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Old 10-26-2011   #28
Bob's World
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Well, we all know that the friction between Muslim south and Catholic north did not begin in the 1970s. Conditions of insurgency ebb and flow within every populace, but are poorly understood if only measured from when the first and last shots are fired. That is like saying a volcano exists only when it is erupting....

And in the Philippines I agree that it is doubtful that many blame the government there on the US; certainly some probably do, as this is a matter of perception far more than fact. Other places more so.

As to the many small issues between governments of SEA and minorities, yes, racism is a powerful force in Asia, and other factors as well contribute to such issues, but I was speaking in larger terms. Shortly after 9/11 there was great emphasis on Indonesia in particular "largest Muslim nation on Earth" and Malaysia as well. That because they had large Muslim populaces they would automatically become hotbeds of AQ influence. This is when Ideology was widely proclaimed as the Center of Gravity of this conflict as well.

But insurgency is political, not ideological; and Nations like Indonesia and Malaysia while very Muslim have already thrown off Western influence over their governments and have governments of their own that, as you note, they are continuing to refine. This is not the case in the greater Middle East where AQ finds many populaces who have not yet stepped out from under this manipulative external influence. Arab Spring is doing more to reduce the likelihood of transnational terrorism coming out of the Middle East and being directed at the West than any of our efforts in Iraq or Afghanistan. Yes, those countries will have long, generational journeys to "good governance," but so long as they don't blame the bad governance they will certainly experience along the way on us they will not have much motivation to attack us.

Like Iran, who has bad governance in spades, but it is not one they blame the West for. Same with the Philippines. The ideological fear mongering that has made these conflicts all about "clashing civilizations" or Islam vs. Christian have done us all a disservice as these positions are based on very flawed understandings of insurgency. I guess it is easier to say that Muslims hate us than it is to say that our foreign policy has unduly disrupted the governance of others for reasons that placed US interests over those of the affected populace.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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