Friday, July 08, 2005

The militarised mind

The London bombings will cause anger, and that's OK.

The challenge is how to channel the anger intelligently.

Philip Stephens in the Financial Times writes there are no quick fixes:

"Missing still is the binding thread – the organising principle, if you like – that would bring coherence to their response to terrorism. American military power will not do it. Nor, on its own, will the “soft power” of the Europeans. Between the two, there might be an answer".

This takes one to the iusses outlined in The Marriage of Mars and Venus.

Meanwhile, in another part of the wood, militarised minds will continue to predominate. As Fred Halliday writes in a recent analysis of the Iranian election results:

"Ahmadinejad’s triumph highlights a vital underlying factor in the formation of
Iran’s revolutionary regime: that the state, its ideology and its mentality were forged not in the years of Islamist struggle against the Shah (1963-1978), nor during the course of the revolution itself (1978-1979), but in the much more brutal and costly war with Iraq (1980-1988).

This was the second longest inter-state war of the 20th century, one in which as many as 750,000 Iranian soldiers died. The institutions created during that war – the pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards), the basiji (Mobilisation) and the intelligence services – are at the core of the Islamic Republic, not the clergy, the revolution’s political leaders, or the regular army. It is significant that most of the eight-to-ten key people around Khamenei owe their prominence to this conflict".

In Israel too, the key political leaders - not least Sharon - were forged by war, and military actions look to be at the heart of future planning, including an attack on Iran if Paul Rogers (7 July) is correct:

"Israel ... aims [at] the destruction of any facilities that could contribute to the development of nuclear weapons and the destruction of Iranian missiles and their production facilities. There is no expectation that any attacks would have long-term effects – all they would be seeking is a few years of delay, with the possibility of further attacks in the future. From their perspective, though, they might also have the added bonus of the Iranians retaliating against US facilities in the region, bringing the United States into a bigger conflict and at least ending up with substantial damage to the Iranian economy".

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