Héritage Obama: A quand le retrait des troupes américaines de Corée ? (Dennis Rodman of politics: Is there anything Obama will not do to burnish his precious legacy ?)

18 août, 2015
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After two years of negotiations, we have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb. Barack Hussein Obama

More than a decade later, we still live with the consequences of the decision to invade Iraq . . . Today, Iraq remains gripped by sectarian conflict, and the emergence of al-Qaeda in Iraq has now evolved into ISIL. Barack Hussein Obama
« The president said many times he’s willing to step out of the rut of history.” (…) Once again Rhodes has, perhaps inadvertently, exposed the president’s premises more clearly than the president likes to do. The rut of history: It is a phrase worth pondering. It expresses a deep scorn for the past, a zeal for newness and rupture, an arrogance about old struggles and old accomplishments, a hastiness with inherited precedents and circumstances, a superstition about the magical powers of the present. It expresses also a generational view of history, which, like the view of history in terms of decades and centuries, is one of the shallowest views of all.expresses also a generational view of history, which, like the view of history in terms of decades and centuries, is one of the shallowest views of all. This is nothing other than the mentality of disruption applied to foreign policy. In the realm of technology, innovation justifies itself; but in the realm of diplomacy and security, innovation must be justified, and it cannot be justified merely by an appetite for change. Tedium does not count against a principled alliance or a grand strategy. Indeed, a continuity of policy may in some cases—the Korean peninsula, for example: a rut if ever there was one—represent a significant achievement. (…) Obama seems to believe that the United States owes Iran some sort of expiation. As he explained to Thomas Friedman the day after the nuclear agreement was reached, “we had some involvement with overthrowing a democratically elected regime in Iran” in 1953. Six years ago, when the streets of Iran exploded in a democratic rebellion and the White House stood by as it was put down by the government with savage force against ordinary citizens, memories of Mohammad Mosaddegh were in the air around the administration, as if to explain that the United States was morally disqualified by a prior sin of intervention from intervening in any way in support of the dissidents. The guilt of 1953 trumped the duty of 2009. But what is the alternative? This is the question that is supposed to silence all objections. It is, for a start, a demagogic question. This agreement was designed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. If it does not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—and it seems uncontroversial to suggest that it does not guarantee such an outcome—then it does not solve the problem that it was designed to solve. And if it does not solve the problem that it was designed to solve, then it is itself not an alternative, is it? The status is still quo. Or should we prefer the sweetness of illusion to the nastiness of reality? For as long as Iran does not agree to retire its infrastructure so that the manufacture of a nuclear weapon becomes not improbable but impossible, the United States will not have transformed the reality that worries it. We will only have mitigated it and prettified it. We will have found relief from the crisis, but not a resolution of it. The administration’s apocalyptic rhetoric about the deal is absurd: The temporary diminishments of Iran’s enrichment activities are not what stand between the Islamic Republic and a bomb. The same people who assure us that Iran has admirably renounced its aspiration to a nuclear arsenal now warn direly that a failure to ratify the accord will send Iranian centrifuges spinning madly again. They ridicule the call for more stringent sanctions against Iran because the sanctions already in place are “leaky” and crumbling, and then they promise us that these same failing measures can be speedily and reliably reconstituted in a nifty mechanism called “snapback.” Leon Wieseltier
La Corée du Nord a appris au monde qu’au poker nucléaire la folie feinte vous vaut de l’aide étrangère ou l’attention planétaire — du fait que même la certitude qu’on a affaire à un bluff à 99% reste suffisante pour effrayer les opinions publiques occidentales. La Corée du nord est le proverbial envieux psychopathe du quartier qui agresse constamment ses voisins prospères d’à côté, en partant du principe que les voisins ne pourront manquer de prendre en compte ses menaces aussi sauvages qu’absurdes parce qu’il n’a rien et qu’ils ont tout à perdre. (…) L’Iran pourrait reprendre à l’infini le modèle de Kim — menaçant une semaine de rayer Israël de la carte, faisant machine arrière la semaine d’après sous prétexte de problèmes de traduction. L’objectif ne serait pas nécessairement de détruire Israël (ce qui vaudrait à l’Iran la destruction de la culture persane pour un siècle), mais d’imposer une telle atmosphère d’inquiétude et de pessimisme à l’Etat juif que son économie en serait affaiblie, son émigration en serait encouragée et sa réputation géostratégique en serait érodée. La Corée du nord est passée maître dans de telles tactiques de chantage nucléaire. A certains moments, Pyongyang a même réussi à réduire les deux géants asiatiques – Japon et Corée du Sud – à la quasi-paralysie. (…) Un Iran nucléaire n’aurait à s’inquiéter ni d’un ennemi existentiel avec une population d’un milliard d’habitants à côté tel que l’Inde ni d’un mécène tout aussi peuplé comme la Chine susceptible d’imposer des lignes rouges à ses crises de folie périodiques. Téhéran serait libre au contraire de faire et de dire ce qu’il veut. Et son statut de puissance nucléaire deviendrait un multiplicateur de force pour son énorme richesse pétrolière et son statut auto-proclamé de leader mondial des musulmans chiites. Si la Corée du Nord est un danger, alors un Iran nucléaire plus gros, plus riche et sans dissuasion serait un cauchemar. Victor Davis Hanson
The definition of appeasement is to accept demands from an aggressor and then declare that the resulting concessions were of no real importance in the first place. Victor Davis Hanson
When Obama entered office in January 2009, post-surge Iraq was quiet. By the end of his first year in office, three Americans had been killed. In 2010, fewer Americans were lost in Iraq each month than in accidents involving the U.S. military. That is why Joe Biden thought Iraq would be the administration’s “greatest achievement,” and Obama himself declared the country “stable and self-reliant.” Pulling all U.S. troops out at the end of 2011, against the advice of almost all sober military and diplomatic experts, achieved the desired talking point for the 2012 reelection campaign, but collapsed the country and birthed ISIL. Obama’s demagoguery is as if President Dwight Eisenhower had pulled all U.S. troops out of South Korea in 1955 to prep for his 1956 reelection campaign — and then blamed the ensuing North Korean victory and devastation of South Korea on Harry Truman for entering the Korean War in the first place in 1950. (…) All the contortions that Barack Obama has offered about Iraq — damning the invasion in 2003; claiming in 2004 that he had no policy differences on Iraq with the Bush administration; declaring in 2007 that the surge would fail; demanding in 2008 as a presidential candidate that all U.S. troops be brought home; assuring the world in 2011 that Iraq was “stable” and “self-reliant” as he pulled out all American peacekeepers; reassuring the world in 2014 that Iraq’s ISIS was not a real threat; and then deciding in 2015 that it was, as he ordered forces back in — have been predicated on perceived political advantage. That also explains why the deal was not presented as a treaty requiring a two-thirds vote of the Senate, as the Constitution outlines. Victor Davis Hanson

Après l’Iran et Cuba, la Corée du nord ?

A l’heure ou emporté par son obsession du changement pour le changement et sa place dans l’histoire …

Le maître-démagogue et pire président américain depuis Carter …

Confirme qu’il est bel et bien prêt de l’Irak à l’Afghanistan où à Cuba et sans oublier ses alliés les plus fidèles comme Israël …

A passer aux pertes et profits, littéralement les yeux fermés, les gains chèrement acquis et héritages combinés de l’ensemble de ses prédécesseurs depuis la Guerre froide …

Comment ne pas se poser la question suggérée en creux par la dernière tribune de l’historien américain Victor Davis Hanson …

De la Corée du nord ?

Ou, pour l’ineffable bonheur d’être le premier à le faire, notre Dennis Rodman de la politique pourrait bien retirer les troupes américaines de Corée du sud …

Et enfin serrer la paluche du dernier dictateur stalinien de la planète ?

Obama: Tougher on Congress than on Khamenei

Obama’s Unpresidential Iran Speech: The speech was mean-spirited and dishonest ─ and may have been counterproductive.

Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

August 11, 2015
President Obama’s speech last week advocating congressional approval of the Iran deal was mostly made-up history mixed with invective. Indeed, he talked far more roughly about his congressional partners than he did about our Iranian enemies, who have worked so hard to kill Americans over the last 35 years.
Obama assured us that in the past a “nonproliferation treaty . . . prohibited nations from acquiring nuclear weapons.” One wonders, then, how India, China, North Korea, and Pakistan ever obtained them, given they were all forbidden to do so under “new agreements” forged by Democratic and Republican presidents. Is there much logic in the assertion that the intelligence was flawed when we went to war with what proved to be a non-nuclear Iraq, but that we can trust the same intelligence agencies to apprise us precisely of the nuclear status of Iran?

“After two years of negotiations,” Obama went on, “we have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb.”

The deal does no such thing. Iran can still possess some enriched uranium. It can still operate centrifuges. It is not subject to anytime, anywhere inspections. And it will be almost impossible to restore international sanctions should Iran be caught cheating. As in the case of Obamacare, most of Obama’s pre-negotiation assurances are now either forgotten or ignored.

Obama, as is his wont, derides any who disagree with him: “Between now and the congressional vote in September, you are going to hear a lot of arguments against this deal, backed by tens of millions of dollars in advertising. And if the rhetoric in these ads and the accompanying commentary sounds familiar, it should, for many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.”

Yet even as Obama spoke those words, an array of Hollywood liberals was appearing in commercials drumming up support for the treaty. China and Russia are said to be lobbying senators to vote for it. When the president drones on ad nauseam about those “same people” who “argued for the war,” whom exactly does he include in the stable of Iraq War supporters — neocons like Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Fareed Zakaria, and Thomas Friedman? When Obama blasts the “tens of millions of dollars in advertising,” with suggestions of the nefarious role of the “same people” who wanted the Iraq War, I think we are meant to understand the old wink-and-nod dual-loyalty trope about American supporters of Israel.

