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‘The clash of civilizations’ theory is absolutely and completely dead

Middle East
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Samuel P. Huntington, in 2004, from Wikipedia

The late Samuel P. Huntington, at the World Economic Forum in 2004, from Wikipedia

It is far too early for a conclusive historical verdict on the wave of uprisings that have swept across the Middle East since a street vendor in Tunisia named Mohamed Bouazizi protested his unfair life by burning himself to death in December 2010. A half dozen Arab nations have been torn by massive popular uprisings, and no honest person can predict whether the eventual outcomes will be democracy, military rule, or something else again.

But one thing is certain; the “clash of civilizations” theory is absolutely and completely dead. The analysis, which was put forward in the early 1990s by the British-American Orientalist Bernard Lewis and by Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington, argued that something they called “Islam” was a monolithic force, which was hostile to the West due to wounded pride and deep feelings of inadequacy. “Islam” was also expansionist and prone to violence. Huntington’s most famous statement was “Islam has bloody borders.”

Genuine scholars, of the Mideast and elsewhere, challenged the theory right from the start. But the events of the past three years have shown just how preposterous it was. Let us start with Egypt. History continues there at a rapid pace, but for now trying to identify a unified, expansionist “Islam” is simply laughable. The Muslim Brotherhood might have fit the bill, but it has been outlawed by a pious army general with massive popular support – including from even the more conservative Salafi Muslims.

Clash of civilizations theory would also have predicted that Saudi Arabia, the heart of the world of “Islam,” would rally to the Brotherhood’s side. In fact, the Saudis hate the Brotherhood and are propping up the pious general with billions of dollars in aid.

And so on across the region. Where will the now 97-year-old Bernard Lewis locate the unified sinister Islamic juggernaut in the midst of Syria’s terrible civil war?

The evident absurdity of the theory should not hide how influential it was. Huntington launched it in the magazine Foreign Affairs, as an article that became the single most popular piece in the publication’s history. Bernard Lewis was feted in the mainstream media, appeared regularly on television, and advised the Bush administration before the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Forty years ago, I took a course from Samuel Huntington (and two other professors). It is hard to square the thin, gawky, bespectacled man I remember from the lecture room with the bloodthirsty, combative theory he helped come up with. Maybe he is lucky he did not live long enough to see his most famous intellectual contribution so convincingly destroyed.

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  1. Krauss
    March 29, 2014, 1:21 pm

    Nope, it isn’t dead for the reasons you cited.

    It is dead because the Arab world is largely devouring itself. The Arab world =/= muslim/Islamic world, of course, but it is the cultural heart of the Islamic world. Islam is, after all, the Arabic people’s religion.

    However, they are devouring themselves in large part because of religious differences(Sunni vs Shia) – and in this sense – Huntington’s thesis that the primary forces in the post-Cold War era would be religious, applies at the very least in the Arab world in this day. So it is correct in viewing the Arab world but not from a Western/world point of view, where Islam is not a threat and basically irrelevant/weak.

    So in that sense his thesis has been proved correct. But, of course, his thesis was a thesis which was supposed to cover the world, not the Arab world. Which is why, if you view it from the world wide perspective, it failed.

    For a world wide perspective, does anyone think China or the Latin American countries are obsessed with Islam? You can’t explain what is going on in Asia or Latin America using a fundamental cultural clash. Latin America isn’t really an influencer of culture in any real shape, anyway, nor do they have a special economic model that isn’t available elsewhere(and usually working better, such as China).

    The main challenge to the West is not the Arab world, which is incredibly weak and getting weaker by the day. The main challenge is China, basically.
    (India is essentially one giant Switzerland in terms of foreign relations).

    However, China’s not an ideological opponent the way the FSU was. It’s an economic, and within time, military, juggernaut which will force the post-war Western economic/political system to be changed.

    But Huntington dropped the ball on China, which Mearsheimer has not.
    (Then again, Mearsheimer came out relatively late with his analysis on China with his “China can’t rise peacefully” thesis. If he had come out in the early 90s with it, it would have been much more impressive).

    • Krauss
      March 29, 2014, 1:40 pm

      Ugh, that was a fast affirmation. Usually it is much slower( allowing me time to edit stuff)!

      My basic point is that the theory isn’t useless; its only of limited use in specific circumstances/regions. This differs from the grand ambitions he had as the overarching frame of reference when thinking about the world.

      The left generally has an aversion of cultural explanations, for understandable reasons. But we should not shy away from them in these circumstances.

      Remember, Chomsky tried to explain what’s happening in I/P through a Marxist/economic model. As if the conflict was all about money!

      Zionism isn’t driven by money, there is a deep-rooted cultural driving force.

      Similarily, to explain the Arab world today by only using the old and worn models of imperialism and capitalism isn’t enough. Are attacks on Shia minorities based on a capitalistic framework? Are attacks on Christians in Iraq/Syria/Egypt the wishes of the U.S. military-industrial complex?
      Does the rise of Islamists in Iraq or Syria prove that oil is fueling the conflict? What about the rise of Islamism in Egypt these past few decades, which has no oil?
      People say, yes but what about the U.S. support for the military dictators! Then why isn’t the opposition secular? Are you telling me that the U.S. is forcing people to become Islamists?

      I don’t think anyone can hope to completely understand what’s happening in the Arab world, including every Arab intellectual, but I don’t think the case is strong for saying Islam/culture is not a very strong, indeed the primary, reason for the events recently. And in that sense, Huntington’s theory, while it has its flaws, can at least provide a different frame that is more useful than trying to explain it all than through capitalism or some other default explanation.

      • seanmcbride
        March 29, 2014, 1:51 pm

        Krauss wrote:

        Remember, Chomsky tried to explain what’s happening in I/P through a Marxist/economic model. As if the conflict was all about money!

        Zionism isn’t driven by money, there is a deep-rooted cultural driving force.

        This has been one of my main complaints about Chomsky all along — and about standard issue Marxist analysis in general.

        Historical conflicts are based on a complex mix of factors — economic, class, ethnic, religious, cultural, etc. — powerful irrational or non-rational factors drive much of human behavior. One needs to take the trouble to sort all that out.

      • James North
        March 29, 2014, 1:51 pm

        Krauss: ‘Clash of civilizations theory’ does not simply assert that “religion (or culture)” is “important.” If it did, no one would have paid attention to it. It asserted that “Islam” exists as a unified force, that “Islam” is angry and expansive, and that therefore “Islam” has “bloody borders.” There was plenty of evidence before the Arab springs that the theory was wrong, but the last 3 years have destroyed it, buried it, and shoveled dirt over its unlamented grave.

      • Castellio
        March 30, 2014, 12:30 am

        Having been there, maybe you can explain why the most spurious intellectual traditions always have such strong support in the elite universities?

        I am thinking of the “Clash of Civilizations” the “Defense of Austerity” and the “Neocon Worldview”.

      • Krauss
        March 30, 2014, 10:53 am

        Castellio, the CoC theory never had widespread support, in large part because most people understood that it failed to explain the entire world or at least the primary events of the world.

      • MRW
        March 30, 2014, 12:45 am

        @James
        I remember brunches on the westside in the fall of 1990 when we all sneered at the ‘clash of civilization’ idea Lewis was advancing in an article in The Atlantic Monthly about Muslim rage. Guffaws over the bagels. Russia was breaking up, the German wall was down for about a year (IIRC) and we all rolled our eyes that this was going to be the next big thing that the neocons were going to stoke.

      • Krauss
        March 30, 2014, 3:33 am

        James,

        I agree and disagree. I agree with you concerning Huntington’s statement that Islam has bloody borders and this implication that it will become a world wide menace has largely been proved incorrect. The vast majority of Islamist terror is targeted at other muslims.

        But this is also consistent with what I wrote. Huntington’s theory was ambitious; it aimed to explain the primary force in the post-Cold War world. It failed to do that. (Of course, his defenders would say that it was indeed the case that he was correct, but only for the first 15 years or so).

        As for your final statement, I think you’re misguided.
        The Arab spring was an internal response, but the political forces that rose were by and large Islamists. Remember the secular hope of Egypt? Even Tunisia, long the Western hope for Arab secularism, has gone Islamist.

        My argument, in brief, is that Huntington’s thesis was wrongly named. It shouldn’t have been called the Clash of Civlizations. It should have been called the Clash Within Civilizations.

        It asserted that “Islam” exists as a unified force

        No, it never did that. Although if someone would want to be lenient towards you, that person could concede that Huntington, while acknowledging the deep rifts within Islam, still believed that the hatred of the West – as he saw it – would paper over these differences.
        This too has been proved wrong.

        But that is also consistent with what I wrote. Huntington was wrong in how he thought Islam vs the West would play out. He simply overestimated the Islamic countries, their coherency, but also their capabilities.

        But if you look at the Middle East now, how can you explain the inexorable rise of Islamism across the region? As I wrote previously:

        People say, yes but what about the U.S. support for the military dictators! Then why isn’t the opposition secular? Are you telling me that the U.S. is forcing people to become Islamists?

        The old left has no real answer to this, just like Chomsky is worthless in trying to explain Zionism within the stale “capitalism/imperialism” framework. Culture matters.

      • James North
        March 30, 2014, 1:03 pm

        Krauss: Try and square the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood over the past year or so (in Egypt, the most populous Arab nation) with what you call the “inexorable rise of Islamism across the region”?

