Diplomatie: C’est avec les beaux sentiments qu’on fait de la mauvaise diplomatie (If you treat him like a statesman, he’ll be one)

https://jcdurbant.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/4e622-gide-urss.jpg?w=454&h=750C’est avec les beaux sentiments qu’on fait de la mauvaise littérature. André Gide
Dans l’expression ‘gouvernement islamique’, pourquoi jeter d’emblée la suspicion sur l’adjectif ‘islamique’ ? Le mot ‘gouvernement’ suffit, à lui seul, à éveiller la vigilance. Foucault (dec. 1978)
Khomeini est une sorte de figure à la Gandhi. William Sullivan (ambassadeur américain à Téhéran)
Khomeini (…) n’est pas un ‘mujahid fou », mais un homme d’une intégrité et d’une honnêteté impeccables. James Bill (conseiller de Carter, Newsweek, February 12, 1979)
Supposer que l’Ayatollah Khomeiny est un dissimulateur est presque iconcevable. Son style politique est d’exprimer son point de vue réel d’une manière provocante  et sans concession. Peu importe les conséquences. Il a peu d’incitations pour devenir brusquement sournois pour flatter l’opinion publique américaine. Ainsi, le dépeindre comme fanatique, réactionnaire et porteur de préjugés bruts apparait heureusement et certainement faux. Aussi, ce qui est encourageant, c’est que son entourage de proches conseillers est uniformément composé d’individus modérés et progressistes. (…) En dépit de ces turbulences, beaucoup d’Iraniens non religieux parlent de cette période comme l’heure de gloire de l’Islam. Après avoir créé un nouveau modèle de révolution populaire fondée, pour l’essentiel, sur les tactiques nonviolentes, l’Iran pourrait bien finalement nous fournir le modèle de gouvernance humaine dont ont désespérément besoin  les pays du tiers-monde. Richard Falk (universitaire de Princeton et conseiller de Carter, « Trusting Khomeini », NYT, February 16, 1979)
Nombre des déclarations [de l’Iran] sont certes répréhensibles, mais elles ne constituent pas une incitation au génocide. Personne ne les a mises en oeuvre. Kenneth Roth (président de Human Rights Watch)
L’ex-otage britannique au Liban, Terry Waite, a effectué une visite à Beyrouth la semaine dernière, 25 ans après son enlèvement par le Jihad islamique, un groupe pro-iranien proche du Hezbollah, rapportait dimanche un journaliste du Sunday Telegraph qui l’a accompagné durant son voyage. (…) Au cours de sa visite, M. Waite, 73 ans, s’est réuni lundi dernier avec le responsable des relations internationales au sein du Hezbollah, Ammar Moussawi, pour des « discussions de réconciliation ». La réunion a duré près de deux heures. Il a affirmé au journal britannique avoir demandé au parti islamiste libanais d’aider les réfugiés chrétiens syriens qui ont fui les violences dans leur pays. Terry Waite est un ancien émissaire du chef de l’Église anglicane de l’époque, Robert Runcie. Il a été enlevé au Liban en 1987 alors qu’il tentait de négocier la libération de quatre otages occidentaux. Accusé d’être un espion, il a été détenu par le Jihad islamique pendant 1 760 jours avant d’être libéré en 1991. (…) Au cours de sa réunion avec M. Moussawi, le Britannique s’est montré très critique vis-à-vis des soulèvements en cours dans le monde arabe, dénonçant l’islamisation des révolutions. « Le Printemps arabe s’est transformé en un pouvoir d’oppression et non de liberté », a-t-il dit au responsable du Hezbollah qui l’a en retour qualifié de « grand homme ». L’Orient du jour
Lors de la crise des missiles de Cuba, les États-Unis n’ont pas été confrontés à Cuba, mais à l’Union Soviétique. Israël n’a pas été confronté à Gaza, mais à l’Iran. Michael B. Oren (ambassadeur israélien aux États-Unis et historien militaire)
Même pour les normes de l’Afrique des années 1990, le RUF avait mis la barre très haut pour la brutalité. Ses soldats étaient principalement des enfants enlevés à leurs parents, nourris à la cocaïne et aux amphétamines. Son financement provenait des diamants du sang. Il s’était fait une véritable réputation pour l’amputations des membres de ses victimes. Ses campagnes militaires portaient des noms comme « tout doit disparaitre ». En janvier 1999, six mois avant le témoignage de Mme Rice du Sénat, le RUF fit le siège de la capitale, Freetown. « Le RUF a incendié des maisons avec leurs occupants toujours à l’intérieur, découpé à la machette les membres ou arraché les yeux au couteau de ses victimes, violé les enfants et abattu de nombreuses personnes dans la rue, » a écrit Ryan Lizza dans The New Republic. « En trois semaines, le RUF tué quelques 6 000 personnes, principalement des civils. » Que faire avec un tel groupe? L’Administration Clinton a eu une idée. Amorcer un processus de paix. Il n’a pas semblé  faire problème que Sankoh était manifestement irrécupérable et probablement psychotique. Ni qu’il avait violé les accords antérieurs pour mettre fin à la guerre. « Si vous traitez Sankoh comme un homme d’État, il le deviendra », telle était la théorie opératoire au Département d’Etat, selon un membre du personnel du Congrès cité par M. Lizza. Au lieu de traiter Sankoh comme une partie du problème, sinon le problème lui-même, le Département allait le traiter comme faisant partie de la solution. Un représentant du RUF fut donc invité à Washington