On Just What Not to Do: The Honor-Shame Logic of Walt-Mearsheimer

I posted a long essay on Kramer’s response to Walt-Mearsheimer, and one of my commenters posted a formulation of what I think represents a fairly standard line of thinking, what we might call the “commoner’s Walt-Mearsheimer,” the simple argument:

Now that the cold war is over, Israel and the Jews have ended up on the wrong side of America’s interest. I am not sure I agree with Kramer. I think it is arguable whether or not Israel is in America’s long term interest. There are over a billion Muslims whose main beef with America is its support for Israel. If the next president came in and announced a U-turn in America’s policy and sacrificed Israel, it would do much to ease the shame in the Arab world, and the move could probably be used to get help with the Iraq situation as well as create a unified front against Iran.

Agreed that this is a legitimate discussion, and deserves — demands — addressing. But let’s think clearly, and not repeat formulas from PCP that fail to understand the dynamic set in motion by Oslo, which now, in less than two decades, has completely transformed the rapports de force that have long characterized the asymmetric warfare between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and more recently have come to characterize the warfare between Islamism and the West.

First, let us consider the axiomatic foundation of the policy reading:

There are over a billion Muslims whose main beef with America is its support for Israel.

What is the evidence for this statement?

I’d say, primarily, it comes from what the Muslims — and here we’re dealing with a wide range, from diplomats to intellectuals to religious leaders — tell us about their grievances, in our languages. But what do they say among themselves? What’s being said in Arabic, rather than in our tongues? Here we need to pay attention to the Israeli situation, to the remarkable overlap and the frightening content of these concentric circles of discourse — Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim.

Once one considers the variable sources of evidence, rather than “stops” at the most obviously “targeted” discourse (i.e., in our language), then one begins to realize that this “official complaint,” may not only be a small fraction of the “real” forces at play, but it may even be a ploy. This latter conclusion certainly comes across in the remarkable revelation offered by Hassan Butts on the pages of the Guardian:

When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network, a series of semi-autonomous British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology, I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy. By blaming the government for our actions, those who pushed the ‘Blair’s bombs’ line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.

In my terminology, the dupes were doing the work of the demopaths. One could write the major part of the bizarre relationship between “Left” and “Islamism” in the 21st century in terms of this dynamic. If Butt offers us any insight into the forces arrayed against the West, against civil society, then accepting this demopathic ploys — it’s support for Israel, stupid! — as the axiomatic floor upon which one builds one’s “realistic” policy reasoning, would seem to be folly.

Once we’ve accepted this ludicrous misrepresentation, we’re offered a “solution” that actually will strengthen the very forces it pretends to deal with:

If the next President came in and announced a U-turn in America’s policy and sacrificed Israel, it would do much to ease the shame in the Arab world, and the move could probably be used to get help with the Iraq situation as well as create a unified front against Iran.

What we have here is the worst way to think about honor-shame culture. Ironically it represents precisely the kind of thinking encouraged by the ignorance of honor-shame dynamics. The very same people who reject any such discussion because that would be racist, come back with logic like this, logic that returns honor-shame issues to the heart of the discussion, but with the least real understanding of this crucial factor. On the contrary, it just capitulates to the outrageous demands of a self-destructive and immature culture that we soothe its fragile and aggressive sense of honor. This is precisely what not to do.

We must pick up on Butt’s lead: the purpose of insisting on Israel is, among other things, to distract us from Islamic theology. This is, by the way, one of the many things that our MSM systematically misinform us about. It is an essential element of the PC Paradigms, both 1 (Politically Correct) and 2 (Post-Colonial), to downplay such issues.

Israel offends Muslims for a wide range of reasons which also offend them about the USA, the West — indeed about any independent, autonomous, defiant, non-Muslim entity. Any infidel who does not show the proper attitude towards Islam, who does not submit either by conversion or deference to the will of Muslims, is an enemy to these zealots. To think that the Israelis (i.e., the defiant Jews) are the only people who offend the Islamist Jihadi’s zeal, is to make a fundamental error.

If the shame were indeed just about Israel, then maybe this is a rational argument: The West can put an end to the profoundly destructive behavior of the Arab/Muslim world by “sacrificing Israel” by tossing her as a “burnt offering” to their wounded honor. Then they can “get on” with life and behave more rationally and we can amicably resolve Iraq and even Iran. (As the commenter points out, openly embracing such really grotesque “realism” is profoundly immoral, which also has practical consequences to which I shall return.)

But let’s pause for a moment on the converse of this PCP argument: what if Israel is not the core of the problem, but the excuse, the presenting symptom, the tip of the iceberg of Islamist hostility? Think then of the catastrophically naive and foolish nature of the reasoning about “honor-shame” involved in this allegedly “rational” calculus of policy.

Let’s consider the same issue from the Honor-Shame Jihad Paradigm. Israel is a huge offense to Arabs and Muslims. It is the symbol of their failure, of their impotence under conditions of modernity, where values profoundly alien to most Muslim and Arab culture predominate. That 3 million Jews could defeat so many millions of Arabs, that Jews could establish and maintain an autonomous political entity in the midst of Dar al Islam, represents a bitter humiliation to many Muslims, especially public figures who must answer to the “Arab Street.” Israel, with its modern, technological prowess, represents everything that makes Muslims ashamed by their performance in the 20th and now 21st century.

As such, the Muslim insistence on wiping Israel out symbolizes more powerfully than any other single problem, the rejection of those cultural and social transformations demanded by modernity. In other words Arab and Muslim anti-Zionism constitute a code word, a single trope in which they bundle their rejection of the demands of modern civil society: meritocracy, self-criticism, renouncing domination as the measure of a man, substituting discourse of fairness for violence in dispute settlement, tolerating the autonomy of others and the “results” of freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, raising significantly the bar of restraint that leads one to try and whiten one’s face with the blood of those who have offended.

In other words, the “sacrifice” of Israel that this “realistic policy” demands, actually submits to the demands of this violent and uncompromising hostility to modernity. It is an act of submission; it marks the West as accepting the status of dhimmi. And in so doing, the West will go take to a whole new level the consistent acts of submission that have characterized so much of Western interaction with aggressive Islam since 1970/1400. Walt-Mearsheimer is a formula for adopting the suicidal foreign policy of the Europeans.

As a friend who had been in Morocco when the French vetoed the American diplomatic maneuvers in the UN in the winter of 2003, noted:

    The Arabs see this as a sign of weakness. They know that Saddam is hostile to France at a fundamental level, and that the Americans are their friends at a fundamental level. So for France to attack America and side with Saddam was a clear sign of how frightened and weak they are.

Now, as anyone who has read my French essays (2003-6) knows, I think the French, and more broadly the Europeans, have been behaving self-destructively in all this. Indeed, viewed from the perspective of the Islamists, Eurabia is nothing more than the acceptance in advance of the dhimmi yoke by Europeans who, in following the demands of Arab leaders to import Muslims, to leave them alone culturally, and to turn on Israel diplomatically, are essentially implementing their own submission.

In short, if we want to analyze the situation in terms of honor-shame — something I think we should do — then we are faced with two radically opposing readings. The “commoner’s Walt-Mearsheimer” on the one hand, and the “Preventive Dhimmi” on the other. In the former, Israel represents not only the main, but essentially the only significant source of Arab and Muslim sense of humiliation, and siding with them against Israel — or as they put it, being more even-handed in taking sides in a conflict between their irredentism and Israel’s limited ambitions — will lead to a solution. In the latter, Israel is only the most potent of their narcissistic wounds, and the larger issue of Islam facing down and eventually dominating the West represents the larger goal.

Here, Israel is a test case of the West’s character. If they dump Israel to curry favor with the Arabs, it will be the equivalent of the French turning on America and siding with Saddam. To turn on your friends and appease your enemies is a sign of weakness, and it invites further aggression.

A French journalist once commented to me that Europeans were trying to think of an appropriate day for “European Union Day” — a kind of European 14 of July. He said he asked a French Jew what he thought and the fellow responded, “Holocaust Day.” He clearly thought this response was absurd — typical Jewish self-absorption. But when one realizes that, before 1945 and the blanket rejection of anti-semitic public discourse that followed (along with the Nuremberg Trials and the Geneva Convention), Europeans had been going to war with each other in every generation of their history, it may not be so far-fetched. Given how anti-Semitism operates as a form of scape-goating that puts the cultures that embrace it in the hands of oppressive elites, this renunciation could indeed mark the point at which Europeans could finally begin to cooperate on fundamental levels. And its reversal, with the sacrifice of Israel could well mark the death of Europe and the victory of Eurabia.

Some may argue a “middle road” here, that for many Arabs and Muslims, Israel really is their only serious beef, and they would like to get on with the process of modernization, like the editor-in-chief of Al Jazeera, who sends his kids to Western schools. But these issues are not decided by votes, certainly not by majorities. The degree of triumphalism that the destruction of Israel would bring to the Arab and Muslim world would resonate throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds in ways no one can anticipate fully.

Like the thrill of watching the World Trade Center fall, this will touch people who otherwise appear moderate. As for the real moderates, who only want Israel to pay for what she’s done, they will either get swept out of the way, or find that, with the West’s craven capitulation and therefore with Eurabian conquest more realistic, they discover the charms of the maximalist goals. So, if instead of wounded pride specifically about Israel, this “Muslim problem with modernity” is much bigger, then the sacrifice will not appease, but rather incite the very behavior it is intended to get rid of. instead of “cooperating on Iran, they will all clamor of nuclear weapons, and we’ll have a proliferation of Muslim “bombs.”

According to my understanding, we are dealing now with an active cataclysmic apocalyptic millennial movement: one with millennial goals (Islamization of the entire world), an apocalyptic sense of urgency (now is the time), a cataclysmic scenario (immense destruction will precede our victory), and agency (we are the tools of Allah’s will for this destruction). God wills it; Everything is permitted. Such movements are like forest fires. When they “take,” they burn so hot that one cannot “put them out.” Throwing Israel into the maw of global Jihadi hatreds, will only make the apocalyptic flames burn hotter and higher. Like the decision to turn on the defensive shield in the Terminator, the move will prove disastrous.

But let’s consider the opposite course of action. To stand by a nation committed to democratic and modern values in the face of the Muslim temper-tantrum, to insist that learning to live with Israel is a pre-requisite of being taken seriously in the court of world opinion, to make recognition of Israel a condition of further discussions, rather than a distant goal for which Israel must pay with crippling concessions, may just be the key step necessary for the Arab and Muslim world to begin the long, painful process of achieving the maturity of modernity.

Pay close attention to Butt’s remark. The function of the “blaming foreign policy” for Islamists is not only to a) make their demands “reasonable” (as if blowing up Western civilians because you don’t like the foreign policy of that country is “reasonable”), and b) to get the West to target Israel, but also, c) to hide the real issue — Islamist theology of Jihad and the spread of Sharia to the entire world. Complaining about Israel is a sleight of hand, and a test of our (Western) integrity.

On one level this means that if we sacrifice Israel, we eliminate one of the keys to understanding the problem. Israel’s problems with Jihad (the problem from the beginning, not Palestinian nationalism), are our problems with Jihad. Israel’s experience of “withdrawing and conceding and apologizing” are keys to what we can expect when, for example, we leave Iraq, or we grant autonomy to majority Muslim cities and zones in the West.

Right now, despite the perverse fantasies of the moral relativists and their demopathic partners among the Muslims, everyone, at some level of consciousness, knows that the West is morally superior in its values and actions than the Jihadis and the corrupt Muslim regimes around the world. This includes the Muslims, who use Western values to make their demopathic case; and the “radical leftist” Westerners who would never chose to live in a Muslim country unless they had the privileges of a traitor to their own culture. By calling on the West to sacrifice Israel to their honor demands, Muslims have set up a moral test they hope — and expect — we’ll fail.

We dare not.

In the world of honor and shame, wisdom and sanity demand that one to stick by one’s friends and confront one’s enemies. The Arabs and Muslims know that Israel is part of the Western world — one of the main reasons they hate it — and they are on the other side. And will respect us for acting accordingly, no matter how much it might anger them. And if we remain firm in these commitments, we have a real chance to provoke genuine and desperately needed self-criticism on the other side. Only by behaving with such integrity does the West stand a chance to survive; indeed, such integrity may mean more than survival. It might mean inaugurating a dynamic that will lead to a peaceful 21st century.

