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    You may have wondered why, outside of my repetitious drumbeat, there has been so little comment on how the Gulf Arabs aren't spending their money to help their Muslim brethren in need. One reason is because they have better things to spend their money on, such as the American think tanks who provide the press...
  • Off topic.
    Think Tanks are called Mind Mills or Thought Foundries in Europe. The physical object ‘think tank’ never got to see much use so the term is unfamiliar.
    So Now You Know

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  • @Seran
    Qatar has the lowest IQ for a non-black Nation (78). Saudi Arabia has an IQ of 84. Both don't seem to gain IQ points from their relative wealth.

    These are means for IQ.

    There are right tails in both societies, and they figured out long ago that they are never going to build functioning societies with the IQ distributions they’ve got, so to speak.

    This is why they pour oil bucks into buying US intellectuals they way they buy RVs with two commas in the price tags.

    It’s not just think tanks. They also buy entire academic departments. Last decade there was a massive spate of coverage of Arab donations (particularly Saudi) to US colleges and universities. Good example:

    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=213

    Those lines of inquiry seemed to fall off mysteriously as the 2012 POTUS election cycle began.

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  • @countenance
    Verily, think tank hacks are cheap hoes.

    Some aren’t cheap IME, but most are, and indeed, they are blunt blades with which to smash clods.

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  • @Steve Richter
    on the positive side, I watched an interesting Brookings presentation on C-Span last night. Michael O'Hanlon and two other white males. They were talking about Russia. Said Russia has about half the number of draft age males now than it did 20 years ago. That Russia cannot complete some naval ships it was building because the gas turbine engines were being built in Ukraine. They only have been able to build a few advanced fighter jets. And they do not have smart bombs to drop on Syria.

    But yes,it was a biased presentation. Nothing on the fact that the absence of immigration threats enables the people to feel patriotic and connected to their government.

    Was the discussants’ claim that war today requires the same number of warm bodies to conduct as 20 years ago?

    Seems to me that automated high tech warfare can easily be accomplished with “half the number of draft age males,” provided they are of high enough quality to run the machines.

    Invasions of the Winter War/Barbarossa type are not what I see when gazing into my Future Warfare crystal ball. They’re more like what’s happening in Europe (the twin-fanged invasion of Islamia and globalization), or the US. Demographics is very likely far more powerful than anything except high tech now. The two ends of the human continuum–technocracy, and the ochlos.

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  • Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks

    Thank god there’s no foreign power or person who has bought influence at the New York Times. Then we wouldn’t know what to believe!

    Mexico didn’t have to give the Heritage Foundation a donation to get Jason Richwine fired. That was a freebie. It would be nice if Carlos Slim would offer a gratuity, though.

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  • A million dollar donation towards the construction of a new HQ building would be cheap influence, if it works. What are they going to do, ask for the return of a floor if they’re disappointed in the future?

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  • @Seran
    Qatar has the lowest IQ for a non-black Nation (78). Saudi Arabia has an IQ of 84. Both don't seem to gain IQ points from their relative wealth.

    Consanguineous marriage rate in Qatar is over 50%.

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  • Maybe you can get someone in Qatar to notice your continuing series of “noticing Qatar” posts and then they’ll offer you a few million dollars to shut up about it, similar to how their relationship with their think tanks operate.

    On the other hand when the Qataris’ neighbors noticed them blowing through neighborhood stop signs at 100 mph in million dollar cars, and asked them about it, they were told that the the Qataris could “kill them and get away with it.”

    Douchebags.

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  • Qatar has the lowest IQ for a non-black Nation (78). Saudi Arabia has an IQ of 84. Both don’t seem to gain IQ points from their relative wealth.

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    • Replies: @wren
    Consanguineous marriage rate in Qatar is over 50%.
    , @Olorin
    These are means for IQ.

    There are right tails in both societies, and they figured out long ago that they are never going to build functioning societies with the IQ distributions they've got, so to speak.

    This is why they pour oil bucks into buying US intellectuals they way they buy RVs with two commas in the price tags.

    It's not just think tanks. They also buy entire academic departments. Last decade there was a massive spate of coverage of Arab donations (particularly Saudi) to US colleges and universities. Good example:

    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=213

    Those lines of inquiry seemed to fall off mysteriously as the 2012 POTUS election cycle began.
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  • @Ed
    The point about Syria having a relatively large non-Islamic population (Christians, Druze, very arguably also the Alawites) is a good one. This may well be why the Gulf States are not willing to take in Syrians. But they do have a big population of non-Muslim laborers, taken in from places like India and the Philippines. These are expected to go home some day and their existence is really restricted, but then refugees are also expected to go home some day. The Gulf States have made efforts recently to try to lower the amount of non-Muslims they take in as guest workers. Of course this also begs the questions of why Christian countries in Europe aren't more worried about taking in large numbers of non-Christians.

    Partition of Syria has already been tried. The French partitioned Syria into Syria and Lebanon. The latter was supposed to be a Christian controlled Arab country. Other than the Christians having a lower birth rate, and being more willing and able to emigrate, the French also screwed up drawing the borders. Non-Sunni Arabs in both Syria and Lebanon tend to be more prevalent along the Mediterranean coast, according to maps I've seen, so a Christian/ Alawite/ Shia state stretching along the coast north from Beirut to Turkey could work. But the populations are pretty mixed up on the ground, and I'm not sure how this stops the war between secular-minded Sunni Arabs and fundamentalist Sunni Arabs. Doing the opposite, re-incorporating Lebanon back into Syria, would at least strengthen the secular elements.

    Inland, there are only two habitable strips in Syria with much water: the north-south stretch at the base of the mountains from Aleppo to Damascus and the Euphrates River. Everybody wants them.

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  • There must be patriotic Senators and congressmen who will pass legislation which would require think tanks to disclose funds received from foreigners.

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  • The point about Syria having a relatively large non-Islamic population (Christians, Druze, very arguably also the Alawites) is a good one. This may well be why the Gulf States are not willing to take in Syrians. But they do have a big population of non-Muslim laborers, taken in from places like India and the Philippines. These are expected to go home some day and their existence is really restricted, but then refugees are also expected to go home some day. The Gulf States have made efforts recently to try to lower the amount of non-Muslims they take in as guest workers. Of course this also begs the questions of why Christian countries in Europe aren’t more worried about taking in large numbers of non-Christians.

    Partition of Syria has already been tried. The French partitioned Syria into Syria and Lebanon. The latter was supposed to be a Christian controlled Arab country. Other than the Christians having a lower birth rate, and being more willing and able to emigrate, the French also screwed up drawing the borders. Non-Sunni Arabs in both Syria and Lebanon tend to be more prevalent along the Mediterranean coast, according to maps I’ve seen, so a Christian/ Alawite/ Shia state stretching along the coast north from Beirut to Turkey could work. But the populations are pretty mixed up on the ground, and I’m not sure how this stops the war between secular-minded Sunni Arabs and fundamentalist Sunni Arabs. Doing the opposite, re-incorporating Lebanon back into Syria, would at least strengthen the secular elements.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Inland, there are only two habitable strips in Syria with much water: the north-south stretch at the base of the mountains from Aleppo to Damascus and the Euphrates River. Everybody wants them.
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  • These think tanks are the definition of “cuckservative”.

    They aren’t really prostitutes, since their foreign paramours don’t actually pay them … they just leave a “generous gift” on the bedside table the next morning when they are finished using them.

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  • Why can’t foreign governments just create and fund their own think tanks? Why can’t they just do their own thing? Why do they always have to come here? The Europeans do their own thing.

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  • The United States begin to feel that think tanks built on foreign money ought to register as foreign agents?
    Isn’t that just what Putin said in Russia some years ago?

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  • Verily, think tank hacks are cheap hoes.

