Wednesday, February 07, 2007


A sober piece from Splenger at the AsiaTimes. The title says it all--the Middle East is hopeless but not serious (for the rest of the world that is).

He writes:

For the first time in recorded history, none of the major powers has any reason to fight any of the others. All of the major powers enjoy levels of economic growth that range from respectable to ebullient, and none of them shows any vulnerability to financial crisis. A great deal of violence flashes across the news screens, to be sure, but the perpetrators of the violence are not the decisive players in the modern world, but rather those who reject the modern world because they cannot adapt to it.

Spengler then quotes Bernard Lewis who states that minus oil, the entire Arab world exports less than Finland (5.2 million strong). Disconnection=violence.

Spengler notes:

For the past 40 years, the foreign-policy establishment on both sides of the Atlantic took as an article of faith the premise that a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict was the key to stability in the Middle East. Frustration at the inability of the Israelis and Palestinians to come to terms has led the US Baker-Hamilton Commission and other incarnations of conventional wisdom to demand forceful intervention to impose a settlement. The voice of conventional wisdom has fallen curiously silent in recent weeks, as Saudi Arabia and Egypt align themselves with the United States and Israel to isolate Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas. I wrote on December 4, 2006, "The emergence of an Iranian threat to Saudi Arabia makes Palestine the odd man out. The Palestine problem has dropped to the bottom of the Arab priority list, and the fate of the Palestinians is to become cannon fodder for proxy wars." [4]
This is a key point. There is a new Middle East emerging through birth pangs to quote the Sec. of State. But it is between for now autocrats and mullahs. Both are headed--particularly the mullahs of Iran--to obliteration within a generation. They are bankrupt ideologically and offer no pride, hope, or way forward for their youth bulges. Young men will fight--some for them, others against--in order for some meaning in their lives. The world will go about its business.

As Spengler correctly notes, the Palestinian issue has worked as a cover for the real source of rage: anger on the Arab streets to their own leaders, religious and political. That their is no economic opportunity, no open-ness of markets and thought, no political accountability, freedoms, and representation.

But in the interim, it will be bloody, a catastrophe, a human tragedy.


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