The Importance Of Liberalism.

      Niall Ferguson: Author of ‘The War Of The World Conquest Of The Middle East History’s Age Of Hatred’
      Promoting disorder in Somalia

      As long as the U.S. prefers warlords to Sharia in Somalia, hard-line
      Islamists will have appeal.
      January 8, 2007
      IF THERE WERE an American Evelyn Waugh alive today, he could ask for no
      better subject matter than the recent history of Somalia. Readers of Waugh
      will remember "Black Mischief," in which the Oxford-educated Emperor Seth
      of Azania tries and fails to reform his African realm with the assistance
      of the incorrigible lounge lizard, Basil Seal. Among my favorite passages
      is one that concerns the response in London to the news of Seth’s historic
      victory over a rebel army:
      "Any news in the paper tonight, dear?"
      "No, dear, nothing of interest."
      Though Azania was clearly modeled more closely on Abyssinia (now Ethiopia)
      than its neighbor to the north, I imagine similar responses to the latest
      news from Somalia that the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts has been
      ousted from power by Ethiopian forces loyal to the transitional federal
      As with all history, the same events can be narrated in at least two
      mutually contradictory ways. Here, first, is Somalia’s recent history from
      a neoconservative perspective:
      Somalia’s troubles can be traced to its partition by the incompetent
      European imperial powers (especially the cheese-eating French), but the
      rot really set in during the late 1970s, when the detente-obsessed Carter
      administration failed to assist Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre in his war against
      communist Ethiopia.
      After Siad’s overthrow, the country descended into civil war. As a failed
      state, it became a potential base for terrorist operations. In 1993, the
      Clinton administration sent U.S. troops to Somalia. This was a disaster
      for four reasons.
      First, the intervention was authorized by a United Nations Security
      Council resolution, thus compromising American freedom of action (by
      giving the French a say).
      Second, President Clinton reduced the size of the U.S. military presence
      when he should have increased it.
      Third, unforeseen operational difficulties led to the loss of two U.S.
      Black Hawk helicopters and 18 U.S. military personnel, damaging American
      credibility in the region. (The number of Somalis killed is not known.)
      Finally, instead of seeing the intervention through, Clinton cut and ran,
      even specifying in advance the departure date for U.S. forces.
      These blunders had negative consequences for U.S. national security. Al
      Qaeda established a base in the south of the country. The 1998 attacks on
      the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were almost certainly planned
      Last summer, a militant Islamist organization calling itself the Supreme
      Council of Islamic Courts seized power in Mogadishu. Similar to the
      Taliban in its militancy, the council imposed strict Sharia law. There
      were prohibitions on chewing khat, the local drug of choice, and even
      watching soccer games in public places. The overall head of the council
      was Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, a suspected Al Qaeda operative. As U.S.
      Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer said in December, the council
      leaders were "extremists to the core."
      U.S. policy has been to prevent Somalia from becoming a new front in the
      global war on terror, but without overt intervention, which could be
      politically problematic. Accordingly, the United States provided
      logistical naval support to the recent Ethiopian invasion and has
      announced an aid package of $17 million to assist the new transitional
      federal government of Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Gedi.
      As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday: "The Somali people …
      have a historic opportunity to begin to move beyond two decades of
      warlordism, extreme violence and humanitarian suffering."
      Now let me offer you the alternative reading of events.
      Long before the arrival of European imperialism, Somalia was a country
      plagued by warfare. There were recurrent attempts by Ethiopia to subjugate
      the Somalis. There were also frequent feuds between the various Somali
      clans themselves, like the Hawiye clan, which has its base in Mogadishu.
      The new prime minister is in fact a Hawiye, but has forfeited much
      credibility by acting as an Ethiopian puppet. In the eyes of many Somalis,
      recent events are just the latest of many wars with Ethiopia. That is why
      the recent rout of the Islamists is unlikely to be the last act in the
      Somali tragedy.
      The Islamists offered Somalia order; not a Western order, to be sure, but
      order nonetheless. Under their rule, the price of an AK-47 in the
      Mogadishu markets slumped to $15, a sure sign that the warlords were being
      forced to downsize their militias. Young men no longer roared through the
      streets in the Mad Max-style vehicles known locally as "technicals" —
      trucks mounted with antiaircraft guns. Some were returning to school and
      university. Others were getting jobs with private electricity companies
      and airlines. Internet cafes were beginning to displace militia training
      camps. Kalashnikovs were being traded in for mobile phones.
      Now, with the Islamists gone, the most likely scenario is a return of the
      warlords. Worse, the Islamists may now revert to the tactic of suicide
      bombing to destabilize the new government. As has happened in Afghanistan,
      the overthrow of an Islamist government will be followed not by a new
      order but by the old disorder.
      As I said, it would take a satirist of Evelyn Waugh’s genius to do justice
      to this story — to lay bare all the unintended consequences of yet another
      enforced regime change. At least in the Cold War, "our son of a bitch" —
      the local anti-communist strongman — could be counted on to impose a
      brutal kind of order. Now, in the war on terror, the United States would
      rather see a country torn apart by multiple sons-of-bitches than ruled
      under Sharia law.
      But the more U.S. foreign policy promotes anarchy instead of order, the
      stronger the Islamists’ appeal will be. And the darker the shade of
      mischief that will ensue.
        Columnist Biography:
      – Niall FergusonRecent Columns:
      – Promoting disorder in Somalia
      January 8, 2007
      – Auld lang syne for English speakers
      January 1, 2007
      – The new world order looks terribly familiar
      December 18, 2006
      – Baker-Hamilton’s fine print: Stay in Iraq
      December 11, 2006
      – The surrealism of Iraq
      December 4, 2006
      – Niall Ferguson: Some civil wars never end
      November 27, 2006
      – Niall Ferguson: The death of monetarism
      November 20, 2006
      Niall Ferguson: Borat, Blue Dogs and the GOP joke
      November 13, 2006
      Niall Ferguson: 1958 and today’s GOP
      October 30, 2006
      Niall Ferguson: America’s Brittle Empire
      October 24, 2006
      Copyright 2007 Los Angeles Times. 
      "In general, important civilisations start with a rigid and superstitious
      system, gradually relaxed, and leading, at a certain stage to a period of
      brilliant genius, while the good of the old tradition remains and the evil
      inherent in its dissolution has not yet developed. But as the evil
      unfolds, it leads to anarchy, thence, inevitably, to a new tyranny,
      producing a new synthesis secured by a new system of dogma. The doctrine
      of liberalism is an attempt to escape from endless oscillation. The
      essence of liberalism is an attempt to secure a social order not based on
      irrational dogma, and insuring stability without involving more restraints
      than are necessary for the preservation of the community".
      ‘Whether this attempt can succeed only the future can determine’.
      Bertrand Russell "The History of Western Philosophy".