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    • Replies: @Olorin
    Some aren't cheap IME, but most are, and indeed, they are blunt blades with which to smash clods.
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  • @a boy and his dog
    This makes one wonder how much Mexico pays the CATO Institute...

    The Kochs own Cato (they also fired Rothbard, too).

    They likely pay Alex Nowrasteh’s salary to spout his open borders nonsense on twitter.

    Bernie may be afraid of black people, but he sure knows who to go after on immigration on the right.

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  • “Qatar arguing that Muslim Brotherhood-style political Islam is the Arab world’s best hope for democracy, and the United Arab Emirates seeking to persuade United States policy makers that the Brotherhood is a dangerous threat to the region’s stability. …”

    They could both be right.

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  • @reiner Tor
    I think partitioning cannot really work. For starters, there are no Arab ethnic groups in the sense there are French, Germans or Slovaks. The Syrian Sunni Arabs are a hodgepodge of tribes who don't really like each other except maybe in the context of a civil war against the Alawites or the Shia. But once given their own country, they'd start bickering and arguing about which tribe should boss the others around. I'm not sure about the Alawites, but I guess for their loyalty Assad depends on the fact that all of them get something from the goodies of the government and also that they all feel equally threatened by the rest of the population. In the context of an Alawite-only state, it's far from obvious the other three Alawite tribes would be happy to live under the rule of Assad's tribe. And I already assumed the rest of the Shia would be separated from the Alawites...

    So in the end you'd have a similar arrangement within the resulting mini-states as we already had in the large ones fifteen years ago, where the majority of the population dislikes the government and at best accepts it as the lesser evil.

    Simply the Arabs are unable to have large secular states that function better than Iraq or Syria fifteen years ago.

    Islamism might create a different level of loyalty in them, but I guess we've already precluded the Islamic State from becoming recognized. Not that they are interested in becoming members of the international community.

    I think partitioning cannot really work. For starters, there are no Arab ethnic groups in the sense there are French, Germans or Slovaks. The Syrian Sunni Arabs are a hodgepodge of tribes who don’t really like each other except maybe in the context of a civil war against the Alawites or the Shia. But once given their own country, they’d start bickering and arguing about which tribe should boss the others around.

    You may well be right that partitioning Syria into mini ethnic/religious states won’t really solve the problem for most groups in Syria, but it would solve it for Christians, the Kurds, and the Druze. If it doesn’t solve it for the Alawites or Sunni Arabs, at least the problem is much smaller and more easily dealt with.

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  • anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    There’s a lot of buying and selling of politicians and think tanks to provide the intellectual veneer. Dennis Hastert, for example, had been a client of the Turkish government. Money talks, that’s just the way it is. Lenin’s ‘who,whom’ holds true. When they pitch something just look for the interests being served behind it, look past the sermons that usually accompany everything.

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  • Yup – no calls for regime change and advancing women’s rights in Qatar and the UAE from any of these think tanks or the NYT.

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  • The Gulf Sheiks are learning the game from the jews, pretty much all influential Think-Tanks in Washington and NYC are financed and populated by jewish-zionist interests.

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  • on the positive side, I watched an interesting Brookings presentation on C-Span last night. Michael O’Hanlon and two other white males. They were talking about Russia. Said Russia has about half the number of draft age males now than it did 20 years ago. That Russia cannot complete some naval ships it was building because the gas turbine engines were being built in Ukraine. They only have been able to build a few advanced fighter jets. And they do not have smart bombs to drop on Syria.

    But yes,it was a biased presentation. Nothing on the fact that the absence of immigration threats enables the people to feel patriotic and connected to their government.

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    • Replies: @Olorin
    Was the discussants' claim that war today requires the same number of warm bodies to conduct as 20 years ago?

    Seems to me that automated high tech warfare can easily be accomplished with "half the number of draft age males," provided they are of high enough quality to run the machines.

    Invasions of the Winter War/Barbarossa type are not what I see when gazing into my Future Warfare crystal ball. They're more like what's happening in Europe (the twin-fanged invasion of Islamia and globalization), or the US. Demographics is very likely far more powerful than anything except high tech now. The two ends of the human continuum--technocracy, and the ochlos.
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  • @Mike Street Station
    Michael O'Hanlon, from the Brookings Institute, recently wrote an Op-Ed arguing for a partitioning of Syria along ethnic-religious lines. I think that's actually a good idea if it were possible to have some sort of final settlement and ending of the Syrian civil war. That's the time of foreign policy engagement the US used to be good at.

    Frankly, I think partitioning is ultimately the solution to both Syria and Iraq. I don't think that's an idea the Gulf States would pay Brookings for however.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/09/03/how-will-syrias-war-end-other-civil-wars-suggest-an-answer/

    I think partitioning cannot really work. For starters, there are no Arab ethnic groups in the sense there are French, Germans or Slovaks. The Syrian Sunni Arabs are a hodgepodge of tribes who don’t really like each other except maybe in the context of a civil war against the Alawites or the Shia. But once given their own country, they’d start bickering and arguing about which tribe should boss the others around. I’m not sure about the Alawites, but I guess for their loyalty Assad depends on the fact that all of them get something from the goodies of the government and also that they all feel equally threatened by the rest of the population. In the context of an Alawite-only state, it’s far from obvious the other three Alawite tribes would be happy to live under the rule of Assad’s tribe. And I already assumed the rest of the Shia would be separated from the Alawites…

    So in the end you’d have a similar arrangement within the resulting mini-states as we already had in the large ones fifteen years ago, where the majority of the population dislikes the government and at best accepts it as the lesser evil.

    Simply the Arabs are unable to have large secular states that function better than Iraq or Syria fifteen years ago.

    Islamism might create a different level of loyalty in them, but I guess we’ve already precluded the Islamic State from becoming recognized. Not that they are interested in becoming members of the international community.

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    • Replies: @Mike Street Station

    I think partitioning cannot really work. For starters, there are no Arab ethnic groups in the sense there are French, Germans or Slovaks. The Syrian Sunni Arabs are a hodgepodge of tribes who don’t really like each other except maybe in the context of a civil war against the Alawites or the Shia. But once given their own country, they’d start bickering and arguing about which tribe should boss the others around.
     
    You may well be right that partitioning Syria into mini ethnic/religious states won't really solve the problem for most groups in Syria, but it would solve it for Christians, the Kurds, and the Druze. If it doesn't solve it for the Alawites or Sunni Arabs, at least the problem is much smaller and more easily dealt with.
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  • Michael O’Hanlon, from the Brookings Institute, recently wrote an Op-Ed arguing for a partitioning of Syria along ethnic-religious lines. I think that’s actually a good idea if it were possible to have some sort of final settlement and ending of the Syrian civil war. That’s the time of foreign policy engagement the US used to be good at.

    Frankly, I think partitioning is ultimately the solution to both Syria and Iraq. I don’t think that’s an idea the Gulf States would pay Brookings for however.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/09/03/how-will-syrias-war-end-other-civil-wars-suggest-an-answer/

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I think partitioning cannot really work. For starters, there are no Arab ethnic groups in the sense there are French, Germans or Slovaks. The Syrian Sunni Arabs are a hodgepodge of tribes who don't really like each other except maybe in the context of a civil war against the Alawites or the Shia. But once given their own country, they'd start bickering and arguing about which tribe should boss the others around. I'm not sure about the Alawites, but I guess for their loyalty Assad depends on the fact that all of them get something from the goodies of the government and also that they all feel equally threatened by the rest of the population. In the context of an Alawite-only state, it's far from obvious the other three Alawite tribes would be happy to live under the rule of Assad's tribe. And I already assumed the rest of the Shia would be separated from the Alawites...

    So in the end you'd have a similar arrangement within the resulting mini-states as we already had in the large ones fifteen years ago, where the majority of the population dislikes the government and at best accepts it as the lesser evil.

    Simply the Arabs are unable to have large secular states that function better than Iraq or Syria fifteen years ago.

