Our Middle East MuddlingWestern efforts in the Middle East are not going well. Hence:Through no fault of my own, I was watching C-Span over the weekend. I was never sohappy to see something so sad. Four middle-age, middle-class, suburban white menwere sitting around discussing The Middle East.Each man was a credentialed individual. The hosting organisation was prominent. Thecollective understanding of the Middle East was non-existent.One fellow, in making a point, referred to a conversation he’d had with someone fromthe Middle East. He began, ―You should…‖ He lost me immediately. I wonder how hisMiddle Eastern colleague felt.You Forgot to Tell the Other Guy In discussing on my blog, why strategies fail, Iopened with the following statement. It is as true of Global Affairs as it is of businessmanagement, perhaps more so.Global Planning, eh? Did anyone tell the other guy?Okay, now you are getting ready to plan globally. You are going to discuss:Strategic PlanningInnovationTeam BuildingMarket PenetrationThe Visioning ProcessConsensus BuildingProject Managementand so on.You will also consider financing, information technology, cloud computing, virtualservers, capital investment. You will achieve consensus the way others achieve nirvana.You will plan your work and work your plan.You will fail.Why?You forgot to tell the other guy.
Based on this programme, and the one I watched on Sunday—same topic, four newmiddle-aged, middle-class, suburban white guys—I asked myself, ―What would Muslimssay in response to all this? This monograph is, of course, for the benefit of the MiddleEast experts in this country. This is not what we want to hear. This is what we need tohear.The First AmendmentOne expert took the liberty of reading the first Amendment to your Constitution.―Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting thefree exercise thereof.‖Now let us look at your posturing from the point of view from someone in the MiddleEast. The reason for this is to underscore that many Arabs want American stylefreedom, but not American style government.If we embrace your form of government, what will be the benefits? You criticise us forhaving what you call a Theocracy. You accuse us of lacking sensitivity to variousreligions. Well, let’s look at what you practice.When the Valedictorian at Thomas Jefferson High School gives her address, she isallowed to discuss the eating of pork—offensive to Muslims. She is allowed to discussdrinking alcohol or having intimate relations without benefit of marriage—offensive toMuslims. However, if she thanks Jesus for her success, she will be censored by thePrincipal.We must assume the same rule would apply to the Muslim student who wishes to praiseAllah for his success. This you attempt to justify under the guise of separation of Churchand State.We know that this is not in your Constitution. It was fabricate by your Supreme Court.Your Supreme Court created a principal to negate, ―nor prohibit the free exercisethereof. Hence, under your system, our Supreme Court will forbid our Valedictorian topraise Allah. This is only a part of the Western Cultural Hegemony you wish to imposeon the Middle East.Your Supreme Court, on one occasion, declared separate to be equal among yourdiverse people. Then, they declared separate to be unequal. Therefore, you now havea society of diverse people that is, for the most part, not separate but is still unequal.Still, you lack the capacity to understand that our society is not for the most part,diverse. Stop trying to tell us it is to justify your pretense and gratify your pretensions.Your Second Amendment
There are many Muslims who know your history better than many of you know ours. In1776 you fought an open, armed rebellion against what was at that time your legitimateGovernment over the minuscule tax on tea—taxation without representation. Those ofyou most concerned about freedom, and those who claim to be charged with theresponsibility of protecting the civil liberties of your people, have concluded that thisright to keep and bear arms has limitations. Sensible, perhaps; however, some havegone so far as to declaim that the amendment is there to protect the right of thegovernment to maintain regulated militias.Let’s look at Libya. What if Colonel Gaddafi and the Libyan Civil Liberties Associationtold the Libyan people that their second amendment right was the right of the Libyangovernment to form militias to protect the Libyan people? There would have been noliberation of the Libyan people.We hold these truths to be self-evident; that each man is endowed by his creatorwith inalienable rights.Now that we have established that your revolution and new government arises fromrights that you received from God, and that you wish to create a peaceful society, andthat you have enumerated rights to protect your citizens, let’s look further.You have accused the Muslim society of being a society of violence. Yet, we see theviolence perpetrated against the Loyalists in 1776. We see the enslavement ofAfricans. We see the bombing of Churches and the killing of children. We see theviolence of Corporations against workers who try to form unions. And we see theviolence of labour against the businesses they work for. We see ―peaceniks‖ rioting forpeace in your streets. We see Americans bombing Federal Buildings, or trying to. Andwhen they are captured, they are represented by Laudable Attorneys protecting theircivil rights.Now, what about civil discourse?We see those who claim to be protecting their rights to free speech; attempt to protectthat right by violating the rights of others through heckling. And we see the hypocrisy.―When they do it, it is censorship. When we do it, it is sensitivity. ―On your news programmes we see the hypocrisy of debate played out every night.Pundits, politicians, contributors—some on the left, some on the right—evadingquestions, telling half –truths, interrupting each other with contradictions that are vagueat best if not untrue, or all talking at the same time.This is not debate, this is a farce. Has no one mentioned to your most distinguishedpublic intellectuals that belligerent, argumentative, and rude, are not attributes ofcivilised, intellectual debate? Then there are those who attempt to intimidate opponents
with either ridicule or false and malicious allegations that malign their character, theirintegrity, their faith, and or their sanity.CongressOne member of your Congress, the single-most august legislative body in the secularworld, told the people that that Congress has a 9% approval rating. (Perhaps he forgotthat he is a member of that Congress.)To your Congress: there is an incontrovertible fact—your people don’t like you.Your President Clinton stated that Government is the store and the American Peopleare the customers. According to your Constitution, your Government is the store; theAmerican People are the owners. The owners have said you performance is notacceptable. They don’t say this only every four years in a Presidential election. Theysaid it when the people gave control of your Congress to the Republicans in the mid-term election of President Clinton’s first term—―I’m not going to tax and spend, I’m goingto tax and invest.‖ [Perhaps too many people remembered President Carter.]They said it when they handed authority to the Democrats with the election of PresidentObama. Then came, ―If you want to find out what’s in the bill you have to vote for it.‖ Isanyone surprised that the people returned control of the House of Representatives tothe opposing party? The surprise—and irony, however, is that the first time thishappened, the Republicans worked with the President. Now, the Republican Party iscontrolled by the Tea Party—the Party of No. Plus ca change…eh?To quote one of the most eloquent of your Presidential orators, Lyndon B. Johnson,“I ain’t never learned nothin’ talkin’” [sic].This is excellent advice. Everyone wants to talk to the Muslims. Everyone wants toexplain US policy in the Middle East. [How long ago was the mantra, ―If you don’t agreewith me, it’s my fault. I didn’t explain it properly.‖]This seems to me to be what the Arabs would say to us.Perhaps it would help if we listened long enough to find out what the ―Policies‖ of MiddleEastern Nations are toward the US and other Western Countries.―It is a universal condition. We refuse to accept that all alliances and enmities aretransitory.‖ The quotations of Slim Fairview.China sees the world from a mountain top 6,000 years high.The Middle East sees the world from a mountain top 4,000 years high.