Noch in Stanford (genauer: vor der wunderschönen Landschaft im Yosemite Nationalpark, was sich durchaus etwas schräg angefühlt hat) hatte ich ein interessantes Gespräch mit einem Freund meines Professors dort. Er stellte sich selbst im wesentlichen als New Yorker Jude und Neo-Con vor. Und erklärte mir, dass er vor allem wegen der Außenpolitik zwei Mal Bush gewählt habe, und jetzt McCain wählen werde. Wichtig sei vor allem, dass ein Präsident die Bedrohung durch den islamischen Fundamentalismus erkenne und ernst nähme. Dieser wird in einer Serie mit Sowjetkommunismus und Nazi-Faschismus als Bedrohung der freien Welt gesehen und entsprechend auch als Islamofaschismus bezeichnet.

Angesichts einer offensichtlich starken emotionalen Bindung an Israel konnte ich diese Argumentation nachfühlen, wenn auch nicht teilen. Aber offensichtlich ist er mit dieser Einschätzung tatsächlich bei weitem nicht allein, wie ein Kommentar in der NYTimes aufzeigt. Und macht mit McCain wohl wirklich eine gute Wahl:

“The transcendent challenge of our time [is] the threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” Senator McCain said in a major foreign policy speech this year, adding, “Any president who does not regard this threat as transcending all others does not deserve to sit in the White House.”

That’s a widespread conservative belief. Mitt Romney compared the threat of militant Islam to that from Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Some conservative groups even marked “Islamofascism Awareness Week” earlier this month.

Bleibt nur, wirklich richtig auf Obamas Sieg zu hoffen. Ich möchte mir nicht vorstellen, was jemand im In– und Ausland anrichten kann, der im islamischen Terrorismus die alles überragende Herausforderung dieser Zeit sieht. Dabei dachte ich bisher, McCain sei relativ gemäßigt. Naja, relativ zu Bush stimmt das wohl auch…

Hier übrigens, was ein nicht-NeoCon zu diesen Gedanken sagt:

During the cold war, the American ideological fear of communism led us to mistake every muddle-headed leftist for a Soviet pawn. Our myopia helped lead to catastrophe in Vietnam.

In the same way today, an exaggerated fear of “Islamofascism” elides a complex reality and leads us to overreact and damage our own interests. Perhaps the best example is one of the least-known failures in Bush administration foreign policy: Somalia.

Today, Somalia is the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster, worse even than Darfur or Congo. The crisis has complex roots, and Somali warlords bear primary blame. But Bush administration paranoia about Islamic radicals contributed to the disaster.

Somalia has been in chaos for many years, but in 2006 an umbrella movement called the Islamic Courts Union seemed close to uniting the country. The movement included both moderates and extremists, but it constituted the best hope for putting Somalia together again. Somalis were ecstatic at the prospect of having a functional government again.

Bush administration officials, however, were aghast at the rise of an Islamist movement that they feared would be uncooperative in the war on terror. So they gave Ethiopia, a longtime rival in the region, the green light to invade, and Somalia’s best hope for peace collapsed.

“A movement that looked as if it might end this long national nightmare was derailed, in part because of American and Ethiopian actions,” said Ken Menkhaus, a Somalia expert at Davidson College. As a result, Islamic militancy and anti-Americanism have surged, partly because Somalis blame Washington for the brutality of the Ethiopian occupiers.

“There’s a level of anti-Americanism in Somalia today like nothing I’ve seen over the last 20 years,” Professor Menkhaus said. “Somalis are furious with us for backing the Ethiopian intervention and occupation, provoking this huge humanitarian crisis.”

Patrick Duplat, an expert on Somalia at Refugees International, the Washington-based advocacy group, says that during his last visit to Somalia, earlier this year, a local mosque was calling for jihad against America — something he had never heard when he lived peacefully in Somalia during the rise of the Islamic Courts Union.

“The situation has dramatically taken a turn for the worse,” he said. “The U.S. chose a very confrontational route early on. Who knows what would have happened if the U.S. had reached out to moderates? But that might have averted the disaster we’re in today.”

The greatest catastrophe is the one endured by ordinary Somalis who now must watch their children starve. But America’s own strategic interests have also been gravely damaged.

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Datum: Freitag, 31. Oktober 2008 1:04
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