Sophia on Oxford Union Post

As requested by Anat, here is Sophia’s comment to my post on the Oxford Untion, turned into a post. Her comments in bold, mine in italics.

Why isn’t this just the same old Europe, with its apparently endless and irrational problem with Jews? It’s wearing a new face now, is all.

As the French say, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” Not only do we have a Europe reveling in Judeophobia, but one that seems determined to destroy its civilization. Apparently WWI and II (or, the “Thirty Years’ War”) were not enough to figure out that Europeans, for all their vaunted “maturity” can’t take care of themselves. Only this time, I doubt the US will come to their aid. At least the last two times they let war-mongering and fascism take over, they didn’t accompany their folly with furious anti-Americanism.

And, how many problems in the Middle East are directly related to antisemitic European propaganda that began filtering into the East in 1920 at the latest?

Don’t forget the 1840 Damascus blood libel. But don’t get carried away in this vein. The Middle East has been a deeply troubled region long before the Jews arrived: Hama rules were not invented recently.

Mein Kampf is still a best seller there and so are “The Protocols.” That they’ve found a willing audience there is tragic but they did originate in Europe; how much of the strife between Arabs and Jews has been incited by interested parties in the West, parties who realize a calm, united Middle East might actually become a rich and powerful international group and therefore a threat?

I actually don’t think the Europeans fear that. It wouldn’t occur to them. (I may be wrong.) I think the European mischief in the Middle East is largely the product of the appeal of Arabs as proxy anti-Semites in a post-Holocaust world where it’s not politically correct for Europeans to express those sentiments openly. Ironically, the Palestinians constantly complain that they’ve been forced to pay for the Europeans’ sins of the Holocaust, when they are primarily the victims of their (willing) seduction into the role of the carriers of the deadly virus of anti-Semitism. Like the Spanish in the 16th century, they kicked out their Jews, and the wealth they have has washed through their societies leaving the people impoverished and the elites immeasurably corrupt.

On the other hand, that may be too kind. As Andrew Boston argues cogently and with much material to support his case (contra Bernard Lewis), Islamic anti-Semitism has its own autonomous sources.

And how much of the conflict in the Middle East is driven by industrialist/nationalist desire to keep oil prices high? I’d bet a lot; Gary Kasparov, who is running against Putin in Russia, makes the same point in relation to Putin’s otherwise absurd defense of the indefensible – Ahmadijenad. Similarly the Soviets sought a Middle Eastern partner in Egypt, Libya, Syria and PLO and the people there got trapped in the middle. One of the biggest assets Russia has are its oil resources; combine that with a huge footprint in the Middle East and Central Asia and the global balance of power shifts dramatically; it’s the Great Game in Action, 2007 version, and Israel, with its futuristic, multicultural voice and independence, and its possibility of leading a modern Middle East, is obviously a challenge. Middle Eastern warfare and conflict, though, maintains the status quo.

It’s maddening, in the fact of looming environmental disaster, that this should be so. One of the few countries in the world that has shown what can be done in a difficult environment is Israel; it’s cutting edge – yet one British politician blamed Israel for deflecting attention from global warming due to “the occupation!”

What’s the link to this? What a great case of… I don’t think we have a word yet for this kind of idiocy. First you (the Brits, the French, the “left,” etc) become obsessed with “the occupation” to the point where you can’t even see the tragedies that are really happening, and then you blame Israel for distracting you.

And, have any of you read some of the English intellectuals from the 1930’s? Even brilliant artists like Lawrence Durrell were viciously antisemitic. It was usual; it was the voice of the British upper classes and her intelligentsia – when he and Henry Miller couldn’t find a publisher for their work, though, they turned to a Jew – whom they continued to denigrate for his identity even as he put them on the international map.

Sartre did the same thing with his Jewish admirers (and lovers) when the Nazis came. It’s similar to the way Europeans treat the US today.

The role of the British in the Middle East, the Palestine Mandate and during the 1947-1948 wars and the Wars of Attrition, up until the Suez Crisis, is abominable and little understood. We in America think of Britain in glowing, idealistic and almost patriotic terms but a closer reading of modern history, certainly vis a vis “The Great Game” in Central Asia, even WWI in Turkey and definitely in relation to the Jews both in the Yishuv and those trying to flee the Holocaust, and Europe in the wake of the Holocaust, will show a different face – the face of the Britain our national forefathers fought to escape.

