Showing posts with label Peace and cooperation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peace and cooperation. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Islamophobia as an international security problem

The West's religious and political extremists and radicals. While the focus is on the small number of Middle East religious radicals who are rioting in new Arab democracies,  the serious and growing threat from anti-Muslim radicals and Islamophobic extremists is multifaceted in nature. This threat ranges from free roaming violent radicals, like Anders Breivik and the English Defense League, to advances made by "political parties" in European nations, like Geert Wilders and the PVV.  All of this activity by Islamophobic radicals is well funded by wealthy, but equally radical Israeli interests, perhaps with the Likud Party.

We could have told you about the Islamophobic extremists and radical elements that are responsible for the creation of the "Innocence of Muslims" hate film - and it should be clear to the world now how dangerous these elements are.  What should be made clear to the world is how these Western extremists and radicals abuse their freedom of speech rights to provoke violence and international crisis.

Promotion of a  New World Order according to Samuel Huntington. There is going to have to be adjustments in foreign and security policies of national governments and in the policies of international organizations (like the European Union) to deal with this (not so new) anti-Muslim radical and Islamophobic extremist factor on the international community. The world community needs to anticipate that the element will abuse free speech rights to provoke trouble, just as Jyllands-Posten abused its free press rights when it published the "Danish cartoons" and when Geert Wilders and Theo van Gogh abused their free expression rights to make anti-Muslim hate films.

There are those people from largely the Anglo-American conservative right hope to stoke up another Cold War, this time between the West and the Islamic world. We can see their desired New World Order is along the lines of Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" thesis, or "Clash" thesis. Clash thesis is a world ordered along the "faultlines" between largely religiously based "civilizations."  We have the notion that Greece (and probably Serbia) are with "Orthodox civilization"  (watch for calls to throw Greece out of Europe - its the "Trojan horse" for Russia). We have the notion of "Confucian civilization" dominated by China. But - more importantly - we have "Islamic civilization" and "Western civilization."

The largely Anglo-American conservative ilk would like to maintain hostile relations with especially Muslim majority countries of "Islamic civilization." This level of hostile relations is supposed to replace the Soviet Union.  In the opening pages of his book Huntington argues that "enemies are essential to identity" and "hating what we are not is to love who we are."  America, according to Huntington, needs to look for monsters to slay in the Muslim world.

[youtube id="zl3YU5XcmVM" w="300" h="250"]

We have to realize that Islamophobia is present in Ray Kelly, the NYPD commissioner, as well as Geert Wilders, down to Robert Spencer.  Paul Ryan showed up at a "values summit" that was full of extremists, including Frank Gaffney.  So- Islamophobia is not just for the fringe, but has been allowed access to mainstream politics. Islamophobia is what much of Orthodox terrorism studies are based on, including the celebration of the discredited "NYPD radicalization model." We must deal with Islamophobia and those who wish to promote "Clash" thesis as some kind of New World Order. This world order divided by Islamophobia and "hate of others not like us" will be one that promotes constant conflict and crisis. We must work against it and favor a world system that strives to work on respect, mutual understanding and peace.

And - the promotion of Islamophobia and using it to sabotage America's relationships -- are un-American!

The "Muslim rage" was actually small.  We must first come to realize that only a small percentage of "Muslims" protested the "anti-Islam film." Some observers are of the opinion that the Western media needs to be more responsible when covering events in the Middle East -- and that the "Muslim rage" was exaggerated:

What is disheartening is that some of the media coverage of the protests embodies the worst form of sensational journalism. There were headlines and stories that made it seem as though millions of Muslims across the world had taken to the streets, with Muslim countries in riots and businesses closed.

In Indonesia, a nation of over 200 million, several hundred people took part in protests. Just a few months ago, 50,000 Indonesians bought tickets to see a Lady Gaga concert before it was canceled. So, what does this say about Muslims in Indonesia?

In Egypt, a nation of over 80 million, about 2,000 people protested on Friday. Of those protesters, a few hundred were arrested by the police.

