I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
that I have found appealing and/or amusing over the years;
and, if you choose, your civil contributions which will make it into a conversation.

He not busy bein' born, is busy dyin'. - Bob Dylan

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suggestion for US citizens: When a form asks for your race, write in: -- American

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Democracy is not easy.

I listened to all 5 of the "bobble head" shows from GPS to Foxnews Sunday and afterwards the distillation of what I think about the week's events is the title statement which was made by Henri Levy, the French political observer.

I was disappointed that Obama did not know that Egypt, to whom we send much money, is an ally.  (I took it as a conflation of the country and the new government.)  I do not see the current wildfire in the middle east as either a confirmation or denial of the success of Obama's foreign policy.  I should say that I am biased in favor of what I think is his policy, see Campaign 2012 Obama Foreign Policy .  (Which I understand to be:  We should move away from being the big dog and toward being the first among equals.)

Tom Friedman, on Face the Nation, noted that twenty thousand people, made in the image of God, have been killed in the last year in Syria.  He asked, "Has even one Syrian embassy been attacked or ransacked around the middle east."

How to deal with the wildfire.

This clash of cultures is a very difficult problem.  We cannot abandon freedom of speech (our cultural imperative) to meet their insistence that an insult to Islam and the Prophet be a capital offence (their cultural imperative).  Our leaders cannot endorse their cultural imperative.  However our leaders can, should, and in this case did try to explain that it was an individual and not an act of the US government. Their leaders cannot endorse freedom of speech, but perhaps they could argue to the people that they cannot enforce their cultural imperative in a foreign country and encourage their people to limit their response to peaceful demonstrations.

Some speakers wanted to cut off aid to Libya because an al Queda type organization killed our people.  Imagine the satisfaction that would bring to the terrorists in these fledgling democracies.  "All we have to do to split the US and our democratic government is kill a couple of Americans."  How would that would serve America's interest?  See some very touching signs that show what one hopes is the response of the great majority of Libyans.

In another venue one of the speakers noted that the real clash of cultures was within Islam: between the terrorists types and what I will call Greater Islam.  I believe that terrorist strain is the result of more than a century of Arab suppression since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.  But those of us with even a cursory knowledge of world history, (and mine is very cursory) know that there was a time when our European ancestors were living in mud huts and Greater Islam was the proud possessor of the highest and most tolerant culture in the world.

We should carefully gauge our responses to this wildfire and try to be on the side of that Greater Islam.


  1. Wayne Bell for president 2016!

  2. In 1879 two Zulu brothers crossed the border into Natal, captured their mother, took her back across the border into Zulu land and knocked her brains out for having an affair. In response the British
    Empire demanded that the brothers be turned over to the British to be tried in a British court for kidnapping and murder, that all capital punishment without a trial in Zulu land cease immediately, that the Zulu’s pay the British 30,000 head of cattle, and that the Zulu army be disbanded immediately. When the Zulu did not comply the British invaded and conquered Zulu land.

    I do not attribute a shred of truth to the published reason for the British action, nor do I believe a movie trailer is anything more that a pretext for recent events in the Middle East.

  3. Do you think that it is viewed as a pretext by
    a) the participants of those groups or
    b) the leadership of those groups or
    c) both?

    Do you believe the "Rushdie story line" about the average middle eastern Muslim believes that "he who offends the prophet should be killed"?

    1. I think the participants and the leadership of those groups are doing what they want to do.

      I do NOT believe the average middle Eastern Muslim believes "he who offends the prophet should be killed".

  4. On September 17th I posted that I did not believe a movie trailer was “anything more” that a pretext for actions in the Middle East. Obviously I was wrong. A “movie trailer” can also be a convenient place for the US press, foreign press, politicians, and (evidently) a significant portion of the world population to hide behind in an effort to avoid saying anything of substance about the proverbial “Elephant in the room”.

  5. An excerpt from a AP post on Tuesday

    Asked about the administration's initial - and since retracted - explanation linking the violence to protests over an anti-Muslim video circulating on the Internet, one official said: "That was not our conclusion." He called it a question for "others" to answer, without specifying. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.