      • Walid
        March 31, 2014, 2:32 am

        “Krauss: Try and square the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood over the past year or so (in Egypt, the most populous Arab nation) with what you call the “inexorable rise of Islamism across the region”?” (James North)

        James, despite the Egyptian Brothers’ short-lived day in the sun, Krauss is not wrong with his assertion when you account for state-sponsored Islamism having had a direct hand in their fall from grace. The state with the bigger stick proponing hard core Islamism won over the Islamist-light states with the smaller sticks that were propping up the comparatively milder Brothers. The politically active Brothers were taken out of their dark underground dungeon and into the sun to better and permanently neutralize them. You’ll remember that while the coup against the Brothers was underway, the country’s hardcore Salafists just sat back and enjoyed the show. On the surface, it looked like the secularists put the Islamist Brothers back in the bottle but if you look closer, you’d see that it was the hardcore Islamists in another country that were pulling the strings of the military doing it.

      • Walid
        March 29, 2014, 7:56 pm

        “I don’t think anyone can hope to completely understand what’s happening in the Arab world, including every Arab intellectual, but I don’t think the case is strong for saying Islam/culture is not a very strong, indeed the primary, reason for the events recently.”

        Wrong call on that one. You underestimate the Arab intellect, especially that you include “every Arab intellectual” in your equally hasty re-think. Believing that you can unravel the collective Arab mind by dissecting its cultural characteristics for strengths and weaknesses, even on a localised level, is as faulty as the path that the 2 guys tried on a universal level and were proven wrong. Another that had latched on to the similar but absurd misconception that all 400 million Arab Muslims stretching from northwest Africa to the Persian Gulf covering 22 countries are of one culture and to know some in one country is to know them all was the late Raphael Patai. The Americans made their military officers take his courses in the “Arab mind” before sending them off to Iraq and they ended up with prize boners like Abu Ghraib. You are falling in the same generalizing trap.

      • Krauss
        March 30, 2014, 3:21 am

        The Americans made their military officers take his courses in the “Arab mind” before sending them off to Iraq and they ended up with prize boners like Abu Ghraib. You are falling in the same generalizing trap.

        Walid, again a total misreading of what I wrote. It seems you read what you’d like to read instead of what I actually wrote. I didn’t generalize over the “Arab mind”. Give concrete examples of how I did that, I’ll be amused to see you try.

        What I wrote, instead, is that to see what is happening in the Middle East cannot be explained by the old explanation models of capitalism or imperialism alone. They have their place, but just like Zionism, you have to include a much broader group theories, where culture plays a part.

        How is this, in your mind, somehow morphed into “this is how Arabs work”? I’m genuinely curious about this one, because I think this debate is important.

      • seanmcbride
        March 30, 2014, 7:03 am

        Krauss,

        I didn’t see anything remotely prejudicial towards Arabs or Arab culture in your words — that’s an odd interpretation.

      • Walid
        March 30, 2014, 10:30 am

        Krauss, I have no urge to amuse you or to draw a list of your generalizations. Your second “ugh” post is full of them. There is no pleasure for me in reading anyone describe how to better dissect the Arab culture/mind. I was simply disagreeing with your observations and not in any way conducting a personal attack on you. Most of my comment was aimed at the fallacies of Lewis, Huntingdon and Patai that approached the understanding of the Arab mentality from a cultural perspective, hence the wounded pride and deep feelings of inadequacy, shame and humility mumbo-jumbo that gave rise to Abu Ghraib abuses, and I remarked that you were falling into the same trap. You compounded the error by adding a religious angle to it.

      • aiman
        March 29, 2014, 8:41 pm

        Krauss, your meandering/stumbling/falling intellectualising aside, your persistent, stiff refusal to rubbish “every Arab intellectual” and his/her opinion each time he/she wrote a single point of view article on Mondoweiss smacked of something weird even before. Now here you go again. You may be a non-Zionist but your sources for your analysis are actually Zionist or at least were part of the intellectualising by the Eusten Left in the run up to the Iraq War. Your critique of Chomsky/his ideology cannot allow you to brush over other voices without that same concern. It’s like you showing off your knowledge by placing Chomsky’s book on a pile of books by persons you are psychologically unable, rather unwilling, to engage with. You also make sweeping brush strokes over “India”, forgetting how similar Indian Hindu nationalism to Muslim nationalism, Zionism of course takes the cake on that one, you don’t know what bad/evil choices (not circumstances, mind you) led to these ideologies. Neither your superiors Lewis nor Huntington had the answer, in Lewis it was all a matter of conceit. Perhaps you want to feel part of the Judeo-Christian civilisation but it doesn’t exist, it is a Zionist construct (Bernard Lewis) as admitted by the otherwise odious Harold Bloom. For all your blustering, I have one advice for you: read. Read better. The world is broader than you know.

      • Krauss
        March 30, 2014, 3:11 am

        Just a quick comment before I get to the more substantive parts.

        You underestimate the Arab intellect, especially that you include “every Arab intellectual” in your equally hasty re-think.

        your persistent, stiff refusal to rubbish “every Arab intellectual”

        Now let’s review what I wrote:

        I don’t think anyone can hope to completely understand what’s happening in the Arab world, including every Arab intellectual

        I don’t see this as an all-out attack on Arab intellectuals. I’m saying, nobody can completely understand what is happening in the Arab world, including Arab intellectuals. At least from my point of view, the way the sentence is phrased is that Arab intellectuals are best positioned of all of us to understand the region, and they understand it better than anyone, but even they don’t understand it completely.

        That’s the key word. I first thought that I was unclear in my language but when I reviewed it, nope, it’s pretty clear language to me. It’s not an attack on Arab intellectuals, and if you’re reading it that way you’re reading it wrong.

        P.S. aiman, I’m particularly pleased that a defender of a Holocaust denier like yourself is attacking me. I’m doing something right.
        (Reference. http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/conservatives-for-palestine.html/comment-page-1#comment-647685)

      • aiman
        March 30, 2014, 5:35 am

        Krauss, how convenient of you to trot out the slander of Holocaust denial at a time when your argument lies in tatters. I’m glad you provided the link though, everybody can revisit your accusation. An incredibly serious accusation for which you need to hold yourself accountable.

      • LeaNder
        March 30, 2014, 9:29 am

        aiman, I didn’t bother to step into the debate. but this is a really great comment.

        I have no idea if I grasp you completely here, due to the abrupt shift from second person to third grammatically:

        and his/her opinion each time he/she wrote a single point of view article on Mondoweiss smacked of something weird even before. Now here you go again.

        When Krauss surfaced here I was actually pretty attracted to his aka, I don’t necessarily assume it is his real name. Maybe since I had just started to reread Karl Kraus Thus I followed him for a while and yes I shortly noticed an subtle layer of prejudice or commonplace that occasionally guides his responses.

        But more on topic, if I may, slightly anecdotally. A good friend told me met an Austrian in Berlin. This guy was obsessed with the field of esoteric. His most prominent thesis was that the Muslim world would develop into the most urgent threat to the West. He later seems to have moved to the States since he had the impression he could sell his “knowledge” much better there. … Ever since I became aware of the clash theory that has been on my mind.

        I occasionally touched on the field of esoteric mainly late when writers during the late 19th early 20 century had that interest or obsession. Obviously I wonder whom he relied on beyond a series of shortcuts from history. And I guess he had a source in this context. But as soon as I get a better grasp on the history of the Middle East not only Zionism, I will look beyond Edward Said into “Orientalism”.

        Again, great comment, I couldn’t have said it better.

      • Krauss
        March 30, 2014, 11:04 am

        Walid:

        Krauss, I have no urge to amuse you or to draw a list of your generalizations. Your second “ugh” post is full of them.

        You should give direct and concrete evidence of your acusations.

        What you are doing is a hit and run: you acuse me of something but refuse to give specific examples. Maybe because we both know you can’t find anything. You’re just projecting, Walid. Check your own intellectual biases.
        And re-read the portions where I, in considerate detail, outline where and how Huntington was wrong.

        PS. Don’t know why people keep bringing up Bernie Lewis, or actually, I do know. It’s a pavlovian reaction.

        Sean McBride:

        I didn’t see anything remotely prejudicial towards Arabs or Arab culture in your words — that’s an odd interpretation.

        I think it’s a Pavlovian reaction. Whenever people see the words “culture” and “Arab” bound together, some people just stop thinking and just start to assume things, even if they were never written.

        And if you go through what I wrote, you can’t find a single generalization of Arabs á la “this is how Arabs are”. All I am writing about is the importance of culture to explain the rise of Islamism etc, I don’t define what/how that culture is.

        Back to Walid:

        I was simply disagreeing with your observations and not in any way conducting a personal attack on you.

        Most of my comment was aimed at the fallacies of Lewis, Huntingdon and Patai that approached the understanding of the Arab mentality from a cultural perspective, hence the wounded pride and deep feelings of inadequacy, shame and humility mumbo-jumbo that gave rise to Abu Ghraib abuses, and I remarked that you were falling into the same trap. You compounded the error by adding a religious angle to it.

        Well, you claim you don’t make a personal attack, but you kind of are but then you refuse to give examples of said accusations/attacks. As I said, Walid, that’s a cowardly hit and run and you should be able to do better.

        And as far as Lewis and Patai goes, I never mentioned them, nor did/have I embraced their theories. You seem to think that even talking about the role of culture in the rise of Islamism is a sin in of itself somehow.

        I’m guessing because you, quite correctly, noted that using the guise of “culture” has been an excuse to say some pretty racist things about Arabs.

        Which is precisely why I didn’t make sweeping statements about Arabs á la “this is how Arabs are”. I’m telling you, you have to read what I wrote carefully and check your impulses. You’ll notice that more or less all of what you accuse me of doesn’t even exist.

        If you don’t want to include culture in an analysis of the trends in the Arab world, then how are you different from a Chomsky type in talking about Zionism? And I’m urging you; just because people have mismanaged the culture card, allowed it to be a trampoline to racism, doesn’t mean the importance has gone away, even if we may wish it has.