In Lebanon, no protests occurred until Monday. Why? Because the pope had been visiting the country, and the leader of Hezbollah, which the U.S. has labeled as a terrorist group, didn't want to do anything to interfere with the pope's historic three-day visit.

A small number of protesters should not define the entire Muslim population of over a billion. The media should know this and report the truth accordingly.

The U.S. media -- and we're not just talking about Newsweek or Joe Scarborough -- need to act in a more responsible way. It appears that our media are more focused on ratings than facts and accuracy. While the media jump on the story and then quickly move on to another story, their impact in defining a people and a culture can be lasting. Let's hope the wave of #MuslimRage responses prompts the media to think twice before they react.

There are now those in acedemics who work with statistics and who are now assessing just how many took part in "Muslim rage" riots. The numbers are small - by the exaggerating of the size and scope of the protests shows how irresponsible the Western mass media can be, and future reports are forthcoming.  Given that these riots were - indeed - small, Islam had nothing to do with these small riots and Muslims are not collectively to blame for violence!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption=""Muslim rage" riots were small. People are currently studying the size of them."][/caption]

The need now to calculate Islamophobia into foreign and security policies. In terms of security, there should be NO reaction of Western agencies to "Muslim rage," since the riots and protests were actually very small. But - we will see some call by Western security agencies (there might have already) to "look out for lone wolf jihadists upset over this video." What a load of poppycock!

In terms of security, it is the promotion of Islamophobia by various actors that needs to be calculated into the foreign and security policies nations and international actors. It should be clear to the world that Islamophobia is now a global problem, and has been for some time.  We must realize that those that promote Islamophobia and create Islamophobic media do so with the hope of sabotaging relationships between especially the US and the "Muslim world."  This film and its publication in Egypt may have served the purpose of dividing Egypt and the Middle East world from a growing relationship with the US and the Western world. The other purpose of giving this film publicity was to destabilize young and vulnerable Arab democracies.

So - the need here is to immunize the growing relationships between young Middle East countries and Western nations, the US and the European Union.

Islamophobia used as a dividing tool by radical right-wing political leaders, media pundits and fringe groups alike will have to be calculated into foreign and security policies of states and international organizations. Governments and political leaders should adapt the mentality of building positive relationships with the Arab and Muslim countries that are based on respect and mutual understanding - and this can only be done through a long-term relationship with Arab and Muslim countries based on respect and mutual understanding.  Western nations, the US and European Union, should continue to work with and support young Arab democracies and work to immunize the relationships against those who wish to use Islamophobia to sabotage relationships, just as al-Qaeda elements work to sabotage relationships.

We should also work to make Islamophobia in the media just as taboo in Western society as anti-semitism and racism.  This is happening, but slowly, and those who promote Islamophobia are well funded and sometimes well connected (Geert Wilders and Frank Gaffney). Governments should take courage to form public and private partnerships to combat Islamophobia -- and private groups should be made ready for action in the form of letter writing and boycotts of those who are are involved in the promotion of Islamophobic speech.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Answering EUobserver's "unbiased view" on Serbia: Jeton Zulfaj's "EU must open its eyes to Balkan realities"

Article used here is from EUobserver, by Jeton Zulfaj, EU must open its eyes to Balkan realities.

It has been the view of this author that Serbia has gotten a very bad shake from the European Union, and that includes the 2008 "Kosovo independence" debacle, which was pushed by the United States. The truth is, as I discuss on pages 37-38 of  The EU’s Europeanization as a Security Policy , EU officials were against "Kosovo independence" from the start.  The US-pushed "Kosovo independence" not only almost cost time and efforts working with Serbia, it dramatically demonstrated how much the Americans maintain hegemony over European affairs and tamper with European affairs almost at will well over 2 decades after the fall of Soviet communism. One of the dubious (anti-Serb) excuses for "Kosovo independence" was "not wanting to be ruled by Belgrade anymore," as if Slobodan Milosevic was still President of Yugoslavia.

In the article above, written by a Kosovo Albanian grad student, Jeton Zulfaj,  contains a number of things that are biased and lack understanding of the EU's mode of Europeanization toward Serbia. The use of Europeanization is a stabilizing mode of relationships that the EU enters with various countries, and not just with those nations with a conflict history that are now looking for EU membership, like Serbia. (On pages 11-12 of my thesis paper I offer several definitions for Europeanization from several authors.)