Ironically we come to the moral dimension of the realist argument. By behaving immorally (realistically in Walt-Mearsheimer terminology), we lose our status and our ability to make any demands of our foes. It is in the nature of “constructivist” as opposed to “realist” political science that moral discourse plays a key role. One does not rise from prime divider societies to civil ones without moral commitments, among them, putting aside the “dominating imperative” of “rule or be ruled.” And when civil societies are in conflict with prime divider ones, the most critical capital the former can lose is the “moral high ground.” Only fools and moral equivalencers would think we’ve lost that ground. And once we really do lose it, by doing something so irreversible as sacrificing Israel, we’ll know what it means to have really lost it.

Our move.

92 Responses to On Just What Not to Do: The Honor-Shame Logic of Walt-Mearsheimer

  1. shimshon says:

    R.L. Well i guess i am honored that you devoted so much time to one of my comments. Thank you. You made some good points and i will try to address a few, if not all of them. But first i would like to clear up a point that i think has led us to talk about two different things. You based much of what you said on Butt’s piece in the guardian. While i agree that Butt is representative of the al-Qaeda types and the doctors behind the recent attacks in London, I don’t think he is (or more properly, was) representative of the majority of Muslims. If we want to see what a larger percentage of muslims believe, we should perhaps look at people like yusuf qaradawi. On his website qaradawi.net (this is his Arabic website as apposed to his much milder English web site) we see that the number one issue is Palestine. It is at the top of his list of links to his site and the only issue that even gets a link (the other links refer to his books, poetry, sermons etc.). So while the radicals like Butt may have their brand of theology as the main issue, I don’t think that this theological view is anywhere near as popular as the theological view of qaradawi. The divide is mainly over what can be considered defensive Jihad. (It has to be defensive jihad or it is not be an individual duty and therefore a group of doctors can’t one day decide to carry out attacks. See the al-qaeda fatwa from 1998, they justify their actions as defensive) Al-qaeda and people like qaradawi disagree whether or not defensive jihad can be carried out outside an “occupied” country. this is why qaradawi if for even the most disgusting acts inside Israel and Iraq but against 9-11, 7-7, Madrid, etc. addtionaly al-Qaeda views other Muslims, such as the Saudi family as infidels. This is a view that qaradawi and most muslims reject. so it is not just theology that is the problem, it is a particular brand of theology. The majority of muslims who want to adhere to Islamic law, take qaradawi’s view not al-qaeda’s and therefore their focus is on areas such as Palestine, Chechnya, and Kashmir. The US has nothing to do with Kashmir, or Chechnya so Israel becomes the source of angst. Of course the angst is now also caused by Iraq, but that is relatively recent and I am talking about issues with a deeper historical roots.
    Additionally, Butt and his cohorts are not in control of states, which in realist paradigm of W-M means they are non-actors. Qaradawi and others like him do not run states either, but their brand of Islam is much closer and sometimes identical to state sponsored Islam outside of Saudi Arabia. I agree with you that Israel is not the main problem for the arabs, or even the primary catalyst for America’s unpopularity in the arab world. But again, i must stress that if we are working under the realist paradigm, it is not the arab street that matters. It is the rulers. I think it can be reasonably argued that sacrificing Israel, if sold as an arab victory and the US admitting they were wrong all those years, would allow the arab heads of state to save face with their populations. In return the US could probably receive substantial support (at the state level, which is the only support that means anything to the realist) on Iran and Iraq. You are probably right that in the long term this may work against the US by inspiring some of the more aggressive elements in these societies to push their government for more and more. I accept that critique. I was not thinking as long term as that, but anyway i do not see that as fait accompli. Who knows what a stable Iraq would do for the region, or what a suni arab – US alliance against Iran would do for America’s image on the street. These are unknowns, but what i do know is that if America did sacrifice Israel to be butchered, America would not be, well America. I think another commenter put it best: “I think America would die inside. Germany we’re not, thank G*d. Because you know what? Our interests, America’s interests, have always been predicated on morality.” But this, of course, is well outside the realist paradigm. In the end, i think you are right that we need to stand up for our morals, but this is not realism. Realism, at its heart, is concerned with power positioning, not morals. Sometimes the two concepts are aligned, but not always and we should not forget which one is the justification for what we do.
    One final note, I understand your PCP ( I assume you consider me as the liberal, and not the radical version), but i disagree with its application to my argument. I am not assuming that Arab culture is similar to the West (Israel included) if given the option they would slaughter every one in Israel (myself included). In fact, it is this assumption that i am working under when making my argument. Oslo was a different story. It assumed that everyone was all on the same page, they just wanted to live in peace. I am arguing that if the US threw them a nice juicy steak to devour, it could probably get something beneficial in return. If we take morality out of the equation (as in realism), it could probably even be considered a net gain. As you point out this may have negative long term consequences, but on the other hand … who knows…

    Thanks for the reply

    Shimshon

  2. shimshon says:

    Sorry, one quick appendage… In my above comment i discussed how Butt and al-qaeda are not states and therefore not important in the realist paradigm. Even if we assume that they are the actors that we are dealing with, realism still does not help us because realism assumes all actors are rational. Al-Qaeda is many things, but rational it is not.

  3. David M says:

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  4. EB says:

    Interesting exchange. I wanted to make a comment on the “realism” in foreign affairs. United States, and other powerful nations, have frequently supported smaller client states in the face of opposition from another power or group of nations. In modern times, support of Taiwan despite opposition by China, and support of the Kurds despite Turkish pressure come to mind. Would giving up Taiwanese and Kurdish autonomy gain points with China and Turkey, respectively? Probably. But by extending support to Taiwan and Kurdistan, US gains two extremely loyal allies in the regions of the world that are vital to its interests. This may worth displeasure of other nations. I think RL’s overall point is that strength in foreign policy is more important than political correctness, and having loyal allies like Taiwan, Kurds, and Israel is strength. US policy toward Israel, AIPAC lobbying notwithstanding, is likely based on a very “realist” consideration that having a very loyal, stable, and strong ally in the Middle East is worth the displeasure from the Arab street. On the other hand, because US-Israeli relations are based on hard-nosed realism (at least in this view), US has blocked Israel from decisively dealing with threats from Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria, so as not to provoke the Arab allies too much. Similarly, US has refrained from full support for Taiwanese independence from China, and from establishing fully independent Kurdistan, again not to push other powers into acting against the US interests.
    Of course, my simplified view completely ignores the very real fact that foreign policy in US, and in other states, is not set by a single individual or a group, but is instead a result of many competing interests and influences. What is actually a US “interest”? It probably depends on which American group/lobby we are talking about. I suspect that oil companies, defense companies, Jewish American and Muslim American groups, and other interested parties have very different definitions of US interests or “realism” in policy toward the Middle East.

  5. What Not To Do In The Middle East:

    Embrace the honor-shame logic, as Walt and Mearsheimer -among others- propose. (Richard Landes @ Augean Stables)…

  6. fp says:

    there is NO way in which the leaders of the arab countries can ever be rhabilitated with their populations via anything, including a “victory” over israel. in fact, the worst thing that can happen to those regimes is for israel to go away. they will then lose whatever (fake) legitimacy they’re claiming.

    the notion that they can sell an american sellout to their populations as their victory is utter nonsense. they may fool themselves or the americans that they can, but anybody who knows and understands their societies and regimes cannot believe it.

    I think it is a mistake to believe that the us will not sell out israel. i have predicted decades agao that this will come about and the sheer fact that anti-semitism and anti-zionism is now flowering unabetted in the media, left and political institutions is a preamble to precisely an abandonment process. there is little doubt in my mind that if the current trends continue — and i see no change in them except acceleration — israel will be abandoned just like that.

    all the talk about america’s values and such is just delusions. history shows clearly that when societies are in decline and under stress, the democratic and civil character go fast overboard. the us is now in the position of rome with the barbarians at the gates, and we know how that story ended, even after it turned into an undemocratic imperial dictatorship (which is the american fate too — the process of de-democratization is quite clear.

    the notion that america is unique and will somehow escape societal and historical forces is another big delusion. it is now being proven as such.

    what we are witnessing now is the beginnings of the post-west. another delusion that is being demolished is that there is a one-way trend is towards democracy. but it’s not. in history most societies started democratic and ended up undemocratic (greece, sparta, rome, germany, russia). democracies are vulnerable to anti-democratic forces and more often than not fall to them. we are now witnessing now the opposite trend. and sacrificing israel is not the only suicidal act that the west is committing.

  7. fp says:

    america is doing lots of things now out of the weakness of decline. this is the worst you can do facing islamism and arabs. with europe practically gone native, this is the worst you can do: you essentially invite pounding, which is exactly what is happening.

    there is no history of america sticking to allies. quite the opposite.

  8. fp says:

    as to AQ, they are irrational with respect to religion but quite rational with respect to the objective of dismantling the west. they are applying the correct means to achieve them and they’re quite effective.

    that the west holds current positions and acts as it does — including that by shimshon — and ignores or fails to comprehend the nature and objective of its enemies, and accepts its grievances and strives to appease them is clear indication of AQ’s effectiveness.

  9. Cynic says:

    If we want to see what a larger percentage of muslims believe, we should perhaps look at people like yusuf qaradawi. On his website qaradawi.net (this is his Arabic website as apposed to his much milder English web site) we see that the number one issue is Palestine.

    Yes, because that is his way of inflaming the Arab Street; his Danish Cartoons!

    If you want to appreciate Islam then you must have knowledge of the Qur’an, Hadith and Sira and look at what the Saudis have been doing with their wealth to promote their Wahabbi form of Islam since the 70s.
    They didn’t pump, I believe the more than 70 billion dollars up to 2000, into mosques and schools, around the world and converting American criminals to Islam because of Israel.
    Nasser tried to use Israel as the ralling point to create his pan Arab nation and so now it is being used by all and sundry to get the masses on board.

    Thailand, Phillipines, even China has its problems with Islamists. All because of Israel?
    The happenings in Africa, Nigeria for example, also because of Israel?

  10. Sophia says:

    I think America is unique. We always have been. We remain the one true melting pot in the world, although Brazil and a few other states in the Western Hemisphere are similarly constituted.

    Increasingly, Europe is becoming more mixed, like the Western Hemisphere, and losing its status as White Folks.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean The West Is Declining. The West is changing.

    Now – the big difference between Europe and the US is the fact that the US has a powerful identity and set of ideals, which are incorporated into the documents upon which our government and its relationship to the people are constituted. We’ve concentrated on mainstreaming people, making everybody American, whereas Europe has remained “multicultural” and that is its big problem right now.

    In fact Europe was apparently so horrified by WWI and WWII and the Holocaust, as well they should have been, that they’re undemocratically forging a multinational state, #1, and #2, their acceptance of refugees and disadvantaged people from Africa and Asia reflects both a need for cheap labor as well as an idealistic recognition that they screwed up bigtime by allowing the massacre of millions of Gypsies, Jews, Gays, dissidents and other people who got in the way of the Reich – which would NEVER have been able to enforce its ghastly solution had prejudices against those groups not been pre-existing.

    Europe is thus grappling with its bloody and divisive past. It is not doing a perfect job of it but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily down the tubes and the rest of the West with it. It’s also been far more closely linked to REAL left wing political ideals – Marxist ideals – than any “leftist” in America, which remains cheerfully and unabashedly capitalist even as that fact makes her very rich and is simultaneously, if we don’t change some of our greedy ways, leading us rapidly to the status of a an enormous and heavily armed banana republic.

    Fact: we are quite backward in regard to our own poor; our medical system is great if you’re rich but otherwise is embarrassing; and the gap between rich and poor is growing at an alarming rate under the present Administration.

    Those facts are upsetting but they don’t necessarily spell The End. The fact that we are here talking is proof rather of the opposite.

    Now: one of our problems is that we haven’t adjusted well as a state to the end of the Cold War. The global economy is saturated with petroleum and its related products and that one key industry has warped things out of proportion. Separating economic considerations from our national ideals – or Western ideals – and recognizing the fact that globalization brings us into contact with people whose ideologies and cultures are different from and even opposed to our own, is vital.

    Interest in the Middle East is bound to affect people on different levels and the easy scapegoat, Israel, is clearly used to deflect attention from the serious problems confronting EVERYBODY on this planet: environmental damage; rapid economic and social change; huge population surges in areas that are poor, like the Middle East and much of Africa – where there is lack of industrial infrastructure, and where people suffer more than anybody else from climate change and desertization – and where there is ALSO a great deal of religious extremism, adherence to very old cultural norms, bad government and violence.

