of the Global Jihad. See Keith Johnson and David Crawford, “New Breed of Islamic Warrior is Emerging,” Wall Street Journal (April 28, 2004), and Robert Leiken, Bearers of Global Jihad? Immigration and National Security after 9/11 (Nixon Center, 2004).
16On the idea of “WWIV”, see Alexandre de Marenches, The Fourth World War: Diplomacy and Espionage in the Age of Terrorism (William Morrow, 1992). As military analyst Eliot Cohen pragmatically remarked in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, “The Cold War was World War III, which reminds us that not all global conflicts entail the movement of multi-million man armies or conventional front lines on a map. The analogy with the Cold War does, however, suggest some key features of that [new] conflict: that it is, in fact, global, that it will involve a mixture of violent and non-violent efforts; that it will require mobilization of skill, expertise and resources, if not of vast number of soldiers; that it may go on for a long time; and that it has ideological roots.” (“World War IV,” Wall Street Journal [November 20, 2001]). Andrew Bacevich’s contrived effort to debunk the concept (“The Real World War IV,” Wilson Quarterly [Winter 2005]) only succeeds in demonstrating that a fine military analyst, when blinded by parochial passions, can morph into a lousy diplomatic historian.
17“Soviet pressure against the free institutions of the Western world is something that can be contained by the adroit and vigilant application of counterforce at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points.” George Kennan, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” Foreign Affairs (July 1947). On early covert operations, see Peter Grose, Operation Rollback: America’s Secret War Behind the Iron Curtain (Houghton Mifflin, 2000). On covert action during the 1980s, see Peter Schweizer, Victory: The Reagan Administration’s Secret Strategy that Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1994). For a sample of covert operations in the GWOT, see David Kaplan, “Hearts, Minds, and Dollars,” U.S. News and World Report (April 18, 2005).
18To this day, U.S. policymakers remain surprisingly unaware that a leading cause of the transatlantic estrangement throughout the 1990s was the perception, widespread in Europe, that America’s Balkan policy was an attempt to appease the Muslim world at Europe’s expense. America’s heavy-handed “media management” about the Balkans became the subject of a record number of bestselling books in Europe, and that the Balkan precedent explains in no small part the mood of European public opinion over Iraq in March-April 2003. In fairness, the infatuation of the U.S. chattering class with Balkan Muslims in the 1990s was not any more (or any less) irrational than the infatuation of the EU chattering class with Palestinian Arabs since the early 1970s. In the wake of both 9/11 and 3/11, though, it is to be hoped that both the U.S. and the EU will realize that “appeasement” of the Muslim Street at each other’s expense simply does not pay.
19Demographically, Palestinians constitute less than 1 percent of the Muslim world. Historically, their plight owes more to the callousness of successive generations of Arab leaders than to “Jews-and-Crusaders” who, to this day, contribute more aid than the whole Arab world combined. Politically, the whole Palestinian question boils down to this alternative: 1) either by “Palestine” one means the Greater Palestine of the 1922 Mandate, in which case it is hard not to notice that a Palestinian state already exists at 78 percent (and Jordan can learn to live without the West Bank the same way Hungary and Romania learned to live without Transylvania and Bessarabia respectively); 2) or one means the current state of Israel and the Territories (i.e. the remaining 22 percent), in which case we are talking about a geographic unit the size of New Jersey — and any sane person will have to admit that, from communism and fascism to Pol Pot and Rwanda, the twentieth century has known worse tragedies than the “exodus” of 600,000 people from Trenton to Hoboken (53 miles). It is worth remembering that, at roughly the same time as the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, 10 million Germans were forcibly displaced from Central Europe and Russia, and that the partition of India and (West and East) Pakistan led to the displacement of 17 million people.
20On Germany and Islam, see Jacob M. Landau, The Politics of Pan-Islam: Ideology and Organization (Clarendon Press, 1990). On Japan and Islam, Selcuk Esenbel, “Japan’s Global Claim to Asia and the World of Islam: Transnational Nationalism and World Power, 1900-1945,” American Historical Review 109:4 (October 2004). On Chinese Fourth-Generation Warfare doctrine, see Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangui, Unrestricted Warfare (Beijing, 1999). For a comparison between China’s “Unrestricted Warfare” and America’s “Shock and Awe,” see Michael G. Dana’s lucid Shock and Awe: America’s 21st Century Maginot Line (Naval War College, 2003). On China’s energy/arms policy in the Greater Middle East and Africa, see Jin Liangxiang, “Energy First: China in the Middle East,” Middle East Quarterly (Spring 2005); Irwin M. Stelzer, “The Axis of Oil,” Weekly Standard (February 7, 2005); Dan Blumenthal, “Providing Arms: China and the Middle East,” Middle East Quarterly (Spring 2005); Thomas Woodrow, “The Sino-Saudi Connection,” Jamestown Foundation (October 2002); Richard Russell, “China’s WMD Foot in the Greater Middle East’s Door,” The Middle East Review of International Affairs (September 2005). On China’s ventures in Africa, Princeton Lyman, “China’s Rising Role in Africa,” Presentation to the U.S.-China Commission (July 21, 2005), www.cfr.org.
