Wednesday, December 29, 2010

War On Europe

I posted the following article on Blogging for a New World Order.
From what I’ve seen, the conspiracy theories on 9/11 have focused on either proving that the American government knew about the attack beforehand, or they argue that the American government actually carried out the attack. But I haven’t seen much on why America would want the 9/11 attack to occur.

Based on subsequent events, I think America allowed the 9/11 attack to occur for several reasons. It wanted to launch the war on terrorism. It wanted to use the attack to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to crack down on its charitable activities. It wanted to put Saudi Arabia on the defensive with respect to what America calls Wahhabism (Saudi Arabia calls it Salafism). It wanted to intervene in Iraq and Afghanistan. But ironically, based on what America did and the way things turned out, I think America knew that its interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan would not go well. We may have wanted to use the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan as an argument against sending our troops into foreign countries. Though I doubt our government thought things would turn out as bad as they did.

Many, if not all, of these issues involve Europe. Europe, of course, hated George Bush. But when asked why, at least towards the start of the administration, many Europeans gave a lame answer, like saying that Bush wasn’t an intellectual and he didn’t seem very smart. That wasn’t why Europe didn’t like Bush. Europe didn’t want a global war on terrorism. They didn’t want a global war on terrorism because – aside from perhaps America – Europe is probably the biggest user of terrorism.

Many of the people who fought the Soviets, who fought in Tajikistan, Chechnya, and Bosnia moved to London after the fighting stopped. Some of them moved to Europe to avoid prosecution in their home countries. By the late 90s, Europe had become a center for radicalizing Muslims.

Al Qaeda had a significant presence in Germany. The CIA discovered this through its interrogations with Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, who co-founded Al Qaeda along with Osama bin Laden. In the run-up to 9/11, the CIA tried very hard to get Europe to cooperate with its investigations into Al Qaeda, but it didn’t have much success. In fact, in the years before 9/11, the CIA and the European intelligence had a very strained relationship because the CIA did not get the cooperation it wanted.

In an interview with PBS, a former CIA agent, Michael Scheuer, recounted his troubles in dealing with European intelligence services. The pilots of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, as well as the pilot who crashed his plane in Pennsylvania, lived in Hamburg, Germany before the attack. When PBS asked Scheuer if it surprised him that the investigation into 9/11 led to Europe, he replied, “No, not really.”

“When I was chief from ‘96 to ‘99, we had a large number of leads with bin Laden-related people into Europe,” said Scheuer. “And we had a very difficult time, as one intelligence agency to another, convincing the Europeans that bin Laden and Al Qaeda were really a threat, even as, after the East Africa bombings in ‘98, most of the Europeans were not very eager to assist us in tracking down these leads. Probably the best of the European services were the Italians, but people like the Germans were very, very uninterested in helping.”

Given all the connections between Islamic terrorism and Europe, it is possible that Europe was responsible for 9/11. In fact, one European, Joseph Joffe, a German expert on international relations, practically admitted that Germany was responsible.

According to Joffe, Europe had a bunch of grievances against America in the period leading up to 9/11. He expounded on some of those grievances in a speech he gave a couple of months after 9/11 called, “Who's Afraid of Mr. Big?” How’s that for subtly?

“Since the demise of the Soviet Union, it is no longer so clear that the United States puts more resources into international institutions than it seeks to draw from them - just take America’s old penchant for free trade,” said Joffe. “That is certainly being diluted by preferences for managed trade, which is a euphemism for regulated trade. The most dramatic recent example is the punitive tariffs on steel imports, which have very little to do with free trade and more to do with currying favor with swing states in the next congressional election. But the list goes on. If it can't achieve consensus, the United States will act unilaterally, as it threatens to do right now in the case of Iraq. If Congress doesn't like certain UN policies, it will withhold membership dues. If the United States sees promise in Star Wars Mark II, it will withdraw unilaterally from existing arms control treaties. Now the risk of this is quite evident. As the United States diminishes its investment in global public goods, others will feel the sting of American power more strongly and the incentive to discipline Mr. Big will grow.”

Joffe claimed that European nations had already started to push back against America. He claimed that Europe had started what he called cultural balancing. By this, he meant that Europe had intentionally tried to denigrate American culture as a way to reduce American power.

Joffe admitted that Germany would only crack down on terrorists if they attacked Europe.

“I think some European governments went with some implicit bargaining process which said, ‘Look, if you leave us alone, we’ll leave you alone,’” said Joffe. “‘If you don't make us a target, we won't target you.’ Every once and a while some stupid German court insists upon having justice served and so they bring some Iranian operatives before the bar and actually pronounce them guilty and sentence them which then creates enormous diplomatic frictions between Bonn, Berlin, and Tehran. But basically the idea has been, ‘You leave us alone and we'll leave you alone.’ That made it quite easy for Mohamed Atta and his friends to live, work, study in Germany unobserved and unopposed.”