    The West is affected by these issues. Like Rome it can choose to decline if, like Rome, it loses its ideals, tries to buy off the poor with bread and circuses rather than focusing on key economic issues, and ignores real problems in favor of focusing on chimerical problems. The latter are much more fun and interesting to discuss. Political correctness is another problem because it prevents us from honestly discussing many social and political issues.

    So, grappling with environmental damage and confronting BIG ISSUES like the impact of human endeavor on planetary health, plus somehow finding the courage to week a better path for people – women for example – even if offends certain cultural shiboleths? That’s hard work.

    Anyhow I have a headache:) But in short I’d like to see some REAL realism for a change, and instead of the undue tsuris created by ignoring REAL problems in favor of focusing on a tiny state of 7 million people, I’d like to see some action on the big issues – because THOSE really will sink the West along with the rest of the planet.

  11. fp says:

    sophia, you’re in denial.

    cynic has it right. to reiterate: envy and hatred of the west and israel is about the only thing that unites the muslims. take that away and they’d be at each others’ throats.

    which is exactly what the west should promote and encourage. instead, it does the opposite: it unifies. and commits suicide.

  12. shimshon says:

    Fp wrote: “there is NO way in which the leaders of the arab countries can ever be rhabilitated with their populations via anything, including a “victory” over israel. in fact, the worst thing that can happen to those regimes is for israel to go away. they will then lose whatever (fake) legitimacy they’re claiming.”

    That sounds reasonable, but when we take a closer look we see that it is unsubstantiated. There are two arab regimes that have formal peace treaties with Israel and a few others that have formal relations but no treaty. Lets take a look at them and see if your theory holds up. Egypt has one of the longest ruling leaders in the Middle East and probably the world despite it not having Israel as an enemy. And the ruler’s son will probably succeed him. In Jordan, the king is quite popular despite the peace treaty, so much so that many Palestinians on both sides of the Jordan are calling for him to extend his rule to the w. bank. Other countries with formal relations are Qatar and Morocco, two of the more stable states in the region. So i guess my question is, what evidence are you basing this view on?

    When i brought up that qaradawi considers the Palestinian issue to be one if not the most important issues facing muslims. I tried to show that this is theologically based, but nevertheless Critique responded that it is “his way of inflaming the Arab Street.” I guess i have a question about this view. Are you disagreeing with landes that theology is whats driving muslims toward jihad? Here you seem to be suggesting that it is simple populism. I tend to agree with landes. i just think a more nuanced look at Muslim theology is needed.

  13. shimshon says:

    That is a well-reasoned argument. Like i have said before, i think it can be argued both ways. there are reasonable arguments on either side and honest people can disagree. That is why i do not like kramer’s approach to the W-M piece. W-M make countless omissions and selectively quote, but their primary fault isn’t their understanding of American interest. The real problems are twofold. First is their shoddy construction of a revisionist version of Israeli history, which they use to take away Israel’s moral position. Second is their scapegoating of American Jews. Kramer (who i respect greatly) puts forth an argument that is a distraction from these other more serious problems. to see better critiques look at benny morris in TNR, Dershowitz’s response, or the debtate hosted by the London review of books in NYC. W-M’s argument simply does not hold up, but not because they misunderstand realism, or American interest. they are on just about everyone’s list of who understands it best (see the william and mary study on the IR field). but to use that understanding they first need a proper historical view of israel, which they lack.

  14. shimshon says:

    sorry again, my last post is directed at EB.

  15. fp says:

    those 2 regimes are police states and it is that on which they rely to stay in power. all the israeli issue does is allow them to take the edge of the lack of support and popularity that they have. it is not their foundation. however, IF israel went away, the edge will be added back. this will not necessarily topple them by itself, but in conjunction with the islamist trend which affects these societies, it could.

    as the term islamism indicates, the basis is theological. that is the source that inspires their response to the west. however, the trigger that evokes the need for the source is arab shame-honor and the envy and hatred instilled by the primitivism of the arab/muslim world to the modern western world. islam is a religion of domination, which is why it serves so well as a source of response: instead of dropping islam which holds them back, the islamists go for the purer islam and jihad as the solution to their inferiority: they don’t become better, but dismantle the success of the other.

  16. fp says:

    here’s my brief take on w&m. they don’t hold water to kramer and they are quasi-intellectual.

    http://www.dbdebunk.com/page/page/3433496.htm

  17. shimshon says:

    Come on fp, you are making simple generalizations and not addressing the points. Lets look at your claim: “in fact, the worst thing that can happen to those regimes is for israel to go away. they will then lose whatever (fake) legitimacy they’re claiming.” I named four regimes. Only one of them, Egypt, is a police state run by an un-popular dictator. The other 3 are monarchies, which while they certainly don’t meet western standards, they have kings who are fairly popular. And if you think the Heshemites in Jordan lack legitimacy then you really don’t understand arab politics and family connections. The family of the prophet is always going to have some legitimacy in Islamic circles. But none of this addresses the point. In all 4 of those countries, the position of the government toward Israel is un-popular, and works against the regimes legitimacy. Reversing these policies would only add to their legitimacy.

  18. fp says:

    We may have to agree to disagree as to the validity of my analysis.

    Are you suggesting that monarchies cannot be police states? That they are not? You can’t be serious.

    Fairly popular to whom? Certainly not to the man in the street. Any regime, no matter how autocratic, must rely on a loyal elite and some segment of the population to rule. That is not exactly popularity. In the arab world the basis is mostly going with the strong with the resources.

    My bet is that given the right opportunity/circumstances arab regimes would fall and be replaced by some sort of islamic regimes.

    Their attitude towards israel has little to do with the regimes’ attitude towards israel. that’s because the rulers understand the issue quite well and use it as a valve to release pressure by allowing anti-israel hatred to be expressed and promoted in the state and private media. they also support the palestinians in various ways (in part also as protection for their own regimes).

    it’s not clear exactly what ‘policies’, if reversed, would gain them legitimacy. that they have signed formal peace agreements with israel? this applies only to 2 of the 4 and they mean very little in practical terms, because war with israel would not be feasible anyway.

    so i stand behind my position, which is hardly a simple generalization and it does address the point.

  19. fp says:

    one more thing: if the us abandons israel, it will not be seen in the arab street as an achievement of their rulers, but rather as a weakness of the us and the efforts of the islamists — AQ and Iran. i don’t believe that the rulers of egypt, syria and jordan would get many chips if they followed similar policies towards israel. an islamic state in its place would put them in jeopardy, not get them glory.

  20. fp says:

    oops, regarding reply 17: i meant to say:

    “the regimes lack of popularity has little to do with their policies towards israel”

    thinnking that it has is the same as the notion that the pal-israeli conflict is the main problem in the ME.
    they’re both bunk.

  21. Cynic says:

    There are two arab regimes that have formal peace treaties with Israel and a few others that have formal relations but no treaty.

    Which is worth nothing in light of their eons old customs according to the Qur’an and Hadith (Sayings and actions of Mohammad) of Taqiyya and Hudna to reach a state where they throw aside treaties and violently occupy, killing and forcing into servitude the non-Muslim.

    Why even Arafat, in a speach in South Africa just after his signing of the Oslo peace accords in Washington spoke of his Mein Kampf!
    But nobody paid attention. It was in Arabic.
    One must read the arabic giving news to the proletariat and not rabble rousing to get the gist of what they mean.
    And it’s not from Al Jezeerah and their MSM but in the mosques and smaller media, local press, poorly accessed by the world at large that the real message is put out.

    As for the formal treaties that Egypt and Jordan have; the Egyptian one is not worth the paper it is printed on. Get in and delve into the behaviour of the Egyptians over the past 30 years to evaluate its worth. All it counts for in reality is a cessation of hostilities, a truce until a more convenient time arises.
    Not for nothing the Egyptians have been producing extraordinary numbers of Abrams tanks over the years, under licence, for use against whom? Sudan? Lybia?
    Not for nothing they turned a blind eye to the arms smuggling into Gaza since Oslo and prevent huge arms caches from being built up, that took Hamas a week to truck into Gaza when the border was blown open after Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005.
    A 7 mile stretch of border that Egypt “could not” patrol under Carter’s peace treaty.
    Not for nothing that under the Egyptian’s “watchful eye Hezbollah “operatives” went back and forth into Gaza to R&D those IEDs used so bloodily by Iran in Iraq.
    So much for the two billion the US gives them each year. Might as well give it to Syria for all the shahids she has sent into Iraq and the support she provides Iran’s “Foreign Legion” in Lebanon.
    The Jordanians are not much better.

    Just look at Israeli Arab’s behaviour to see that they will cut off their noses in the hope that they spite the Jew’s face.
    Sacking mayors

    What Taiba’s mayor omits to mention is that his city has consistently been a fiscal basket case and that his employees have only rarely seen any recompense for their labors. Arab municipalities collect just five percent to 20% of the local rates due them. This is politically expedient for nationalistic reasons, as the mayors are seen as thumbing their noses at the Zionist state and also gaining favor with voters by not taxing them.
    These mayors expect to be subsequently bailed out by the central government. Thus Taiba’s expenses would be borne by citizens who live elsewhere – and who do pay their own local rates.
    The Treasury has intermittently capitulated to Histadrut pressure and footed the bills for Taiba and similarly mismanaged localities, but even then the councils did not always use the funds to reimburse their shamefully unpaid workers.

    Reality is a far cry from the Oxford debating club.

  22. Cynic says:

    Are you disagreeing with landes that theology is whats driving muslims toward jihad? Here you seem to be suggesting that it is simple populism.

    You seem to mixing jihad and populism.
    Landes is correct and one must realise that Israel is America’s forward line in the jihad but where the populism comes into play is to get your MSM on board and that needs hysteria and blood easily come by, by inciting Muslims to violence over cartoons, three of which were fraudulently drawn and included by the rabble rousers in the original Danish Eleven, or the anti-semitic and anti-zionist rhetoric.
    You have to reason that to intimidate the West they must incite. What better way than to use “populism”.
    Rushdie, cartoons, a comment by the Pope and what better way to get Europe on board if not all of the US than by inciting against Israel and its legitimacy.
    One cannot let on that it all just comes down to jihad.

  23. shimshon says:

    Lets stop building straw men, and deal with the issues we are in disagreement about. Maybe a quick review… there was a claim that for the Arab regimes, “the worst thing that can happen … is for Israel to go away. they will then lose whatever (fake) legitimacy they’re claiming.” This arguement assumes that the regimes use opposition to israel to rally support. I responded that 4 regimes have formal relations with Israel and that these arrangements are unpopular and therefore not a source of legitimacy. This argument is an attempt to show that for these four regimes, Israel is not a rallying point and therefore not a source of legitimacy. Claiming that the arab street doesnt agree with these treaties, helps make my point. It doenst disprove it. Claiming the treaties are not worth the paper they are written on does not address my point because the regimes still cant use their opposition to israel to garner support. If they changed their policies toward israel (remeber, that is what we were talking about) they could use it as a rallying point. So when you say that war is not feesable, you are changing the subject. We were discussing whether or not their position towards israel is a rallying point. In syria, for example war is not feesable, but opposition to israel is a source of legitimacy. People can bring up hudna all they want. I agree with all of you on these points, but they do not contradict the arguement that i made. Even if it is a hudna, which is not what egypt and jordan signed, it still prevents the regimes from using israel as a rallying point. Israel is a cause for the opposition in those countries not the government. If someone wants to address those points, please feel free.

    As for the statement, “Are you suggesting that monarchies cannot be police states? That they are not? You can’t be serious.“ Monarchies can of course be police states, but jordan, for example, is not. In the last two years i have been to egypt 3 times and jordan twice. In egypt there are police on every corner and no one will speak about politics or the regime. (i always ask). In jordan police are about as common as they are here in tel aviv. Everyone has an opinion and they will tell you what they think about the king. The overwhelming majority, but not everyone, has good things to say about him. Some are very upset about the peace treaty, and they are open about it. In egypt no one will even talk about it. That is the difference between a police state, and a state that is not.

    Somehow i think there is a deeper force at work here. It seems there are some people here who simply do not like when someone does not completely trash the arabs. There is plenty of bad things to say, but if you do not go above an beyond, and treat every regime as one monolithic and disgusting unit then you are a stooge of the MSM or a victom of PCP. These are good paradgms when used properly, but they shouldnt be thrown around at anyone you disagree with. Lets remeber that not being able to take a critical look at our “side,“ in this case israel, is part of honor/shame culture. And so is looking irationaly at the other side.

  24. fp says:

    shimshon,

    arabs do not need anybody to thrash them, they do a great job by themselves. the problem is that there are the likes of you who presume to be “realists” who sort of fall for their crap. you don’t realize it because you obscure it to yourself by your formulations, but that’s the essence of it.

    let me guess — are you of the left by any chance?

