The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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The future of China, Africa, Russia, Israel.
"Let observation, with extensive view, survey mankind from China to Peru." I'm afraid that Peru, along with the rest of the Americas, Europe and some minor places like New Zealand, will have to wait for another column. Today I am just going to survey mankind in the Middle East, Africa, Russia and China. I've only... Read More
In chapter 9 of his book The Birth of the Modern, the historian Paul Johnson notes the following feature of British life in the early 19th century: Scholars of the future, looking back on our age with the long perspective of historical hindsight, may marvel at the tremendous stroke of good luck the human race... Read More
Up through the early morning hours of September 11th, denunciation of the ethnic profiling of suspects by the police looked well on its way to becoming a near-universal component of political stump speeches, on a par with praise for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights revolution of the 1960s. To... Read More
In recent weeks leftist colleagues have accused me of being a fast ally of Paul Wolfowitz, George Will, and Charles Krauthammer. I've also been told that "rightwingers like you" are trying to dump Secretary-of-State Colin Powell and to replace him with a Zionist hawk. (Someone who should know better, Robert Novak, attributed this position to... Read More
The October issue of Commentary, the neoconservative flagship publication of the American Jewish Committee, carried a powerful cover story by former editor Norman Podhoretz, making a convincing case for the complete and dismal failure of the Middle-East peace process originally set in motion by the Oslo Agreement of 1993. In response, I sent an extremely... Read More
The national bout of rampant Arabophobia in our media reached its zenith (or perhaps its nadir) in a recent column posted on, America's premier anti-immigrationist website, which I had previously discussed a few weeks ago: vs. the 'Goldberg' Review", December 20, 2001 In a commentary on the controversy surrounding the case of Walid... Read More
The Middle East is nuts.
I recently got a long, carefully-composed email from a reader, who begged me to circulate it among "other opinion-formers." It laid out a plan for peace in the Middle East. The writer, obviously an intelligent and well-informed person, had done the email with great care. With some passion, too — he really wants to find... Read More
In recent weeks, the rapid rise of a new and powerful military weapon---the suicide bomber---has horrified much of the world. Fanatic Palestinian militants, sometimes even teenage girls, have willingly taken their own lives in order to kill and wound as many Israeli civilians as possible, thereby bringing the terror of war to the Israeli home... Read More
On September 11th, America suffered the greatest military blow to its homeland since a British army burned our national capital almost two hundred years ago. Our people and our leaders have properly treated this attack and the threat of future attacks as an extraordinarily great national crisis, during which the normal rules of politics must... Read More
I attach below my own analysis of the current difficulties in the Middle East, which ran in this morning's Sacramento Bee. I do not doubt that many readers will find my words quite controversial. The Middle East seems to attract controversy as easily as honey does flies. For example, Sen. James Inhofe, a prominent conservative... Read More
Any attempt to resolve the crisis in the Middle East forces us -- the American people and American Jewry -- to appraise the motives and the ultimate goals of the leaders involved. Endless disputes have raged over whether Yasser Arafat and the other Arab leaders merely seek a Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel or... Read More
It seems to be virtually an accepted part of the national consensus that sooner or later the United States is going to go to war against Iraq and the sooner, the better. It's also part of the consensus that the United States should remain engaged in the Middle East and on the side of the... Read More
One of the less widely known truths about political movements is that they are frequently filled with a generous helping of lunatics. Only such individuals possess the fanatic zeal that endows them with the energy and commitment to achieve results. They are the ones still furiously debating the obscure planks of a political platform at... Read More
Although frank and open discussion of Zionist issues in a Jewish or any other circle is a good thing, it is not clear that Orthodox Jews show the strong, consistent opposition to Jewish nationalism that Sheldon Richman ascribes to them. According to the at least partly anecdotal tradition to which Sheldon appeals, one that is... Read More
The Third World's cargo cult mentality.
