In an article on April 16 titled “Roto-Rooter”-a title that lends expression to his desire to sodomize the non-Israeli Middle East- Thomas Friedman offered up a concept that is worth consideration. The concept, sub-titled “the third natural way,” is called Aggressive Engagement. Friedman reaches this useful notion at the end of the article, by way of an exposition as to its necessary invocation:
The Friedman Absurdities
Syria is allegedly providing sanctuary to some of Hussein’s men and is equal in evil-do to Syria providing weopons to Hussein’s men. Providing those weopons when Hussein’s men were presumably in Iraq defending themselves from invading US forces. In the weeks leading up to the invasion the Bush administration repeatedly claimed Iraq could avoid invasion if Hussein and his men left Iraq. The offer would not have had the genuine sincerity to it typical of the administration had Rumsfeld indicated that any regime that allowed Hussein such an exit would be accused of harboring terrorists, vis-a-vis Hussein’s well documented association with Al-Qaeda, and threatened with extinction.
The US now has no legal basis to force a regime change in Syria. That is, compared to the overwhelming legal precedent set in Iraq, an invasion that rests steadfastly upon international law.
Mr. de Villepin of France said that properly restructuring Iraq and advancing the Arab-Israeli peace should come before pressuring Syria. Mr. de Villepin has become my moral compass, in that whatever he claims should be the case I claim the opposite should be the case. Since that is the case, Friedman is against properly restructuring Iraq and advancing the Arab-Israeli peace, and he for immediately pressuring Syria. Friedman goes on to say that he is also, like de Villepin, for rebuilding Iraq and for advancing the Arab-Israeli peace process. Therefore, some of the time Friedman is against whatever de Villepin is for, and some of the time Friedman is for whatever de Villepin is against. Makes for a rather relative moral compass.
I favor “triple self-determination.” If Lebanon, Iraq and a Palestinian state could all be made into functioning, decent, free-market, self-governing societies, it would be enough to tilt the entire Arab world onto a modernizing trac. The stunning principle of “triple self-determination” is introduced: Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine to be “determined” the way we want them to be determined, that is, in a fashion conforming to free-market principles-presumably American style, whereby the newly determined big businesses receive government bailouts while the non-corporatized masses have varieties of social programs retracted or demolished, and whereby a functioning democracy is that democracy which maintains all local (and global) US interests.
Syria should be pressured to stop it’s occupation of Lebanon. This coming of course from a chief sycophant and lapdog, Friedman, who has produced more propaganda for the current US invasion of Syria’s neighbor to the east than anyone short of the owners producers reporters and talking heads of the major television stations. If say, France were to pressure the US to stop its occupation of Iraq, its diplomats such as de Villepin would be made into US moral compasses, sold to proper US patriots in the back editorial pages of hefty US newspapers.
Syria must get out of Lebanon, and Israel also needs to get out of Syria (the Golan); but that is going to happen only if there is a reformed Syrian government that no longer needs the conflict with Israel to justify its militarization of Syrian society. For Syria, ending occupation is a must, for Israel, it’s a need that can be gone without. And will be gone without, now that Friedman has issued the same fraudulent circular genius issued to the disingenuous road-mapping for Arab-Israeli peace-Israel will withdraw when Syria ceases its militarization, yet Syria has militarized to defend against further occupation by Israel. Not the other way around. That would be ridiculous and unfair. And might just work.
Bush-style military engagement with Syria is not in the cards right now and French-style constructive engagemen that is dancing with dictatrst is a fraud. A not-right-now filled with hopeful portent. Friedman qualifies “military engagement” as Bush-style and “constructive engagement” as French-style, ironically suggesting there are no current alternatives to those relative styles-and he’s right there are none. The Bush administration is incapable of legal military engagement and, as US diplomacy showed in the months before the invasion of Iraq, the administration is utterly incapable of constructive engagement of any style. Such a lack of style in an administration is fraudulent to the point of shock and awe.
What lies between military and constructive engagement is the third natural way.
Our Aggressive Engagement
We who find the invasion of Iraq palpably ludicrous may find ourselves in a similar quandry as Friedman as to how to proceed with our actions. Military engagement is not in our cards. None of us are in possession of sufficient weoponry to forcibly remove our corporate media and government dictators, and I believe even if we did we’d find the hardware sufficiently absurd to be disposed of. We are more than capable of constructive engagement. Our trouble is not that we don’t make that attempt at constructive engagement, but that we are not allowed to. We are not even allowed to dance with our dictators. In the holy empire, the media, we are closed out, shut up, ignored or otherwise spun into irrelevance. There never was a debate. Constructive engagement in our homeland is the security of military-men proselytizing fellow denizens with pro-war rhetoric. And those fellow denizens are good and proper patriots for it. It is not that we are not patriotic, not that we are not patriots. It is that were are not proper patriots, not properly patriotic. We find value in applying Friedman’s “third natural way,” aggressive engagement, to our own homegrown dictators.
According to Friedman, what aggressive engagement means is “getting in the face of” a person or group of people “every day,” and “reminding the world” of that person or group of people actions or deeds.
Friedman wants everyday for the US to get in the face of Syria and remind the world “how much it has held that country back, and remind the Syrian people of how much they’ve been deprived of a better future by their own thuggish regime.”
This is what we want to do. We want everyday to remind the world how much the US has held this country back, and remind the American people how of much we’ve been deprived of a better future by our own thuggish regime.
MICHAEL BERRY can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org