    Islamism might create a different level of loyalty in them, but I guess we've already precluded the Islamic State from becoming recognized. Not that they are interested in becoming members of the international community.

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  • This makes one wonder how much Mexico pays the CATO Institute…

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    • Replies: @DCThrowback
    The Kochs own Cato (they also fired Rothbard, too).

    They likely pay Alex Nowrasteh's salary to spout his open borders nonsense on twitter.

    Bernie may be afraid of black people, but he sure knows who to go after on immigration on the right.
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  • To placate citizens who feel compassion for the Syrian refugees, Arab governments point to the money they have given to help Syrian refugees. Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have been among the world’s largest donors to Syrian refugees, via United Nations agencies and private charities.

    While aid through the U.N. and its agencies is verifiable, the portion given through private charities is not. While Kuwait has provided $784 million through the U.N. since 2012 and the UAE more than $350 million, these amounts are still less than the almost $800 million from Britain or the $3 billion the U.S. has provided.

    The Arab states’ argument about the risk of terrorists entering their lands is a lame one. Any significant movement has been in the reverse direction. The Syrian resistance has had the tactical support of the Arab states, which share the resistance leaders’ doctrinal agenda. These pseudo-Islamist leaders have little interest in destabilizing the Arab States that are funding them, especially when their most important immediate goal is a victory in Syria. The threat of state-sponsored terrorism by Syria’s Assad government is also far-fetched since Syria’s ruler has his hands full fighting for his survival.

    The real reason for this inhuman blocking of Syrian refugees is different. The Syrians have lived under secular governments far too long for the comfort of the Arab states. While Syrian rulers may have been undemocratic, they did protect religious freedom for most groups. As a result, many Syrians accept religious plurality and are more inclusive than exclusive. This does not fit in with the doctrinal rigidity of the ruling Arab elite.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/10/04/why-arab-states-wont-take-syrian-refugees-column/72747230/

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  • Control of the preferred narrative is essential in today’s instant-news political culture. This has been particularly true since 9/11, as the United States government and the cooperative media have worked together to make sure that a series of enemies are identified and then attacked as a response to what has been shaped as a global...
  • PBS (KOCE) OC (Orange County) will air ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ again on July 23rd, 2013 at 11 AM and 5 PM – PBS OC can be found on channel 235 on Time Warner cable in Los Angeles!

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  • It was actually PBS (KOCE) OC (Orange County) which aired ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ last night at 9 PM and will air it again today (Sun) at 6 AM and then again at 12 Noon. It already aired on PBS Colorado and PBS Hawaii.

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  • PBSSoCal (KOCE) to broadcast Valentino’s Ghost in Los Angeles this 4th of July Weekend (Sat 9 PM & Sun 12 Noon): http://america-hijacked.com/2013/07/05/pbs-koce-to-broadcast-valentinos-ghost-in-los-angeles-this-4th-of-july-weekend/

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  • Thanks to PBS SoCal (KOCE) for broadcasting the one hour version of ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ (www.valentinosghost.com & http://tinyurl.com/valentinosghostinUS) this coming Saturday (July 6th) at 9 PM!:

    http://www.pbssocal.org/schedule/#KOCE

    PS: PBS Hawaii, PBS Colorado, PBS West Virginia & PBS US Virgin Islands have already aired ‘Valentino’s Ghost’. Hopefully other PBS US affiliates will follow suit!

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  • ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ screens from May 17th-23rd at Laemmle Playhouse 7 (https://www.laemmle.com/films/37079) in Pasadena, California and at the Quad Cinema (http://www.quadcinema.com) in Greenwich Village (NYC).

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  • PS: Please consider sending an email to KOCE programming director Patricia Petric at [email protected] asking her for KOCE (PBS SoCal) to broadcast ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ in the Los Angeles/southern California market after they receive it on June 1st as KOCE is currently not going to!

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  • Update:

    PBS will include exchange (used from http://tinyurl.com/911motivation youtube with over half a million views) that James Morris had with former 911 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton in the one hour version of ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ that is being sent out to PBS affiliates next month on June 8th. Please contact your local PBS station to ask them to broadcast ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ after they receive it on June 8th!

    ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ makes its US theatrical debut soon on May 17th:

    Full version of ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ screens for a week at Laemmle Playhouse 7 beginning on May 17th in Pasadena, California: http://www.yelp.com/biz/laemmle-playhouse-7-pasadena and at the Quad Cinema in New York: http://www.quadcinema.com/

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Thank you for your post, I just wish more Americans become aware of this slant in the media and the film industry. I just have one correction to make, Anthony Shadid was not killed in Syria, he died in Syria from a severe asthma attack. As I recall from news reports he was being carried back over the border on horseback. He was apparently allergic to horses. He was far from even the most basic health care facilities and sadly succumbed. It was a great loss to the journalistic community in Lebanon and the world.

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  • I am back to writing for the US-Russia.org Expert Discussion Panel, which since my hiatus has found an additional home at Voice of Russia. The latest topic was on whether Russia, China, and the West could find a common approach to the challenges of the Arab Spring. My response is pessimistic, as in my view...
  • Dear Anatoly,

    I agree with your article. I think your analysis is correct. I don’t think there is any possibility of common ground being found between the US and China/Russia over the Middle East or with respect to the Arab Spring. Besides the whole thrust of US policy ever since the 1950s has been to keep Russia (and China) out of the Middle East and as we have repeatedly seen the US considers this objective so important that it is even prepared to cooperate with its jihadi enemies to achieve this objective in spite of all the other problems this causes. What is astonishing is that this remains so even after the USSR’s collapse and even after the debacle of 9/11.

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  • @johnUK
    "Democracy and secular liberalism are not the same thing"

    I don't see the difference by definition the US is supporting and exporting liberal democracy and whether it be Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative based NGO’s they are exclusively liberal in nature supporting and promoting Frankfurt School Professor Karl Poppers notion of an Open Society like open immigration, greater minority rights, rights for sexual minorities, multi-cultural societies, etc.

    Dear Robert,

    I completely agree. It is a persistent liberal assumption that democracy automatically results in a liberal outcome. There is always disillusion and anger when it doesn’t together with a strong tendency to say that the system which has failed to produce such an outcome is not a democracy at all.

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  • @Robert
    Democracy and secular liberalism are not the same thing. The classic mistake liberals make is to confuse the democratic process with liberal outcomes. When democracy leads to illiberal outcomes, the liberals start screaming about “populism” and demanding that liberal outcomes be imposed from above.

    So, do you stand for democratic process or liberal outcomes?It does pose a terrible dilemma for those who think it’s the job of imperial armies to go around setting up liberal democracies in every corner of the world.

    Absolutely true about grain prices. If a fragile democracy doesn't put food on the table it's more than likely that the masses will support a Bonapartist figure who promises to sort the problem. In the 2009 Iranian Green rising it's more than likely that Ahmadinejad did win the election because he stood for economic policies that promised to maintain a safety net for the poor and crack down on corruption. Musavi promised to liberalise dress codes but also proposed to cut welfare spending and end overmanning in the bonyad sector which would have cost a lot of people their jobs. Unsurprisingly Ahmadinejad won more votes among the working class. Interestingly Mousavi was responsible for mass executions during the early years of the Iranian revolution. This didn't prevent the Western media supporting him as a reformist as against the bogeyman Ahmadinejad.

    “Democracy and secular liberalism are not the same thing”

    I don’t see the difference by definition the US is supporting and exporting liberal democracy and whether it be Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative based NGO’s they are exclusively liberal in nature supporting and promoting Frankfurt School Professor Karl Poppers notion of an Open Society like open immigration, greater minority rights, rights for sexual minorities, multi-cultural societies, etc.

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    • Replies: @Alexander Mercouris
    Dear Robert,

    I completely agree. It is a persistent liberal assumption that democracy automatically results in a liberal outcome. There is always disillusion and anger when it doesn't together with a strong tendency to say that the system which has failed to produce such an outcome is not a democracy at all.

