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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Monday, September 11, 2017

On The Anniversary of 9/11, From The American Dream . . .

. . . To The World's Dream Of Prosperity And Dignity
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared December 7, 1941 -- the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor -- “a date which will live in infamy” and asked Congress for a Declaration of War. Thus began America’s entry into World War II, sealing the doom of the Axis Powers.

On May 8, 1945 Victory in Europe was declared, accepting Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender and marking the formal end of WWII in Europe. Imperial Japan surrendered on August 14th. WWII was over.

FDR was using dramatic license when stating that America: “will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.” “Never” is a long time. Generations passed. 9/11 became our generation’s version of Pearl Harbor.

In the interim, the West found itself inside the Cold War, one breaking hot and heroic in Korea and Vietnam. That war lasted for over 40 years and could be termed WWIII. Then, on Christmas Day, 25 years ago, the USSR formally dissolved itself, ending the struggle between the Free World and an imperial-style Soviet Union.

Now, 16 years after 9/11, the West and the Middle East are on the verge of eradicating the barbaric Daesh, commonly known as ISIS. Its precursor was Al Qaeda, which launched the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the heroically aborted attack on the Capitol, Flight 93. Al Qaeda’s leader Bin Laden, was killed and Al Qaeda's remnants are greatly diminished although residually sinister.

The “war on terror” is a misnomer. Terror is a tactic, not a strategy. It has been called a “weapon of the weak.” America, for a century -- since it entered what became known as WWI on April 6, 1917 -- has been engaged in a war against Empire, Imperialism, and tyranny.

In 1911, Dr. Sun Yat-sen (my honorary great-godfather) overthrew the Qing Dynasty in China, replacing it, at least initially, with a republican form of government. In 1917, the Bolsheviks took power from Czar (a title derived from Caesar), replacing it with Communist Party rule. In 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire dissolved. In 1923, the Ottoman empire was succeeded by the Republic of Turkey. Great Britain, the least autocratic of the five great empires that had dominated the world, went into an inexorable decline.

The world had been governed by emperors for millennia. The sudden collapse of the imperial world order is so big as to be nearly invisible. It was the Big Bang that set the stage for the current world geopolitical order.

The fall of Empire did not, in the event, bring about an instant success in what President Woodrow Wilson, in asking for a declaration of War on Germany on April 2, 1917, declared that the world “be made safe for democracy.” Tyrants replaced Emperors. Hence WWII and the Cold War wherein we replaced tyrants with classical liberal republics and moved the Communist metropoles from totalitarian to authoritarian.

The misnamed “war on terror” occludes the fact that Al Qaeda’s goal, and that of Daesh, was to restore the Caliphate: the Ottoman Empire. I observed here last year but bears repeating:As Prof. Juan Cole wrote in 2004 at the George Mason History News Network:

"In order to evaluate the aftermath of September 11, we first must understand that event. What did al-Qaeda intend to achieve? Only if we understand that can we gauge their success or failure.

"From the point of view of al-Qaeda, the Muslim world can and should be united into a single country. They believe that it once had this political unity, under the early caliphs.

... "From al-Qaeda's point of view, the political unity of the Muslim world was deliberately destroyed by a one-two punch. First, Western colonial powers invaded Muslim lands and detached them from the Ottoman Empire or other Muslim states. … Second, they formed these colonies into Western-style nation-states, often small and weak ones, so that the divisive effects of the colonial conquests have lasted.

... "For al-Qaeda to succeed, it must overthrow the individual nation-states in the Middle East, most of them colonial creations, and unite them into a single, pan-Islamic state.

... "Al-Zawahiri then hit upon the idea of attacking the "far enemy" first. That is, since the United States was propping up the governments of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc., all of which al-Qaeda wanted to overthrow so as to meld them into a single, Islamic super-state, then it would hit the United States first.

