Review: Reconciliation–Islam, Democracy, and the West

5 Star, Biography & Memoirs, Politics, Religion & Politics of Religion, Truth & Reconciliation

BhuttoBeautiful powerful voice, mind, soul, and face,  March 7, 2008

Benazir Bhutto

The book opens with the author’s detailing of the many ways in which the government refused to protect her, to include the banning of armored vests, cell phone jammers, etc. While I consider her foolish to have not used modern technology to reach more people safely, she died a martyr’s death and this book ably represents her legacy.

This is an elegant, articulate, easy to read, carefully documented overview of the history, geography, culture, and disturbances that have defined the billion Muslims of today.

The author completely avoids any confrontation with Saudi Arabia, the regime that I hold responsible, along with Egypt, then followed by all those as discussed in the following three books:

Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush
The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage)
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025

I share with the author the diplomatically stated view that Western colonialism, followed by Western support of dictators against democracy, set the world back fifty years. In reinforcement of this point, but focused on the unnecessary Cold War, see The Fifty-Year Wound: How America’s Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World and The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project).

It is in this context that the author finds it reasonable for many Muslims to welcome, not the attacks on the US, but the new-found US recognition of vulnerability. Of course this Administration is oblivious, and we have wasted blood, treasure, and spirit, but the fact of the matter is clear the titles of these two books:

The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

Overall the book is replete with quotations from the Quran, fully three quarters of the end-notes. This is one of the most thoughtful, methodical accounts I have ever seen of the history, geography, and misdirection of the entire Muslim world, more often than not at the hands of the West or secular dictators it installed and supported.

An essential part of the book is the refutation of the Saudi Arabian rejection of tolerance and the terrorist confusion of jihad as struggle with jihad as unjust war killing civilians.

The last half of the book is a catalog of countries I am going to list because I was surprised by the range–these are countries where a combination of colonialism run amok, and indigenous secular and clerics vying for power.

Afghanistan
Algeria
Argentina
Bangladesh
Comoros
Congo
Egypt
Greece
Guatemala
Iraq
Lebanon
Libya
Morocco
Pakistan
Persian Gulf
Tunisia

Having provided a magnificent tour of the horizon, she then devotes a very deep chapter to Pakistan’s history. She concludes the chapter concerned about Taliban incursions deep into Pakistan, but cited Iqbal, “Tyranny cannot long endure.”

Next the book gently slams Sam Huntington’s “clash of civilization” into the ground, breaks every rib with a different contrasting scholar, and most admiringly, with pointers to Pippa Norris, Ronald Inglehard, Stephen Walt, and Richard Rubenstein.

Finally, the author concludes with what must now be regarded as her death-bed wishes for the future of Pakistan, of Islam, and of modernization. She considers modernization to be exclusive of extremism, and I for one, reflecting on the specific figures from Medard Gabel, E. O. Wilson, and Lester Brown, am happy to assert that for one third of what we spend on war, we could create heaven on earth. Combine that with the trillion a year that corporations and dictators loot through corruption, and the $500 billion of more than foundations squander willy nilly for lack of a strategic spending plan, and you get into real money.

She prays for more community responsibility and charity, for education and women’s rights. And transparency of military budgets, for better election monitoring, for a Reconciliation Corps (see the superb book by USN Captain Doug Johnston, Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik

Her final two wishes are for the Gulf States to jump-start the Muslim renaissance, and for a Palestinian state (to which I would add, and the restoration of Lebanon as the Tibet or Paris of the Middle East).

There are so many other books I would like to tie to this one. Here are the two I have left within Amazon limits:
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

Two years ago, after reading Prahalad’s book, I realized my dstiny was to be intelligence officer to the five billion poor. Today an Indian Brigadier pointed out to me that three of the five are split between China and India. That will guide my next year or two.

See all my other reviews and lists for a free graduate survey of reality and what is to be done to move away from the war and scarcity frame of reference to a prosperous world at peace frame of reference (at one third the cost in blood, treasure, and spirit).

[Additional extraneous observations dropped into comment.]
For this reason I end with the three things I would like to the USA to agree to in the near future:

1) Funding from ASD SOLIC for five positions necessary to establish the Office of the Assistant Secretary General for Decision Support, reporting to the Undersecretary for Safety and Security. We get all the raw information, we give back decision support that can be shared and is not secret.

2) Conversion of the rapidly vacating Coalition Coordination Center into a Multinational Decision Support with access to all information in all languages all the time THAT IS NOT SECRET to serve as provider of reach back strategic, operational, tactical, and technical intelligence to all stabilization & reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief operations.

3) Use of the MDSC to create a global range of gifts table covering the ten high-level threats to humanity and the twelve core policies (learn more at Earth Intelligence Network), such that the UN can call an annual givers conference and publicise $1 trillion a year in needs from $10 to $100 million, all online and accessible for both individuals (80$ of the giving) and organizations.

India now understands that a call center and a virtual network using Telelanguage.com, registering 100 million volunteers covering 183 languages and able to teach the five billion poor “one cell call at a time,” is the fastest way to create stabilizing wealth.

This is the BEGINNING of a new history one powered by public intelligence, itself comprised of collective, peace, and commercial intelligence, and in phase two, gift, cultural, and Earth intelligence.

I put down this book well satisfied with the Swedish concept as taught to me in Stockholm: Multinational Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information Sharing (M4IS) and Multinational Decision Support. We are going to answer this great lady’s prayers, for the best of reasons, to give all of our children seven generations of hope into the future.