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Iraq, Afghanistan and now Iran – Prepare for the Clash of Civilizations

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In the months before the Iraq war started, I protested on the streets of St. Petersburg Florida that the items presented justifying it were false and engaging in such a war was dangerous. I was afraid, and wrote several times in my Blog and discussion forum called "The Dumbya Chronicles" that I thought the war risked rending Iraq apart from sectarian violence and also risked pushing the world towards a 'Clash of Civilizations' between the world's Christians and Muslims. We see that my prediction regarding sectarian violence has come true. It has also fanned the flames of hatred by the populaces of predominantly Muslim countries toward the West in general and the US in particular. Before the Iraq war lies regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction and non-existent Iraqi links to Al Qaeda, there was a definite suspicion in the minds of the world's Muslim population towards the US and its motives. That suspicion has now been replaced by complete disbelief and contempt. Why shouldn't they have those sorts of feelings? Most of Europe, Asia, Africa and at least half of the United States feel the same way regarding the administrations motives in the region.

Look, I am no fan of Iran. Iran still has a lot for which to answer regarding their invasion of our embassy in the late 1970's and the taking of the diplomats and other staff therein as hostages. This was not merely an attack on the United States; it was an attack on the institution of Diplomacy. Diplomats MUST feel secure in their embassies and in their host countries in general in order for nations to have the best possible dialogue with each other and to thus hopefully avoid aggressive confrontations. I am as yet unaware of any official apology provided by Iran to the United States for this horrific act. The idea of Iran having nuclear weapons is also disconcerting. But here is the rub. The same UN expert agency on nuclear weapons inspection which categorically said that Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program issued a report of its own on September 13th saying that the alarming US Intelligence Report on Iran's Weapons Program is "outrageous and dishonest". CNN's September 14th report on the issue, included this quote from Daryl Kimball of the nonprofit think tank, the Arms Control Association in Washington, "This is a very troubling instance here, this report, of U.S. policymakers in my view trying to push the intelligence community to find evidence that they believe supports their suspicions and their end policy goals,"

If Yogi Berra were commenting on these entire goings on regarding the Bush Administration's intelligence teams overstating or fabricating Weapons of Mass Destruction information, he would probably say "It's De'j vu all over again". Put yourself in the mind of someone who is Muslim. If we attack Iran, and once again we find out as is likely that their nuclear program was completely peaceful, we will have used false reasons as pretexts to attack two Muslim countries. We support Israel against several different Muslim groups, at least one of whom has a legitimate claim/need/right that is being ignored. We know that the world's Muslims are already angry at the US for some of the things we have recently done. How much more will they bear before they conclude the US is intentionally and unfairly targeting them and their countries because we simply do not like Muslims? Once they conclude that, how can one argue against the idea that many of the world's 1.3 Billion Muslims will either turn to Jihadism or provide significant support to Jihadists? Please note that I did not use the political right's term du jour "Islamo-Fascism" which rightly offends Muslims. We did not call the IRA
'Christian Fascists' engaging in 'Christian Fascism'. How can people in our government not understand that such terms are extremely offensive and offer yet another poke in the eye to the world's Muslims?

Once again, as with past articles, I realize my theories have a number of conditionals associated with them. Trying to ascertain what will happen in the future necessarily requires that the predictor assume certain conditions come to pass. To me, the actions of the United States have caused conditions to come to pass to the point where a clash of civilizations is imminent. Imminent doesn't mean 3-6 months, but it means certainly in the next 2-10 years. It requires that steps are taken right now to start changing things. Instead of preparing to invade another Muslim nation on dubious intelligence, we should be repairing relations with as many Muslim nations as possible. We may have to humble ourselves somewhat. Humility is an underappreciated tool of diplomacy, particularly here in the US. It is very effective, particularly when you are obviously the strongest country in the world. Think of it in micro terms. If you have a dispute with someone in your neighborhood and they are stronger, richer, have more friends in the community that rely on them, etc., and they reach out to you from a humble standpoint to repair relations, what an impact that would have. True, it does not mean an automatic end to the dispute, but it is difficult to ignore or rebuff such a gesture. Because the Bush Administration is inept, arrogant and somehow does not see any of this, I think we have to prepare ourselves for what is in my opinion rapidly becoming inevitable.
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A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)
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