Posts Tagged ‘Mid-East’

Quote note (#229)

Some discussion scrambling from ‘Spengler’ (arguing that “Neoconservatives are not Zionists”):

Asian observers try to understand American politics in rational terms. When the chips are down, the neo-conservative movement has nothing to do with American power, or with Mideast oil, or with Israel. It is a cult that believes that democratic institutions as such are the solution to the world’s problems, and will continue to believe this no matter how much evidence accumulates to the contrary. It is a well-defined cult, with a network of academic gurus and a standard literature, including (but not limited) to the late Prof. Leo Strauss. Like all cults, it bands together to defend its illusions against its enemies, even if those enemies are friends of Israel. One might call the neo-conservatives the Cult of Rationalism. That is, they are obsessed by an irrational faith in rationalism, and will do manifestly irrational things to defend their obsession from the cruel depradations of the real world. They are also willing to throw Israel’s interests under the bus.

As he notes previously (and more topically) in the article:

Trump notoriously has said that America could work with Russia’s Vladimir Putin against terrorists, and argued that toppling Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi benefited the terrorists. One cannot quite say that Trump paints with a broad brush; rather, he throws the bucket of paint against the wall. But the neo-conservatives’ defining dogma is to undermine dictators and promote democracy. Trump’s view is closer to that of the Israeli consensus. Israel is pragmatic, generally preferring the Arab dictatorships to the chaos that replaced them. Israel’s relations with Russia are complex but generally good, especially in operational matters in Syria.

March 10, 2016admin 34 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Realism
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The Islamic Vortex (Note-9)

Fernandez:

One man who understood the power of “Salafi jihadism” was Saddam Hussein, who according to Kyle Orton, writing in the New York Times, understood long before Obama that secular socialism was no match for a full-bore jihadism which had endured the test of centuries. “The Arab nationalist Baath Party, which seized power in 1968 in a coup in which Mr. Hussein played a key role, had a firmly secular outlook. This held through the 1970s, even as religiosity rose among the Iraqi people. But soon after Mr. Hussein invaded Iran in 1980, it began to change.”

To compensate for his shortcomings in governance, Saddam covered himself with the Koran. He also tried what Obama later attempted, an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, with disastrous results. Rather than beating Islam, the Baath began to be absorbed by it. “In 1986, however, the Pan-Arab Command, the Baath Party’s top ideological institution, formally reoriented Iraq’s foreign policy toward an alliance with Islamists. This was the first clear deviation from secular Baathism.”

The causal pathways in this area are easily obscured by ideological preferences.

Continue Reading

December 26, 2015admin 38 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Religion
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The Islamic Vortex (Note-7)

Robin Wright (in The New Yorker) expresses the frustrations of a modern Jacobin about as straightforwardly as one could hope:

What seems to have been lost in the past five years is American strategic support for the Arab Spring’s aspirations — and for the innumerable other Bouazizis still struggling for rights and justice and jobs. One of Obama’s boldest decisions, in 2011, was to abandon longstanding U.S. support for Arab despots, personified in President Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt ruthlessly for thirty years. For the first time, Washington opted for the unknowns of potential democracy over the guarantees of autocratic stability in the Arab world.

A speaker for HRW is even clearer about the ideological lineage at stake (and it isn’t anything coming out of the Middle East):

Each local crisis has been complicated by regional players who have intervened to block a new Arab order. “It’s no longer about what Egyptians want. Or what the Syrian people want,” Whitson, of Human Rights Watch, explained. “It’s so much broader and wider — and more complicated than during the French Revolution. Now a revolutionary doesn’t just fight the bureaucrats in the capital but bureaucrats thousands of miles away. There are so many horses in the game who have the resources and power to dictate or sway the outcome. It’s a much more difficult battle.” […] Speaking of the idealistic protesters of five years ago, Whitson said, “Sometimes it makes you wonder if they ever had a chance.” Yet she remains sanguine about the future. “The fight is not over,” she told me. “Because it can’t be over. The aspirations that inspired the spark over a seven-dollar bribe are universal, and we know it. As long as governments deny people basic justice and dignity, people will rise up.”

Yes, “rise up” [*facepalm*]. If there’s any distinction at all between (subjective) ‘caring’ and (objective) raw evil it’s getting ever harder to discern. The bleeding-out of universalistic Cathedral evangelism in the Middle East has been an event of far greater consequence than anyone is yet able to acknowledge.

December 17, 2015admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
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Peak Jacobinism

It’s an over-used formula, but this time it really does seem appropriate. If this analysis can be trusted — and it looks at least superficially plausible — ISIS has broken the soul of evangelical democratization. Once the Cathedral’s universalistic faith has been defeated (“the freedom agenda in the Muslim world is dead”), how long can it be before the gathering ebb tide tears apart its internal ideological structure? “This is something only for us” requires an ‘us’ — and that acknowledgement marks the cresting of a crisis that has been centuries — if not millennia — in the making.

Syria represents the culmination of this trend. The moderate rebels of 2011 stood no chance of survival against the hard liners who managed to rapidly mobilize foreign fighters and take over the majority of the insurgency. The result is that, post-Paris, Western capitals will be skeptical of regime change of any sort. It will be clear that when intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign (albeit repressive) states becomes a vehicle for democratic change, that vehicle will probably be hijacked by radical Islamists, and will arrive at a substantially worse political destination than intended.

The post-Paris war on terror will affirm the West’s commitment to fighting radical Islamic terrorism, but, in the process, it will reject the idiom of revolutionary, moralizing democratic change inherited from President Bush. Syria was the end of the line for that approach.

The revolution has come right back around to Hobbes, and thus to the systematically-cynical origin of the modern state system, the author (Emile Simpson) argues. What a long strange trip it’s been.

