Gleanings, 17-18.04.11

NB. Most of the postings (and the regularity of) the Gleanings comes from Fabian Pascal (oao), who blogs at The PostWest.

David Harris: Judge Goldstone Shouldn’t Be the Only One to Reconsider

Take the upheaval in the Arab world. Many so-called experts didn’t begin to see it coming, not even close. Why? For many, like Goldstone, they were looking in the wrong direction. What should have been quite obvious — namely, the societal conditions breeding growing discontent over many years — was anything but. Yet, unlike Goldstone, they haven’t even attempted an apology, at least so far. To the contrary, they continue to appear on the talk shows, at the lecterns, in the editorial and op-ed pages, and throughout the blogosphere with their “expert” views, though they were totally blindsided by the dramatic developments.

… You see, it’s not about the freedom deficit, gender deficit, or knowledge deficit, as the UN Arab Human Development Report revealed. It’s not about cronyism and corruption. It’s not about intolerance of minorities. It’s not about the absence of jobs and investments. It’s not about those who turn faith into fanaticism. No, it’s not about any of those things. There’s only one problem in the Middle East, said the Turkish official, in a view echoed by his prime minister, and that’s the “Palestinian question,” which, of course, means Israel.

It’s as if the Iran nuclear problem doesn’t exist, nor al-Qaeda’s ambitions, nor nuclear-armed Pakistan’s precarious future, nor the despotic dynasties in the Middle East that deny human freedom and human rights, nor the aspirations of those who wish to restore the caliphate – not to mention problems of a more global scale from poverty to disease. No, once again, it’s all back to Israel.

… I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for all those who’ve made a cottage industry out of blaming the Middle East’s ills on Israel to start recanting, even in the face of pretty obvious facts from Misurata to Latakia, from the Arab Human Development Report to Freedom House.

But I do hope the editors at the Washington Post will make room for any of them that do.

Michael Doran: Battling the Heirs of Nasser (MUST READ)

As the United States seeks to build a new order in the Middle East, it is worth remembering what happened in the course of the last Arab revolution. Like Obama, President Dwight Eisenhower came to power intent on solving the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to line up the Arab world with the United States. Together with Britain, Eisenhower focused on brokering an Egyptian-Israeli agreement. Nasser, like Damascus today, played along, while simultaneously turning up the heat on the Israelis, working to oust the British, and sparking a region-wide revolution. By 1958, America’s position had grown so tenuous that Eisenhower felt compelled to send U.S. troops to Lebanon, lest one of the last overtly pro-U.S. regimes in the region fall to Nasser-inspired forces.

Although the resistance bloc may not be as influential as Nasser was, it is nevertheless poised to turn the turmoil of the region to the detriment of American interests. If Washington is to minimize the pain of the transition to a new order, it must remain focused, amid all the turmoil, on the sophisticated asymmetric threat that the resistance bloc presents.

Leslie Gelb: How Libya Saps America’s Power (MUST READ)

Here’s what America’s worst enemies like Iran and North Korea are spouting on the international circuit about Libya: If the vaunted and mighty NATO and the U.S. can’t humble that weirdo Col. Gaddafi and his pint-size army, “what do we have to worry about?” To be sure, NATO and the U.S. haven’t hit Gaddafi with all they have for fear of killing civilians. But they have hit him hard and on the open desert—presumably ideal terrain to show off the West’s devastating air power, as opposed to the muck-like guerrilla war in Afghanistan. And while the West’s enemies know well NATO’s self-imposed restrictions on air attacks, they assume that NATO and the U.S. would put such limitations on themselves no matter where they fought. Thus, to Tehran and Pyongyang, the lesson of Libya is that the West can’t do decisive harm to them.

All of which is to say that barring a stroke of luck, the West is up the creek without a paddle—and can’t stop paddling. There are no promising solutions. Best under such circumstances to maintain military operations at about current levels rather than do more and still fail. Best to let Paris and London complain about NATO (read the U.S.) not doing enough and leave the brunt of the fighting to them. After all, they were the prime advocates of military intervention.

