America’s Neoconservative & Liberal Hawkishness

America’s Neoconservative & Liberal Hawkishness

I come not to praise resurgent neoconservative power but to bury Donald Trump’s lurching approach to foreign policy. For many of us who had grown weary of both Republican and Democratic hawkishness, the last Presidential election represented a risky choice or a dismal choice. Hillary Clinton was a (liberal) hawk of such proportions that she had been endorsed by prominent neoconservatives. Donald Trump on the other hand…

Amidst the bombast and the braggadocio, there was a break with the Washington consensus on foreign policy. Trump criticized the Iraq war. He railed against NATO’s usefulness and America’s outsized role in it. He seemed perfectly fine with letting Russia deal with the Syria problem. Yes, he advocated a get-tough stance on ISIS. But it seemed that he really advocated disengagement in situations where America could not do any obvious good.

Though how to trust such an unprincipled man in the first place. If I had believed that candidate Trump would really disengage from the Middle East, I might have considered voting for him. But I didn’t believe him. And his other words on immigration and Islam were so toxic that I didn’t feel I had a choice. So, I held my nose and voted for the liberal hawk, Hillary Clinton. Something about the devil you know being better than the devil you don’t. Read more about America’s Neoconservative & Liberal Hawkishness

Let’s Move Palestine Out of Palestine because… GOD

Let’s Move Palestine Out of Palestine because… GOD

Mike Huckabee is a fruit cake but at least he’s an honest one. Speaking to Arutz Sheva TV on Sunday, Huckabee called for the forced relocation of an entire people. Because GOD.

Huckabee cited there being “plenty of land in the world” to find a place for a Palestinian state outside of Israel.

“If there’s a two-state solution, the Palestinians state needs to be outside the boundaries of the nation of Israel. There’s plenty of land in the world where we can find a place and say, ‘Okay, let’s create a Palestinian state.’ But not within the confides of a secure Israel.”

Speaking at the event, Huckabee said “we never can accept the notion that Israel will be divided,” citing the boundaries of Israel being given “not by the United Nations but by almighty God.” [Buzzfeed].

Well, at least he’s not pussy-footing around the issue. One can’t even be too surprised though because as Daniel Larison concludes:

[This] would normally be the sort of thing that would doom a person’s political career, but in this case it probably helps Huckabee with his target audience and mostly elicits a shrug from the press.

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The USA doesn’t owe its damned allegiance to Israel or Saudi Arabia

The USA doesn’t owe its damned allegiance to Israel or Saudi Arabia

In an article on a scheduled summit between American and the six members of the Gulf Co-operation Council on May 13th and 14th, this blurb caught my eye:

And he [President Obama] cannot meet all the Gulf requests for advanced weaponry, because congressional legislation requires that Israel must maintain a “qualitative military edge” over its neighbours. [Emphasis mine]

That the USA and Israel have a special relationship is no surprise. Israel has been the only consistently functioning democracy in a region of states replete with strife and governmental incompetence.

It also makes some type of sense that the USA would want to ensure that its favored state in the region should have the ability to defend itself. But I find no compelling interest in the USA hamstringing itself because of a requirement that Israel continue to be able to kick its Arab neighbors’ collective arse. Read more about The USA doesn’t owe its damned allegiance to Israel or Saudi Arabia

American(ized) #Islam

American(ized) #Islam

Culture and religion, no matter how universal we may want to view the latter’s principles, are inexorably tied. Islam strives to be a religion sans culture, stressing its universality. Due to its founding in the Arabian peninsula, it makes sense that Islamic practice is fundamentally mixed up with tied to the cultures of the Arab world.

But that has not prevented the religion from being adopted in unique ways by non-Arab Muslims around the world. In fact, less than 20% of the world’s Muslims hail from the Middle East. Nigerian Islam and Bangladeshi Islam may share the same underlying principles but their expressions will be different because culture cannot be subsumed under religion.

Region Population Percent of total regional population Percent of world Muslim population
South & Southeast Asia 1,005,507,000 24.8 62.1
Middle East-North Africa 321,869,000 91.2 19.9
Sub-Saharan Africa 242,544,000 29.6 15
Europe 44,138,000 6 2.7
Americas 5,256,000 0.6 0.3
World Total 1,619,314,000 23.4 100

(Source: Wikipedia – Islam by Country/Region)

It stands to reason that American Islam should also have its own character. I’ve written before about the need to find a new way to educate Muslims, that is not so reductive. Richard Mouw, writing in First Things, touches upon a separate complaint that others have brought up:

I read recently that some young Muslims in the United States are complaining that what goes on in their mosques is not “American” enough. They say that the patterns of worship and religious education seem designed to preserve the connections to the countries from which their Muslim communities emigrated, while these young folks want their faith to guide them in their lives in America. Shouldn’t their leaders be doing more, they ask, to help them understand how their faith applies to the country of which they are now citizens?

(H/T as always to Rod Dreher for linking to Mouw’s article). Read more about American(ized) #Islam

India’s Pragmatism – Staying the Frak Out of the Middle East

India’s Pragmatism – Staying the Frak Out of the Middle East

In a provocative essay in Foreign Affairs, Shashank Joshi lays out the reasons why India has, by and large, stayed out of Middle Eastern affairs. Of particular interest to me are the ideological reasons:

New Delhi has deeper ideological reasons for its opposition to intervention in the Middle East. Indian policymakers tend to view recent Western intervention in the Middle East as comparable to the U.S.-funded and Pakistan-led effort to support opposition forces in Afghanistan after the Soviet Union’s invasion in 1979. In the Indian view, it was the West’s intervention that primed Afghanistan for the growth and spread of radical Islam. Suhasini Haidar, strategic & diplomatic affairs editor of the Indian newspaper The Hindu, summarized the feelings of many Indians in a July 2014 op-ed: “Each of the countries today at the center of the world’s concerns over extremism is, in fact, a country that has seen direct or indirect Western intervention, not Western absence — Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Iraq.”

Well, imagine that! You mean to say that Western action in the Middle East (ostensibly usually led by the United States under both Democratic and Republican regimes) isn’t a magical panacea to what ails that troubled region?!


It’s true that India has enough on its regional plate with rather ornery neighbors in Pakistan and China. Regardless, I don’t consider it an isolationist move to stay out of Middle Eastern affairs. It just pragmatic. There is little to be gained by wading into the morass of complicated, centuries-old grudges, alliances and enmities that tangle Western Asia.

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