(Via.)

ADDED: “… jihadis have come to inhabit a different moral universe …” — Multiversalism it is, then.

November 23, 2015admin 14 Comments »
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Chaos Patch (#89)

(Open thread + links)

SP theory (1, 2, 3), nuance on the Norks, and an unwritten novel. Confucian heuristics. Parable of the termites. The neanderthal line on r/K. Anonymous letter to the French (in French). Universal values? Original Sin is to blame. Welfare doesn’t work. Propertarianism vs AnCap. The weekly round in doom.

Alinsky blow-back. Scale and scams. Commies in space. The nativists (i.e. ‘dumb hicks‘) are restless. Discreet charm of the bourgeoisie. Death spiral. SV politics. Free speech and its enemies. Against coddling (and, a little more vehemently).

Modern infertility (relevant). Hispanicization and secession. Europe’s least-liked minority. The Australian solution. Eugenic prospects.

European crisis, Islam, and migration policy are running together (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). Oh hell, there’s more (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), with still more to come. Speed Jihad. Jihad in power. Houellebecq, the optimist. Narrative disorder. Dugin’s take. Things that might work. Obamaworld in flames. Destroying the grayzone. Growth of global jihad. Rough triangles stuff. Meanwhile, in Mali. A sci-fi allegory (see also). God is dead all over again.

“Unlike the law enforcement paradigm, warfare allows the state to treat the enemy considerably differently from one’s own population.”

“I must admit to now being more nervous about allowing more impatient and stupid immigrants” (see also, and especially).

Dee’s library. Islamic calligraphy.

The statistical schism. Bostrom profiled (excellently). Machine Learning Algorithms. NYC Taxi Drop-offs mapped. Genetically customized animals. An accelerator on a chip. Touched by a death god.

November 22, 2015admin 35 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos
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Quote note (#198)

Spengler (Goldman) at his sanest (“Why do Americans persist in believing that they can remake the world in their own image, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary?”):

Writing in the New York Daily News, former Forward reporter Ira Stoll gushed, “To me, Chalabi was Iraq’s Samuel Adams, its revolutionary leader who inspired, agitated, persuaded, and persevered in the face of overwhelming odds and when others lost hope.” The notion that some countries do not have a Sam Adams and never will have a Sam Adams simply doesn’t occur to the neo-conservatives. Like the last academic Marxists, they will die convinced that the theory was right and the failure lay in the implementation. Somehow they managed to gain the confidence of George W. Bush and did more to undermine America’s power and credibility than all of America’s declared enemies.

November 13, 2015admin 6 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World
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Chaos Patch (#82)

(Open thread + links)

Hestia’s website redesign. Blacklist. The XS pole. Lessons of aristocracy. Amerika online. Meme war. A propertarian reading list. The weekly round.

Religious roots of the Cathedral liberal elite. Aggressive sensitivity (exemplified, and also). Women broke capitalism. Academic rot.

Resilience of the Singapore provocation. How China sees Africa. “Arab Spring has predictably been an utter disaster.” Policy delirium. “I cannot overstate the damage Islam did to Western civilization.” Slaughter in SA.

Musk’s secret plan. Capitalism against commerce.

HBD blog top (actually pop) 23. Inheritance of executive function. Basics of race realism. Why the controversy? Smarts are scarce. Science-as-hate-fact.

Raspail speaks (noted, and also relevant). Death by demography. The fear. Madness in Germany (1, 2). Immigration and social order (or the opposite). The Bible on refugees.

Does religion exist? Religion and economic performance. “A part of us likes the idea of humanity ceasing to exist altogether.” Protestant Buddhism.

Climate complexity.

Great Filter nightmare fuel. Water on Mars (plus some practicalities, and a recollection). AI @ work?

Abnormal economics. McCloskey on Marxism. Assimilated futures. Meaning and pointing. Internet craziness.

October 4, 2015admin 33 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos
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Sentences (#24)

Reports say lightning struck the crane in Mecca before it collapsed into the Grand Mosque

Note: It is not being suggested here that Gnonology has spontaneously sublimed into a revealed religion.

Here‘s some suitably chaotic video, mostly of value for the date stamp.

(Via.)

ADDED: It’s cranes versus skyhooks. “One might look to the potential deep in matter, ‘cranes all the way down,’ as Dennett puts it.” The prophecy is strong with these guys.

September 12, 2015admin 8 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Events
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Chaos Patch (#60)

(Open thread + links)

Where in Rome are we? Chaos beasts. Nydwracu’s library. On marriage. Sigma point. View from the blip. Moral imagination (cockroach-phobia warning). Leftward lurches. Darwinian notes. Assembly plans. Letters to a Young Programmer (1, 2). Nietzschean conservatives. Scots logic. Sleight of hand. Southern duality. Sympathy for skinheads. A little practical drama control (episode n). Fridays frags. (Meta-) Metareactions.

Leading from the rear. The blame for Baltimore. Change. Gay religion (related), and communist religion.

Rational actors. The Pentagon in the valley. A business proposition. Gloom at the top. Policing private cities. Exit and human nature.

Europe’s Dark Future. Tectonic shifts in the mid-East (1, 2, 3).

Never go full Al Ghazali. Harris-Chomsky moral jousting. Counter-terror.

Vignettes from Trivers. Genius-autism linkage. Neanderthal legacy.

Quantum computing update. EM Drive oddness. Tambora. Undead galaxies.

May 3, 2015admin 68 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Chaos
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Iconoclasm

There goes Nimrud.

“The final images on the video show the final, total destruction of one of the world’s most important archaeological sites.”

April 16, 2015admin 52 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Events
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