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Syria and Obama the Muslimist
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Syria was basically ruled by a Coalition of the Minority Fringes (Alawite on top, Shiite, Christian, Yezidi, Kurd, etc.) over the Core (the Sunni majority). That’s not very democratic in the old-fashioned Andrew Jackson sense of the Democratic Party that emphasized majority rule. But it’s rather like the new-fangled Barack Obama sense of the Democratic Party that emphasizes minority rights.

The happy ending would have been if the majority Sunnis had matured into a well-educated, reasonable, pragmatic people ready for the responsibilities of self-rule.

That actually has happened a few times in history. To take a local example, my very vague impression is that the Kurds have been maturing politically and have been acting in this century with restraint and intelligent purpose in a neighborhood where those commodities have been unfortunately rare. (Warning: Optimism about any aspect of the Middle East usually turns out to be unwarranted.)

Unfortunately, judging by the rise of ISIS there’s not much evidence that the Sunnis are on a similar trajectory. And that’s what has made disastrous Obama’s call for the overthrow of the internationally recognized Syrian government and its replacement by Moderate Islam, an outdated delusion of the Obama-Dunham-Soetoro clan.

It’s an ironic tragedy: no President before Obama has had so much familiarity with Islam via family, in-laws, residence, vacations, friends (e.g., his “Pakistani mafia” buddies on the fringes of the Bhutto family), and academic study. As he told his biographer David Maraniss in 2011, until he rebelled and moved to Chicago to be a race activist in 1985, he was on a predictable career path toward being employed as a specialist in international relations.

Obama was educated expensively by his family to be a “Muslimist” working for the State Department, a soft power NGO like the Ford Foundation, or a university (such as the U. of Hawaii’s East-West Center) as a diplomat or other go-between between America and Muslim-intensive regions like Indonesia, Pakistan, or East Africa.

On the other hand, Obama is by background a Muslimist rather than an Arabist, with most of his overseas familiarity with Islamic but non-Arab regions. I coined the term “Muslimist” in 2012 as an extension of the term “Arabist,” which has long referred to the small caste of elite Americans who have made it family business to serve as diplomats, missionaries, and educators in the Arab world (e.g., Steve Kerr, coach of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, is the first Kerr in generations not to make the Middle Eash his career). Muslimist refers to Americans who specialize in relations with non-Arab Muslim countries around the Indian Ocean.

So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.

Update: I should add: “relative to Obama’s lack of bloodthirstiness and reasonableness on foreign policy compared to, say, John McCain.”

 
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  1. So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.

    I don’t watch him on the news. Does he ever try to even use his background to explain his understanding of the developing world?

    I’ve never seen him do this. Three things that come to mind: a. he’s just too self centered to really expand on other people in general b. he’s a bit scared to push what he knows, either so to stay the blank page that lets people project their fantasies about him or to not appear committed to some idea that he’ll have to back out of (Sailer’s Middle East Warning) or c. his experience abroad was sheltered to the point that he really doesn’t have that much depth to share.

    I’m leaning on b. This fellow doesn’t seem to like to get his feet wet.

    • Replies: @Marty
    @yaqub the mad scientist

    In late '02, amid word of the planned democratization of Iraq, an Egyptian said to me, "Arabs don't want self-government - they have to be told what to do." Assume Obama knows this to be the key difference between Indonesian muslims, and Arabs. This would be a genetic difference. He'd have to deny this to himself, because Chicago. So you're right, the answer is (b).

  2. “So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.”

    lots of credentials. not a much of a thinker. an idiot ideologue.

  3. “Unfortunately, judging by the rise of ISIS there’s not much evidence that the Sunnis are on a similar trajectory.”

    You know what’s hilarious? When I was in elementary school, our textbooks said that the main difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam was that Shiites were more militaristic and extreme in their religious views. That was back when Iran was the only Muslim country that anyone regarded as evil, of course. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Osama Bin Laden was a Sunni.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @MC

    Right. Around the time of the Iran hostage crisis we heard all the time about how the Shi-ites were crazy radicals and the Sunnis were cautious conservatives.

    Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    , @SFG
    @MC

    Yeah. One of the nice things about the Internet is you can get alternate views to whatever line they're trying to push.

    An Iranian guy I knew tried to convince me the Shiites were the less crazy bunch because they had bargained it down to three times a day. He was actually a pretty sane and reasonable guy who thought (understandably given where he was from) that religion was just an excuse to control people.

    There are actually a lot of Iranians who look back to the pre-Islamic culture of Iran (which goes way back--they were trading spears with the Greeks, if you remember) and would like it to be a modern, quasi-Western country. I feel bad for them.

    What little I've found seems to indicate the Shiite-Sunni split is really one of these splits that goes way back and gets ethnic divisions layered on top of it through the vicissitudes of history. It's like asking whether Catholics or Protestants are more extreme. Where? At what time in history? On what issue (alcohol? abortion?) Are you comparing the Catholics to fundamentalist Baptists, or to Unitarians?

    (Apparently Iran is Shia because Ismail I wanted to fight off the Ottoman Turks in the sixteenth century.)

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous

    , @Ivan
    @MC

    V S Naipaul in his book - Among the Believers - written around time of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, wrote that Shiite radicalism is a lot less worse than Sunni radicalism. Shiites tend to be more reasonable and tolerant than the Sunnis on average, since they themselves are considered outcast among theologically inclined Muslims. The reason why more Americans do not know this has - as anything to do with understanding the Middle East - more to do with the slant that the Israeli Firsters impose on anything to do with Muslims and Arabs.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @dumpstersquirrel
    @MC

    "When I was in elementary school, our textbooks said that the main difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam was that Shiites were more militaristic and extreme in their religious views."

    Ditto -- that was my (mis)education, too.

    , @Erik Sieven
    @MC

    in a way Shiites are more extreme in their religious views I think. For example when getting attacked with chemical weapons by Iraq the leadership of Iran refused to answer with chemical weapons, as they thought that this was against their religious principles.

    Replies: @Thea

    , @Hapalong Cassidy
    @MC

    During the Iran-Iraq war, I remember news stories about how the Iranians would send little kids out into the battlefield to detonate mines. That cemented in my young impressionable mind that the Shiites were the crazy ones. In retrospect, I now wonder if those reports were exaggerated or even totally fabricated.

    Another incident that promoted the Shiites-are-Crazy viewpoint was Khomenei issuing a fatwa on Salman Rushdie. Can't argue about the craziness of that, but Khomeini's unique brand of crazy seemed to die along with him. Since then, Iran has been steadily more stable and peaceful it seems.

    It seems to me that Iran is considered an enemy of the US for one reason only: they support Hezbollah, and Hezbollah is an enemy of Israel. Hezbollah is hardly an existential threat to Israel, but they are the only Arab group to have ever gotten the better of Israel on the battlefield, successfully driving them out of Lebanon. I'm sure this must be a source of wounded pride for the Israelis.

    Of course I guess that some Americans may not like Iran because they think we never got payback for that hostage incident.

    Replies: @random observer, @Ivan

  4. Obama has called for the overthrow of Assad, but compared to the rest of the establishment, he’s much less hawkish on the issue than most of the political spectrum.

    No need for a special “Obama theory” when it comes to pushing democracy. All our rulers are insane.

    • Replies: @E. Harding
    @Hepp

    Agreed. Some are more openly insane than others. For example, I don't think most anti-Iran American conservatives realize Obama's genius in weakening Iran and Cuba by making outward peace with them. Rouhani (or his successor) might be the Iranian Gorbachov. So might Raul Castro's successor be the Gorbachov of Cuba.

    , @Simon in London
    @Hepp

    Agreed. Re "So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria" - no, Syria is really bad, so was Libya, they screwed up Egypt too (not to mention Ukraine). But GW Bush invading Iraq was worse.

    Of course the primary impetus for all this comes from the Kagan/Power types. Obama himself didn't decide to destroy Syria or launch a coup in Ukraine, the policy was set for him.

    Replies: @tbraton

  5. “So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.”

    -As you know, I consider the President to be extremely astute (somewhat more so than Putin, who prefers more blunt, direct, obvious interventions which make more show, but are limited precisely by this directness) at foreign policy, so I consider all these supposed “bad calls” to fit into some sort of grand plan, probably one involving the end of independent Iranian influence in the Fertile Crescent, or, in the rest of the Middle East, any influence independent of the U.S. (e.g., Gaddafi, Houthis).

    “and its replacement by Moderate Islam, an outdated delusion of the Obama-Dunham-Soetoro clan.”

    -Didn’t Obama say a Syrian moderate Islamist rebel victory has “always been a fantasy. This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.”?

    I’m telling, man, study Obama’s interviews; e.g.,

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/opinion/president-obama-thomas-l-friedman-iraq-and-world-affairs.html

    and

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-obama-60-minutes-syria-isis-2016-presidential-race/

    You will find an extremely astute and sadistic man; a veritable destroyer of nations very much conscious of his decisions.

    • Replies: @pyrrhus
    @E. Harding

    So what's Obama's clever reason for blowing up numerous countries and arming ISIS and the neo-nazis in the Ukraine? Is he running for Lord of Chaos?

    Replies: @E. Harding

    , @Clyde
    @E. Harding


    -As you know, I consider the President to be extremely astute (somewhat more so than Putin, who prefers more blunt, direct, obvious interventions which make more show, but are limited precisely by this directness) at foreign policy, so I consider all these supposed “bad calls” to fit into some sort of grand plan, probably one involving the end of independent Iranian influence in the Fertile Crescent, or, in the rest of the Middle East, any influence independent of the U.S. (e.g., Gaddafi, Houthis).
     
    Obama is not astute on the Middle East and foreign policy. He uses the language that an astute high IQ person uses and this fooled you. I read one of your links. Democrats despise having to deal with foreign policy so they never spend time to inform themselves. Dems love domestic policy AKA vote buying. They love squandering Federal money on building larger liberal affirmative action bureaucracies such as EPA and Department of Education, on their numerous constituencies racial, ethnic and otherwise, and on race based NGOs, all of which buys votes to stay in office.

    In the last six years our foreign policy has catered to the wealthy Sunni oil producers then changed to cater to Shiite Iran, leading to the Obama/Kerry lifting the sanctions hobbling the fundamentalist Ayatollahs.
    My take is that this does not come from any kind of deep thinker Obama. He is lazy. But that most of our foreign policy comes from State Department leftist lifers and Obama regime appointees. Plus Iranian born, oriental looking, Valerie Jarret who is Obama's brains on many matters. She is mostly responsible for our veering towards Shiite Iran, where in addition to removing sanctions we gave Iran a 150 billion dollar signing bonus.

    Aside from America,the European submitters (to Islam) are 50% behind this evil defacto treaty with Iran. John Kerry loved organizing this pan European-American cave in to Iran. Hobnobbing around Europe for months, engaging their leaders is what he lives for. Yes, he is a Dem who is interested in foreign policy.

  6. It’s an ironic tragedy: no President before Obama has had so much familiarity with Islam via family, in-laws, residence, vacations, friends (e.g., his “Pakistani mafia” buddies on the fringes of the Bhutto family), and academic study….So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.

    I used to think the bad calls were due to incompetence. Now I wonder if they were deliberate. I wouldn’t be surprised if a report came out tomorrow that Obama has been a practicing Muslim during his presidency and prays to Mecca in between cabinet meetings.

    • Replies: @E. Harding
    @H2

    I'd be very surprised if that actually happened, but that old allegation certainly turned out to have a huge grain of truth to it. :-) Surely, he hasn't made much effort to placate atheists during his presidency. And his long interaction with Jeremiah Wright makes it unlikely he' s any kind of Muslim. But, surely, his recent "arm-every-rebel-against-a-resurgent-Assad" policy, as well as his selective involvement and lack of involvement in Libya, 2011-today make it clear that he's perfectly okay with the expansion of militant Islam.

    Replies: @TheJester

    , @Lugash
    @H2

    I don't think Obama calls the shots on American foreign policy. All of the foreign policy disasters on his watch seem to have originated out of the State Department, with likely CIA involvement. Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Mexican gun running all have the deep state stink about them. I doubt Obama even gets the memos, or knows that he should. He knows he's CinC, so he gets to say 'no boots on the ground'.

    In the 1980s, did any American patriot think that a Russian-Iranian-Hezboallah coalition would be the least awful side to pick?

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Ivan, @LondonBob

  7. @MC
    "Unfortunately, judging by the rise of ISIS there’s not much evidence that the Sunnis are on a similar trajectory."

    You know what's hilarious? When I was in elementary school, our textbooks said that the main difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam was that Shiites were more militaristic and extreme in their religious views. That was back when Iran was the only Muslim country that anyone regarded as evil, of course. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Osama Bin Laden was a Sunni.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @SFG, @Ivan, @dumpstersquirrel, @Erik Sieven, @Hapalong Cassidy

    Right. Around the time of the Iran hostage crisis we heard all the time about how the Shi-ites were crazy radicals and the Sunnis were cautious conservatives.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    @Steve Sailer

    On Twitter, there are old pics of women in Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran in Western dress in the 1960s. Of course, the hardcore Muslims were always there, but the big change is the one you mentioned in your Taki article: the huge increase in population thanks to Western tech and medicine (e.g., Norman Borlaug's Green Revolution in agriculture). So, the nutters outbred the seculars, and some of the seculars fled the Muslim world decades ago.

    Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome

  8. “So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.”

    In a lot of ways, the current mess in Syria is worse than the American occupation of Iraq (2003-2011) was. To begin with, more people have been killed in Syria since 2011 than were killed in Iraq during the occupation, and Syria has fewer people. AQI was a fearsome, merciless guerrilla movement, which has since become ISIS, an international terrorist semi-state, far more competent than Al-Qaeda proper ever was.

    The Iraq War was more costly for the US (in troop losses and in government spending), but at least the war was largely self-contained. In contrast, hundreds of thousands are pouring into Europe and Obama wants to adopt over 600,000 in the US. Absolutely insane. It felt terrible seeing thousands of Americans die in Iraq, one by one, day after day – but accepting hundreds of thousands of Sunnis into the Western world could ensure that what happened to US soldiers in Iraq will start happening to Western civilians in their own countries.

    Bush was incompetent, but he at least partially woke up after 2006. He stopped promoting democracy and hired Robert Gates. Obama hasn’t learned anything. He’s doubling down on accepting refugees when anyone who isn’t insane or completely callous to Western lives can see how that’s the most disastrous choice the Western world can make.

  9. @H2

    It’s an ironic tragedy: no President before Obama has had so much familiarity with Islam via family, in-laws, residence, vacations, friends (e.g., his “Pakistani mafia” buddies on the fringes of the Bhutto family), and academic study....So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.
     
    I used to think the bad calls were due to incompetence. Now I wonder if they were deliberate. I wouldn't be surprised if a report came out tomorrow that Obama has been a practicing Muslim during his presidency and prays to Mecca in between cabinet meetings.

    Replies: @E. Harding, @Lugash

    I’d be very surprised if that actually happened, but that old allegation certainly turned out to have a huge grain of truth to it. 🙂 Surely, he hasn’t made much effort to placate atheists during his presidency. And his long interaction with Jeremiah Wright makes it unlikely he’ s any kind of Muslim. But, surely, his recent “arm-every-rebel-against-a-resurgent-Assad” policy, as well as his selective involvement and lack of involvement in Libya, 2011-today make it clear that he’s perfectly okay with the expansion of militant Islam.

    • Replies: @TheJester
    @E. Harding

    A different take is that Obama's long relationship with Jeremiah Wright is evidence of Obama's long-standing hostility toward Western civilization and Christianity ... something that has slowly come to light in Obama's domestic and foreign policies. Black extremists, who share the same views, were a safer political cover than radical Islam at the time.

    Obama has proved a master of social pretense and illusion throughout his life ... the kind of things homosexuals used to do to mask their sexual orientation. In the current free-for-all "freak show" we call American society, the pretense and illusions are no longer politically or socially necessary. With the masks removed, Obama is openly pressing his Islamic-friendly agenda, something that was there all the time if we had known how to read the evidence.

    Replies: @E. Harding

  10. @Hepp
    Obama has called for the overthrow of Assad, but compared to the rest of the establishment, he's much less hawkish on the issue than most of the political spectrum.

    No need for a special "Obama theory" when it comes to pushing democracy. All our rulers are insane.

    Replies: @E. Harding, @Simon in London

    Agreed. Some are more openly insane than others. For example, I don’t think most anti-Iran American conservatives realize Obama’s genius in weakening Iran and Cuba by making outward peace with them. Rouhani (or his successor) might be the Iranian Gorbachov. So might Raul Castro’s successor be the Gorbachov of Cuba.

  11. but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria

    you think he made that call? the Lobby and inner party have been pushing for that for years.
    If you remember PNAC, that was the plan after Iraq- PNAC has actually been ‘succeeding’, israel has been able to expand in the west bank like crazy and no one gives a damn and its opposition is in chaos.