Obama claimed that the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq was “a preference for military action over diplomacy.” Yet the Iraq War was authorized by both houses of Congress, with a majority of Democratic senators voting in favor, and the resolution contained 23 writs of action — all following up, in the post-9/11 climate, on the regime-change and liberation acts signed into law by former president Bill Clinton. The Bush administration spent months at the United Nations seeking to persuade Security Council members France and Russia (each enjoying valuable oil concessions from Saddam Hussein) to authorize military action in order to enforce U.N. sanctions. In contrast, Obama went to war in Libya without congressional approval. By bombing Moammar Qaddafi into extinction (as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it, “We came, we saw, he died”), Obama exceeded the U.N. authorization, which limited U.S. action to humanitarian support and no-fly zones. If Hillary wanted to quote classical Latin concerning the Libyan aftermath, she would have done better to invoke Tacitus: “Where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

The most disingenuous element of Obama’s entire speech was his assertion that “More than a decade later, we still live with the consequences of the decision to invade Iraq . . . Today, Iraq remains gripped by sectarian conflict, and the emergence of al-Qaeda in Iraq has now evolved into ISIL.”

When Obama entered office in January 2009, post-surge Iraq was quiet. By the end of his first year in office, three Americans had been killed. In 2010, fewer Americans were lost in Iraq each month than in accidents involving the U.S. military. That is why Joe Biden thought Iraq would be the administration’s “greatest achievement,” and Obama himself declared the country “stable and self-reliant.”

Pulling all U.S. troops out at the end of 2011, against the advice of almost all sober military and diplomatic experts, achieved the desired talking point for the 2012 reelection campaign, but collapsed the country and birthed ISIL. Obama’s demagoguery is as if President Dwight Eisenhower had pulled all U.S. troops out of South Korea in 1955 to prep for his 1956 reelection campaign — and then blamed the ensuing North Korean victory and devastation of South Korea on Harry Truman for entering the Korean War in the first place in 1950.

Obama, again, blames George W. Bush for most of the problems he himself has caused. For instance, he claims that the Iranians started spinning centrifuges while Bush was in office, conveniently forgetting two key points. First, as a senator, Obama voted to deny the Bush administration the ability to use military force to deter Iran, and he voted against the designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, despite its then-recent efforts to kill Americans in Iraq. Second, far more centrifuges have come on line during the Obama administration than did during the Bush administration.

What mostly brought Iran to the negotiating table was not skillful Obama diplomacy, but the ongoing increases in global gas and oil supplies, and the resulting collapse of oil prices, which assuaged our Asian and European allies’ worries about skyrocketing oil prices should Iranian oil go off the market. The prospect of a glut persuaded them to join in sanctioning Iran. The plunge in oil prices that strengthened the Obama administration’s hand came about as a result of private exploration in the U.S. that occurred despite rather than because of Obama’s efforts.

When Obama claims that so far his diplomacy has curtailed Iranian enrichment, he has no idea whether that will prove to be an accurate assessment, given the secrecy of the Iranian project and the Iranians’ refusal to allow inspectors full and open access to their facilities. But if Obama is correct that the interim deal worked so well, and if sanctions brought Iran to the table, why in the world would he discard the status quo?

When he details all the things Iran must and will certainly do, why would he think it is any more likely that Iran will follow the letter of the treaty than that Qassem Suleimani — a high-ranking Iranian general and commander of the Quds Force, which carries out terrorist operations — would obey international travel bans? In fact, shortly after listening to Obama’s speech, Suleimani brazenly broke the ban and traveled to see Putin, apparently to negotiate Russian arms sales with his newly released $150 billion in formerly embargoed funds.

Obama says there is “daily access” to Iran’s “key” nuclear sites. But what if Iran declares a site not “key” and therefore off limits? Obama likewise assures us, “This access can be with as little as 24 hours’ notice.” Does anyone really believe that? Not Obama himself, for he immediately qualified that with, “And while the process for resolving a dispute about access can take up to 24 days, once we’ve identified a site that raises suspicion, we will be watching it continuously until inspectors get in.” If a 24-day wait is no hindrance to inspection, why then have it at all? The definition of appeasement is to accept demands from an aggressor and then declare that the resulting concessions were of no real importance in the first place.

Obama insists: “Congressional rejection of this deal leaves any U.S. administration that is absolutely committed to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon with one option, another war in the Middle East. I say this not to be provocative, I am stating a fact.”

That is not a fact. And it is shameful to suggest that it is. Again, the alternative to the deal is not war now, but rather continued sanctions, and a continuation of the increased oil production by the U.S. and the Gulf monarchies that brought a cash-strapped Iran to the table. Both measures could be ratcheted up even further. Obama talks of a “game changer” — another regrettable selection of words when we remember the history of that phrase in the context of the Syrian pink line. Iran was getting weaker by the day even as Obama’s tenure was running out. The urgency came from both Iran and Obama. The former was fearful that it would be both poorer and weaker when a possibly very different president takes office in 2017; the latter in desperation was looking for a legacy after the detritus of reset, Libya, ISIS, Syria, and the growing estrangement from long-term allies such as Egypt and Israel.

Obama assumes Tehran will spend its impending windfall on domestic projects, and told us that such investment “improves the economy and benefits the lives of the Iranian people” — as if theocratic authoritarians are sober and judicious officials who feel that improving health care or building freeways would best serve their interests, rather than bullying neighbors and thus raising their own military and political statures. From Hitler to Saddam, there is little evidence that dictators think like the technocrats of social democracies.

Obama reassures us that Iran’s “conventional capabilities will never compare to Israel’s.” Israel is a country of 8 million people, Iran one of nearly 78 million — with appendages in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, the West Bank, and Lebanon that together perhaps already have more conventional missiles pointed at Israel than Israel has bombers that can reach them.

Obama downplays Iran’s Hitlerian rhetoric: “Just because Iranian hardliners chant ‘Death to America’ does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe.” That is an adolescent remark — analogous to saying that just because Hitler promised a “final solution of the Jewish question” did not mean that all Germans shared his anti-Semitism. What would it matter even if such an assertion were true?

Even if a million Iranians once again hit the streets to protest the theocracy — a movement shunned in 2009 by Obama himself — they would probably not be able to sway the policies of their fascist government. Whether most Germans disagreed with the Nazis’ anti-Semitic policy in 1939 was about as relevant as whether Iranians today privately object to the theocrats’ rhetoric.

President Obama should know better. The problem is not that Iranian “hardliners” are chanting “Death to America.” Rather, to take one example, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in good Mein Kampf fashion, has just published a book of 400-plus pages outlining the de facto end of Israel.

It is beneath a president of the United States to equate U.S. congressional representatives with theocratic fascists. But that comparison is about what Obama offered when he declared, “It’s those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hardliners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.”

One wonders whether Obama includes in his weird Iran/U.S. Congress “common cause” the man designated to succeed Harry Reid as the Democrats’ leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, who, after listening to Obama’s speech, promptly came out against the pact — to the rejoicing, no doubt, of Iranian “hardliners.” Or are the allies of the hardliners the majority of the American people, who also oppose the Obama deal? And what about the Chinese and Russian leaders who wholeheartedly support Obama’s deal, whether out of the desire for lucre, or for humiliation of the U.S. in the present and in the future — or both? Does Obama envision himself and the Iranian theocracy allied against American and Iranian “hardliners” — as if his affinities to the Khamenei clique trump those to, say, Senator Marco Rubio or Senator John McCain?

It is rich from Obama to declare that critics of the deal are playing politics and endangering U.S. credibility: this, from a man who, as senator, in the middle of the critical surge in Iraq in 2007 declared it a failure and advocated pulling out all U.S. troops in the spring of 2008. It was Obama who destroyed U.S. credibility by setting empty deadlines with Iran, empty step-over lines with Russia, and an empty red line with Syria, while promising to shepherd Libya to a stable postwar government, a policy whose natural trajectory ended in Benghazi.

All the contortions that Barack Obama has offered about Iraq — damning the invasion in 2003; claiming in 2004 that he had no policy differences on Iraq with the Bush administration; declaring in 2007 that the surge would fail; demanding in 2008 as a presidential candidate that all U.S. troops be brought home; assuring the world in 2011 that Iraq was “stable” and “self-reliant” as he pulled out all American peacekeepers; reassuring the world in 2014 that Iraq’s ISIS was not a real threat; and then deciding in 2015 that it was, as he ordered forces back in — have been predicated on perceived political advantage. That also explains why the deal was not presented as a treaty requiring a two-thirds vote of the Senate, as the Constitution outlines.

The final irony? President Obama’s rambling and mean-spirited speech may well achieve the opposite effect of its apparent intention. It may persuade some members of his own party that they could do a lot better than joining a dishonest deal and a disingenuous deal-maker.

Voir aussi:

Iran’s North Korean Future

Victor Davis Hanson

National review

April 11, 2013

The idea of a nuclear Iran — and of preventing a nuclear Iran — terrifies security analysts.

Those who argue for a preemptive strike against Iran cannot explain exactly how American planes and missiles would take out all the subterranean nuclear facilities without missing a stashed nuke or two — or whether they might as well expand their target lists to Iranian military assets in general. None can predict the fallout on world oil prices, global terrorism, and the politically fragile Persian Gulf, other than that it would be uniformly bad.

In contrast, those who favor containment of a nuclear Iran do not quite know how the theocracy could be deterred — or how either Israel or the regional Sunni Arab regimes will react to such a powerful and unpredictable neighbor.

The present crisis with North Korea offers us a glimpse of what, and what not, to expect should Iran get the bomb. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would gain the attention currently being paid to Kim Jong Un — attention not otherwise earned by his nation’s economy or cultural influence.

We should assume that the Iranian theocracy, like the seven-decade-long Kim dynasty in North Korea, would periodically sound lunatic: threatening its neighbors and promising a firestorm in the region — if not eventually in the United States and Europe as well.

An oil-rich, conventionally armed Iran has already used that playbook. When it becomes nuclear, those previously stale warnings of ending Israel or attacking U.S. facilities in the Persian Gulf will not be entirely laughed off, just as Kim Jong Un’s insane diatribes are now not so easily dismissed.