So the English, like the French with their behavior in Algeria and Indochina, have much to repent for, indeed good reason to be highly self-critical of their own culture. And yet their way of handling that guilt is to a) welcome Muslims to prove they’re no longer the racist, imperialists they once were, and b) dump on Israel for reminding them of their colonial past. Will there be historians in the mid-twentieth century to wonder at this folly, or merely triumphant Islamists presiding over a ruined world?

Britain didn’t even recognize Eretz Israel for nine months, drew the disastrous borders of the modern M.E. including the catastrophically divided Iraq, gave “Jordan” to a Hashemite prince and, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, recognized and endorsed the annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Jordan in the wake of the war with Israel. This of course included the complete and deliberate expulsion of the Jewish people from those regions as it extinguished the hopes of Palestinian nationalists – and also placed the holiest sites in Jewish history beyond even the reach even of worshippers.

It’s hard to be a Chosen People wannabe when the real Chosen People are still around.

20 Responses to Sophia on Oxford Union Post

  1. [...] Holocaust wrote an interesting post today on Sophia on Oxford Union PostHere’s a quick [...]

  2. [...] Read the rest of this great post here [...]

  3. Eliyahu says:

    Bernard Lewis is wrong in his book Semites and Anti-Semites when he downplays the historical and traditional Judeophobia of Islam and exaggerates the importance of Western Judeophobia imported in the 19th & 20th centuries to the Arab world. Carlo Panella tries to correct Lewis’ mistake in his book Il ‘Complotto Ebraico’- L’antisemitismo islamico da Maometto a Bin Laden (Torino: Lindau 2005). While I don’t agree with some of what Panella says, he shows that the “Jewish conspiracy” notion was part of Islam from the beginning. That is, Islam saw the Jews and Judaism as enemies from the beginning, which is also obvious in the Qur’an, where Judaism is depicted in a more hostile manner than is Christianity. This undercuts Lewis’ argument that the Islamic view of Jews was milder than the Christian because the crucifixion theme was missing from Islam. I disagree with Panella, particularly when he tries to make Islam the forerunner of the “Jewish conspiracy” notion, which is explicitly found in Eusebios and –I believe– even earlier in the Christian tradition. Panella’s book has a lot of important information, also about the several Islamic declarations of human rights, which are in fact opposed to human rights.

    The early Muslim traditions in favor of slaughtering Jews are still with us and serving today’s Islamofanatics. Check out the Hamas charter [especially article 7]. It contains the same medieval call to massacre the Jews at the end of days that was also uttered by a man appointed imam in Cleveland in recent years. See link:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=27728_New_Cleveland_Imam_Quits_Before_He_Starts&only

    I agree with both Sophia and RL. Why can’t the Israelophobic Europeans be both looking to the Arabs for “proxy antisemites” and also trying to prevent peace in the Middle East in order to prevent the Middle Eastern peoples from using their talents productively, and thus becoming a challenge to Europe??

    Of course, every time that the EU gives a half billion dollars [in euros] to the palestinian authority, it is encouraging warfare between Arabs and Israel, and denying funds to its own poor.

    Sophia is right of course about the harmful role of the British govt in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, which is seldom admitted today by the “anti-imperialist” anti-Zionists.
    A lot more could be said about this subject, but I’ll stop here for the time being.

  4. fp says:

    I don’t know why Sophia’s comments were such a revelation to some. What she says is so damn obvious.
    The delusion that the world has changed after 1944 was always just that.

    In the absence of education there is no learning curve and the same mistakes are repeated over and over again.

  5. Joanne says:

    I had to smile to myself when I read Sophia’s statement that ” Mein Kampf is still a best seller there and so are ‘The Protocols.’ ”

    I smiled because, as it happens, I had just viewed a video on MEMRI (via by Solomonia.com) that was absolutely jaw-dropping. In this video, a newswoman actually mentions The Protocols, as well as Henry Ford and that phony quote from Benjamin Franklin, and takes them all quite seriously. Even though I’ve seen lots of MEMRI videos, I was still amazed. Here is the link:

    http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1588.htm

    Can their viewers really be so ignorant or stupid? I’d hate to imagine that they really are. I’d like to imagine that they don’t really take broadcasts like this seriously.