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  • Democracy and secular liberalism are not the same thing. The classic mistake liberals make is to confuse the democratic process with liberal outcomes. When democracy leads to illiberal outcomes, the liberals start screaming about “populism” and demanding that liberal outcomes be imposed from above.

    So, do you stand for democratic process or liberal outcomes?It does pose a terrible dilemma for those who think it’s the job of imperial armies to go around setting up liberal democracies in every corner of the world.

    Absolutely true about grain prices. If a fragile democracy doesn’t put food on the table it’s more than likely that the masses will support a Bonapartist figure who promises to sort the problem. In the 2009 Iranian Green rising it’s more than likely that Ahmadinejad did win the election because he stood for economic policies that promised to maintain a safety net for the poor and crack down on corruption. Musavi promised to liberalise dress codes but also proposed to cut welfare spending and end overmanning in the bonyad sector which would have cost a lot of people their jobs. Unsurprisingly Ahmadinejad won more votes among the working class. Interestingly Mousavi was responsible for mass executions during the early years of the Iranian revolution. This didn’t prevent the Western media supporting him as a reformist as against the bogeyman Ahmadinejad.

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    • Replies: @johnUK
    "Democracy and secular liberalism are not the same thing"

    I don't see the difference by definition the US is supporting and exporting liberal democracy and whether it be Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative based NGO’s they are exclusively liberal in nature supporting and promoting Frankfurt School Professor Karl Poppers notion of an Open Society like open immigration, greater minority rights, rights for sexual minorities, multi-cultural societies, etc.

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  • Control of the preferred narrative is essential in today’s instant-news political culture. This has been particularly true since 9/11, as the United States government and the cooperative media have worked together to make sure that a series of enemies are identified and then attacked as a response to what has been shaped as a global...
  • The root of the conflict between Islam and the West is more fundamental than possession of oil. Islam is constructed as a supreme dominator, and so is Western Civilization. It is logically impossible for two supreme dominators to peacefully coexist in the same sphere of influence. The Muslims fell behind technologically centuries ago, and the West got the upper hand and obtained a sphere of influence of the whole planet, while Islam was held back. . However, the people of Islam were and are still reproducing at very rapid rates which puts pressure on any place where Muslims interact with non-Muslims. Today’s technology gives Muslims a global reach as well, and that is the fundamental reason for perpetual global conflict between The West and Islam. If oil resources were all gone, that conflict would probably be even more vicious than it is today. This conflict will and must continue until there is a final winner and a final loser.

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  • Turks and Iranians are not Arabs. They are Aryans!

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  • I used to be a regular reader of Jihad Watch. But then I figured that even if Spencer is right about theology, theology just isn’t that important. Most people are quite ignorant about the official dogmas of their own religions (there’s a book about it called “Theological Incorrectness: Why People Believe What They Shouldn’t” or something like that). Also, his co-blogger (the self-described existentialist) was just a waste of time to read.

    I understand that AmConMag wants to argue against the lousy policies of the neoconservatives, but the Edward Said take is a shaky ground to do it on.

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  • Andrew, I see how much you know about Arabic and Islam when you see someone called ‘Umm Abdullah’ and call her ‘Sir’…

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  • My Muslim friends are honorable good people, many Christian acquaintances are not. Selfish greed no matter what the religion will corrupt and we have a lot of selflessness to learn… Worldwide.

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  • A process like this has been underway since 1933 or so throughout the West to enshrine the Holocaust as a unique event in history and one forever elevating all Jews to the role of (living) martyrs who are to be given money and arms with which to maintain and expand their empires on the land of the Middle East (taken from the aforementioned Arabs), and in the minds and hearts of the gullible masses wherever they can be reached through the controlled apparatuses of the government, the press, the media, academia, finance, and intellectual-property rights.

    The demonization of Arabs is but a part of this overarching agenda, which demonizes Germans along with anyone who might proclaim anything like the foregoing.

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  • JihadWatch is not perfect, largely because when it is not stating an outright lie, it is manipulating some fact into half-truths. Robert Spencer, the creator of that site, has been caught with his pants down on many an occasion – he is a well-known Catholic Fundamentalist, so he is clearly biased.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to conflict of interest. You know Arabs have the resources, and you know you need to support their dictatorships to get access to them. You know this will cause resentment, and cause them to target you, and you know you will have to fight back and kill them. Therefore, to justify this, you have to resort to making them the “bad guys”. Because saying “we’re going to have to kill them because they legitimately dislike us for propping up terrible regimes that give us access to their resources” cannot be morally justified.

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  • Y’all should check out JihadWatch. It’s not perfect, but it is a really great resource on Muslim errors.

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  • Movies in which Arabs are cast as the a stereotypical enemy are few and far between. Most movie villains are white males, usually Brits or German Nazis.

    Also, wouldn’t casting Arabs\Muslims as the terrorists be a reflection of reality? After all, it isn’t Hollywood that came up with the idea of Islamic terrorism, rather it is something we see actually happening in the Muslim world on a daily basis.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    An refreshing and extremely well-balanced account of how most people in the West view Middle Eastern and North African Arab states.

    Though I think it should be emphasised very clearly Iran and Turkey are not Arab states, given so many US politicians and journalists appear to think they are.

    Pity you’re not still working for the CIA.

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  • Hard to imagine a documentary of this nature that does not explore the centrality of Israel in getting Islamophobia off the ground in the US. Once dutifully expurgated, it should become notorious for what it leaves out. I hope it will be available for educational purposes, as I can see it being very useful to me in my course on Orientalism.

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  • Could it be that Americans look down on Arabs because Arab/Muslim countries tend to be dysfunctional places Americans wouldn’t want to live? And blaming Hollywood for it, when “The Sum of All Fears” was rewritten to absurdly have neonazis replace Arabs precisely BECAUSE actual Arab terrorists had carried out 9/11.

    “Homeland” has slightly more plausibility, but it still carries on Hollywood tradition, by having the ignorant insensitive FBI as black hats while the enlightened Islamophile agent is the hero (a lesser known film “Traitor” with Don Cheadle & Guy Pearce is similar). In the second season when the protagonist says that another agent could be a mole because he is a Muslim, everyone watching KNOWS then he must be innocent. Even the Arab terrorist, Abu Nazir, is portrayed more sympathetically than his enemy Vice President Bill Walden. The two main protagonists are complicit in Walden’s murder, but viewers are supposed to root for them anyway.

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  • I am sorry to say that some arabs are barbarians, namely the wahabbi lunatics who kill shia’s and others with impunity.

    That is not to say that other “races” or religions suffer from a lack of lunacy themselves, so generalizing does not fit the argument.

    The common value shared between the worlds barbarians is racism, a militant and violent racism which sometimes gets its fuel from narrow minded and ignorant religious ideology.

    In my mind, there is no difference between the barbarism of the wahabi arabs, the zionists, or the people who masterminded and ordered the criminal invasion of iraq, leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent iraqis.

    These people simply do not put the same value on the lives of other humans. The example of Madeline Albright referring to the murder of half a million iraqis as being alright is spot on. Another would be the insistence of israel to kill at least ten times as many palestinians for every jew killed; a number they have surpassed by a mile…

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  • Andrei Martyanov [AKA "Andrew"] says:

    So ‘Arab’ and ‘Muslim’ are not synonyms.

    Sir, not only Arab and Muslim ARE synonyms but this exclusive relation between Arabs and Islam is specifically stated in none other scripture than Quran. Quran explicitly states exclusivity of Arabs in relation to Quran, forget the fact that Quran was divinely narrated in Arabic. And surely, the quote from Tabari IX:69 has some alternative meaning, right?