North Korea has taught the world that feigned madness in nuclear poker earns either foreign aid or worldwide attention — given that even a 99 percent surety of a bluff can still scare Western publics. North Korea is the proverbial nutty failed neighbor who constantly picks on the successful suburbanites next door, on the premise that the neighbors will heed his wild, nonsensical threats because he has nothing and they have everything to lose.

Iran could copy Kim’s model endlessly — one week threatening to wipe Israel off the map, the next backing down and complaining that problems in translation distorted the actual, less bellicose communiqué. The point would not necessarily be to actually nuke Israel (which would translate into the end of Persian culture for a century), but to create such an atmosphere of worry and gloom over the Jewish state as to weaken its economy, encourage emigration, and erode its geostrategic reputation.

North Korea is a past master of such nuclear-shakedown tactics. At times Pyongyang has reduced two Asian powerhouses — Japan and South Korea — to near paralysis. Can the nations that gave the world Toyota and Samsung really count on the American defense umbrella? Should they go nuclear themselves? Can North Korean leadership be continually bought off with foreign aid, or is it really as crazy serious as it sounds?

Iran would also be different from other nuclear rogue states. The West often fears a nuclear Pakistan, given that a large part of its tribal lands is ungovernable and overrun with Islamic radicals. Its government is friendly to the West only to the degree that American aid continues.

Yet far larger and more powerful India deters nuclear Pakistan. For all the wild talk from both the Pakistani government and tribal terrorists, there is general fear in Pakistan that India has superior conventional and nuclear forces. India is also unpredictable and not the sort of nation that can be periodically threatened and shaken down for concessions.

Iran has no comparable existential enemy of a billion people — only a tiny Israel of some seven million. The result is that there is no commensurate regional deterrent.

Nor does Iran have a tough master like nuclear China. Even Beijing finally pulls on the leash when its unpredictable North Korean client has threatened to bully neighbors and create too unprofitable a fuss.

Of course, China enjoys the angst that its subordinate causes its rivals. It also sees North Korea as a valuable impediment to a huge, unified, and Westernized Korea on its borders. But that said, China does not want a nuclear war in its backyard. That fact ultimately means North Korea is muzzled once its barking becomes too obnoxious.

A nuclear Iran would worry about neither a billion-person nuclear existential enemy nearby such as India, nor a billion-person patron such as China that would establish redlines to its periodic madness. Instead, Tehran would be free to do and say what it pleased. And its nuclear status would become a force multiplier to its enormous oil wealth and self-acclaimed world leadership of Shiite Muslims.

If North Korea has been a danger, then a bigger, richer, and undeterred nuclear Iran would be a nightmare.

Voir encore:

Obama’s Legacy and the Iran Nuclear Agreement

Gary C. Gambill
The National Post
August 18, 2015

Originally published under the title, « Obama’s Legacy-Making Agreement »

U.S. President Barack Obama’s choice of American University, where John F. Kennedy gave a famous 1963 speech calling for peace and nuclear disarmament, to deliver his most impassioned defence of the recently signed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) earlier this month was no accident. In seeking to convince Congress and the American people that the JCPOA adequately defuses the Iranian nuclear threat, the White House and its supporters have been routinely referring to the agreement as the cornerstone of his foreign policy legacy.

This messaging is partly intended as a signal of resolve to fence-sitting Democrats, who might think twice about opposing the signature foreign policy initiative of a president from their own party. But there is a deeper message implicit in the endless repetition of this talking point — that Obama wouldn’t be foolish enough to double down on the JCPOA if what the critics are saying about it is true. « Look, 20 years from now, I’m still going to be around, God willing, » the president told The Atlantic in May. « If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s my name on this. »

This argument, which National Review opinion editor Patrick Brennan paraphrases as, « Settle on a deal that would ruin my foreign policy legacy? But I want to have a good legacy! » is not without logic. Obama’s a smart guy, with the entire U.S. intelligence apparatus at his disposal. If he’s willing to bet his own farm on the JCPOA, it can’t be that bad, can it?

Legacy-making and the defence of U.S. national interests are two different things.

Unfortunately, yes. If smarts, knowledge and the desire to be judged favourably by history guaranteed foreign policy success, presidents would seldom make mistakes. Obama says he has « never been more certain about a policy decision than this one, » but he also thought overthrowing Qaddafi would be a hoot and look how that turned out. Clearly he’s not omniscient.

But the larger problem with the my-name-on-it argument is that legacy-making and the defence of U.S. national interests are two different things. Good policy decisions don’t always highlight White House leadership in ways that can fill a wing of a presidential library. Whatever the merits of Obama’s handling of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, presidential historians don’t rave about preventing a bad situation from getting worse.

Moreover, a favourable legacy doesn’t always require the clear-cut advancement of U.S. national interests in the here and now. Legacy-making concerns how one’s actions will be perceived by future generations who have little sense of the context and details. Whereas elected officials ordinarily strive to be responsive to the interests and preferences of constituents, a legacy-seeking president seeks vindication in the political hereafter.

Good policy doesn’t always highlight White House leadership in ways that can fill a wing of a presidential library.

This is a slippery slope for a progressive like Obama, who surely assumes that future generations will be more sympathetic to his worldview than his contemporaries. He may therefore reason that a charitable judgment can best be ensured by staying true to himself, as it were, even if it entails serious security risks, all the more so because his administration has deviated from these presumed future norms in other areas (e.g., drone strikes).

This may have given Obama reason to prefer a deeply flawed agreement that embodies his worldview over walking away from the table with nothing at all. Failed negotiations — or a continued succession of interim agreements that hands the ball to his successor — don’t interest Steven Spielberg. At a time when prospects of an unvarnished domestic policy triumph have dimmed, and after his ambitious effort to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian talks went nowhere, the Iran negotiations were his last chance to do something big.

Whatever his reasons, Obama’s approach has been to extract as many concessions from Iran as possible before he leaves office, but not leave the table without an agreement. Unfortunately, the Iranians correctly ascertained that he could not afford to take no for an answer, and that standing firm on unreasonable demands would bring American flexibility. The end result is that an « international effort, buttressed by six UN resolutions, to deny Iran the capability to develop a military nuclear option, » former secretary of state Henry Kissinger explained in congressional testimony early this year, soon became « an essentially bilateral negotiation over the scope of that capability, » with the scope of capability acceptable to the administration widening dramatically as the negotiations wore on.

Congress and the American people should give the Obama administration a fair hearing and evaluate the JCPOA on its merits, but pay no attention to the president’s expressions of boundless confidence in the agreement. It’s a good bet even he never imagined he’d have to settle for such a crappy deal.

Gary C. Gambill is a research fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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6 août, 2015