    Watch the clip. It’s insane. It’s like a “serious” newscast from an alternate universe, from through the looking glass.

  6. Michael N says:

    I hope my comments here so far have already demonstrated my utter contempt for British and European anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, (which are the same thing), and that therefore I am entitled to at least the presumption of good faith and good will when I say this: I believe that posts like this are possibly counter-productive.

    I am almost a lone voice among my friends in strongly supporting Israel, loving and admiring America, and recognising the debt we owe to the US, and the common-good that we should be pursuing in fighting the “War on Terror” (which I place in inverted commas not because I think it’s a Bushitler Big Lie, but because it’s a useless and cowardly euphemism: it is expansionist, totalitarian, jihadist islam we are fighting, not an abstract concept or a tactic).

    Nevertheless, despite my love of Western values and culture, and my gratitude to America for helping to preserve them, it rather grates to read the following:

    “So the English [...] have much to repent for, indeed good reason to be highly self-critical of their own culture. And yet their way of handling that guilt is to a) welcome Muslims to prove they’re no longer the racist a**holes they once were” [...]

    I think the use of “a**holes” suggests a hostility that might make a European supporter of this site and this cause think twice. I’m not being hypersensitive here, I love a good quarrel as much as anyone – that’s why I flirt with fp all the time. But the context – being called collectively ‘racist assholes’ by someone whose nation (let’s both generalise!) lynched nearly 4,000 African-Americans right up to the late 1960s, in all but 4 of its states, seems a little self-unaware.

    Call us historically racist, yes; but adding “assholes” makes it sound as though you’ve judgmentally forgotten the USA’s own rather unpleasant history in this respect.

    “Apparently WWI and II (or, the “Thirty Years’ War”) were not enough to figure out that Europeans, for all their vaunted “maturity” can’t take care of themselves. Only this time, I doubt the US will come to their aid.”

    More selective history. As I said above, and I repeat again, I am in a minority in remaining profoundly grateful that the USA intervened, and that it continued to help its democratic allies during the Cold War. However, it is worth remembering, for the sake of historical honesty, that early in the war opinion polls revealed that the majority of Americans thought the best thing for the USA to do was to sell weaponry and materiel to BOTH sides, rather than siding with one side or another, let alone intervening. It’s also worth remembering that by the time the President found a pretext to over-ride American public opinion and enter the struggle, Hitler’s army had already been broken by the failure of Barbarossa. (Is this a one-dimensional and one-sided reading of history? – yes, but no more so than your own in this instance).

    You talk of Europeans as though we are a monolith, as though we are one bloc: “Europeans, for all their vaunted “maturity” can’t take care of themselves”. Britain faced a heavily-armed German dictator, refused to make peace once he had crossed the line, saw our towns and cities flattened to rubble, still gave Hitler the finger, joined with brave Polish airmen to effectively destroy the Luftwaffe against huge odds, beat the Germans in North Africa, and waited patiently until America realised that Democracy in Europe was under threat, that the world was at war, and that this was more than the money-making opportunity for American industry that the majority of Americans polled seemed to think it was. Even talking of ‘Europeans’ in this sense is meaningless. It’s as absurd as concluding from the Mexican-American War that continental Americans cannot look after themselves.

    Your words in this post come across to a non-American as patronising and contemptuous of the sacrifices the people of Britain made in facing a dictator. You talk as though we were children, when in actual fact we acted with courage. You talk as though the USA defeated Hitler, when in fact Hitler bled himself to death in the USSR, was fatally wounded by the time the USA entered the fight, and was finally defeated by us, by you, and by the USSR, acting together.

    Is Europe’s history in relation to Israel shameful? Yes. Of course it is. No dispute. Has America always behaved better? No. Had Israel followed the instructions given by the White House in 1967, and waited for the Arabs to strike first, there might today be no Israel.

