An Islamic Nuclear/Cold War or a Libertarian future?

#1
In relation to Iraq, and indeed the wider Middle East, the constant mantra that both Bush and Blair preach about endlessly is the need for unity – unity to form government, unity to restore peace, unity between Arabs and Israelis etc. As much as it pains me to say this, for once I actually agree with them and can see where they are coming from. But here I must add a caveat; they may get unity, but it may not be the unity they had bargained for, and it may not be on ‘their terms’.

What they might get is another Saladin – a charismatic and aggressive ghost of history returned to life to wage war against the ‘Christian infidels’, once again. If we ever see the rebirth of a new Saladin he will undoubtedly bring unity – as in unity of all the differing Islamic faiths in a unity of opposition to the West.

Somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan there could be a homeless child, restless teenager, or dissatisfied soldier wandering about the rubble and picking up the broken limbs of his fallen brethren. Perhaps he will grow into a fearsome and ruthlessly driven man. Perhaps he might be able to do the seemingly impossible and persuade the embittered Sunnis and Shias to stop killing each other, and to direct their unified attention and strength elsewhere – to us?

I admit that the above scenario is both far-fetched and highly unlikely, but in my defence, history does teach us to expect both bold and unpredictable events to happen at critical junctures in time.

Consider this grim possibility – the rise to power of an Arabian Hitler.

All the best,

Steven McLaughlin

Author of Squaddie – a soldier’s story
Mainstream Publishing.

PS:
It has been a real pleasure to receive a good old ‘ripping’ from some fellow soldiers once again – I really do miss that kind of squaddie banter – so bring it on! In my earlier email I was referring to events that might possibly pan out in the coming decades, most definitely not the immediate future, and certainly not in the ‘Blair era’ – though undoubtedly it will be a hangover from his political legacy.

On the issue of politics, and don’t worry I won’t bore you with this one too much I feel I must make my position clearer; I am not, nor have I ever been, a left-winger of any sort. I am a Libertarian, as was the great Ronald Reagan privately, Governor Arnold Shcwarzeneger quite openly, and many other Conservative figures.
As Libertarians we believe strongly in Conservative economic policies and passionately in Social freedom and equality – but not freedom in the left wing Communist sense. True freedom is the ability to live your life and run your business however you want to, with no government interferance whatsoever. Human beings don’t need intrusive government laws to tell them how to behave, what to think and how to say it – just so long as you don’t hurt anybody else or interfere with their liberty and freedom – go ahead and live your life as best you can, without fear or worry.

Libertarians are extremely anti-political correctness and believe in the idea of small, as opposed to big, government. Don’t step on my shoes and I won’t step on yours, allow me to live in peace and don’t tax me to death for PC policies I don’t even support or believe in – that’s the Libertarian philosophy. Incidentally many soldiers express Libertarian values without even realizing it, and it is the fastest growing party in the USA as voters tire of ‘big government’ and hanker for personal responsibility.

We are all individuals and as such are capable of achieving great things independently. We don’t need to listen to politicians constantly lecturing us that we are racist, homophobic, Islamiphobic or whatever. We are not, they’re the ones making a living out of dividing people and putting them into different special categories, imaginary victims of this and that alleged injustice.

Ok – enough of my mad soapbox ranting, and you’re right – I do need to get out more!

PPS: type the word Libertarian into Wikipedia, many of you will be pleasantly surprised and intrigued.
 
#2
Libertarian politics nice idea
not really up to running a complex state and certainly not up to dealing and regulating large corparations
 
#3
hasnt this issue been dealt with in the fiction book 'invasion'
 
#4
I have a certain amount of sympathy with Libertarians, particularly those who are able to give a coherent rationale for their position and paint a clear vision of an Anarchist's utopia in the classic sense of the word (cf Nozick).

However, problems with nothing but a night-watchman "state" seem insurmountable: libertarianism is very much a political theory for the strong. Those who are weak through no fault of their own get a very raw deal: there is no safety net for the disabled or mentally weak. Granted, the autonomy of the strong is promoted in a way that arguably no other political system can - but this comes at the cost of little protection for the rest (apart from a nod towards property rights and basic physical safety).

It's not a knock-down set of considerations: ultimately, I don't want to live in a society that cannot coherently guarantee care for most of the blamelessly less-fortunate or ensure that the weak have a voice. Those with a different set of intuitions may well think that it's the way forward.
 
