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Friday, February 20, 2015

David Brooks, "The Nationalist Solution": Dream on!

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Nationalist Solution," David Brooks ponders what might draw young Muslim men away from the spiritual "ennoblement" and "purification" offered by ISIS. Deriding Obama's suggestion that schooling and economic opportunity could serve this purpose, Brooks suggests nationalism as an alternative:

"Young Arab men are not going to walk away from extremism because they can suddenly afford a Slurpee. They will walk away when they can devote themselves to a revived Egyptian nationalism, Lebanese nationalism, Syrian nationalism, some call to serve a cause that connects nationalism to dignity and democracy and transcends a lifetime."

Egyptian nationalism notwithstanding a significant Christian Copt minority (some 10-20 percent of the population), which has been persecuted for centuries? Lebanese nationalism in a country whose Shiite, Sunni, Maronite Christian and Druze communities have forever been at one another's throats? Syrian nationalism in a country in which its Alawites have been busy oppressing its Sunni majority and Kurdish minority for many decades?

Sorry, David, it's just not going to happen, particularly in a savage region of the world whose artificial boundaries were drawn by Britain and France 100 years ago.

But it's nice to dream . . .

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