June 26, 2005

Max Boot says the insurgents are bound to lose

in Iraq:

The rebels lack a unifying organization, ideology and leader. There is no Iraqi Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro or Mao Tse-tung.

Which means there is nobody to capture, kill, or negotiate a deal with. The Shining Path rebellion in Peru and the Kurdish rebellion in Turkey both ended abruptly with the capture of their respective numero unos. The Afrikaaners could negotiate a deal with Mandela and know that his rebels would abide by it.

We don't know for sure that nobody will eventually emerge from the insurgency as a charismatic leader -- Bonaparte didn't emerge until about six years into the French Revolution -- but we're probably worse off without a centralized command. Lack of centralization means the insurgency could go on irrationally long, with the worst hot-heads keeping it going with more atrocities setting off more reprisals, etc etc.

A reader writes:

Exactly. The error people make in dealing with Arab polities is to assume there is some “there” there when they negotiate with the leaders of Arab states.

In fact Arab states seem more and more like Potemkin polities, just a bunch of soldiers controlling some oil wells who have set up shop to impress international visitors but are not really in control of their people.

Arab societies are much more swarm-like – organized from the bottom-up by clans, rather than top-down by states. That’s why they seem ineffective in mobilizing their populi for war or economic development but good for stuff like weddings, mafias and guerilla war.

So regime change does not really change much, apart from the name on the shingle hanging on the street-front of the Potemkin state.

You still got the same people with the same families, only now you really pissed quite a few of them off because your “smart” bomb just blew up cousin Ahmed.

That’s why the US should not bother with nation-building or state-construction in the ME: if the Arabs can't do it, it does not seem likely that the US Army can do it whilst simultaneously fighting off legions of the irate cousins of Ahmed. (Boy do I feel sorry for the GI’s in Iraq.) [The high Sunday is forecast to be 112.]

The US’s continued presence in Iraq is just stirring up the hornets nest even more. If the US leaves the Suunis will probably go back to what they like doing best, throwing weddings and engaging in a little mafia activity. Hopefully, this will give them less incentive to participate in guerilla war and encourage them to turn on the opportunistic jihadis.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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