pour des entretiens. Jesse Jackson fut nommé au poste d’envoyé spécial du président Clinton. (…) Un mois plus tard, les voeux de Mme Ricefurent exaucés avec la signature de l’Accord de paix de Lomé. C’était un incroyable Il s’agissait d’un document. Au nom de la réconciliation, les combattants du RUF furent amnistiés. Sankoh devint vice-président de la Sierra Leone. Pour adoucir l’affaire, il était également chargé de la commission chargée de surveiller le commerce des diamants du pays. Tout cela fut imposé au Président Kabbah. En septembre 1999, Mme Rice salua les efforts de »pratiques » du pasteur Jackson, de l’ambassadeur américain Joe Melrose « et de beaucoup d’autres » pour avoir contribué à la signature de l’accord de Lomé. Pendant des mois par la suite, Mme Rice célèbra les accords à chaque occasion. le pasteur Jackson, dit-elle, avait « joué un rôle particulièrement important, » comme l’avait fait Howard Jeter, son adjoint au Département. Lors d’une séance de questions-réponses avec des journalistes africains le 16 février 2000, elle défendit la participation de Sankoh au gouvernement, notant que « il y a plusieurs cas où des accords de paix dans le monde ont envisagé la conversion de mouvements rebelles en partis politiques ». Qui plus est, les États-Unis étaient même prêts à donner un coup de main à Sankoh, pourvu qu’il se tienne bien. « Parmi les institutions de gouvernement que nous sommes prêts à aider, » dit-elle, « il y a bien sûr la Commission des ressources quel dirige M. Sankoh. » Bien entendu. Trois mois plus tard, le RUF prenait 500 casques bleus des Nations Unies en otage et menaçait à nouveau Freetown. L’Accord de Lomé était devenu lettre morte. Bret Stephens
La croissance économique qui a suivi la révolution était agitée et insoutenable, note Gaidar, reprenant un thème de son ouvrage précédent, « L’effondrement d’un Empire ». Dans « Russie: une vision à long terme, » il se tourne rapidement vers les mois qui ont suivi l’effondrement soviétique, citant les notes de service catastrophiques sur la famine imminente et la désintégration sociale qui s’entassaient sur son bureau en novembre 1991. Il réfute plusieurs idées sur ce qui s’est passé à cette époque, y compris l’affirmation fausse que la réforme économique avait provoqué la crise – i.e., que la stabilisation monétaire, la privatisation et la libéralisation des prix avaient entraîné une chute catastrophique de production. Une telle revendication, pour Gaidar, vient du fait de regarder le problème du mauvaise côté. L’argent soviétique n’était pas de l’argent réel, tout comme la production soviétique n’était pas de la vraie production. L’économie avait créé des produits et services dont personne ne voulait, par l’intermédiaire de processus qui détruisaient la valeur au lieu de le créer. L’arrêt des fausses incitations à produire ne pouvait que provoquerque l’effondrement de la production enregistrée. La réforme était nécessaire parce que les dirigeants soviétiques avaient hérité d’une crise qui menaçait l’existence même du pays. Gaidar conclut en évaluant les dirigeants actuels de la Russie. « Il n’est pas difficile d’être populaire et avoir un soutien politique », écrit-il, « lorsque vous disposez de dix années de croissance du revenu réel à 10 pour cent par an ». Mais cette époque est révolue. Le régime doit maintenant choisir entre répression (« tentant mais suicidaire ») et ce qu’il appelle « la libéralisation réglementée ». En particulier, il soutient que la Russie doit rétablir la liberté d’expression, ouvrir son processus de prise de décision, instituer un système judiciaire indépendant et mener une « guerre contre la corruption ». Taiwan, l’Espagne et le Chili sont pour lui des exemples à suivre. Edward Lucas
Reuel Marc Gerecht, de la Fondation pour la défense des démocraties et Brian Katulis du Center for American Progress soutenaient « Plutôt des islamistes élus que des dictateurs » (…) Katulis a accusé les dictatures d’encourager « les sortes d’idéologies » qui ont conduit au 9/11 et Gerecht a insisté que ce sont les juntes militaires, pas les islamistes, qui sont généralement « le véritable danger. … Le seul moyen d’obtenir un ordre plus libéral au Moyen-Orient, c’est par l’intermédiaire des électeurs croyants » qui portent les islamistes au pouvoir. Katulis a soutenu que les islamistes élus changent et deviennent moins idéologiques et plus pragmatiques ; que pris dans la mélée de la politique au jour le jour ils évoluent pour se concentrer sur les « besoins fondamentaux », tels que la sécurité et l’emploi.(…) En seulement trois mois, Morsi a montré qu’il aspire à des pouvoirs dictatoriaux supérieurs à ceux de Moubarak et que son règne laisse présager une encore plus grande calamité pour l’Égypte que Moubarak. Il a parfaitement justifié notre point de vue à Jasser et à moi qu’il vaut mieux des dictateurs que des islamistes élus. Comme je l’ai indiqué au cours du débat, les Occidentaux doivent fermer avec détermination la porte aux dictateurs idéologiques comme les islamistes tout en faisant pression sur les dictateurs avides pour qu’ils fassent place à la société civile. Telle est la la seule porte de sortie de ce faux choix entre deux formes de tyrannie. Daniel Pipes