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L’invasion du Timor oriental commence le 7 décembre 1975 lorsque les forces armées indonésiennes envahissent ce pays nouvellement indépendant en prenant le prétexte de la lutte contre le colonialisme. Le renversement de l’éphémère mais populaire gouvernement dirigé par le Fretilin marque le point de départ d’une occupation violente de vingt-cinq années au cours de laquelle entre 60 000 et 100 000 soldats et civils est-timorais trouvent la mort. Au cours des premières années de la guerre, les militaires indonésiens font face à une forte résistance insurrectionnelle dans la région montagneuse de l’intérieur de l’île. Toutefois, à partir de 1977-1978, les militaires obtiennent de nouvelles armes plus modernes de la part des États-Unis, de l’Australie et d’autres États qui leur permettent de détruire le cadre du Freitilin. Malgré cette supériorité, les deux dernières décennies du XXe siècle sont le théâtre de combats continuels entre Indonésiens et Est-timorais autour du statut du Timor oriental jusqu’en 1999. À cette date, les Est-timorais votent pour l’indépendance lors d’un référendum organisé par les Nations unies. (…) Les facteurs politiques internes à l’Indonésie du milieu des années 1970 n’étaient cependant pas propices à de tels sentiments expansionnistes. Le scandale financier de 1974-1975 entourant la compagnie pétrolière Pertamina obligeait l’Indonésie à faire preuve de prudence pour ne pas alarmer les donneurs et les banquiers étrangers. Schwarz suggère que cette crainte a dû jouer dans la réticence du Président-Dictateur Suharto à suivre le désir des généraux d’envahir le Timor Oriental au début de l’année 1975. De telles considérations ont cependant été occultées par la crainte des Indonésiens et des Occidentaux de voir la victoire de l’aile gauche du Fretilin mener à la création d’un état communiste à la frontière de l’Indonésie. Celui-ci aurait pu être utilisé comme base par des puissances hostiles à l’Indonésie et constituer une menace pour les sous-marins de l’Ouest. On craignait également que l’exemple d’un Timor oriental indépendant ne suscite des sentiments sécessionnistes dans d’autres provinces indonésiennes. Toutes ces préoccupations ont été utilisées avec succès pour obtenir le soutien des pays occidentaux soucieux de maintenir de bonnes relations avec l’Indonésie, en particulier les États-Unis qui, à cette époque, achevaient leur douloureux retrait d’Indochine. (…) Au début de l’année 1977, la marine indonésienne commande des patrouilleurs lance-missile aux États-Unis, à l’Australie, aux Pays-Bas, à l’Afrique du Sud et à Taïwan ainsi que des sous-marins à l’Allemagne. En février 1977, l’Indonésie reçoit 13 avions North American OV-10 Bronco de la compagnie Rockwell International avec l’aide officielle du gouvernement américain. Le Bronco est un appareil idéal dans le cadre de l’invasion du Timor oriental car il est spécifiquement conçu pour la lutte contre les mouvements insurrectionnels en terrain difficile19. Au début de l’année 1977, au moins six des 13 Broncos opèrent au Timor oriental, aidant l’armée indonésienne à localiser les positions du Fretilin. Outre ce nouvel armement, 10 000 hommes supplémentaires sont envoyés au Timor dans le cadre du lancement d’une nouvelle opération connue sous le nom de « solution finale ». Wikipedia
Whether it was the Romans in Gaul, the Arabs throughout the Mediterranean and Southern Asia, the Huns in Eastern Europe, the Mongols in China, the Turks in the Middle East and the Balkans, the Bantu in southern Africa, the Khmer in East Asia, the Aztecs in Mexico, the Iroquois in the Northeast, or the Sioux throughout the Great Plains, human history has been stained by man’s continual use of brutal violence to acquire land and resources and destroy or replace those possessing them. Scholars may find subtle nuances of evil in the European version of this ubiquitous aggression, but for the victims such fine discriminations are irrelevant. (…) Yet this ideologically loaded and historically challenged use of words like “colonial” and “colonialist” remains rife in analyses of the century-long disorder in the Middle East. Both Islamists and Arab nationalists, with sympathy from the Western left, have blamed the European “colonialists” for the lack of development, political thuggery, and endemic violence whose roots lie mainly in tribal culture, illiberal shari’a law, and sectarian conflicts … Bill Thornton
[La vie intellectuelle française] a quelque chose d’étrange. Au Collège de France, j’ai participé à un colloque savant sur  » Rationalité, vérité et démocratie « . Discuter ces concepts me semble parfaitement incongru. A la Mutualité, on m’a posé la question suivante :  » Bertrand Russell nous dit qu’il faut se concentrer sur les faits, mais les philosophes nous disent que les faits n’existent pas. Comment faire ?  » Une question de ce type laisse peu de place à un débat sérieux car, à un tel niveau d’abstraction, il n’y a rien à ajouter. (…) Comme observateur lointain, je formulerai une hypothèse. Après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, la France est passée de l’avant-garde à l’arrière-cour et elle est devenue une île. Dans les années 30, un artiste ou un écrivain américain se devait d’aller à Paris, de même qu’un scientifique ou un philosophe avait les yeux tournés vers l’Angleterre ou l’Allemagne. Après 1945, tous ces courants se sont inversés, mais la France a eu plus de mal à s’adapter à cette nouvelle hiérarchie du prestige. Cela tient en grande partie à l’histoire de la collaboration. Alors, bien sûr, il y a eu la Résistance et beaucoup de gens courageux, mais rien de comparable avec ce qui s’est passé en Grèce ou en Italie, où la résistance a donné du fil à retordre à six divisions allemandes. Et il a fallu un chercheur américain [Robert Paxton, NDLR] pour que la France soit capable d’affronter ce passé. (…) beaucoup d’intellectuels français sont restés staliniens même quand ils sont passés à l’extrême droite. Comment peut-on accepter que l’Etat définisse la vérité historique et punisse la dissidence de la pensée ? (…) Au Timor-Oriental, entre un quart et un tiers de la population a été décimée avec l’accord des Etats-Unis et de la France, et peu de gens le savent alors que tout le monde connaît les crimes de Pol Pot. Noam Chomsky
L’Arabie Saoudite n’est rien d’autre qu’un Daesh qui a réussi. Éric Zemmour
Obama demande pardon pour les faits et gestes de l’Amérique, son passé, son présent et le reste, il s’excuse de tout. Les relations dégradées avec la Russie, le manque de respect pour l’Islam, les mauvais rapports avec l’Iran, les bisbilles avec l’Europe, le manque d’adulation pour Fidel Castro, tout lui est bon pour battre la coulpe de l’Amérique. Plus encore, il célèbre la contribution (totalement inexistante) de l’Islam à l’essor de l’Amérique, et il se fend d’une révérence au sanglant et sectaire roi d’Arabie, l’Abdullah de la haine. Il annule la ceinture anti-missiles sise en Alaska et propose un désarmement nucléaire inutile. (…) Plus encore, cette déplorable Amérique a semé le désordre et le mal partout dans le monde. Au lieu de collaborer multilatéralement avec tous, d’œuvrer au bien commun avec Poutine, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Saddam Hussein, Bachir al-Assad, et Cie, l’insupportable Bush en a fait des ennemis. (…) Il n’y a pas d’ennemis, il n’y a que des malentendus. Il ne peut y avoir d’affrontements, seulement des clarifications. Laurent Murawiec
Voilà plus de 60 ans que les gouvernements américains successifs s’opposent à la nation iranienne. En 1332 [1953] avec un coup d’Etat ils ont renversé le gouvernement national de l’Iran et l’ont remplacé par un régime dur, impopulaire et despotique. (…) Le 15 Khordad 1342 [5 juin 1963] ils ont humilié notre nation et ont tué 15 000 personnes de cette nation et ont exilé le chef de notre nation [Ajatollah Khomeini]. En 57 [1978] ils ont tué plus de 1 500 personnes sur la place des martyrs et les tueurs ont reçu le soutien du président américain. Ils ont soutenu la dictature jusqu’au dernier jour. Ils se sont opposés à la révolution de la nation iranienne en quête de liberté, indépendance et justice. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (discours de Kermanshah, le 28 janvier 2009)
En pleine Guerre froide, les États-Unis ont joué un rôle dans le renversement d’un gouvernement iranien démocratiquement élu. Barack Hussein Obama
“We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful program.” Obama (Dec. 7, 2013)
Iran has never intended and will never wish to develop nuclear weapons. Hassan Rouhani (Apr. 9, 2015)
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi also (…) pointed to “unfounded allegations” by some world powers over the past 10 years against Iran’s nuclear program and said it has been proved that such false claims have aimed to “exert cruel and illegal pressure [on the country] to prevent the Iranian nation and government’s march on the path of all-out development and progress.” Presstv.ir
We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.” Kerry (Jun. 6, 2015)
Every one in the world knows that our Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei) has placed a religious ban on the development, use or acquisition of military nuclear technology and Iran has never been after atomic bombs. » Hassan Rouhani (Jul. 14, 2015)
« I recognize that resorting to force may be tempting in the face of the rhetoric and behavior that emanates from parts of Iran. It is offensive. It is incendiary. We do take it seriously. But superpowers should not act impulsively in response to taunts, or even provocations that can be addressed short of war. Just because Iranian hard-liners chant ‘death to America’ does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. In fact, it’s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hard-liners chanting ‘death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.” Obama (Aug. 6, 2015)
A senior intelligence official, when asked about the satellite imagery, told us the IAEA was also familiar with what he called « sanitization efforts » since the deal was reached in Vienna, but that the U.S. government and its allies had confidence that the IAEA had the technical means to detect past nuclear work anyway. Bloomberg
What’s curious is that the deal that the Obama Administration now celebrates is based on the same principles that the White House now derides as fairy tales. Like parents putting their children to bed, the White House once sang lullabies to congress and U.S. allies to quiet their concerns about the administration’s diplomatic approach to the Iranian nuclear program. Comparing the administration’s past public statements about the deal with its current positions is a lesson in the political uses of fairy tales … Tablet
The French Revolution, he insists, was a continental attempt to imitate England’s Glorious Revolution, and as soon as it went beyond installing a constitutional monarchy and descended into Jacobinism it drowned democracy itself in blood. Jacobin democracy—populist, egalitarian, naturally inclined to see Marx as the heir of Robespierre—is European. Real democracy—an independent civil society, rule of law, constitutional checks and balances—is an invention of « Anglo-Celtic civilization. »
Britain was lucky, rather than predestined, to be free. Liberty, he argues, is a happy accident of England’s history: « Since the collapse of Rome, there has never been any significant period in Britain when the state was strong enough to enforce its will without considerable concessions to the rights and liberties of important sections of its subjects and without reliance upon consent. » In Britain—and in America—society created and controlled the state. In continental Europe, the state created and controlled both society and nation.
In Conquest’s view, South Africa, India, and democratic Nigeria share more with Canada, the US, and Britain than they do with African and Asian neighbors with political cultures of non-English origin. Common institutions—liberal constitutionalism, the rule of law, checks and balances, and common values like tolerance and individual rights—as well as a common language provide the basis for « a more fruitful unity » than, for example, common membership in the divided and generally impotent United Nations. Michael Ignatief
“The mere existence of the U.S.S.R., and its ideas, distorted the way in which many people over the whole world thought about society, the economy, human history. Many were seduced by the comfortable word ‘socialism,’ even to the extent of rejecting the Western ideas of free discussion, political compromise, plural society, piecemeal practicality, change without chaos.” Robert Conquest
« The Arab conquerors acted in a typically imperialist fashion from the start, subjugating indigenous populations, colonizing their lands, and expropriating their wealth, resources, and labor. (…) From the first Arab-Islamic empire of the mid-seventh century to the Ottomans, the last great Muslim empire, the story of Islam has been the story of the rise and fall of universal empires and, no less important, of imperialist dreams.” Ephraim Karsh
Whether it was the Romans in Gaul, the Arabs throughout the Mediterranean and Southern Asia, the Huns in Eastern Europe, the Mongols in China, the Turks in the Middle East and the Balkans, the Bantu in southern Africa, the Khmer in East Asia, the Aztecs in Mexico, the Iroquois in the Northeast, or the Sioux throughout the Great Plains, human history has been stained by man’s continual use of brutal violence to acquire land and resources and destroy or replace those possessing them. Scholars may find subtle nuances of evil in the European version of this ubiquitous aggression, but for the victims such fine discriminations are irrelevant. (…) Yet this ideologically loaded and historically challenged use of words like “colonial” and “colonialist” remains rife in analyses of the century-long disorder in the Middle East. Both Islamists and Arab nationalists, with sympathy from the Western left, have blamed the European “colonialists” for the lack of development, political thuggery, and endemic violence whose roots lie mainly in tribal culture, illiberal shari’a law, and sectarian conflicts … Bill Thornton

Cachez cet imperialisme et ce colonialisme que je ne saurai voir !