    And whatever public and financial support ‘our’ stupid anti-Semitic politicians may give to the Palestinians, is it not the case that the USA is pushing for the establishment of a Palestinian terrorist State as hard as any European? When Israel was trying to destroy the religious militia that had attacked it last summer, I believe that Tony Blair stood side by side with the US in alone resisting calls for an immediate ceasefire that might spare Hezbollah defeat.

    In short, RL, I was disappointed by the rather blinkered tone you took in your comments. It almost sounds as though you’ve been watching too many of those Gary Cooper westerns you’re fond of using as metaphors; the USA may be the big brave sheriff riding in on the gleaming white horse, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of us are cowering, ignorant, weaselly Hispanics with bad whiskers and squeaky voices.

    No offence, gringo!

  7. RL says:

    Michael,
    point taken.
    r

  8. Michael N says:

    RL – I think that was a cute and quietly gracious way of shutting me up! But thanks for responding.

  9. Michael N says:

    RL – while taking issue with the tone, obviously I have to agree with much of the content. In relation to this comment in particular:

    And yet their way of handling that guilt is to a) welcome Muslims to prove they’re no longer the racist, imperialists they once were, and b) dump on Israel for reminding them of their colonial past. Will there be historians in the mid-twentieth century to wonder at this folly, or merely triumphant Islamists presiding over a ruined world?

    I heard last year a BBC radio programme discussing the history and the future of Europe. The programme featured a segment from the site of a Nazi extermination Camp. The BBC’s selected academic (apologies, it was too long ago for me to remember his name) said that the lesson of such a place was that Europe’s future had to be more inclusive, and that this would certainly include an inclusive attitude towards islam in particular. The future Europe’s obligations to the Jews went without mention.

    I can’t think of an example more precisely illustrative of the point that you make. Europe perpetrated the greatest crime in history against the Jewish people, and the lesson to be learned is that we must make Europe a welcoming home to the most openly and institutionally Jew-hating culture that has existed since Nazi Germany.

    I am not a rich man, and it was not long that day before I ran out of possessions to throw at the radio.

  10. fp says:

    mike,

    most if not all nations are hypocrites to a certain degree and americans are somewhere near the top.

    a brutal crime has just been committed in italy by a romi of romanian origins. italy is up in arms blaming all romanians and introducing draconian regulations to throw them out without cause.

    these are the same italians who (a) accused romania of not respecting the romis’ individual rights when dealing with their violence and criminal behavior (b) ignoring and excusing much worse behavior from their muslim immigrants and, instead of punishing them, giving them preferred citizen status (c) are doing now to the romis much worse than what they accuse the israelis of doing to the pals (d) a fascist party leader whose last name is mussolini is whining that the romanians have victimized italy and ought to be thrown out.

    you don’t have to dig deep to find such hypocrisy in the west and the british are among the worst. inclusiveness, my foot. they are scared shitless of islamists, but they can afford to do anything they want to romanians and romis because they will not go on the rampage, burn cars and explode themselves in public places.

    in an exchange i once had with a polisci colleague she was very vehement about the israeli occupation and that they should return the land. i offered her a deal: “israel will return the land if the US returns its land to the red indians”. she was struck by apoplexy, was mute for a few seconds, then said “weeeeeeeell, that’s not the same”. I said, sure, because you’re an american”. she never spoke to me again.

    when nations raise moral issues, they should be taken with a huge boulder of salt.

  11. fp says:

    Another interesting aspect of my exchange with my polisci colleague: it happened while we were both PhD students at northwestern university. At that time middle eastern courses were given by Ibrahim Abu Lughod, a pa politician and member of the PLO and PNC, who later became president of Birzeit Univ. on the west bank. Externally one of the nicest men i’ve met. Internally…

    She knew absolutely nothing about the ME going into the program and after one course with Abu Lughod decided to specialize on the ME and became ardent supporter of the pals. She is now teaching the ME at Univ of Kansas.

    This is how we got to where we are today: take ignorant and naive american youth who are not taught how to think independently and critically and indoctrinate them without them realizing it. in perpetuation.

