Sunday, January 14, 2007

Crazy Eddie

Probably one of my favourite sci-fi duologies is the Niven-Pournelle gang up to write "The Mote in God's Eye" and it's followup, "The Gripping Hand."

The action centers around the Second Empire of Man's first alien contact. The race is called the Moties. The Empire sends an expedition to Mote Prime and, in the ensuing drama, discovers the Motie secret.

The Motie's must breed, or die. Stuck in the same system for over a million years, this leads to the Cycles. Motie civilization rises, reaches a boiling point, and blows itself up, over and over.

The Moties have a mythical character called Crazy Eddie. Crazy Eddie believes she can break the Cycles. One of the Mediators (a Motie subclass) describes Crazy Eddie as someone who: "when a city is in perfect balance, and the amount of trash going out directly matches the amount of resources coming in, then Crazy Eddie leads the garbage collectors on a strike for better working conditions." [I paraphrase]

See, by trying to break the Cycles, Crazy Eddie always hastens the destruction.

It takes the Empire of Man to finally come in, and solve the Motie's problem, in the "Gripping Hand."

Cribbed this Guardian article from Defense Tech: 'The jihad now is against the Shias, not the Americans'. It's a surprisingly good read into Iraqi sectarian violence, and it's development, since the fall of Saddam.

"Baghdad has become a Shia town. Our brothers are being slaughtered every day! Where are these al-Qaida heroes? One neighbourhood after another will be lost if we don't work on a strategy."

"We have been deceived by the jihadi Arabs," he admitted, in reference to al-Qaida and foreign fighters. "They had an international agenda and we implemented it. But now all the leadership of the jihad in Iraq are Iraqis."

Some straight line reasoning, a year or two back, would have predicted that. The Arabs are stuck in their own Cycles, and Al Qaeda are the Crazy Eddies. Crazy Eddie has a way of eating his own seed corn. Eventually, someone over there will ask, why is it that everything AQ touches turns to shite?

Maybe because they are, as an instructor of mine once said, nucking futs.

Crazy Eddies.

Breaking the Cycles will require some tough love, both on the part of Arabs, and anyone with a mind to helping them.

Reinforcing Arab preconceptions about they're own predicament is not the way to go.

The Brotherhood of Man: "Hey, solving the Israeli-Arab conflict is central to regional peace and will solve the problem of Arab humiliation brought by orientalism and colonialism and we need a regional style Democracy, not one imposed by alien invaders, and me and my brother against the clan and me and my clan against the Toyota dealership, and did I mention the Jews?"

The Brother-in-Lawhood of Man: "You need to get off the couch and get your shit together."

Why do MBA's study and learn best business practices, while Political Scientist discuss "theories". Seems to me that everything proposed, from the Happy-Happy Joy-Joy Khalifah to the Really-Really Brand New Socialist Republic of Venezuela, are mere retreads of failed political theories.

But hey, let's give it a try. You keep proposing "new" ideas, and reality will keep blowing them to hell.

I hope.

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