    • Replies: @nglaer
    @oh its just me

    Sad but true, the "inner party" wanted to bomb Syria and Obama thwarted them, with a little help from the Brit parliament and American polls. They all want to get rid of Assad, even the Europeans who should know better.

    Replies: @Chiron

    , @Hunsdon
    @oh its just me

    Yeah it's hard to figure these things out sometimes, I mean, it's not like they actually produced an action plan and called it 'A Clean Break' or anything.

    Oh. Never mind.

    , @Anonymous
    @oh its just me

    You talk about the west bank like it's the continent of Asia.

    We are a little country and the teeny tiny West Bank is part of what we consider to be our little country.

    There is no reason for anyone on earth with the possible exception perhaps of our closest neighbors to have any knowledge whatsoever regarding our teeny tiny country and our small territory was in it that you call the West Bank.

    Surrender your sickly little fetish for all things Joo and you'll be able to sleep without nightmares of another four families moving into "THE West Bank".

    Due to the fact that you obviously haven't been able to find a map online in the past couple of decades I assume you won't find one now, so I'll inform you that the West Bank is smaller than your state. A LOT smaller. Like unimaginably smaller.

    Replies: @Hunsdon, @Svigor

  12. The previous president made some astonishingly bad calls about Islamic countries too. I guess his excuse is growing up knowing gulf petro-princelings. I had a girlfriend who went to school in England with some of those types, and she was and remains incapable of understanding that Islam really isn’t fundamentally very nice.

    You grow up with Muslim friends, and you think “Muslims are people just like us; they’re ok!” Sure, your funny slacker pothead schoolmates from Qatar wouldn’t behead you, personally. But some of them will “grow up” and get religion, and a few of them actually might behead somebody. Lots of Muslims behead lots of people, and lots more approve of it as long as it’s happening to strangers.

    But when your most vivid image of Muslims is close friends you trust, it’s hard to keep a gut focus on all that.

    • Replies: @Simon in London
    @Chip Harding

    "I guess his excuse is growing up knowing gulf petro-princelings. I had a girlfriend who went to school in England with some of those types, and she was and remains incapable of understanding that Islam really isn’t fundamentally very nice."

    That seems odd to me. I've taught a bunch of Saudi princelings and non-prince elites, and while a few worked and didn't cheat, I have overall a much more negative view of Gulf Arabs now than I did before. I think that's true of most of the other academics I know.

    Also I was friends once with a renegade Arab princess. The horror stories she told me were hair-raising - child rape, casual murder (one fellow girl pupil killed in the classroom in front of her, by the female teacher!) - and she told them in a 'this is bad' way, but not really with recognition of how unbelievably appalling they were.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @Chrisnonymous
    @Chip Harding

    Presume not that I am the thing I was;
    For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
    That I have turn’d away my former self;
    So will I those that kept me company.

  13. Very astute. You are the best journalist in America. Maybe the world.

  14. It was a pretty good call if you’re sitting in Tel Aviv.

  15. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Shia religious clerical figures have a stronger hierarchical authority than the Sunni who are less centralized. Thus it’s easier to make agreements with the top Shia authority figures and have the entire group adhere to it. Not so with the Sunni; many won’t recognize what others agree to therefore sometimes it happens that there’s seemingly no one in charge to make agreements with. If Shia go on one-way suicide missions it’s usually been endorsed by the religious authorities as something that has to be done due to dire need. Sunnis often form their own independent cells and choose whose version of Islam they prefer to listen to, going on paradise seeking missions rather independently.
    The president seems to prefer to hand off things to his advisers, allowing Clinton to run amok as Secretary of State for example. It’s hard to say how much of what’s been happening has been his policy(assuming he has one and that’s a major assumption) and how much was handed off to him by previous administrations that he’s just gone along with.

    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    @anonymous

    Thank you for this comment. I'd encourage you to pick a "nom du Steve" and start posting regularly.

    , @Duke of Qin
    @anonymous

    This shouldn't be a surprise to astute observers because the differences are literally baked into the cake. The Shias and Sunnis diverged over the political dispute over who would succeed as Caliph. The Shias insisted on a direct biological descendant of Mohammed while the Sunnis favored the most righteous irrespective of descent. The Sunnis choice of succession would naturally lead them down the path of holiness spirals since status is derived based on whoever could prove himself most holy. With mass literacy hitting Sunni societies in the 20th century, Muslims no longer even needed trained clerics for religious instruction and could choose to interpret themselves. This is one reason it is pointless of the West to ask Imams to police their flocks, since authority ultimately lies in whoever is most righteous (radical) they would not obey to begin with. The supreme authority of the Iranian Ayatollah actually prevents Shia radicalism as he is the final arbiter of Islamic jurisprudence for Shia and any individual who tries to out holy him gets beheaded.

    The West already went through this phase nearly 500 years ago. Luther and Calvin were able to establish their own churches but arrested the spiral to further radicalism by making themselves in essence Protestant Popes exercising Supreme authority within their respective domains. Hence Luther denounced even more radical individuals like Muntzer and Calvin had Servetus burned at the stake for heresy. It wouldn't surprise me that if ISIS were to survive and be universally recognized as a legitimate Caliphate that Abu Bakir Al Baghdadi would arrest and reverse the tide of Sunni fundamentalism by beheading anyone who tried to out holy him. Since their state is still in its revolutionary phase this is yet impossible.

    , @Glossy
    @anonymous

    You make the Sunnis sound like Protestants and the Shias like Catholics. I think there's some truth to that.

    Replies: @Dirk Dagger, @Clyde

  16. @H2

    It’s an ironic tragedy: no President before Obama has had so much familiarity with Islam via family, in-laws, residence, vacations, friends (e.g., his “Pakistani mafia” buddies on the fringes of the Bhutto family), and academic study....So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.
     
    I used to think the bad calls were due to incompetence. Now I wonder if they were deliberate. I wouldn't be surprised if a report came out tomorrow that Obama has been a practicing Muslim during his presidency and prays to Mecca in between cabinet meetings.

    Replies: @E. Harding, @Lugash

    I don’t think Obama calls the shots on American foreign policy. All of the foreign policy disasters on his watch seem to have originated out of the State Department, with likely CIA involvement. Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Mexican gun running all have the deep state stink about them. I doubt Obama even gets the memos, or knows that he should. He knows he’s CinC, so he gets to say ‘no boots on the ground’.

    In the 1980s, did any American patriot think that a Russian-Iranian-Hezboallah coalition would be the least awful side to pick?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Lugash


    In the 1980s, did any American patriot think that a Russian-Iranian-Hezboallah coalition would be the least awful side to pick?
     
    Do you think geopolitics and foreign policy should be conducted according to how 12 year old girls feel - one side seems really mean and scary, so let's back the other side?

    Replies: @random observer

    , @Ivan
    @Lugash

    In the 80s did any American patriot think that the best use of his time was to pick Israel's chestnuts from the fire? Under Begin they invaded Lebanon, a war that cost anything up to 20,000 lives most of them of Arabs. They created a disaster in Lebanon, and St Reagan sailed in with the USS Missouri and the Marines to extricate them from their quagmire. Watching that famous battleship in action from the sidelines is I suppose great fun, but not if you are at the receiving end of her fearsome guns.

    , @LondonBob
    @Lugash

    Obama is a weak guy with no leadership experience, led around by the nose. Actually think his instincts are decent, and lets remember it could have been McInsane.

  17. WhatEvvs [AKA "Internet Addict"] says:

    Apologies for the OT question….but did Woodrow Wilson really “segregate the Federal Civil Service” as he is being accused of doing, or did he just get rid of a lot of Republican patronage jobs, which would have affected blacks (actually, mulattos) disproportionately?

    • Replies: @tbraton
    @WhatEvvs

    I think it is generally acknowledged that Woodrow Wilson introduced "Jim Crow" into the federal government, where it didn't exist before under largely Republican administrations that dominated the federal government following the Civil War. In his acclaimed biography of Woodrow Wilson, A. Scott Berg states on page 12 that "His administration instituted segregation---"Jim Crow" laws---in Washington, D.C."

    PBS has a website dealing with a program it ran titled "The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow" where it states:

    "In 1912 Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate for president, promised fairness and justice for blacks if elected. In a letter to a black church official, Wilson wrote, "Should I become President of the United States they may count upon me for absolute fair dealing for everything by which I could assist in advancing their interests of the race." But after the election, Wilson changed his tune. He dismissed 15 out of 17 black supervisors who had been previously appointed to federal jobs and replaced them with whites. He also refused to appoint black ambassadors to Haiti and Santa Domingo, posts traditionally awarded to African Americans. Two of Wilson's cabinet ministers, Postmaster General Albert Burelson and Treasury Secretary William McAdoo, both Southerners, issued orders segregating their departments. Throughout the country, blacks were segregated or dismissed from federal positions. In Georgia, the head of the Internal Revenue division fired all black employees: "There are no government positions for Negroes in the South. A Negro's place in the corn field." He said. The President's wife, Ellen Wilson, was said to have had a hand in segregating employees in Washington, encouraging department chiefs to assign blacks separate working, eating, and toilet facilities. To justify segregation, officials publicized complaints by white women, who were thought to be threatened by black men's sexuality and disease." http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_events_segregation.html

    William McAdoo, alluded to above, who served as Wilson's Secretary of Treasury, married one of Wilson's daughters following the death of his first wife two years earlier. He was born in Georgia, but he later moved with his family to Tennesse. He managed Wilson's campaign in 1912. He became a leading contender for the Democratic nomination for President in the 1920 election, losing to James Cox (running mate, one Franklin Delano Roosevelt), and in the 1924 election, losing to John W. Davis.

  18. This is a bizarre take, since Obama, much as I dislike him, has been a moderating force on Syria relative to the entire American foreign policy establishment.

    • Replies: @Ivan
    @Anonymous

    I second that, Obama is like Lucy who takes away the neocons' ball everytime. God only knows how many people the insane McCain and the lunatic Palin would have gotten killed for Jesus and Israel. God loves little children and the USA as the saying goes.

  19. @oh its just me

    but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria
     
    you think he made that call? the Lobby and inner party have been pushing for that for years.
    If you remember PNAC, that was the plan after Iraq- PNAC has actually been 'succeeding', israel has been able to expand in the west bank like crazy and no one gives a damn and its opposition is in chaos.

    Replies: @nglaer, @Hunsdon, @Anonymous

    Sad but true, the “inner party” wanted to bomb Syria and Obama thwarted them, with a little help from the Brit parliament and American polls. They all want to get rid of Assad, even the Europeans who should know better.

    • Replies: @Chiron
    @nglaer

    The jews regained their control of France after Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy is a crypto-jew and Hollande is controlled by his Prime-Minister Manuel Valls who is married to a jewish-woman from a Zionist background.

    Replies: @LondonBob

  20. @MC
    "Unfortunately, judging by the rise of ISIS there’s not much evidence that the Sunnis are on a similar trajectory."

    You know what's hilarious? When I was in elementary school, our textbooks said that the main difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam was that Shiites were more militaristic and extreme in their religious views. That was back when Iran was the only Muslim country that anyone regarded as evil, of course. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Osama Bin Laden was a Sunni.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @SFG, @Ivan, @dumpstersquirrel, @Erik Sieven, @Hapalong Cassidy

    Yeah. One of the nice things about the Internet is you can get alternate views to whatever line they’re trying to push.

    An Iranian guy I knew tried to convince me the Shiites were the less crazy bunch because they had bargained it down to three times a day. He was actually a pretty sane and reasonable guy who thought (understandably given where he was from) that religion was just an excuse to control people.

    There are actually a lot of Iranians who look back to the pre-Islamic culture of Iran (which goes way back–they were trading spears with the Greeks, if you remember) and would like it to be a modern, quasi-Western country. I feel bad for them.

    What little I’ve found seems to indicate the Shiite-Sunni split is really one of these splits that goes way back and gets ethnic divisions layered on top of it through the vicissitudes of history. It’s like asking whether Catholics or Protestants are more extreme. Where? At what time in history? On what issue (alcohol? abortion?) Are you comparing the Catholics to fundamentalist Baptists, or to Unitarians?

    (Apparently Iran is Shia because Ismail I wanted to fight off the Ottoman Turks in the sixteenth century.)

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    @SFG

    They don't just look back. My mother knows the wife of an exiled Iranian general. She identifies as a Zoroastrian.

    Replies: @Seth Largo

  21. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Lugash
    @H2

    I don't think Obama calls the shots on American foreign policy. All of the foreign policy disasters on his watch seem to have originated out of the State Department, with likely CIA involvement. Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Mexican gun running all have the deep state stink about them. I doubt Obama even gets the memos, or knows that he should. He knows he's CinC, so he gets to say 'no boots on the ground'.

    In the 1980s, did any American patriot think that a Russian-Iranian-Hezboallah coalition would be the least awful side to pick?

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Ivan, @LondonBob

    In the 1980s, did any American patriot think that a Russian-Iranian-Hezboallah coalition would be the least awful side to pick?

    Do you think geopolitics and foreign policy should be conducted according to how 12 year old girls feel – one side seems really mean and scary, so let’s back the other side?

    • Replies: @random observer
    @Anonymous

    Word.

    But let's be fair. 12 year old boys would be stupid on such questions as well. In my experience, my own youth included, they are all about "good guys" and "bad guys" and, worse, assume these rare categories are both universal and static over time. Just watch young boys of today try to fathom the news based on their video game knowledge.

    Ideas like:

    don't pick a side, good or bad, unless you have skin, and then only pick the side that more likely works to your own gain; better to let other people kill each other than meddle in their business, unless it's also your business; sometimes it's helpful to back both so the war lasts longer; and it's OK to switch horses if you must, just don't do it so often you confuse potential tools ["partners"] and lose your street cred;

    never occur to them. Unless they also get old-style playground experience, and even then the pubescent moralism never goes away entirely.

    Replies: @tbraton, @NOTA

  22. Here’s Mitt Romney the Mormonist on Syria, saying that Obama hasn’t been aggressive enough and hasn’t supported the Sunni rebels enough:

  23. Yazidis are Kurds, there aren’t that many of them in Syria, and Kurds (whether Sunni or Yazidi) were never part of Assad’s coalition of minorities. The Baathists used Arab racism against Kurds to deflect from the Sunni-Christian-Alawi sectarian divisions among the Arabs.

  24. Perhaps credit is due to some of the ethnic and religious groups in the Middle East for acting with restraint in their dealings with the others. But surely there’s one obvious reason for the periods of stability that did happen there – authoritarian government. The greatest curse ever to befall the region was the insane idea that anything resembling Western democracy would work in countries where a large portion of the population wants a regime in which the Koran is the statute book and apostates are sadistically punished.

    I don’t think Obama could ever have used his experience of the Muslim world to American advantage, because he doesn’t have America’s interests at heart. If he did want what was best for his country, his knowledge of foreign cultures wouldn’t be particularly relevant – expert advisers from academia can provide that. What’s needed more than anything else in a politician or diplomat is the knowledge (tragically rare) that America should leave well alone.

  25. @MC
    "Unfortunately, judging by the rise of ISIS there’s not much evidence that the Sunnis are on a similar trajectory."

    You know what's hilarious? When I was in elementary school, our textbooks said that the main difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam was that Shiites were more militaristic and extreme in their religious views. That was back when Iran was the only Muslim country that anyone regarded as evil, of course. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Osama Bin Laden was a Sunni.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @SFG, @Ivan, @dumpstersquirrel, @Erik Sieven, @Hapalong Cassidy

    V S Naipaul in his book – Among the Believers – written around time of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, wrote that Shiite radicalism is a lot less worse than Sunni radicalism. Shiites tend to be more reasonable and tolerant than the Sunnis on average, since they themselves are considered outcast among theologically inclined Muslims. The reason why more Americans do not know this has – as anything to do with understanding the Middle East – more to do with the slant that the Israeli Firsters impose on anything to do with Muslims and Arabs.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Ivan

    Saudi money helps the Sunni image too.

    I like to imagine that deep in the vault of a Swiss bank is a manuscript entitled "The Memoirs of Prince Bandar: My Years in Washington as the Saudi Paymaster" with a letter to his estate's lawyer triggering its publication if he happens to die at any age before 99.

    Replies: @Ivan, @Dave Pinsen

  26. @oh its just me

    but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria
     
    you think he made that call? the Lobby and inner party have been pushing for that for years.
    If you remember PNAC, that was the plan after Iraq- PNAC has actually been 'succeeding', israel has been able to expand in the west bank like crazy and no one gives a damn and its opposition is in chaos.

    Replies: @nglaer, @Hunsdon, @Anonymous

    Yeah it’s hard to figure these things out sometimes, I mean, it’s not like they actually produced an action plan and called it ‘A Clean Break’ or anything.

