Law School Discussion

bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west

redemption

Re: bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2006, 07:42:37 PM »
3. i never suggeted that bin laden was being serious with a truce; i find it extremely unlikely that he would actually hold up his end.  however the fact that he would even suggest it makes his position look weaker and so it seems that he would only do so when he was compelled to by necessity.  of course, it occurs to me that it might also be an attempt to make his side look more reasonable.  knowing that the us will never agree, he might have done it to try to further divide us from its allies.  thought?

I am more inclined to believe the latter of the two explanations: a seemingly reasonable offer that will be rejected by the administration but that the anti-iraq war people in the US will perhaps find appealing. Also, of course, his main audience - the umma - will, he believes, be persuaded that he is being moderate and the despised Bush is not. Makes sense to me; it's what I would do in his position even as I were planning future attacks. Does not indicate any weakness in his, or his networks', positions.

As to the hierarchy question: it is not how I would organize if I were them, and it is not something that I can imagine them organizing. Networks are more inefficient but more durable. It seems to me that efiiciency is less important to their aims than is durability and longevity. They are in it for the long haul.

'Morning, btw

redemption

Re: bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2006, 07:56:17 PM »
The people who appreciate strength - it is not ALL muslims, after all - know that he is not weak. Then there are the others, the one's who were not entirely comfortable with what happened on 9/11, the cosmopolitans in Karachi etc. If he is to reach out to them, to sway them over the long haul, he has to be both strong and moderate (one can be both): to offer peace and to strike at the heart of the enemy. No-one likes a nut but other nuts. He doesn't want to appear a nut. Think Goldwater and Reagan.

21.55 hours

redemption

Re: bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2006, 08:17:07 PM »
I'd bet on his reading of muslims over USG's reading.

Of course he has to reach out to the cosmopolitans: his goal, presumably, is the caliphate. If so, he has to encourage Muslims as diverse as Jakartan professionals, taxi drivers in Kano, lawyers in Kuala Lumpur, and fishermen in Zanzibar, as well as the traditional Arab heartlands. It's a long-term job: he'll try this and see what the outcome is, and try something else (maybe a modification, maybe an extension) later.

Meanwhile, we send Karen Hughes to Cairo and Istanbul.

redemption

Re: bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2006, 07:00:40 AM »
Of course he has to reach out to the cosmopolitans: his goal, presumably, is the caliphate. If so, he has to encourage Muslims as diverse as Jakartan professionals, taxi drivers in Kano, lawyers in Kuala Lumpur, and fishermen in Zanzibar, as well as the traditional Arab heartlands. It's a long-term job: he'll try this and see what the outcome is, and try something else (maybe a modification, maybe an extension) later.

his goal is a caliphate but one purged of insidious western influences, so to speak.  i would think that jakartan professionals and lawyers in kuala lumpur would have no place.

No, I don't think so. Bin Laden is NOT the Taliban. He is pro-technology, his ADC is a modern pediatrician, he poses with tricked-out AK-47s and uses satellite phones. He trusts most those people who have been educated to a high level in the West. I do not believe for a moment that his vision of the Caliphate is pre-modern one. How could it survive? It couldn't. His caliphate will need engineers and bankers and air-traffic controllers.

Somehow we have imagined Bin Laden as a stupid, medieval man. I don't know how that happened, exactly. He is not stupid; he has political aims; he has a strategy.

redemption

Re: bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2006, 07:22:16 AM »
Stanley Watson - I am surprised at you! You honestly believe that accepting the values of modernity means accepting liberal democracy, individualism and consumerism? Modernism is necessarily Westernism?  I think that your own ideological commitments are blinding you.

You've been a bad boy, so I'm going to quote some Geertz at you:

"We [anthropologists] have been the first to insist on a number of things: that the world does not divide into the pious and the superstitious; that there are sculptures in jungles and paintings in deserts; that political order is possible without centralized power and pricipled justice without codified rules; that the norms of reason were not fixed in Greece, the evolution of morality not consummated in England. Most important, we were the first to insist that we see the lives of others through lenses of our own grinding and that they look back on ours through ones of their own."