  12. Michael N says:

    fp – can’t argue with you on nations and hypocrisy. We’re all guilty. Or indeed, on education, especially re the M.E. And yes, Pals as proxy anti-Semites is one thing, but I do agree that fear of islamist violence plays a large part in the anti-Israeli hatefest spewing its way across Europe. We should be capable of seeing that the same deal with the devil has not protected Middle Eastern nations from the islamist poison. If not them, why on earth would we think that us decadent, non-believing, immoral, drinking, gambling, thinking, reading Westerners could hope to buy immunity?

  13. fp says:

    My point was not just that anti-Israel hatefest is due to fear, but rather the whole hyprocrisy shabang, of which that hatefest is but one small part.

    Hence my italian/romanian example: the EU talks a lot about inclusiveness and human rights, but in practice they seem to defend only those of the islamists to conduct jihad and proselitize. And that is due entirely to fear, not to high-mindedness.

    When it comes to jews, though, the fear right into pre-existing anti-semitism.

    Show me a state that accuses another of immoral behavior and it won’t be hard to show that it either ignores or tries to hide its own immorality.

  14. fp says:

    the problem with europeans is that they have not had to defend themselves in decades and would not know how to if their life depended on it (which it does). they have lived under the US umbrella and got too addicted to waste their GNP on welfare rather than on defense.

    there is no way they are going to restructure themselves for self-defense, they don’t even have the psychology or know how for it, and the barbarians are not at the gates, but inside. as the incidents in france, holland, belgium and UK indicate, they are gonners. it’s over.

    on top of it all they have imposed the EU monstruosity on themselves which is their own 5th column.

  15. fp says:

    here’s america at its best and why it keeps failing:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/11/the_results_of_brilliant_theor.html

    I do disagree with it on one aspect though: neither bolton, nor perle are examples of knowledge, reason, competence and success. in effect, all these people are utter failures because they don’t know or understand much about other cultures, particularly the enemies of civilization. appeasement and bribery are the significant pillars of american foreign policy.

    morals? don’t make me laugh

  16. Richard Landes says:

    Michael N.:
    apologies. i didn’t have time to read your entire comment, but corrected the most grievous offense right away. your response was kind and patient, and here’s my response to your other points in your critical comment.

    1) that america has a very ugly past, i don’t know any informed person who would disagree. part of establishing and improving a civil society means coming to terms with the ways a culture has previously done things that the new “rules” forbid. in the usa, that meant decades of struggle with both the problem of slaves and of native americans. it’s hard to argue that either of the problems were solved with kindness or dispatch, and the USA unquestionably has a lot of bad karma. i guess what provoked my outburst is that the europeans (on that in a moment) seem to stand at the pinnacle of hypocrisy, precisely over this issue of how they process their past and interpret the present.

    2) my use of the term european. of course there are lots of different cultures, people, groups, attitudes, etc. in europe. my use of that term, however, applies to phenomena that have swept europeans (elites and commoners) across borders. that doesn’t mean some, even many, don’t resist. but that the things i refer to characterize broadly european culture. there are, to take the issues in this discussion, at least two sets of problems: a) the ecumenical waves of antisemitism that have swept the continent in the 1930s-40s (including eastern europe), and in the first decade(s) of the 2000s (mostly, so far, in western europe). and b) the follies that led to two world wars, the first in europe’s enthusiasm for war, and the second, in the combo of central european fascism, and western pacifist appeasement. now add to those the (to my mind suicidal) anti-americanism which — correct me if i’m wrong — has swept the european continent including britain.

    3) the usa’s entry into both wars was slow to take shape, and understandably. that some advocated selling weapons to both sides is not very surprising or shocking. but once the usa chose sides, we changed the dynamic decisively. of course those americans fighting for european soil did, on some level, think they were fighting now in europe rather than later in the usa, but to suggest that that somehow lessens the sacrifices they made for european freedom a) holds the americans to standards that few if any nations have ever met, and b) ignores the radical lack of “payback” the USA demanded after each war. imperialists don’t occupy with the goal of leaving. and yet europeans are addicted to reading the USA as imperialists. cram the US on the procrustean bed of their own past.