    Oh. Never mind.

  27. @Lugash
    @H2

    I don't think Obama calls the shots on American foreign policy. All of the foreign policy disasters on his watch seem to have originated out of the State Department, with likely CIA involvement. Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Mexican gun running all have the deep state stink about them. I doubt Obama even gets the memos, or knows that he should. He knows he's CinC, so he gets to say 'no boots on the ground'.

    In the 1980s, did any American patriot think that a Russian-Iranian-Hezboallah coalition would be the least awful side to pick?

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Ivan, @LondonBob

    In the 80s did any American patriot think that the best use of his time was to pick Israel’s chestnuts from the fire? Under Begin they invaded Lebanon, a war that cost anything up to 20,000 lives most of them of Arabs. They created a disaster in Lebanon, and St Reagan sailed in with the USS Missouri and the Marines to extricate them from their quagmire. Watching that famous battleship in action from the sidelines is I suppose great fun, but not if you are at the receiving end of her fearsome guns.

  28. @anonymous
    Shia religious clerical figures have a stronger hierarchical authority than the Sunni who are less centralized. Thus it's easier to make agreements with the top Shia authority figures and have the entire group adhere to it. Not so with the Sunni; many won't recognize what others agree to therefore sometimes it happens that there's seemingly no one in charge to make agreements with. If Shia go on one-way suicide missions it's usually been endorsed by the religious authorities as something that has to be done due to dire need. Sunnis often form their own independent cells and choose whose version of Islam they prefer to listen to, going on paradise seeking missions rather independently.
    The president seems to prefer to hand off things to his advisers, allowing Clinton to run amok as Secretary of State for example. It's hard to say how much of what's been happening has been his policy(assuming he has one and that's a major assumption) and how much was handed off to him by previous administrations that he's just gone along with.

    Replies: @Hunsdon, @Duke of Qin, @Glossy

    Thank you for this comment. I’d encourage you to pick a “nom du Steve” and start posting regularly.

  29. @nglaer
    @oh its just me

    Sad but true, the "inner party" wanted to bomb Syria and Obama thwarted them, with a little help from the Brit parliament and American polls. They all want to get rid of Assad, even the Europeans who should know better.

    Replies: @Chiron

    The jews regained their control of France after Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy is a crypto-jew and Hollande is controlled by his Prime-Minister Manuel Valls who is married to a jewish-woman from a Zionist background.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    @Chiron

    Yes I find the very obvious ethnic conflict in the elite of France fascinating, not sure I understand it though. Then you add in France's Russophile nature and historic hostility to NATO and it can result in some odd foreign policy changes.

  30. @Anonymous
    This is a bizarre take, since Obama, much as I dislike him, has been a moderating force on Syria relative to the entire American foreign policy establishment.

    Replies: @Ivan

    I second that, Obama is like Lucy who takes away the neocons’ ball everytime. God only knows how many people the insane McCain and the lunatic Palin would have gotten killed for Jesus and Israel. God loves little children and the USA as the saying goes.

  31. As feckless as the affirmative action president is. It is not Obama who is driving American policy, rather it is his weakness that is allowing others to set the agenda. As you yourself have noted Steve, Obama’s principal interests are primarily domestic and like all black American politicos are singularly concerned with issues of “blackness”. Refer to the Beer summit, saint Trayvon, and recently clock boy. His heart is simply closer to home rather than foreign affairs hence the influence of his camarilla on matters beyond his interests. Obama is functionally the anti-Nixon who himself ran roughshod over the State department to set his own agenda.

    One only has to survey America’s other prominent elected representatives to see what passes for received Wisdom among courtiers who keep Washington informed to realize Congress appears even more insane than Obama. Rather than realists that many presumed Obama would bring to power, Washington policy seems to be driven by a sickly melange of Bush era neoconservatives and wild eyed liberal interventionists. Perhaps this is what passes as the default weltanschaung of the budding American deep state.

  32. Lindsey Graham: “Turkey punched Russia in the news; good for Turkey.”

  33. until he rebelled and moved to Chicago to be a race activist in 1985, he was on a predictable career path toward being employed as a specialist in international relations.

    Yet he knows no foreign languages. America is the only country on earth where one can be an expert in international relations without knowing any languages, any history, any geography or anything about international relations.

    but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.

    I disagree. Obama has stood up to the neocons more than any previous president. All of his likely successors (unfortunately a Trump administration is unlikely) will be more beholden to the neocons than Obama is. What his administration did in Lybia and Syria was bad, but McCain, Romney and Hillary would have done much worse. They would have probably bombed and destabilized Iran too by now.

    Obama has an aversion to using US ground troops. Why? Probably for the same reason that Colin Powell opposed the 2003 Iraq Attaq behind closed doors. What’s in it for Blacks? Only flag-draped corpses. And they’re right about that.

    The Iran deal, the Hagel apointment and other things show that Obama sees through the neocons a little. They hate him because he hasn’t advanced their priorities as much as they would have liked. Unless Trump wins, and as I said, I don’t think he will, there will be a massive increase in US troop presense in the Middle East during the next administration. There will be more wars. Saudi Arabia hasn’t been destabilized yet. There’s no war in Egypt or Turkey at the moment. Things can get a lot worse than this.

    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    @Glossy

    "Trump...beholden to neocons".

    lmbo okay got it I can ignore anything else you say.

    Replies: @Shine a Light, @donut, @Hunsdon

    , @Jim Don Bob
    @Glossy

    Whites did most of the dying in the recent wars. There are not very many blacks in combat arms.

    Replies: @Glossy

  34. @Steve Sailer
    @MC

    Right. Around the time of the Iran hostage crisis we heard all the time about how the Shi-ites were crazy radicals and the Sunnis were cautious conservatives.

    Replies: @Dave Pinsen

    On Twitter, there are old pics of women in Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran in Western dress in the 1960s. Of course, the hardcore Muslims were always there, but the big change is the one you mentioned in your Taki article: the huge increase in population thanks to Western tech and medicine (e.g., Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution in agriculture). So, the nutters outbred the seculars, and some of the seculars fled the Muslim world decades ago.

    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome
    @Dave Pinsen



    On Twitter, there are old pics of women in Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran in Western dress in the 1960s.

     

    LOL, they're wearing 1960s Mad Men type clothes. To a circa 2015 Westerner that's just as beyond the pale as Muslim outfits.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  35. @anonymous
    Shia religious clerical figures have a stronger hierarchical authority than the Sunni who are less centralized. Thus it's easier to make agreements with the top Shia authority figures and have the entire group adhere to it. Not so with the Sunni; many won't recognize what others agree to therefore sometimes it happens that there's seemingly no one in charge to make agreements with. If Shia go on one-way suicide missions it's usually been endorsed by the religious authorities as something that has to be done due to dire need. Sunnis often form their own independent cells and choose whose version of Islam they prefer to listen to, going on paradise seeking missions rather independently.
    The president seems to prefer to hand off things to his advisers, allowing Clinton to run amok as Secretary of State for example. It's hard to say how much of what's been happening has been his policy(assuming he has one and that's a major assumption) and how much was handed off to him by previous administrations that he's just gone along with.

    Replies: @Hunsdon, @Duke of Qin, @Glossy

    This shouldn’t be a surprise to astute observers because the differences are literally baked into the cake. The Shias and Sunnis diverged over the political dispute over who would succeed as Caliph. The Shias insisted on a direct biological descendant of Mohammed while the Sunnis favored the most righteous irrespective of descent. The Sunnis choice of succession would naturally lead them down the path of holiness spirals since status is derived based on whoever could prove himself most holy. With mass literacy hitting Sunni societies in the 20th century, Muslims no longer even needed trained clerics for religious instruction and could choose to interpret themselves. This is one reason it is pointless of the West to ask Imams to police their flocks, since authority ultimately lies in whoever is most righteous (radical) they would not obey to begin with. The supreme authority of the Iranian Ayatollah actually prevents Shia radicalism as he is the final arbiter of Islamic jurisprudence for Shia and any individual who tries to out holy him gets beheaded.

    The West already went through this phase nearly 500 years ago. Luther and Calvin were able to establish their own churches but arrested the spiral to further radicalism by making themselves in essence Protestant Popes exercising Supreme authority within their respective domains. Hence Luther denounced even more radical individuals like Muntzer and Calvin had Servetus burned at the stake for heresy. It wouldn’t surprise me that if ISIS were to survive and be universally recognized as a legitimate Caliphate that Abu Bakir Al Baghdadi would arrest and reverse the tide of Sunni fundamentalism by beheading anyone who tried to out holy him. Since their state is still in its revolutionary phase this is yet impossible.

  36. @anonymous
    Shia religious clerical figures have a stronger hierarchical authority than the Sunni who are less centralized. Thus it's easier to make agreements with the top Shia authority figures and have the entire group adhere to it. Not so with the Sunni; many won't recognize what others agree to therefore sometimes it happens that there's seemingly no one in charge to make agreements with. If Shia go on one-way suicide missions it's usually been endorsed by the religious authorities as something that has to be done due to dire need. Sunnis often form their own independent cells and choose whose version of Islam they prefer to listen to, going on paradise seeking missions rather independently.
    The president seems to prefer to hand off things to his advisers, allowing Clinton to run amok as Secretary of State for example. It's hard to say how much of what's been happening has been his policy(assuming he has one and that's a major assumption) and how much was handed off to him by previous administrations that he's just gone along with.

    Replies: @Hunsdon, @Duke of Qin, @Glossy

    You make the Sunnis sound like Protestants and the Shias like Catholics. I think there’s some truth to that.

    • Replies: @Dirk Dagger
    @Glossy


    ... Sunnis sound like Protestants and the Shias like Catholics.
     
    That's about right, Shias also like them some relics.
    , @Clyde
    @Glossy


    You make the Sunnis sound like Protestants and the Shias like Catholics. I think there’s some truth to that.
     
    I wrote the same about ten days ago. Also interesting that Catholics and Shiites both have flagellant traditions within. Its a very small group with Catholicism these days but with Shiites it is widespread on the yearly Ashura, commemorating Ali's martyrdom.
    Shiite flagellation images
  37. @E. Harding
    "So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria."

    -As you know, I consider the President to be extremely astute (somewhat more so than Putin, who prefers more blunt, direct, obvious interventions which make more show, but are limited precisely by this directness) at foreign policy, so I consider all these supposed "bad calls" to fit into some sort of grand plan, probably one involving the end of independent Iranian influence in the Fertile Crescent, or, in the rest of the Middle East, any influence independent of the U.S. (e.g., Gaddafi, Houthis).

    "and its replacement by Moderate Islam, an outdated delusion of the Obama-Dunham-Soetoro clan."

    -Didn't Obama say a Syrian moderate Islamist rebel victory has “always been a fantasy. This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.”?

    I'm telling, man, study Obama's interviews; e.g.,

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/opinion/president-obama-thomas-l-friedman-iraq-and-world-affairs.html

    and

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-obama-60-minutes-syria-isis-2016-presidential-race/

    You will find an extremely astute and sadistic man; a veritable destroyer of nations very much conscious of his decisions.

    Replies: @pyrrhus, @Clyde

    So what’s Obama’s clever reason for blowing up numerous countries and arming ISIS and the neo-nazis in the Ukraine? Is he running for Lord of Chaos?

    • Replies: @E. Harding
    @pyrrhus

    Yup. You think Obama didn't foresee these consequences (except for maybe Ukraine)?

  38. Obama has been an unmitigated disaster as President, and in foreign policy he has been arguably the worst. He has thrown out the Carter Doctrine in favor of a semi-alliance with Iran while at the same time incoherently picking fights with Russia, Iran’s ally. Its bizarre, and gives lie to any idea that Obama is smart.

    Obama is self-evidently stupid, and self-evidently a Muslim, and self-evidently driven by substitute Mommy Valerie Jarrett’s dislike of the US Military and worship of Shia Iran’s Muslim culture.

    From FDR onward, EVERY President had a guarantee of security to the Gulf States and particularly the Saudis in return for which they helped fund anti-Soviet activities, and kept the world price of oil at reasonable levels. While this policy had significant failures periodically, notably the Arab Oil Embargo, on the whole it worked reasonably well. Jimmy Carter of all people formalized the bargain by stating the United States would not tolerate any threat to US military dominance of the Gulf.

    Various interventions, from Ike’s and Reagan’s in Lebanon, to the Gulf War, to Clinton’s bombing of Saddam, to Bush’s Iraq War, have been in service to this policy and while it was costly in blood and treasure, it put the US in the driver’s seat.

    The Carter Doctine allowed the US, not other nations, to drive events and make every other nation and player react not the other way around.

    For the Iranian alliance, what has the US gotten? A price war with the Saudis driving US shale oil out of business, and the Saudis unlike in the Gulf War, embracing Jihadis whole hog, so to speak, as a way of fighting an external threat: Shia Mullah Iran, Russia, and the combined “empires” from the Med to the Persian Gulf moving south and overthrowing them.

    ISIS is Gulf money and Turkish military men. That’s who they are. The killing and murder and brutality of course are the whole point, for a generation of young men who know they’ll be nothing without all that. If peace broke out, who would Abdullah Jihad be? A truck driver? Better the life of Jihad where killers gain groveling respect.

    Obama having poisoned the well, the US has no allies at all in the ME. Not even Israel, which would reasonably assume even if Trump won, that a few years later another Obama would take power and repudiate all deals. Worse still, we have to just react. Turkey and Erdogan are champing at the bit to take on Putin, Erdogan has delusions of another Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile as noted we are allies of Iran defacto (there is a “secret” rider to the Iran nuke deal requiring the US to defend Iran against Israeli attack) while fighting them in Syria by oh so not secretly arming the Jihadis.

    Benghazi? The US and Turkish Ambassadors were not there to view the WWII cemeteries. They were there to oversee an arms deal shipping Khomeni’s arms to ISIS jihadis in Syria, and likely the Iranians spiked that with some brutal jihad of their own. Or the Turks double-dealed and helped the jihadis kill the Americans for reasons of jihad — take your pick.

    Either way it is objectively insane policy to fight Iran in Syria and ally with it against Israeli attack. Much less back Turkey in a fight with Russia.

    Really, we’ll go to war against Russia over Turkey’s ability to arm ISIS? That’s super-genius Obama’s policy?

    A winning, and not Charlie Sheen winning, policy would be to substantially re-arm with more and more carrier groups, next gen warships, conveniently employing lots of blue collar and white collar workers to design and build them, to overawe all players. While letting Putin put his hand in the Syrian buzz saw if he wants.

    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    @Whiskey

    Wait, what? Whiskey said, re Benghazi: They were there to oversee an arms deal shipping Khomeni’s arms to ISIS jihadis in Syria . . . .

    Did you really mean to say that? Referencing Khomeini (did you meanKhameni? Khomeini's been dead for lo these many years) arms to ISIS jihadis? Are you really saying that Iran wants to arm ISIS? I'm not sure if I understand.

  39. @MC
    "Unfortunately, judging by the rise of ISIS there’s not much evidence that the Sunnis are on a similar trajectory."

    You know what's hilarious? When I was in elementary school, our textbooks said that the main difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam was that Shiites were more militaristic and extreme in their religious views. That was back when Iran was the only Muslim country that anyone regarded as evil, of course. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Osama Bin Laden was a Sunni.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @SFG, @Ivan, @dumpstersquirrel, @Erik Sieven, @Hapalong Cassidy

    “When I was in elementary school, our textbooks said that the main difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam was that Shiites were more militaristic and extreme in their religious views.”

    Ditto — that was my (mis)education, too.

  40. Not that I disagree with the post, but Obama doesn’t have ME Muslim roots. They’re from Africa. Probably makes a difference.

  41. In Syria, Obama is just passively following the logic of America’s post-9/11 interventions in the Middle East. Unless he wants to set American foreign policy on a radical new course, he has little option but the act as caretaker to previous policy directions. And given that Democrats typically show little to no interest in foreign policy, it is no surprise that he is continuing on an already chartered course.

    The post-colonial model for the Middle East was to find an overachieving minority and for the outside powers to place them in power. The idea was the minority group would be dependent on the former colonial powers to remain in power. These minority groups often developed nationalist and socialist policies to hold their diverse nations together. In Syria this worked exceedingly well with the Alawite minority treating other minority groups well and using Baathist ideology to tie the whole thing together. A similar story is obviously found in Iraq.
    With the newly ascendant neo-conservatives empowered to change the world by 9/11, a new model, call it regionalization or balkanization in the Middle East was embarked upon. This idea was first propagated in 1982 in an article by Israeli Oded Yinon entitled “A strategy for Israel in the 1980’s” Some highlights”

    Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon….

    Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.

    Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. (…) This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today.

