Tuesday, May 3, 2005

 

Dreamers of all Nations

"Old Europe with its old thinkers is searching desperately for the enemy, not in the dark parts of the world, but here in the free world. The enemy has to look like us. He is living inside us. There has to be something that binds us to our enemy and something that separates us.

The Old European voice says, or tries to say: "Oh, people, something has gone terribly wrong with our political civilization." And consequently the resurrected Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels inform us: the American government has turned its back on its own tradition, which has its roots in the Enlightenment, is throwing the geopolitical order upside down and is creating hotspots of global hatred and violence. The authors of this message (...) emphasize that the war against terrorism -something that does not exist, and without the possibility of an enemy who surrenders, cannot exist- has ended the gradual consolidation of a relatively stable peaceful community of nations. (...)

What is this fantasy and who is living in this fantasy? Do the terrorists and the tyrannical regimes belong to the domain of the fantasy? Before 9/11, both Europeans and Americans lived in this fantasy world, in a relatively stable and peaceful theme park (...).

The majority of humankind on earth, on the other hand, is living under the regime of darkness: abuses of human rights, poverty and disease. This majority did not and does not feel itself at home in this nihilistic geopolitical order of the relatively stable and peaceful community of nations. The civil war in Algeria, the Taliban/Al-Qaeda tyranny of Afghanistan, the totalitarian regime of Iran and Saddam's genocidal order are parts of this dark world that exceed the imagination of those innocent Europeans. (...)

The enemy does exist and it is political Islam. The problem is that precisely this enemy is living in an undisturbed fantasy world. In Civilization and its Enemies, the Next Stage of History, Lee Harris uses the term fantasy ideology as pivotal to his account of terrorism. The fantasy ideology is the domicile of the revolutionaries, within which, according to Harris, the fantasy-dreamer has already projected upon us the role we play in his fantasy.

The question is now which meaning should be attributed to the word war. (...) World wide terrorism, with sometimes quasi-national powers, makes the application of the classical concept of war even harder. Contemporary Islamist terrorism shows elements of both war and organized crime and concerns both the statutes of warfare and criminal law.

We should not evade this complexity by declaring the Americans as our enemies, and it should impel our respectable thinkers (...) to a closer examination. Regime change, not necessarily by means of military intervention, is the way in which the enemy can be made to surrender. Yes, the 21st century has to become the century of regime change, the era of a global transition to a culture of human rights and democracy.

For the first time we are really standing on the threshold of possible catastrophe and chaos, by the combination of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, as noted by Mohamed El Baradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). But the Old European, the dreamer, has a different analysis of the enemy. The Republican Right is the enemy.

It is cheaper, safer and without risk to have your civilized brother on the other side of the ocean as your enemy than the bearded men with possible nuclear teeth in Iran or Madrid. Apart from the fact that America does not understand the European left-right dynamic, I do remember that in Iran we once considered Western indifference and cooperation with that 'relatively stable and peaceful community of nations' extremely reactionary. In this and not elsewhere lied and lies the source of anti-Western sentiment. (...)

Of course we have to be critical of the Americans in this situation, but also of ourselves. We should not blind ourselves with primitive feelings of hatred against an American president who is not ours. (...) Unfortunately we cannot choose our problems, they remain as they are. But it looks now as if anti-Americanism is uniting the dreamers of all nations.."

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