If you write things in public about the Middle East, you get a lot of reader responses. After a while you start to spot trends in these responses, trends that are very suggestive about how people think and feel on large subjects. When I myself write about the Middle East, I generally pause somewhere along... Read More
Mohamed Atta, the apparent ringleader of the 9/11 terrorist squad that destroyed our World Trade Center and killed 3,000 Americans, was clearly a very bad man, at least by American standards. But although his attack automatically placed him beyond the reach of American (as opposed to Divine) justice, we may rest assured that he went... Read More
Yesterday's New Yorker carried a remarkable lead story by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh regarding the business dealings of uber-hawk Richard Perle. Perle, the Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, is widely characterized as the central figure in the current Iraq War plans, with his various disciples or followers being the key government officials. As you... Read More
This morning, one of America's leading leftwing, dovish, anti-American, quasi-anti-Semitic national newspapers carried this opening phrase in its front-page coverage: "Far from being hailed immediately as liberators, invading U.S. and British forces in southern Iraq are facing deep hostility and gunfire from some residents..." These words by our own Wall Street Journal was echoed by... Read More
As all sources indicate, the overwhelming choice of our neocon hawks to lead post-war Iraq is one Ahmed Chalabi. Now as anyone reading our newspapers should also know, Mr. Chalabi happens to be a convicted embezzler who hasn't set foot in Iraq for over forty years. This certainly doesn't prove anything. Perhaps a convicted embezzler... Read More
California newspapers recently reported that Gov. Gray Davis had now reached the lowest approval rating of any governor in the entire history of our state. That is no great surprise, since Davis is almost universally despised as an extremely distasteful lifelong politician whose policy failures are legion and whose only ideology is raising money and... Read More
On this site two years ago, watching with one eye as the World Trade Center burned on my living-room TV screen, I wrote the following thing: A lot has happened in this past two years, including — whoops — some great troop movements and massed charges. Most surprising, though, in a way, is what has... Read More
By a truly remarkable coincidence, right around the time we were digging an old has-been anti-Islamicist dictator out of his grungy foxhole, the pro-American dictator of Pakistan reportedly came within seven seconds of being blown up by a half-ton bomb in a supposedly ultra-secure portion of his capital city. President Musharaf has no obvious successor.... Read More
Having been overly preoccupied in recent weeks with some complex software development issues, I must belatedly---but very sincerely---issue a heartfelt Thank You to the Rev. Pat Robertson, whose recent actions appear to have done so much to rescue America, and thereby have permanently established him as one of my greatest personal heroes. Consider that just... Read More
How the Passion of the Christ may help bring Peace to the Middle East
In the Return of the King, the Oscar-studded film based on the Tolkien’s fantasy, there is a touching and inspiring moment: at the lowest ebb of struggle, when the Sauron hordes pour in through the breached gates of Gondor, horns announce the arrival of the relieving force. Rohan is coming, and the looting Orks retreat... Read More
Lawrence Kaplan, a prominent neocon hawk, published a rather interesting op-ed recently in the Washington Post. The central claim of the piece is Kaplan’s somewhat counter-intuitive conclusion that our citizenry would gladly accept losing 30,000 American dead in Iraq if such losses were required to achieve neocon strategic objectives. Kaplan denounces those arguing otherwise –... Read More
I must grudgingly concede that even those liberal, pinko wimps over at Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation occasionally propose interesting notions, such as in the latest column by William S. Lind. Lind raises a fascinating, though extremely speculative point, namely that if the current trajectory in Iraq continues in linear fashion, political certainties may suddenly... Read More
Bananas and Republics by Ron Unz, May 14, 2004 I must grudgingly admit that our Iraqi Adventure seems to have become in some respects a fascinating and invaluable educational experience, nearly on a daily basis. For example, today’s morning papers revealed that one or more of the prison images being shown to our august... Read More
In that classic compendium of American national security strategy "Get Smart," one of the more amusing episodes concerns the doings of a certain Freddie-the-Forger. Our shrewd espionage agent from CONTROL was at first reluctant to trust the good gentleman in question, given the latter's very long list of criminal convictions. But Agent Smart is finally... Read More
In The Dune, a visionary film that predicted the US invasion of the Middle East, the spiritual leader of the Resistance is asked: "Will we ever have peace?" "We'll have victory", he replied. Indeed, the invader may relent and seek for peace; an attacked must seek victory until the invader will seek peace. Thus, during... Read More
The mass media in the US and Europe has given prominence to the ?new style? foreign policy approach of the Bush Administration: Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice visits European capitals and meets with European leaders, declaring that a new era of co-operation is at hand. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld highlights the need for greater transatlantic... Read More
One of the least discussed but most important aspect of the \”suicide bombers\” (SB) attacks is the Angle-American (AA) systematic and profound degradation of that which the Islamic religion holds most sacred: its code of ethics, its mode of spiritual practice, its religious rituals, its sacred texts and its respect for the observant believer. Introduction... Read More
The mood across the Mideast could not be grimmer. Criss-crossing the region and meeting with politicians, intelligence officials and businessmen reveals a pervasive feeling events are fast spinning out of control. The destruction of a key Shia shrine in Samarra last week brought Iraq to the edge of all-out civil war. Some security officials here... Read More
Better Not Meet Me at the Casbah
Jerusalem. Britons were killed across the Middle East yesterday as the region was engulfed by waves of violence. They died in Iraq, Afghanistan and Jordan but British citizens are increasingly at risk everywhere in the area because Britain is seen as the closest political and military ally of the US. “I want to kill Bush... Read More
Social Opposition and Political Impotence
Everywhere I visit from Copenhagen to Istanbul, Patagonia to Mexico City, journalists and academics, trade unionists and businesspeople, as well as ordinary citizens, inevitably ask me why the US public tolerates the killing of over a million Iraqis over the last two decades, and thousands of Afghans since 2001? Why, they ask, is a public,... Read More
How Should the Middle East invest its Rising Trade Surplus?