A l’heure où, avec les missiles de Gaza, la révolution iranienne vient pour la énième fois de confirmer tout le potentiel qu’avait laissé escomter il y a plus de 40 ans son lancement franco-américain sur les fronts baptismaux  …

Et où, de l’ONU à l’ex-otage du Hezbollah Terry Waite, la même bien-pensance occidentale est repartie pour un tour avec l’adoubement d’organisations qui continuent à appeler à l’annihilation d’un de leurs voisins …

Comment ne pas être attendri avec l’islamologue Daniel Pipes commentant la nouvelle expérience en cours et en direct de l’Egypte

Par la confondante et indéfectible constance avec laquelle les belles âmes qui nous gouvernent …

Continuent à ignorer pour la diplomatie la leçon de Gide sur la littérature ?

Better Dictators than Elected Islamists

Daniel Pipes

The Washington Times

December 11, 2012

Washington Times title: « Islamists are worse than dictators »

Who is worse, President Mohamed Morsi, the elected Islamist seeking to apply Islamic law in Egypt, or President Husni Mubarak, the former dictator ousted for trying to start a dynasty? More broadly will a liberal, democratic order more likely emerge under Islamist ideologues who prevail through the ballot box or from greedy dictators with no particular agenda beyond their own survival and power?

Morsi’s recent actions provide an answer, establishing that Islamists are yet worse than dictators.

This issue came up in an interesting debate for Intelligence Squared U.S. in early October when Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress argued « Better elected Islamists than dictators, » while Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and I argued the counter-argument. Well, no one really argued « for » anyone. The other team did not endorse Islamists, we certainly did not celebrate dictators. The issue, rather, was which sort of ruler is the lesser of two evils, and can be cudgeled to democracy.