  25. EB says:

    Shimshon,

    I’ve just read the Dershowitz response, and was compelled to read the original W-M paper, finally, which I avoided doing so far. In my opinion, Dershowitz is completely right, and W-M paper is a hatchet job on Israel and American jewish community. I don’t believe for a second that W-M honestly buy the thesis of their work, which is to recycle every anti-Israel and anti-Jewish idea of the last few decades. These guys are serious academics, they definitely know better. We are then dealing not with a legitimate scholarly work, but with propaganda, one that aims not only at Israel, but at jews in general. For what purpose?
    I currently subscribe to the Economist, a British journal which seems to reflect the views of the British corporate elites. Here’s a cartoon of AIPAC that was recently published there (a few months ago, don’t remember the exact issue):
    http://northernva.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/03/16/economist.jpg

    This thing is openly antisemitic. It is hard for me to imagine a mainstream English-language publication doing this even a few years ago. This is what is currently acceptable in public discourse. And I think this is exactly what W-M were trying to achieve with a paper that bears Harvard name on the front page.

  26. fp says:

    eb,

    if you read my take on W&M to which I linked above, you will find that I demonstrate exactly your conclusion, but with some knowledge and reason.
    not that it merits such demonstration — it is obvious crap.

    that’s why I can’t take seriously the likes of shimshon who pretend to raise serious issues and then defeat their case by bringing up this sort of crap.

    incidentally, I take issue with your characterization of “serious academics”. Says who? On what grounds? And is their seriousness in the ME field? What have they produced before on this subject? What do they know about israel? islam? the me? indeed, what have they produced on the us political process? what do they know about the saudi lobby?

    it’s the all too common phenomenon nowadays of judging work by the reputation of authors, rather than the other way around. and they had no reputation prior to their aipac so-called paper. who knew about them before that?

  27. fp says:

    btw, shimshon, here’s another example of the kind of loyalty buying in the arab world that i was referring to:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3424693,00.html

    that’s the kind of legitimacy, popularity and democracy you buy into. i guess hezbollah is not a police state.

    to call such positions pathetic would be an understatement.

  28. shimshon says:

    fp, i see that you still have not addressed my points. if you would have read my original post, or my first post here you would see that i am argueing against realism. i dont think it is a viable way to understand whats going on. but instead you just attack me.

  29. Richard Landes says:

    i have only had time to skim the discussion here, so i can’t comment in depth, but i do want to say something about the tone. i don’t think it helps to dismiss the other person as a pathetic idiot. and this is true both on the honor-shame plane — makes discussion difficult — and on the integrity guilt plane — makes thinking difficult.

    this doesn’t mean that we have to suffer fools gladly, but it means some close reading before deciding that you’re dealing with someone who is a pathetic fool, before pulling the ripcord.

    i don’t expect all the commenters to be as careful as i am about their remarks — that’s part of what makes cyberspace refreshingly frank — but i do expect that unnecessary rudeness be pruned back.

    the joke runs “anti-semitism is hating jews more than absolutely necessary.” so impoliteness is being ruder than absolutely necessary.

    shimshon, hang in there and don’t get defensive. i really do want to figure out what’s going on in this disagreement.

  30. shimshon says:

    Sorry, that got cut off. The main advantage of the fisking method that landes uses is that it forces the writer to deal directly with points that are made in the text they are fisking. That unfortunately did not happen too often here. In my original comment, which was to short to include a decent level of sophistication, landes called me on several points. I address two of his critiques. First that the muslim beef with the US in mostly about Israel. Landes calimed it was axiom. I tried to show that is was based solidly in Islamic theology. The second point i tried to address was the argument that realism is viable when it comes to the Middle East in general and the Israeli- Arab conflict in particular. Besides EB who addressed the realist argument, there has been very little attempt to refute either of those arguments. Instead i have a stead stream from writer such as fp, who now says “the likes of shimshon,” and argues that I “presume to be realist” when this entire thing was started by me arguing against realism. As for who think W-M are serious academics… it is true that they are not known in the Middle East field, but when it comes to IR they ar top of the field… a comprehensive study of well over a thousand profs of IR in the US ranked mearsheimer as one of the top five most influential profs in the field, and walt was 22nd. For anyone familiar with the field, mearshimer was one of the originators of offensive realism. He was quite famous in the field before the Israel lobby paper.
    see: http://mjtier.people.wm.edu/FP.pdf
    EB, i agree with you. If i gave you the impression that i was against what you said in relation to the w-m paper or the dershowitz response, i did not mean to.

  31. Richard Landes says:

    i would like to make one point generally:

    i think that it is both theological (apocalyptic jihad) and honor-shame (the arab street), not in any way either-or. the kind of emotions that drive global conquest are quintessentially honor-shame: my god is great because i rule the world; you submit to me and my god is exalted.

    much of the “street” anger and violence is essentially testosteronic males thumping their chests, and this has a double value — it intimidates the western wimps (who, like Robin Williams in Pan, whip out their checkbooks when challenged to a duel), and it intimidates the locals who might not go for the belligerent jihadi islam that the street supports.

    in this sense, anti-zionism is the poor man’s islam. any arab/muslim can show loyalty to his faith and people by hating the israelis.

    now there’s pathetic.

  32. fp says:

    i did not attack you. I expressed my opinion that your perspective is weak.

    I CANNOT take seriously anybody who invokes W&M. they have been amply discredited and they have no substance. they simply detected a climate more conducive to scapegoating israel and its supporters in the us and they exploited it. i have linked to my piece on them which is reasoned, and you did not address it either, nor have you addressed my comments on hizbollah which was part of my addressing your points. for somebody who insists on addressing your points even after they were addressed, you don’t address others’ points at all.

    I am unaware that I attacked you. if i did, it was at the same level as you dismissing our comments here as “arab bashing”, which you did first: i too said what i thought of your perspective, I have grounded my position fairly well.

    i do not feel compelled to engage any further, so we must agree to disagree on both the validity of your points as well as whather i addressed them or not.

  33. fp says:

    well, i have the tendency to not involve myself very deeply into sophistications that obscure very basic and obvious issues.

    whatever their reputation in IR they have, the paper on aipac was thoroughly debunked as pure crap. and anyway, no amount of intellectualization can convince me that aipac drove the us away from its own interest and w&m did not PROVE one iota of this in their so-called paper; serious academics would not have published something like that (and don’t use academic reputation by peers with me, it tends to be meaningless more often than not (see Said, Finklestein, Cole, Massad, Makdisi, MESA and so on). I myself left academia in disgust once i discerned its politics and its deterioration).

    sorry, but i cannot take your comments seriously. since you don’t mine either, i guess that’s where our interaction ends, and you will have to be content with other responses here.

  34. fp says:

    rl, your take is absolutely correct, although for the life of me i don’t understand why you do not accept the logical conclusion of this interaction between islamists and the west: given that the trend you describe accelerates daily rather than reverses — just today sarkozy has capitulated to hezbollah, for example — what what keeps your hope alive? what changes do you see and on what basis do you see them that would prevent it?

    you deplore the fact that the arabs do not engage in self-criticism. but i find that those who won’t accept the defeat of the west — it has capitulated a long time ago — suffer from the same flaw of being in denial about their own unrealism.

  35. EB says:

    fp,

    addressing the issue of whether W&M are serious academics, my point of view is this: these guys are professionals, and their article is a professional hit job on the American jews. By that I mean that W&M did not intend to add to the field of either Middle East scholarship or American political science, but rather intended to write an academic-sounding paper that can be used by the enemies of the AIPAC and people who want to stop American aid to Israel. The thing is quite political, and the connection to academia (particularly to Harvard) is to give a pseudo-scientific and pseudo-historical legitimacy to the movement that seeks the end of American support of Israel. I am sure that W&M have or will be well compensated for their efforts (with well-paid gigs or lucrative grants), this thing is clearly not an isolated incident. I can only hope that pro-Israel crowd can raise enough noise to make sure that other academics and pundits think twice about what writing politically-motivated attacks such as this one would do to their scholarly credentials.

  36. EB says:

    Shimshon,

    I didn’t intend my comment to be in disagreement with you, I was just expressing what I though at my first read of the W&M paper. I haven’t read the thing before today, relying instead on the commentary in blogs and newspapers. Frankly, I thought that criticism of the paper was exaggerated, until I read it for myself, that is.

    But, I think I do disagree with you on the subject of realism in US Middle East policy. The American goals in the Middle East, as I understand them (and my understanding can be well off), are to make sure that Arab countries + Iran are integrated into the American-led world order, in other words, open trade, access to investments, free oil market, things of that nature. Enabling the access of American oil companies to the Persian Gulf oil fields is a huge part of this, but countries such as Egypt, Iraq, and Iran are important even without oil due to their large populations and regional significance (and Suez canal in Egypt). Add to this the somewhat personal relationship between Saudi and American elites, and what we have is a US policy that wants to make sure Middle East is in the American orbit. There are different ways to go about achieving this end, and keeping the Arab street happy is only a small part of what a comprehensive foreign policy of a superpower like US should be. One can argue that keeping the extremists in ME happy by giving them what they want (abandoning Israel) will achieve precisely the opposite of what US wants. To make a historical analogy, it would be sort of like ending US military support of Western Europe at the height of the Cold War to keep the communist hardliners in the Soviet Union happy. Such a move would have indeed made them happy, I am sure, but it would have also marked the end of US influence in Europe. Appeasement in general is not the wisest choice in foreign policy, especially in a “realpolitik” one. US has traditionally employed “carrot and a stick” approach in its relations to other countries, and Israel makes a rather convenient “stick”. Sometimes, US diplomacy in ME has reminded me of a “good cop-bad cop” act, where Israel is a “bad cop”, and US intervenes on the Arabs’ behalf to reign Israelis in and/or offer Israeli concessions. This is “realpolitik” at its best or worst, depending on your point of view. On the other hand, simply appeasing the Arabs by abandoning Israel is probably about the worst US can do – it would sure make Arab rulers and street happy – but it would end any role for the US as the mediator and dispenser of favors. In other words, what I am trying to say is that giving in to what Arabs (elites and the street) want is very different from achieving what US wants – and it is the latter that should be the focus of American foreign policy.

  37. fp says:

    eb,

    yes, but my point is that serious academics wouldn’t do that the way they did. no integrity.

  38. fp says:

    btw, eb, if what you describe is true, then it validates my point in my piece that it is the us that is using israel for its own interests rather than the other way around — the crap that w&m push.

  39. Sophia says:

    FP, I think you’re absolutely correct (about the US using Israel and not the other way around) and I believe a study of modern Middle Eastern history would support your contention.

    In fact before the US became Israel’s ally Britain and France took advantage of the Israeli army in 1956. It was really rather shameless especially considering the British attitude about Israel, and their continuous pandering to the Arabs – up to and including promises to prize the Negev away from the Israelis – and of course they supported Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank.

    The Suez crisis at least had the benefit of apparently getting Britain to stop trying to give away big chunks of Israel but the French proved to be inconstant friends as well; and indeed Sarkozy has just reversed himself vis a vis Hezbollah and declared that it isn’t a “terrorist organization”; I guess dead Jews in South America and dead Americans in Lebanon and dead and abducted Israelis just don’t count.

    And the US in 1973 “let Israel bleed” in Nixon’s words – refusing to resupply her – as did the Brits – until the absolute last minute – when the tide had already turned. I think that was shameful. It certainly cost lives and were it not for the heroic defense on the Golan and in the Sinai, Israel could well have been overrun. That is truly a frightening thought, as is the fact that the US apparently had drawn up contingency plans to attack Israel in 1967.

    I also think the war against Hezbollah last summer may have been partly inspired by Bush. And in fact the lack of a more resounding success immediately worried people in Israel, who feared that the US would regard her as “less valuable” because the war didn’t have a more clear-cut outcome.

    Similarly the Reagan cabinet, including VP Bush, was reportedly furious when the reactor in Iraq was taken out by the IAF; Craig Unger wrote that Bush sent chemical weapons to Saddam and that was a huge fear during Gulf War I: that the SCUDS attacking Israel might include chemical warheads. And Israel of course had to just sit and take it.

  40. fp says:

    sophia,

    this is history that anybody check. that is why i refuse to engage anybody who is ignorant of the basic facts and interprets events by either ignoring and rewriting history.

    no amount of overintellectualization can change the facts, or convince me that israel manipulated the us, which is utter nonsense.

    to the extent that us politicians went against what american interests, it is their fault and scapegoating israel is anti-semitism pure and simple, be it intentional or based on ignorance.