    4) hypocrisy. let’s be a bit less perfectionist in our reading of the issue. some hypocrisy is grotesque; some is what we might more generously call inconsistency. no doubt people compartmentalize, and may not connect what they do in case a) with what they do in case b); and will scramble madly to rationalize their inconsistences… sometimes with an at least partially valid distinction. grotesque is when the moral indignation becomes a cover for the moral corruption. in blood libels, for example, the people who take the accusation of a jew killing a gentile child as a license to accuse all jews of wanting to kill all gentile children, actually treat their own children badly.

    i am leery of dismissing everything as hypocrisy because, as La Rochefoucauld noted: “hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue.” i’d rather people talk in terms of values that we can all share, and try on occasion to live up to them, than live in a world where raw self-interest is the coin of the realm. the irony here, is that in order to escape the accusation of hypocrisy, we let hypocritical demopaths push us around.

    fp would say, “no duh, we’re afraid of them.” and he may well be right, but i think that even when we find our courage, for some it will be a hard pill to swallow to let the jews (and the usa) off the moral hook. so europe’s in this double-bind where fear (cowardice?) combines with those tasty drugs anti-zionism/anti-americanism) to leave the target victim paralyzed.

    how to wake up?

  17. Michael N says:

    Richard, much food for thought there. On one thing in particular I would like to be absolutely clear; the bravery, extreme self-sacrifice, and indeed lack of payback demanded by the US after WWII, make Europe’s current attitude to America, in my eyes, beneath contempt, beyond belief, and utterly – grotesquely – shameful. What it must look like from your side of the pond I shudder to think. I know that this must, in part, and in combination with the continent-wide resurgence of European anti-Semitism, explain what I read as hostility.

    I’d like to thank you for removing the assholes(!) I appreciate that, despite knowing that there are many, many people now and in the past to whom it applies in buckets. I think that if America DID act more like a traditional empire-building superpower, we might even resent it less here; it would not then compare so favourably with our own record!

    rl: that’s an extremely interesting final remark. there’s no doubt in my mind that if israel were more brutal, there would be less verbal and physical aggression against them. they just don’t have it in them, and then they get attacked for being brutal.

    your comment suggests that the real problem is moral envy, a particularly pernicious form of envy that thrives on some appalling moral “thinking” that includes the kind of moral hysteria we hear from people for whom abu ghraib is far worse then saddam’s (or any other arabs’) prisons, the crimes of israel far worse than, say, darfur.

    do you really think this is the operative factor?

    because if so, then there’s an inverse relationship between how badly (or well) the usa (and israel) behave, and how roundly the europeans (and the “left”) denounce them.

  18. fp says:

    insofar as i am concerned, I did not dismiss everything as hypocrisy. in fact, I was careful to state very clearly that when a nation accuses other nation of immoral behavior, it almost always ignores its own behavior. america is no exception.

    i wasn’t talking about your comment, but michael’s.

    there is one blatant american inconsistency: while it claims to believe in the critical benefits of competition, when it became the sole superpower it expected to be a benign, effective and efficient one.

    it’s always hard not to cheat when you can get away with it. look at bill belichick filming other teams sideline coaches.

    power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. there are signs of corruption in all aspects of american behavior — individual and collective. how the iraq war was conceived and conducted is a clearcut example of that. by the time the US gets out of iraq –who knows when — it will do so in disarray and it will face more than one powerful enemy.

    certainly, the number of openly aggressive muslims — individuals and groups — will increase exponentially.

    the more this new reality will hit the american elite and public and affect the life they’re used to, the less moral and rational will be their reactions. the blood curdling anti-semitism/zionism crowling from under the rocks, the betraying of allies and appeasement of islamists at home and abroad, all these are clear examples of that.

    i seem to always play the naive optimist to your pessimism, but i think americans are capable of pulling themselves together once they see clearly. so the adversity could really provoke a change of direction rather than a worsening of current trends.

    how the europeans and its enemies are currently behaving towards it is a consequence of that.

    not sure i understand you here.

  19. Michael N says:

    RL, you ask an extremely difficult question, but a profoundly important one.

    Europe, America, and moral envy. The situation is so multi-layered it’s almost impossible to say that moral envy represents the primary operative factor.