Katulis blamed dictatorships for fostering « the sorts of ideologies » that led to 9/11 and Gerecht insisted that military juntas, not Islamists, generally are « the real danger. … The only way you’re going to get a more liberal order in the Middle East is through people of faith » who vote Islamists into office. Katulis argued that elected Islamists change and morph, becoming less ideological and more practical; they evolve in response to the rough and tumble of politics to focus on « basic needs » such as security and jobs.

President Mohamed Morsi meeting with Australia’s Prime Minister Julie Gillard in Sept. 2012.

In Iraq, Gerecht professed to find that « a tidal wave of people who were once hard core Islamists who … have become pretty profound democrats, if not liberals. » As for Egypt, he noted approvingly but inaccurately that « The Muslim Brotherhood is having serious internal debates because they haven’t figured out how to handle [their success]. That’s what we want. We want them to fight it out. »

Jasser and I replied to this catalogue of inaccuracies (military juntas led to 9/11?) and wishful thinking (true believers will compromise on their goals? a tidal wave of Iraqi Islamists became liberals?) by stating first that ideologues are « dictators on steroids » who don’t moderate upon reaching power but dig themselves in, building foundations to remain indefinitely in office. Second, ideologues neglect the very issues that our opponents stressed – security and jobs – in favor of implementing Islamic laws. Greedy dictators, in contrast, short on ideology and vision, do not have a vision of society and so can be convinced to move toward economic development, personal freedoms, an open political process, and rule of law (for example, South Korea).

Lo and behold, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have followed exactly our script. Since taking power in August, Morsi (1) sidelined the military, then focused on entrenching and expanding their supremacy, most notably by issuing a series of orders on Nov. 22 that arrogated autocratic powers to him and spreading Zionist conspiracy theories about his opponents. He then (2) rammed through an Islamist-oriented constitution on Nov. 30 and called a snap referendum on it Dec. 15. Consumed with these two tasks, he virtually ignored the myriad issues afflicting Egypt, especially the looming economic crisis and the lack of funds to pay for imported food.

Morsi’s power grab stimulated anti-Islamist Egyptians to join forces as the « National Salvation Front » and confront Islamists in the most violent street clashes in six decades, forcing him partially to retreat from his Nov.22 orders. Ironically, after deftly sidelining the military in August, Morsi’s overreach created circumstances that returned ultimate authority to the generals, who can intervene for or against him. By choosing Islamist sympathizers as top officers and offering the military enhanced privileges in the proposed constitution, he has in all likelihood won their support. Martial law appears likely next.

In just three months, Morsi has shown that he aspires to dictatorial powers greater than Mubarak’s and that his rule portends to be an even greater calamity for Egypt than was Mubarak’s. He has neatly vindicated Jasser’s and my point: better dictators than elected Islamists. As I noted in the debate, Westerners should slam the door hard on ideological dictators like Islamists while pressuring greedy dictators to allow civil society. That offers the only exit from the false choice of two forms of tyranny.

Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum.

Voir aussi:

The Other Susan Rice File

How to embrace psychotic murderers and alienate a continent.

Bret Stephens

The WSJ

December 11, 2012

The trouble with a newspaper column lies in the word limit. Last week, I wrote about some of Susan Rice’s diplomatic misadventures in Africa during her years in the Clinton administration: Rwanda, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo. But there wasn’t enough space to get to them all.

And Sierra Leone deserves a column of its own.

On June 8, 1999, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ms. Rice, then the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, delivered testimony on a range of issues, and little Sierra Leone was high on the list. An elected civilian government led by a former British barrister named Ahmad Kabbah had been under siege for years by a rebel group known as the Revolutionary United Front, led by a Libyan-trained guerrilla named Foday Sankoh. Events were coming to a head.

Even by the standards of Africa in the 1990s, the RUF set a high bar for brutality. Its soldiers were mostly children, abducted from their parents, fed on a diet of cocaine and speed. Its funding came from blood diamonds. It was internationally famous for chopping off the limbs of its victims. Its military campaigns bore such names as « Operation No Living Thing. »

In January 1999, six months before Ms. Rice’s Senate testimony, the RUF laid siege to the capital city of Freetown. « The RUF burned down houses with their occupants still inside, hacked off limbs, gouged out eyes with knives, raped children, and gunned down scores of people in the street, » wrote Ryan Lizza in the New Republic. « In three weeks, the RUF killed some 6,000 people, mostly civilians. »

What to do with a group like this? The Clinton administration had an idea. Initiate a peace process.