Au lendemain de la signature d’un accord historique …

Sur le programme nucleaire inexistant …

D’un pays en train d’en effacer les dernieres traces …

Par un president americain expurgeant une faute imaginaire

 Et combattant un ennemi sans nom

Quel meilleur hommage en cette disparition de celui qui fut si longtemps seul, pendant la guerre froide, a denoncer les mensonges du monde communiste …

Que ce rappel par l’islamologue Bruce Thornton et le site The Muslim issue …

Que l’imperialisme et le colonialisme occidentaux dont tant les islamistes que leurs idiots utiles nous rabattent les oreilles …

Ne sont non seulement pour rien dans la situation actuelle du Moyen-Orient …

Mais qu’ils ont historiquement peu a apprendre des quelque quinze siècles d’imperialisme musulman …

Y compris celui qui de Chypre a la Papouasie occidentale (respectivement depuis 41 et 49 ans) …

Et sans parler de la  pretendue et oxymorique Republique islamique d’Iran comme du soi-disant Etat islamique …

Continue a sevir dans la plus grande indifference, voire la complicite du pretendu Monde libre ?

MUSLIMS WORLDWIDE
West Papua: The small island where 15% of population have been killed by Muslims
The Muslim issue

August 2, 2015

Muslims are slaughtering the aboriginals of West Papua after taking occupation by force, and killing their dreams of independence granted onto them.

It’s so easy to forget that Muslim violence and oppression is an everyday reality in many small places around the world too.

The people of West Papua have been suffering under Indonesian occupation since 1962. Over 500,000 civilians have been killed, and thousands more have been raped, tortured and imprisoned by Muslims. Foreign media and human rights groups are banned from operating in West Papua, so people rarely hear about the situation there.

The Indonesian archipelago has been an important trade region since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and then later Majapahit traded with China and India. Local rulers gradually absorbed foreign cultural, religious and political models from the early centuries CE, and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished.

Indonesian history has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources. Muslim traders brought the now-dominant Islam, while European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolise trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Following three and a half centuries of Dutch colonialism, Indonesia was granted its independence from the Dutch after World War II.The Dutch tried to avoid a Muslim takeover of the region and to prepare the natives for independence, the Dutch significantly raised development spending off its low base, began investing in Papuan education, and encouraged Papuan nationalism. But once the Dutch left freedom did not last long and the Muslims quickly moved in and took over.

Indonesia’s history has since been turbulent under its Muslim rule, with challenges posed by natural disasters, mass slaughter, corruption, separatism, a democratisation process, and periods of rapid economic change.

West Papua – The Secret War in Asia

The following short film gives a good introduction to what is happening in West Papua.

History

West Papua was colonised by the Netherlands in 1898, along with the islands that now make up Indonesia. When the Republic of Indonesia became an independent nation state in 1949, West Papua remained under Dutch control. The Dutch government began preparing West Papua for its own independence throughout the 1950s. At the end of 1961, West Papua held a Congress at which its people declared independence, and raised their new flag – the Morning Star.

But within months the dream was dead. The Indonesian Muslim military invaded West Papua and conflict broke out between the Netherlands, Indonesia and the indigenous population regarding control of the territory. The US intervened and engineered an agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands, which in 1962 gave control of West Papua to the United Nations and one year later transferred control to Indonesia. The Papuans were never consulted. However, the agreement did promise them their right to self determination – a right which is guaranteed by the UN to all people in the world.

Act of No Choice

By 1969 there was widespread resistance to Indonesian rule. The Indonesian military had killed and imprisoned thousands of Papuans in the seven years it had occupied the country – yet it was under these conditions that the people were supposed to exercise their right to self determination. It was agreed that the UN should oversee a plebiscite of the people of West Papua, in which they would be given two choices: to remain part of Indonesia or to become an independent nation. This vote was to be called the ‘Act of Free Choice.’

Protests at Act of Free Choice

West Papuans holding placards, calling for UN assitance, after Indonesia’s invasion of West Papua in 1962

But the Act was a sham. Instead of overseeing a free and fair election, the UN stood by while Indonesia rigged the vote. Declaring that the Papuans were too ‘primitive’ to cope with democracy, the Indonesian military hand-picked just 1,026 ‘representative’ Papuans, out of a population of one million, bribed them and threatened to kill them and their families if they voted the wrong way. So strong was the intimidation that despite widespread opposition to Indonesian rule, all 1,026 voted to remain a part of Indonesia. Despite protests from the Papuans, a critical report by a UN official and condemnation of the vote in the international media, the UN shamefully sanctioned the result and West Papua has remained under control of the Indonesian state ever since. The Papuans now dub this episode ‘the Act of No Choice’.

Consigning the fate of a million people to live under the brutal occupation that ensued is one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the UN. Recently there have been a number of detailed reports that heavily criticise the actions of Indonesia, the UN, and its member states during this period. One of the aims of the Free West Papua Campaign is to persuade the UN to review its role in this event and allow the Papuans a true act of self determination.

The People and Land Under Attack

Freeport Mine

Since the first days of Indonesian occupation, the people and land of West Papua have been under relentless attack. In an attempt to control the Papuans, and to claim the land to make way for resource extraction, the Indonesian army has systematically murdered, raped and tortured people in numbers that could constitute a genocide. One of the worst examples of this is the displacement and killing of thousands of people to make way for the giant American- and British-owned Freeport mine, the largest gold mine in the world, which has reduced a sacred mountain to a crater and poisoned the local river system. In a further attempt to eradicate Papuan culture, around one million people from overcrowded shanty towns across Indonesia have been moved into ‘transmigration’ camps cut into the forests.

Resistance to Indonesian Colonialism

Resistance to the Indonesian occupation started from the first days after the invasion. An armed guerrilla group called the OPM (Free Papua Movement) was formed in 1970 to resist the colonisation of West Papua. The OPM carried out a number of guerrilla attacks on the Indonesian military and on the holdings of multinational companies who had taken Papuan land and resources – including a successful attempt to close down the Freeport gold and copper mine. Armed mostly with bows and arrows, the small, ragged but determined OPM fought an almost unknown war against the well-armed, Western-backed Indonesian military for decades.

Recent Years

Following the fall of the Indonesian military dictator, General Suharto, in 1998, a political space briefly opened up in West Papua. The Morning Star flag was flown again and a huge public congress was held in the year 2000 with hundreds of delegates from tribes all across Papua. The Congress rejected the result of the 1969 Act of Free Choice and reaffirmed West Papua as an independent nation. It also gave power to the newly formed Papuan Presidium Council (PDP) to gain world recognition for West Papua’s independence. But these hopes were soon dashed. Fearing secession, the army moved in, and hundreds of people were shot and arrested for public flag raisings and independence rallies. Then, in November 2001, the charismatic president of the PDP, Theys Eluay, was assassinated by Indonesian soldiers.

Independence aspirations continued to be publicly demonstrated and whilst on the ground the police and military continued to respond with violence and intimidation, the Indonesian state attempted to quell these hopes by passing special autonomy legislation. The legislation was supposed to devolve some power and distribute more resources to West Papua but it is widely regarded as a failure by the indigenous Papuans with corruption leading to money being hoarded or misspent.

In recent years a new independence organisation, the KNPB (National Committee for West Papua) has become prominent. Under its guidance huge independence rallies have been held across West Papua and the West Papuan’s voice is united more than ever. As a result, many of its members have been arrested, tortured and killed. In 2012, the KNPB chairman Mako Tabuni was killed by Indonesian police, whilst many others face lengthy jail sentences of up to fifteen years just for raising the West Papuan flag.

Today West Papua’s tragedy continues with ongoing reports of villages being burnt, Papuans being arrested, tortured and shot and the beautiful natural wilderness being devastated by logging, mining, agricultural and biofuel interests.

“I recognise the inalienable right of the indigenous people of West Papua to self-determination which was violated in the 1969 “Act of Free Choice”. The human rights of each of us are undermined if the human rights of others are denied.”

But there is good news too. The issue of West Papua is creeping up the international agenda as campaign groups, Papuan leaders-in-exile and concerned people all over the world alert their leaders to the injustice that is happening in West Papua.

Despite a ban on foreign journalists, media outlets are beginning to cover the story and have exposed leaked videos of West Papuans being tortured by their Muslim occupiers.

With the advent of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) and the International Lawyers for West Papua (ILWP) politicians and lawyers are beginning to engage with the issue. Things are moving in the right direction – but they need to move faster if more bloodshed is to be avoided, and the people of West Papua’s cry for freedom is finally to be heard.

Ahmad Zainuddin a member of the House of Representatives claims that West Papuan people voted to join Indonesia with the 1969 Act of free choice.

Ahmad Zainuddin, a member of the House of Representatives in Jakarta, Indonesia, claims that West Papuan people voted to join Indonesia with the 1969 Act of free choice.

West Papau occupied region filled with muslim violence

Herded up like cattle and led away onto Indonesian army trucks to be tortured and then murdered. This is the reality of life in occupied West Papua. A land where over 500,000 people have been murdered by the Indonesian army, and thousands more have ‘disappeared’, been raped, tortured and imprisoned.

Voir aussi:

The Truth About Western “Colonialism”

Bruce Thornton

Hoover
July 29, 2015

Language is the first casualty of wars over foreign policy. To paraphrase Thucydides, during ideological conflict, words have to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which is now given them.

One word that has been central to our foreign policy for over a century is “colonialism.” Rather than describing a historical phenomenon––with all the complexity, mixture of good and evil, and conflicting motives found on every page of history––“colonialism” is now an ideological artifact that functions as a crude epithet. As a result, our foreign policy decisions are deformed by self-loathing and guilt eagerly exploited by our adversaries.
The great scholar of Soviet terror, Robert Conquest, noted this linguistic corruption decades ago. Historical terms like “imperialism” and “colonialism,” Conquest wrote, now refer to “a malign force with no program but the subjugation and exploitation of innocent people.” As such, these terms are verbal “mind-blockers and thought-extinguishers,” which serve “mainly to confuse, and of course to replace, the complex and needed process of understanding with the simple and unneeded process of inflammation.” Particularly in the Middle East, “colonialism” has been used to obscure the factual history that accounts for that region’s chronic dysfunctions, and has legitimized policies doomed to fail because they are founded on distortions of that history.

