Quote notes (#100)

Adam Garfinkle on the profound pointlessness of international ambitions in the Middle East:

Iraq, and Libya have pretty much fallen to pieces, and Lebanon breathes whatever vapors Syria wafts its way. Egypt is an economic corpse that doesn’t know it’s dead and so won’t fall down. (For my ducats there is no better symbol of the Egyptian circumstance than Cairo’s City of the Dead — a vast cemetery full of countless squatters.) Jordan is suffering a multi-sourced nervous breakdown, complete with anti-Hashemite mobs. Algeria and Bahrain are armed camps, albeit for different reasons. Tunisia is a political weathervane that cannot control its borders. Morocco is fragile and faces a rising Berber challenge. Yemen is an armed mess. Sudan is a truncated basket case. Only great gobs of resource rents keep Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar afloat and seemingly quiescent. Oman may be the only Arab country that has managed to keep its balance, and it’s not a real state anyway — just a family with a flag.

This sad state of affairs is not the wayward result of the so-called Arab Spring. Not only does it long predate the Arab Spring, but all that misnamed and wildly misunderstood phenomenon wrought was to accelerate the ongoing decay of the highly unappealing authority relationships in these societies. It has disrupted the ugly and the unacceptable in different ways in different countries, since they’re all different. But with the possible exception of Tunisia (and the jury is still out), the results have not been any improvement on the status quo ante. Some state authorities have their backs up and are trying to be more oppressive than ever, while others are simply flailing.

The ruling classes are right to be worried. Trust in the state has suffered, and rightly so, because the management efficiency of these states, never very good in most places, has eroded further in the face of deteriorating economies and social infrastructure (education, housing, and health care) and the rise of expectations among more mobilized, youthful, cyber-wired, literate, and urbanized populations. All these creaking, slow-moving and mostly corrupt states are in deepening trouble, if they haven’t yet collapsed entirely.

So here we have a bundle of collapsing or very weak states, states that never achieved Weberian status as modern states in the first place, and what is the favorite obsession of the (so-called) international community? To create yet another Arab state, called Palestine.

August 8, 2014admin 22 Comments »


22 Responses to this entry

  • Chris B Says:

    Non whites not able to create a state? Maybe the colonisation period and racism is to blame? Or can only jews (Garfinkel?) Create states? Smells like racism to me. About time Israel followed the south africa model and spread the democratic franchise to the west bank and gaza. Extra 3.5 million muslim voters to add to the already resident 1.6mill muslims. Then they can open their borders. Immigration control is racist, Israelis should know that because ofthe holocaust.

    On a less sarcastic note, the jewish community seems to be in melt down.


    Posted on August 8th, 2014 at 12:19 pm Reply | Quote
  • genghiskhan Says:

    @Chris B
    You beat me to it!

    Anyone interested in what drives American foreign policy in the middle east should google A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. Basically American foreign policy has been hijacked by a bunch of ziocons (masquerading as neocons) intent on transforming the Middle East into a bunch of petty bantu states incapable of threatening Israel.


    Chris B Reply:

    Yeah. I figured that out. UK is in on it too. Gas supplies interlinked with it. Standard course in foreign policy, not the most wise course in this case though. Iraq etc not a threat. Creating an ultimately ungovernable firestorm on your borders whilst having lunatic progressives auto hunting ethno states like Israel and demanding “tolerance” and “inclusiveness” as well as open borders is about as stupid as you get. Nemesis comes in funny guises.


    Aeroguy Reply:

    intent on transforming the world into a bunch of petty bantu states incapable of threatening the status quo.
    Fixed that for you, no need to fixate on zionist theories (which do have truth value but focuses on the interests of just one actor rather than the bigger picture) when you understand geopolitics and gnon (not saying mossad isn’t influential but a more robust theory is necessary if you want to explain the same pattern that is actually seen world wide. It’s also not fair to not include the house of Saud which is secret BFF with Israel, they benefit just as much, no regime changes there, Americans just cover up their misdeeds and hand over Abrams tanks because oil dollar).

    Here’s a fun tidbit I overheard from a spook that really helped change my perspective, US presence in Korea isn’t so much to keep the north from going south but to keep the south from going north, status quo.


    Chris B Reply:

    Spot on. Jewish fixation causes stupidity. I still hold to my shopping list diplomacy theory.


    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    Shopping list diplomacy?

    Posted on August 8th, 2014 at 1:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • Quote notes (#100) | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on August 8th, 2014 at 3:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • admin Says:

    Admin note: I’m sending everything by Akaky Akakievich straight to the spam queue. Even when he’s not being an ass, he’s so off-topic it’s just annoying. I’ve had enough.


    neovictorian23 Reply:

    There was a person of the same screen name who years ago was quite witty on Fran Porretto’s “Eternity Road” blog but if this is the same one, he’s really lost his mojo badly.


    Posted on August 8th, 2014 at 6:53 pm Reply | Quote
  • peppermint Says:

    here’s Nick Land, quoting some Jew who says please ignore the Arab Spring and the Arabs are incapable of having states and Palestine isn’t a real country.

    Real important quote here.

    If anyone reading this wants to find out what’s happening in the Middle East, they should ask Radish.


    admin Reply:

    Just because you hate the Jews, it doesn’t mean you have to be idiotic about Arabs. Radish’s article is of course excellent, though.


    nydwracu Reply:

    Maybe one of these caliphates will someday get a clue and pull the same thing as Aquinas.

