I've reposted below a piece first put up on Oct. 1, 2008, along with a few comments that followed, and my reply to those comments.
Fitzgerald: A simpleton appealing to other simpletons
The "conflict resolution" business comes mostly from Roger Fisher and the "Getting to Yes" boys who turned Fisher's banalities into a well-packaged presentation. That presentation has become (and not only in Cambridge) a vast "Negotiations" or "Conflict Resolution" industry, with plenty of academic positions, and still more important, lots of opportunities to be hired as consultants by businesses, to come in and show them how to Get To Yes.
Of course, the whole enterprise is based on the belief that no one, anywhere, cannot be reasoned with, and is not susceptible to permanent compromise. One points to Hitler. One points to Stalin or Chairman Mao. And one points to the ideology of Islam, which is absolutely clear on certain things.
Muslims are superior to non-Muslims, and the only faith that is true is Islam. All others are inferior, and some even more inferior than others.
All of humanity divides into Muslims and non-Muslims, Believers and Infidels. Muslims have a duty to engage in the "Jihad" or "struggle" to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam. That is, the Lands Where Islam Dominates and Muslims rule – the Dar al-Islam – must be steadily expanded, at the expense of the Bilad al-Kufr (Lands of the Infidels) -- or as it was normally called, the Dar al-Harb (“Domain of War”), where non-Muslims still ruled, and Islam had not overcome obstacles to its spread and its necessary dominance. For there is no equality of faiths in Islam; the word “pluralism” in the sense in which that word is widely understood has no place.
Traditionally, the expansion of Islam, the “removal of all obstacles to the spread of Islam,” was accomplished through qitaal, or combat. Nowadays Muslims describe certain acts as a form of qitaal that we Infidels have no trouble describing as acts of terrorism. For they are aimed at civilians and noncombatants and do not take place on a field of battle. Rather, they are attacks on school busses and schoolyards, on pizza parlors and office buildings -- everywhere that non-Muslims innocently gather.
Furthermore, the conditions of present-day life now permit an expansion of the instruments of Jihad beyond the traditional qitaal. And the most potent of these instruments are the result of the trillions of dollars (some 11-12 trillion since 1973 alone) that the Muslim states of OPEC have received, and the millions of Muslim migrants allowed into the countries of Western Europe by heedless and negligent political and media elites. Those elites were apparently indifferent to what was contained, undeclared, in the mental baggage of those Muslim immigrants.
According to Islamic theology, non-Muslims must in the end yield to Muslim rule. In those lands where the non-Muslims have yielded in the past, usually by military conquest (though some places, such as the East Indies, succumbed differently), Christians and Jews were allowed both to live and to practice their faith. And later, Zoroastrians and Hindus, solely for practical reasons, were treated as "honorary" People of the Book. However, they were also subject to a series of onerous political, economic, and social disabilities. These were occasionally relieved by a more benign and relaxed ruler (see Akbar), but over time these disabilities naturally caused many to convert to Islam in order to avoid that status of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity that constituted the life of the "dhimmi."
What do the epigones of the late Roger Fisher make of an ideology that sees real “compromise” as impossible, as negating what Islam inculcates? Fisher, after all, started out with a business -- the “Negotiation Project” -- which some celebrated fellow HLS professors, finding the consulting business infra dig, were known to call “the Negotiation Racket.” Negotiated compromise is impossible in Islam, though, of course, Muslims conclude treaties with Infidels. In that they are following the example of Muhammad in his treaty-making, that 10-year “hudna” or truce-treaty he concluded with the Meccans in 628 A.D. at Hudaibiyya. As soon as he felt his side had become stronger, Muhammad immediately discarded that treaty and went on the attack. The advice that Muhammad so famously gave – “war is deception,” is just one of the many indications that deception, subterfuge, taqiyya, kitman all are not to be deplored, but rather receive religious sanction in Islam.
How can someone, anyone, whose professional life is based on the notion that everyone can come to final terms with everyone else, deal with the most important geopolitical question of the age – that of the doctrine of Jihad? That doctrine for a while fell into desuetude because of the perceived superior power of the West. But it is now being revived with vigor, and because of the OPEC trillions and the Muslim migrant tens of millions, is being pursued everywhere. It is being pursued in southern Thailand and the southern Philippines and the southern Sudan and southern Nigeria. What was the Biafran war except, as Col. Ojukwu said, an attempt by the Christians of Nigeria to become independent of those conducting a “Jihad,” as he put it, against them? It is being pursued in the attempts to wipe out Israel, or to change forever the legal and political institutions of the countries of Western Europe, so that inexorably they will no longer flatly contradict the Sharia, but come to a greater consonance with it. And what else but a Jihad is the attempt to make Westerners forget their own histories, their own achievements, and to rewrite everything so that they will come to believe the Muslim narrative, or at least great parts of it? The canonical texts of Islam – Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira – do not say to leave to the Infidels what the Infidels possess. The texts do not say that when Muslims are in Infidel lands, they should conform to Infidel ways. The texts do not say that the world is to be shared between Muslims and non-Muslims, and in some places one will prevail, and in some, the other.