    “Arabs are the most noble people in lineage, the most prominent, and the best in deeds. We were the first to respond to the call of the Prophet. We are Allah’s helpers and the viziers of His Messenger. We fight people until they believe in Allah. He who believes in Allah and His Messenger has protected his life and possessions from us. As for one who disbelieves, we will fight him forever in the Cause of Allah. Killing him is a small matter to us.”

    Sharia also encourages every Muslim to learn Arabic. And sure, Mohammad was an Arab himself. Allah also said “You are the best of peoples” (3:100) and this ayat addresses primarily the first generation of Muslims, the Muhajirun and Ansar, who were Arabs except for very few.

    On a more secular and, thus, rational note–none other than Anwar Sheikh (plus numerous others) considered Islam to be the instrument of Arab imperialism. But I will refrain from discussing this issue here. I do agree with the statement, though.

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  • I wonder if we could ask Theo Van Gogh what he thinks of Islam. Whoops, too late.

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  • If Hollywood hates Arabs then it must hate the West even more. Lately Hollywood seems to be trying to convince us that assassins and terrorists are often women from Europe or America (e.g, The American, Unknown, Killers, Skyfall, Mission Impossible 4, Transporter 2, Die another Day etc, etc.). In the real world there are terrorist attacks and assassinations every day and the number of times women from Europe or America are the perpetrators is very low (like about zero). Since Hollywood can export “action adventure” across cultural lines more readily than comedy or more subtle drama it is creating a bizarre and degrading image of Western women in the rest of the world at precisely the time it supports sending European and American women to fight wars in the Middle East. I think it’s an unchivalrous stab in the back to Western women.

    As for Arabs, even when Hollywood does do a major film with Middle East terrorists, the (unlikely but required) woman terrorist is never an Arab for some reason (an East Asian in True Lies, a half-German in Black Sunday). Hollywood certainly supports Israel but it is careful not to be too cruel to Arabs. Western women should be so lucky.

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  • Andrew, it seems ridiculous that I have to explain that ‘Arab’ and ‘Muslim’ aren’t the same thing, but let me just say that at least 80% of Muslims are NOT Arab. While most Arabs are Muslim, there are significant numbers who aren’t. The majority of Arab-Americans are Christian, not Muslim, and several Arab countries have significant Christian populations. And then, of course, there are Arabs who not any religion. So ‘Arab’ and ‘Muslim’ are not synonyms.

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  • Three addenda, minor and not so minor, to Mr. Giraldi’s superb review:

    (1) Some of the earliest movie moguls in Hollywood who happened to be Jewish were often referred to and referred to themselves as “Arabs”.

    (2) Lawrence’s Seven Pillars is some of the best prose ever written in English. If one reads closely, especially at the beginning, one realizes how much he despised himself and many of his superiors–much more than he despised Arabs.

    (3) Kafka’s Jackals And Arabs is an ironic and crystalline treatment of another aspect of the matter, generalized to the universal and human.

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  • Umm – I mentioned Iran in passing because the hardening of attitudes towards Iranians also hardened attitudes towards Arabs since the American public tends to conflate the two because both are Muslim. Yes, I do know that Iranians are not Arabs.

    Hal – I’ve already apologized once for not noting that Lawrence of Arabia was indeed quite nuanced in its depiction of Arabs. The documentary emphasized the role of Lawrence as the occidental leader of the uprising and I added the truncated quote because it is the one line that most people remember from the movie. Also recall the end of the film with the Arabs unable to run the Damascus waterworks and departing the city in disgust sans a government. Arabs were depicted as noble savages, with all that implies.

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  • Andrei Martyanov [AKA "Andrew"] says:

    Obviously, but it is still something that AIPAC can mine deeply here, and does.

    Absolutely, they do. But this is not an issue here, more precisely–not the only issue. AIPAC crowd’s involvement by no means negates the validity of huge problems in the interaction between the West and Islam. Well, I do not know how to judge Robert Bork in terms of his views on Israel but number of things he wrote on Islam (in his Slouching Towards Gomorrah) are surprisingly resonant with the things written by Samuel Huntington on the same issue. And I am sure Angela Merkel is not a closet neocon.

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  • when used

    I meant “when is NOT used”

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  • Andrei Martyanov [AKA "Andrew"] says:

    Good article, but is it about Arabs or Muslims? I’m sure that Mr. Giraldi realizes they are not the same,

    Ahem, actually they are. Enough to recall in what language Muslim scriptures are written. I am not even going into the issue of the location of main Islamic holy places. They are the same, even if to consider Sunni and Shiite versions of Islam and blood between them. This argument, meanwhile, see below, is strange:

    many of whom are not Muslim – including some of the infamous Palestinian terrorist groups, such as the PFLP headed by a Christian turned Marxist

    “Many” is a meaningless word when used against the background of a totality, while christian Arabs do exist they barely constitute 2-3 percent of total Arab population which is overwhelmingly Muslim. A treatment of christian (and other) minorities in Arab world is a very sensitive issue, to say the least. As for terrorism–agree, there are many examples of “Westerners” going at it, but then again–statistics on the terrorism is also a very interesting thing (as any statistics is). But so is the statistics on honor murders.

    he suddenly throws in a paragraph about Iran and Islam. I’m sure he realizes that Iran is not an Arab country, so what does Iran have to do with this?

    Iran is absolutely not an Arab country, despite a significant Arab minority there. In fact, if there ever be Islamic “reformation” and eventual secularization–this will come from Iran. I stress–IF. I do not hold any hope for Arabs, though. But then again, as Russian proverb goes–for some one can urinate in their eyes, they will still say that it is a holy dew. I guess, the results of Egyptian elections do not matter and we still will be subjected to the nauseating tune about not understanding, hating and, of course, that Sharia is a good thing. For some, self-delusion about “Arab Spring” is just too strong of a drug to face the symptoms of withdrawal and the facts.

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  • I applaud Mr. Giraldi and subsequent commenters for what seems to be one of the most honest, dispassionate and, well, fearless discussions of what has become a loaded topic that I have seen. I wish this conversation could occur as a debate and then be made available online. The American Conservative website would be a great sponsor. Just saying.

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  • From the decline of the Ottoman Empire, up until Israel’s declaration of independence, it is very hard to come upon any incidents in which Muslims and, specifically, Arabs, have committed aggressive acts against Western countries or peoples; least of all the United States. Yet colonization by Britain, France and Italy; the Suez canal; the dire results of Balfour declaration and the thirst for oil, all brought Westerners into often violent and aggressive contact with the peoples of the region.

    It’s thus very hard to make the case that “they started it” because, putting it simply, most Arabs would have remained in their own territory and minded their own business if “we” had only just left them alone!

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  • Good article, but is it about Arabs or Muslims? I’m sure that Mr. Giraldi realizes they are not the same, but after talking about Arabs (many of whom are not Muslim – including some of the infamous Palestinian terrorist groups, such as the PFLP headed by a Christian turned Marxist), he suddenly throws in a paragraph about Iran and Islam. I’m sure he realizes that Iran is not an Arab country, so what does Iran have to do with this?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The Six-Day War further added to the denigration of Arabs in general. Israel’s surprise-attack triumph over its neighbors, in which it was able to exploit superior military resources, was seen as a victory of good over evil in the U.S. media.

    ————————————————————–

    Mr. Giraldi,

    Would you refer to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 as “The 2003 invasion” or would you call it by its cute name, “Operation Iraqi Freedom”?

    May I ask why you used the Hebrew-sourced Israeli name for the war of 1967?

    Surely, if neutrality were your objective, shouldn’t you use “The Israeli-Arab war of 1967″ or “The June 1967 War”?

    This is no different than referring to the ethnic cleansing during 1948 by its Hebrew-Israeli name, the War of Independence/Liberation.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Is is too much to ask that those who wish to finance Israel go and live there?

    Because the truth is, they actually don’t want to live in a state where legal penalties are attached to being the wrong religion.