It didn’t seem to matter that Sankoh was demonstrably evil and probably psychotic. It didn’t seem to matter, either, that he had violated previous agreements to end the war. « If you treat Sankoh like a statesman, he’ll be one, » was the operative theory at the State Department, according to one congressional staffer cited by Mr. Lizza. Instead of treating Sankoh as part of the problem, if not the problem itself, State would treat him as part of the solution. An RUF representative was invited to Washington for talks. Jesse Jackson was appointed to the position of President Clinton’s special envoy.

It would be tempting to blame Rev. Jackson for the debacle that would soon follow. But as Ms. Rice was keen to insist in her Senate testimony that June, it was the Africa hands at the State Department who were doing most of the heavy lifting.

« It’s been through active U.S. diplomacy behind the scenes, » she explained. « It hasn’t gotten a great deal of press coverage, that we and others saw the rebels and the government of Sierra Leone come to the negotiating table just a couple of weeks ago, in the context of a negotiated cease-fire, in which the United States played an important role. »

A month later, Ms. Rice got her wish with the signing of the Lomé Peace Accord. It was an extraordinary document. In the name of reconciliation, RUF fighters were given amnesty. Sankoh was made Sierra Leone’s vice president. To sweeten the deal, he was also put in charge of the commission overseeing the country’s diamond trade. All this was foisted on President Kabbah.

In September 1999, Ms. Rice praised the « hands-on efforts » of Rev. Jackson, U.S. Ambassador Joe Melrose « and many others » for helping bring about the Lomé agreement.

For months thereafter, Ms. Rice cheered the accords at every opportunity. Rev. Jackson, she said, had « played a particularly valuable role, » as had Howard Jeter, her deputy at State. In a Feb. 16, 2000, Q&A session with African journalists, she defended Sankoh’s participation in the government, noting that « there are many instances where peace agreements around the world have contemplated rebel movements converting themselves into political parties. »

What was more, the U.S. was even prepared to lend Sankoh a helping hand, provided he behaved himself. « Among the institutions of government that we are prepared to assist, » she said, « is of course the Commission on Resources which Mr. Sankoh heads. »

Of course.

Three months later, the RUF took 500 U.N. peacekeepers as hostages and was again threatening Freetown. Lomé had become a dead letter. The State Department sought to send Rev. Jackson again to the region, but he was so detested that his trip had to be canceled. The U.N.’s Kofi Annan begged for Britain’s help. Tony Blair obliged him.

« Over a number of weeks, » Mr. Blair recalls in his memoirs, British troops « did indeed sort out the RUF. . . . The RUF leader Foday Sankoh was arrested, and during the following months there was a buildup of the international presence, a collapse of the rebels and over time a program of comprehensive disarmament. . . . The country’s democracy was saved. »

Today Mr. Blair is a national hero in Sierra Leone. As for Ms. Rice and the administration she represented, history will deliver its own verdict.

Voir également:

Dancing Around Genocide

David Feith

The WSJ

December 5, 2012

Is promoting genocide a human-rights violation? You might think that’s an easy question. But it isn’t at Human Rights Watch, where a bitter debate is raging over how to describe Iran’s calls for the destruction of Israel. The infighting reveals a peculiar standard regarding dictatorships and human rights and especially the Jewish state.

Human Rights Watch is the George Soros-funded operation that has outsize influence in governments, newsrooms and classrooms world-wide. Some at the nonprofit want to denounce Iran’s regime for inciting genocide. « Sitting still while Iran claims a ‘justification to kill all Jews and annihilate Israel’ . . . is a position unworthy of our great organization, » Sid Sheinberg, the group’s vice chairman, wrote to colleagues in a recent email.

But Executive Director Kenneth Roth, who runs the nonprofit, strenuously disagrees.

Asked in 2010 about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement that Israel « must be wiped off the map, » Mr. Roth suggested that the Iranian president has been misunderstood. « There was a real question as to whether he actually said that, » Mr. Roth told The New Republic, because the Persian language lacks an idiom for wiping off the map. Then again, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s own English-language website translated his words that way, and the main alternative translation— « eliminated from the pages of history »—is no more benign. Nor is Mr. Ahmadinejad an outlier in the regime. Iran’s top military officer declared earlier this year that « the Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel. »

Mr. Roth’s main claim is legalistic: Iran’s rhetoric doesn’t qualify as « incitement »—which is illegal under the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948—but amounts merely to « advocacy, » which is legal.