        It hasn’t.

        P.S. I don’t mean to say that you can explain everything with culture. I don’t believe in mono-causal explanations. But I am saying it has to have a seat at the table, at the very least. And if you disagree with this, you should be able to give an argument of why not, instead of making baseless attacks and then not being able to back them up.

      • seanmcbride
        March 30, 2014, 12:01 pm

        Krauss,

        I think it’s a Pavlovian reaction. Whenever people see the words “culture” and “Arab” bound together, some people just stop thinking and just start to assume things, even if they were never written.

        And if you go through what I wrote, you can’t find a single generalization of Arabs á la “this is how Arabs are”. All I am writing about is the importance of culture to explain the rise of Islamism etc, I don’t define what/how that culture is.

        Good lord — cultural interactions and conflicts are a *universal* phenomenon in all times and places. All of human history is a cultural dialectical process. All of us are embedded in cultures with particular values, tastes, viewpoints and agendas, some conscious, many unconscious. The challenge is in bringing all of this material to the surface, where it can it be looked at with clear eyes and understood.

        Regarding “the Clash of Civilizations” — that was a cheesy and manipulative neocon propaganda meme designed to goad the United States and Europe into wars against Muslim nations on behalf of Likud Zionist culture (not Western civilization).

      • LeaNder
        March 30, 2014, 11:36 am

        let me step in here, but I will return to look at your whole comment/s.

        All I am writing about is the importance of culture to explain the rise of Islamism etc, I don’t define what/how that culture is.

        I never once thought this was a result of “culture”. Maybe you start by considering the impact of the Cold War on the M.E.? Or not only Western but also Arab special interests? Occasionally they seem to have corresponded with Western special interests not seamlessly, no doubt.

        I often disagree with Walid, but already the term “culture” raises my temperature. Since I suspect it is a means to serving old win in new bottles.

      • Walid
        March 30, 2014, 12:40 pm

        Kraus, in a nutshell, I’m not criticizing the analysis of a culture to get a better understanding of it but I am criticising those that take a small samplings of it and decide to generalize its conclusions over millions of people stretching across a quarter of the globe. You said that you’d do it yourself over smaller areas and for certain situations; the end result is the same since you would apply the results over a whole culture. You’re still taking this thing personal. I didn’t accuse you of anything but simply made an observation of your observation and said in perhaps too few words that I didn’t agree with it. It’s a simple disagreement that doesn’t make you a bad guy and it doesn’t make me one either.

        BTW and your Pavlovian theories, I’ve had Bernard Lewis book ” The Middle East a brief history of the last 2000 years”, for years and find it a useful source of information; I just don’t like his interpretation of these informations.

        You wanted an example:

        “… I don’t think anyone can hope to completely understand what’s happening in the Arab world, including every Arab intellectual,”

        Another BTW, I’m an Arab and I know exactly what’s going on. As to the other Arabs, including “EVERY intellectual one”, as you called them, you’re not giving them much credit. Maybe it’s because you too subconsciously think they are like cockroaches.

      • aiman
        March 30, 2014, 11:40 pm

        LeaNder,

        Interesting to hear about your friend. I have found the works of the anthropologist Talal Asad like ‘Formations of the Secular’ and ‘On Suicide Bombing’ very enlightening on this topic. The source for a lot of this kind of thinking, in my view, is Bernard Lewis who shifted the missionary Orientalism, which included Jews as subjects, of Christian and European travellers into a Zionist one. This realignment into “Judeo-Christian” civilisation has one purpose: to implant Israel or Zionism into the old boys’ club. I think Lewis and his modern day henchmen have been very successful. The discourse is part of every day news as politicians and the media rail against “irrational” enemies, indeed one of the great sleight of hand tricks has been to reduce whole countries, not just individuals, into the enemy. Pummel the public with “irrational”, “their culture” etc. etc. People like bin Laden and alQaeda share exactly the same worldview, a grossly dehumanising worldview of Westerners that allows people to kill innocent human beings. These acts further cement the propaganda.

      • American
        March 31, 2014, 1:07 pm

        @ krauss

        Leander just nailed you….your prejudice is showing more and more….

        ”Thus I followed him for a while and yes I shortly noticed an subtle layer of prejudice or commonplace that occasionally guides his responses.””..LeaNnder

        And you will have to accuse me also of defending the holocaust denier cause I also did…that accusation was totally ridiculous and his comment didn’t even come close to denying the holocaust…all he was saying was that teaching and concentrating on Ann Frank as/and the holocaust was too narrow to cover all universal evils of the world.
        And he is right—- Nuremberg , the holocaust and Never Again did nothing to prevent the Rwanda genocide.
        Reading Ann Frank isn’t going to teach anyone why it didn’t…which is what the world should study.

      • Citizen
        March 30, 2014, 2:48 pm

        Yep, “Judeo-Christian” tradition has no tradition at all. It’s just a phrase tossed out to support Israeli aggression, plunder, land-grabbing, and slow ethnic cleansing. There’s nothing more diametrically opposed intellectually and empathetically opposed than Jesus and the Philistines. What’s more is that the Talmud is the actual index to modern Judaism, no matter the stripe.

      • LeaNder
        March 31, 2014, 10:26 am

        aiman, I find Talal Asad’s Formation of the Secular highly interesting too.
        I only read his Formations of the Secular. Yes. a very. very important book. Not least his chapter: Redeeming the “Human” through Human Rights which puts “Western culture” with its humanitarian “precision bombing tools”, versus the “imprecise” tools of terrorists into the right context. Or more precisely it is warfare from the skies with ideally no losses. But not least for its hardly less vicious “economic warfare” sold as international development occasionally it seems:

        For example: “In the early ’90s, East Asian countries had liberalized their financial and capital markets–not because they needed to attract more funds (savings were already 30 percent or more) but because of international pressure, including some from the US Treasury Department. These charges provoked a flood of short term capital–that is, the kind of capital that looks for the highest returns in the next day, week, or month, as apposed to long-term investment in things like factories. In Thailand, this short term capital helped fuel an unsustainable real estate boom … Just as suddenly as capital flowed in. it flowed out … Output in some of the effected countries fell 16 percent or more. Half of the businesses in Indonesia were in virtual bankruptcy or close to it…. Unemployment soared, increasing tenfold, and real wages plummeted–in countries with basically no safety nets. Not only was the IMF not restoring economic confidence in East Asia, it was undermining the region’s social fabric.” This account, which I have taken from Joseph Stieglitz (until recently vice-president and chief economist of the World Bank) can be replicated even more dramatically for Russia. In both cases, the ability of the affected states to uphold certain rights was directly compromised by IMF and U.S. policies aimed at liberalizing national economies throughout the world.

        Of course all this only supports “Western Culture’s” superiority.

        Admittedly I never managed to read a book by Bernard Lewis. The books I gave a try made me wonder why he is considered so important. But I somewhat doubt he could pull this of on his own. Although he surely represents a specific camp.

        I plan to sneak into a seminary in our “Orientalist” institute here at the university. Topic: Racism and Enmity against Islam in Media and academic discourse. The good point with their approach is that you “start at home” meaning you first have to discover and face your own prejudice, and strictly that is a lot better than dealing with the perception of prejudice in others.

        Although, I still loved your response a lot.

        But I haven’t read Talal’s book on suicide bombing yet. But I have read the Kindle sample to it. Maybe I will. He seems to argue that religion is not the driving force here. Hmm? But media manages to make me store exactly that impression. OK, maybe I will read it.

        take care. ;)

      • LeaNder
        March 30, 2014, 12:12 pm

        Similarily, to explain the Arab world today by only using the old and worn models of imperialism and capitalism isn’t enough. Are attacks on Shia minorities based on a capitalistic framework? Are attacks on Christians in Iraq/Syria/Egypt the wishes of the U.S. military-industrial complex?

        You think these events come out of nowhere, based on culture only and its source is Islam? Or the fact that they are not united but fight each other? What about a century old manipulative tool of power: divide and conquer? Special interests? Some no doubt channeling anti-Western special interests? Like the Muslim brotherhood? But would you say, to stay with Egypt, the once that profited during the last decades– the military–don’t have their special interests too? The whole rest is pretty simple: It’s the economy stupid? What is the economy about ultimately? Winners and losers. No? EU students take it for granted that development in this field result in exactly that. There will be a lot of losers, especially in former soviet countries. … These people can be instrumentalized everywhere not only in the Arab world.

        Interesting:

        For a world wide perspective, does anyone think China or the Latin American countries are obsessed with Islam? You can’t explain what is going on in Asia or Latin America using a fundamental cultural clash. Latin America isn’t really an influencer of culture in any real shape, anyway, nor do they have a special economic model that isn’t available elsewhere(and usually working better, such as China).

        Another interesting shift. So that is only a cultural drive? If so, why did it not happen centuries earlier?

        Zionism isn’t driven by money, there is a deep-rooted cultural driving force.

        OK, basically I know the anti-Materialist argument, and there no doubt is a point to it, but how do you explain that Zionism does not really advertise itself as the deep-rooted cultural force? But: Ultimately the model student of Western culture, economy and scientific achievement?

        This cultural drive can be completely isolated from specific circumstances and gains or threats and losses if you will?