#6
Squaddie Author, a point of clarification:

What they might get is another Saladin – a charismatic and aggressive ghost of history returned to life to wage war against the ‘Christian infidels’, once again
an Arabian Hitler
Saladin waged war against the Crusaders who had come to Islamic lands, he did not go into Christian Europe and kick off. Even so, the four years' truce was broken by Renaud de Chatillon and having conquered Jerusalem, his clemency to the defeated is the epitome of chivalry.

These are two very different people you are describing, and we could do a lot better with a wise, educated and magnanimous leader, embodying all that is good in Islam like Saladin in charge of the ME.

I understand what you are trying to say, but don't confuse or traduce the name of a true warrior with a demagogue who starts wars of aggression and attempts to kill off a people on an industrial scale.

Cheers !
 
#7
Oh, and Spiffy : During all the first part of the Middle Ages, no other people made as important a contribution to human progress as did the Arabs, if we take this term to mean all those whose mother-tongue was Arabic, and not merely those living in the Arabian peninsula. For centuries, Arabic was the language of learning, culture and intellectual progress for the whole of the civilized world with the exception of the Far East. From the IXth to the XIIth century there were more philosophical, medical, historical, religious, astronomical and geographical works written in Arabic than in any other human tongue.

Winnie wasn't always right.
 
#9
Fallschirmmongsturm said:
Oh, and Spiffy : During all the first part of the Middle Ages, no other people made as important a contribution to human progress as did the Arabs, if we take this term to mean all those whose mother-tongue was Arabic, and not merely those living in the Arabian peninsula. For centuries, Arabic was the language of learning, culture and intellectual progress for the whole of the civilized world with the exception of the Far East. From the IXth to the XIIth century there were more philosophical, medical, historical, religious, astronomical and geographical works written in Arabic than in any other human tongue.

Winnie wasn't always right.
Sir Winston wrote that in the late 19th Century and he has proved correct.
 
#10
Squaddie-Author said:
As Libertarians we believe strongly in Conservative economic policies and passionately in Social freedom and equality – but not freedom in the left wing Communist sense. True freedom is the ability to live your life and run your business however you want to, with no government interferance whatsoever.
This is the ideal - the problem is there exists a primordial urge to tell others what to do now in this country. Don't smoke, don't hunt, don't drive big cars, don't tell offensive jokes, don't eat junk food, don't binge drink, don't where crosses to work - it's an unstoppable tsunami of thought coercion initiated by the government and whole heartedly supported by a population without any thirst for inidividual responsibility and self management. I don't see any fight for freedom as I understand the idea of freedom in this country - I see the opposite: a willingness to relinquish the right to make up your own mind and say what you think.

PS: I read your book a few weeks ago - couldn't put it down. Fascinating.
 
#11
Libetarian ok if your rich or can be self sufficent other wise your screwed like a right wing anarchist nice pipe dream.
 
#13
And here's what happens in the worlds foremost low tax economy healthwise

The story of American healthcare is one of huge expenditure for little obvious benefit.

By head of population America spends twice the amount Britain does on health.

But life expectancy here is lower and infant mortality is higher, way higher in some ethnic groups.

Most of the money seems to go on overheads and on profits for the many private companies providing care, the hospital groups, the drug manufacturers, and above all the insurance companies which write letters to Bo inquiring about his MS and write incessantly to all their other customers as well, endlessly negotiating, fussing, harassing.

As the costs spiral upwards and private employers ditch their health care schemes to stave off bankruptcy, increasing numbers of Americans have reduced their health insurance to the barest minimum, and when something goes wrong they are dependent on the back-up provided by the state.

So in a nation where socialised medicine is a phrase to be spat out contemptuously, Americans are on course by the year 2050 to spend every cent the government takes in tax, on health-related claims. Nothing left even for the tiniest war
Beeb article
 
#14
even in the states the freeways were built with public money not exactly a free market economy.
flat taxes are favored by the rich and powerful did the politcal compass I come out as a libertarian socialist distrust banks and big corparations as much as I distrust big goverment.
 
#15
To Legionnaire

Many thanks for your kind and supportive comments regarding Squaddie. As a first-time author it means an awful lot to me that you have taken the time and effort to read my book, but more importantly, you seem to have enjoyed it and found something positive within its pages.

I am unsure if you’re a soldier (Legionnaire perhaps?) or a civilian, but whatever your profession, I thank you profusely and wish you the very best of luck in your endeavours.

All the best,
Steven McLaughlin
Author of Squaddie – a soldier’s story.
 