  41. shimshon says:

    Despite the fact that some are now claiming that i agree with W-M, I don’t. my posts so far have been to argue against their whole approach…realism. So that means i don’t “invoke” them as has been claimed. I also agree that the Israel lobby paper does not meet the academic standards of a high school student. Despite this, they are serious academics and we should not fool ourselves into thinking otherwise. I wish i could wish them away, but we cant. We have to face the reality of the situation.

    I, as should be fairly obvious by now, am not a realist. (someone even suggested that i was…gasp…on the left…which i am) There are some good realist arguments, and many here have made them. I also think that there are solid arguments in realism claiming both that Israel is in the US’s interest, and that they are not. But in the end, for me our values trump our interest so it does not matter (which is why i am not a realist).

    FP. the reason i did not address what you said about hezbollah, for example, is because it had no relevance to what we were talking about. In a conversation about Egypt and Jordan, you disagreed with my view and then stated, “i guess Hezbollah is not a police state.” That has absolutely nothing to do with the situation of Egypt or Jordan. It is the same as if i responded to what you said about Hezbollah by claiming Dubai is a fairly open society… but that also has nothing to do with what we are talking about, and tells us nothing about egypt or jordan. It is no way to figure anything out and that’s why i didn’t address it. For the record Hezbollah is pretty horrible, but i am not sure police state is what best describes them. They are not, after all, a state.

  42. shimshon says:

    fp, i read your take on the w-m piece. the reason i did not address it is because it is about whether or not the lobby was driving the US. we AGREE on this. i never claimed that israel or the lobby is driving US policy. i think it is american morality. this is the type of argumentation i have been talking about. instead of addressing my claims you make other claims for me, such as i support w-m, I am a realist or I probably think hesbollah is not a police state. You then argue on those premises. but I never made those claims. It is called building straw men, and it is a common tactic in argumentation, though it is logically invalid.

  43. Richard Landes says:

    i’ll begin my responses from the top. first up, shimshon’s immediate response (below in italics)

    first i would like to clear up a point that i think has led us to talk about two different things. You based much of what you said on Butt’s piece in the guardian. While i agree that Butt is representative of the al-Qaeda types and the doctors behind the recent attacks in London, I don’t think he is (or more properly, was) representative of the majority of Muslims. If we want to see what a larger percentage of muslims believe, we should perhaps look at people like yusuf qaradawi. On his website qaradawi.net (this is his Arabic website as apposed to his much milder English web site) we see that the number one issue is Palestine. It is at the top of his list of links to his site and the only issue that even gets a link (the other links refer to his books, poetry, sermons etc.). So while the radicals like Butt may have their brand of theology as the main issue, I don’t think that this theological view is anywhere near as popular as the theological view of qaradawi.

    i’m not arguing that Palestine isn’t terribly impt, and it doesn’t surprise me to know it’s right in front at the qaradawi website. it is the best single recruiter for global jihad. it’s front and center (with al durah as the core of the message of outrage) in bin laden’s recruiting movie of early 2000. but that doesn’t make it anything more than the gateway drug to millennial inebriation. we’re not dealing with people driven by the logic of their ideas, but the logic of their desires. in this case it’s the millennial dream of global jihad. that’s the ultimate destination of islamism today — it’s authentic islam. and the more we encourage them by playing into their hands in the stupidest ways, the more we encourage your average (potentially moderate) Muslim to find that path more attractive. in these kinds of movements, the majority swing to the one they perceive as the winner.

    The divide is mainly over what can be considered defensive Jihad. (It has to be defensive jihad or it is not be an individual duty and therefore a group of doctors can’t one day decide to carry out attacks. See the al-qaeda fatwa from 1998, they justify their actions as defensive) Al-qaeda and people like qaradawi disagree whether or not defensive jihad can be carried out outside an “occupied” country. this is why qaradawi if for even the most disgusting acts inside Israel and Iraq but against 9-11, 7-7, Madrid, etc. addtionaly al-Qaeda views other Muslims, such as the Saudi family as infidels. This is a view that qaradawi and most muslims reject. so it is not just theology that is the problem, it is a particular brand of theology. The majority of muslims who want to adhere to Islamic law, take qaradawi’s view not al-qaeda’s and therefore their focus is on areas such as Palestine, Chechnya, and Kashmir. The US has nothing to do with Kashmir, or Chechnya so Israel becomes the source of angst. Of course the angst is now also caused by Iraq, but that is relatively recent and I am talking about issues with a deeper historical roots.

    these are not two different positions, but on a continuum, and the one slides easily into the next. both sides argue the defensive jihad, which is what the paranoid imperative is all about: exterminate or be exterminated. it’s what drove the nazis, and what’s driving global jihad. given how pervasive this kind of fevered conspiracy is in muslim media, given how readily the slightest insult is taken as an assault on the very being of islam, i’d say that the shift from the “let’s get back past areas of Dar al Islam, but we don’t think we should finish the job the earliest Muslims accomplished” to “now that we’ve gotten back what we want, let’s finish the job.” in a sense, this is really a parallel to the Green Line in the Arab-Israeli conflict. will they settle for it? or is it a stage to the “river to the sea”? given the israeli lesson, i’d say it’s crazy to think that the “majority of Muslims who want to adhere to Islamic law” take any firm view of this. this is a doctrine in evolution, and our behavior effects the appetites on the other side.

    Additionally, Butt and his cohorts are not in control of states, which in realist paradigm of W-M means they are non-actors.

    i thought we were in the age of the non-state actors, of the identity entrepreneurs and the super-empowered individuals… that’s so like pre-post modern of them to think that way. esp in the age of cyberspace globalization.

    Qaradawi and others like him do not run states either, but their brand of Islam is much closer and sometimes identical to state sponsored Islam outside of Saudi Arabia. I agree with you that Israel is not the main problem for the arabs, or even the primary catalyst for America’s unpopularity in the arab world. But again, i must stress that if we are working under the realist paradigm, it is not the arab street that matters. It is the rulers.

    that’s about the most unrealistic a conceptual approach as i can imagine. the street plays a huge role in the arab world. any notion of arab politics that does not acct for the street is just plain silly.

    I think it can be reasonably argued that sacrificing Israel, if sold as an arab victory and the US admitting they were wrong all those years, would allow the arab heads of state to save face with their populations. In return the US could probably receive substantial support (at the state level, which is the only support that means anything to the realist) on Iran and Iraq.

    i confess astonishment. this is just plain silly. the very fact that you can write “to save face with their populations” makes it clear the critical role “the street” plays in these calculations. note how your parentheses — “(only support that means anything)” — laboriously restate the crucial principle that your very language about “their populations” belies. this is the sloppiest kind of thinking imaginable, turning intensely dynamic (and now activated) movements of belief into wooden “factors” slotted in where seemingly appropriate to make a very poor argument sound reasonable.

    You are probably right that in the long term this may work against the US by inspiring some of the more aggressive elements in these societies to push their government for more and more.

    yeah, like no duh.

    I accept that critique. I was not thinking as long term as that, but anyway i do not see that as fait accompli.

    it’s not the long run and it wd be a fait accompli before you could blink. in these matters, they are on a steep learning curve. so they are not nearly as stupid as we think they are, which is why we are as stupid as they think we are.

    Who knows what a stable Iraq would do for the region, or what a suni arab – US alliance against Iran would do for America’s image on the street. These are unknowns,

    you remind me of a conversation i had with an Israeli official before the disengagement from Gaza. “Do you think there will be more or less violence after the disengagement?” “Well,” says he, “that’s the big question, isn’t it?” No. The writing has been on the wall since 2000 (for those of us who were slow). I guarantee you, US gives up Israel and it will create immense contempt for us among the Arabs. And we’d deserve it.

    but what i do know is that if America did sacrifice Israel to be butchered, America would not be, well America. I think another commenter put it best: “I think America would die inside. Germany we’re not, thank G*d. Because you know what? Our interests, America’s interests, have always been predicated on morality.” But this, of course, is well outside the realist paradigm. In the end, i think you are right that we need to stand up for our morals, but this is not realism. Realism, at its heart, is concerned with power positioning, not morals. Sometimes the two concepts are aligned, but not always and we should not forget which one is the justification for what we do.

    that’s the final point i was trying to get to at the end of my essay. realism is an impt concept to keep in mind. it’s the dominating imperative (rule or be ruled), and it’s the ground of most polities, certainly those in the middle east where “hama rules.” but civil society is built on the collective commitment to moral standards (the social contract) in order to shift from a top-down fear-generated social order to a bottom-up, consenting-autonomous-moral-agent generated social order. so in civil societies, morality is part of reality. civil societies cannot survive without commitments; prime dividers can. in civil societies — ie those that make jobs like Walt and Mearsheimer and Erlanger and Enderlin possible — morality is a part of reality and hence any intelligent and effective realist thinking.

    A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. (WB) And you don’t have to be wise, just observant.

  44. Barry Meislin says:

    Confuse and conquer.

  45. Eliyahu says:

    Shimshon, I’d like you to deploy your expertise on Comrade Uncle Joe Qaradawi and his friendship with Shaykh Kanan al-Hamra, amir of Londonistan [the naive Brits call Kanan "Red Ken"]. Kanan is supposed to have been a Trot or some other Commie species in a previous incarnation. Now, Comrade Uncle Joe sits in Qatar which is considered a state by most systems of Western political thought. Meanwhile Qatar is also the chief locus of the al-Jazeera TV propaganda enterprise, stirring up the rabble from Rabat to Ras al-Khaima. Furthermore, Doha, capital of Qatar, is also the locus of a major military base of the infidel Kufar Crusaders called the Amreekee.

    Now, how is it, Shimshon שמשון , that this fairly small sovereign entity of Qatar is the host to all this apparently disparate activity??? Qaradawi who rants on al-Jazeera plus the al-Jazeera HQ plus a US military base which plays a major role in US military activities in Iraq? How does all this fit into a fairly small geographic area?

    Another question, Shimshon. How are national interests defined and who is to define such interests? How does this process of definition take place in the United States? Do the interests of folks like jim baker, whose family roots in the oil biz go back a few generations, match those of the average working class American or the average professor of classical languages in a US university? Who is to say what US interests are? Why is most of the so-called Left in the US so much in tune with the jim bakers and jimmmy carters and professor polks? How come qaradawi and jimmy carter and jim b and noam chomsky and n finkelstein all seem to be on the same side on the Israel issue???

  46. shimshon says:

    Let me address a few of your arguments:

    “these are not two different positions, but on a continuum, and the one slides easily into the next.”

    I would ask yourself this: both Hamas and Islamic Jihad (two of the most bloodthirsty groups on the pantet) have cells in the USA and have declared the US an enemy. They have the capability to attack, but despite being around since the 1980’s they haven’t. Why? I would argue that they are being true the wasatiyya school of Islamic thought that they both proclaim to adhere to. There actions seem to match these claims. I think your arguments about shame based society are good and on the right track, but the need a more nuanced understanding of what is going on in modern Islamic theology. wasatiyya is a very strong and very popular movement, and it is basicly the only way to explain why there have not been more attacks in the US dispite groups like CAIR that support the Islamic fundamentalist.

    “i thought we were in the age of the non-state actors, of the identity entrepreneurs and the super-empowered individuals… that’s so like pre-post modern of them to think that way. esp in the age of cyberspace globalization.”

    Exactly my point. One of the basic premises of the IR theory of Realism (see quote at bottom) is that states are the only international actors. This premise makes no sense in an age of non-state terror groups being stronger than the states themselves. So when I said about state support that it is the “(only support that means anything)”, the prentices are used to declare the realist position, not mine.

    Now, with that cleared up lets look at this:
    “this is the sloppiest kind of thinking imaginable, turning intensely dynamic (and now activated) movements of belief into wooden ‘factors’”

    again you are arguing my point against realism. These “wooden factors” are no mine. They are a basic assumption of the realist paradigm. (again see quote at bottom).

    “it’s not the long run and it wd be a fait accompli before you could blink.”

    Nothing is fait accompli. That is a-historical.

    “realism is an impt concept to keep in mind. it’s the dominating imperative (rule or be ruled), and it’s the ground of most polities, certainly those in the middle east.”

    You have already stated how stupid the realist premise of states being the only actors is. Here is another premise of realism: all international actors are rational and act in their own states interest. I don’t think that is very applicable to the middle east.