      • aiman
        April 1, 2014, 12:36 am

        LeaNder,

        Thanks for sharing your insight and the excerpt from that beautifully titled chapter expressing ugly things. I agree, it’s doubtful about Lewis pulling all this on his own. His very influence speaks about the influence of those (the Israel lobby, including those at the New York Times) who propagated him and his views. I think he is definitely one of the pioneering figures in Zionism and the Israel Lobby. He is also an Armenian Genocide denier, at his sentence leading Zionists sent protests including the writer of the Israeli left Amos Oz. From my reading into Muslim fundamentalism, for example, there were two main figures (Qutb and Maududi in Egypt and South Asia respectively) in the late colonial period who shaped a lot of the trouble Muslims find themselves in regarding terrorism, puritanism, women’s rights, nation state etc.

        On Talal’s book On Suicide Bombing, here’s an article by him that relates to issues discussed in his book: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09557570902956580. What’s funny is how Samantha Power personally reviewed that book, it must have been excruciating for her to read it. In one place, Asad mentions how Israel deliberately left a million cluster bombs in Lebanon after the invasion, that ‘blows’ the whole argument of hasbarists that Israel doesn’t deliberately target civilians. The aim was to terrorise, to put it mildly. He also looks at liberal warmakers in detail, for e.g. how pro-war liberals are “agonised” by criminal decisions (like, support for Iraq war) as if that ritual of relection/confession in opeds/books can morally cleanse them and they can begin again.

        Good luck with your seminar. They definitely have a great point about lifting the beam from one’s own eye first that we should all follow. Cheers.

  2. radii
    March 29, 2014, 1:50 pm

    fascists never care about facts, only if words and ideas can be molded into a pretext and the neocons and israel see value in the propaganda of the “clash of civilisations” concept … they can and do hang their aggression and crimes upon it

  3. HRK
    March 29, 2014, 1:58 pm

    Aren’t there all kinds of ideological (a subset of which would be theological) clashes going on in the world? Just because a conflict doesn’t lead to bloodshed doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a clash. Suppose a wrong is enacted on a population but done through all the correct legal channels?

  4. traintosiberia
    March 29, 2014, 3:01 pm

    It is very difficult not to conclude that the ideas expressed by these two neocon giants and moral midget were essentially in the service of the military industrial Zionist insatiable need for a permanent war which was threatened by the end of Soviet .
    How otherwise ,they could have ignored the symbiotic relationship between the Islamic fundamentalism and the US establishment that was evident throughout last 40 yrs?
    End of history is not a new theme. Prior to the birth of renaissance, it was a common belief among European that the history was not moving any more and the end of the world was near with no further changes in secular or religious realms.They based it on the interpretation of the Book of Daniel of 4 civilizations ( Egyptian,Greek,Petsian and the last was Roman who they thought were part of ) .and the presence of continued warfare among the nations with no understanding of the world outside
    . History ended for some in Versailles, for some on the day Aztec surrendered and for other the day Peurto Rico changed hands. The wounded feelings of the defeated back then would come roaring back in the form of Chavez and Lulu with an undefeated flag . Same thing happened in China. None was expected.

    The court jesters my try to provide the justification and may try to soothe the conscience by demeaning the defeated and robbing them of hope . Some of them survive to offer contrition and inverted apology like Lewis did when he said he never supported Iraq war.

  5. seanmcbride
    March 29, 2014, 3:14 pm

    Just the tip of the iceberg: intra-Jewish, intra-Christian, intra-Muslim, intra-European, intra-Slavic and intra-Asian cultural conflicts (dozens or hundreds of them — and leaving out conflicts *between* combinations of these groups).

    Next up on the Clashes of Civilizations menu: Euro-American vs. Zionist cultures — Israel probably needs to worry more about that developing situation than about its conflict with Islam.

    Contrary to the wishful thinking of many Zionists, Zionism is not in fact a core and secure component of Western civilization. One can already see the stirrings of a revival of various forms of ethnic nationalism in Europe — a phenomenon to which Zionists will not be able to object on intellectual or moral grounds.

  6. MichaelSmith
    March 29, 2014, 3:16 pm

    How so? Aren’t we seeing a split between Orthodox and Western Christian “civilizations” right now? If the idea was that different “civilizations” were always going to be in conflict, it’s wrong and silly, and maybe pernicious, but if the idea was that the lines of potential division in the world follow the borders between different religio-cultural blocs, there’s something to be said for it.

    What happened with this idea in the 1990s was typical of political-intellectual life, or just of human nature. The Cold War ends and ideological conflicts appear to dry up. Scholars and journalists ask, what might divide the world now, where might the next conflicts arise. They hit on the idea of different civilizations as engines of conflict and the idea takes off from there. It’s taken for a fact and used to explain whatever happens in the world. Speculation becomes 911 probably did a lot to make the idea more popular, and to many people, more convincing.

    I’m not sure we can wholly dismiss the idea of civilizational clash. Borders between “civilizations” are still places where conflict is likely to happen (the break-up of Yugoslavia, where Eastern Christianity, Western Christianity, and Islam meet did a lot to promote the theory), but any evidence that our future won’t be an endless war between civilizations is certainly welcome news.

  7. bilal a
    March 29, 2014, 3:31 pm

    Huntington’s thesis absent the Islamaphobia was tautological; there are civilizations, and they clash. Russia is clashing with the West which wants all the Caspian Oil and Russian gas on its own terms (economic) but also opposes Russia on cultural grounds (Eastern Orthodoxy) vs European cultural marxism.

    This is the real fault line ; the clash of civilizations is between transnational cosmopolitan elites , the rootless intermediary parasites, and the fixed traditional culture hosts where real economic activity occurs : infrastructure, agriculture, and manufacturing . This is both an international and intra-national conflict between fixed populations and parasitism. How else to explain Rachel Maddow boosting al qaeda in syria and neo nazis in Ukraine ?

    Parasitical Economy as Political Exchange Value, JONATHAN M. FELDMAN
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/02/23/dubaigate-deconstructed/

    America: “A Parasite On The World” By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-a-parasite-on-the-world/25986

    Some right wing critics get the Clash:

    Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan is completely enamored with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and is particularly excited about his anti-gay crackdown. In his syndicated column today, Buchanan lauds Putin as a leader of “conservatives and traditionalists in every country” who are resisting “the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite” who push “abortion on demand, homosexual marriage, pornography, promiscuity, and the whole panoply of Hollywood values.”

    Putin is a champion of “conservatives, traditionalists and nationalists of all continents and countries” and has taken up their fight “against the cultural and ideological imperialism of what he sees as a decadent West,” Buchanan writes.

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/buchanan-putin-leader-global-conservative-movement

    • bilal a
      March 29, 2014, 3:47 pm

      Zionism is but one expression of the clash and not causal:

      Slezkine argues that the Jews were, in effect, among the world’s first free agents. They traditionally belonged to a social and anthropological category known as “service nomads,” an outsider group specializing in the delivery of goods and services. Their role, Slezkine argues, was part of a broader division of human labor between what he calls Mercurians-entrepreneurial minorities–and Apollonians–food-producing majorities.

      Since the dawning of the Modern Age, Mercurians have taken center stage. In fact, Slezkine argues, modernity is all about Apollonians becoming Mercurians–urban, mobile, literate, articulate, intellectually intricate, physically fastidious, and occupationally flexible. Since no group has been more adept at Mercurianism than the Jews, he contends, these exemplary ancients are now model moderns.
      http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7819.html

    • seanmcbride
      March 29, 2014, 3:59 pm

      This analytical model — transnational financial capitalists vs. everyone else — pretty much the entire world (including organic national cultures) — has some merit. It’s consistent with what we see going on the world around us. But it’s interesting that many of the leaders of that elite are Zionist billionaires (like Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban) who are driven by a powerful emotional commitment to the interests of a single small ethnic group and nation. There is a conspicuous cultural factor there.

      • bilal a
        March 30, 2014, 9:40 am

        The most subversive element here is that any criminal activity done on behalf of a foreign state which is prosecuted, will result in immediate legal protection and asylum refuge, for the associated ethnic group member.

        So it doesn’t matter if formal Israeli dual citizenship exists, all ethnic Jewish Americans are automatic potential dual citizens; they must merely raise their hand.

        Certainly this must be offensive to all those loyal Americans defamed by this Israeli policy, especially when it often protects the most vile crimes:

        High Court To Decide Whether Accused Haredi Pedophile Who Fled Arrest In Britain Can Get Asylum In Israel
        http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2013/09/high-court-to-decide-whether-accused-haredi-pedophile-who-fled-arrest-in-britain-can-get-asylum-in-israel-345.html

      • bilal a
        March 30, 2014, 9:45 am

        I don’t see why intelligent liberals remain steadfast in supporting ‘democracy’ when it amounts to one dollar, one vote, but only after a Jewish primary which selects to whom we vote for. I don’t think it is accidental that this occurs in a cathedral of vice:

        Adelson holding ‘Sheldon Primary’ to pick Republicans to back
        Chats with casino mogul in Vegas will determine who who he puts his money on for 2016.
        http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.582122

      • Citizen
        March 30, 2014, 10:38 am

        @ bilal a
        This morning, on CSPAN WJ, they had a spokes person for the Tea Party as guest. He said he had just visited Sheldon Adelson in Vegas (This Adelson fever has been all over Fox News Channel in context of next GOP POTUS candidate, never mentioning Adelson is a self-proclaimed Israel Firster), and he praised Adelson as a top US Patriot. I tweeted in what Adelson had said about how he regretted wearing US military uniform, preferring to wear IDF uniform and adding he hoped his son would be a sniper for the IDF. My tweet was not addressed.

      • Citizen
        March 30, 2014, 2:41 pm

        @ bilal a
        Yep. Twitter is lit up with this situation, mostly because Christie, one of those kissing Adelson’s ring in Vegas, by saying something in public about Israel’s occupation.