First, we have Zulfaj's apparent thesis question: How realistic is the EU belief that Balkan countries are moving down the path to becoming stable, liberal democracies?

Be patient with Europe! The EU "does not seem to understand the urgency of the situation" because Europeanization is a process that is about relationships, relationships that take time and can have setbacks. The relationship with Russia has been one where Russia has been selective in the areas of cooperation and in the depth of cooperation with the European Union.  These relationships move at various speeds and need patience and persistence, and they DO work in time, as changing national identities can take a l-o-n-g time to accomplish. Even though Russia has stated that it has no intentions to join the EU, various relationships in various areas at various levels have improved, slowly, Russia's progress as a democratic society.  The long patient work of the EU can have setbacks - but it works in the long term - and the EU has received a lot of rewards for the efforts. The first misunderstanding of of the whole idea of "Europe" comes here :
On his death in 1898, Otto Von Bismarck is quoted to have said that "If there is ever another war in Europe, it will come out of some damned silly thing in the Balkans."

He was right. A decade or so after his death a silly thing in the Balkans was followed by World War I. Today, after a century of wars and conflicts, the Balkans are still far from political stability, but these days the instability is more likely to hurt the Balkan countries themselves than to provoke a wider conflict.

The EU does not seem to understand the urgency of the situation, even though it has hundreds of diplomats and officials posted to the region.

Zulfaj does not tell us why the situation is urgent and does not give us direct examples. The fact of EU membership and accession is that to "join the club" you have to play by the EU's rules - and only the EU's rules. If you are going to argue against EU membership for a candidate state, like Serbia, you should and must do it from the perspective of acquis communautaire, or not adapting it in full.

Also -- this type of notion feeds into the notion of victimization held by various Balkan peoples, especially the Serbs toward the Ottoman Empire, the Croat Ustashas and the NATO Alliance.  Zulfaj shows this victimization notion of his own through out his essay in the form of finger-pointing, a common mode of blame used by all Balkan peoples against each other, toward the Serbian people as a whole and their new president, Tomislav Nikoli.  The whole idea of the European Coal and Steel Community was to put conflicts behind and and work together, not just to decide what to do about the Saar region after WWII. Putting and end to the centuries of finger-pointing might take time to do in the Balkans, as is has for the rest of Europe.

The EU promised that Serbia's membership would not be tied to Kosovo's status! From the start of the US-forced "Kosovo independence"  in 2008, the EU has maintained that the status of Kosovo is not a part of Serbia's EU membership.  Among some of Zulfaj's recommendations, we have this highly counterproductive one:
... it should recognize Kosovo's independence and openly tell Serbia that unless it recognizes Kosovo it will not get into the Union.

NO - for the sake of peace - NO! EU officials promised that "Kosovo recognition" is NOT a condition for Serbia's membership and maintaining this promise is important to beat back the nationalists that Zulfaj is so concerned about. It would be absolutely counterproductive and open old wounds to force Serbia to recognize "Kosovo."   In fact, if the EU were to force "Kosovo recognition" on Serbia -- it would make the nationalists stronger and even more radical. Being a "liberal democracy" has nothing to do with the "status of Kosovo" and Zulfaj suggests that those other EU Member States that have not "recognized Kosovo" (Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain) be called out for it - but they are sovereign states too, and have the right to NOT recognize other "nations" as "states" in the international system.
In Serbia, the clear shift toward nationalism shown in Sunday's elections is a wake-up call that people still think borders can be redrawn on ethnic lines. It shows that the spirit of the "butcher of the Balkans" - the late Slobodan Milosevic - is alive and kicking and that Russian influence in the region is as strong as ever.