    And so if this is the policy direction Obama has inherited, his job is to assist in the breakup of Syria while keeping American hands as clean as possible. Thus the ISIS is used as the agent of change. The US on the other hand only supports “moderate” Islamists but we insist on the exact same strategic goal as ISIS: the end of Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

    So if Obama wanted to counter this policy in Syria, the only real alternative he has is to make a complete 180 degree turn on US foreign policy and to re-embrace Baathist nationalism. Of course the globalist Obama is never going to do this.

    But the interesting fact is that a President Trump just might, in collaboration with Vladimir Putin.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815

  42. Marty [AKA "wick"] says:
    @yaqub the mad scientist
    So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.

    I don't watch him on the news. Does he ever try to even use his background to explain his understanding of the developing world?

    I've never seen him do this. Three things that come to mind: a. he's just too self centered to really expand on other people in general b. he's a bit scared to push what he knows, either so to stay the blank page that lets people project their fantasies about him or to not appear committed to some idea that he'll have to back out of (Sailer's Middle East Warning) or c. his experience abroad was sheltered to the point that he really doesn't have that much depth to share.

    I'm leaning on b. This fellow doesn't seem to like to get his feet wet.

    Replies: @Marty

    In late ’02, amid word of the planned democratization of Iraq, an Egyptian said to me, “Arabs don’t want self-government – they have to be told what to do.” Assume Obama knows this to be the key difference between Indonesian muslims, and Arabs. This would be a genetic difference. He’d have to deny this to himself, because Chicago. So you’re right, the answer is (b).

  43. Given Obamas background he could have been a very different leader.

    A few childhood years in Indonesia as a black could give important insights to the nature of racial discrimination . Also knowledge of important Pakistani families from a relatively young age is an advantage compared to those who have to learn to deal with them later in life.

    His background might have made him a more insightful American president. Everyone down there made a big fuss about him being black, but it doesnt seem to make much difference to me. He is from between the lines anyway.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Silber
    @AKAHorace

    A few childhood years in Indonesia as a black could give important insights into racial discrimination.

    More likely that a youngster who spends a couple years here or there will have no important insights into the culture; he may in fact have little or even no recollection of those years.

    In any case, a couple years in Indonesia prepares no schoolboy for a life as envoy between countries East and West any more than attending high school with Jews, as I did, prepared me to advise a President on Israeli affairs.

    Also, Obama is not a Black: he's a Mulatto who identifies himself, inaccurately, as a Black.

    Replies: @yaqub the mad scientist

    , @Ivan
    @AKAHorace

    Obama looks like one of the Javanese, who are the main race in Indonesia. He would not have suffered any discrimination. The majority of Indonesians have a laid back view on race. To really suffer discrimination on account of skin colour, one has to look like the Indonesians from Flores and Papua, who are related to the Melanisians from Papua New Guinea. On the other end of the spectrum are the fair-skinned Sundanese, whose girls are generally very beautiful.

  44. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria

    It isn’t just Syria! He wrecked Libya and tried to install the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He abandoned Iraq and has neither fished nor cut bait in Afghanistan.

    Plus Obama’s chess moves in Ukraine are just dumb. Kissinger never would’ve made a play for Ukraine because Ukraine sucks! There’s no value there! It’s not an asset–it’s a huge liability.

    Great men created the Post WW2 order. Mediocre men protected it. Inferior men “improved” it.

  45. Like you’ve said so many times before, Steve, Obama has always been perfectly forthcoming; it’s just the media is always at pains not to ask Obama any questions they don’t want the American people to hear the answer to.

    In case the link doesn’t embed:

    Obama clearly and plainly using “we” referring to Muslims.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Portlander

    I still believe he and his wife will come out as Muslim near or after the end of his presidency. It will give them a platform to become even more famous and influential than they are now. They will attempt to convince millions of Blacks to convert to their moderate form of Islam.

    , @nglaer
    @Portlander

    Obama clearly and plainly using “we” referring to Muslims.


    No he isn't.

  46. You say he is a Muslimist, not Arabist. Expert in the non Arab Muslim world.

    Then why would he have any expertise in Syria, an arab country?

    By your own arguments, we expect Obama’s foriegn Policy to work best in non Arab Muslim countries.

    And if you look at Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran or Nigeria, things are a lot better than in the bush years.

    So Obama doesn’t care about Arabs. He has that in common with many Americans. (And it is the opposite of bush policy.)

    • Replies: @random observer
    @ikram

    Iran, arguably yes. The nuclear deal was ultimately the wiser policy. Although it's early days and better relations probably have more to do with opportunistic collaboration in Iraq and Syria than with the nuclear deal. But then these things are all broadly more to Iran's advantage than America's [certainly in the case of Iraq and Syria; at least short-term wrt the nuclear deal. The latter issue was going to come to a head before a bomb was finished and Iran needed some sanctions relief asap].

    Indonesia- not so clear. And not so clear American policy had that much to do with it. Terrorism spiked in the early 2000s and started to decline, or at least go into a rebuilding phase, after that. Don't see how much improvement there has been since 2009 that was not already well in hand before it.

    Pakistan- certainly more scope for American policy to have an impact given Afghanistan. But Pakistan is still angling to gain from US drawdowns, still playing all sides, still fighting civil war and insurgency across most of its own soil, still screwing around in its relations with India, and still can't be trusted to live up to any commitments. No improvement at all, really. More democratic, perhaps, in that loose fitting Pakistani sense, but even that trend predates Big O.

    Nigeria- seems to be getting better with a more serious president. And I know too little to say how American policy might be helping him or not. But bear in mind that the entire arc of the Boko Haram war has taken place during Obama's presidency, so I am not sure to what degree it can be used as a Bush/Obama point of comparison. Similarly north and west Africa has gotten much worse since 2009, and that has been having some spillover effects in Nigeria as well.

    Entirely agree with your last sentiment- if that is true, praise is due to him.

  47. Smithsonian: Statue of Liberty was originally a Muslim woman
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/261328-smithsonian-statue-of-liberty-was-originally-a-muslim-woman

    An article on the government-administered museum’s blog, Smart News, claims one of the designers of Lady Liberty drew inspiration from monuments in Egypt and originally intended to construct a veiled female peasant on the Suez Canal.

  48. John McCain lied to that woman. He is not a good man, and the woman may have been right.

  49. Steve:

    Imagine a world where the West allowed Assad and his allies to crush the Sunni rebellion, expelling the most extreme Sunnis from the region…while keeping the borders of Western countries open.

  50. @Hepp
    Obama has called for the overthrow of Assad, but compared to the rest of the establishment, he's much less hawkish on the issue than most of the political spectrum.

    No need for a special "Obama theory" when it comes to pushing democracy. All our rulers are insane.

    Replies: @E. Harding, @Simon in London

    Agreed. Re “So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria” – no, Syria is really bad, so was Libya, they screwed up Egypt too (not to mention Ukraine). But GW Bush invading Iraq was worse.

    Of course the primary impetus for all this comes from the Kagan/Power types. Obama himself didn’t decide to destroy Syria or launch a coup in Ukraine, the policy was set for him.

    • Replies: @tbraton
    @Simon in London

    "Of course the primary impetus for all this comes from the Kagan/Power types. Obama himself didn’t decide to destroy Syria or launch a coup in Ukraine, the policy was set for him."

    Well, he did have SOD Robert Gates arguing against any involvement in Libya's civil war since the U.S. "had no vital national interests in Libya," and then he had Susan Rice, Samantha Power and, of course, SOS Hillary Clinton arguing that the U.S. had to get involved in Libya on "humanitarian grounds." To use a term employed by his predecessor, Obama was "the decider." He decided to ignore the sound advice of SOD Gates and decided to follow instead the unsound advice of the three harpies. It was his decision, not that of a lowly bureaucrat in State. Nothing makes him look sillier than his strong insistence back in 2011 that our military involvement in Libya "would not involve any boots on the ground" and his later remark a few years later that his greatest regret with respect to Libya was that he did not send in ground forces after Qaddafi's overthrow. Only a totally clueless person can make those two completely contradictory statements. It's like a child asked to decide whether he wants chocolate ice cream or vanilla ice cream who childishly responds "both," being unable to render an intelligent choice. With respect to Syria, he was the one who declared in 2011 that "Assad must go," and he was the one who drew the "red line in the sand" re use of chemical weapons, which gave a strong incentive to every party with an interest in drawing the U.S. into another country's civil war (e.g., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf "democracies," Israel, the Syrian rebels) to concoct a chemical attack and make it look like it came from Assad's side. Since Libya followed Iraq by 8 years, Obama had that experience to draw on (he was the one who declared years earlier that "Iraq was the dumb war") even if he lacked the experience to imagine the consequences of overthrowing the existing government of any country and the chaos that was highly likely to follow. And he has had the dreadful experience of Libya to inform his judgments about Syria, but the poor guy is too dumb to draw the right conclusions.

  51. @Chip Harding
    The previous president made some astonishingly bad calls about Islamic countries too. I guess his excuse is growing up knowing gulf petro-princelings. I had a girlfriend who went to school in England with some of those types, and she was and remains incapable of understanding that Islam really isn't fundamentally very nice.

    You grow up with Muslim friends, and you think "Muslims are people just like us; they're ok!" Sure, your funny slacker pothead schoolmates from Qatar wouldn't behead you, personally. But some of them will "grow up" and get religion, and a few of them actually might behead somebody. Lots of Muslims behead lots of people, and lots more approve of it as long as it's happening to strangers.

    But when your most vivid image of Muslims is close friends you trust, it's hard to keep a gut focus on all that.

    Replies: @Simon in London, @Chrisnonymous

    “I guess his excuse is growing up knowing gulf petro-princelings. I had a girlfriend who went to school in England with some of those types, and she was and remains incapable of understanding that Islam really isn’t fundamentally very nice.”

    That seems odd to me. I’ve taught a bunch of Saudi princelings and non-prince elites, and while a few worked and didn’t cheat, I have overall a much more negative view of Gulf Arabs now than I did before. I think that’s true of most of the other academics I know.

    Also I was friends once with a renegade Arab princess. The horror stories she told me were hair-raising – child rape, casual murder (one fellow girl pupil killed in the classroom in front of her, by the female teacher!) – and she told them in a ‘this is bad’ way, but not really with recognition of how unbelievably appalling they were.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Simon in London

    Around 1975, Rice U. came up with the bright idea of admitting a bunch of Saudi princelings. But because their academic background was so poor, Rice decided to bring them over for some remedial courses in summer first. Then an administrator came up with the bright idea of having each Saudi student room with one of the only other group on campus during Houston's summers: football players in training.

    That experiment only lasted one year.

  52. @MC
    "Unfortunately, judging by the rise of ISIS there’s not much evidence that the Sunnis are on a similar trajectory."

    You know what's hilarious? When I was in elementary school, our textbooks said that the main difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam was that Shiites were more militaristic and extreme in their religious views. That was back when Iran was the only Muslim country that anyone regarded as evil, of course. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Osama Bin Laden was a Sunni.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @SFG, @Ivan, @dumpstersquirrel, @Erik Sieven, @Hapalong Cassidy

    in a way Shiites are more extreme in their religious views I think. For example when getting attacked with chemical weapons by Iraq the leadership of Iran refused to answer with chemical weapons, as they thought that this was against their religious principles.

    • Replies: @Thea
    @Erik Sieven

    That may have not been a Shiite principle as much as Khomeini. He was a man who deeply loved and wanted the best for those he perceived to be his people. I know he was treated as the second worst human ever after Hitler but he actually had a kind and thoughtful mind.

  53. @Dave Pinsen
    @Steve Sailer

    On Twitter, there are old pics of women in Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran in Western dress in the 1960s. Of course, the hardcore Muslims were always there, but the big change is the one you mentioned in your Taki article: the huge increase in population thanks to Western tech and medicine (e.g., Norman Borlaug's Green Revolution in agriculture). So, the nutters outbred the seculars, and some of the seculars fled the Muslim world decades ago.

    Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome

    On Twitter, there are old pics of women in Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran in Western dress in the 1960s.

    LOL, they’re wearing 1960s Mad Men type clothes. To a circa 2015 Westerner that’s just as beyond the pale as Muslim outfits.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Hippopotamusdrome

    James Michener's 1963 novel "Caravan" is about Afghanistan. The first chapter is great: it's all about a diplomatic crisis because the Prime Minister's granddaughters are going on dates with two Marine guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and the furious holy men want to kill them. It's kind of Waughish. After that though, Michener's character just hangs out with various progressive Moderate Muslims talking about how science education and Islam aren't incompatible, and the book kind of drags. I mean I wish the kind of reasonable people Michener liked to write about had prevailed in Afghanistan, but from an artistic standpoint, the kind of unreasonable characters Waugh liked to write about are more fun.

  54. @Ivan
    @MC

    V S Naipaul in his book - Among the Believers - written around time of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, wrote that Shiite radicalism is a lot less worse than Sunni radicalism. Shiites tend to be more reasonable and tolerant than the Sunnis on average, since they themselves are considered outcast among theologically inclined Muslims. The reason why more Americans do not know this has - as anything to do with understanding the Middle East - more to do with the slant that the Israeli Firsters impose on anything to do with Muslims and Arabs.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Saudi money helps the Sunni image too.

    I like to imagine that deep in the vault of a Swiss bank is a manuscript entitled “The Memoirs of Prince Bandar: My Years in Washington as the Saudi Paymaster” with a letter to his estate’s lawyer triggering its publication if he happens to die at any age before 99.

    • Replies: @Ivan
    @Steve Sailer

    Very true, Sailer. The madrassas all over the world that preach hatred of the kaffir are in the main dependent on Saudi money or were at one time. Yet the USA oblivious of this treats the Saudis as valued allies from another chivalric era with a quaint dressing style. This is the main reason why nobody takes the US seriously when it claims to be challenging Islamic fundamentalism, since the greatest sponsors of it for the past 35 years have been its own allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan with, now it appears Turkey.

    , @Dave Pinsen
    @Steve Sailer

    Conflict with Iran and Hezbollah has something to do with it to (e.g., takeover of the US embassy in Teheran, destruction of the Marine barracks in Beirut by Hezbollah and/or Iran, Operation Earnest Will). I remember Johnny Carson had a bit in the '80s where he showed some messy looking pizza or something and called it "Shiite on a shingle" and got loud cheers from his studio audience.

  55. @Glossy
    until he rebelled and moved to Chicago to be a race activist in 1985, he was on a predictable career path toward being employed as a specialist in international relations.

    Yet he knows no foreign languages. America is the only country on earth where one can be an expert in international relations without knowing any languages, any history, any geography or anything about international relations.

    but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.

    I disagree. Obama has stood up to the neocons more than any previous president. All of his likely successors (unfortunately a Trump administration is unlikely) will be more beholden to the neocons than Obama is. What his administration did in Lybia and Syria was bad, but McCain, Romney and Hillary would have done much worse. They would have probably bombed and destabilized Iran too by now.

    Obama has an aversion to using US ground troops. Why? Probably for the same reason that Colin Powell opposed the 2003 Iraq Attaq behind closed doors. What's in it for Blacks? Only flag-draped corpses. And they're right about that.

    The Iran deal, the Hagel apointment and other things show that Obama sees through the neocons a little. They hate him because he hasn't advanced their priorities as much as they would have liked. Unless Trump wins, and as I said, I don't think he will, there will be a massive increase in US troop presense in the Middle East during the next administration. There will be more wars. Saudi Arabia hasn't been destabilized yet. There's no war in Egypt or Turkey at the moment. Things can get a lot worse than this.

    Replies: @Jack Hanson, @Jim Don Bob

    “Trump…beholden to neocons”.

    lmbo okay got it I can ignore anything else you say.

    • Replies: @Shine a Light
    @Jack Hanson

    I didn't read his comment that way at all. He seemed to be clear that Trump was the only candidate who is NOT beholden to neocons. His last paragraph reinforces this reading.

    , @donut
    @Jack Hanson

    Yeah , that's the way I read it too .

    , @Hunsdon
    @Jack Hanson

    What them other fellows said. Reading is fundamental.

    Replies: @Jack Hanson

  56. @Hippopotamusdrome
    @Dave Pinsen



    On Twitter, there are old pics of women in Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran in Western dress in the 1960s.

     

    LOL, they're wearing 1960s Mad Men type clothes. To a circa 2015 Westerner that's just as beyond the pale as Muslim outfits.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    James Michener’s 1963 novel “Caravan” is about Afghanistan. The first chapter is great: it’s all about a diplomatic crisis because the Prime Minister’s granddaughters are going on dates with two Marine guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and the furious holy men want to kill them. It’s kind of Waughish. After that though, Michener’s character just hangs out with various progressive Moderate Muslims talking about how science education and Islam aren’t incompatible, and the book kind of drags. I mean I wish the kind of reasonable people Michener liked to write about had prevailed in Afghanistan, but from an artistic standpoint, the kind of unreasonable characters Waugh liked to write about are more fun.

  57. @Steve Sailer
    @Ivan

    Saudi money helps the Sunni image too.

    I like to imagine that deep in the vault of a Swiss bank is a manuscript entitled "The Memoirs of Prince Bandar: My Years in Washington as the Saudi Paymaster" with a letter to his estate's lawyer triggering its publication if he happens to die at any age before 99.

    Replies: @Ivan, @Dave Pinsen

    Very true, Sailer. The madrassas all over the world that preach hatred of the kaffir are in the main dependent on Saudi money or were at one time. Yet the USA oblivious of this treats the Saudis as valued allies from another chivalric era with a quaint dressing style. This is the main reason why nobody takes the US seriously when it claims to be challenging Islamic fundamentalism, since the greatest sponsors of it for the past 35 years have been its own allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan with, now it appears Turkey.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
  58. @Jack Hanson
    @Glossy

    "Trump...beholden to neocons".

    lmbo okay got it I can ignore anything else you say.

    Replies: @Shine a Light, @donut, @Hunsdon

    I didn’t read his comment that way at all. He seemed to be clear that Trump was the only candidate who is NOT beholden to neocons. His last paragraph reinforces this reading.

  59. @Steve Sailer
    @Ivan

    Saudi money helps the Sunni image too.

    I like to imagine that deep in the vault of a Swiss bank is a manuscript entitled "The Memoirs of Prince Bandar: My Years in Washington as the Saudi Paymaster" with a letter to his estate's lawyer triggering its publication if he happens to die at any age before 99.

    Replies: @Ivan, @Dave Pinsen

    Conflict with Iran and Hezbollah has something to do with it to (e.g., takeover of the US embassy in Teheran, destruction of the Marine barracks in Beirut by Hezbollah and/or Iran, Operation Earnest Will). I remember Johnny Carson had a bit in the ’80s where he showed some messy looking pizza or something and called it “Shiite on a shingle” and got loud cheers from his studio audience.

  60. Alawites are mountain men, like the Chechens:

    To find popular support for the embattled regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, look to the mountains, valleys and coastal cities of the country’s western region. It is the Alawite heartland—the traditional home of the religious minority to which Mr. Assad and many of his key associates belong. Syria’s Alawites: The People Behind Assad

    They’re also reminiscent of another group that marks much more of a mark on the world than its numbers might lead one to expect:

    For many centuries, the ‘Alawis were the weakest, poorest, most rural, most despised, and most backward people of Syria. In recent years, however, they have transformed themselves into the ruling elite of Damascus. Now, ‘Alawis dominate the government, hold key military positions, enjoy a disproportionate share of the educational resources, and are becoming wealthy. How did this dramatic change occur? When did the ‘Alawi manage to escape their traditional confines, and what was the mechanism of their rise? The Alawi Capture of Power in Syria

    • Replies: @IHTG
    @Tregon

    Mountain men? Perhaps to some extent, but their position as "coastal elites" also makes them similar to Lebanese Christians.

    The real mountain men of the Levant are the Druze.

    Replies: @Tregon

  61. @Simon in London
    @Chip Harding

    "I guess his excuse is growing up knowing gulf petro-princelings. I had a girlfriend who went to school in England with some of those types, and she was and remains incapable of understanding that Islam really isn’t fundamentally very nice."

    That seems odd to me. I've taught a bunch of Saudi princelings and non-prince elites, and while a few worked and didn't cheat, I have overall a much more negative view of Gulf Arabs now than I did before. I think that's true of most of the other academics I know.

    Also I was friends once with a renegade Arab princess. The horror stories she told me were hair-raising - child rape, casual murder (one fellow girl pupil killed in the classroom in front of her, by the female teacher!) - and she told them in a 'this is bad' way, but not really with recognition of how unbelievably appalling they were.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Around 1975, Rice U. came up with the bright idea of admitting a bunch of Saudi princelings. But because their academic background was so poor, Rice decided to bring them over for some remedial courses in summer first. Then an administrator came up with the bright idea of having each Saudi student room with one of the only other group on campus during Houston’s summers: football players in training.

    That experiment only lasted one year.

  62. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @oh its just me

    but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria
     
    you think he made that call? the Lobby and inner party have been pushing for that for years.
    If you remember PNAC, that was the plan after Iraq- PNAC has actually been 'succeeding', israel has been able to expand in the west bank like crazy and no one gives a damn and its opposition is in chaos.

    Replies: @nglaer, @Hunsdon, @Anonymous

    You talk about the west bank like it’s the continent of Asia.

    We are a little country and the teeny tiny West Bank is part of what we consider to be our little country.

    There is no reason for anyone on earth with the possible exception perhaps of our closest neighbors to have any knowledge whatsoever regarding our teeny tiny country and our small territory was in it that you call the West Bank.

    Surrender your sickly little fetish for all things Joo and you’ll be able to sleep without nightmares of another four families moving into “THE West Bank”.

    Due to the fact that you obviously haven’t been able to find a map online in the past couple of decades I assume you won’t find one now, so I’ll inform you that the West Bank is smaller than your state. A LOT smaller. Like unimaginably smaller.

    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    @Anonymous

    There are doubtless sites where the "Joo" spelling is preferred (perhaps in all caps, even), but I've never thought this was one. Three thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax, you can do better than that.

    Replies: @IBC

    , @Svigor
    @Anonymous

    Mmm, maybe you guys should have thought about that before jumping into bed with American Jewry. They aren't minding their own business, I assure you.

    That's how the world works - meddle in other people's affairs for long enough, and eventually they start meddling in yours.

    Get used to it.

  63. @Tregon
    Alawites are mountain men, like the Chechens:


    To find popular support for the embattled regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, look to the mountains, valleys and coastal cities of the country’s western region. It is the Alawite heartland—the traditional home of the religious minority to which Mr. Assad and many of his key associates belong. Syria’s Alawites: The People Behind Assad

     

    They're also reminiscent of another group that marks much more of a mark on the world than its numbers might lead one to expect:


    For many centuries, the 'Alawis were the weakest, poorest, most rural, most despised, and most backward people of Syria. In recent years, however, they have transformed themselves into the ruling elite of Damascus. Now, 'Alawis dominate the government, hold key military positions, enjoy a disproportionate share of the educational resources, and are becoming wealthy. How did this dramatic change occur? When did the 'Alawi manage to escape their traditional confines, and what was the mechanism of their rise? The Alawi Capture of Power in Syria

     

    Replies: @IHTG

    Mountain men? Perhaps to some extent, but their position as “coastal elites” also makes them similar to Lebanese Christians.

    The real mountain men of the Levant are the Druze.

    • Replies: @Tregon
    @IHTG

    The real mountain men of the Levant are the Druze.

    No, no, no! As I clearly stated: the only mountain men in Syria are the Alawites. Otherwise (obviously) my point about their similarity to the Chechens falls apart.

    The "Druze" are a MOSSAD psy-ops dating from the 1920s (think: what does that name rhyme with, hmmm?) Indeed, the Chechens are also Alawites. As was Kim Jong-Il in North Korea. Why do you think he wore platform shoes? He was pining for the Syrian mountains.

  64. @E. Harding
    @H2

    I'd be very surprised if that actually happened, but that old allegation certainly turned out to have a huge grain of truth to it. :-) Surely, he hasn't made much effort to placate atheists during his presidency. And his long interaction with Jeremiah Wright makes it unlikely he' s any kind of Muslim. But, surely, his recent "arm-every-rebel-against-a-resurgent-Assad" policy, as well as his selective involvement and lack of involvement in Libya, 2011-today make it clear that he's perfectly okay with the expansion of militant Islam.

    Replies: @TheJester

    A different take is that Obama’s long relationship with Jeremiah Wright is evidence of Obama’s long-standing hostility toward Western civilization and Christianity … something that has slowly come to light in Obama’s domestic and foreign policies. Black extremists, who share the same views, were a safer political cover than radical Islam at the time.

    Obama has proved a master of social pretense and illusion throughout his life … the kind of things homosexuals used to do to mask their sexual orientation. In the current free-for-all “freak show” we call American society, the pretense and illusions are no longer politically or socially necessary. With the masks removed, Obama is openly pressing his Islamic-friendly agenda, something that was there all the time if we had known how to read the evidence.

    • Replies: @E. Harding
    @TheJester

    But Wright is Christian. Not sure what Obama's attitude towards Western Civilization is, though he clearly has a significant degree of half-made-up racial tribalism.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  65. @Jack Hanson
    @Glossy

    "Trump...beholden to neocons".

    lmbo okay got it I can ignore anything else you say.

    Replies: @Shine a Light, @donut, @Hunsdon

    Yeah , that’s the way I read it too .

  66. ISIS cannot be discussed in isolation of Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. All these states support ISIS in some way and it would not exist without them. So if you want to discuss ISIS, discuss who drives those regimes.

  67. @MC
    "Unfortunately, judging by the rise of ISIS there’s not much evidence that the Sunnis are on a similar trajectory."

    You know what's hilarious? When I was in elementary school, our textbooks said that the main difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam was that Shiites were more militaristic and extreme in their religious views. That was back when Iran was the only Muslim country that anyone regarded as evil, of course. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Osama Bin Laden was a Sunni.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @SFG, @Ivan, @dumpstersquirrel, @Erik Sieven, @Hapalong Cassidy

    During the Iran-Iraq war, I remember news stories about how the Iranians would send little kids out into the battlefield to detonate mines. That cemented in my young impressionable mind that the Shiites were the crazy ones. In retrospect, I now wonder if those reports were exaggerated or even totally fabricated.

    Another incident that promoted the Shiites-are-Crazy viewpoint was Khomenei issuing a fatwa on Salman Rushdie. Can’t argue about the craziness of that, but Khomeini’s unique brand of crazy seemed to die along with him. Since then, Iran has been steadily more stable and peaceful it seems.

    It seems to me that Iran is considered an enemy of the US for one reason only: they support Hezbollah, and Hezbollah is an enemy of Israel. Hezbollah is hardly an existential threat to Israel, but they are the only Arab group to have ever gotten the better of Israel on the battlefield, successfully driving them out of Lebanon. I’m sure this must be a source of wounded pride for the Israelis.

    Of course I guess that some Americans may not like Iran because they think we never got payback for that hostage incident.

    • Replies: @random observer
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    Iran did seem to calm down when Khomeini died, but what was crazy about the fatwa against Rushdie?

    Khomeini considered Rushdie a serious ideological opponent on the strength of that book and, whether or not right, he acted. Doing so stirred up some support for Iran where he wanted support and scared and or irritated people whose opinion Khomeini couldn't have cared less about and whose fear arguably benefited his regime. And it's not clear it cost Iran anything he wanted for it, and cost him nothing at all. Not even clear that he needed Rushdie actually to get killed. He managed to throw down the marker either way.

    The religious content and fire and brimstone gave it a lot more style than that of secular regimes, but the Soviets assassinated or caused to be assassinated many of their regime's opponents, and the US does not have clean hands either.

    , @Ivan
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    The stories about the Iranian Basanj tricking young children as in a kind of "Children's Crusade" to clear mines appear to be true, thou I am not sure of the extent of it. In the 80s I knew a few Iranians who became disillusioned by the Islamic Revolution, when they found that while the children of the clerics and the new nomenclatura managed to avoid being drafted, those with no connections went on to die in the hundreds of thousands. This prompted a second wave of emigration of those who were able. The first was of those connected to the Shah's regime.

    Khomenei picked up the scent on Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses believe it or not after India banned his novel from being sold in India. Rushdie was from Bombay, and the busybody Muslims there were up to their trouble-making ways. There was no way the Iranians would have picked this up, had it not been for some Muslims in Bombay. Khomenei ran with it, as at that time there was an emerging strategy that the Shias should steal the mantle of "true Islam" from the Saudis by being more extreme than them, in an attempt to become the leader of the Islamic world.

    The same imperative, led the Iranians to bait the Israelis in Lebanon and all over the world including their involvement in the cruel bombing of the Jews in Argentina. After their sobering experience in Lebanon, almost all Israelis had wanted some quite. But this was not be, as the Iranians sought to ensnare Israel in their stupid schemes to be the leaders of the Islamic world. It appears to all water under the bridge now, but the Iranians are not the upright lions they pretend to be either.

  68. @Glossy
    until he rebelled and moved to Chicago to be a race activist in 1985, he was on a predictable career path toward being employed as a specialist in international relations.

    Yet he knows no foreign languages. America is the only country on earth where one can be an expert in international relations without knowing any languages, any history, any geography or anything about international relations.

    but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.

    I disagree. Obama has stood up to the neocons more than any previous president. All of his likely successors (unfortunately a Trump administration is unlikely) will be more beholden to the neocons than Obama is. What his administration did in Lybia and Syria was bad, but McCain, Romney and Hillary would have done much worse. They would have probably bombed and destabilized Iran too by now.

    Obama has an aversion to using US ground troops. Why? Probably for the same reason that Colin Powell opposed the 2003 Iraq Attaq behind closed doors. What's in it for Blacks? Only flag-draped corpses. And they're right about that.

    The Iran deal, the Hagel apointment and other things show that Obama sees through the neocons a little. They hate him because he hasn't advanced their priorities as much as they would have liked. Unless Trump wins, and as I said, I don't think he will, there will be a massive increase in US troop presense in the Middle East during the next administration. There will be more wars. Saudi Arabia hasn't been destabilized yet. There's no war in Egypt or Turkey at the moment. Things can get a lot worse than this.

    Replies: @Jack Hanson, @Jim Don Bob

    Whites did most of the dying in the recent wars. There are not very many blacks in combat arms.

    • Replies: @Glossy
    @Jim Don Bob

    Yes. But White politicians aren't allowed to be racially conscious. Black ones are. And I think that is the reason why Obama has an aversion to using US ground troops in neocon wars. He's likely asked himself the question "what's in it for Blacks?" Romney wouldn't have asked himself "what's in it for Whites?" The answer to both questions is "nothing good", and you're correct in saying that the bulk of the casualties is born by Whites, but since only Obama is likely to ask himself that kind of a question, his foreign policy ended up being less bad than Romney's, McCain's or Hillary's would have been.

  69. @Jack Hanson
    @Glossy

    "Trump...beholden to neocons".

    lmbo okay got it I can ignore anything else you say.

    Replies: @Shine a Light, @donut, @Hunsdon

    What them other fellows said. Reading is fundamental.

    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    @Hunsdon

    If I was wrong I was wrong.

  70. @Erik Sieven
    @MC

    in a way Shiites are more extreme in their religious views I think. For example when getting attacked with chemical weapons by Iraq the leadership of Iran refused to answer with chemical weapons, as they thought that this was against their religious principles.

    Replies: @Thea

    That may have not been a Shiite principle as much as Khomeini. He was a man who deeply loved and wanted the best for those he perceived to be his people. I know he was treated as the second worst human ever after Hitler but he actually had a kind and thoughtful mind.

  71. @Anonymous
    @oh its just me

    You talk about the west bank like it's the continent of Asia.

    We are a little country and the teeny tiny West Bank is part of what we consider to be our little country.

    There is no reason for anyone on earth with the possible exception perhaps of our closest neighbors to have any knowledge whatsoever regarding our teeny tiny country and our small territory was in it that you call the West Bank.

    Surrender your sickly little fetish for all things Joo and you'll be able to sleep without nightmares of another four families moving into "THE West Bank".

    Due to the fact that you obviously haven't been able to find a map online in the past couple of decades I assume you won't find one now, so I'll inform you that the West Bank is smaller than your state. A LOT smaller. Like unimaginably smaller.

    Replies: @Hunsdon, @Svigor

    There are doubtless sites where the “Joo” spelling is preferred (perhaps in all caps, even), but I’ve never thought this was one. Three thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax, you can do better than that.

    • Replies: @IBC
    @Hunsdon

    According to the Urban Dictionary, "Joo" originates from a clip on South Park where Cartman yells out "Someone here is a J-O-O!" So I guess the joke is that Cartman's knowledge of "the Jews" is about as reliable as his spelling. If that's the right etymology, it's amazing that "Joo" turns up as often as it does here on iSteve where it seems to be most popular with commenters who themselves are Jewish and seem to use it (sans hyphens) as a device to imply antisemitism. Who would have guessed? But it looks like Bea Arthur wasn't the only elderly Jewish person to regularly watch that show.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Joo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkFHP57l-K8

  72. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Portlander
    Like you've said so many times before, Steve, Obama has always been perfectly forthcoming; it's just the media is always at pains not to ask Obama any questions they don't want the American people to hear the answer to.


    In case the link doesn't embed: https://youtu.be/ZM9I1AGtgU0

    Obama clearly and plainly using "we" referring to Muslims.

    Replies: @Anon, @nglaer

    I still believe he and his wife will come out as Muslim near or after the end of his presidency. It will give them a platform to become even more famous and influential than they are now. They will attempt to convince millions of Blacks to convert to their moderate form of Islam.

  73. @Lugash
    @H2

    I don't think Obama calls the shots on American foreign policy. All of the foreign policy disasters on his watch seem to have originated out of the State Department, with likely CIA involvement. Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Mexican gun running all have the deep state stink about them. I doubt Obama even gets the memos, or knows that he should. He knows he's CinC, so he gets to say 'no boots on the ground'.

    In the 1980s, did any American patriot think that a Russian-Iranian-Hezboallah coalition would be the least awful side to pick?

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Ivan, @LondonBob

    Obama is a weak guy with no leadership experience, led around by the nose. Actually think his instincts are decent, and lets remember it could have been McInsane.

  74. @Chiron
    @nglaer

    The jews regained their control of France after Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy is a crypto-jew and Hollande is controlled by his Prime-Minister Manuel Valls who is married to a jewish-woman from a Zionist background.

    Replies: @LondonBob

    Yes I find the very obvious ethnic conflict in the elite of France fascinating, not sure I understand it though. Then you add in France’s Russophile nature and historic hostility to NATO and it can result in some odd foreign policy changes.

  75. @Anonymous
    @Lugash


    In the 1980s, did any American patriot think that a Russian-Iranian-Hezboallah coalition would be the least awful side to pick?
     
    Do you think geopolitics and foreign policy should be conducted according to how 12 year old girls feel - one side seems really mean and scary, so let's back the other side?

    Replies: @random observer

    Word.

    But let’s be fair. 12 year old boys would be stupid on such questions as well. In my experience, my own youth included, they are all about “good guys” and “bad guys” and, worse, assume these rare categories are both universal and static over time. Just watch young boys of today try to fathom the news based on their video game knowledge.

    Ideas like:

    don’t pick a side, good or bad, unless you have skin, and then only pick the side that more likely works to your own gain; better to let other people kill each other than meddle in their business, unless it’s also your business; sometimes it’s helpful to back both so the war lasts longer; and it’s OK to switch horses if you must, just don’t do it so often you confuse potential tools [“partners”] and lose your street cred;

    never occur to them. Unless they also get old-style playground experience, and even then the pubescent moralism never goes away entirely.

    • Replies: @tbraton
    @random observer

    "Unless they also get old-style playground experience"

    You can't believe how many times I have made the same point in internet postings over the years and gotten quizzical responses. You don't know how happy I am to run across the only other person in America who spent any time on a playground when he was growing up.

    Replies: @random observer

    , @NOTA
    @random observer

    Helping your kids learn to think more deeply about what's in the news than the obvious media lines or partisan lines is part of your job as a parent.

    Replies: @Ivy

  76. @WhatEvvs
    Apologies for the OT question....but did Woodrow Wilson really "segregate the Federal Civil Service" as he is being accused of doing, or did he just get rid of a lot of Republican patronage jobs, which would have affected blacks (actually, mulattos) disproportionately?

    Replies: @tbraton

    I think it is generally acknowledged that Woodrow Wilson introduced “Jim Crow” into the federal government, where it didn’t exist before under largely Republican administrations that dominated the federal government following the Civil War. In his acclaimed biography of Woodrow Wilson, A. Scott Berg states on page 12 that “His administration instituted segregation—“Jim Crow” laws—in Washington, D.C.”

    PBS has a website dealing with a program it ran titled “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow” where it states:

    “In 1912 Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate for president, promised fairness and justice for blacks if elected. In a letter to a black church official, Wilson wrote, “Should I become President of the United States they may count upon me for absolute fair dealing for everything by which I could assist in advancing their interests of the race.” But after the election, Wilson changed his tune. He dismissed 15 out of 17 black supervisors who had been previously appointed to federal jobs and replaced them with whites. He also refused to appoint black ambassadors to Haiti and Santa Domingo, posts traditionally awarded to African Americans. Two of Wilson’s cabinet ministers, Postmaster General Albert Burelson and Treasury Secretary William McAdoo, both Southerners, issued orders segregating their departments. Throughout the country, blacks were segregated or dismissed from federal positions. In Georgia, the head of the Internal Revenue division fired all black employees: “There are no government positions for Negroes in the South. A Negro’s place in the corn field.” He said. The President’s wife, Ellen Wilson, was said to have had a hand in segregating employees in Washington, encouraging department chiefs to assign blacks separate working, eating, and toilet facilities. To justify segregation, officials publicized complaints by white women, who were thought to be threatened by black men’s sexuality and disease.” http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_events_segregation.html

    William McAdoo, alluded to above, who served as Wilson’s Secretary of Treasury, married one of Wilson’s daughters following the death of his first wife two years earlier. He was born in Georgia, but he later moved with his family to Tennesse. He managed Wilson’s campaign in 1912. He became a leading contender for the Democratic nomination for President in the 1920 election, losing to James Cox (running mate, one Franklin Delano Roosevelt), and in the 1924 election, losing to John W. Davis.

  77. @E. Harding
    "So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria."

    -As you know, I consider the President to be extremely astute (somewhat more so than Putin, who prefers more blunt, direct, obvious interventions which make more show, but are limited precisely by this directness) at foreign policy, so I consider all these supposed "bad calls" to fit into some sort of grand plan, probably one involving the end of independent Iranian influence in the Fertile Crescent, or, in the rest of the Middle East, any influence independent of the U.S. (e.g., Gaddafi, Houthis).

    "and its replacement by Moderate Islam, an outdated delusion of the Obama-Dunham-Soetoro clan."

    -Didn't Obama say a Syrian moderate Islamist rebel victory has “always been a fantasy. This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.”?

    I'm telling, man, study Obama's interviews; e.g.,

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/opinion/president-obama-thomas-l-friedman-iraq-and-world-affairs.html

    and

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-obama-60-minutes-syria-isis-2016-presidential-race/

    You will find an extremely astute and sadistic man; a veritable destroyer of nations very much conscious of his decisions.

    Replies: @pyrrhus, @Clyde

    -As you know, I consider the President to be extremely astute (somewhat more so than Putin, who prefers more blunt, direct, obvious interventions which make more show, but are limited precisely by this directness) at foreign policy, so I consider all these supposed “bad calls” to fit into some sort of grand plan, probably one involving the end of independent Iranian influence in the Fertile Crescent, or, in the rest of the Middle East, any influence independent of the U.S. (e.g., Gaddafi, Houthis).

    Obama is not astute on the Middle East and foreign policy. He uses the language that an astute high IQ person uses and this fooled you. I read one of your links. Democrats despise having to deal with foreign policy so they never spend time to inform themselves. Dems love domestic policy AKA vote buying. They love squandering Federal money on building larger liberal affirmative action bureaucracies such as EPA and Department of Education, on their numerous constituencies racial, ethnic and otherwise, and on race based NGOs, all of which buys votes to stay in office.

    In the last six years our foreign policy has catered to the wealthy Sunni oil producers then changed to cater to Shiite Iran, leading to the Obama/Kerry lifting the sanctions hobbling the fundamentalist Ayatollahs.
    My take is that this does not come from any kind of deep thinker Obama. He is lazy. But that most of our foreign policy comes from State Department leftist lifers and Obama regime appointees. Plus Iranian born, oriental looking, Valerie Jarret who is Obama’s brains on many matters. She is mostly responsible for our veering towards Shiite Iran, where in addition to removing sanctions we gave Iran a 150 billion dollar signing bonus.

    Aside from America,the European submitters (to Islam) are 50% behind this evil defacto treaty with Iran. John Kerry loved organizing this pan European-American cave in to Iran. Hobnobbing around Europe for months, engaging their leaders is what he lives for. Yes, he is a Dem who is interested in foreign policy.

  78. @random observer
    @Anonymous

    Word.

    But let's be fair. 12 year old boys would be stupid on such questions as well. In my experience, my own youth included, they are all about "good guys" and "bad guys" and, worse, assume these rare categories are both universal and static over time. Just watch young boys of today try to fathom the news based on their video game knowledge.

    Ideas like:

    don't pick a side, good or bad, unless you have skin, and then only pick the side that more likely works to your own gain; better to let other people kill each other than meddle in their business, unless it's also your business; sometimes it's helpful to back both so the war lasts longer; and it's OK to switch horses if you must, just don't do it so often you confuse potential tools ["partners"] and lose your street cred;

    never occur to them. Unless they also get old-style playground experience, and even then the pubescent moralism never goes away entirely.

    Replies: @tbraton, @NOTA

    “Unless they also get old-style playground experience”

    You can’t believe how many times I have made the same point in internet postings over the years and gotten quizzical responses. You don’t know how happy I am to run across the only other person in America who spent any time on a playground when he was growing up.

    • Replies: @random observer
    @tbraton

    Well, I don't deserve too much credit. I'm in Canada and I'm 45 years old, so it was a moderately gentle, suburban Torontonian schoolyard in the 1970s and early 1980s.

    Still, I had some troubles and learned to mind my own business. I was fortunate enough that my business, as I saw it, rarely overlapped with anyone else's, and most agreed with me. It was a good way to get on. I was a fairly academic kid anyway. I had no reason to pick fights and usually didn't draw much attention.

    On the other hand, I was also cool with a couple of tougher guys who didn't care to see me or any other kids pushed around for no apparent reason, and that helped.

    It's tough to draw policy conclusions from all that experience, come to think.

    But you get some insight into human types and behaviours at least.

  79. @ikram
    You say he is a Muslimist, not Arabist. Expert in the non Arab Muslim world.

    Then why would he have any expertise in Syria, an arab country?

    By your own arguments, we expect Obama's foriegn Policy to work best in non Arab Muslim countries.

    And if you look at Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran or Nigeria, things are a lot better than in the bush years.

    So Obama doesn't care about Arabs. He has that in common with many Americans. (And it is the opposite of bush policy.)

    Replies: @random observer

    Iran, arguably yes. The nuclear deal was ultimately the wiser policy. Although it’s early days and better relations probably have more to do with opportunistic collaboration in Iraq and Syria than with the nuclear deal. But then these things are all broadly more to Iran’s advantage than America’s [certainly in the case of Iraq and Syria; at least short-term wrt the nuclear deal. The latter issue was going to come to a head before a bomb was finished and Iran needed some sanctions relief asap].

    Indonesia- not so clear. And not so clear American policy had that much to do with it. Terrorism spiked in the early 2000s and started to decline, or at least go into a rebuilding phase, after that. Don’t see how much improvement there has been since 2009 that was not already well in hand before it.

    Pakistan- certainly more scope for American policy to have an impact given Afghanistan. But Pakistan is still angling to gain from US drawdowns, still playing all sides, still fighting civil war and insurgency across most of its own soil, still screwing around in its relations with India, and still can’t be trusted to live up to any commitments. No improvement at all, really. More democratic, perhaps, in that loose fitting Pakistani sense, but even that trend predates Big O.

    Nigeria- seems to be getting better with a more serious president. And I know too little to say how American policy might be helping him or not. But bear in mind that the entire arc of the Boko Haram war has taken place during Obama’s presidency, so I am not sure to what degree it can be used as a Bush/Obama point of comparison. Similarly north and west Africa has gotten much worse since 2009, and that has been having some spillover effects in Nigeria as well.

    Entirely agree with your last sentiment- if that is true, praise is due to him.

  80. But it’s rather like the new-fangled Barack Obama sense of the Democratic Party that emphasizes minority rights.

    LOL. Actually, no. You love numbers Steve so how about getting honest about US demogrraphics.

    Obama got 50+ % of US voters…………TWICE!!!

    That makes him and not you or people who visit UNZ or Vdare etc. part of America’s new and permanent CORE.

    Again, Steve you live in LA. Get out of your wife’s hose, look around. YOU are a minority, your political views are even more on the fringe.

    The 50’s are gone, your Dad and his generation are mostly gone. It’s over. Embrace your fringe status honestly.

    White people are increasingly the Alawites of America.

    • Replies: @random observer
    @Rifleman

    The Alawites didn't build their country out of nothing like white Americans built theirs.

    If you want a Syria analogy, white Americans are the conglomeration of Assyro-Babylonian-Aramaic Semites and Greeks, practicing variants of Christianity and all to one degree or another descended from the recorded inhabitants 1500 years earlier [even the Greeks were intermarried], divided against themselves though they were, and who were established in Syria at the start of the summer of 634.

    At least the Arabs had the courtesy to bring an army and conquer the place before flooding it with their own clansmen and usurping the state. It's much less irritating when the conqueror actually puts in the work.

    Come to think, if you will entertain the notion of Lebanon as part of geographic Syria for a moment, the analogy for white America is the Maronites. People practicing the culture that was there first and is still there clinging on as a minority, too factionalized to get it together on the same side. Note how the other populations of Lebanon hate each other fully as much as they hate the Christians. Which of Black and Hispanic Americans will be the Sunnis, and which the Shia? I can't see either group putting together anything as kick-ass organized as Hezbollah or ISIS.

    Other points:

    I trust you are aware that 'core' and 'majority' are obviously different concepts. Also, whites are still a majority. They'll be the core doing all the work for a while even after that changes. The Asians can't pick up all that slack at once. There aren't enough of them yet.

    Replies: @Rifleman

  81. @SFG
    @MC

    Yeah. One of the nice things about the Internet is you can get alternate views to whatever line they're trying to push.

    An Iranian guy I knew tried to convince me the Shiites were the less crazy bunch because they had bargained it down to three times a day. He was actually a pretty sane and reasonable guy who thought (understandably given where he was from) that religion was just an excuse to control people.

    There are actually a lot of Iranians who look back to the pre-Islamic culture of Iran (which goes way back--they were trading spears with the Greeks, if you remember) and would like it to be a modern, quasi-Western country. I feel bad for them.

    What little I've found seems to indicate the Shiite-Sunni split is really one of these splits that goes way back and gets ethnic divisions layered on top of it through the vicissitudes of history. It's like asking whether Catholics or Protestants are more extreme. Where? At what time in history? On what issue (alcohol? abortion?) Are you comparing the Catholics to fundamentalist Baptists, or to Unitarians?

    (Apparently Iran is Shia because Ismail I wanted to fight off the Ottoman Turks in the sixteenth century.)

    Replies: @Chrisnonymous

    They don’t just look back. My mother knows the wife of an exiled Iranian general. She identifies as a Zoroastrian.

    • Replies: @Seth Largo
    @Chrisnonymous

    All the L.A.-area Iranians I've known seem to have an identity better described as "Persian" than "Iranian." Probably has to do with the fact that their fellow Iranians would have had them hanging from a crane if they hadn't fled the revolution.

  82. @Anonymous
    @oh its just me

    You talk about the west bank like it's the continent of Asia.

    We are a little country and the teeny tiny West Bank is part of what we consider to be our little country.

    There is no reason for anyone on earth with the possible exception perhaps of our closest neighbors to have any knowledge whatsoever regarding our teeny tiny country and our small territory was in it that you call the West Bank.

    Surrender your sickly little fetish for all things Joo and you'll be able to sleep without nightmares of another four families moving into "THE West Bank".

    Due to the fact that you obviously haven't been able to find a map online in the past couple of decades I assume you won't find one now, so I'll inform you that the West Bank is smaller than your state. A LOT smaller. Like unimaginably smaller.

    Replies: @Hunsdon, @Svigor

    Mmm, maybe you guys should have thought about that before jumping into bed with American Jewry. They aren’t minding their own business, I assure you.

    That’s how the world works – meddle in other people’s affairs for long enough, and eventually they start meddling in yours.

    Get used to it.

  83. @Simon in London
    @Hepp

    Agreed. Re "So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria" - no, Syria is really bad, so was Libya, they screwed up Egypt too (not to mention Ukraine). But GW Bush invading Iraq was worse.

    Of course the primary impetus for all this comes from the Kagan/Power types. Obama himself didn't decide to destroy Syria or launch a coup in Ukraine, the policy was set for him.

    Replies: @tbraton

    “Of course the primary impetus for all this comes from the Kagan/Power types. Obama himself didn’t decide to destroy Syria or launch a coup in Ukraine, the policy was set for him.”

    Well, he did have SOD Robert Gates arguing against any involvement in Libya’s civil war since the U.S. “had no vital national interests in Libya,” and then he had Susan Rice, Samantha Power and, of course, SOS Hillary Clinton arguing that the U.S. had to get involved in Libya on “humanitarian grounds.” To use a term employed by his predecessor, Obama was “the decider.” He decided to ignore the sound advice of SOD Gates and decided to follow instead the unsound advice of the three harpies. It was his decision, not that of a lowly bureaucrat in State. Nothing makes him look sillier than his strong insistence back in 2011 that our military involvement in Libya “would not involve any boots on the ground” and his later remark a few years later that his greatest regret with respect to Libya was that he did not send in ground forces after Qaddafi’s overthrow. Only a totally clueless person can make those two completely contradictory statements. It’s like a child asked to decide whether he wants chocolate ice cream or vanilla ice cream who childishly responds “both,” being unable to render an intelligent choice. With respect to Syria, he was the one who declared in 2011 that “Assad must go,” and he was the one who drew the “red line in the sand” re use of chemical weapons, which gave a strong incentive to every party with an interest in drawing the U.S. into another country’s civil war (e.g., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf “democracies,” Israel, the Syrian rebels) to concoct a chemical attack and make it look like it came from Assad’s side. Since Libya followed Iraq by 8 years, Obama had that experience to draw on (he was the one who declared years earlier that “Iraq was the dumb war”) even if he lacked the experience to imagine the consequences of overthrowing the existing government of any country and the chaos that was highly likely to follow. And he has had the dreadful experience of Libya to inform his judgments about Syria, but the poor guy is too dumb to draw the right conclusions.