    • American
      March 29, 2014, 5:18 pm

      ”This is the real fault line ; the clash of civilizations is between transnational cosmopolitan elites , the rootless intermediary parasites, and the fixed traditional culture hosts where real economic activity occurs : infrastructure, agriculture, and manufacturing .”>>>

      That is the most accurate description of clashes.

      Intellectuals, thinkers and theorist and their theories are a dime a dozen—what it comes down to 90% of the time in clashes is one civilization’s/ people’s need/ desire to seize and monopolize resources for survival and/or greed and/or power.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      March 30, 2014, 9:38 am

      Except for the awkward fact that Putin’s main adversaries at the moment happen to be Ukrainian nationalists who are cultural conservatives and traditionalists just like him. Don’t Russian and Ukrainian nationalists belong to the same civilization (Slavic, Christian Orthodox)?

  8. seafoid
    March 29, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Another theory that died suddenly was Fukuyama’s notion that history was over.

    • ritzl
      March 29, 2014, 5:28 pm

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_History_and_the_Last_Man

      Yep. Transitional, if not ephemeral, at best. My take was how can smart, published people be so categorically short-sighted. How can they simply and with a straight face, punctuate ongoing history?

      A personal awakening.

      • seafoid
        March 30, 2014, 5:18 am

        I read recently that thesurgeon general of the US declared infectious disease to have been conquered in 1967. Israel started the occupation the same year. The post war years were marked by utopian thinking. The establishment of Israel was very much of that time. AIDS came along to burst the surgeon general’s dream and justice is now rising to jolt Israel back to reality.

  9. piotr
    March 29, 2014, 3:54 pm

    Conflicts, like other interactions, are more frequent among neighbors than among distant nations. The basic ways of “globalizing conflicts” is forcing themselves to be neighbors and/or overlords and trying to collect various squabbling parties as allies and their opponents as our opponents.

    First, the grand alliance concept as the guiding star of foreign policy is increasingly dubious. Right now our Administration tries to be more Ukrainian than Ukrainians: in latest news: of Ukrainian troops in Crimea, 1/3 wishes to switch to Russian army, 1/3 wants to rejoin Ukrainian military and the rest wants to go home. So we identified 1/3 of Ukrainian troops as our allies, but we cannot help them much. And if we could help, probably it would be just worse. Like we can help Israelis whom we identified as allies, and opponents as the lesser creatures (some enemies, some “do not care about them”).

    Using clash of civilization to cobble alliances is only good for the suppleness of our spices because it forces us to bent into a pretzel.

  10. Zionist Jew
    March 29, 2014, 4:36 pm

    Clashes within civilizations do not mean there is no clash between civilizations.

    • Citizen
      March 29, 2014, 5:48 pm

      Yep. We all know the adage about 3 jews in a room, all with different perspectives. This does not account for how few jews have publicly stated their opposition to AIPAC as representing their interests. Look at where the Jewish money goes, e.g., to Jewish charities that send billions to the state of Israel every year, not to mention Adelson, Soros, Koch Bros, etc

    • seafoid
      March 30, 2014, 5:20 am

      The clash between hebrew speakers and english speakers is shaping up to be a classic.

  11. Keith
    March 29, 2014, 5:33 pm

    The Clash of Civilizations “theory” is basically an ideological construct designed to promote an “us” (Judeo-Christians) versus “them” (Arabs/Muslims). If one can sell this hokum to the public, then it makes it a lot easier to justify imperial aggression in the Middle East as “defensive” (they hate us and are out to hurt us, etc). Also, it rather obviously makes supporting Israel against “them” much easier. It is basically a guide for the selling of US/Israel war mongering. No surprise that this is associated with Harvard, which provides imperial indoctrination disguised as education.

    • Citizen
      March 29, 2014, 5:51 pm

      Interesting that the Ivy League colleges originated as WASP religious institutions, and now are Zionist to the core. What’s goose in US is not gander in Israel. The whole thing boils down to what’s good for the Jews? Hard to think more Americans (98% of US is not Jewish) don’t see this? Dummies. Given the lame goys, no wonder there’s Chutzpah.

      • tokyobk
        March 29, 2014, 10:30 pm

        Everything you write is about a Clash of Civilizations, between the Jew and the Goy. Its equally boring. Not to mention its all about the white man finally rising up and taking back his place. Yawn there too.

        PS, its “2 Jews 3 opinions” not “3 Jews in a room” though I doubt the latter seems already to you problematic.

      • tokyobk
        March 29, 2014, 11:25 pm

        …Your veil is thin and transparent.

        Why would it be surprising that Christian founded WASP organizations are Zionist when the majority of Christians and WASPs are still pro-Israel. (I agree this is changing, btw)?

        No, what you are saying is surprising is how these institutions are (supposedly) Jew to the core and you lament the passing of a great race and the end of quotas which maintained a tolerable number of aliens.

      • Cliff
        March 30, 2014, 2:38 am

        Oh but Burger King, if Citizen didn’t make these occasional comments, when would you ever comment on MW?

        It’s sick that you don’t know yourself without the threat (perceived or not) of antisemitism.

      • Citizen
        March 30, 2014, 3:37 am

        @ tokyobk
        No, the veil you see is your own. I didn’t say anything was surprising. I’m not a WASP nor a Christian. I do not lament the passing of any race. What end of quotas are you talking about? Quotas have not ended.

      • Walid
        March 30, 2014, 11:41 am

        “… The whole thing boils down to what’s good for the Jews? ”

        Citizen, another aspect of the “Clash of Civilizations” is authored by good-guy Jonathan Cook. In his book by the same title from about 4 or 5 years ago, he more or less concludes like you about how everything boils down to what’s good for Jews. It’s about the neocons misadventures directing American actions to fracture and redraw the Middle East region by invading Iraq, Iran, Afghanisitan, Syria and so on for the benefit of Israel to make it the imperial power over a fragmented area of Arabs.

      • Citizen
        March 30, 2014, 3:14 pm

        @ Walid
        Yes, just listen to, e.g., Krauthammer on any foreign policy issue.He always talks about US realist interests, but every one of his causes benefits Israel, not the USA. Happens every time. Like Bolton, he’s totally in the service of Israel uber ales, except he’s a true believer, while Bolton is a [..].

    • aiman
      March 29, 2014, 9:00 pm

      Keith, I agree. In fact, Bernard Lewis advanced it in the service of Zionism. His formulation of “Judeo-Christian civilisation” when no such thing exists in the first place (the self-important Harold Bloom even admits so and for the reason that it helps Israel). Imagine, if someone had advanced the notion of conflict between Judaism, viewed as an outsider, and Christianity in Europe. And then that was used to attack Jews. Oh wait, some of that happened. People like Krauss here would cry anti-Semitism without saying things like “Judaism, after all, is these people’s religion” or opine about how Jewish boys rape Christian European girls in the ghettos.

    • puppies
      March 30, 2014, 1:18 am

      @Keith – ” an ideological construct designed to promote an “us” (Judeo-Christians) versus “them” (Arabs/Muslims)”
      Very well put. Now, while the same “clash” theory has been peddled under different forms for many centuries, the distribution was different. Up until the rise of the Zionist nonsense, “us” was Christian only, versus “them” Muslim and Jewish.
      One very important characteristic of Zionism was its declaring itself a representative of the colonialist West, ready not only to take charge of the imperial management of the lesser species of humans, but also to wage war against the Oriental, ignorant, dialect-speaking, peaceful and decent, “oriental” Jew averse to ever firing a gun. The undertow in Herzl and Weizmann’s writings is unmistakable.

    • MRW
      March 30, 2014, 6:05 pm

      If one can sell this hokum to the public…

      Then Israel can develop its weapons sector.

  12. giladg
    March 29, 2014, 5:42 pm

    Where does religion fit into James North’s comments? They don’t.
    The arrogance of secular (pseudo) intellectuals is astounding.
    The Arab world especially will make sure they have someone else to blame for their shortcomings. They only know how to blame the US and Israel, and this will not change. And if you know anything about the Middle East, you don’t judge events over a few years and determine they are trends. Assad the father killed 20,000 Syrians. Who believed that Assad the son, the enlightened doctor, would kill 150,000? Nothing’s changed.

    • K Renner
      March 29, 2014, 9:55 pm

      >> The Arab world especially will make sure they have someone else to blame for their shortcomings

      Not true by any measure. Maybe in the minds of Israeli Jews or people who have antipathy towards “the Arabs” in general.

      >> They only know how to blame the US and Israel, and this will not change.

      Israelis only know how to blame Palestinians and Lebanese people and throw around accusations of “anti Semitism” at anyone who criticizes them on any consistent basis.

      Unlike what you said, what I said is actually an accurate statement. Why?

      Because that’s what you see most every time anything happens or someone criticizes the Israeli state.

      > Assad the father killed 20,000 Syrians. Who believed that Assad the son, the enlightened doctor, would kill 150,000?

      It must be a real blessing for sick people such as yourself. “I can chortle about the Syrian war and polarize it into something about those nasty Arabs killing each other!”

      Bugger off.

      > Nothing’s changed.

      Yep, everything concerning the situation in Syria can be boiled down to some Israeli talking piece meant to shit on the Arabs collectively. Good job, champ.

      • giladg
        March 30, 2014, 3:56 am

        Unfortunately Renner, history is dictated by radicals who are prepared to put their lives on the line. And unfortunately for both you and I, Islam seems to praise many who give up their lives in Jihad, with the promise of rewards in the afterlife. Therefor all it takes is for 10% of the population of a country to go the radical route and we all know that there are more than 10% in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Lybia, Iraq, Iran and so forth, who insure that the conflict is one based on a cultural divide and therefor the clash of civilization is assured to continue. As long as the majority remain silent, the radicals will have their own way. The radicals I am referring to care little about the internet and watching TV. They have other items on their agenda so be careful not to project your own experience onto them.