This is such a silly accusation! Allow me to remind the readers there has been a clear shift toward nationalisms, of one type or another, across Europe and Serbia is not an exception.  In fact, a finding of my thesis study was that EU neglect of Serbia causes a rise in nationalism. The EU has been dozing and not fully awake to the rise of the radical right across Europe, but time will only tell if Tomislav Nikoli's positions present a serious setback for Serbia as an EU Member State.  He probably will not be the new Milosevic.  As I have argued in past posts - the EU should have helped maintain the national identities of Member States, as well as candidate nations, that have pro-Europe orientations and helps avoid anti-democratic nationalisms.

Another thing that should also stop is connecting Serbia's relationship with its relationship to Russia. This is Cold War thinking and has no place in modern Europe. Serbia should not be put into the "the EU or Russia" dilemma,  but should have relations with Russia and the EU - and there is NO need for Serbia to chose, but engage in both relationships.

Now- I do realize that some at EUobserver, with its anti-Serb bias, are probably not happy with the idea of Serbia in the European Union, but Serbia has worked long and hard for EU membership and overcome some rather large and often unfair obstacles to get its accession treaty.  However, Zulfaj many have realized that "Kosovo independence" means that it will be quite a long time before Kosovo - especially as an "independent nation" - will see EU membership. Kosovo would have been better off remaining with Serbia, as it would now be a part of the European Union.  This is why "independence" for Kosovo was such a horrible idea in the first place and one the Kosovars will eventually regret.

In my world, Kosovo would be in the European Union as soon as Serbia's accession treaty enters into force.


See media articles:

Serbia's EU membership should not be bound to Kosovo

"Kosovo not condition for EU accession talks date"

Tomislav Nikolic Sworn In As Serbia's President


Works from this Author:

Kosovo needs Serbia

Europeanization for the Common Man. How to see the EU in an International Crisis: “Much to do about a statement” -

Coal, Steel and Reconciliation: The Development of the European Community and Union

The EU’s Europeanization as a Security Policy - The author’s Master’s Capstone paper that is a study of the process of Europeanization with two nations the EU is associated with: Serbia and Russia. ABSTRACT: The purpose of this research is to discover and explain the security aspects of the European Union’s relationships in the post-Cold War world. This study uses variations of social constructivist-based theory to explain Europeanization. Europeanization is a socialization process connected to European Union membership and association. This study uses an applied method developed by Roy Ginsberg that measures the relationship of a target actor to the European Union during an international crisis. It has been found that close association and membership aspirations enhance security and stability in the European Union’s relationships with target actors thereby bringing about quick resolutions to international crisis. The European Union is an effective security actor and Europeanization is an effective security policy tool.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The EU and the US in confronting Iran