No, the texts are very clear: Islam is to spread across the earth, the earth that belongs to Allah and to the Muslims. Actually, because Islam is a vehicle for Arab supremacism, the earth belongs not merely to the Muslims but to those Muslims who consider themselves to be Arabs, “the best of peoples.”
This is the kind of thing that unnerves those whose money and prestige and jobs come from the deep and untested and untrue belief that Compromise Is Always Possible, That We Can Always Get To “Yes.” Roger Fisher, by the way, was a real, genuine simpleton about the world, and was ignorant of history, and, bien entendu, of Islam. This did not prevent him from producing a quakerish getting-to-yes history-less series, "Arabs and Israelis," for WGBH in Boston, and then trying to flog the program elsewhere in the world.
What else can you expect from such people? They don’t want to study. It’s too tiring. Besides, they have their doctorates or their law degrees and their jobs. Now what they need is glory and money. And that doesn’t require long hours of study; it requires a simpleton appealing to other simpletons.
Well done, Tom H. Hastings, who teaches in the "ConflictResolutionprogram" at Oregon State. You have done Roger Fisher proud.
[Posted by Hugh on October 1, 2008]
Monte Gardner | October 1, 2008 7:36 PM
Unfortunately, your analysis is over-simplistic. I agree that there can be no negotiations with terrorists. Terrorists such as Bin-Laden are only one aspect of the problem. I agree with Dr. Phil when he says "all relationships are negotiated". That includes the relationship between the west and the Islamic world.
Note also the El-Anbar awakening - a great example of what can occur when the west works together with moderate, reasonable Muslims against their common enemy.
Monte Gardner | October 1, 2008 7:44 PM
"Radical proponents of Islam only come to the table for one thing, to try and negotiate a better position for themselves." - thehistorysage
Well, isn't that what anyone comes to the table for? The only question that remains, then, is : Is there a possible situation that can be found that represents a better position for the highest amount of people? Ideally, that is the outcome of negotiations and compromise. Thats why we do it.
"Unfortunately, your analysis is over-simplistic. I agree that there can be no negotiations with terrorists. Terrorists such as Bin-Laden are only one aspect of the problem. I agree with Dr. Phil when he says "all relationships are negotiated". That includes the relationship between the west and the Islamic world.
Note also the El-Anbar awakening - a great example of what can occur when the west works together with moderate, reasonable Muslims against their common enemy."
-- from a posting above
So my "analysis" -- of what? I thought I was attacking the assumptions of the tom-hastings of this world, who without understanding that Islam inculcates the notion of a clear division of the world between Believers and Infidels, preaches an uncompromising hostility between the two camps, a state of permanent war if not always of open warfare, and furthermore, requires that Muslims support or directly participate in the Jihad or "struggle" to remove from every part of the globe all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam. Such tenets, based on immutable texts, are not likely -- indeed it would be impossible -- to lead to any permanent "negotiations" leading to a true, not feigned peace, and what Infidels should expect, at best, is a feigned "hudna" or truce-treaty, lasting just as long as it suits the Muslim side, and not one minute longer.
I'm glad you take your geopolitical marching-orders from Dr. Phil; I prefer Machiavelli, or Halford Mackinder, or others of that unsentimental ilk.
Finally, you describe "The Awakening" in Anbar Province "as a great example of what can occur when the west works together with moderate, reasonable Muslims against their common enemy." No, it is not that. It is an example of what can happen when one group of Muslims, the Sunni tribes of Anbar Province, are repeatedly and wantonly attacked by another group of Muslims, those of Al Qaeda in Iraq, and only because of that, not because of any outrage at Al Qaeda attacks either on Americans or on Shi'a Muslims, those Sunni tribesmen go to the Americans to see just how much money, and how much weaponry, they can obtain -- useful now, against Al Qaeda in Iraq, and useful later, when the Americans leave, against the Shi'a, and if the Americans don't leave, useful of course against the Americans themselves.
The Anbar "Awakening" is merely a case of short-term bribery of a number of Sunnis who, in any case, were motivated not out of any deep or abiding or even nascent love for the Infidel Americans, but out of a desire to use the Americans, as best they could, to further their own interests and status within Iraq. The minute the Americans stop bribing them -- i.e., keeping tens of thousands on the American payroll -- and do not give them what they want in weaponry -- the little temporary and one-millimeter thick alliance will stop.
After all, now that Al Qaeda has stopped being a threat, what will the Sunni tribes in Anbar do? You appear confident that everything is swell, but you don't fill us in on what's to come, because it's still unsure. So I'll tell you: they will turn, slowly and inexorably, on the Shi'a government, and possibly on the Kurds in the north. They are Muslims. For they will not be satisfied with whatever they are offered. The spirit of compromise is not instilled in them; outcomes of Victor and Vanquished are; violence is; aggression is. They can do no other.