« The theory » to which Human Rights Watch subscribes, he has written in internal emails, « is that in the case of advocacy, however hateful, there is time to dissuade—to rebut speech with speech— whereas in the case of incitement, the action being urged is so imminently connected to the speech in question that there is no time to dissuade. Incitement must be suppressed because it is tantamount to action. »

Mr. Roth added in another email: « Many of [Iran’s] statements are certainly reprehensible, but they are not incitement to genocide. No one has acted on them. »

Really? What about the officials, soldiers and scientists behind Iran’s nuclear program? Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was a senior nuclear scientist until his death in a car explosion this year. His widow afterward boasted: « Mostafa’s ultimate goal was the annihilation of Israel. »

Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group founded by the Tehran regime, is also unabashed about its motivations. Then there’s Hamas, the Tehran-backed Palestinian terror group whose founding charter declares that « Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it. »

If building nuclear weapons and deploying Hezbollah and Hamas aren’t « action » in Mr. Roth’s view, what is? « Incitement to genocide did occur in Rwanda, » he has written to colleagues. « Radio Milles Collines identified the locations of Tutsis and directed organized gangs to hunt them down, which they promptly did, in real time. »

So if genocidal talk isn’t causing genocidal action in « real time, » Human Rights Watch must sit on its hands. That approach seems to miss the purpose of both the Genocide Convention—to stop genocide before it happens, not simply litigate it afterward—and of human-rights activism generally.

For decades Human Rights Watch has done brave reporting behind the Iron Curtain, in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, communist China and other dark corners. Yet its silence on Iran’s genocidal rhetoric fits a pattern toward Israel.

Mr. Roth, when asked to comment for this article, said that a Human Rights Watch committee may review Iran’s rhetoric, but in his view Tehran isn’t inciting genocide and claims to the contrary are « part of an effort to beat the war drums against Iran. » In other words, Tehran will continue to call for Israel’s obliteration—and Human Rights Watch will continue to sit back and watch.

Mr. Feith is an assistant editorial features editor at the Journal

Voir de plus:

Democracy Promotion or Islamist Promotion?
Bruce Thornton
Frontpage Magazine

December 12, 2012

The hope that democracy would bloom in Egypt following our collusion in removing Hosni Mubarak looks more and more delusional every day. Even our foreign policy wishful thinkers are no longer peddling the canard that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is “secular” and “moderate,” thus proving that Muslims devoted to the global expansion of Islam and illiberal Sharia law can be liberal democrats friendly to our interests. But despite being mugged by the Islamist reality, too many democracy promoters in the West still refuse to acknowledge that the Iranian Revolution, not the American Revolution, is the likely model for the so-called “Arab Spring.”

The latest moves by president Mohammed Morsi to aggrandize Muslim Brotherhood power in Egypt would not surprise anyone even casually familiar with that organization’s aims and ideology. But even those presumably in the know still cling to the Western narrative predicated on Western assumptions. For example, New York Times Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick recently said, “The Brotherhood, they’re politicians. They are not violent by nature, and they have over the last couple of decades evolved more and more into a moderate — conservative but religious, but moderate — regular old political force.” It takes just such a massive failure of imagination to ignore the illiberal and Islamist implications of Morsi’s recent autocratic behavior, which is consistent with nearly 90 years of Muslim Brotherhood jihadist goals like “the Koran is our law” and “death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” Is that not an aim “violent by nature”? What other global “regular old political force” endorses such illiberal aspirations? Like many Westerners, Kirkpatrick confuses pragmatism for moderation.