    I hate to have to refer to Wikipedia but these concepts are very basic and they are generally agreed upon. Here is what Wikipedia lists as common assumptions of Realism:
    “Sovereign states are the principal actors in the international system. International institutions, non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations and other sub-state or trans-state actors are viewed as having little independent influence.”
    And:
    “States are rational unitary actors each moving towards their own national interest. There is a general distrust of long-term cooperation or alliance.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realism_(international_relations)

    I assumed that most people would know the basics of realism so I did not delve into them in my initial responce.

  47. shimshon says:

    Eliyahu,

    I am not quite sure I understand your first question. But anyway, I think you make some good points about what is the “national interest.” I think the whole idea is BS. That’s why I am not a realist. As for answering your question about why carter, baker, chomski, finkelstein and Qaradawi are all against Israel. Well I think that they are anti-Semites. Plain and simple. But let me point out that they are not all on the left and not liberals. Baker is a conservative and a realist. Chomski and his cohorts are old school Stalinist, not liberals. Qaradawi is another case. But I would argue that he has more right leaning tendencies than left leaning. Carter was a liberal, but what can I say, anti-Semitism is hard to explain. It pops up everywhere.

  48. shimshon says:

    RL, I just realised that, being a midevil historian, you probably were not exposed to theoretical realism in international relations. And then I figured that if you don’t know, then there are probably a fare amount of others here who also don’t have a strong grasp of the concept. I think it is absolutely nessisary to go over some of the basics if we are going to discuss W-M and the Kramer response.
    Here I will used wikipedia again, but this info is pretty much agreed upon in the field and it can be found in just about any intro to IR book.

    Wikipedia list 5 “common assumptions” in realism. they for the premise of the theory and all argumentaion takes them into account. Lets see how they match up to your theories of how to understand the ME.

    1, “The international system is anarchic. There is no authority above states capable of regulating their interactions; states must arrive at relations with other states on their own, rather than it being dictated to them by some higher controlling entity (that is, no true authoritative world government exists).”

    Nothing here that really deals with your paradims. But the assuption that the state is the highest level of organisation does not let us talk about the “Arab WOrld” as one unit. The next two I quoted above. they are:

    2, “Sovereign states are the principal actors in the international system. International institutions, non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations and other sub-state or trans-state actors are viewed as having little independent influence.”
    3, “States are rational unitary actors each moving towards their own national interest. There is a general distrust of long-term cooperation or alliance.”

    These do, as discussed earlier, run counter to your understanding of the ME.

    4, “The overriding ‘national interest’ of each state is its national security and survival. In pursuit of national security, states strive to amass resources.”

    This seems to be contrary to your understanding that melinial thinking plays a major role.

    5, “Relations between states are determined by their comparative level of power derived primarily from their military and economic capabilities.”

    Military and economic capabilities are not what an honor shame and jihadist paradigm considers. Islam does not show up anywhere in any of these, and most realist would assume that relgion and culture have very little influence on understranding international politics

    I think you are right in using your honor shame, and melenial tools for analysing the ME, but these are not realism. In fact they are quite contrary to the basic principles of realism. Kramer’s arguement uses a realist approach and that is why I had problems with it off the bat.

  49. fp says:

    shimshon,

    my hezbollah argument is NOT a strawman. you just did not understand it. and that is because you don’t follow your arguments to their logical conclusion. i did it for you. reread it properly and try to take into account the part about loyalty/legitimacy in the arab world of which you, the self-proclaimed realist, don’t have much knowledge of.

    as to the w&m — insofar as this subject is concerned they are crappola.

  50. fp says:

    shimshon,

    you’re lucky RL found the time and patience to do what I did not — respond to you point by point, so now you know why i do not bother that much. that you did not understand my hezbollah comment is another indicator that i am right not to bother.

    note that he comes with effort to the same conclusion i came with almost none.

    if i detect poor knowledge and reasoning in non-succinct messages i refuse to engage. life is too short.

  51. shimshon says:

    fp, i read the article and it had nothing to do with what we are discussing, (whether or not jordan or egypt are police states). you changed the supbect, attributed a view to me, (that i probably believe hezbollah is not a police state), and then argued from there. that is a setting up a straw man and then knocking it down.

    i dont know what i have to do to make this clear…i am not a realist. i have argueing against realism this whole time. so i am certainly not a “self-proclaimed realist” as you suggest.

  52. fp says:

    Realism is a rather squishy concept to define and i have not seen it defined precisely and accurately here.
    what i do see is that shimshon fails to see that there can be realism in the west about a shame-honor, jihadi driven arab/muslim world. that is precisely what is lacking in the west.

  53. fp says:

    sorry, shimshon, at the level of this discussion i have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain to you the relevance you should see, but don’t.

    perhaps those more patient than me here will.

  54. shimshon says:

    fp, if you can give me a single quote from that article that says anything about whether or not Jordan is a police state, i will admit i was wrong.

    I await the quote.

  55. fp says:

    perhaps the confusion about realism here is that I was not using the IR term (i would be extremely wary of using wikipedia as a source in general), but rather its more mundane meaning. your description of the qaradawi muslim school was an attempt at that more mundane realism, but it failed as such.

  56. Sophia says:

    Anyhow back to the argument:)

    The Wikipedia article was interesting precisely because it ignores the reality in the Middle East – thus “realism” per se doesn’t begin to pertain there.

    The assumption that nation-states are primary arbiters of policy and organization ignores the religious organization not to mention clan and tribal affiliations, that continue to define loyalties and political “reality” in the ME.

    One of the most interesting aspects of the Israel/Hezbollah war emerged in the aftermath, in the form of UN 1701, which reaffirmed the sovereignty of BOTH states and reiterated the necessity to disarm Lebanon’s militias including Hezbollah. Of course in fact Hezbollah is now challenging the very government of Lebanon and the Lebanese army is essentially engaged in a war with elements in one of the “refugee camps,” Nahr al-Bared. Katuysha rockets were fired from there on Northern Lebanese villages and notably a statement released by the army accused Fatah al Islam of “doing Israel’s dirty work,” a comment which manages to be both bigoted and deeply inaccurate:

    http://www.beirutbeltway.com/beirutbeltway/2007/07/rockets-do-isra.html

    Also significant is the Syrian relationship to Lebanon and its overlapping internal problems regarding the Palestinian “camps,” over which it also has no effective sovereignty, due to the Cairo Accords of 1969.

    “Realism” can’t begin to define let alone deal with paradigms that don’t fit the nation-state principle, like the Lebanese situation; and thus it fails utterly to take into account spiritual considerations let alone the fact that many of the nationstates in the M.E. (and elsewhere including the US) are anything but monolithic and in fact reflect a plethora of “national interests”.

    Finally I think it’s inescapable to conclude that powerful, well-placed people in the US government are in fact dangerously bigoted. Whether they’re organized or not is a good question. Historically the worst pogroms arose when elements of government turned on the Jewish people, beyond “just” locals and churches – obviously, because they have so much more power both legally and in terms of weaponry. Of course sometimes governments were intimately linked with churches; then you have a “perfect storm”.

  57. igout says:

    You guys are at 30,000 feet above my poor brain, but it seems pretty plain to me that the long-term interests of the USA are secured by being known for being faithful to its friends and lethal to its enemies. Our problem is that we’ve been operating for decades with those conceptual wires hooked up backwards.

    It isn’t exactly about realism or idealism; but rather–what is the bullfighting term?–dominance?

  58. fp says:

    sophia,

    quite. and bigotry has been a central factor in IR, one that “realism” ignores too. that’s why it is the opposite of the mundane underlying of the term it uses.

    igout,

    that’s what i was getting at when i was saying that no amount of overintellectualization can obscure the simple and obvious basics that you put your finger on.

    among other problems of us foreign policy is its very short term perspective and the projection of us values and objectives onto foreign nations and cultures, not to mention arrogant ignorance about them. that’s why it’s now irreversibly declining.

  59. fp says:

    shimshon,

    you await a quote that’s not the relevant to the point i was making and that you utterly failed to understand. unfortunately, understanding it requires several logical inferences and, as i said, i am not inclined to expound them to you.

  60. fp says:

    anti-semitism pops up everywhere because jews are a very convenient scapegoat in all sorts of circumstances for all kinds of reasons.

    the left sees undermining israel/jews as a way to undermine the west/us (ignoring the consequences of such for its own principles); baker sees it as a way to maximize profits from ME transactions; carter is a bigotted asshole who is taking revenge on the jews for helping get him out of office and for refusing to yield to the arabs and thus robbing him from the peacemaker role. and, as rl has explained, everybody hates the jews for bettering all of them.

    thus, everybody gets in the a-s game. as an israeli friend of mine put it, a-s has always been and will always be a constant.

  61. EB says:

    On definition of “realism”:

    my original view was that “realism” = “realpolitik”. It is clear to me now that many define the word differently. While on the subject of definitions, isn’t there a group of US State Dept. officials who like to call themselves “realists”, a camp whose intellectual roots go back to the pre-war US and British arabists? The same people who set up and helped Arab national movements around the time of the world wars, and were opposed to Israel from the very beginning? For those guys, the term “realism” might mean something altogether different from both “realpolitik” or national self-interest.

  62. fp says:

    foreign ministries almost everywhere have usually been arabist, often to the point of undermining pro-israel policies of their governments.

    my guess is that the SD arabists would deem their position realpolitik. rice is the most recent one and she is the worst. earlier arabists at least were so out of conviction or perception of interests; she has turned 180 degrees out of utter policy failure, which is like waving red before the arab bull.

  63. EB says:

    Shimshon,

    I was somewhat surprised at the definition of “realism”, that focuses on nation-states as the only actors in international relations. Surely, I thought, Walt and Mearsheimer can’t believe that. Turns out I was quite wrong. John Mearsheimer in his own words:

    INTERVIEWER: In theoretical terms, how can realist theory address something like non-state actors
    (such as Al-Qaeda)?
    JM: The fact is that realism has hardly anything to say about Al-Qaeda per se.
    Realism is a theory about state behaviour. It assumes that the state is the principal
    actor in the international system and that there is no higher authority above it. So
    there is no place in the theory for non-state actors like Al-Qaeda. I find that fans of
    offensive realism who are bothered by the fact that the theory does not have a place
    in it for Al-Qaeda sometimes will say to me, ‘Why can’t you adjust the theory to fit
    terrorist groups into it?’ My answer is that you cannot do that, because the theory
    would end up getting watered down, and it would lose its analytical bite. We should all recognize that no theory – realism included – can explain every aspect of
    international politics.
    Having said all of that, however, Al-Qaeda operates within the state system,
    which operates according to realist logic. Osama Bin Laden, as I read him, is not
    determined to overthrow the state system and replace it with an Islamic version of
    the Holy Roman Empire. Instead, he is bent on pushing the United States and its
    European allies out of the Arab and Islamic world, and creating Islamic regimes
    across that world. But regardless of his ultimate aims, he is not going to overthrow
    the state system, which is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Thus, Bin Laden
    will have to operate in the state system to survive; he will need to live in a state and
    he will have to pay careful attention to how different states react to him. So
    understanding the workings of the state system – which is realism’s forte – will help
    us understand his behaviour. Still, there are limits to what realism can tell us about
    Al-Qaeda, because it is a non-state actor, and there is no room for non-state actors
    in structural realism.

    http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/A0041.pdf

    The guy is a fool.

  64. Richard Landes says:

    this post is from Eliyahu:

    Actually, I think there’s a problem with the whole concept of interests in the political science and world politics fields. I used to hear a Marxist outfit called the Socialist Labor Party claiming that the purpose of wars was to control markets and the sources of raw materials. No doubt, some wars have fit that paradigm. But the ancient Arab conquests of the 7th century seem to have been meant to subdue productive populations in order to live off tribute from them [rather than spreading Islam]. Joseph Schumpeter would, I think, support that argument of mine. I think that that’s what he says in “Imperialism” about Arab imperialism, to which he devotes a whole section.

