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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Diplomacy of Fear - the Muslim way

Many liberals like to decry conservatives for what they call the "politics of fear." This means that neocons like to use fear as a battering ram of sorts to spook people into voting for them, specifically fear of terror.

There may or may not be merit in this argument, but I have hardly anyone talk about the flip-side of this concept, one that liberals wholeheartedly embrace, usually without realizing it.

I call it the diplomacy of fear.

For decades, the Arab world specifically and the Muslim world in general has used threats as its main leverage to get the West to bend to its will. The threats aren't usually direct; most often they take the form of "if you don't do what we want, the Arab street will erupt" or "the terrorists will have an excuse." In other words, if Arab thugocracies do not get what they desire from the West, then they will be powerless to stop the irrational forces within their borders from damaging Western interests.

I touched upon an early example of this in this recent posting about Arab sympathies with the Nazis, and the British reaction:
“If war were to break out, no trouble that the Jews could occasion us, in Palestine or elsewhere, could weigh for a moment against the importance of winning Muslim opinion to our side,” Britain’s Minister for Coordination of Defence, Lord Chatfield, told the British cabinet in 1939, shortly before Britain reversed its decision to partition its mandate, promising instead all of the land to the Palestinian Arabs.
Think about this for a minute - the British are saying that since Jews are not troublemakers and the Arabs are, it is in the British self-interest to appease the Arabs (at the expense of thousands of Jewish lives).

And this theme is so widespread, so much a part of the fabric of the way the world thinks today, that it is unthinkable that there could be an alternative.

European Mideast policy is almost wholly driven by fear of upsetting Arabs and Muslims. Those who claim to be seeking "peace" make the assumption that asking Arabs for concessions is useless and could ignite some sort of negative response - so is makes more sense to pressure Israel into making even more concessions.

How many times have we seen a variant of this recent pronouncement from Mahmoud Abbas:
Mr Abbas said the freeze was causing hardship to ordinary people and would lead to further instability.
"Instability?" We all know what he means by that - he means violence and terror, which is apparently a natural reaction in the rules of Arab physics. If the West doesn't give Palestinian Arabs more and more money, well, hey, he sure can't control his people from the spontaneous inevitable violence (remarkably similar to the violence they seem to have perfected when they had a billion dollars a year coming into their coffers.)

Mahmoud Abbas threatens the Western world and no one bothers to call him on it.

Similarly, a Canadian imam threatened Canada with similar unspecified terror last year. Iran threatens the West daily with implied terror and eventual nuclear bombs. It is the main leverage the Saudis have when lobbying Europe and America - they are more "moderate" and if the royals don't get their request taken care of, they might fall and those "militants" will take over.

This climate of fear is so endemic that fundamentally irrational and immoral acts by the Muslim world are accepted by the West with little question - to challenge it could put you in the same category as a Salman Rushdie or a Danish cartoonist, and who needs that hassle?

Maybe it is pure bigotry that causes Saudi Arabia to not allow Christian bibles or any Jews altogether to be on holy Saudi soil - but you won't see any EU inquiries into that matter. By any objective measure, the Arab world is the center for terror and human rights abuses today. But it is much easier to concentrate on supposed Koran abuse at Guantanamo. Much safer to call Israel with its million Arab citizens "an apartheid state."

Because the US and Israel don't threaten the EU with terror the way the Arabs do.

So, the diplomacy of fear has an excellent record since the first part of the twentieth century, and there is no indication that it will slow down any time soon. After all, it works.