    They actually don’t support a system in which property and citizenship are confiscated based on religion. And 3 million people are held in a modern form of slavery.

    They don’t want to live under a state religion, and the suppression of diversity. They actually have voted with their feet, to live in a country with Equality before the Law regardless of religion.

    Because Israel’s system is nothing but permanent violent conflict, as people struggle to survive such injustice. It’s a pre-Enlightenment state model, discredited and anachronistic – a failed state. Today, the secret is out.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    “In “Lawrence of Arabia,” Peter O’Toole, playing Lawrence, described Arabs as “a little people, a silly people. Greedy, barbarous and cruel.” Nothing more need be said.”

    Wellllll… Aside from the fact you’ve drastically truncated the quote. Here’s the full thing:

    “Sherif Ali! So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people. Greedy, barbarous and cruel, as you are.

    (emphasis added)

    The whole point of Lawrence — both as Robert Bolt’s script and as an individual — was that when united, the Arabs weren’t “greedy, barbarous, and cruel.” Lawrence is on the Arabs’ side. This is why we have another exchange between Ali and Lawrence:

    Sherif Ali: I see. In Cairo you will put off these funny clothes. You’ll wear trousers and tell stories of our quaintness and barbarity and then they will believe you.

    T.E. Lawrence: You’re an ignorant man.

    Ignorant not in the sense of ignorance in general, but of being so skeptical of Lawrence’s motives without evidence.

    Not unlike the article overall, come to think of it.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Such a detailed article, Phil and a worthy read, certainly by those intersted in the Middle East and some form of reconciliation in the future.
    However, the perceptions of Muslims and Arabs which you have shown above, does handicap the progress of such matters.

    Perhaps the most distrubing factor in the article is the effort that is apparently being applied by PBS to satisfy, yet again, the Israelis, their dual-passported American fifth column and the subservient sycophants in the Congress. How much more honest it would have been to produce a documentary worthy of display around the world, capable as such of changing the viewpoints of many in a favourable way and therefore, as a result, been a vehicle for better understanding. Satisfying the needs of all countries but one. We couldn’t even do that right.

    I, for one, will search out the movie, of course, all the time knowing that it like everything else in this Jewish controlled world, it has been tampered with to suit an arrogant country and its fellow-travellers, thick on the ground in America but whose influence is being eroded daily. For the sake of stability in the US, let us all hope that this oocurs before the real people realise that they do not own their country any more and are nbeing treated as menials in their own land.
    They may then realise that an Arab or Muslim, whatever fits, is as good as any American and worth any effort to bring them into our world as a friend.

    Thank you again, Philip Giraldi.

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  • Ken Hoop, don’t let a lack of arms keep you from a battle of the wits. I see no obstacle but intellectual cravenness keeping you from engaging me directly in the second-person.

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  • “Evangelical pastors such as John Hagee conflated the return of the Jews to Israel with the Second Coming of Christ, leading to unlimited political support for Israel and identification of its Arab neighbors as the enemy that would have to be confronted and destroyed at Armageddon”

    Absolutely right. Raised southern Baptist, I can tell you that it is very important to the American evangelical movement that Israel regains every inch of a biblical territorial map. That is one of the prophetic prequisites for the Second Coming. I believe that a strong driver of our foreign policy in the mideast is actually tied to bringing that day closer.

    A commenter: “The idea of “Judeo-Christianity” as some sort of natural alliance is quite a recent idea, and is based on a Messianism that is of much more importance to Christianity than Judaism.”

    Obviously, but it is still something that AIPAC can mine deeply here, and does.

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  • Razib Khan, a Junior Fellow at Unz Foundation, posted on The poverty of multiculturalist discourse:

    An academic discourse tends to totally muddy a clear and crisp discussion. The reality is that most Egyptians have barbaric attitudes on a whole host of questions (e.g., ~80 percent of Egyptians favor the death penalty for apostasy from Islam). It was not surprising at all that the majority of the Egyptian electorate supported parties with reactionary cultural political planks; because the classification of these views as “reactionary” only makes sense if you use as your point of reference the Westernized social and economic elite. The majority of Egyptians have never been part of this world, and for them upward mobility has been accompanied by a greater self-consciousness of their Islamic identity.

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  • Great article, it’s about time someone wrote about Western hatred for Arabs as the reverse has been “analysed” to death for nigh on 30 years.
    “Robert Fisk observes that the shifts in language and metaphor make the entire Middle East unintelligible to most Americans, even to those who claim to be well informed.”
    This. And it applies to those snooty Brits just as much. I recall how in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the much vaunted historian Sir John Keegan wrote in The Telegraph how Islamic terror will continue apace, now spurred on by a desire to avenge Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party which according to him was a movement for the “Renaissance of Islam”. Yet several months into the insurgency, he wrote another article, this time berating those ignorant Yanks for disbanding the Ba’athist state apparatus and thus allowing the jihadists to move into the vacuum, even having the chutzpah to claim that Iraq would have been better as a Ba’athist state then an Islamic one. And Keegan is considered as one of the establishment intellectuals on matters of conflict.

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  • “We” hate them because their land is on top of “our” oil.

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  • Good Article. It’s good that this behavior is identified and described appropriately. We need more of this, especially for those who have been steeped in it by the government, such as military veterans.

    A few points I’d like to make:

    The racism and bigotry displayed towards those of Middle Eastern origin is nothing new for America. It’s a product of a continuity of foreign policy that has targeted groups like the Chinese, Japanese, Africans, Irish, Iranians, etc, etc.

    The “Bogeyman d’jour” is what it is. Institutionalized Prejudice. This type of behavior was brought here by the European colonists and first displayed towards the native inhabitants. Almost every ethnicity has been targeted in a similar manner throughout US history. As the late Russell Means once said, US Government policies began on the reservation. Even the constitution borrowed heavily from the Indians, “… in order to form a more perfect union”.

    Second point is that Al Jazeera is referred to as the “CNN of the Middle East” by many for good reason. Their Syria coverage should be the icing on the cake…

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  • No treatment of the subject would be complete without taking into account the seminal role Bernard Lewis played in shaping American perceptions of the Muslim world. As Nabil Al-Khowaiter observed in “Islamophobia’s Scholarly Godfather”:

    As far back as his “The Return of Islam,” which was published in 1976 by the neoconservative flagship magazine Commentary, Lewis began laying the ideological framework for justifying the use of American military power to pacify the “restless natives” of the Middle East.

    And in the more conducive post-9/11 environment, the British-born Zionist was given the access by his co-ideologues to ensure that those ideas would become U.S. policy. As Michael Hirsh noted in “Bernard Lewis Revisited”:

    …in the critical months of 2002 and 2003, while the Bush administration shunned deep thinking and banned State Department Arabists from its councils of power, Bernard Lewis was persona grata, delivering spine-stiffening lectures to Cheney over dinner in undisclosed locations.

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  • I don’t disagree that our various (mis)adventures in the Middle East have given Arabs cause to dislike us, but as Wes points out, they are hardly innocents themselves.

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  • I’m sorry did I miss something? The Versaille Peace accords, was probably the worse peace treaty in history and something we’re still seeing the effects of nearly a century later. The Arabs, having fought beside the British to dismantle the Ottoman empire came to Versaille expecting certain promises to be kept. Lawrence was at their side. None of those promises were kept, again the effect of which we’re still dealing with today. For example the British and the total inability to draw maps intelligently IE the way they created Iraq.

    Lawrence spent the rest of his life lobbying for redress for the Arabs he had fought beside.