  84. @Chip Harding
    The previous president made some astonishingly bad calls about Islamic countries too. I guess his excuse is growing up knowing gulf petro-princelings. I had a girlfriend who went to school in England with some of those types, and she was and remains incapable of understanding that Islam really isn't fundamentally very nice.

    You grow up with Muslim friends, and you think "Muslims are people just like us; they're ok!" Sure, your funny slacker pothead schoolmates from Qatar wouldn't behead you, personally. But some of them will "grow up" and get religion, and a few of them actually might behead somebody. Lots of Muslims behead lots of people, and lots more approve of it as long as it's happening to strangers.

    But when your most vivid image of Muslims is close friends you trust, it's hard to keep a gut focus on all that.

    Replies: @Simon in London, @Chrisnonymous

    Presume not that I am the thing I was;
    For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
    That I have turn’d away my former self;
    So will I those that kept me company.

  85. Dirk Dagger [AKA "Chico Caldera"] says: • Website
    @Glossy
    @anonymous

    You make the Sunnis sound like Protestants and the Shias like Catholics. I think there's some truth to that.

    Replies: @Dirk Dagger, @Clyde

    … Sunnis sound like Protestants and the Shias like Catholics.

    That’s about right, Shias also like them some relics.

  86. @Hunsdon
    @Jack Hanson

    What them other fellows said. Reading is fundamental.

    Replies: @Jack Hanson

    If I was wrong I was wrong.

  87. @Portlander
    Like you've said so many times before, Steve, Obama has always been perfectly forthcoming; it's just the media is always at pains not to ask Obama any questions they don't want the American people to hear the answer to.


    In case the link doesn't embed: https://youtu.be/ZM9I1AGtgU0

    Obama clearly and plainly using "we" referring to Muslims.

    Replies: @Anon, @nglaer

    Obama clearly and plainly using “we” referring to Muslims.

    No he isn’t.

  88. @pyrrhus
    @E. Harding

    So what's Obama's clever reason for blowing up numerous countries and arming ISIS and the neo-nazis in the Ukraine? Is he running for Lord of Chaos?

    Replies: @E. Harding

    Yup. You think Obama didn’t foresee these consequences (except for maybe Ukraine)?

  89. @Jim Don Bob
    @Glossy

    Whites did most of the dying in the recent wars. There are not very many blacks in combat arms.

    Replies: @Glossy

    Yes. But White politicians aren’t allowed to be racially conscious. Black ones are. And I think that is the reason why Obama has an aversion to using US ground troops in neocon wars. He’s likely asked himself the question “what’s in it for Blacks?” Romney wouldn’t have asked himself “what’s in it for Whites?” The answer to both questions is “nothing good”, and you’re correct in saying that the bulk of the casualties is born by Whites, but since only Obama is likely to ask himself that kind of a question, his foreign policy ended up being less bad than Romney’s, McCain’s or Hillary’s would have been.

  90. “It’s an ironic tragedy: no President before Obama has had so much familiarity with Islam via family, in-laws, residence, vacations, friends (e.g., his “Pakistani mafia” buddies on the fringes of the Bhutto family), and academic study. As he told his biographer David Maraniss in 2011, until he rebelled and moved to Chicago to be a race activist in 1985, he was on a predictable career path toward being employed as a specialist in international relations.”

    Perhaps he is just not very observant and didn’t draw any useful conclusions from his experiences. I would not be surprised if it turned out that a man who is as self-involved as Obama appears to has poor powers of observation.

    It always seemed to me that Obama was not really on board with the endless-war-all-the-time policies of the military/foreign-policy/plutocrat establishment, and I give him credit for that. But although he has dragged his feet, he has still been dragged. I have come to the conclusion that the President, in our current system, has little to no agency over foreign policy. These decisions are made for him. George W. Bush was a willing stooge, Barack Obama is an unwilling stooge, but they are both stooges. Can one blame the puppet for the direction the strings get pulled?

  91. @AKAHorace
    Given Obamas background he could have been a very different leader.


    A few childhood years in Indonesia as a black could give important insights to the nature of racial discrimination . Also knowledge of important Pakistani families from a relatively young age is an advantage compared to those who have to learn to deal with them later in life.


    His background might have made him a more insightful American president. Everyone down there made a big fuss about him being black, but it doesnt seem to make much difference to me. He is from between the lines anyway.

    Replies: @Jonathan Silber, @Ivan

    A few childhood years in Indonesia as a black could give important insights into racial discrimination.

    More likely that a youngster who spends a couple years here or there will have no important insights into the culture; he may in fact have little or even no recollection of those years.

    In any case, a couple years in Indonesia prepares no schoolboy for a life as envoy between countries East and West any more than attending high school with Jews, as I did, prepared me to advise a President on Israeli affairs.

    Also, Obama is not a Black: he’s a Mulatto who identifies himself, inaccurately, as a Black.

    • Replies: @yaqub the mad scientist
    @Jonathan Silber

    More likely that a youngster who spends a couple years here or there will have no important insights into the culture; he may in fact have little or even no recollection of those years.

    I would imagine much of his recollection would be of his tranny nanny.

  92. Obama the islamist marked Thanksgiving by mocking and subverting the hallowed American tradition by comparing Syrian/Isis infiltrators to the Pilgrims. Nyt, washinton post and other radical leftist journals are outraged every week by something Donald Trump says but act as cheerleaders when blm hoodlums, jewish supremacists and islamist extremists tear down American customs and traditions in the name of egalitarianism and social justice.

    • Replies: @nglaer
    @Plutarch

    Obama the islamist marked Thanksgiving by mocking and subverting the hallowed American tradition by comparing Syrian/Isis infiltrators to the Pilgrims.

    Link or quote? Maybe it's all over the news, too lazy to check.

  93. @Hapalong Cassidy
    @MC

    During the Iran-Iraq war, I remember news stories about how the Iranians would send little kids out into the battlefield to detonate mines. That cemented in my young impressionable mind that the Shiites were the crazy ones. In retrospect, I now wonder if those reports were exaggerated or even totally fabricated.

    Another incident that promoted the Shiites-are-Crazy viewpoint was Khomenei issuing a fatwa on Salman Rushdie. Can't argue about the craziness of that, but Khomeini's unique brand of crazy seemed to die along with him. Since then, Iran has been steadily more stable and peaceful it seems.

    It seems to me that Iran is considered an enemy of the US for one reason only: they support Hezbollah, and Hezbollah is an enemy of Israel. Hezbollah is hardly an existential threat to Israel, but they are the only Arab group to have ever gotten the better of Israel on the battlefield, successfully driving them out of Lebanon. I'm sure this must be a source of wounded pride for the Israelis.

    Of course I guess that some Americans may not like Iran because they think we never got payback for that hostage incident.

    Replies: @random observer, @Ivan

    Iran did seem to calm down when Khomeini died, but what was crazy about the fatwa against Rushdie?

    Khomeini considered Rushdie a serious ideological opponent on the strength of that book and, whether or not right, he acted. Doing so stirred up some support for Iran where he wanted support and scared and or irritated people whose opinion Khomeini couldn’t have cared less about and whose fear arguably benefited his regime. And it’s not clear it cost Iran anything he wanted for it, and cost him nothing at all. Not even clear that he needed Rushdie actually to get killed. He managed to throw down the marker either way.

    The religious content and fire and brimstone gave it a lot more style than that of secular regimes, but the Soviets assassinated or caused to be assassinated many of their regime’s opponents, and the US does not have clean hands either.

  94. @tbraton
    @random observer

    "Unless they also get old-style playground experience"

    You can't believe how many times I have made the same point in internet postings over the years and gotten quizzical responses. You don't know how happy I am to run across the only other person in America who spent any time on a playground when he was growing up.

    Replies: @random observer

    Well, I don’t deserve too much credit. I’m in Canada and I’m 45 years old, so it was a moderately gentle, suburban Torontonian schoolyard in the 1970s and early 1980s.

    Still, I had some troubles and learned to mind my own business. I was fortunate enough that my business, as I saw it, rarely overlapped with anyone else’s, and most agreed with me. It was a good way to get on. I was a fairly academic kid anyway. I had no reason to pick fights and usually didn’t draw much attention.

    On the other hand, I was also cool with a couple of tougher guys who didn’t care to see me or any other kids pushed around for no apparent reason, and that helped.

    It’s tough to draw policy conclusions from all that experience, come to think.

    But you get some insight into human types and behaviours at least.

  95. @Chrisnonymous
    @SFG

    They don't just look back. My mother knows the wife of an exiled Iranian general. She identifies as a Zoroastrian.

    Replies: @Seth Largo

    All the L.A.-area Iranians I’ve known seem to have an identity better described as “Persian” than “Iranian.” Probably has to do with the fact that their fellow Iranians would have had them hanging from a crane if they hadn’t fled the revolution.

  96. @Rifleman

    But it’s rather like the new-fangled Barack Obama sense of the Democratic Party that emphasizes minority rights.
     
    LOL. Actually, no. You love numbers Steve so how about getting honest about US demogrraphics.

    Obama got 50+ % of US voters............TWICE!!!

    That makes him and not you or people who visit UNZ or Vdare etc. part of America's new and permanent CORE.

    Again, Steve you live in LA. Get out of your wife's hose, look around. YOU are a minority, your political views are even more on the fringe.

    The 50's are gone, your Dad and his generation are mostly gone. It's over. Embrace your fringe status honestly.

    White people are increasingly the Alawites of America.

    Replies: @random observer

    The Alawites didn’t build their country out of nothing like white Americans built theirs.

    If you want a Syria analogy, white Americans are the conglomeration of Assyro-Babylonian-Aramaic Semites and Greeks, practicing variants of Christianity and all to one degree or another descended from the recorded inhabitants 1500 years earlier [even the Greeks were intermarried], divided against themselves though they were, and who were established in Syria at the start of the summer of 634.

    At least the Arabs had the courtesy to bring an army and conquer the place before flooding it with their own clansmen and usurping the state. It’s much less irritating when the conqueror actually puts in the work.

    Come to think, if you will entertain the notion of Lebanon as part of geographic Syria for a moment, the analogy for white America is the Maronites. People practicing the culture that was there first and is still there clinging on as a minority, too factionalized to get it together on the same side. Note how the other populations of Lebanon hate each other fully as much as they hate the Christians. Which of Black and Hispanic Americans will be the Sunnis, and which the Shia? I can’t see either group putting together anything as kick-ass organized as Hezbollah or ISIS.

    Other points:

    I trust you are aware that ‘core’ and ‘majority’ are obviously different concepts. Also, whites are still a majority. They’ll be the core doing all the work for a while even after that changes. The Asians can’t pick up all that slack at once. There aren’t enough of them yet.

    • Replies: @Rifleman
    @random observer


    I trust you are aware that ‘core’ and ‘majority’ are obviously different concepts. Also, whites are still a majority.
     
    No. Stop trying so hard to avoid the truth.

    By core and majority I mean the combination of liberal, non racist White America, White women, and non White people.

    The majority/core of America NOW!! is not a bunch of racist paranoid White guys and their small families.

    That majority/core is growing. Steve Sailer's world of America is diminishing. That's a demographic fact. He lives in California and wont face it!

    And the Sailer/unz/vdare etc racist rightwing websites, that I frequent, are the fringe of the White male fringe in America.

    Bernie Sanders probably has more White male supporters than does the online White-right wing community.

    Steve fixates on the idea that people like him represent America's "core" and Obama and his supporters are the "fringe".

    You have to be almost psychotic to believe that!

    Replies: @Anon

  97. @Plutarch
    Obama the islamist marked Thanksgiving by mocking and subverting the hallowed American tradition by comparing Syrian/Isis infiltrators to the Pilgrims. Nyt, washinton post and other radical leftist journals are outraged every week by something Donald Trump says but act as cheerleaders when blm hoodlums, jewish supremacists and islamist extremists tear down American customs and traditions in the name of egalitarianism and social justice.

    Replies: @nglaer

    Obama the islamist marked Thanksgiving by mocking and subverting the hallowed American tradition by comparing Syrian/Isis infiltrators to the Pilgrims.

    Link or quote? Maybe it’s all over the news, too lazy to check.

  98. @Glossy
    @anonymous

    You make the Sunnis sound like Protestants and the Shias like Catholics. I think there's some truth to that.

    Replies: @Dirk Dagger, @Clyde

    You make the Sunnis sound like Protestants and the Shias like Catholics. I think there’s some truth to that.

    I wrote the same about ten days ago. Also interesting that Catholics and Shiites both have flagellant traditions within. Its a very small group with Catholicism these days but with Shiites it is widespread on the yearly Ashura, commemorating Ali’s martyrdom.
    Shiite flagellation images

  99. @random observer
    @Rifleman

    The Alawites didn't build their country out of nothing like white Americans built theirs.

    If you want a Syria analogy, white Americans are the conglomeration of Assyro-Babylonian-Aramaic Semites and Greeks, practicing variants of Christianity and all to one degree or another descended from the recorded inhabitants 1500 years earlier [even the Greeks were intermarried], divided against themselves though they were, and who were established in Syria at the start of the summer of 634.

    At least the Arabs had the courtesy to bring an army and conquer the place before flooding it with their own clansmen and usurping the state. It's much less irritating when the conqueror actually puts in the work.

    Come to think, if you will entertain the notion of Lebanon as part of geographic Syria for a moment, the analogy for white America is the Maronites. People practicing the culture that was there first and is still there clinging on as a minority, too factionalized to get it together on the same side. Note how the other populations of Lebanon hate each other fully as much as they hate the Christians. Which of Black and Hispanic Americans will be the Sunnis, and which the Shia? I can't see either group putting together anything as kick-ass organized as Hezbollah or ISIS.

    Other points:

    I trust you are aware that 'core' and 'majority' are obviously different concepts. Also, whites are still a majority. They'll be the core doing all the work for a while even after that changes. The Asians can't pick up all that slack at once. There aren't enough of them yet.

    Replies: @Rifleman

    I trust you are aware that ‘core’ and ‘majority’ are obviously different concepts. Also, whites are still a majority.

    No. Stop trying so hard to avoid the truth.

    By core and majority I mean the combination of liberal, non racist White America, White women, and non White people.

    The majority/core of America NOW!! is not a bunch of racist paranoid White guys and their small families.

    That majority/core is growing. Steve Sailer’s world of America is diminishing. That’s a demographic fact. He lives in California and wont face it!

    And the Sailer/unz/vdare etc racist rightwing websites, that I frequent, are the fringe of the White male fringe in America.

    Bernie Sanders probably has more White male supporters than does the online White-right wing community.

    Steve fixates on the idea that people like him represent America’s “core” and Obama and his supporters are the “fringe”.

    You have to be almost psychotic to believe that!

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Rifleman

    It doesn't matter what the majority of people think, because they don't.

  100. @Rifleman
    @random observer


    I trust you are aware that ‘core’ and ‘majority’ are obviously different concepts. Also, whites are still a majority.
     
    No. Stop trying so hard to avoid the truth.

    By core and majority I mean the combination of liberal, non racist White America, White women, and non White people.

    The majority/core of America NOW!! is not a bunch of racist paranoid White guys and their small families.

    That majority/core is growing. Steve Sailer's world of America is diminishing. That's a demographic fact. He lives in California and wont face it!

    And the Sailer/unz/vdare etc racist rightwing websites, that I frequent, are the fringe of the White male fringe in America.

    Bernie Sanders probably has more White male supporters than does the online White-right wing community.

    Steve fixates on the idea that people like him represent America's "core" and Obama and his supporters are the "fringe".

    You have to be almost psychotic to believe that!

    Replies: @Anon

    It doesn’t matter what the majority of people think, because they don’t.

  101. @TheJester
    @E. Harding

    A different take is that Obama's long relationship with Jeremiah Wright is evidence of Obama's long-standing hostility toward Western civilization and Christianity ... something that has slowly come to light in Obama's domestic and foreign policies. Black extremists, who share the same views, were a safer political cover than radical Islam at the time.