The simplistic discrediting of colonialism and its evil twin imperialism became prominent in the early twentieth century. In 1902 J.A. Hobson’s influential Imperialism: A Study reduced colonialism to a malign economic phenomenon, the instrument of capitalism’s “economic parasites,” as Hobson called them, who sought resources, markets, and profits abroad. In 1917, Vladimir Lenin, faced with the failure of classical Marxism’s historical predictions of the proletarian revolution, in 1917 built on Hobson’s ideas in Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism. Now the indigenous colonized peoples would perform the historical role of destroying capitalism that the European proletariat had failed to fulfill.

These ideas influenced the anti-colonial movements after World War II. John-Paul Sartre, in his introduction to Franz Fanon’s anti-colonial screed The Wretched of the Earth, wrote, “Natives of the underdeveloped countries unite!” substituting the Third World for classic Marxism’s “workers of the world.” This leftist idealization of the colonial Third World and its demonization of the capitalist West have survived the collapse of the Soviet Union and the discrediting of Marxism, and have become received wisdom both in academe and popular culture. It has underwritten the reflexive guilt of the West, the idea that “every Westerner is presumed guilty until proven innocent,” as French philosopher Pascal Bruckner writes, for the West contains an “essential evil that must be atoned for,” colonialism and imperialism.

This leftist interpretation of words like colonialism and imperialism transforms them into ideologically loaded terms that ultimately distort the tragic truths of history. They imply that Europe’s explorations and conquests constituted a new order of evil. In reality, the movements of peoples in search of resources, as well as the destruction of those already in possession of them, is the perennial dynamic of history.

Whether it was the Romans in Gaul, the Arabs throughout the Mediterranean and Southern Asia, the Huns in Eastern Europe, the Mongols in China, the Turks in the Middle East and the Balkans, the Bantu in southern Africa, the Khmer in East Asia, the Aztecs in Mexico, the Iroquois in the Northeast, or the Sioux throughout the Great Plains, human history has been stained by man’s continual use of brutal violence to acquire land and resources and destroy or replace those possessing them. Scholars may find subtle nuances of evil in the European version of this ubiquitous aggression, but for the victims such fine discriminations are irrelevant.

Yet this ideologically loaded and historically challenged use of words like “colonial” and “colonialist” remains rife in analyses of the century-long disorder in the Middle East. Both Islamists and Arab nationalists, with sympathy from the Western left, have blamed the European “colonialists” for the lack of development, political thuggery, and endemic violence whose roots lie mainly in tribal culture, illiberal shari’a law, and sectarian conflicts.

Moreover, it is blatant hypocrisy for Arab Muslims to complain about imperialism and colonialism. As Middle East historian Efraim Karsh documents in Islamic Imperialism, “The Arab conquerors acted in a typically imperialist fashion from the start, subjugating indigenous populations, colonizing their lands, and expropriating their wealth, resources, and labor.” Indeed, if one wants to find a culture defined by imperialist ambitions, Islam fits the bill much better than do Europeans and Americans, latecomers to the great game of imperial domination that Muslims successfully played for a thousand years.

“From the first Arab-Islamic empire of the mid-seventh century to the Ottomans, the last great Muslim empire,” Karsh writes, “the story of Islam has been the story of the rise and fall of universal empires and, no less important, of imperialist dreams.”

A recent example of this confusion caused by careless language can be found in commentary about the on-going dissolution of Iraq caused by sectarian and ethnic conflicts. There is a growing consensus that the creation of new nations in the region after World War I sowed the seeds of the current disorder. Ignoring those ethnic and sectarian differences, the British fashioned the nation of Iraq out of three Ottoman provinces that had roughly concentrated Kurds, Sunni, and Shi’a in individual provinces.

There is much of value to be learned from this history, but even intelligent commentators obscure that value with misleading words like “colonial.” Wall Street Journal writer Jaroslav Trofimov, for example, recently writing about the creation of the Middle Eastern nations, described France and England as “colonial powers.” Similarly, columnist Charles Krauthammer on the same topic used the phrase “colonial borders.” In both instances, the adjectives are historically misleading.

France and England, of course, were “colonial powers,” but their colonies were not in the Middle East. The region had for centuries been under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire. Thus Western “colonialism” was not responsible for the region’s dysfunctions. Rather, it was the incompetent policies and imperialist fantasies of the Ottoman leadership during the century before World War I, which culminated in the disastrous decision to enter the war on the side of Germany, that bear much of the responsibility for the chaos that followed the defeat of the Central Powers.

Another important factor was the questionable desire of the British to create an Arab national homeland in the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, and to gratify the imperial pretensions of their ally the Hashemite clan, who shrewdly convinced the British that their self-serving and marginal actions during the war had been important in fighting the Turks.

Obviously, the European powers wanted to influence these new nations in order to protect their geopolitical and economic interests, but they had no desire to colonize them. Idealists may decry that interference, or see it as unjust, but it is not “colonialism” rightly understood.

No more accurate is Krauthammer’s use of “colonial borders” to describe the region’s nations. Like all combatants in a great struggle, in anticipation of the defeat of the Central Powers, the British and French began planning the settlement of the region in 1916 in a meeting that produced the Sykes-Picot agreement later that year. But there is nothing unexceptional or untoward in this. In February 1945, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin met in Yalta to negotiate their spheres of influence in Germany and Eastern Europe after the war. It would be strange if the Entente powers had notlaid out their plans for the territories of the defeated enemy.

Thus as part of the peace treaties and conferences after World War I, the French and British were given, under the authority of negotiated treaties and the supervision of the League of Nations, the “mandates” over the former Ottoman territories lying between Egypt and Turkey. In 1924 the goal of the mandates was spelled out in Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant: “Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.”

Thus the nations created in the old Ottoman territory were sanctioned by international law as the legitimate prerogative of the victorious Entente powers. There was nothing “colonial” about the borders of the new nations.

One can legitimately challenge the true motives of the mandatory powers, doubt their sincerity in protesting their concern for the region’s peoples, or criticize their borders for serving European interests rather than those of the peoples living there. But whatever their designs, colonizing was not one of them. Indeed, by 1924 colonialism had long been coming into question for many in the West, and at the time of the post-war settlement the reigning ideal was not colonialism, but ethnic self-determination as embodied in the nation-state, as Woodrow Wilson had called for in February 1918: “National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent.” The Anglo-French Declaration issued a few days before the war ended on November 11, 1918 agreed, stating that their aims in the former Ottoman territories were “the establishment of National Governments and administrations deriving their authority from the initiative and free choice of the indigenous populations.”

Again, one can question the wisdom of trying to create Western nation-states and political orders in a region still intensely tribal, with a religion in which the secular nation is an alien import. That incompatibility continues to be an ongoing problem nearly a century later, as we watch the failure of nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the hopes of the Arab Spring dashed in the violence and disorder of the Arab Winter.

But whatever the sins of the Europeans in the Middle East, colonialism is not one of them. The misuse of the term may sound trivial, but it legitimizes the jihadist narrative of Western guilt and justified Muslim payback through terrorist violence, now perfumed as “anticolonial resistance.” It reinforces what Middle East scholar J.B. Kelly called the “preemptive cringe,” the willingness of the West to blame itself for the region’s problems, as President Obama did in his 2009 Cairo speech when he condemned the “colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims.”

This apologetic stance has characterized our foreign policy and emboldened our enemies for half a century. Today the region is in more danger of collapse into widespread violence and more of a threat to our national interests than at any time in the last fifty years. Perhaps we should start crafting our foreign policy on the foundations of historical truth and precise language.

Voir également:

The Triumph of Robert Conquest
He chronicled the Soviet terror that so many in the West refused to see.

WSJ

Aug. 5, 2015

Robert Conquest was born in 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution, so it seems fitting that he outlived the Soviet Union by more than 25 years.

The indefatigable historian, and enemy, of Soviet totalitarianism died Tuesday at age 98.

Conquest’s major themes were reality and delusion. “The Great Terror” (1968) was the first and still definitive treatment of Stalin’s purges, gulags, show trials and secret police, meticulously documenting the enormity of the death toll. “Harvest of Sorrow” (1986) chronicled what he called the “terror famines” that followed agricultural collectivization.

When sources inside Russia were few and most Kremlinologists were oblivious, these classics contributed immensely to understanding the nature of the Communist project. They also helped shape the response that won the Cold War; Reagan and Thatcher were among his readers.

Still, until Moscow opened the archives post-1989, leftist intellectuals and especially academics denied the realities Conquest exposed, claiming he exaggerated Stalin’s evil. That debate is now closed beyond challenge.

Conquest dedicated his later years at Stanford’s Hoover Institution to plumbing delusion, which he defined as “massive reality denial,” or why Russia had so many apologists and sympathizers. He blamed the persistence of destructive beliefs and the bottomless human capacity for self-deception.

“The mere existence of the U.S.S.R., and its ideas, distorted the way in which many people over the whole world thought about society, the economy, human history,” Conquest wrote in these pages in 1992. “Many were seduced by the comfortable word ‘socialism,’ even to the extent of rejecting the Western ideas of free discussion, political compromise, plural society, piecemeal practicality, change without chaos.”

Conquest added that the lessons of the bloody 20th century “have not yet been learned, or not adequately so.” Many today across the world still offer solace to dictators and mass murderers, whatever their reasons, so Conquest’s insights into human deception remain and will always be relevant.

Right now the United States of America is being led by the ideological heir of Lenin and Stalin, Barack Hussein Obama. A man raised and mentored by hardcore Communists. I have not read the « Great Terror », but I have read and own « Harvest of Sorrow » and the level of abject depravity depicted is beyond description, reducing Ukraine to the cannibalization of children. A systemic war against « the peasantry and the Kulaks » so brutal that it led Stalin’s wife, Nadya, to commit suicide from guilt. This ideology, morphed and re-marketed to fit 21st Century America, is alive and well in the policies of Barack Obama, who has wrecked the greatest nation in the course of human history with his Third World Bolshevism, paraded as democratic socialism.
Let us use the work of Dr. Conquest as a catalyst and a warning of the detriment a cult of personality wedded to totalitarian ideology can have on a people and a society, so as to stop what happened in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany from happening here, or else we are going to need historian’s like Robert Conquest to document Obama’s crimes and atrocities against America. You think we would have learned.