    As a side note, who first used WMD’s in the middle east? The British of course. During the course of pacifying the Arabs in Iraq rather than commit a lot of troops to the area they just bombed villages with poison gas left over from the war. Very “civilized” of them. We are reminded again that while they may never have gone “rogue” at home as one writer on gun control put it, they were certainly capable of any amount of excesses abroad.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Sadly, but predictably this worthy film has been ‘sanitized’ by PBS whose mode of operation is to dance to the tune of the Israel Lobby
    …And the author of this review is behind the times referring to Al Jazeera as anti American…Hilary was in the know when she spoke kindly of it..a harbinger of its complete sell out (especially its coverage of the Syrian conflict)…

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  • Apart from Al Jazeera, another useful source of news is RT (Russia TV’s English-language affiliate). While not necessarily objective, it often features important stories censored by mainstream US and other Western media.

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  • The full version of ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ includes (taken from the http://tinyurl.com/911motivation youtube) the exchange that James Morris had with former 911 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton as PBS has asked for it (along with the AIPAC parts) to be edited (censored!) out of the version it is sending to its affiliates later this year on June 8th. One can see John Mearsheimer’s response to the Lee Hamilton exchange in the ‘Valentino’s Ghost’ trailer at http://www.valentinosghost.com as well.

    No surprise Lara Logan’s ’60 Minutes’ segment (on Anwar Al-Awlaki and Al Qaeda) from last Sunday left out mention of Israel as well (see the comment at the following URL):

    Danish spy claims key role in terrorist’s death:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50137988n

    Former CIA Bin Laden unit head Michael Scheuer was spot on in the following response to James Morris’ call for him on C-SPAN’s ‘Washington Journal’ (see what Dan Rather did on 9/11 as shown later in the youtube as well):

    9/11 Motive & Media Betrayal:

    http://tinyurl.com/911motivemediabetrayal via Youtube

    See the following youtube as well if interested further!:

    Abuse of Power: 9/11, War and the Neocons:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9stpx6fwC0&list=PLfrlsC1yJ2dQeEXVSUbG1ZnVIdu2BAJVf

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  • You’re too easy on Bryan, Phil.

    Now if he included in his lecture an opposition to the “hard truth”of his tax dollars being used to fund Israeli dispossession and oppression, I might feel differently.

    If he had mentioned the “hard truth” of Israel’s use of its fifth colum here to drive us into Iraq on false premises, I might let his remarks slide.

    If he even advocated a Ron Paul non-intervention in the Middle East in broad terms, I’d take the bad with the good.

    As it stands though, I’d call his post a true and false wash.

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  • Niall Ferguson is an authority on the Middle East?!

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  • Surprised they didn’t use the Iron Man movie. When the comic book was written in the 1960s, Iron Man’s nemesis was the Chinese ‘Mandarin’ who had 10 ‘power rings’. In the movie it was updated to an Arab terrorist organization called ‘The 10 Rings’.
    We don’t single out Arabs.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Not only Arabs, but ‘Liberal’ Hollywood has a long history of mocking all minority groups and still does to this day. The nonsense I hear about Hollywood being a liberal bastion when it has a long history of creating racist portrayals of many minority groups not only Arabs. The Indian cab driver, Korean Dry cleaner, Chinese Convenience store owner.

    Many of these groups mentioned above work in respectable professions such as Medicine, Law, Business, and Politic(Jindal, Haley both indian american governors in the deep south), yet I have lost count the numerous times these same groups have been stereotyped and mocked in movies, shows and the media.

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  • Thanks CK. I was going to write that the film was actually much more nuanced in its depiction of Arabs but lost the thread along the way.

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  • “And there is plenty of evidence from the memoirs of Israel’s leaders that the reverse was true, that Israel carefully planned and executed a surprise attack to destroy the Arab air forces on the ground as a first step to defeat their consequently vulnerable army units.”

    This carefully planned attack included the hit by the Israeili air force on the U.S.S. Liberty. This act of war against a flagged American vessel in international waters killed 34 (sailors, marines, civilians) and wounded 171.

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  • “In “Lawrence of Arabia,” Peter O’Toole, playing Lawrence, described Arabs as “a little people, a silly people. Greedy, barbarous and cruel.” Nothing more need be said.”

    Actually, in the movie, much more was said and that movie gave a very dignified view of Arabs in contrast to the barbarism of Westerners. That line was brilliantly thrown back into Lawrence’s face by Sheriff Ali (Omar Sharif) when Lawrence ordered the slaughter of retreating Turks.

    In this scene brilliantly depicted by David Lean it shows the hypocrisy of Westerners with regard to violence and murder. At the end of the slaughter you have the great Omar Sharif admonishing Lawrence, almost admonishing the rest of us.

    “Does it surprise you, Mr Bentley? Surely, you know the Arabs are a barbarous people. Barbarous and cruel. Who but they! Who but they!”

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  • Bryan – Thank you for your comment. I agree with you in retrospect that my one sentence summary of the six day war was indeed loaded, but I think it correct to state that there is absolutely no evidence that the Arabs were preparing to attack Israel. And there is plenty of evidence from the memoirs of Israel’s leaders that the reverse was true, that Israel carefully planned and executed a surprise attack to destroy the Arab air forces on the ground as a first step to defeat their consequently vulnerable army units. Israel then, as now, had superior air resources and was also more than a match for its opponents in infantry and armor.

    Pat c – Immigration policy has absolutely nothing to do with the liking or disliking of ethnic and religious groups. Most Americans and Europeans oppose large scale immigration from the third world generally speaking but the elites both over there and over here generally favor such policies and have promoted them in spite of popular opposition.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If America or “The West” truly hated Islam and or Arabs as described in the title of the article, there would be political support for the cessation of all immigration from countries containing these peoples. There is none of this in America from our two political parties and only from the margins in Europe.

    No. America and “The West” do not hate Muslim and or Arab people. Our liberal immigration and refugee policy prove as much. Just look at Lewiston, Maine, the Twin Cities, Paterson, NJ, and many other places in America where muslims thrive.

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  • This is a fine article on an important topic, and I agree with most of what Mr. Giraldi has written. Arab culture is historically deep, vast and impressive, and has contributed much to civilized world development. It is tragically misunderstood by too many Westerners.

    Yet Mr. Giraldi is too incisive and intelligent a writer for me to believe that he does not understand how some might understandably react to such loaded language as would implicitly indict Israel for its “surprise-attack triumph over its neighbors, in which it was able to exploit superior military resources.” Israel’s attack was a surprise only because Israel did not hunker down and wait to defend itself from the imminent attack of “neighbors” arraying their military forces along Israel’s borders, and not to pay a neighborly housewarming visit or borrow a cup sugar.

    As for being “able to exploit superior military resources,” that is quite an interesting choice of words indeed. I suppose one can at least be grateful that Israel did inflict usury on its hapless and superior military resources in the service of its sneaky victory.

    And asking the question “Why…fight over something that is only disputed or object so strongly to a neighborhood or a fence?” seems naïve. Neighborhood disputes are precisely the ones most likely to inflame violent passion in human beings everywhere, far more so than conflicting academic presentations of socio-political or historical narratives. The Los Angeles riots of 1992 were not sparked by the historical fact of slavery, but by neighborhood politics and–probably justified–ethnic resentments, a seemingly far less grave injustice.

    The hard truth of the matter is that most of us who would condemn Israel for its grabby mistreatment of Palestinian Arabs do so from the comfort of American land that was taken in a far more violent and unjust manner. And until we’re all ready to pack up and go hand in our property deeds and material goods to the nearest Native American in order to redress that injustice, chin-wagging and finger-pointing at Israel is an exercise in the rankest of hypocrisy.

    I’d like to add that I don’t see myself as having a dog in the Jewish-Muslim imbroglio. Frankly, I am convinced that within the next couple hundred years the Semitic religions of Judaism and Islam will form a truce of sorts and Euro-American Christianity will find itself the culturally-impoverished odd-man out, as European Christendom was during the so-called Dark Ages. The idea of “Judeo-Christianity” as some sort of natural alliance is quite a recent idea, and is based on a Messianism that is of much more importance to Christianity than Judaism. As the Messianism fades in Christian theological importance, so will the alliance.