21Though excessively polemical at times, Bat Ye’Or’s analysis of the Euro-Arab Dialogue that has been going on between the EU and the Arab League since 1973 (Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis [Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005]) has the merit not only of shedding light on this little-known aspect of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, but also of showing that, within a generation, what began as an inter-civilizational “Dialogue” has resulted not so much in the Europeanization of the Arab Mind as in the creeping Islamization of the European Mind. Before engaging in a similar “American-Arab Dialogue,” U.S. policymakers would do well to give serious considerations to what the optimal “rules of engagement” should be.
22In a justly celebrated essay published in 2002, Robert Kagan pointedly reminded Europeans that their Kantian zone of permanent peace was underwritten by the U.S. military (“Power and Weakness,” Policy Review [May-June 2002]). More recently, Tod Lindberg sought to move beyond the ensuing debate by reminding “Martian” Americans and “Venusian” Europeans alike of this all-too-often overlooked reality: As much as the EU itself, the Alliance is “a permanent peace treaty among its own members.” (Beyond Paradise and Power: Europe, America and the Future of a Troubled Partnership, Routledge, 2004). Because it includes the two halves of the West, and because it is both a military alliance and an “ethical community,” the Alliance indeed remains to date the only expression of the West-as-Will-and-Representation. Given the changing security environment, though, NATO’s most urgent task is not so much to beef up its military capabilities (important as that may be) as to strengthen its antiquated political decision-making process and deepen its common strategic culture. On the increasing salience of “strategic culture” in international relations, see the special issues of International Security 19:4 (Spring 1995) and Strategic Insights 4:100 (October 2005). For fresh thinking on NATO on the European side, see former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s NATO: An Alliance for Freedom (FAES, November 2005) (www.fundacionfaes.org/documentos/Informe_OTAN_Ingles.pdf).
23Robert Kagan, “Whether this war was worth it,” Washington Post (June 19, 2005), and Tod Lindberg, “Are we creating more terrorists?,” Washington Times (August 16, 2005).
24For an eerily prescient prognosis on Iraq, see William S. Lind’s “Occupation and Iraqi Intifada” (April 23, 2003) (www.counterpunch.org/lind04262003.html.). Regarding Iran, it is noteworthy that arch-realist Henry Kissinger himself agrees that military action should not be ruled out if negotiations fail. Kissinger: “Don’t Exclude Military Action Against Iran if Negotiations Fail,” Council on Foreign Relations (July 14, 2005).
25As Gerit W. Gong pointed out recently: “Those who assume Time heals all wounds are wrong. Accelerated by the collision of information technology with concerns of the past, issues of ‘remembering and forgetting’ are creating history. They are shaping the strategic alignments of the future. . . . In East Asia, Europe and other places where history extends further into the past than in the United States, memory, history and strategic alignments are inextricably linked.” “The Beginning of History: Remembering and Forgetting as Strategic Issues,” Washington Quarterly (Spring 2004). In last instance, the hold of Global Jihad on the imagination of a significant segment of the Muslim population is not so much due to the Jihadists’ stated goals regarding the future (i.e., restoration of the caliphate and/or extension of the sharia) as to the collective memory of the Umma regarding the recent past: namely, that while the Muslim world in the previous century has invariably lost every conventional war even against the smallest powers (Israel), it has often been successful in unconventional warfare, most recently against a superpower (Soviet Union). Needless to say, collective memory (particularly in the Muslim world) often has little to do with factual history; from the point of view of strategic communication, “memory-shaping” (i.e., setting the historical record straight) is therefore as important as “theology-shaping.” On the History/Memory gap in general, see for instance Efraim Karsh and Inari Karsh, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923 (Harvard University Press, 1999) and Andrew G. Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims (Prometheus Books, 2005). On the politics of memory at the national level, see Eric Davis, Memories of State: Politics, History, and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq (University of California Press, 2005).
26E.L. Katzenbach’s remarks about Mao forty years ago apply, mutatis mutandis, to Osama today: “Mao’s military problem was how to organize space so that it could be made to yield time. His political problem was how to organize time so that it could be made to yield will, that quality which makes willingness to sacrifice the order of the day. . . . So Mao’s real military problem was not that of getting the war over with, the question to which Western military thinkers have directed the greatest part of their attention, but that of keeping it going. . . . Fundamental to all else, Mao says, is the belief that countries with legislative bodies simply cannot take a war of attrition, either financially or, over the long run, psychologically.” “Time, Space, and Will: The Politico-Military View of Mao Tse-Tung,” in T.N. Greene, The Guerrilla and How to Fight Him (Frederick A. Praeger, 1962). It is worth noting that, for the USG, the financial costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars alone now amount to $314 billion (as of June 2005) and could exceed $700 billion (in current dollars, the costs of the Korean and Vietnam wars were respectively $430 billion and $600 billion).
27Today, it is on this very question of “chronopolitics” that we are witnessing the beginning of a convergence between the finest neocons, from Max Boot to Robert Kagan, and the finest realists, from Henry Kissinger (“Realists and Idealists,” International Herald Tribune [May 12, 2005]) to Condoleezza Rice (in particular her speech at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University [September 30, 2005]).