    It is perhaps something else closely related; a hatred of obligations. Europe owes America, and it knows it owes America. It is therefore rushing as quickly as it can to forget what and why it owes America.

    History is being repainted. Remembrance of WWII is scorned as a sterile nationalistic cliché by our clever young media elite, the same people who literally rush breathlessly to declare that our European guilt over the Jewish child with hands aloft in the Warsaw Ghetto has now been quickly and efficiently expunged and cancelled by the death of Muhammed Al Dura; one image has erased our obligation of memory and guilt towards the other.

    We rush to abandon our obligations to history and to the future. We simply wish to be free to live comfortable, untroubled, entertained lives. America pricks that bubble in so many ways: Americans generally, we perceive, have definite religious beliefs, and because we believe only in television and beer we must ridicule both faith and America; Americans bear arms, and because guns represent the obligations of taking personal responsibility or of being forced to defend ourselves rather than leaving everything to the State, we are obliged to ridicule Americans as gun ‘nuts’ and leave only the thugs here well armed; America sends armies abroad to punish and defeat militias who attack and murder civilians, and because we want a quiet life more than anything else, we are obliged to see words such as “justice”, “security”, “freedom”, or “terror” as nothing more than ignorant Bush cliché, and drain them of meaning. In short, whatever America stands for we are obliged to negate, because America seems determined to stand for something, and standing for something always brings with it the risk of standing against something else.

    Moral envy undoubtedly plays a part, but I wonder if actually we are not quite as subtle as all that in our pathologies?

    World War II is ancient history; The Holocaust was merely the prequel to the expulsion or brutal occupation of the Palestinians; Soviet tyranny wasn’t actually so bad, the Cold War was America’s way of dominating Europe militarily and financially; the growing worldwide jihad is a myth designed by the Bush junta to keep us in fear and if we dialogue with islamists we’ll see that Bush is the real threat to world peace, etc etc etc.

    In a nutshell; we resent that we needed your help, so we find any reason we can to belittle you, to paint you as uneducated, bible-bashing, gun-toting, warmongers and cowboys, and at the same time we redraw history to erase any debt we may owe you, and free ourselves of the embarrassment and possible danger that comes from being close allies of a nation that stands for something, and will not stand for certain other things.

    And yet, you know what? Deep down, encoded in the DNA here, unacknowledged and embarrassing, is the ember of a hope that if the sh#t hits the fan, you will once again come to our rescue. We ridicule and resent you, but perhaps do so in the knowledge that you have thus far been too mature to turn your back on us. In the meantime, we kind of hope that you will fight our more unavoidable wars for us, while we sit tutting and admonishing from the sidelines.

    But there are, of course, some of us who have seen America for what it is, enjoyed its hospitality, and know that it remains our natural friend and our best hope.

  20. fp says:

    >it’s always hard not to cheat when you can get away with it.

    certainly. but that does not make it less of an inconsistency.

    >certainly, the number of openly aggressive muslims — individuals and groups — will increase exponentially.

    not to mention russia, china, iran and an islamized europe with its politicians kissing muslim ass.

    >americans are capable of pulling themselves together once they see clearly. so the adversity could really provoke a change of direction rather than a worsening of current trends.

    my guess is that the adversity today is qualitatively and quantitatively different than anything before it. the energy situation, the collapse of education, the elimination of many of the US advantages, the preoccupation with entertainment and financial manipulations, the corruption of public and private institutions, fiscal irresponsibility, huge income inequalities, decay of infrastructure,the destruction of govt institutions, the inability to protect borders and deal with natural disasters, fiscal irresponsibility, the overuse of the military and the arrogant ignorance of foreign policy make it very unlikely that there is anything americans can do to reverse the decline.

    so the reaction will be irrationality, scapegoating, social strife. it won’t be pretty. would you have believed 5-10 years ago that anti-semitic hate right out of der sturmer would take roots in the US? or that freedom of speech would be curtailed on US campuses? or that universities would invite ahmadinajad to speak?
    these are clearly indicators that this time around the US may have dug itself a hole from which it can’t come out.

    >not sure i understand you here

    the sharks sense that america is wounded

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>