      • American
        March 30, 2014, 2:30 pm

        ‘ Therefor all it takes is for 10% of the population of a country to go the radical route ‘….giladg

        Looks like Israel has more radicals in it than Islam has % wise.
        A billion Muslims and how many radicals within Islam?
        6 million Israelis and how many radicals with Israel?
        I’d say the Israelis beat the Muslims on the percentages.

      • giladg
        March 31, 2014, 4:11 am

        Yes American, radical Israel gave the entire Sinai to Egypt in a peace deal. Yes American, Israel made border adjustments with Jordan when a peace deal was signed with it. Yes American, Israel pulled out of Gaza and forcefully relocated over 8,000 Israeli’s. Yes American, Ehud Barak offered Yassar Arafat 96% of the West Bank and a share arrangement in Jerusalem and Yassar Arafat rejected this offer. The Palestinians, their advisers and their supporters are the radicals don’t you think?
        What have the Arabs done to advance peace with the Jewish people taking into account core Jewish interests? Seven letters, “nothing”.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 31, 2014, 10:37 am

        “What have the Arabs done to advance peace with the Jewish people taking into account core Jewish interests? Seven letters, ‘nothing’.”

        LMAO. They agreed to give up 3/4 of their land to the Zionists. That’s not nothing. IN fact, it’s more than anything those same Zionists ever did or ever will do.

      • Mayhem
        March 30, 2014, 9:00 am

        @Renner, how about a single link to anything that shows Arabs accepting blame for any of their misadventures.

      • Walid
        March 30, 2014, 11:00 am

        “… how about a single link to anything that shows Arabs accepting blame for any of their misadventures.”

        You have Sayyid Nasrallah that accepted the blame for having had the sky fall on Lebanon in 2006. In a live TV interview, he blamed himself for having misjudged how the Israelis would react to the capture of the 2 soldiers because he had based the operation on Israel’s anticipated reaction to be the same as on a couple of similar past incidents that kicked off successful talks of prisoner swaps. This was the only reason why the soldiers were captured. Anyway, hadn’t Israel reneged on a deal, the 2 soldiers would not have been captured.

        Later, thanks to Seymour Hersh’s reporting, it turned out that the war had been pre-planned by the US and Israel and they were just waiting for a catalyst to kick it off. The capture of the 2 soldiers gave it to them.

      • Mayhem
        March 30, 2014, 7:41 pm

        @Walid, you try to give the false impression that Israel was playing aggressor. Israeli military and intelligence experts emphasized that the country’s immediate security issues were reason enough to confront Hezbollah. Shabtai Shavit, a national-security adviser to the Knesset who headed the Mossad, Israel’s foreign-intelligence service, from 1989 to 1996, said, “We do what we think is best for us, and if it happens to meet America’s requirements, that’s just part of a relationship between two friends. Hezbollah is armed to the teeth and trained in the most advanced technology of guerrilla warfare. It was just a matter of time. We had to address it”.
        Refer http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/08/21/060821fa_fact
        In any case this is blame without shame, a tactical mistake. Never can an Arab say to a Jew in the Middle East arena that we were wrong or you are right on any public issue if he wants to come back alive to his family. Even Khaled abu Toameh, the Israeli journalist who condemns many things the PA does, is not willing to openly criticize his Arab brethren on public media. In his recent visit to Australia he refused to appear on national media because of the shit treatment he has received when he has tried to do this in the past. On the other hand Israeli Jews speak freely, often openly criticizing what their countrymen say.

      • K Renner
        March 30, 2014, 4:18 pm

        I’m not even going to dignify that by taking it seriously.

        Stop with this cartoon image of “the nasty malicious malevolent Arabs” that’s obviously in your head and then maybe we can discuss things realistically.

        So basically, we aren’t going to ever be able to, because people such as yourself aren’t able to rid themselves of their distorted perception of “the Arabs”.

    • eljay
      March 29, 2014, 10:22 pm

      >> The Arab world especially will make sure they have someone else to blame for their shortcomings. They only know how to blame the US and Israel, and this will not change.

      For over 60 years, Zio-supremacists have been blaming non-Jews for:
      – terrorism and ethnic cleansing committed by Jews;
      – land theft, occupation and and colonization committed by Jews; and
      – acts of wanton destruction, torture and murder committed by Jews.

      Zio-supremacists will make sure they continue to have someone else to blame for their shortcomings. They only know how to blame non-Jews, and this will not change.

      • Kay24
        March 31, 2014, 6:55 am

        They lie, doctor tapes, call innocent, unarmed civilians “terrorists”, and demolish Mosques, and still blame the non Jews, or goyim. Must be the zio supremacist psyche.

    • libra
      April 1, 2014, 7:41 pm

      giladg: They only know how to blame the US and Israel…

      Whilst a world-class whiner knows how to blame the whole world in perpetuity.

      • RoHa
        April 2, 2014, 4:33 am

        “Whilst a world-class whiner knows how to blame the whole world in perpetuity.”

        Is this whining the Jewish history and heritage that gilagd claims is a justification for nearly everything Zionists do?

        (I’m still waiting for his argument about that.)

  13. Daniel Rich
    March 29, 2014, 6:00 pm

    The Devil may wear Prada, but his money is as green as mine…

  14. dbroncos
    March 29, 2014, 6:15 pm

    “Huntington, argued that something they called “Islam” was a monolithic force, which was hostile to the West due to wounded pride and deep feelings of inadequacy.”

    The Clash of Civilizations argument boils down to “they hate us because we’re free.” Such bullshit. Huntington apparently didn’t take seriously the words of Sirhan Sirhan, Imad Mugniah, Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, Aiman Al Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden etc… when they repeated over and over that they were motivated to kill Americans because if our support for Israel’s colonial enterprise. Huntington’s whole argument about Islamic hostilities towards the West is based on the actions of these men, among a handful of others, over the last 46 years. Yet he didn’t take into account what they’ve said about their motives. It’s not just that he painted the 1billion Muslims of the world as backwards and angry, he also hides from view the very small number of Arab Muslim terrorists who have killed Americans – the very people upon whom his whole argument is based.

    • K Renner
      April 2, 2014, 4:17 am

      >> “apparently didn’t take seriously the words of Sirhan Sirhan, Imad Mugniah, Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, Aiman Al Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden etc…”

      The only ones who have any credibility– ie, not being vile Salafi Jihadi/takfiri ideologues and polemicists– as far as this goes are Sirhan Sirhan and Imad Mugniah.

      Sirhan Sirhan targeted the man who he saw as further enabling Israel’s actions after the 1967 conflict through the signing of weapons deals, and Mugniah targeted the Marine Barracks in Lebanon because he figured that the American presence was tied to the Israeli occupation of the South. A better move would’ve been to target Israeli forces, though– Americans were technically an occupying force, but were not behaving by any measure in the way that the Israelis in the south of Lebanon were.

      The other you listed– advocates of the “global drive for the Khalifah” or Al-Qaeda affiliates– use Palestine as a legitimizing factor, for those that they have to convince, or force into their marginal ranks. They don’t actually care about the people, at least as long as the people of Palestine do not take up the Salafi Jihadi/Takfiri mantle, and have no desire to actually liberate the Palestinians.

      The odds are that they’d start slaughtering some tens of thousands, if not more, in the hypothetical situation that Al Qaeda or any Al Qaeda affiliate somehow had the strength to capture Jerusalem or take control of the land entirely.

      >> “Huntington’s whole argument about Islamic hostilities towards the West is based on the actions of these men, among a handful of others, over the last 46 years.”

      Huntington was playing the idiot, that much is obvious. One of the most glaring problems, besides all the others, is that there’s no one concept of “the West” as civilization. There’s no one concept of the “Islamic world” and what exactly it’s supposed to be.

      “Civilization blocks”, if you want to call them that– and the boundaries in between the different “groups” are really smaller then ever at this point– have never been these hard-edged, clearly defined and aggressive entities. Even in the process of empire-building on the part of multiple civilizations, the civilizations and cultures bled into each other every time they came into contact with one another.

      I can’t understand Huntington’s motives in the creation of his theory– he wasn’t trying to be actively malicious, I don’t think, but it reeks in general of some desire to try and portray things in a way that they aren’t by any standard.

      • K Renner
        April 2, 2014, 4:38 am

        Comments on Mugniah that I made are going on the basis that elements connected to what became Hezbollah were responsible for the 1983 barracks bombing. It’s possible, and I will state again that I think the better thing to do would have been to target the IDF forces that were actively and obviously acting in a malevolent fashion in regard to their occupation of the south of Lebanon. Different factors are given for the cause of the barracks bombing, but all the same I stand by what I said as far as this goes.

        Back to the point– it’s still worth pointing out that it’s all alleged involvement:

        “Agreement is not universal on Mughniyeh’s involvement, and Caspar Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense at the time of the attack, told PBS in 2001, “We still do not have the actual knowledge of who did the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut Airport, and we certainly didn’t then.”[18] “.

        So, a possibility, but not a sure thing.

    • K Renner
      April 2, 2014, 4:03 am

      That first link is utterly useless and isn’t about anything apart from trying to create some polarized world view about as bad as those who truly believe that America was and is some kind of blameless paradigm for international saintlihood.

      One of the reasons counterpunch ends up losing a lot of credibility outside of having a minority of well-written, relevant articles is because of the endorsement and publication of works by unabashed Bolsheviks and apologists for North Korea.

      Not related to the discussion at hand.