It is human nature not to want to believe the worst. It is what makes Leftism possible. To support Leftist causes, one is required to look away, to deny reality. One can only defend their extreme position on abortion if one does not look at sonograms or the recent videos of Planned Parenthood and refuse to hear the gruesome details of partial birth abortion. And so it is with the Iran peace ‘deal’; to support it one is required to ignore the anti-Semitic, anti American pronouncements of Iran’s leaders, their history of deception, their open support for terrorism, and the violent subjugation of their people . Obama argues that his critics are wrong to take things at face value and that the price of their misjudgment will be war. But if Obama is wrong, if the Ayatollah really means what he says, if history really does teach us, what will the price of Obama’s misjudgment be? Peace? Yep, you would have to believe that too.

Voir encore:

40 Years Later
The Mass Killings in Indonesia
John Roosa and Joseph Nevins
Counterpunch
November 5-7, 2005

« One of the worst mass murders of the twentieth century. » That was how a CIA publication described the killings that began forty years ago last month in Indonesia. It was one of the few statements in the text that was correct. The 300-page text was devoted to blaming the victims of the killings — the supporters of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) — for their own deaths. The PKI had supposedly attempted a coup d’état and a nationwide uprising called the September 30th Movement (which, for some unknown reason, began on October 1). The mass murder of hundreds of thousands of the party’s supporters over subsequent months was thus a natural, inevitable, and justifiable reaction on the part of those non-communists who felt threatened by the party’s violent bid for state power. The killings were part of the « backfire » referred to in the title: Indonesia ­ 1965: The Coup that Backfired. The author of this 1968 report, later revealed to be Helen Louise Hunter, acknowledged the massive scale of the killings only to dismiss the necessity for any detailed consideration of them. She concentrated on proving that the PKI was responsible for the September 30th Movement while consigning the major issue, the anti-PKI atrocities, to a brief, offhanded comment. [1]

Hunter’s CIA report accurately expressed the narrative told by the Indonesian army commanders as they organized the slaughter. That narrative rendered the September 30th Movement ­ a disorganized, small-scale affair that lasted about 48 hours and resulted in a grand total of 12 deaths, among them six army generals ­ into the greatest evil ever to befall Indonesia [2]. The commander of the army, Major General Suharto, justified his acquisition of emergency powers in late 1965 and early 1966 by insisting that the September 30th Movement was a devious conspiracy by the PKI to seize state power and murder all of its enemies. Suharto’s martial law regime detained some 1.5 million people as political prisoners (for varying lengths of time), and accused them of being « directly or indirectly involved in the September 30th Movement. » The hundreds of thousands of people shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, or starved to death were labeled perpetrators, or would-be perpetrators of atrocities, just as culpable for the murder of the army generals as the handful of people who were truly guilty.

The September 30th Movement was Suharto’s Reichstag fire: a pretext for destroying the communist party and seizing state power. As with the February 1933 fire in the German parliament that Hitler used to create a hysterical, crisis-filled atmosphere, the September 30th Movement was exaggerated by Suharto’s clique of officers until it assumed the proportions of a wild, vicious, supernatural monster. The army whipped up an anti-communist propaganda campaign from the early days of October 1965: « the PKI » had castrated and tortured the seven army officers it had abducted in Jakarta, danced naked and slit the bodies of the army officers with a hundred razor blades, drawn up hit lists, dug thousands of ditches around the country to hold countless corpses, stockpiled guns imported from China, and so on. The army banned many newspapers and put the rest under army censorship. It was precisely this work of the army’s psychological warfare specialists that created the conditions in which the mass murder of « the PKI » seemed justified.

The question as to whether or not the PKI actually organized the September 30th Movement is important only because the Suharto regime made it important. Otherwise, it is irrelevant. Even if the PKI had nothing whatsoever to do with the movement, the army generals would have blamed the party for it. As it was, they made their case against the PKI largely on the basis of the transcripts of the interrogations of those movement participants who hadn’t already been summarily executed. Given that the army used torture as standard operating procedure for interrogations, the statements of the suspects cannot be trusted. Hunter’s CIA report, primarily based on those transcripts, is as reliable as an Inquisition text on witchcraft.

The PKI as a whole was clearly not responsible for the September 30th Movement. The party’s three million members did not participate in it. If they had, it would not have been such a small-scale affair. The party chairman, D.N. Aidit, however, does seem to have played a key role. He was summarily and secretly executed in late 1965, as were two of the three other core Politburo leaders (Lukman and Njoto), before they could provide their accounts. The one among them who survived the initial terror, the general secretary of the party, Sudisman, admitted in the military’s kangaroo court in 1967 that the PKI as an institution knew nothing of the September 30th Movement but that certain leaders were involved in a personal capacity. If the movement’s leaders had been treated as the leaders of previous revolts against the postcolonial government, they would have been arrested, put on trial, and sentenced. All the members of their organizations would not have been imprisoned or massacred.

With so little public discussion and so little scholarly research about the 1965-66 mass killings, they remain poorly understood. Many people outside of Indonesia believe that the victims were primarily Indonesian Chinese. While some Indonesian Chinese were among the victims, they were by no means the majority. The violence targeted members of the PKI and the various organizations either allied to the party or sympathetic to it, whatever ethnicity they happened to be: Javanese, Balinese, Sundanese, etc. It was not a case of ethnic cleansing. Many people imagine that the killings were committed by frenzied mobs rampaging through villages and urban neighborhoods. But recent oral history research suggests that most of the killings were executions of detainees. [3] Much more research is needed before one can arrive at definitive conclusions.

President Sukarno, the target of the PKI’s alleged coup attempt, compared the army’s murderous violence against those labeled PKI to a case of someone « burning down the house to kill a rat. » He routinely protested the army’s exaggerations of the September 30th Movement. It was, he said, nothing more than « a ripple in the wide ocean. » His inability or unwillingness to muster anything more than rhetorical protests, however, ultimately doomed his rule. In March 1966, Suharto grabbed the authority to dismiss, appoint, and arrest cabinet ministers, even while maintaining Sukarno as figurehead president until March 1967. The great orator who had led the nationalist struggle against the Dutch, the cosmopolitan visionary of the Non-Aligned Movement, was outmaneuvered by a taciturn, uneducated, thuggish, corrupt army general from a Javanese village.

Suharto, a relative nobody in Indonesian politics, moved against the PKI and Sukarno with the full support of the U.S. government. Marshall Green, American ambassador to Indonesia at the time, wrote that the embassy had « made clear » to the army that Washington was « generally sympathetic with and admiring » of its actions. [4] U.S. officials went so far as to express concern in the days following the September 30th Movement that the army might not do enough to annihilate the PKI. [5] The U.S. embassy supplied radio equipment, walkie-talkies, and small arms to Suharto so that his troops could conduct the nationwide assault on civilians. [6] A diligent embassy official with a penchant for data collection did his part by handing the army a list of thousands of names of PKI members. [7] Such moral and material support was much appreciated in the Indonesian army. As an aide to the army’s chief of staff informed U.S. embassy officials in October 1965, « This was just what was needed by way of assurances that we weren’t going to be hit from all angles as we moved to straighten things out here. »[8]

This collaboration between the U.S. and the top army brass in 1965 was rooted in Washington’s longstanding wish to have privileged and enhanced access to Southeast Asia’s resource wealth. Many in Washington saw Indonesia as the region’s centerpiece. Richard Nixon characterized the country as « containing the region’s richest hoard of natural resources » and « by far the greatest prize in the South-East Asian area. » [9] Two years earlier, in a 1965 speech in Asia, Nixon had argued in favor of bombing North Vietnam to protect Indonesia’s « immense mineral potential. » [10] But obstacles to the realization of Washington’s geopolitical-economic vision arose when the Sukarno government emerged upon independence in Indonesia. Sukarno’s domestic and foreign policy was nationalist, nonaligned, and explicitly anti-imperialist. Moreover, his government had a working relationship with the powerful PKI, which Washington feared would eventually win national elections.

Eisenhower’s administration attempted to break up Indonesia and sabotage Sukarno’s presidency by supporting secessionist revolts in 1958.[11] When that criminal escapade of the Dulles brothers failed, the strategists in Washington reversed course and began backing the army officers of the central government. The new strategy was to cultivate anti-communist officers who could gradually build up the army as a shadow government capable of replacing President Sukarno and eliminating the PKI at some future date. The top army generals in Jakarta bided their time and waited for the opportune moment for what U.S. strategists called a final « showdown » with the PKI. [12] That moment came on October 1, 1965.

The destruction of the PKI and Sukarno’s ouster resulted in a dramatic shift in the regional power equation, leading Time magazine to hail Suharto’s bloody takeover as « The West’s best news for years in Asia. » [13] Several years later, the U.S. Navy League’s publication gushed over Indonesia’s new role in Southeast Asia as « that strategic area’s unaggressive, but stern, monitor, » while characterizing the country as « one of Asia’s most highly developed nations and endowed by chance with what is probably the most strategically authoritative geographic location on earth. » [14] Among other things, the euphoria reflected just how lucrative the changing of the guard in Indonesia would prove to be for Western business interests.

Suharto’s clique of army officers took power with a long-term economic strategy in mind. They expected the legitimacy of their new regime would derive from economic growth and that growth would derive from bringing in Western investment, exporting natural resources to Western markets, and begging for Western aid. Suharto’s vision for the army was not in terms of defending the nation against foreign aggression but defending foreign capital against Indonesians. He personally intervened in a meeting of cabinet ministers in December 1965 that was discussing the nationalization of the oil companies Caltex and Stanvac. Soon after the meeting began, he suddenly arrived by helicopter, entered the chamber, and declared, as the gleeful U.S. embassy account has it, that the military « would not stand for precipitous moves against oil companies. » Faced with such a threat, the cabinet indefinitely postponed the discussion. [15] At the same time, Suharto’s army was jailing and killing union leaders at the facilities of U.S. oil companies and rubber plantations. [16]

Once Suharto decisively sidelined Sukarno in March 1966, the floodgates of foreign aid opened up. The U.S. shipped large quantities of rice and cloth for the explicit political purpose of shoring up his regime. Falling prices were meant to convince Indonesians that Suharto’s rule was an improvement over Sukarno’s. The regime’s ability over the following years to sustain economic growth via integration with Western capital provided whatever legitimacy it had. Once that pattern of growth ended with the capital flight of the 1997 Asian economic crisis, the regime’s legitimacy quickly vanished. Middle class university students, the fruits of economic growth, played a particularly important role in forcing Suharto from office. The Suharto regime lived by foreign capital and died by foreign capital.

