Making enemies

If you wanted to antagonize the whole world and make them your enemies, what would you do? You would take hostages of each country, say one from Britain, two from the US, two from France, two from Italy, from Turkey, Nepal, Egypt and so on. After having them plead for their lives on camera, you would behead them and show the gruesome pictures to the world to make sure that they take you seriously. That is how to make enemies and influence people against you.

But, wait a minute, no-one sets out to make more enemies than they need and to increase the forces set against them, do they? On the other hand, leaders often fail to realize the consequences of their actions when they are absolutely sure of themselves. Thus, Hitler thought it was a brilliant move to attack Russia in the carefully planned Operation Barbarossa, before he had defeated Britain and without the US in the war against him. Similarly, the terrorist forces in Iraq could be said to have overplayed their hand. But, since the taking of Spanish and Phillipino hostages got them the political aims they sought, namely the withdrawal of the forces of those countries from Iraq, they no doubt think they are on a winning streak.

However, two things are in process that could alter the outcome. First, the defeat of the insurgent forces in Fallujah. The US is finally pulling off the gloves there and using its main military advantage, the air force. Fortunately there is no major religious site there that is an impediment to US attack as there was in Najjaf.

Second, the result of the US election will play a major role in the continuing conflict there. If Kerry wins, then the insurgents are likely to up the ante, on the expectation that he will be susceptible to a quick withdrawal, following the example of Spain. On the other hand, if Bush wins then you can expect he will crank up the military pressure on the insurgency. As the US gains better intelligence, this will gradually bring an end to these political abductions, that are standing in the way of future progress, since the reconstruction of Iraq is highly dependent on the availability of foreign experts.

So let us not over-estimate the capability of people who are too stupid to see that they are antagonizing the rest of the world.


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