  15. gamal
    March 29, 2014, 11:02 pm

    for any one interested might i suggest looking up

    sadek al azm
    http://www.amazon.com/Self-Criticism-After-Defeat-Prof-al-Azm/dp/0863564887#reader_0863564887

    and

    http://www.aljadid.com/content/40-year-old-classic-remains-influential-sadiq-jalal-al-azm%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98-critique-religious-thought%E2%80%99

    who can froget “tahalouf al iktaa wal bourgeousie” and “al mourakkab al siyasi al amni al mali” those were the days, or given present realities perhaps not.

    and to keep us up to date, Suzzane, who states the obvious elegantly and patiently,

    Suzzane Kassab: Contemporary Arab Thought: Cultural Critique in Comparative Perspective. CUP.

    “In the struggle for cultural decolonization, the former colonial power or the present neocolonial power, meaning the West in general, has been the main addressee and reference, even when it is being attacked. The exchange has often taken the form of the polemical, apologetic, and rhetorical debate “us versus them.” Both the actors in this struggle and the scholars studying it have directed their efforts at a one-to-one confrontation between the given society and the West in isolation from other comparable struggles in other societies of the postcolonial world. Although this isolationist approach is understandable, at least insofar as the actors are concerned given the West’s overwhelming impact on their real and intellectual lives, it has had detrimental effects on both actors and observers. It has accentuated the misunderstanding of these various cultural struggles and facilitated their reduction to some essentialist element or other, be it race, religion, ethnic origin, tradition, or language. In some instances, it has supplied false arguments for an unfounded exceptionalism. This isolationist approach has also prevented an exchange from taking place between peoples of comparable experiences and strivings, thus leaving a whole potential of sharing and learning untapped. Furthermore, it has averted attention from these debates’ decolonization context.

    Only a comparative reading of postcolonial discussions about culture can lay bare their postcolonial conditions and enable us to explore their systemic nature across regions and cultures. The many commonalities found in the cultural debates carried out in linguistically, religiously, culturally, and racially different regions clearly indicate that their issues and problems cannot be due—at least not solely and not deterministically—to the specific language, religion, culture, or race of a given region. Rather, the economic, political, and historical conditions of colonialism and neocolonialism have had and continue to have a most crucial role in producing them and shaping them. Moreover, the comparative perspective enables us to see the particular forms that debates surrounding cultural decolonization take in each region given the region’s particular historical, economic, social, political, and cultural characteristics. It helps clarify the specificities and particular challenges of each setting. Consequently, it can be a powerful tool against the various forms of culturalism, essentialism, and misplaced exceptionalism. Furthermore, bringing together several postcolonial debates can allow for a conversation to emerge between postcolonial thinkers and thus for a cross-pollination to occur among related concerns and kindred projects. By the same token, it can lead postcolonial actors engaged in cultural decolonization to have a wider perspective on their problematics and to grasp better the systemic nature of these problems. As a result, it can help them relinquish an often exclusive and essentialist fixation on the religion, race, and tradition of each of their societies and address the more fundamental nature of the cultural malaise found in the postcolonial predicament.

    More than any other regional debate, the Arab one has remained relatively unknown, misrepresented, isolated, and stigmatized with exceptionalism. It has generally been approached in an essentialist way that reduces its discourses to a certain literate Islamic heritage, with little attention paid to the context and historicity both of the discourses and of the heritage. This essentialist approach has confined the understanding of these discourses to an immanent, ahistorical tradition and has isolated them from other regional discourses. Yet the reading of Arab debates in conjunction with other debates such as the African, the Latin American, the South Asian, the Caribbean, the African American, and the Native American reveals important commonalities and shows that the concerns and patterns of these debates go beyond immanent traditions. Among these commonalities are the search for a thought of one’s own, which implies the search for ways of defining such a thought as well as the need to link ideas to concrete local realities and histories; the importance of contextualizing Western thought and of determining the parameters of the universal and the particular; the unveiling of the role of expanding capitalism and conquest in what is presented as “universal” thought; the importance of distinguishing fake Eurocentric universalism from the principles of universal reason; the concern with the pitfalls of self-affirmation manifested in chauvinism, parochialism, and the cult of difference; the caution against a culturalist-idealist understanding of the cultural malaise, oblivious of the global political and economic aspects of the dependency problematic; the challenges of traditionalization and modernization in the project of cultural decolonization; the need to ponder the place of gender in these questions of postcolonial cultural malaise and the call to rethink authenticity, cultural loyalty, and the nationalist community from a gender perspective; the necessity of double critique in the struggle against both external and regional hegemonic forces, on the one hand, and the internal repression and authoritarianism in postcolonial states, on the other; and, finally, the indispensable need for democracy as well as individual and civil liberties. In all these debates, the quest for a liberated, empowered, and distinct sense of self dominates, checked by a whole array of intellectual, cultural, economic, political, and often military challenges. This book examines contemporary Arab debates on culture from this broad perspective, benefiting from the wider, comparative understanding of the nature of these debates. The comparative reading sheds new light on the motivations, purposes, structures, and challenges of these postcolonial discussions of culture.

    This work is not a comprehensive intellectual history of the post-1967 era, but an examination of its cultural debates. It breaks new ground in the understanding of contemporary Arab intellectual life by viewing it from three original perspectives: first, it focuses on the self-reflective critical turn at a time when attention has almost exclusively been devoted to the ideological side of this intellectual life, whether Islamist or nationalist; second, it recognizes and examines the political understanding of the cultural malaise among critical thinkers, an understanding that has been systematically overshadowed by both actors’ and observers’ culturalist reading of the malaise; and third, it breaks the isolation in which the production and study of the Arab debates on culture have been hitherto confined, mainly by putting them in a comparative postcolonial perspective.

    Hence, the main questions the book explores are:

    How has contemporary Arab critique approached questions of cultural malaise? Which issues has it addressed, and what shape has this critique taken?

    To what extent and in what sense have Arab critical thinkers of the post-1967 era seen the cultural crisis as a political one? How old is this political perception of cultural problems in modern Arab thought, and what are its implications for the democratic struggle in the Arab world?

    How do the concerns expressed and approaches adopted in these Arab debates compare with debates in other postcolonial regions of the world, such as Africa and Latin America? What patterns of thought does such a comparison reveal across regions, cultures, religions, and races? What does it tell us about the postcolonial nature of the Arab debates, and what relevance does this telling have for our understanding of contemporary Arab thought?”

    https://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14488-9/contemporary-arab-thought/excerpt

  16. Daniel Rich
    March 30, 2014, 4:41 am

    Perhaps this is a good time to pick up take a pen?

  17. seanmcbride
    March 30, 2014, 12:50 pm

    Walid wrote,

    BTW, I’m an Arab and I know exactly what’s going on. As to the other Arabs, including EVERY intellectual one, you’re not giving them much credit. Maybe it’s because you too subconsciously think they are like cockroaches.

    This strikes me as being paranoid and completely off the wall.

    Krauss wrote:

    I don’t think anyone can hope to completely understand what’s happening in the Arab world, including every Arab intellectual….

    That remark is expressing humility and caution, not prejudice. Most thoughtful American intellectuals wouldn’t claim to understand everything that is going on American culture — they know their limits in getting to the bottom of complex cultural systems.

    Regarding Saudi culture: how would you characterize it? What about contemporary Egyptian culture (and political developments)? How do you think Americans and Europeans should view those cultures?

    • MRW
      March 30, 2014, 6:09 pm

      Regarding Saudi culture: how would you characterize it?

      As Wahhabist, and a definite outlier, if you know its 200-year history. Sort of like looking at Christianity only through the filter of the Dispensationalists or Pentacostals. In other words, ignorant.

  18. MHughes976
    March 30, 2014, 1:23 pm

    I have valued Krauss’ comments here and am sure no comparison, even subconscious, of human beings with insects is ever present in them. I have also valued Walid’s closeness to the events we are discussing, while I merely sit in the deep south of England clutching a few books on ancient history.
    I don’t think that the idea of political clash associated with religious clash is that surprising. It happens. It’s just one element in a complex landscape. You can cry ‘God wills it!’ in support of a Crusade. You can alternatively cry ‘Rather the Turk than the Pope!’ Or you can follow the WW1 pattern, of which we should be mindful this year, when British Protestants fought German Protestants, French Catholics fought Austrian Catholics, Arabian Muslims fought for Us, Turkish Muslims for Them, Jewish workers and intellectuals alike flocked to prove that they were as loyal to King George or Kaiser Bill as any old Christian might be.

    • American
      March 30, 2014, 2:22 pm

      Good comment Hughes.

    • Walid
      March 30, 2014, 2:53 pm

      “I have valued Krauss’ comments here and am sure no comparison, even subconscious, of human beings with insects is ever present in them.”

      I also think that of Krauss; the insect thing was said in a moment of exhasperation with someone that wanted to start a debate simply for the sake of having one.

      • Citizen
        March 30, 2014, 3:53 pm

        I don’t get the feeling Krauss is not an empathetic humanitarian in the full sense. I feel the same about you, Walid. That’s does not mean I always agree fully with either of your twist on stuff here. I’d like to think regular folks here think the same about me. But I don’t know. God’s knows, I’ve been commenting here since the blog began.

    • aiman
      March 30, 2014, 10:56 pm

      Hughes and others,

      I hope you will say the same for the person Krauss accused of Holocaust denial recently. No evidence was given. The comment, in question, made a universalist point and had nothing to do with the reality of the Holocaust. In this thread, above, Krauss repeats this slander. He then expends many more than a hundred words expressing his horror and rancour at being accused of something that doesn’t fit his intellectual profile.

