Gleanings, 25.02.11

Caroline Glick: Playing Israel’s good hand (MUST READ)

THE PALESTINIANS’ expressed willingness to forgo their assistance from the US is no doubt a bluff. And Congress would do well to call their bluff and cancel US assistance to the PA. Yet their behavior presents Israel with an important lesson about the fundamentals of diplomacy that appear lost on our leaders. The Palestinians understand the rules of diplomacy far better than Israel does. Israel believes that diplomacy is about getting other governments to be nice to us. Palestinians understand that diplomacy is a nonviolent means of weakening your enemies and expanding your own power. They also understand that the starting point for any effective diplomatic strategy is a reality-based assessment of other government’s interests.

CHARLES A. KUPCHAN: Be Careful What You Wish For (MUST READ)

This track record makes clear that the more democratic the Middle East becomes, the greater the role that Islam — even if a moderate brand — will play in its politics. This outcome is neither good nor bad; it is simply a reality in a part of the world where politics and religion are intertwined. Nonetheless, Western observers and policy makers had better stop operating under the illusion that the spread of democracy to the Middle East also means the spread of Western values.

Bernard Lewis: A mass expression of outrage against injustice (MUST READ)

But I can imagine a situation in which the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations of the same kind obtain control of much of the Arab world. It’s not impossible. I wouldn’t say it’s likely, but it’s not unlikely. And if that happens, they would gradually sink back into medieval squalor.

I would view [elections now] with mistrust and apprehension. If there’s a genuinely free election – assuming that such a thing could happen – the religious parties have an immediate advantage. First, they have a network of communication through the preacher and the mosque which no other political tendency can hope to equal. Second, they use familiar language. The language of Western democracy is for the most part newly translated and not intelligible to the great masses.

Christopher Hitchens: Is Barack Obama Secretly Swiss?

This is not merely a matter of the synchronizing of announcements. The Obama administration also behaves as if the weight of the United States in world affairs is approximately the same as that of Switzerland. We await developments. We urge caution, even restraint. We hope for the formation of an international consensus. And, just as there is something despicable about the way in which Swiss bankers change horses, so there is something contemptible about the way in which Washington has been affecting—and perhaps helping to bring about—American impotence. Except that, whereas at least the Swiss have the excuse of cynicism, American policy manages to be both cynical and naive.

Times of Trenton: Americanization of Islam (or Islamization of America?)

As religious scholar Yvonne Haddad has watched Islam become the fastest growing religion in the United States, she sees the opportunity for broader acceptance in American society without other religions sacrificing their identity. “Islam is becoming an American religion,” Haddad, an expert in the history of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations at Georgetown University told students and faculty at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School on Wednesday … Today, you still have a division between the Judeo-Christian America and the multicultural America,” Haddad said. What you see today are Muslims who are advocating for pluralism, because Islam is pluralistic. The Koran says that it is God’s will that there will be differences between people. Pluralism is the essence of Islam.”

C. H. Smith: Egypt, Libya et al.: Demographics, the Oil Curse and Post-Colonial Karma (MUST READ)

To reach an integrated understanding of current events in the Mideast and North Africa, we must place them in these broad contexts: 1. Demographics. These nations have experienced the usual population explosion which accompanies reduced opportunities for women, and as a result the majority of citizens are young, better educated than their elders, and unemployed, underemployed or scratching out a living in the informal economy. 2. The oil curse, or more generally, the resource curse, since it works just as well with diamonds, gold, etc. 3. Post-colonial Karma. Most of the “developing” world is still working through the consequences of 19th century Imperial/colonial domination–the “karma” of post-colonialism. Even the rare exceptions which avoided direct Imperial control such as Thailand were still shaped by the carving up of the globe by European Empires in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Andrew C. McCarthy: Who Attacked Lara Logan, and Why? (MUST READ)

Except it doesn’t happen in Madison. It happens in Egypt. It happened in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, in the riots that led to Suharto’s fall — as Sharon Lapkin recounts, human-rights groups interviewed more than 100 women who had been captured and gang raped, including many Chinese women, who were told this was their fate as non-Muslims. It happens in Muslim countries and in the Muslim enclaves of Europe and Australia, perpetrated by Islamic supremacists acting on a sense of entitlement derived from their scriptures, fueled by the rage of their jihad, and enabled by the deafening silence of the media.

Omri Ceren: Susan Rice Skips UN Meeting on Libya, Goes to Sustainability Conference Instead

At great personal risk to himself and his family, Libya’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, pushed the UN Security Council to take up the violence in his home country. … The dramatic event prompted the first UN meeting of the 15 member Security Council on the uprisings sweeping across the region since the beginning of Tunisia’s revolution. … The United States was represented by Foreign Service officer and Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo. … Rice, skipped the Libya meeting and instead flew to South Africa to attend a UN panel discussion on global sustainability.

The Global Post: Indonesia: religion and rule of law

The state’s failure to prevent two back-to-back attacks on religious minorities signals a rise in intolerance and impunity.

Thomas Hayden: Now Pakistan: Another Domino About to Fall?

According to AP, the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency is ready to split with the CIA because of frustration over what it calls heavy-handed pressure and its anger over what it believes is a covert U.S. operation involving hundreds of contract spies, according to an internal document obtained by AP. This could seriously damage the U.S war effort in Afghanistan, limit a program targeting Al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents along the Pakistan frontier, and restrict Washington’s access to information in the nuclear-armed country.

One Response to Gleanings, 25.02.11

  1. Sérgio says:

    Insightful links! Thanks.

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