Voices of Levantine Reason and the Greatest Organization of All Time
A wise, well-traveled scientist named Scott Atran got an important piece into the New York Times on Thursday. It's an early antidote to the hate-mongering still being doled out as standard fare by our quasi-elected masters, and maybe just maybe a hopeful sign. Full article is at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/17/opinion/17atran.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2 .
Palestine recognizes its newly strengthened position and is sending unambiguous signals: "We are ready to deal." An enraged, frustrated Israel is bogged down in Lebanon and Gaza. Most global elites have washed their hands of the Bush Administration, are probably mustering the strength to end it, and are desperately looking for solutions before the world goes up in flames. So get a load of the coded language Haniyah, Palestine's new Hamas Prime Minister, aims straight at the heart of the neo-cons:
'Prime Minister Haniya’s position comes down to this: “We need you, as you need us.” For the United States and Europe, the stakes are also high. Mr. Haniya wants Americans and Europeans to recognize that the region has welcomed Hamas’s election to power as a genuine exercise in democracy.
If America were to engage his government, he believes, it would be the West’s best opportunity to reverse its steep decline in the esteem of Arabs and Muslims everywhere. “We need a dialogue of civilizations,” he said, “not a clash of civilizations.”'
High stakes. Genuine democracy. West in steep decline. A dialogue of civilizations, not a clash. Clear enough? Mr. Atran doesn't think so. Better send another salvo in the next paragraph, better make it wire-guided:
'This month President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, warned that continued Middle East hostilities involving Israel “will radicalize the Muslim world, even those of us who are moderate today. From there, it will be just one step away to that ultimate nightmare: a clash of civilizations.”'
Very neat. For any normal people who may have wandered in here by mistake, these leaders are making a careful reference to an influential 1993 article in Foreign Affairs by Samuel P. Huntington, which eventually became a 1996 book, 'The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.' Huntington is to neo-cons what Julia Child was to French cuisine. Basically, the clash of civilizations is short-hand for a well-constructed but myopic politico-analytical framework which boils down to this: "white people are special. There are many more tinted people than white people. The tinted people are breeding much faster than white people. Hold me, for I am very afraid. Now go kill lots of tinted people."
Huntington's highly refined racism and fear served to further intellectualize excuses for repeated applications of savage, shameful, and obviously ineffective race-based neo-con policy. Now leaders of Islamic nations are finally using ju-jitsu on his meme, and their moves will not be lost on powerful people who can get things done. Trouble is, the Greatest Organization Of All Time (GOAT) does not negotiate unless it does so in bad faith, so there is no legitimate reason for optimism in the Mideast until it is sacrificed. You can bet your sweet bippy GOAT is continuing, pathetically, to incite Israel, and has probably devolved to motivating it with threats. It's Sunday morning, after all. If Bill Kristol hasn't been stoned to death by a street mob yet, he's probably running his venomous yap on Fox-Pravda and calling for preventive nuclear strikes on Beijing.
To end on a note of optimism, all the elements needed for a two-state solution exist now that Israel has been stalemated, and Israel is not half as crazy or tough as the neocons wish it to be. The pit bull is bleeding for all the world to see. At this point, the scales must have fallen off many eyes which can now see the ways of BushCo are bat-shit stupid. The possibility remains they'll also take a long look at the roots of their most recent screw-ups and do something smart instead of blindly, impotently launching yet more missiles. Walk towards the light, you ignorant dweebs.