 ;)

SCgrad

Re: bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2006, 07:25:07 AM »
Bin Ladin makes it well known that he is the main man behind 9/11

He is asking for a pissing contest with GB at the very least

GB not going to back down from this

Binny could be completely harmless and his bleeding head on a wooden stake would mean the world to many Americans (not that he is completely harmless)

redemption

Re: bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2006, 09:58:13 AM »
Stanley Watson - I am surprised at you! You honestly believe that accepting the values of modernity means accepting liberal democracy, individualism and consumerism? Modernism is necessarily Westernism?  I think that your own ideological commitments are blinding you.

why should that be surprising?  i am afraid you may have me improperly pigeonholed as something i'm not.  you disagree that modernity does mean a degree of greater individualism? 

i apologize if i'm not being clear about my terms.  i blame it on my lack of a real debating background.  my main point was that one can have technology without having modernity.  do you agree with this premise?



Not trying to pidgeon-hole you - sorry for being unclear. It's just that I didn't imagine that anyone believed that being modern necessarily means placing the individual at the center of the political and the social. The confucian and muslim and other ways of organizing the social do not rely priviledging the individual, and yet it would be hard to argue that, say, Japan or Taiwan are not modern.

There is a sense, often used in sociology, where "modernity" is identified in that way, but that use is tongue-in-cheek and critical (see, Anthony Giddens' work, for example).

Taking a critical stance - and from another direction - toward our own (American) faith in the individual as center: do we as Americans believe that, let's say, a Laotian is equivalent to an American? I think not.

I agree with your premise: possessing technology does not entail being modern. I am just willing to accomodate a broader definition of the modern than just one that is centered on, or even involves, liberal democracy, individualism and consumerism. Think of a Kibbutz environment: modern, but it lacks each of these elements; or Fascism  / Communism which was also proto-typically modern.

Much of the impasse over the last 50 years in the defining a consensus on, and commitment to, human rights has turned on this very issue. I think so, anyway.

redemption

Re: bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2006, 10:55:30 AM »

funny, i thought that modernity was by definition a movement from more tradition, collective-based mentalities toward those that do privilege the individual.  perhaps i am just using the term "modern" as a substitute for western.  i would not consider traditional confucian, muslim ways of organizing the social to be modern.  i would think that japan and taiwan would be considered modern in as much as they have moved toward a more western definition of social organization.

and again, i am not familiar with giddens' work or the kibbutz environment.  your knowledge is clearly broader than mine. 

i think of modernity as stemming primarily from the westphalian system, which ultimately led to the creation of private space to which religion could be consigned. 

Yeah. Modern doesn't necessarily mean Western. Think back to the way that the word "civilized" was used at the start of the last century. They similarly equated civilization with occidentalism. (As an aside, "Western", in turn, doesn't necessarily mean liberal democracy, etc).

Modernity stemming from the Westphalian system? Maybe, in one sense (and a narrowly Western sense at that): nation-states, sovereignty etc. (if we ignore, of course, all the nation-states that pre-existed Westphalia in other places). But not socially or culturally, I think. In the latter context, I have heard modernity sourced to the advent of Shakespeare, the Renaissance, the Reformation, Henry Ford, and all manner of other signposts (all Western, naturally), but never to the Westphalian system. Were you IR person in undergrad? (Feel free not to answer)

SkullTatt

Re: bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2006, 11:30:56 AM »
What do you guys think of this? 

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=aX6.U5m11V2U&refer=top_world_news

Anything Bin Laden is doing or saying is in his own self-interest. Accepting his "offer" is about as close as you could get to making a deal with the devil. Hopefully they will kill him soon if he's not already dead.

SCgrad

Re: bin laden: possibility of a truce with usa/west
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2006, 02:38:37 AM »
"Western" is another way of saying "American"


"Globalization" is another way of saying "Americanization"



not in theory, but in practice