About luckyme0

My First family, second marriage, bringing up my 18-year-old twins, boy, and girl. I am a third generation Humanist, who has some old handwritten information and notes; collected over many years. Someone may find the articles interesting, or helpful. They could bring back a little ‘reality’, after being ‘shocked’ and ‘brainwashed’, by some malicious group, or institution (REBT Therapy). People should know better, than to do this, to our very young, and the ‘obviously’ vulnerable! Go to easily accessible, non-superstitious knowledge that is not charlatanism! The blog has given me an incentive to order my thoughts, learn, and read up again, after a few non-thinking years of (very silly) imagination and passion. Why not, get your own key to a ‘door’, customise it to suit you, and it can be, all of your very own! Don’t believe, or be led by someone else’s; inherited, stupid, and a very likely (past, and not of today’s) ‘totally preposterous reality’s’. Only some interest in the ‘really big questions’, keeps life above the level of a farce, and very little else! KEEP THINKING! Some of the posts may need some correcting. Interests: REBT Counselling, Atheism, Secularism, Humanism, Psychology, Reading, Popular Science, School Ethos, Philosophy, History, Family, Parenting, Psychology, Horse Riding, Sailing, Rescue Boat Driver, Skiing (Teppichswinger), TV Documentaries, Motorbike Cross Country Riding, Volunteer Sports Stewarding, Writing, Primitive Man, Pre-history, Social Anthropology, British Humanist Association, BHA, Meaning of Life, The Big Questions, Where am I, What am I, Why am I, Hippie Love, Knowledge, Education, Globalisation. Favorite quote: “The world belongs to those who, at least to some degree, have figured it out.” Carl Sagan, ‘The Demon Haunted World’, ‘Contact’, and other famous books DVD ‘Cosmos’. The warning of another and horrendous, “Age of Superstition”. “Isn’t there something deeply absurd in the presumption that children ought to inherit beliefs from their parents. It can be deeply damaging, even lethally divisive. A ‘them’, with an ‘against us’, mentality” – Professor Richard Dawkins. “The will to believe is stronger than mere reason in the vast majority of people” – Dr J.Brown, Army Psychologist of the 1960′s. Humans will believe in almost anything, in fact, they seek it! Why? “98% of us, trained to be just good consumers, let’s train our children to be the 2% who have their very own creativity and discernment”; quote by a famous surreal artist. “The lack of reason brings forth monsters”. “Global interconnectedness is lethal against mass religion, nationalism, racism, and other destructive memeplexes. Let us connect everybody they hate it in restrictive regimes”; from the ‘meme learning group’, Richard Brodie’s book, ‘Virus Of The Mind’ (Richard Brodie a designer for ‘Microsoft Word’). Following on, J.Bronowski, and ‘The Ascent Of Man’ TV series, and a book with the last DVD in this series, ‘The Long Childhood’ being especially revealing. ‘Prehistory’ and the ‘Making of the Human Mind’ by Colin Renfrew, with P.Wilson’s, ‘The Domestication of the Human Species’, and Nigel Spivey’s, TV series and book, ‘How Art Made The World’, offers some further explanations. Latest reading: Jared Diamond
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