Jamie Glazov: Pajamas Media » How Vittorio Arrigoni Went to Gaza Hoping to Die

This episode was, of course, all part of an expected script: even though the media and our higher literary culture never discuss the reasons, the historical record reveals one undeniable fact: like thousands of political pilgrims before him, Vittorio Arrigoni went to Gaza to die. Indeed, consciously or unconsciously, in their unquenchable quest for sacrificing human life on the altar of their utopian ideals, fellow travelers always lust for death, and if not the death of others, then of their own.

Beneath the leftist believer’s veneration of the despotic enemy lies one of his most powerful yearnings: to submit his whole being to a totalist entity. This psychological dynamic involves negative identification, whereby a person who has failed to identify positively with his own environment subjugates his individuality to a powerful, authoritarian entity, through which he vicariously experiences a feeling of power and purpose. The historian David Potter has succinctly crystallized this phenomenon:

. . . most of us, if not all of us, fulfill ourselves and realize our own identities as persons through our relations with others; we are, in a sense, what our community, or as some sociologists would say, more precisely, what our reference group, recognizes us as being. If it does not recognize us, or if we do not feel that it does, or if we are confused as to what the recognition is, then we become not only lonely, but even lost, and profoundly unsure of our identity. We are driven by this uncertainty into a somewhat obsessive effort to discover our identity and to make certain of it. If this quest proves too long or too difficult, the need for identity becomes psychically very burdensome and the individual may be driven to escape this need by renouncing his own identity and surrendering himself to some seemingly greater cause outside himself.

FP: There is much more recognition of the fascism of the extreme right than that of the extreme left. But Lenin/Stalin were not that different than Hitler/Mussolini.

Daniel Pipes Review of: Guarding the Secrets: Palestinian Terrorism and a Father’s Murder of His Too-American Daughter

In November 1989 in St. Louis, the FBI inadvertently tape recorded the entire episode of a teenage girl’s being killed by her Palestinian father and Brazilian mother (the Feds were looking for evidence of terrorism, which they also found). In a ghastly eight-minute sequence, Zein Isa stabbed his daughter Palestina thirteen times with a butcher’s knife as his wife held the girl down and responded to Palestina’s pleas for help with a brutal “Shut up!” The killing ends with Zein screaming “Die! Die quickly! Die quickly! . . . Quiet, little one! Die, my daughter, die!” By this time, she is dead.

FP: An example of the same culture that produced murderers like those of the Fogel family. The elder of one of them was jailed by the PA 5 years for participation in a similar honor killing.

2 Responses to Gleanings, 17-18.04.11

  1. Cynic says:

    From “Battling the Heirs of Nasser” one would believe that

    After Gamal Abdel Nasser, the charismatic young Egyptian ruler, nationalized the Suez Canal in July 1956, the British and French, in collusion with Israel, invaded Egypt to topple him. They failed; Nasser emerged triumphant.

    How correct is that?
    By the way, nice touch that “in collusion with Israel”. Ooh, that “Sh**ty Little Country”!
    Eisenhower was the one who forced a retreat by Britain, France and Israel from which Nasser emerged triumphant.
    Kicking Israel out of Sinai without a peace agreement with Egypt, which he later regretted, got him zilch from Nasser and set the tone for the next war.
    It wasn’t until after the third war in 1973 that Egypt relinquished its reliance on Russia.

    Although the resistance bloc may not be as influential as Nasser was, it is nevertheless poised to turn the turmoil of the region to the detriment of American interests. If Washington is to minimize the pain of the transition to a new order, it must remain focused, amid all the turmoil, on the sophisticated asymmetric threat that the resistance bloc presents.

    Together with Britain, Eisenhower focused on brokering an Egyptian-Israeli agreement. seems another fatuous statement to me.

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