When there appears to be yet another instance of Please America First, on the part of European foreign policy out of the office of the British national, Cathrine Ashton, we must take serious note. If we are to work toward an independent European Union, especially in its foreign policy, we must look deeply into EU actions, while comparing them to European values and normal EU policies. For the sake of European values and the Union's credibility in the world - it is imperative that the Union stop this policy of "Please America First and to Hell with the consequences."  [Top U.S., EU Diplomats Plot Iran Strategy - EU Council press conference]Is the EU – again – following the US with regard to Iran?[caption id="attachment_600" align="alignleft" width="216" caption="Iran sanctions. More "Please America First" from the European Union? "][/caption]The Security Council resolution of June 9 - SC 1929 - demonstrates concern over Iran's continued enrichment of uranium to 20% and the construction of another facility to enrich even more uranium, in violation of its obligation to previous UN agreements and the IAEA Board.  Iran is apparently playing some kind of "hide it" game with inspectors. The Security Council is supportive of a diplomatic solution - but indicate that nations involved - "China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States" - are "willing to take further measures" (notice that the EU is not mentioned, but the UK is ... as well as other EU Member States). [2010 Security Council Resolutions]Other possible measures against Iran in Res 1929 also include against its banks and sea-shipping. This could include inspections of cargo of ships for implements that could be used in a nuclear program. There is also a line that declares that States are not compelled to take actions in excess of Resolution 1929, including threats and use of force.EU sanctions against Iran. Lady Ashton and the Council have called their version of EU sanctions against Iran as a "package."  This should be regarded as an offensive use of this term - so it will not be use here. The July 26 Council press statement indicates the desire on the part of the EU to "achieve a long-term settlement that would rebuild international confidence in Iran's nuclear program" and the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. The Council's reflection on Resolution 1929, and a desire to act within this resolution - plus actions against individuals and banks. The statement of the press release:
"The Council recalls that the European Council has repeatedly underlined its deepening concerns about Iran's nuclear programme and in that regard, welcomed the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 introducing new restrictive measures against Iran.In accordance with the European Council Declaration of 17 June, the Council has today adopted a Decision implementing the measures contained in UN Security Council Resolution 1929 as well as accompanying measures, with a view to supporting the resolution of all outstanding concerns regarding Iran's development of sensitive technologies in support of its nuclear and missile programmes, through negotiation.
There does appear to be in interest in addressing Iran's other concerns - perhaps security from Israel - which should include Israel's recent violent behavior and the genocidal views of the ruling Lukid Party toward Muslims and Arabs.Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere stated that he hopes that the EU's actions against Iran are "well balanced." Some of the sanctions include oil industry revenues that could help support the population and include a list of people banned from entering the EU. The EU sanctions DO appear to follow those imposed by the US Congress. Foreign Secretary William Hague was highly pleased with the Council's "new tough sanctions" against Iran.Is the EU - again - following the US with regard to Iran? Even as they supported sanctions in the Security Council (they would have had to), both Russia and China have business with Iran in the oil industry.  Given that Resolution 1929 holds no obligations for further measures and just "calls upon" States to take certain actions Imposing sanctions against Iran's oil and banking industry are options in 1929 and the EU's choice to enter this American -led area have been called disdainful and counterproductive by Russia. [Iran nuclear sanctions by EU unacceptable, says Russia - Iran nuclear sanctions by EU unacceptable, says Russia (BBC) - US Congress backs new sanctions against TehranRussia Blasts EU Over Iran Penalties]With regard to the EU following the US down that well -worn Please America First road, Russia's foreign ministry said:
This not only undermines our joint efforts to seek a political and diplomatic settlement around Iran's nuclear programme, but also shows disdain for the carefully calibrated and co-ordinated provisions of the UN Security Council resolutions.
[caption id="attachment_583" align="alignright" width="174" caption="EU policy decisions should ALWAYS be based on European values!"][/caption]Agreed! It is the viewpoint of this Author that both Russia and China should go ahead with their investments in Iran's oil and banking sector, no matter what Iran's final position is with regard to EU -US sanctions. We should remember that similar sanctions against Iraq were a disaster and resulted in suffering of the Iraqi people. The maintenance of deadly sanctions against Iraq in favor of "regime change" was the policy of the US - and thousands died, especially children. We must remember that sanctions, especially against economic activity and industry - have little effect on the government or the military, but innocent civilians who also lose their jobs, as most of the resources go toward government and military functions. [Review of Iraq Sanctions and Washington's Iraq Policies - UN Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq - Iraq sanctions, Wiki]When the European Union follows the US down these roads - it's usually the European Union that comes up egg on its face. This is due to the fact (yes, the fact!) that the European Union and the United States operate from different values that are simply not compatible. Brutal and even murderous behavior toward "enemies" is US policy - but hard diplomatic work within respect for innocent human lives and avoids suffering to achieve a meaningful settlement for all parties is the usual mode of operation for European Union foreign policy. While these measures of sanctions against Iran are indeed allowed under Resolution 1929 - they do follow the US and could inflict suffering against the Iranian civilian population.  Both the EU and the Security Council need to be reminded the strong need to avoid economic sanctions that caused so much suffering in Iraq.!We must also remember the loss of credibility and embarrassments when the European Union and its Member States follow Washington's policies, often in open violation of European values, the Treaties, including the European human rights conventions and laws: CIA renditions and secret prisons, involvement in the Iraq invasion, participation in torture, extraditions back to American prison brutality, breaching banking data privacy, participation in American watchlists and "no fly" lists, Kosovo "independence," NATO expansion - and perhaps even in efforts in especially Ireland in undermining passage of the Lisbon Treaty.Would the Union - acting alone and with its great foresight - want to impose a regime of sanctions against the Iranian people that have proven in the past to actually be more devastating against the civilian population, especially children?Well - acting alone and with its own set of values - as an independent European Union -- NO!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