      To Krauss,

      You should stick to analysing Liberal Zionism and what you know. Or what you care to know. Which Muslim or Arab sources have you read? Please provide evidence of your arguments. No one is criticising you for participating in this topic. Reactions to use of “Arab” and “culture” are not Pavlovian, your general conclusions from your many posts indeed belong to the Bernard Lewis school of thought. That’s what’s troubling. I agree with you on the limits of Chomsky’s analysis (as does Bernard Lewis, just google it) but that doesn’t make your own analysis right. Not only is your analysis of Arab minds, if one can call it that, wrong but your throwing in how India is Switzerland in terms of foreign relations is laughably misplaced without any attention to the fundamentalism in India which in my view is similar to the Egyptian variety. To speak nothing of the psychology of Zionism. This issue is trans religious and even trans cultural.

      • puppies
        March 30, 2014, 11:43 pm

        @aiman – I’ll join you there. Krauss is the master of the hit-and-run smear campaigns, calling people right and left “Antisemitic” or “Holocaust (TM) denier” (which as of most recently was a serious accusation) and never showed cogent proof. Also, the majority of the posts inviting him to post proof or shut up are being immediately censored by the site’s owners (on this thread, too.)

  19. seanmcbride
    March 30, 2014, 1:38 pm

    Leander,

    I often disagree with Walid, but already the term “culture” raises my temperature.

    When you hear the word “culture” do you reach for your revolver?

    • Citizen
      March 30, 2014, 3:49 pm

      original version was, when You hear the word Kulture, do you reach for your Mauser?

      • LeaNder
        March 30, 2014, 5:18 pm
      • puppies
        March 30, 2014, 11:47 pm

        In fact, they are using the word in the same connotation as Kultur, as in “Kulturvolk”.

      • Citizen
        March 31, 2014, 9:37 am

        @ puppies
        Yes. It was a common expression in the Weimar era.

    • LeaNder
      March 30, 2014, 5:12 pm

      Sean, I noticed you are much around here again lately. I no doubt did not spend much time in search of ideal phrasing. It’s obviously not the word culture but the “use and context of the term culture”.

      Although, you may have tried to amuse me: Since I am not American, the idea of reaching for my revolver wouldn’t really come to mind. Usually I use the image of heightened adrenaline, but that really never happened when Krauss flies off with illuminations that apparently feel to him like informed dissent. Mostly it hardly deserves more than a raised eyebrow. Consider me prejudiced in this context by now. I definitively am, but I am trying to remain open to changing my mind. I am aware he has many fans and you may be a more recent one. ;)

      Without having read all the responses, I have not the slightest doubt, that someone may take what he wrote much more personally then I did in this case. Obviously. That’s why aiman’s comment drew my attention. …

  20. Pamela Olson
    March 30, 2014, 4:16 pm

    In the Stanford political science department, even before 9/11, the “Clash of Civilizations” was treated as a serious idea. It sounded stupid to me even when I was barely out of Oklahoma and barely out of my teens.

    The whole political science department smelled to high heaven (with Democratic and Republican types just about equally bad, and people who advocated human rights and international law marginalized in almost every way — they were seen as rather “cute” and “not really serious” — not in so many words, but that was the vibe).

    After 9/11, I had a sick feelings about how things would go. Unfortunately, it was even worse. How f***ing stupid are we humans, honestly? All you have to do is study history and keep your wits about you, pay attention. Is that really so much to ask?

    • seanmcbride
      March 30, 2014, 4:28 pm

      The Clash of Civilizations, the Global War on Terror, 9/11, the New Pearl Harbor, the 9/11 anthrax attacks, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, etc. — it all felt like a crudely crafted neocon script to me that had been developed in the 1980s and 1990s by the Commentary crowd. The whole narrative came across as canned and by the numbers — right down to the BBC announcing the fall of WTC 7 in advance of its actual fall — badly timed execution of the script there.

      ( — just placing “the Clash of Civilizations” in its context as a cheesy propaganda meme coordinated with other inciting memes and designed to whip up maximum hatred of and violence towards Israel’s enemies.)

      • MRW
        March 30, 2014, 6:14 pm

        it all felt like a crudely crafted neocon script to me that had been developed in the 1980s and 1990s by the Commentary crowd

        It developed because the Baby Boomers, of which I am one, were not paying attention. Didn’t educate ourselves. Didn’t consider the consequences of thought. We were dismissive of government, and let an unelected group of policy wonks infect the body politic.

  21. gamal
    March 30, 2014, 9:23 pm

    For anyone familiar with the output of “Arab Intellectuals” one is immediately struck by the fact that every one of the reproaches being advanced by the likes of Krauss at self deluding Intellectuals, Islamism, Arabs etc has its origins in the work of “Arab Intellectuals”, some of them such well known tropes i even know the very first article or book where some of these things first appeared as reproaches to both society at large and the establishment.

    So obviously reading people marginally better educated than himself, though not perhaps as honest about their sources or the explanatory frameworks from which they wrested these ideas as they might be, and there is a lot more besides, i provided a link above. Anyone familiar with the literature and actual out put of ‘Arab Intellectuals’ can tell you have read nothing, so having such strong opinions is the definition of prejudice, stupidity and bad faith.

    Anyone familiar with anti-colonial literature, theory, historical analyses etc in actuality rather than through bland and meaningless generalized statements about what “intellectuals” fail to realize, is struck by the ferocious self criticism of Arab analysis in comparison to Indian and other discourses, its resistance to mythologized nostalgia ( in the Arab Islamic sphere it has a very specific socio-political meaning) , which is a major theme in Habibi, he picked it up from his social and political milieu.

    Abdu, the first modern Arab Salafist, was so pessimistic about Arab societies ability to transform and defend itself that he advocated for direct rule of Egypt by the western powers, despite his realistic appraisal of western motives and empty rhetoric, not because of any notions about Islamic inferiority or historical guilt (that is a very weak part of your witterings and you know it) etc but because of his awareness of the forces at play in the Egypt of the time and his ferocious critique of the Islamic political traditions. Al ‘Azm is pitiless, you rarely see Americans writing in such withering terms about their own societies, perhaps your superiority precludes the necessity.

    The notion that no one knows whats going on in “Islam” is one of the very first things that E. Said discusses in his well known tract “Orientalism”.

    Privilege, Victimhood and Takfir

    i have experienced no other environment where ‘victimhood’ is valorized except amongst white privileged people, does anyone really believe that peoples regard themselves as agencyless victims and all innocent at that. We celebrate resistance and know our history and know how we have engaged with it.

    The maukish celebration of victimhood is one of the characteristics of fascist culture, with its innocent trembling babies, maidens and thwarted patriots, who face those others who fail to acknowledge their own inferiority, double dealing and malice.
    Non-white people, in my limited experience, do not celebrate or even acknowledge their innocent victimhood, nor do they frame their sense of themselves in life or history by such useless musings, we are actors in history, we dont have low self esteem, even though some may think we should have, perhaps there is a cogent argument to that effect that some one could make about Arabs, I have yet to see it though.

    Claiming to know about a topic, and to have formed considered opinions about things about which you clearly know little or nothing is contemptible, to do so in a veiled attempt to establish something about ‘Arabs’, ‘Islamism’, ‘Islam’ which you seem unable to state explicitly (failure to achieve politically ideal conditions either now or historically?) is the cowardice of the bully, stop making an idiot of yourself.
    Krauss:
    since you have reiterated your lame “Holocaust denial” accusation please substantiate it, or acknowledge your dishonesty and retract it. And if I am a “Holocaust denier” how is it that I am still (giving a hostage to fortune) able to post here, the humourlessness, self righteousness, self serving ignorance, sense of entitlement ( what do you think it is to demand the right to pontificate on things you know nothing about) and self regard of the American Progressive Patriot is, much like the reputed stupidity of the average American, apparently impossible to over estimate.

    How you expect to make sense of a penumbra populated by chimera which are more related to your sense of self than to anything out there in the ‘real’ world, escapes me.

    hope you are ready with your rationalizations of the coming and actual African wars, I have heard that Black people fail to acknowledge the role Black people played in the salve trade, hope that helps, its all such thin stinking gruel.

    • aiman
      March 31, 2014, 12:30 am

      Thanks for sharing, gamal. Muhammad Asad counts Abduh among the greatest Islamic thinkers of all time alonside Ghazzali etc. I’ve read his book The Theology of Unity. Like you say, he was an incredible critic of Muslim society. He initiated reforms. He understood what was wrong. He corresponded with Tolstoy etc. and was confident enough in his faith to befriend Bahai leaders.

      • gamal
        March 31, 2014, 1:49 pm

        a friend Dr. Scharbrodt has written a comparative study of Abduh and the Bab, he uses webberian ideas, because he’s German, I guess.

        Islam and the Baha’i Faith: A Comparative Study of Muhammad ‘Abduh and ‘Abdul-Baha ‘Abbas (paperback).
        Oliver Scharbrodt (2011) Islam and the Baha’i Faith: A Comparative Study of Muhammad ‘Abduh and ‘Abdul-Baha ‘Abbas (paperback). London: Routledge. [Details]

      • aiman
        April 1, 2014, 12:34 am

        Sounds good, will check it out.

  22. aiman
    March 30, 2014, 11:05 pm

    Just to add a further point to this discussion, to paraphrase the great anthropologist Talal Asad (On Suicide Bombing): “the clash of civilisations” doesn’t even take into consideration the inequalities within Europe.

  23. gamal
    April 1, 2014, 1:40 am

    I provide this memri link to list of excerts because it contains some interesting stuff, quite funny too if you have an Arab sense of humour. thank you Memri, there is an element, one might say, of mild Arab self criticism, any way i enjoyed it:

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