Published in the June 2008 issue of The Gulf, a weekly business news magazine published in Bahrain, and in Counterpunch Every week Mid Eastern countries acquire more dollars in payment for their oil and other exports, and also for rising U.S. investment in their stock markets and other property. This confronts them with a problem:... Read More
Speaking yesterday at the National Defense University at Ft. McNair in Virginia, President Bush said that there has been a "moment of success in the war on terror." Bush supported his lofty rhetoric by citing the "dismantling" of al-Qaeda infrastructure in the Iraqi province of Anbar. A moment might be little enough to ask for... Read More
Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany bombed, invaded and annexed countries and territories as a prelude to their quest for World Empire. Israel’s drive for regional dominance has followed in their footsteps, imitating their style: Indiscriminate aerial bombings of civilian and military facilities, a savage blitzkrieg led by armored vehicles, disdain and repudiation of all criticism... Read More
After Obama's First Peace Crusade
The start of the Iraq war in 2003 marked a crucial break between the US and almost all the states of the region. "None of Iraq's neighbors, absolutely none, were pleased by the American occupation of Iraq," says the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari. Long-term US allies like Turkey astonished the White House by refusing... Read More
Athens, Greece — President Barack Obama came into office with an enormous reservoir of goodwill in the Muslim world. This was an asset no amount of American money or making nice could buy. But in recent weeks, he seems to have squandered a large part of this bounty. After eight years of relentless hostility by... Read More
In anthropology, the term ‘expansion’ is used to describe the spread of a population into new lands, often much larger in size. The Bantu Expansion was thus the spread of Bantu agricultural peoples from eastern Nigeria into central, eastern, and southern Africa between 1,000 and 3,000 years ago. Roughly the same period saw Austronesians expand... Read More
Modern humans changed little when they initially spread out of Africa and into the Middle East. Real change occurred farther north, when they entered seasonally varying environments that differed much more even in summer. Three years ago, a research team led by John Hawks found that the rate of genetic change accelerated once ancestral humans... Read More
As Egypt burns for democracy...
The current uprisings against the autocratic regimes in the Middle East seem to be in line with the neoconservatives' advocacy of radical democratic change in the region. But there is one significant difference. The neocons had sought to use democratic revolutions to overthrow the enemies of Israel, even applying the strategy, unsuccessfully, to countries such... Read More
Author's introduction A bottom-up democratic revolution in Egypt has brought down what had seemed until very recently to be the unshakable rule of Hosni Mubarak. It was an amazing accomplishment of the people's power — something that is often sloganized about but rarely realized. The fact that the revolution succeeded with little violence on the... Read More
Turkey's Turn
The political world has turned upside down in the Middle East since the Arab Awakening erupted. The region has been convulsed by the most radical changes since the end of imperial occupation and the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948. One significant development is becoming evident: many Arab countries may be more democratic... Read More
Spread of farming in Europe. Cultural diffusion or population replacement? Source Between 9,000 and 3,000 years ago farming spread through Europe and replaced hunting, fishing, and gathering. Was this process just a change in lifestyle? Or was it also a population change? Did Middle Eastern farmers replace native Europeans? For Greg Cochran, the answer is... Read More
Containing Rebellion Defending Empire
The dynamic of democratic, nationalist and class struggles throughout the Moslem world has set in motion a new constellation of alliances between the imperial West (US and European Union) and Islamist parties, leaders and regimes, dubbed “moderate” by US officials, propagandists and academics. This essay analyzes the changing contemporary context of imperial domination, especially the... Read More
Trouble Ahead
Checkpoints are common to every country in the Middle East and beyond. They play a central role in the daily lives of people from Tripoli in Libya to Peshawar in Pakistan and from the mountains of south-east Turkey to the marshes of southern Sudan. Nobody knows their number, although it must be in the tens... Read More
This week’s Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference in Tehran brought nostalgic memories of the Cold War and world-bestriding leaders like Nehru, Nasser, Castro, Nkrumah, and Sukarno. However, most of them were disasters for their nations, but they certainly were colorful and interesting. In spite of intense efforts by the US and Israel to deter attendance at... Read More
Who Will Tell the President?
Are the days of American predominance in the Middle East coming to an end or is US influence simply taking a new shape? How far is Washington, after refusing to try to keep Hosni Mubarak in power in Egypt, facing the same situation as the Soviet Union in 1989, when the police states it had... Read More
An Era of Conflicts
President Obama is lucky in his opponents, particularly when it comes to explaining why America's influence is waning in the Middle East. The issue was hardly mentioned in the election, aside from a botched attempt by Mitt Romney to blame the administration for the death of Chris Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, and for... Read More
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?