... "If the Muslim world can find a way to combine the sophisticated intellectuals and engineers of Damascus and Cairo with the oil wealth of the Persian Gulf, it could well emerge as a 21st century superpower.

"Bin Laden's dream of a united Muslim state under a revived caliphate may well be impossible to accomplish. But with the secular Baath gone, it could be one step closer to reality."

The emergence of a successor to al-Qaeda, the brutal ISIS, a self-proclaimed Caliphate, is an internally logical, in terms of its narrative, development. This has implications.
Perhaps the most signal development in the year since I wrote that is the gathering by King Salman of Saudi Arabia, prominently attended by President Trump, of a great gathering of Arab states. As I then wrote here:Trump’s remarks to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh on May 21 were clear, forceful, eloquent and meaningful.

With God’s help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed. At the same time, we pray this special gathering may someday be remembered as the beginning of peace in the Middle East – and maybe, even all over the world.

... We now face a humanitarian and security disaster in this region that is spreading across the planet. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. No description of the suffering and depravity can begin to capture its full measure.

The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams.

... This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations.

This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.

This is a battle between Good and Evil.
That is exactly right. The remarkable Arabic Islamic American Summit in Riyadh holds promise for precisely what Prof. Cole prescribes: "If the Muslim world can find a way to combine the sophisticated intellectuals and engineers of Damascus and Cairo with the oil wealth of the Persian Gulf, it could well emerge as a 21st century superpower.”


It is necessary but not sufficient to destroy Daesh militarily. We also must help open the minds the youth of Arabia and the Muslim world with an even bigger, more glorious, dream than the twisted, ugly, fantasy of Daesh of restoring an atavistic Empire. We must support the opening of a path to a form of republican federalism for the Muslim world to “emerge as a 21st century superpower.” A benevolent one.

The world is muddling toward a golden age of peace and prosperity. America inherited, unsought, world hegemony at the end of the Cold War. Hegemony is expensive and neither to our taste or in the American nature. Americans are a merchant, not a militaristic, people. And the world order organically trends toward dominant regional powers, which, in self as well as mutual interest, trend benevolent especially when the preeminent nation, America, sets a good example.

America long led, and again could lead, the world in using its soft power -- economic and cultural -- to export what Thomas Jefferson called an “empire of Liberty,” one based in classical liberal republican principles. The better we understand 9/11 to have been the Pearl Harbor of an imperialistic vision, the more secure America, and the world, will become.

We are engaged in a war not on "terror” but in a noble, generous, and heroic war against Empire, replacing it with classical liberal republicanism. The sooner we declare this the more power we will gain in the most important battle of all.

The most important battle is the battle for the world’s imagination. The most strategic asset in geopolitics, as in politics, is to write the dominant narrative of the age.

Napoleon once declared: “imagination rules the world. The defect of our modern institutions is that they do not speak to the imagination. By that alone can man be governed; without it he is but a brute.” The American example has inspired, and can again inspire, the imagination of the whole world toward liberty and justice for all.

One of the two mottoes on America’s Great Seal is Novus ordo seclorum, "New order of the ages." What is that order? A classical liberal republican foundation for a golden age of peace and prosperity, dignity and liberty.

9/11 is the anniversary of what we hope will prove the final, failed, deathblow of a deadly and dead imperial world in a vain attempt to restore and empire, the Caliphate. America is winning in its mission to make the American Dream of prosperity and dignity for all the World's Dream.

Let us now recapture the commanding heights of the world's imagination with America's call: Onward to a new, golden, order of the ages.
-----------------
Ralph Benko is an advisor to nonprofit and advocacy organizations, is a member of the Conservative Action Project, a contributor to the contributor to the ARRA News Service. Founder of The Prosperity Caucus, he was a member of the Jack Kemp supply-side team, served in an unrelated area as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House. The article which first appeared in Forbes.

Tags: Ralph Benko, 9/11 Anniversary, American Dream, World's Dream, Prosperity, Dignity To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
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