Re: Attack on Civilized World

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Sat Sep 15 2001 - 13:15:27 MDT

On Sat, Sep 15, 2001 at 08:25:59AM -0700, wrote:
> > I don't
> > have to ask to know that Germany as a member of NATO will get very cold
> > feet when we're talking about 10 dead young men.
> This demonstrates a vast difference in the psychology of our two
> countries today.
And, with all due respect, that's bollocks.

Germany, in case you'd missed out on it, came out strongly behind the
Article 5 vote at NATO. That means that under the German constitution
they are not only _allowed_ but _expected_ to send soldiers abroad to
fight and die for their allies.

Lest we forget why they seem to reluctant to do so, we've spent fifty-five
years telling them to be ashamed of their history of using violence as
an instrument of state policy. Germany has a collective cultural cringe
reflex over waging war abroad comparable to the white American's cringe
reflex over slavery -- if not stronger.

Plus, you're inviting Germany to violate Liddell-Hart's two rules
of warfare: "never start a war on two fronts, and never start a land
war in Asia". (Two fronts? Hell, yes. Germany is 10% muslim, believe
it or not. There are seven million Turkish immigrants there, and while
most of 'em are secular, there _will_ be extremists mixed in --
enough to cause a domestic terrorism problem that would make Baader-
Meinhoff look like a pimple compared to gas gangrene).

As for France, France isn't a member of the NATO unified command
structure. France pulled out of it in 1967, and in 1968 the French
government ended up violently suppressing riots that were organised by
people who received funding, not to be too blunt about it, from the same
idiots who paid Bin Laden during the 1980's. They've got a grudge, guys:
you tried to overthrow their government. *Despite* which, they voted in
favour of the Article 5 motion and are quibbling not about whether to
respond, but about what _form_ such response should take.

For the sake of whatever you believe in ... the President of Russia is
comparing the terrorists to Nazis (clue: this is a BIG hot-button issue
in the Russian psyche) and also discussing the form Russian aid would
take. Compare this with the situation you'd have expected fifteen years
ago, before Glasnost broke out: back then they'd have been chortling
with glee, not discussing how many troops to send you!

If you think China and Iran and Russia all sound a little lukewarm and
are quibbling over the details of the military operation and advising
caution, you're overlooking the big picture: which is that just four
weeks ago, the idea of the US invading Afghanistan would have had them
denouncing you from the rooftops.

There has been a _HUGE_ political sea-change in the past week, one of
epoch-making proportions.

> > You will get your war. There's no need asking for it extra, the people on
> > the street are clamoring for it loud enough. At this point every sane and
> > rational person should not only stop amplifying hate but try to spread
> > information and moderation amongst those who are willing to listen.
> I just hope that Americans are going into this with their eyes open.
> Afghanistan is not southern Iraq. It's not going to be a repeat of
> the Gulf War. The Afghans successfully fought off the Soviet army for
> many years

With [cough, cough ] CIA support and funding funneled through Pakistan.

The boot is firmly on the other foot, this time. If Dubya was half the
diplomat his father was, we could expect a _joint_ Russian/US/Chinese/Paki
invasion force, combined with simultaneous uprisings in Taliban-held
regions. The Taliban are oppressors; play it right and the Afghanis will
be welcoming the US troops as liberators.

-- Charlie

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