Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Monday, April 29, 2002
Ralph Peters has an excellent piece on the Journal editorial page today. His point: we can't fight fundamentalist Islam without engaging with other streams of Islam, and the former is over-represented in the Arab world while the latter is over-represented in the non-Arab Muslim world of Central and Southeast Asia. Hence, our policy should be anti-Arab not anti-Muslim. In broad strokes, I heartily agree. Two caveats. First, such a policy cannot be implemented without a regime change in Iran. That's why an authentic, indigenous counter-revolution in Iran should be a top aim of the American war effort. Second, it's of course not possible to write off the Arab world entirely. Peters takes particular aim at Egypt, which I think is misguided. So far, Egypt has been performing pretty well, making it clear that the government will not get involved in a war against Israel and helping America on the intelligence front. Egypt is, I think, better compared to Pakistan than to Saudi Arabia: a seriously screwed-up country where the leadership is terrified of the Islamists, and understands they are their worst enemy, but where endemic corruption has so weakened the ruling regime that the risk of Islamist takeover is real. We have a significant interest in preventing that from happening, though our active collaboration with the governments of these countries raises the risk of provoking the very revolution we are trying to prevent. In any event, America does indeed have a very strong interest in promoting pluralism in Islam, which means opposing the Saudis and supporting the dominant faiths of places like Uzbekistan and Bangladesh above all - a strategy which just happens to dovetail perfectly with a geopolitical strategy organized around alliances with Turkey, Russia and India.