    Anyway, the concept of interest is much too often defined much too narrowly, that is, in a pragmatic, materialist, manner. But pragmatism fails over and over. Yet advocates of its application in international affairs never seem to give up. The carrot-stick method does not work with everybody. Consider the case of someone who rejects ordinary materialist purposes. For example, some years ago a wealthy Egyptian bought out the franchise for Egypt of the British luxury supermarket chain Sainsbury’s. After he bought the franchise, he promptly closed all of the Sainsbury stores in Egypt. He didn’t want to make off of Sainsbury. He already had enough money anyhow. What he wanted was to prevent the foreign values represented by Sainsbury’s from corrupting Islamic Egypt. How do you deal with somebody like this on “pragmatic” grounds?? Sophia already pointed out some of the problems involved in dealing with an Arab society: tribalism, clan loyalties, honor-shame values, religious fanaticism and rivalries, love of jihad, etc. Crooks like jim baker and jiminy cricket, the prez who beat the Killer Rabbit, not to mention the average State Dept hack, regularly come up with ostensibly “pragmatic” solutions to Middle East “peace” problems. They probably know that these proposed solutions won’t work and cannot work. Maybe they think that that’s how to persuade Americans. These same characters also lie a lot. That’s another way to persuade the public. Maybe they even lie to themselves. I think that W-M lie consciously. Jim b and jiminy too. But it’s hard to prove that they lie wittingly rather than merely making a mistake.

    In short, I would suggest to my friends in the poli sci field that the whole concept of interest has to be rethought. Maybe the best definition of interest is what one is interested in. Some are interested in money, some in political power, some in sex or love or fine arts, and others in helping get people killed. But the every day “realism” regularly held up to the public is misleading and its proponents too often lie about all sorts of basic historical facts. By the way, I read Prof Hans Morgenthau’s classic textbook on the subject of Realism in world politics many years ago.

  65. fp says:

    he’s a serious academic fool. lots of those around. my guess is there are more of them than intellectuals.

  66. fp says:

    eliyahu,

    that’s the problem with the left: because they rely only on the marxist paradigm, they must impose it on everything even when phenomena are not compatible with it. hence their adoption of the islamist cause as one of poverty, oppression, colonialism, etc. even though there is plenty of empirical evidence to the contrary.

  67. shimshon says:

    Ok. I see we should have dealt with defining our terms earlier. I could not for the life of me figure out why so many people on this site were defending realism. It goes against everything this site is about, because when it defines all states as unitary rational actors, it sees all international actors as the same. it does not distinguish between societies based on prime movers and states with civil society, nor does it distinguish between honor shame culture and guilt based culture. In this respect, Realism is close, but not identical to the PCP. But of course it has nothing to do with radicalism or liberalism. Realism is tradtionaly from the right, not the left. On the right now there is a divide between realist and neo-cons. The neo-cons took aspects of liberalism (their historical roots are on the left, but many of them switched in the 70’s and 80’s) which does distinguish between democratic and non-democratic regimes. This divide on the right can be seen today in things like the baker-hamelton report. Baker is an old school republican and he adheres to realism. That’s why he suggests that the US establish contacts with Syria and Iran at the expense of Israel in his report. This is in contrast to the neo-con policies of the post 9-11 bush admin. Baker’s is very similar to the approach of the “arabist” who were at the state dept. they were realist like baker, and human rights meant very little to them. They saw arabs with a wealth of natural resources and land, and then they looked at Israel with neither.

    EB, that article by Mearsheimer is exactly what i was trying to get across in my first post. I tried to express this when i said:
    “Butt and his cohorts are not in control of states, which in realist paradigm of W-M means they are non-actors.”
    I was talking about what the realist, thought, not what i thought, but i can now see that it could be confusing, because it assumes the reader understands the principles of realism. I guess the lesson for all of us is DEFINE OUR TERMS.

    I guess my question now is, how many people here still agree with Kramer’s realist approach. I stand by what i said originally, that Kramer is wrong. we need to bring other aspects into the equation if we want to have any chance of understanding the Middle East. And the US approach should be based on morality not realism.

  68. EB says:

    Shimshon,

    I agree that we need more than just realism to understand the Middle East. However, I don’t think that making a purely moral case for Israel will be sufficient to preserve US-Israeli alliance. Convincing the majority of Americans that the support of Israel is moral will make it politically easier for policymakers to pursue that course. But, as one of the participants said in the London Review of Books debate, American leaders are very very far from being naive or easy to control. These guys rule the world, they are the ones that have the freedom to make whatever decisions they please (backed up by the strongest military in the world), and those decisions will be based on hard-nosed self-interest. Supporters of Israel can merely hope to both explain how Israel-American alliance is in the US interest, and help make the alliance politically feasible by making it popular with the public. In other words, both realpolitik and moral arguments are important.

    In my opinion, “realist” view that alliance with Arabs is more important than alliance with Israel, purely because Arabs are more populous and control large quantities of oil, is naive. This view completely ignores the realities (realists ignoring realities; I sure have a way with words) of instability of Arab regimes, inability of the Gulf states to defend themselves against either Iraq or Iran, rise of Islamic fundamentalism, and the centrifugal force of the Sunni-Shiite confict. US has two loyal and stable allies in the Middle East: Israel and Turkey, both modern states, both striving to integrate into western world. Past history should teach “realists” that alliances with the likes of Iran shah or Iraq’s Saddam are not meant to last. Unfortunately, massive US support of Egypt and Saudi Arabia ignores this history. It is likely that these “allies” will turn on us, but I suppose, to a card-carrying “realist”, all that matters is a piece of paper that was signed by the diplomats.

  69. shimshon says:

    EB, i think you are right to call for an approach that conbines realpolitik and moral values. I overstated my position when i suggested that it should just be morality. Your view is similar to the critique of the neo-cons that is coming from the left. this critique claims that they let idealism and morality dictate policy dipite the situation on the ground. for them the only moral thing to do is to overthrow dictators like sadam and to replace it with a democracy. but this idealistic view ignores inconvinient truths of arab society. inserting some realpolitik into the Iraq plan probably would have been usefull.

  70. fp says:

    there is NOTHING moral about the current policies of states, the west included, and that’s true of most policies, not just the ME policies. in fact, i would go so far as to say that they never were. israel exists as a symbol of how wretched the world’s policies were in the 30′s.

    what’s more, the current policies of the west are not even self-preserving, but rather suicidally stupid.

    so forget about what kinds of policies SHOULD be undertaken — it’ll never fly. we’re beginning to discern the post-west and it’s irreversible.

  71. shimshon says:

    As we await RL’s response to our conversation, I cant help point out something that has bothered me about this conversation. Here we are discussing a Realist argument… RL argued for a realist approach but in hindsight it appears to me that he doesn’t know what realism is, and consequently he unknowingly argued against it. (for example this quote: “any notion of arab politics that does not acct for the street is just plain silly.”) If this were all that bothered me I would not think anything of it, but a deeper issue has to be discussed. Much of American foreign policy in the 20th and 21st century is based on the dichotomy of realism vs liberalism (sometimes called idealism). In turn, I would argue that a good portion of the MSM in the US also views the Middle East through this prism, or atleast takes it into account. It is after all the basis of US policy. I am sure that people like Erlanger and Enderlin know realism inside and out. If we are to try and understand the MSM we need to understand the paradigms that shape their work. This reminds me of something I once herd Bernard Lewis talk about (he come to tel aviv university every winter, and I once had the honor of having a seminar on middle east studies with him). He was talking to a group of grad students, myself included, and he mentioned the stages a scholar goes through. He claimed, first you had to understand the existing scholarship, and then only afterwards could you attempt to make a contribution. I think this applies nicely to this website. RL has developed some insightful ways of understanding the ME and the MSM’s converge of it. The pallywood project is particularly good. But before this can go any further, I think a review of existing views on the ME is required. Both in regard to Islam and how it is practiced and understood by muslims, as well as how the “West” sees the Middle East.

  72. igout says:

    I must recommend a book here which I first read years ago, but am now closely re-reading. Taxis de la Marne by J. Dutourd.

    Superficially, it’s his account of being a boy of 20 in the French army for a week or two during the fall of France in 1940. But it’s really about how and why France’s greatest generation, that of 1914, so quickly and abjectly threw in the towel 25 years later.

    Of course, Dutourd is French and given to grand generalizations and perverse epigrams; still there is matter here that both Americans and Israelis would be wise to ponder.

    Here’s what he has to say about realism (RL, please forgive my amateurish translation):

    “Most of the time the word realism is a polite translation of the word cowardice. …In the best case, realism leads to mediocrity; in the worst (which is the more frequent) it leads to the grave. …It’s by realism–a lack of imagination–that men accept slavery.

    …On the one hand, sophistication, elegance, conformism, “realism”, that was Vichy, to which ran all the clever people, the adroit politicans, the ambitious generals in a stampede; on the other, a mad undertaking, so clearly hopeless: that was de Gaulle standing on the little island of Britain and calling the French to arms. How instructive this antithesis!

    All Vichy’s prudence and clever calculations have ended up in the gutter of history….”

    That said, I really have to cite this Dutourdism, which seems to me to be realism, 110-proof, burning down your throat realism:

    “It’s always necessary to choose between Verdun and Dachau.”

    Which, I think, is the crossroads we’re all approaching.

  73. fp says:

    shimshon,

    i dk about you — i have not seen any evidence to suggest that you know much about views of the ME — but quite a few people here know something about those.

    it does not take a lot of research to know what the MSM is all about, and it is not about any view of its own of the ME, but rather is parasitic on what they perceive is the popular trend in terms of its advertisers and readers. the old print pubs seem less effective in that than the other ones, but that is essentially what’s going on.

    as to lewis, he has made some real contributions, but has also demonstrated major errors with respect to current events. in this context, see what one of his students said:

    http://sandbox.blog-city.com/linkblog/jump/?i=496514

    igout,

    quite. that’s the sense in which i used realism. however, there is a distinction between the realism paradigm in IR which shimshon refers to, and realism in the sense we refer to it. in practice, however, those who adopt the former end up in the latter.

  74. Michael B says:

    President Bush on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, Monday, July 16, with some commentary listed by Noah Pollack at Totten’s blog. A substantial speech, indicating he’s thinking in the right direction on this issue and serving to institute the necessary guidelines and reforms.

  75. Sophia says:

    Whoa – this is awesome – thanks Igout:

    “Most of the time the word realism is a polite translation of the word cowardice. …In the best case, realism leads to mediocrity; in the worst (which is the more frequent) it leads to the grave. …It’s by realism–a lack of imagination–that men accept slavery.

    …On the one hand, sophistication, elegance, conformism, “realism”, that was Vichy, to which ran all the clever people, the adroit politicans, the ambitious generals in a stampede; on the other, a mad undertaking, so clearly hopeless: that was de Gaulle standing on the little island of Britain and calling the French to arms. How instructive this antithesis!

    All Vichy’s prudence and clever calculations have ended up in the gutter of history….”

    That said, I really have to cite this Dutourdism, which seems to me to be realism, 110-proof, burning down your throat realism:

    “It’s always necessary to choose between Verdun and Dachau.”

    ***

    I agree, there’s a difference as fp points out between M/W’s IR and realpolitik. The former doesn’t seem to pertain to the ME at all as discussed above and the latter has an alarming tendency to create self-fulfilling prophecies – to wit “The Great Game” which has backfired so spectacularly in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    I don’t think either have much to do with Israel. Israel and the modernist, Western-leaning people in Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco and elsewhere in the MENA, including KSA, are cornerstones to any kind of stability in the Mediterranean basin, with all that implies.

    In other words, in terms of real reality, Israel is crucial although I think that should be beside the point. But “realpolitik” and “should” – moral considerations – often seemingly find themselves in conflict. Hence I think it’s important, as Kramer has, to be able to argue on both grounds.

    I also think it’s a huge assumption to claim that Muslims hate us because of Israel. Muslims are hardly monolithic, number one, and number two, Western/Muslim tensions date back many centuries; after all Islam conquered the Eastern Christian world, Spain, Greece, the Holy Land, Byzantium, North Africa; and made inroads well into France, and the Crusaders invaded the Middle East, fomented rebellions against Muslim empires and kings; there are centuries of bad blood.

    Culturally we have long been at odds; this is true in Russia too, where Russian culture abuts nomadic and Islamic groups and where there have been wars and forced “proletarianizations” of entire populations, like the Turkmen; finally there was the Soviet/Afghan war and now there is conflict in the “stans” and in Georgia.

    As far as the US is concerned we have been involved in battles with the Middle East since our inception. We went to war there, against the Barbary pirates, and have always been engaged to some degree in the Mediterranean basin and the ME. Britain, France, Russia and Germany of course were even more deeply involved and the shape of the modern ME was greatly determined by them, by the Industrial Revolution, and by the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

    That said though I don’t think we give enough credit to the players there – the people and their imams and leaders. One symptom of this is the 9/11 conspiracy theories: some claim it was an inside job and others blame the West indirectly. Neither gives respect to the people who did the job.