And don’t be fooled by the fact that Morsi’s November 22 decree insulating his actions from judicial review has been partially rescinded. The decree already has served its purpose. The Islamist-dominated assembly has finished writing the new constitution that enshrines Sharia law, and a referendum on it will be held on Saturday. Ominously, Morsi has deployed the army as “security,” giving it the right to arrest civilians. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “If voters pass the constitution on Saturday, it could give Islamists a nearly free hand to redraft the architecture of Egypt’s nascent democracy.” Andrew McCarthy last week quoted Morsi adviser Khairat al-Shater to give us a hint at what purpose that new constitutional structure would serve: “to subjugate people to God on earth” and “to organize our life and the lives of the people on the basis of Islam,” which is “our main and overall mission as Muslim Brothers.” As for Kirkpatrick’s old-fashioned pol Morsi, Freedom Center Shillman Fellow Raymond Ibrahim recently reported that a Muslim Brotherhood official said on Egyptian television that “Supreme Guide” Muhammed Badie “rules Morsi.” If true, this means an Egyptian government hostile to Israel and supportive of the terrorist gang Hamas, which like Badie explicitly endorses genocide, and committed to the “Grand Jihad” of subverting Western civilization from within.

But what about the protesters in Tahrir Square? Don’t they represent a significant liberal opposition to an Iran-like state arising in Egypt? We will know after Saturday, when a postponement of the referendum, or a result rejecting the constitution, will demonstrate that the thousands protesting in Cairo we see on the news represent the preferences of 83 million Egyptians we don’t see. But as Andrew Bostom reports, research by Vote Compass Egypt suggests that 70% of Egyptians will vote for a constitution that legalizes religious intolerance and ignores fundamental human rights, an outcome consistent with several years of polling in Egypt that consistently has found widespread support for Sharia law. Perhaps that’s why the liberals are trying to postpone the vote and are calling for a boycott. They understand that “democracy” understood only as popular sovereignty will lead to illiberal and tyrannical results. If you don’t believe them, listen to influential cleric Sheik Yasser Borhami, who said of the new constitution, “This constitution has more complete restraints on rights than ever existed before in any Egyptian constitution. This will not be a democracy that can allow what God forbids, or forbid what God allows.”

Meanwhile, another venue of revolution against a brutal dictator, Syria, also looks more and more likely to result in chaos favorable not to liberal democracy, but to the Muslim Brotherhood and the more explicitly jihadist gangs fighting against Assad. According to the New York Times, the al-Qaeda franchise Al-Nusra Front “has become one of the uprising’s most effective fighting forces” since “its fighters, a small minority of the rebels, have the boldness and skill to storm fortified positions and lead other battalions to capture military bases and oil fields. As their successes mount, they gather more weapons and attract more fighters.” Other Islamist groups were recently seen in a video leading a sing-along extolling terrorism, the destruction of the World Trade Center, and the Taliban. More frightening still, another video has surfaced that — assuming it’s authentic — shows the Free Syrian Army killing rabbits with some sort of poison gas.

But don’t worry, the new “opposition alliance” endorsed by France and the US is lead by Moaz al–Khatib. As J.E. Dyer reports, Khatib is “a Muslim Brotherhood member with a history of anti-Semitic, anti-Western statements, who has castigated as ‘revisionists’ fellow Muslims (like Alawites) whose beliefs differ on the margins, and who believes that the bombing of Israelis is ‘evidence of God’s justice.’” Yet despite all the signs that, as Frontpage’s Daniel Greenfield wrote recently, “Syria is coming down to a race between the Iranian allied Syrian government, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda,” according to the London Sunday Times, “The United States is launching a covert operation to send weapons to Syrian rebels for the first time,” including “mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles.” Some of the weapons come from “the stockpiles of Muammar Gaddafi” and “include SA-7 missiles, which can be used to shoot down aircraft.” It’s looking more and more like a reprise of the debacle in Libya, where US military power was used to arm and empower jihadist gangs like the one that assassinated 4 Americans in Benghazi.

So this is what ten years of democracy promotion in the Middle East have brought us: illiberal states increasingly dominated by unstable mixtures of jihadist terrorists and more tactically savvy Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood who both share the goal of creating some version of Iran’s Islamic government. In short, we will have colluded in creating states hostile to our interests and security, and those of our closest ally in the region, Israel. Such are the fruits of foreign policy wishful thinking.

Voir enfin:

Shock Therapy’s Unsung Hero

Edward Lucas

The WSJ

December 11, 2012

The causes of modern economic growth are one great mystery, the sources of Russia’s plight another. Only someone with the intellectual ambition of Yegor Gaidar would try to penetrate both mysteries in a single volume.