    Obama has proved a master of social pretense and illusion throughout his life ... the kind of things homosexuals used to do to mask their sexual orientation. In the current free-for-all "freak show" we call American society, the pretense and illusions are no longer politically or socially necessary. With the masks removed, Obama is openly pressing his Islamic-friendly agenda, something that was there all the time if we had known how to read the evidence.

    Replies: @E. Harding

    But Wright is Christian. Not sure what Obama’s attitude towards Western Civilization is, though he clearly has a significant degree of half-made-up racial tribalism.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @E. Harding

    Wright was a Muslim for awhile.

    Replies: @gbloco

  102. @Jonathan Silber
    @AKAHorace

    A few childhood years in Indonesia as a black could give important insights into racial discrimination.

    More likely that a youngster who spends a couple years here or there will have no important insights into the culture; he may in fact have little or even no recollection of those years.

    In any case, a couple years in Indonesia prepares no schoolboy for a life as envoy between countries East and West any more than attending high school with Jews, as I did, prepared me to advise a President on Israeli affairs.

    Also, Obama is not a Black: he's a Mulatto who identifies himself, inaccurately, as a Black.

    Replies: @yaqub the mad scientist

    More likely that a youngster who spends a couple years here or there will have no important insights into the culture; he may in fact have little or even no recollection of those years.

    I would imagine much of his recollection would be of his tranny nanny.

  103. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Obama the islamist marked Thanksgiving by mocking and subverting the hallowed American tradition by comparing Syrian/Isis infiltrators to the Pilgrims.”

    Link or quote? Maybe it’s all over the news, too lazy to check.

    Here’s an extract from the story Drudge ran:

    “Obama compares Syrian refugees to pilgrims on the Mayflower”, The Hill, Bradford Richardson, November 26, 2015:

    “…“Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families,” Obama said in his weekly address Thursday. “What makes America America is that we offer that chance…” …

    The president praised Americans who have offered to open their homes to refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.”

  104. @random observer
    @Anonymous

    Word.

    But let's be fair. 12 year old boys would be stupid on such questions as well. In my experience, my own youth included, they are all about "good guys" and "bad guys" and, worse, assume these rare categories are both universal and static over time. Just watch young boys of today try to fathom the news based on their video game knowledge.

    Ideas like:

    don't pick a side, good or bad, unless you have skin, and then only pick the side that more likely works to your own gain; better to let other people kill each other than meddle in their business, unless it's also your business; sometimes it's helpful to back both so the war lasts longer; and it's OK to switch horses if you must, just don't do it so often you confuse potential tools ["partners"] and lose your street cred;

    never occur to them. Unless they also get old-style playground experience, and even then the pubescent moralism never goes away entirely.

    Replies: @tbraton, @NOTA

    Helping your kids learn to think more deeply about what’s in the news than the obvious media lines or partisan lines is part of your job as a parent.

    • Replies: @Ivy
    @NOTA

    Another way to keep them off the pole.

  105. @AKAHorace
    Given Obamas background he could have been a very different leader.


    A few childhood years in Indonesia as a black could give important insights to the nature of racial discrimination . Also knowledge of important Pakistani families from a relatively young age is an advantage compared to those who have to learn to deal with them later in life.


    His background might have made him a more insightful American president. Everyone down there made a big fuss about him being black, but it doesnt seem to make much difference to me. He is from between the lines anyway.

    Replies: @Jonathan Silber, @Ivan

    Obama looks like one of the Javanese, who are the main race in Indonesia. He would not have suffered any discrimination. The majority of Indonesians have a laid back view on race. To really suffer discrimination on account of skin colour, one has to look like the Indonesians from Flores and Papua, who are related to the Melanisians from Papua New Guinea. On the other end of the spectrum are the fair-skinned Sundanese, whose girls are generally very beautiful.

  106. @Hapalong Cassidy
    @MC

    During the Iran-Iraq war, I remember news stories about how the Iranians would send little kids out into the battlefield to detonate mines. That cemented in my young impressionable mind that the Shiites were the crazy ones. In retrospect, I now wonder if those reports were exaggerated or even totally fabricated.

    Another incident that promoted the Shiites-are-Crazy viewpoint was Khomenei issuing a fatwa on Salman Rushdie. Can't argue about the craziness of that, but Khomeini's unique brand of crazy seemed to die along with him. Since then, Iran has been steadily more stable and peaceful it seems.

    It seems to me that Iran is considered an enemy of the US for one reason only: they support Hezbollah, and Hezbollah is an enemy of Israel. Hezbollah is hardly an existential threat to Israel, but they are the only Arab group to have ever gotten the better of Israel on the battlefield, successfully driving them out of Lebanon. I'm sure this must be a source of wounded pride for the Israelis.

    Of course I guess that some Americans may not like Iran because they think we never got payback for that hostage incident.

    Replies: @random observer, @Ivan

    The stories about the Iranian Basanj tricking young children as in a kind of “Children’s Crusade” to clear mines appear to be true, thou I am not sure of the extent of it. In the 80s I knew a few Iranians who became disillusioned by the Islamic Revolution, when they found that while the children of the clerics and the new nomenclatura managed to avoid being drafted, those with no connections went on to die in the hundreds of thousands. This prompted a second wave of emigration of those who were able. The first was of those connected to the Shah’s regime.

    Khomenei picked up the scent on Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses believe it or not after India banned his novel from being sold in India. Rushdie was from Bombay, and the busybody Muslims there were up to their trouble-making ways. There was no way the Iranians would have picked this up, had it not been for some Muslims in Bombay. Khomenei ran with it, as at that time there was an emerging strategy that the Shias should steal the mantle of “true Islam” from the Saudis by being more extreme than them, in an attempt to become the leader of the Islamic world.

    The same imperative, led the Iranians to bait the Israelis in Lebanon and all over the world including their involvement in the cruel bombing of the Jews in Argentina. After their sobering experience in Lebanon, almost all Israelis had wanted some quite. But this was not be, as the Iranians sought to ensnare Israel in their stupid schemes to be the leaders of the Islamic world. It appears to all water under the bridge now, but the Iranians are not the upright lions they pretend to be either.

  107. @IHTG
    @Tregon

    Mountain men? Perhaps to some extent, but their position as "coastal elites" also makes them similar to Lebanese Christians.

    The real mountain men of the Levant are the Druze.

    Replies: @Tregon

    The real mountain men of the Levant are the Druze.

    No, no, no! As I clearly stated: the only mountain men in Syria are the Alawites. Otherwise (obviously) my point about their similarity to the Chechens falls apart.

    The “Druze” are a MOSSAD psy-ops dating from the 1920s (think: what does that name rhyme with, hmmm?) Indeed, the Chechens are also Alawites. As was Kim Jong-Il in North Korea. Why do you think he wore platform shoes? He was pining for the Syrian mountains.

  108. @E. Harding
    @TheJester

    But Wright is Christian. Not sure what Obama's attitude towards Western Civilization is, though he clearly has a significant degree of half-made-up racial tribalism.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Wright was a Muslim for awhile.

    • Replies: @gbloco
    @Steve Sailer

    I had no idea about this until I went to Nigeria but Yorubaland (area around Lagos) is fairly evenly split between Christian and Muslim, even within families and it is very common to see people switch midlife.

    In Kenya and Tanzania the majority of the moslems are from the coast. Swahili which means "the language from the Coast" is heavily influenced by arabic. The Luo are typically Christian having been expelled from Sudan by arab invaders but Obama's grandfather Onyango converted to islam midlife.

    Transreligion anyone?

  109. Anyone else here also brought up in a Subud family?
    1. Never ate pork — I like to see Obama’s dietary preferences
    2. Celebrated Ramadan and Eid-el-Fitr
    3. Lot of members changed names to Mohammed etc
    4. Latihan done in separate chambers for men and women
    5. I never did Latihan but I think I heard them shouting Allah Akbar — something my father would often exclaim when we went hiking together

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @gbloco

    Subud started out as an upscale New Age cult in Britain but then got affiliated with a syncretic holyman in Indonesia. It was popular among English-speaking elites resident in Jakarta in the 1960s-1970s: it offered Wisdom of the East but was approved of by the anti-Communist military government. For example, the novelist wife of former Aussie prime minister Bob Hawks comes from an old Subud family. The couple met in Jakarta.

    The closest connection I could find was that the President's mother was close friends with one prominent Subud cult member in Jakarta. But I couldn't tie the Soetoros directly to Subud. I did find that a fair number of Australian diplomats and journalists in Jakarta during the "Year of Living Dangerously" era were affiliated with Subud. It's possible that Obama was set up with his Australian girlfriend in NYC through a Subud connection. Her father, mother, and stepfather were all members of the elite expatriate circles in Jakarta in which Subud flourished, but I couldn't document any connection.

  110. @Steve Sailer
    @E. Harding

    Wright was a Muslim for awhile.

    Replies: @gbloco

    I had no idea about this until I went to Nigeria but Yorubaland (area around Lagos) is fairly evenly split between Christian and Muslim, even within families and it is very common to see people switch midlife.

    In Kenya and Tanzania the majority of the moslems are from the coast. Swahili which means “the language from the Coast” is heavily influenced by arabic. The Luo are typically Christian having been expelled from Sudan by arab invaders but Obama’s grandfather Onyango converted to islam midlife.

    Transreligion anyone?

  111. @gbloco
    Anyone else here also brought up in a Subud family?
    1. Never ate pork -- I like to see Obama's dietary preferences
    2. Celebrated Ramadan and Eid-el-Fitr
    3. Lot of members changed names to Mohammed etc
    4. Latihan done in separate chambers for men and women
    5. I never did Latihan but I think I heard them shouting Allah Akbar -- something my father would often exclaim when we went hiking together

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Subud started out as an upscale New Age cult in Britain but then got affiliated with a syncretic holyman in Indonesia. It was popular among English-speaking elites resident in Jakarta in the 1960s-1970s: it offered Wisdom of the East but was approved of by the anti-Communist military government. For example, the novelist wife of former Aussie prime minister Bob Hawks comes from an old Subud family. The couple met in Jakarta.

    The closest connection I could find was that the President’s mother was close friends with one prominent Subud cult member in Jakarta. But I couldn’t tie the Soetoros directly to Subud. I did find that a fair number of Australian diplomats and journalists in Jakarta during the “Year of Living Dangerously” era were affiliated with Subud. It’s possible that Obama was set up with his Australian girlfriend in NYC through a Subud connection. Her father, mother, and stepfather were all members of the elite expatriate circles in Jakarta in which Subud flourished, but I couldn’t document any connection.

  112. For someone trying so hard to appear to be reveling in his triumphalism, you sure come across as pissed off. Why? I thought we didn’t matter.

  113. If we accept the reality that Obama was, irrespective of PLACE of birth, a “natural born citizen” due to his mother being American; , then we also have to accept the reality that the worldwide Muslim ummah, by virtue of the rules of sharia law – consider Obama to be a natural-born Muslim.

  114. @Whiskey
    Obama has been an unmitigated disaster as President, and in foreign policy he has been arguably the worst. He has thrown out the Carter Doctrine in favor of a semi-alliance with Iran while at the same time incoherently picking fights with Russia, Iran's ally. Its bizarre, and gives lie to any idea that Obama is smart.

    Obama is self-evidently stupid, and self-evidently a Muslim, and self-evidently driven by substitute Mommy Valerie Jarrett's dislike of the US Military and worship of Shia Iran's Muslim culture.

    From FDR onward, EVERY President had a guarantee of security to the Gulf States and particularly the Saudis in return for which they helped fund anti-Soviet activities, and kept the world price of oil at reasonable levels. While this policy had significant failures periodically, notably the Arab Oil Embargo, on the whole it worked reasonably well. Jimmy Carter of all people formalized the bargain by stating the United States would not tolerate any threat to US military dominance of the Gulf.

    Various interventions, from Ike's and Reagan's in Lebanon, to the Gulf War, to Clinton's bombing of Saddam, to Bush's Iraq War, have been in service to this policy and while it was costly in blood and treasure, it put the US in the driver's seat.

    The Carter Doctine allowed the US, not other nations, to drive events and make every other nation and player react not the other way around.

    For the Iranian alliance, what has the US gotten? A price war with the Saudis driving US shale oil out of business, and the Saudis unlike in the Gulf War, embracing Jihadis whole hog, so to speak, as a way of fighting an external threat: Shia Mullah Iran, Russia, and the combined "empires" from the Med to the Persian Gulf moving south and overthrowing them.

    ISIS is Gulf money and Turkish military men. That's who they are. The killing and murder and brutality of course are the whole point, for a generation of young men who know they'll be nothing without all that. If peace broke out, who would Abdullah Jihad be? A truck driver? Better the life of Jihad where killers gain groveling respect.

    Obama having poisoned the well, the US has no allies at all in the ME. Not even Israel, which would reasonably assume even if Trump won, that a few years later another Obama would take power and repudiate all deals. Worse still, we have to just react. Turkey and Erdogan are champing at the bit to take on Putin, Erdogan has delusions of another Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile as noted we are allies of Iran defacto (there is a "secret" rider to the Iran nuke deal requiring the US to defend Iran against Israeli attack) while fighting them in Syria by oh so not secretly arming the Jihadis.

    Benghazi? The US and Turkish Ambassadors were not there to view the WWII cemeteries. They were there to oversee an arms deal shipping Khomeni's arms to ISIS jihadis in Syria, and likely the Iranians spiked that with some brutal jihad of their own. Or the Turks double-dealed and helped the jihadis kill the Americans for reasons of jihad -- take your pick.

    Either way it is objectively insane policy to fight Iran in Syria and ally with it against Israeli attack. Much less back Turkey in a fight with Russia.

    Really, we'll go to war against Russia over Turkey's ability to arm ISIS? That's super-genius Obama's policy?

    A winning, and not Charlie Sheen winning, policy would be to substantially re-arm with more and more carrier groups, next gen warships, conveniently employing lots of blue collar and white collar workers to design and build them, to overawe all players. While letting Putin put his hand in the Syrian buzz saw if he wants.

    Replies: @Hunsdon

    Wait, what? Whiskey said, re Benghazi: They were there to oversee an arms deal shipping Khomeni’s arms to ISIS jihadis in Syria . . . .

    Did you really mean to say that? Referencing Khomeini (did you meanKhameni? Khomeini’s been dead for lo these many years) arms to ISIS jihadis? Are you really saying that Iran wants to arm ISIS? I’m not sure if I understand.

  115. @NOTA
    @random observer

    Helping your kids learn to think more deeply about what's in the news than the obvious media lines or partisan lines is part of your job as a parent.

    Replies: @Ivy

    Another way to keep them off the pole.

  116. I’m very skeptical of the idea that Obama could have engineered a better outcome in Syria/Iraq than the one we see now. We’ve been dicking around ineffectually in that region since I was a little kid, and it rarely turns out well.

    Where big foreign interventions go, American politicians and state department experts are like medieval doctors–outside of some rare special cases, if they happen to cure the patient it will be by accident, because despite a lot of learning and literature, they have no idea what they’re doing.

    • Replies: @IBC
    @NOTA

    An hilarious analogy --if you don't live in the Middle East.

    Replies: @NOTA

  117. @Hunsdon
    @Anonymous

    There are doubtless sites where the "Joo" spelling is preferred (perhaps in all caps, even), but I've never thought this was one. Three thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax, you can do better than that.

    Replies: @IBC

    According to the Urban Dictionary, “Joo” originates from a clip on South Park where Cartman yells out “Someone here is a J-O-O!” So I guess the joke is that Cartman’s knowledge of “the Jews” is about as reliable as his spelling. If that’s the right etymology, it’s amazing that “Joo” turns up as often as it does here on iSteve where it seems to be most popular with commenters who themselves are Jewish and seem to use it (sans hyphens) as a device to imply antisemitism. Who would have guessed? But it looks like Bea Arthur wasn’t the only elderly Jewish person to regularly watch that show.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Joo

  118. @NOTA
    I'm very skeptical of the idea that Obama could have engineered a better outcome in Syria/Iraq than the one we see now. We've been dicking around ineffectually in that region since I was a little kid, and it rarely turns out well.

    Where big foreign interventions go, American politicians and state department experts are like medieval doctors--outside of some rare special cases, if they happen to cure the patient it will be by accident, because despite a lot of learning and literature, they have no idea what they're doing.

    Replies: @IBC

    An hilarious analogy –if you don’t live in the Middle East.

    • Replies: @NOTA
    @IBC

    If your doctor wants to bleed you to bring your four biles back into balance, you should avoid taking his advice on some kind of elective surgery he proposes to fix all your problems. Similar things apply to taking the advice of foreign policy experts on a big foreign military intervention.

  119. @IBC
    @NOTA

    An hilarious analogy --if you don't live in the Middle East.

    Replies: @NOTA

    If your doctor wants to bleed you to bring your four biles back into balance, you should avoid taking his advice on some kind of elective surgery he proposes to fix all your problems. Similar things apply to taking the advice of foreign policy experts on a big foreign military intervention.

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