    But probably not. Does the power of a force that allows some degree of escape from clan-hell diminish alongside the power of clan-hell itself? Gut says yes, but I can’t explain it.


    Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 2:24 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    Arabs have been basketcases for 1000 years; that “Tunisia can’t control its borders” or “There are protesters in Jordan” is hardly groundbreaking stuff. Arabs will never form strong nation-states with modern economies! Big fucking deal that is. Maybe he’ll get a Pulitzer writing how Russians can’t seem to stop having vodka with breakfast.

    Half of Egypt starving though, now that’s interesting.


    Handle Reply:

    It is indeed interesting on many levels.

    Obvious Egypt can only feed itself by either 1. making its own food or 2. trading something foreign food-growers want.

    Grains are the cheapest source of calories, all grains take one liter to produce one calorie, and global arbitrage markets tend to make price per calorie for the three major grains nearly equivalent.

    Since it has a limited water budget, all it can do is is grow the most-expensive water-per-dollar export crop for it’s climate zone, and import the population’s favorite grain. But that supply of that export is just as limited as the water supply, and yet the huge population grows and grows.

    Besides tourism (how fast can that grow?) Egypt’s foreign exchange flows derive in order from the following exports:

    1. Oil based products and related chemicals production – 42%
    2. Copper and related products plus Steel and Aluminum – 10%
    3. Citrus, sugar cane, fruits, and cheese: 8.5%
    4. Cotton and textiles: 7%
    5. Gold – 3.4%

    Wow, agricultural exports is only 15.5% for the owner of the Nile!

    Meanwhile, it imports loads of wheat, scrap metal, refined sugar (?! I guess they don’t refine the cane themselves?), soybean oil, but the #1 import is refined motor fuels.

    Things will not go well if fracking is not feasible and highly productive for Egyptian fields. Even so, it won’t last forever.


    Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 9:43 am Reply | Quote
  • Chris B Says:

    My personal thought system is to approach all actors as having a list of wants in relation to foreign policy goals. When they line up with other actors wants, and don’t compromise other more important wants, and reality obliging; the actors ally and act in concert. Helps me avoid blaming “Jew” conspiracies etc. E.g. Israel, USA, UK, Suadi and Qatar have an interested in breaking up Syria and Iraq for various reason so will ally regardless of ideology or who makes up the government.
    Not a Neo con/ Jew led conspiracy, merely a number of actors that have same goals.


    Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 9:57 am Reply | Quote
  • Y.Ilan Says:

    Haha. Instead of looking at the real problem and its actual roots in the tribal, deeply conflicted society that exists in the artificial Arab states, of course that a bunch of commentors would rather blame the Jews and look for some ulterior Jewish motives. Listen buddies, us Jews here in Israel are not your common North American variety so I’d say it’s about time you stopped equivocating us with our sickly brothers. Or you can go ahead and dream up fantasies about us, I find it quite funny.

    Anyways, ultimately the question of Palestine is a question that’ll be answered by Israel, not by America or even by the Arabs themselves. The answer lies in future demographic trends, and meanwhile the status quo is held. With regards to the tumultuous times around us; the artificial borders seem to be breaking down, and Israel stands to gain both enemies (the Islamic State) and friends (the Kurds) out of the blood and fire.


    Chris B Reply:

    Seems to me it will be answered by referring to the public’s perception (PR) in the west which is not playing ball (despite attempts to blacklist Penelope Cruz).
    War has become a game of who can act the biggest victim, and hence is allowed to act in physical violent defence (see anti-racism and black violence for same mechanism). End game of the post WW2 international system really. Afraid Israelis have lost this one.The link with South Africa has been made – it’s inevitable.
    My commiserations.


    Y.Ilan Reply:

    We’ll wait and see; either way we’re not going to give in meekly. There are also a variety of big differences between Israel and the South African situation, demographics will play a huge role regarding the future of the occupied territories. It seems that slowly but surely the par between Jews and Arabs in the land between the Jordan and the Sea will increase in our favor, meaning that ultimately even the nonresident Arabs could have Israeli citizenship.

    Oh, and if the West (US) doesn’t want to play ball, we won’t play. We can always look Eastwards.


    VXXC Reply:

    The good news for Y’all is we’re leaving. As you may have noticed it’s not pretty.

    In all benevolence dump Washington if you want to make it. Especially State.**

    Now I give that same advice to Americans. Regardless of Hue or Semitic Status. Except I might tell a Phoenician that it’s for them, but it would be true, and I don’t like them.

    If you want more and untainted by Any-Semitism evidence drive around DC then start going out in concentric circles. The circle of either upper class government employees of one sort or another – ALL of them – or dysgenic mixes of trash doesn’t stop until Frederick MD. It’s as if they have some sort of soul-destroying black light emanating from DC. The dysgenic trash is nearly as discouraging as the soul drained government functionaries, the trash is cross-pollinating dysfunctions. One gives the other rap and African family values, the other gives them tattoos which just don’t travel onto black skin well. But they’d still make better MENA/Israel policy than the Vampiric Familiars making it now.

    **and don’t try to optimize, that’s the last fucking market you want to time the sell moment on. Do it now.


    nydwracu Reply:

    Banlieues. But even banlieues are a step up.

    R. Reply:

    Are there any orderly countries made up of tribal and more inbred populations (meaning that consanguinous marriage is the norm) ?


    Y.Ilan Reply:

    Tribal societies (the way us humans lived for thousands of years before the advent of civilization) seem to be inherently very violent. Blood feuds are the norm.


    Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 1:13 pm Reply | Quote

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