#16
Sir Winston wrote that in the late 19th Century and he has proved correct.
Spiffy, retrograde = directed or moving backwards, or reverting to an earlier and inferior condition.

Considering the carving up of ME in 19th Century by us and the French, then I agree, the Islamic world's best days seemed behind them. But that then makes Sir Winston's comment even more odd; if the Islamic world was moving backward, it would have been to a better time as I've indicated above.

Churchill was an imperialist - man of his time, true, and that was one of technological triumph of the West, but all sources point to there being a strong thread of racial superiority of the white man over others, which is more pertinent in the context of what he said.

...and he has proved correct
Don't you think you're being a little premature ?

Steven, a lot of my mates have recommended your book, and I look forward to picking up a copy soon...
 
#18
To Fallschirmmongsturm

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my posting with some mature and reasonable words. Regarding your comments on Saladin, I take your point on board and stand corrected. I didn’t mean to suggest he was another Hitler, although on second reading I can see how my comments could be interpreted that way. Saladin, as you are well aware, was in fact legendary for his acts of kindness and gentle manner – but once roused, he was a fearsome opponent.

In my own clumsy and admittedly muddled way, I think perhaps that I was trying to make the following point; in the Middle East we don’t yet know who or what we will end up with. Also, in this technologically driven and ‘big power’ society of ours, we tend to presume that the West has the monopoly on military might and formidable politicians/leaders.

Well guess what folks? – things can change. Just because we have Starbucks Coffee, Bill Gates and Microsoft, Apache Gunships and Plasma TVs, it doesn’t mean that we can dominate the world forever.

Bad things can happen, situations can change, empires can (and will!) rise and fall. If we take the wrong steps in the Middle East, if we act rashly and make the wrong decisions – then our children could be involved in never-ending war. And when I say our children I mean just that – not Bush’s or Blair’s – OUR children. I hope that in the future calmer heads can prevail and a peace and balance, of sorts, can be restored.

So do I have any answers or magic solutions? What would I do were I in power? The answer is I don’t know, and nor can any of us – but for now let’s begin by asking questions and talking honestly – nothing more than that.

Just lots and lots of questions…which we must never stop asking!

Fallshir’, thanks for the comments about the book my friend, I hope you like it. Squaddie is not War and Peace, and unfortunately, I’m most definitely not Shakespeare – but it’s the best that this soldier can do.

Best wishes,

Steven McLaughlin
Author of Squaddie – a soldier’s story.
 
#19
Steven, I agree with you. Field Marshal the Lord Inge said that we seemed to have lost our strategic vision. I take that as saying we need our own foreign policy back, where we draw upon the vast reservoir of knowledge and experience that we have to put an alternative viewpoint forward than that of the US.

The next decade if not two, is going to be one of the scariest. Every analyst's report I have read believes that sooner or later a WMD or "dirty bomb" will be detonated in a Western capital. The transnational links of illict trade in everything from weapons to DVDs to drugs and fridges, vertically integrated and with the best intelligence and personnel money can buy, means the likelihood of that scenario is all too real, and it scares the sh1t out of me.

Considering the sheer upheaval in the ME that going into Iraq has caused and our catastrophic fall in standing, from being seen as a respected, nuanced interest, to little more than the US' poodle - we are in serious trouble. The "wise men" in the FCO need to start putting out that different vision, of interdependance rather than isolation. Don't get me wrong, where we need to go kinetic like in AFG, I'm all for it - as far as I'm concerned that is and always has been the primary mission. But as the great man said, "Jaw Jaw is always better than war war...."

Jonwilly, all the achievements I listed above during the IXth to the XIIth century were after the advent of Islam, were carried out by Muslims and had at their core the Islamic edit " Seek knowledge".
 
#20
I assume that you have never lived in a muslim country and conversed on a daily basis for several years with the modern generation of Arab muslims.
Not looking for a argument but while I do not doubt that they had an age of 'Rennisance' ideas have become stuck way back.
This is probably due to the Rise of Modern extream 'Islamic' ideas that I say started when the Frog exported the Ayatolla to Iran in 79.
Nice move that, so much goes back to that one event.
john
PS. I suppose my views are Islamophobic or racist or somewhat similar. Most likely are for every cuntry I have lived in was rasicst in some way includeing where I now live in a foriegn land. In the real world the one subject I avoid commenting on is religion, just too sensative a subject, Look how the ultra peaceful Buddists treat their Islamic cuntrymen, when they step out of line.
 

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