Gaidar was for two decades one of the most important intellectual forces in Russia. As deputy prime minister he launched the country’s sprint to a market economy in November 1991, amid the ruins of the Soviet system. Personally austere and intellectually rigorous, he despised the corruption and cronyism that took root in Russia in the 1990s. But he was still more disillusioned by the authoritarian course plotted by Vladimir Putin after he became president in 2000. Gaidar died in 2009, at age 53.

« Russia: A Long View » synthesizes this remarkable man’s thinking about economics, history and politics. It ranges from the puzzles of slowing GDP per capita in the agrarian societies of the Neolithic Age to the quirks of alcohol consumption in 19th-century Germany. It is an uncompromising tombstone of a book, first published in Russia in 2005 but only posthumously in English, in an exemplary translation by Antonina W. Bouis.

Despite its Russo-centric title, Anders Åslund, the Swedish economist, describes « Russia: A Long View, » in the book’s foreword, as one of the best single-volume economic histories of the world ever written.

It opens with a survey of Marxist analysis of economic growth. Gaidar has some sympathy for Karl Marx himself, who in Gaidar’s view saw the weaknesses in his own theories more clearly than his followers did. But he blasts the Marxist simplicities that surrounded much Soviet-era thinking about economic development—in particular the Marxian assumption that economies conform to « the iron laws of history. » Far from obeying iron laws, Gaidar says, modern economies find themselves subject to « an incomplete, continuing process of dynamic transformations without precedent in world history. »

Having established his theoretical framework, Gaidar turns to the root causes of Russia’s backwardness. He places special emphasis on the eclipse of the self-governing medieval republic of Novgorod in northern Russia, a polity akin, he says, to Italy’s then-thriving city-states.

When Novgorod was subjugated by Moscow in the 15th century, becoming part of Russia’s vast feudal apparatus, Russia became separated « culturally, religiously, politically and ideologically from the center of innovation that Western Europe was rapidly becoming. » Whereas elements of a « taxpayers’ based democracy » were becoming entrenched in Europe, Russia’s system was of the « Eastern despotic type, » based on maximizing the resources that the state could extract from the peasant population.

In the years before the Russian Revolution, Gaidar argues, the country was beginning to shed the burden of its past, with urbanization and fast economic growth narrowing the gap with Europe. But communist economics brought a sharply different course, marked by the state ownership of property, the bureaucratic allocation of resources, forced industrialization, militarism and ruthless political repression.

The economic growth that followed the revolution was fitful and unsustainable, Gaidar notes, recapitulating a theme of his earlier book, « Collapse of an Empire. » In « Russia: A Long View, » he turns quickly to the months after the Soviet collapse, citing the graphic memorandums about impending famine and social breakdown that piled up on his desk in November 1991. He rebuts several ideas about what happened at that time, including the bogus claim that economic reform caused the crisis—i.e., that price liberalization, monetary stabilization and privatization resulted in a catastrophic fall in output.

Such a claim, Gaidar says, comes from viewing the problem the wrong way round. Soviet money wasn’t real money, just as Soviet output wasn’t real production. The economy created goods and services that nobody wanted via processes that destroyed value rather than creating it. Ending phony incentives to produce was bound to send recorded output crashing down. Reform was necessary because the Soviet leadership had bequeathed a crisis that threatened the country’s very existence.

Gaidar concludes by assessing Russia’s current leadership. « It is not hard to be popular and have political support, » he writes, « when you have ten years of growth of real income at 10 percent a year. » But that era is over. The regime must now choose between repression (« tempting but suicidal ») and what he calls « regulated liberalization. »

In particular, he argues that Russia needs to restore freedom of speech, open up its process of decision- making, institute an independent judiciary and wage a « war on corruption. » Taiwan, Spain and Chile, he says, offer examples of how to do it. It would be a task worthy of Gaidar’s own talents, if only he were around to offer them.

Mr. Lucas is the author of « Deception, » a new book on Russian espionage, and « The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West. »

Voir enfin:

Un commentaire pour Diplomatie: C’est avec les beaux sentiments qu’on fait de la mauvaise diplomatie (If you treat him like a statesman, he’ll be one)

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