Mark Steyns pessimistiske artikel som den ansvarshavende Punditokrat Kurrild-Klitgaard refererede synes jeg fortjener et modspil.
I en række amerikanske konservative aviser har man på det seneste kunne læse artikler, der har et langt mere positivt og ikke mindst konstruktivt syn på kampen om muslimers sjæl, som Mark Steyn og andre kultur konservative mener er tabt på forhånd.
I tirsdags Opinion Journal havde Michael Totten en artikel, hvori han fremhæver Libanon som en oase i Mellemøsten og en rollemodel for de øvrige stater i regionen:
Lebanon, though, is an inspiration already–despite the assassinations and the car bombs that have shaken the country since February. I have an apartment in Beirut, and I recently travelled to Cairo. Arriving back here was like returning to the U.S. from Mexico. Almost everyone I met in Egypt–from taxi drivers all the way up to the elite–was profoundly envious when I said I live in Beirut. “It is a free and open city,” I told them, but they knew that already. Many Americans and Europeans still think of Beirut as a hollowed-out, mortar-shattered necropolis where visitors are well-advised to bring a flak jacket. Egyptians, though–at least the ones I talked to during my stay–know the truth.
Beirut is where the taboos in the region–against alcohol, dating, sex, scandalous clothing, homosexuality, body modification, free speech and dissident politics–break down. Its culture is liberal and tolerant, even anarchic and libertarian. The state barely exists. The city’s pleasures are physical and decadent. Beirut is where American and European tourists used to go to loosen up, gamble, drink booze and pick up women–and that was in the 1950s. Today it is where Saudis and other Gulf Arabs like to vacation because they can do, think, wear, and say whatever they want.
Last month the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Political Freedom ranked Lebanon the freest Arab country, followed by Morocco. Iraq came in third. (Libya brought up the rear, below even Syria and Saudi Arabia.) Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution peacefully ousted the Syrian military, which had ruled the country as a raw imperial power since the end of the civil war in 1990. Free and orderly elections promptly followed. If Iraq becomes a success in the end, it won’t be the first Arab democracy. It will be the second.
[…]From a distance Lebanon may look like a typical Middle East country racked with the usual chaos, but it isn’t. What makes this place unique is that the Lebanese political system is nearly incapable of producing dictatorship. The three main sects in this country–Christian, Sunni, and Shiite–do not share the same political ideals and values. They do, however, share power, since every group here is a minority. By tradition, the president is always a Christian, the prime minister a Sunni, and the speaker of Parliament a Shiite. Parliament decides who fills the top three government posts, and members of Parliament are elected by the people of Lebanon. Each sect’s parliamentary bloc keeps the others in check. The result is a weak state and a de facto near-libertarianism. Syria and Iraq, which also are composed of rival ethnic-religious sects, may do well under a similar system.
Even so, Lebanon inspires Egyptians in ways that Iraq doesn’t and perhaps can’t. Iraqi freedom is being born in blood, fire and mayhem. Sometimes that’s what it takes. America’s freedom didn’t come peacefully, and neither did Western Europe’s. But because Iraqi freedom is seen as violently imposed from the outside, a huge number of Egyptians, along with plenty of other Arabs in the neighboring states in the region, dismiss it as an imperial sham.
No one thinks Lebanese freedom is a sham. This country would not be even a ramshackle sort-of democracy if the people who live here had not demanded that much for themselves. The March 14 revolt, in which almost one in three Lebanese demonstrated in Martyr’s Square for freedom and independence, reverberated powerfully throughout the Middle East. Iraq still makes most Arabs shudder. Lebanon, though, is genuinely inspiring.
[…]Oppressed Arabs need an inspiring country of their own that they can look up to. And right now, they have one. Lebanon is not just a country with an elected government. It seduces the region with its culture as well.
Beirut has more in common with raucous freewheeling precommunist Hong Kong than with drab Amman, Damascus and Cairo. The nightclubs, the shopping, the restaurants, the bookstores, the intellectual cafés–these things are all world-class in Beirut. The sight of Lebanon’s famously beautiful unveiled Arab women makes a lasting impression on men who travel here from neighboring countries.
Freedom means more than just relieving the boot from your neck. Freedom also means fun and the pursuit of happiness. That’s why so many Arabs come here on holiday, and why so many would rather live here. Never forget: demand for Levi’s and rock ‘n’ roll did as much to bring down the Soviet Union as the yearning for Western-style democracy did.
Lebanon is a special place, and the U.S. should treat it accordingly. It is already what we hope Iraq someday will be.