By now it is clear that the much ballyhooed economic growth of the Suharto years was severely detrimental to the national interest. The country has little to show for all the natural resources sold on the world market. Payments on the foreign and domestic debt, part of it being the odious debt from the Suharto years, swallow up much of the government’s budget. With health care spending at a minimum, epidemic and preventable diseases are rampant. There is little domestic industrial production. The forests from which military officers and Suharto cronies continue to make fortunes are being cut down and burned up at an alarming rate. The country imports huge quantities of staple commodities that could be easily produced on a larger scale in Indonesia, such as sugar, rice, and soybeans. The main products of the villages now are migrant laborers, or « the heroes of foreign exchange, » to quote from a lighted sign at the Jakarta airport.

Apart from the pillaging of Indonesia’s resource base, the Suharto regime caused an astounding level of unnecessary suffering. At his command, the Indonesian military invaded neighboring East Timor in 1975 after receiving a green light from President Gerald Ford and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger. The result was an occupation that lasted for almost 24 years and left a death toll of tens of thousands of East Timorese. Within Indonesia proper, the TNI committed widespread atrocities during counterinsurgency campaigns in the resource-rich provinces of West Papua and Aceh, resulting in tens of thousands of additional fatalities.

With Suharto’s forced resignation in 1998, significant democratic space has opened in Indonesia. There are competitive national and local elections. Victims of the « New Order » and their families are able to organize. There is even an official effort to create a national truth commission to investigate past atrocities. Nevertheless, the military still looms large over the country’s political system. As such, there has not been a thorough investigation of any of the countless massacres that took place in 1965-66. History textbooks still focus on the September 30th Movement and make no mention of the massacres. Similarly, no military or political leaders have been held responsible for the Suharto-era crimes (or those that have taken place since), thus increasing the likelihood of future atrocities. This impunity is a source of continuing worry for Indonesia’s civil society and restless regions, as well as poverty-stricken, now-independent East Timor. It is thus not surprising that the government of the world’s newest country feels compelled to play down demands for justice by its citizenry and emphasize an empty reconciliation process with Indonesia. Meanwhile in the United States, despite political support and billions of dollars in U.S. weaponry, military training and economic assistance to Jakarta over the preceding four decades, Washington’s role in Indonesia’s killing fields of 1965-66 and subsequent brutality has been effectively buried, thus enabling the Bush administration’s current efforts to further ties with Indonesia’s military, as part of the global « war on terror. » [17] Suharto’s removal from office has not led to radical changes in Indonesia’s state and economy.

Sukarno used to indict Dutch colonialism by saying that Indonesia was « a nation of coolies and a coolie among nations. » Thanks to the Suharto years, that description remains true. The principles of economic self-sufficiency, prosperity, and international recognition for which the nationalist struggle was fought now seem as remote as ever. It is encouraging that many Indonesians are now recalling Sukarno’s fight against Western imperialism (first the Netherlands and then the U.S.) after experiencing the misery that Suharto’s strategy of collaboration has wrought. In his « year of living dangerously » speech in August 1964 ­ a phrase remembered in the West as just the title of a 1982 movie with Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver ­ Sukarno spoke about the Indonesian ideal of national independence struggling to stay afloat in « an ocean of subversion and intervention from the imperialists and colonialists. » Suharto’s U.S.-assisted takeover of state power forty years ago last month drowned that ideal in blood, but it might just rise again during the ongoing economic crisis that is endangering the lives of so many Indonesians.

John Roosa is an assistant professor of history at the University of British Columbia, and is the author of Pretext for Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement and Suharto’s Coup d’État in Indonesia (University of Wisconsin Press, forthcoming in 2006).

Joseph Nevins is an assistant professor of geography at Vassar College, and is the author of A Not-so-distant Horror: Mass Violence in East Timor (Cornell University Press, 2005).

They may be reached at: jonevins@pop.vassar.edu

Notes

1. A former CIA agent who worked in Southeast Asia, Ralph McGehee, noted in his memoir that the agency compiled a separate report about the events of 1965, one that reflected its agents’ honest opinions, for its own in-house readership. McGehee’s description of it was heavily censored by the agency when it vetted an account he first published in the April 11, 1981 edition of The Nation. Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA (New York: Sheridan Square, 1983), pp. 57-58. Two articles in the agency’s internal journal Studies in Intelligence have been declassified: John T. Pizzicaro, « The 30 September Movement in Indonesia, » (Fall 1969); Richard Cabot Howland, « The Lessons of the September 30 Affair, » (Fall 1970). The latter is available online: http://www.odci.gov/csi/kent_csi/docs/v14i2a02p_0001.htm

2. In Jakarta, the movement’s troops abducted and killed six army generals and a lieutenant taken by mistake from the house of the seventh who avoided capture. In the course of these abductions, a five year-old daughter of a general, a teenaged nephew of another general, and a security guard were killed. In Central Java, two army colonels were abducted and killed.

3. John Roosa, Ayu Ratih, and Hilmar Farid, eds. Tahun yang Tak Pernah Berakhir: Memahami Pengalaman Korban 65; Esai-Esai Sejarah Lisan [The Year that Never Ended: Understanding the Experiences of the Victims of 1965; Oral History Essays] (Jakarta: Elsam, 2004). Also consider the massacre investigated in Chris Hilton’s very good documentary film Shadowplay (2002).

4. Telegram from the Embassy in Indonesia to Department of State, November 4, 1965, in United States Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, vol. 26, p. 354. This FRUS volume is available online at the National Security Archive website: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB52/#FRUS

5. Telegram from the Embassy in Jakarta to Department of State, October 14, 1965. Quoted in Geoffrey Robinson, The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), p. 283.

6. Frederick Bunnell, « American ‘Low Posture’ Policy Toward Indonesia in the Months Leading up to the 1965 ‘Coup’, » Indonesia, 50 (October 1990), p. 59.

7. Kathy Kadane, « Ex-agents say CIA Compiled Death Lists for Indonesians, » San Francisco Examiner, May 20, 1990, available online at http://www.pir.org/kadane.html

8. CIA Report no. 14 to the White House (from Jakarta), October 14, 1965. Cited in Robinson, The Dark Side of Paradise, p. 283.

9. Richard Nixon, « Asia After Viet Nam, » Foreign Affairs (October 1967), p. 111.

10. Quoted in Peter Dale Scott, « Exporting Military-Economic Development: America and the Overthrow of Sukarno, » in Malcolm Caldwell (ed.), Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia (Nottingham (U.K.): Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation for Spokesman Books, 1975), p. 241.

11. Audrey R. Kahin and George McT. Kahin, Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia (New York: The New Press, 1995), p. 1.

12. Bunnell, « American ‘Low Posture’ Policy, » pp. 34, 43, 53-54.

13. Time, July 15, 1966. Also see Noam Chomsky, Year 501: The Conquest Continues (Boston: South End Press, 1993), pp. 123-131.

14. Lawrence Griswold, « Garuda and the Emerald Archipelago: Strategic Indonesia Forges New Ties with the West, » Sea Power (Navy League of the United States), vol. 16, no. 2 (1973), pp. 20, 25.

15. Telegram 1787 from Jakarta to State Department, December 16, 1965, cited in Brad Simpson, « Modernizing Indonesia: U.S.­Indonesian Relations, 1961-1967, » (Ph.D. dissertation, Department of History, Northwestern University, 2003), p. 343.

16. Hilmar Farid, « Indonesia’s Original Sin: Mass Killings and Capitalist Expansion 1965-66, » Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, vol. 6, no. 1 (March 2005).

17. For information on U.S.-Indonesia military ties, see the website of the East Timor Indonesia Action Network at http://www.etan.org/

Laskar Jihad (LJ)
Jacques Baud

Feb 23, 2014
Autres appellations :
Laskar Jihad Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah

(Indonésie) (Armée du Djihad) Mouvement islamiste salafiste radical, créé le 30 janvier 2000, comme aile paramilitaire du Forum Komunikasi Ahlussunnah Waljamaah (FKAW), lui-même créé à Jogjakarta au début 1998. Le Laskar Jihad est apparu à Ambon, dans l’archipel des Moluques, à la suite des violences interconfessionnelles survenues dans l’île de Maluku.

Il est dirigé par Jaffar Umar Thalib, un ex- ► Afghan, qui aurait rencontré Oussama Ben Laden au Pakistan en 1987, mais réfute l’affirmation selon laquelle il aurait des liens avec ► Al-Qaïda.(1)Sa philosophie, une combinaison d’islamisme et de nationalisme, prône un Etat indonésien basé sur l’islam, l’armée et un gouvernement fort (et non un émirat islamique).

En 2000, le Laskar Jihad a envoyé plus de 2 000 combattants dans l’archipel des Moluques, afin de participer au conflit entre chrétiens moluquois et musulmans(2), (pour la plupart issus des Célèbes du Sud et Java) et écraser le mouvement sécessionniste des Moluques du Sud, Republik Maluku Selatan (RMS).

Après les Moluques, le LJ a entrepris de prendre pied en Papouasie, où il a envoyé 2 000 combattants en mai 2002 et a rapidement installé des offices régionaux à Sorong, Fakfak, Timika, Nabire, Manokwari, et Merauke. Son quartier-général est à Yogyakarta, sur l’île de Java. Il disposerait de camps d’entraînement dans la région de Manokwari, où vit une importante communauté de musulmans javanais.

Le LJ revendique une mission qui comprend trois volets : le travail social, l’éducation islamique et la sécurité.


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