US Russia cooperation and arms reduction

The last two years of the Bush Administration saw the coldest relationship between Russia and America since the Cold War itself. This was especially true in August of 2008, when America’s unstable ally, Mikheil Saakashvili, started a military offensive against South Ossetia to quell a border problem.  The NATO-US sponsorship of this unstable tyrannt helped spoil the relationship (LOL…it was also the European Union’s finest hour in diplomatic relations and conflict resolution). The tendancy in with Republican and right-wing governance is to maintain Russia as an adversity and rival, including militarily. Over the past-decade, especially after September 11 attacks – there have been numerous occasions where America and Russia could have had a good and productive relationship.This is a much needed policy for President Obama to work to bring about a more productive relationship with Russia. There is simply no reason under the sun to want to maintain a rival and sometimes hostile relationship with Russia. (The notion of “rivalry” is part of the dominant balance-of-power framework that American policy often works under.) It is right to remove missile defense shield out of Eastern Europe — but this missile defense shield should have been removed and not reintroduced again!Common interests should be found between the two countries. Both the US and Russia have a common interest in counter terrorism, WMDs, and the final resolution of Afghanistan. There is also the need to confront Iran and get a good working relationship in the Middle East peace Quartet, which both Russia and the US (along with the EU and UN) are a part of.This new START agreement is said to be a new effort at bilateral cooperation. It is also said that the new spirit of cooperation created by the presence of a more cooperative American administration can carry over toward even lower limits than the 1550 warheads in this treaty. There are NO lines and this new treaty is not intended to produce winners and losers.President Obama made the reduction of nuclear weapons a priority of his presidency. Along with that there is a much needed cooperation with Russia on keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists and belligerent nations – like Iran. We should agree that Iran with the bomb is a common threat that could bring an arms race to the Middle East and cause highly flammable-instability to increase.American-Russian cooperation should be a powerful force for peace, starting with arms reduction, but also confronting Iran. We should resist those that want to return to the Cold War rivalry, which is useless and counterproductive in this age of new threats, such as terrorism. There is the predictable right-wing forces would like to continue treating Russia as a rival – and like many other issues – they are alone in their out-dated ideas and notions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

EU and Middle East peace – profile raising

The European Union could play an effective role in the Middle East peace process (which has been going on for ….) if it does several things.

First – remember European values. Remember that it must seek reconciliation between the parties, yep (dughhh). Also remember that this must be carried out in the spirit of the interests, including security, of all and this spirit must be in the spirit of firmness, but never out to make enemies or issue threats. This is a basic flaw in the US foreign policy, it is totally brutal realism without humanity.

Second – always promote the two state solution. As stated above, both the Israelis and Palestinians have their interests and this centers around security. The capital of Jerusalem should be the capital of both, but this proposal is difficult and could be achieved without proactive statements.Keeping in mind other actors. However, we must remember that some of the sides’ leaders, like Netanyahu, will require more teeth. He also has European allies, like Germany and Italy, and sometimes Israel’s European allies might be acting in concert with US, especially US Congressmen. There may also be those that believe that the Palestinians are victims only – and that what ever they do to “struggle” is legitimate, including terrorism.There could be difficulties in the future, as we learn more about the HAMAS leader assassination and the possibility of criminal charges against Israel officials.  What is important is the the EU stick to its role as a normative power in the world – and respects and promotes international law and the legal process regardless what third actors, in the Quartet or elsewhere want.The EU should, and appears to be, forming its own policy that is independent of third actors on the world stage.The tour that HR Ashton is taking in the Middle East could help raise the EU’s international profile, which could raise its profile in other regions. This is what HR Ashton’s office should be working for in EU foreign policy. This is more important now under ToL than in the past. Ashton has shoes to fill after Javier Solana, who was said to have a “brain the size of the planet.”  Ashton must be seen as independent of London, as well as certain third countries that may also have separate interests, while at the same time placing higher status to the United Nations and international laws and institutions.See:  Ashton tells Israel settlements hurt peace plans