    Judaism, Islam, and the geo-ethnic cultures which bore them take family, honor and religion far more seriously than do European and American culture, and that will make a difference in their cultural longevity and prosperity.

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  • Andrei Martyanov [AKA "Andrew"] says:

    Aha, so Edward Said is alive and well. What blows the mind here is not even the fact that somebody tries to tie the pop-culture image of Arabs in Hollywood with AIPAC, Zionism and occupation of a Palestine–that in itself is a legitimate thing to do, granted one has the knowledge of the issue (I am not going there)–it is the the fact that the article introduces one after another well-known cliches and it all starts with this alpha-premise: these are Israel loyalists who are guilty party and they are behind the image (unfavorable) of Islam in Western culture. This may turn out to be correct (or may not) and we all understand here the sensitivities of the American political culture of the moment with neocons (euphemism for Likudnik) being well-established culprits in a lot of problems in US foreign policy. But there are some things in the article which do blow mind.

    The Iranian Embassy hostage crisis further hardened views of Islam, with Ayatollah Khomeini lampooned on American television and ABC News featuring a one-hour block each night on “America Held Hostage,” more intensive coverage than the network had given to the Vietnam War. Ronald Reagan referred to the Iranians as “barbarians,” and there was little effort made to learn if there might be some legitimate grievances (there were, dating back to the ouster of Mohamed Mossadeq and the installation of the Shah in 1953).

    There were legitimate grievances and a lot of those grievances were indeed related to the ouster of Mossadeq. Anybody knows that. But, evidently, which is not surprising in a slightest degree, nobody wants to remember that this “embassy hostage crises” thing is a sort of an Iranian past-time. Enough to take a look at the fate of Russian diplomatic mission lead by Alexander Griboyedov in 1829. Sure, that was not an act of barbarism. Did anyone interview members of TUDEH political party, who were given refuge in Baku in late 1979–they would tell some really interesting stories about “non-barbarity” of the regime they, ironically, helped to install. The validity of the whole argument about grievances (legitimate ones) is absolutely faulty once it is applied to the totality of Iranian history. But that is not the worst part.

    The Six-Day War further added to the denigration of Arabs in general. Israel’s surprise-attack triumph over its neighbors, in which it was able to exploit superior military resources, was seen as a victory of good over evil in the U.S. media.

    I have no problem with the way this whole thing “was seen” in the U.S. media. In fact, I don’t care how it was seen. I have, however, a gigantic issue with this “denigration” thing. Having been just a little bit around Arab officer (and cadet) military corps and having some (let’s call in anecdotal) experience with Arab military practices, in fact, some of my relatives were advisers to Arab militaries–this whole “denigration” thing is just beyond rational. So, the assessment of the performance of the Arab armed forces in a NUMBER of the conflicts in the area is now what–denigration?? It is well established fact that Arabs can not fight modern war, even when given modern C4ISR complex and advanced weapons technology. It is not just academic issue–it is a cultural one. Israeli victory(s) over Arabs were largely a result of a complete ineptitude of Arabs in modern warfare: from badly educated and trained grunts to a completely medieval mentality in the command corps, which remains such even today. Those officers in Arab armed forces who exhibited superb command skills, ability to lead and use combat technology were, for the most part, an exception rather than the rule. And yes, the well-established pattern of ineptitude traces its roots to Islam and the culture of the region. It is civilizational issue but, after reading this article (flashbacks to Orientalism continue as I write this), I assume any critical inquiry into the state of the Arab world (which is pathetic) must be, necessarily, a result of a) Islamophobia, b) being a secret member of the Likud party, c) drawing the knowledge of Arabs (and Islam) only though media and the rest of the list is just the matter of imagination. Somehow, the fact of Arabs themselves being the largest contributors to “denigration” of Arabs escaped the attention of this article. What this article also forgets to mention is the campaign (some of it financed by Arabs) of “fixing” the image, be it Soledad O’Brien’s sappy apologia on CNN or the number of the TV shows (TLC comes to mind) portraying Muslims in a positive light, sometimes to the point of becoming a propaganda. PBS PC venture on the Muslim Science comes to mind–that was a wowser!!!!

    Other major Hollywood movies produced in the 1990s routinely depicting Arabs as terrorists, even if an “obedient” Arab frequently appears among the good guys, included “Rules of Engagement,” “True Lies,” and “The Siege.”

    Of course, it is movies’ fault that Jihad is a part of Islam. There are many decent, hard working, honest Arabs who would rather die than become terrorists. Some of those Arabs migrate to the West and do, indeed, westernize which is euphemism for de-Islamization, even when they continue to visit Mosques. This fact, however, does not address a horrendous economic and cultural situation in Arab world. It also does not address a deeply ingrained complex of inferiority of Arab street. Without addressing fundamental causes behind a horrific state of Arab world no amount of movies portraying Arabs as angels will change the simple truth.

    P.S. Anyone who has a clue about Iran and Iranians must know that calling, by mistake, (many westerners do), most of the Iranians an Arab would be perceived as an insult. Ah, those pesky Persians.

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  • Marian – Said died in 2003, long before the documentary began filming. I supposed they could have used some archived footage of him, but the thrust of the film was the interviews with living authorities, Anthony Shadid being the lone exception.

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  • Al Jazeera is available to every American household right now – online. You can watch a live-stream 24 hours a day on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can also access their regular programs.

    One attraction of the demise of the pay-TV model is that it allows other voices to be heard. During the last Israeli pounding of Gaza, AJE actually thought it worthwhile to let Palestinians voice their own view of the conflict, something that most American networks did not think necessary.

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  • This documentary apparently does not mention or include Edward Said. Why not?

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  • “In “Lawrence of Arabia,” Peter O’Toole, playing Lawrence, described Arabs as “a little people, a silly people. Greedy, barbarous and cruel.” Nothing more need be said.”

    Well look at Saudi Arabia today. The country is an absolute monarchy and Isalmic theocracy. Christianity and other religions other than Islam can only be practiced in public on diplomatic posts. People have been executed for converting from Islam to Christianity. Women have few rights. They can’t drive or go outside the home without a male chaperone or uncovered. Saudi Arabia’s vice police didn’t allow firefighters to go in and save girls in a burning school, becaue the girls weren’t covered “properly.” And don’t forget that Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden and the 15 Saudi hijackers got their ideas from the radically strict Wahibism that is the dominant strain of Islam in Saudi Arabia and which is practiced by the state-supported Islamic clerics. Many of these state-supported Islamic clerics give fiery sermons that incite violence against Jews, Christians, Israel, America, and the West. Textbooks in Saudi schools, including Saudi-owned schools attended by expatriate Saudi children and the children of Saudi diplomats, also incite violence against Jews, Christians, Israel, America, and the West.

    Now yes of course Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States and the king and other leading members of the royal family are relatively “moderate” and are considered “reformists,” but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that Saudi Arabia is a backward, repressive, and cruel regime. Now not all, maybe not even most Saudis can be described as”a little people, a silly people. Greedy, barbarous and cruel,” but most Saudis have neither the ability nor the will to challenge the regime and its radical clerical allies. There is a liberal opposition movement, but it is relativly weak compared to the opposition from Islamic extremists who believe that the Saudi regime isn’t radical enough and the opposition from Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority, which has long been oppressed by the government and the Sunni majority.

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  • Thanks, Phil. I will put Valentino’s Ghost at the top of my to-see list for 2013.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “One has to wonder what the reaction would be if the film were to be viewed in the White House.”

    Sadly, the “reaction” would be “not much”. Unfortunately, to much of American’s foreign policy in Middle East is based on continuations of the existing mindset that the United States has on the “Arab world”.

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  • I dare say this documentary should be required viewing, so too, Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl. Maybe Americans’ can get their heads out of Angry Birds and head cracking football long enough to learn how these evident cultural biases developed over time. Why we think the way we do. Thanks Phil, for bringing this to our attention.

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