To me, that sounds like Joffe is telling America that Germany was responsible for the attack.

Later on in the speech, Joffe offered some advice for America.

“A truly great power must do more than merely deny others the reasoned opportunity for ganging up,” said Joffe. “It also has to provide essential services. Those who do for others engage in systemic supply side economics. They create a demand for their services which then translates into political profits also known as leadership. Power exacts responsibility and responsibility requires the transcendence of narrow and short term self interests. As long as the United States continues to provide such public goods envy and resentment will not escalate into fear and loathing that spawn hostile coalitions. The proper maxim for a number one that wants to remain number one is do good for others in order to do well for yourself. To endure in the 21st century, this hegemon must serve his own interests by serving those of others.”

In other words, do as we say and we won’t attack you. Apparently, we didn’t do what Europe wanted. The following year, on April 7, 2003, Josef Joffe gave another speech at UC Berkeley. The title of that speech was, “Alliance Lost: The U.S. and Europe in a Unipolar World.” Of course, the previous month, America invaded Iraq. That didn’t go over so well in Europe.

As the title of the speech implied, Joffe argued that the invasion of Iraq had broken the alliance between Europe and America. Joffe argued that the dissolution of the alliance was in many ways natural, given the alliance was made to contain the Soviet Union.

“Alliances die when they win,” said Joffe.

Joffe called March 5, 2003 a watershed moment in international relations. On that day, Germany, France, and Russia agreed to oppose the American invasion of Iraq. Joffe seemed pretty pissed off about the invasion of Iraq.

“The United States demonstrated a surfeit of autonomous power,” said Joffe.

Joffe then went on to explain why Europe sided with Iraq instead of America.

“Let's look at this from the point of view of the Europeans, from the point of view of the lesser powers,” said Joffe. “Of course they would want to play this game given that America’s might was no longer stalemated by the Soviet Union. And so the French, and the Germans, and the Chinese, and the Russians, acted as if they feared the hyperpower more than they feared Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. I think there’s a certain logic to what the Europeans did. It’s the logic of balance of power. Assume an American victory in Iraq that is not only swift but also sustainable, that will intimidate rather than inflame the other Arabs, that will relieve dependence on demanding clients such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Obviously such an outcome will install the United States as arbiter over the Middle East, over its oil and its politics. And that prospect can hardly enthuse the lesser players. For it would certify what is already the case de facto - the global primacy of the United States.”

He finished his speech by threatening America.

“Power shall be balanced,” said Joffe. “That is America’s great problem of grand strategy once this war is over and once the peace has to be conquered.”

Of course, Joffe was right. After we got rid of Saddam, the opposition in Iraq formed an insurgency against America. Given the above comments, it seems certain that Germany decided to aid that insurgency.

But as I said earlier, I think America wanted its interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq to not go so well. The Europeans have always wanted America to intervene in foreign countries. Europe wanted America to intervene in World War I and in World War II. Margaret Thatcher really, really wanted America to intervene in Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait. During the Clinton administration, Europe tried to us to intervene in Yugoslavia. The Europeans seem to want to fight certain dictators to the last American.

“Most Europeans agree that the central tragedy of their history in the early and mid-twentieth century was the reluctance of the United States to participate in Europe’s affairs,” said Paul Johnson, a British historian. “What they fear most is a return to American isolationism.”

Not surprisingly, this doesn’t sound so great to America. It kinds of makes you wonder, why does Europe want us intervening in all these places? These interventions are costly and weaken America. I’m sure the Europeans realize that. But beyond that Europe just wants America to do its dirty work for it.

Perhaps by intervening in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by fucking it up, America wanted to convince the world that an America that intervenes less would be better for the world.
Josef Joffe delivered both of the speeches mentioned in this article at UC Berkeley. The videos of those speeches used to be available on the UC Berkeley website. In the summer of 2011, UC Berkeley decided to remove many of its old videos, including the videos of those two speeches. But before they did that, I managed to download a copy of those speeches and I posted them on Vimeo. The article above has links to the videos on Vimeo. The original article on Blogging for a New World Order still has the (now invalid) links to the videos on the UC Berkeley website.

And I failed to mention that, in one of his speeches, Joffe seemed to be making an excuse for why Germany refused to crack down on Iran. Joffe’s comments imply that Germany has some sort of power over Iran. Presumably, America had been asking Germany to do something about Iran and presumably Germany had been making excuses why they could not do that.

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