I sidste fredags Opinion Journal havde den tidligere indonesiske præsident Abdurrahman Wahid et indlæg, der anerkender, omfanget og alvorligheden af den internationale islamistiske terrorisme og peger på, at løsningen i høj grad ligger hos muslimer selv:
News organizations report that Osama bin Laden has obtained a religious edict from a misguided Saudi cleric, justifying the use of nuclear weapons against America and the infliction of mass casualties. It requires great emotional strength to confront the potential ramifications of this fact. Yet can anyone doubt that those who joyfully incinerate the occupants of office buildings, commuter trains, hotels and nightclubs would leap at the chance to magnify their damage a thousandfold?
Imagine the impact of a single nuclear bomb detonated in New York, London, Paris, Sydney or L.A.! What about two or three? The entire edifice of modern civilization is built on economic and technological foundations that terrorists hope to collapse with nuclear attacks like so many fishing huts in the wake of a tsunami.
[…]It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognize that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We cannot afford to continue “business as usual” in the face of this existential threat. Rather, we must set aside our international and partisan bickering, and join to confront the danger that lies before us.
[..]The armed ghazis (Islamic warriors) raiding from New York to Jakarta, Istanbul, Baghdad, London and Madrid are only the tip of the iceberg, forerunners of a vast and growing population that shares their radical views and ultimate objectives.
[…]These strengths not only are assets in the struggle with religious extremism, but in their mirror form they point to the weakness at the heart of fundamentalist ideology. They are:
1) Human dignity, which demands freedom of conscience and rejects the forced imposition of religious views; 2) the ability to mobilize immense resources to bring to bear on this problem, once it is identified and a global commitment is made to solve it; 3) the ability to leverage resources by supporting individuals and organizations that truly embrace a peaceful and tolerant Islam; 4) nearly 1,400 years of Islamic traditions and spirituality, which are inimical to fundamentalist ideology; 5) appeals to local a
nd national–as well as Is
lamic–culture/traditions/pride; 6) the power of the feminine spirit, and the fact that half of humanity consists of women, who have an inherent stake in the outcome of this struggle; 7) traditional and Sufi leadership and masses, who are not yet radicalized (strong numeric advantage: 85% to 90% of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims); 8) the ability to harness networks of Islamic schools to propagate a peaceful and tolerant Islam; 9) the natural tendency of like-minded people to work together when alerted to a common danger; 10) the ability to form a global network of like-minded individuals, organizations and opinion leaders to promote moderate and progressive ideas throughout the Muslim world; 11) the existence of a counterideology, in the form of traditional, Sufi and modern Islamic teachings, and the ability to translate such works into key languages; 12) the benefits of modernity, for all its flaws, and the widespread appeal of popular culture; 13) the ability to cross national and cultural borders in the name of religion; 14) Internet communications, to disseminate progressive views–linking and inspiring like-minded individuals and organizations throughout the world; 15) the nation-state; and 16) the universal human desire for freedom, justice and a better life for oneself and loved ones.
Indlæggene følger en række andre indlæg bragt i bl.a. National Review og Weekly Standard, der giver et noget mere perspektivrigt syn end den sort/hvide version som kultur-konservative a la Mark Steyn forfalder til. Det er endvidere kendetegnende for artiklerne, at de anser frihed som helt centralt for kampen mod fundamentalismen. Artiklerne artikulerer en tro på, at (vestlige) frihedsidealer er den fundamentalistiske islam så indlysende overlegen i både teori og praksis, at almindelige muslimer i totalitære lande vil tage disse idealer til sig, og at der derfor i det lange løb kun kan blive én vinder af denne ideologiske styrkeprøve. Den samme tro som modige og fremsynede mennesker havde på, at Japan og Tyskland kunne blive liberale demokratier på trods af disse landes blodige historie, og på at vestens frihed og markedsøkonomi ville køre kommunismens diktatur og planøkonomi i sænk.
De kultur-konservative derimod taler meget om vestlig civilization og frihed, men når de endelig besværer sig med at komme med løsningsforslag er de alle hentet i kollektivismen: repatrieringer, hermetisk lukkede grænser, overvågning, tortur. De kultur-konservative har i virkeligheden mistet troen på den frihed som de udadtil hylder og friheden kan altid ofres i nødvendighedens navn. Når de kulturkonservative er værst lyder de som den yderste venstrefløjs evindelige dommedagsprofeter, når disse i antikapitalismens navn lover klodens undergang på grund af forurening, kløften mellem udbyttede fattige og udbyttende rige, eller overbefolkning.
Truslen fra islamismen skal naturligvis tages alvorligt og hårdt skal sættes mod hårdt når påkrævet såsom f.eks. med invasionen af Afghanistan (og der skal heller ikke meget mere til før jeg ville støtte et taktisk angreb på Iran). Men den endelige sejr kan kun vindes ved at insistere på den frihed, der gør vesten unik.