    Kouchner stated today that he doesn’t feel it’s appropriate to blame the West for Hamas’ apparent involvement with al Qaeda. What he’s saying is that regardless of what we do or do not do, people in the Middle East are like us: they are actors in the active, conscious sense. Much of our projections, in fact, are really very racist. We’re assuming that “the other” is merely reacting to us. And that’s simplistic and culturally biased to say the least.

    Our point of view regarding Middle Eastern people often fails to give them enough credit for the ability to make choices. They have will power, goals and ideology and are not merely reactive.

    Similarly people commenting on the ME/Central Asia also strike me as being a little ignorant about it, for example how many people realize how complex Iranian society really is? Or Afghanistan and Pakistan for that matter?

    There is a discussion here regarding al Qaeda and Iran and people were mostly arguing about whether the announcement of this had something to do with Bush’s supposedly nefarious plans; the media; the Fall Of The West; war in general, etc., and little about the complicated tribal composition of Iran, especially in its southwestern provinces – and thus people may be missing the point entirely although “Glastnost” seemed to understand the situation a bit better:

    http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001492.html

    In short I think our “leaders” are often misleading us not least because THEY don’t really see people or understand their motives and this is particularly true where people are considered “primitive”. Or maybe they just don’t care.

    We were able to communicate with the Soviet Union because they were essentially Western, industrialized, modern and we can work with China and Japan and also India because, even though they are very different they are also very sophisticated and either modern or modernizing; and we have a way to find common ground via shared commercial interests as well as cultural respect.

    So what do we do in regions where we apparently have no shared interests? In Lebanon alone there is Lebanon the Riviera and Lebanon the Citadel, and with one Lebanon we would feel right at home, and with the other we are essentially at war simply because they are so different.

    Israel, of course, is part of the world where we’re at home but Gaza is That Other Place. Clearly we don’t throw part of our universe away in an attempt to make the Citadel part of our world – if for no other reason that it simply will not work.

    We need to understand that maybe we’ve run into a wall here, that The Citadel is well and truly opposed to everything we are. The way forward is very slow and will rely ultimately on people, as people, finding common ground I think, common human interests. And I don’t know that mega-politics will give us that time.

  76. fp says:

    ah, but the western elite does not WANT to admit that it ran into a wall, because that would mean taking on global jihad in its own terms, that is, war. and war is what the west wants to avoid AT ALL PRICE.

    that leaves the west with only one option: appeasement and jizya, both of which will achieve precisely the war that the west wants to avoid, except on much worse terms.

    http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2007/07/islam-is-part-of-our-culture.html

  77. Eliyahu says:

    Sophia takes up the case of Lebanon. She uses the pronoun “We.” The problem is that Western govts, including the United States, have not really been part of her “we.” These Western govts encouraged Syria to take over Lebanon back in the 1970s. The Syrian conquest became almost total in 1990 [thanks to James Baker], since a sliver of land in the South remained under Israeli and South Lebanese Army control. However, until the year 2000, when Syrian control became total, and from 2000 to 2005 when the Syrians overreached themselves by murdering Jacques Chirac’s friend, Rafiq Hariri, the West did not complain about the Syrian occupation of Lebanon and the threat that it represented for Israel.

  78. fp says:

    that’s realism bakerism at its best.

  79. Eliyahu says:

    of course, fp, & I would add that there is a tight bond between “realism” + bakerism + the return to barbarism — and pragmatism, which is another name, I believe, for what Dutourd was describing [thanx igout]. Many US political scientists, including Walt-mearsheimer, I suppose, are religiously devoted to pragmatism. They will give you lessons in pragmatism the way a Jesuit might teach the catechism.

    Albert Camus wrote in his diaries or Cahiers or Carnets that he couldn’t stand the everyday compromises made by Vichy. I think he said that they were like dying a little each day. But these compromises were no doubt all very realistic and pragmatic. “Realism” and “pragmatism” are ways that some intellectuals deceive themselves or let themselves be deceived.
    By the way, if somebody can tell me where to find the exact quote from Camus in the original, I would much appreciate it.

  80. Eliyahu says:

    Sophia, I’m sure that you do note that all the widespread concern for “self-determination” & “human rights” are hypocritical in the extreme. How often have we heard concern for the self-determination of Lebanon against Syrian occupation or about the ethnic cleansing that both sides in the Cyprus war of 1974 perpetrated against each other. Or for self-determination and human rights for the southern Sudanese who were also suffering genocide at the hands of the Arab/Muslim govt in Khartoum?

    Outfits like Amnesty International and human rights watch and oxfam, etc., etc., [see the NGO Monitor site] are grossly hypocritical and help to incite war and acts of mass murder.

  81. Sophia says:

    Eliyahu, et.al., I was looking around for the Camus text and ran across this, which isn’t what you’re looking for but which discusses pragmatisism, modernism and post-modernism and this caught my eye:

    snip

    As long as our life is intelligible to us, we will presumably be unable to fail to see ourselves as characters in a narrative, acting in the midst of the problems our environment throws against our face. Even the postmodernist writers themselves, whose work I am unable to comment upon here in any detail, must view themselves as subjects engaging in the intentional action of writing postmodernist prose.

    It is, in fact, somewhat ironical that postmodernist philosophers and sociologists of science—for example, Joseph Rouse (1996) in his recent book—strongly emphasize the need to take seriously the narrative aspect of science, thus employing an inherently modernist notion in apologizing for postmodernism. “Modernist” philosophers of science need not necessarily oppose the idea that science, like any other human practice, is partly constituted through the narratives told in and about it.(2) On the contrary, they may join the postmodernist thinkers in granting narrativity an important place in the formation of scientific world-views.

    2. I would now like to suggest that, despite the thoroughgoing modernity (or postmodernity) of our age, we should not only take into account the modern and postmodern literary analogues of human life (i.e., linear narrative and broken, “self-conscious” narrative), but also be prepared to look at our lives, at least occasionally, in premodern terms, e.g., in terms of classical tragedy. Our serious mistakes in life will, we might come to think, be “revenged”—perhaps not by any supernatural forces, but by other human beings or by the non-human nature nevertheless. Or at least so we can interpret those mistakes. We might, for example, conceive of a disastrous car accident or plane crash as analogous to the nemesis the tragic hero confronts after having committed the tragic mistake. Many people would undoubtedly consider this an irrational idea. The people who die in such accidents—let alone those millions who die in wars and massacres— are usually innocent. They never did anything that ought to be revenged: they made no tragic mistakes; they just died, unnecessarily.

    But this is not the point. The tragic figures—say, Oedipus or Hamlet—were, in some sense, innocent, too. Perhaps the most tragic thing that can happen to a human person is that even an innocent life may be “revenged”. Even if, in some conventional sense, the character has been innocent or even virtuous, there may still be something fundamentally “wrong” in her or his life, or in the very fact that she or he lives at all. In our (post)modern economic societies, we may quite easily think about our lives as crimes against humanity. It is because we live in the way we do that the non-human nature and all the poor people in the third world suffer incredibly. We cannot help contributing to the increasing of that suffering, even though we live as responsibly as we can within our standard Western liberal democracies. We deserve a nemesis.(3)

    snip

    http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Amer/AmerPihl.htm

    I think this is an interesting statement. I apologize if it’s OT but actually I don’t think it’s OT because if you regard antisemitism in terms of sacrifice, as the Jewish community has cyclically and repeatedly been attacked especially when times are hard, doesn’t the idea of a deserved nemesis, the idea of sacrifice to expunge guilt and of course the usual target in the West, the Jewish people (now Israel) begin to take on a sensible dimension?

    How many times have Jews been accused of bringing about plagues (nemesis) or of having “undue influence” (thus bringing about nemesis) or of having too much money or earthly power (thus bringing about nemesis)? Durrell’s late writing focused on Gnosticism and that gave a whole new focus to his long-held antisemitism: Jews practice the religion of “merde”.

    I apologize if I am not making sense here. But I think there’s an aspect to “realism”, pragmatism and “postmodernism” with respect to Israel and the Jewish people that connects into some truly atavistic thought patterns and those are impossible to confront rationally.

    It’s a thought anyway.

    What also snagged my eye: the statement about the tragedy of revenge. This also fits into the pattern of what is driving much of our current conflict. And there is where your “do-gooders” fit in and yes I agree with you that they are driving and inciting conflict rather than trying to solve it. The inflammatory tone of their language alone, particularly when it is profoundly unbalanced and innaccurate, is enough to create a desire for “justice,” ie revenge.

  82. Eliyahu says:

    Sophia, my pre-modern intellect has enough trouble with the modern, let alone the post-modern [still trying to catch up]. But the emphasis on sin in some forms of Christianity may induce a quest for expiation of sin. And that might indeed lead to human sacrifice, as Canaanites practiced, for instance, and as did others. Of course, human sacrifice can be garbed in very sophisticated “human rights” costumes. You understood perfectly what I was saying about “human rights” and “peace” etc NGOs. Most of these bodies are psywar instruments. They know how to play on very deep feelings, motives, drives, urges, attachments, traditions, etc. And they or their manipulators know how to work on various groups through the study of group character.

    By the way, I remember better now what Camus wrote. He wrote that the everyday compromises [referring to Vichy, but not by name] produced angoisse. Certainly today we should be feeling angoisse. But a hundred less important matters distract us.
    I’m still hoping to find the exact quotation and its source. Thanks for your effort.

  83. Eliyahu says:

    I found a quote from Camus dated to November 1948, which much resembles the one that I’m looking for. That quote I found in Camus’ Carnets or Cahiers from the time of Vichy early in the war. Maybe Camus built the paragraph below on what he had earlier written in his Carnets/Cahiers. Anyhow, what I found so remarkably fits our times [I don't say exactly] that I thought I’d
    present it here for Sophia & fp & RL & everyone else. First, I’ll translate parts of it, then give the original:

    Compromise, that’s what we are living, that is, anguish for today and murder for tomorrow. Meanwhile, history’s and the world’s speed is accelerating. The 21 deaf men, future war criminals, who are discussing peace today, exchange their monotonous dialogues. . .

    Le compromis, c’est ce que nous vivons c’est à dire l’angoisse pour aujourd’hui et le meurtre pour demain. Et pendant ce temps, la vitesse de l’histoire et du monde s’accélère. Les vingt et un sourds, futurs criminels de guerre, qui discutent aujourd’hui de paix échangent leurs monotones dialogues, tranquillement assis au centre d’un rapide qui les entraîne vers le gouffre, à mille kilomètres heures. Oui, cet ordre universel est le seul problème du moment et qui dépasse toutes les querelles de constitution et de loi électorale. C’est lui qui exige que nous lui appliquions les ressources de nos intelligences et de nos volontés. ["Democratie et Dictature" Nov 1958; in A Camus, Actuelles, Paris 1950; pp 160-66]

  84. Eliyahu says:

    Correction: Albert Camus, “Democratie et Dictature,” Nov 1948

  85. Sophia says:

    Wow, Eliyahu – the Camus quote seems almost prescient.

    Thank you.

  86. Cynic says:

    Compromise, that’s what we are living, that is, anguish for today and murder for tomorrow.

    Meet Mr. History

  87. Paris Lights: Tel Aviv A La Carte

    In the final installment of her adventures in Israel, PJM’s Paris editor Nidra Poller immerses herself in Tel Aviv life and discovers “a very special vitality, an immensely endearing sociability, awe-inspiring courage, tremendous human resources, int…

  88. [...] analysis of the dynamics of honor-shame culture (which seems to escape W-M entirely) predicts that following their advice would precisely backfire. They said that US support for Israel motivates some individuals to attack the United States and [...]

  89. [...] Wow. Walt-Mearsheimer in a couple of sound-bites. I have dealt with this kind of reasoning in several other posts, and won’t repeat myself beyond a counter-sound-bite: This is a nice summary of the kind of thinking that gives us Eurabia in Europe: if Muslims get violent over disagreement with our foreign policy, let’s change our foreign policy so that we have a rapprochement with European foreign Policy. If our allies offend people who hate us, maybe they’ll love us if we dump our allies. In fact, any serious analysis of the dynamics of honor-shame culture (which seems to escape W-M entirely) predicts that following their advice would precisely backfire. [...]

  90. internetsite says:

    I’ll not talk about your competence, the write-up basically disgusting

  91. […] This is a nice summary of the kind of thinking that gives us Eurabia in Europe: if Muslims get violent over disagreement with our foreign policy, let’s change our foreign policy so that we have a rapprochement with closer to European foreign Policy. If our allies offend people who hate us, maybe they’ll love us if we dump our allies. In fact, any serious analysis of the dynamics of honor-shame culture (which seems to escape W-M entirely) predicts that following their advice would precisely backfire. […]

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