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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thomas Friedman, "Cabs, Camels or ISIS": Islands of Decency in the Muslim Middle East?

"Islands of decency" in the Muslim Middle East?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Cabs, Camels or ISIS," would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman provides us with his thoughts on how to handle the Islamic State in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. Tom Terrific would have us know:

"The context within which Arabs and Muslims live their lives really matters. And in too many places they’ve had only two choices — SISI or ISIS — the iron fist of generals, like Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who is trying to stifle all dissent, or the ISIS madness that says the only way forward is to take the Arab-Muslim world backward.

Fortunately, there is a third way: the autocracies, monarchies and a few frail democracies that have invested in their people and created islands of decency — Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Kurdistan, Kuwait, Morocco and the U.A.E. — where more young Arabs and Muslims can realize their full potential and build their dignity by disrupting camels and cabs — not Paris and Beirut."

If I was reading this op-ed on an airplane, right about now I would be reaching for the vomit bag.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an "island of decency"? Some 70 percent of the population of Jordan, which was carved out of the Palestinian Mandate by Britain in 1922, consists of Palestinians who suffer from discrimination. "Honor killings" against women in Jordan? There are far too many, and they are effectively condoned by the government.

Lebanon, which plays host to Hezbollah and which has witnessed unrelenting civil war and savagery among its Shiite, Sunni, Maronite Christian and Druze inhabitants, is an island of decency? Two suicide bombings in Beirut killed 43 people on Thursday.

Kuwait, whose wealthy denizens have been channeling millions of dollars to the Islamic State, is an island of decency? Spare me!

Friedman continues his opinion piece by observing:

"For me, the big strategic question in Iraq and Syria is: What would it take to uproot ISIS and create a Sunni island of decency in its place? For starters, that requires an honest assessment of how big the challenge is.

Sixty years ago Asian dictators told their people in effect, 'I am going to take away your freedom — but give you the best education, export-led economics and infrastructure that money can buy — and in a half-century you’ll build a middle class that will gradually take your freedom back.' In the Arab world, 60 years ago dictators told their people, in effect, 'I am going to take away your freedom and give you the Arab-Israeli conflict, a shiny object to distract you from my corruption and predation.'

That difference, 60 years later, has produced the Asian economic miracle and fueled the Arab civilizational meltdown/disorder in Yemen, Libya, Syria and Iraq."

Hold on, Tom! China's citizenry is taking its freedom back? How the hell do you ignore the country's three million slaves who manufacture cheap consumer goods for the West? And although Iran leads the world in per capita executions, China executes more people per year than all other countries combined. Mention by Friedman of China's brutal occupation of Tibet? Not a chance.

Or stated otherwise, Friedman's comparison of China with the Muslim Middle East is moronic, but when has that ever stopped him from writing drivel?

Friedman's erudite conclusion:

"To sustainably defeat bad ISIS Sunnis you need good non-ISIS Sunnis to create an island of decency in their place."

Ah yes, replace the bad Sunnis with the good Sunnis. Holy cow, Tom cracked the case! Unless, of course, you prefer one of the competing bullshit narratives proffered by Brooks and Ignatius . . .

1 comment:

  1. Did TomF specify China? The USA is currently seeing Mao's Cultural Revolution reborn to stifle down dissent in the Universities (Mizzou first, Yale still fighting it out)

    Anyway, the point of the day is whether anyone will destroy Raqqa, or allow the lawyers to continue to dictate to each 'shooter' where every single bomb goes...

    And, the climate change summit is about to announce the Global War Against Capitalism, in Paris. That will include the Battle Against "export-led economics", which is part of capitalism.

    must read: