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Category Archives: Religion

The Middle East and Orwellian Historical Arguments

When lies are the foundation of policies.

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via www.breitbart.com

Photo via www.breitbart.com

Many of our policy debates and conflicts both domestic and foreign call on history to validate their positions. At home, crimes from the past like slavery and legal segregation are used to justify present policies ranging from racial set asides to housing regulations long after those institutions have been dismantled. Abroad, our jihadist enemies continually evoke the Crusades, “colonialism,” and “imperialism” as justifications for their violence. Yet the “history” used in such fashion is usually one-sided, simplistic, or downright false. Nor is the reason hard to find: as we read in 1984, “Who controls the past . . . controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” Bad history is a powerful instrument for gaining political power.

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Why the Iran Deal Ensures War

The Iran agreement will remake the Middle East — for the worse.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

Pope Francis’s Hypocritical Politicking

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

The Truth About Western “Colonialism”

How the misuse of a term legitimizes the jihadist myth of Western guilt.

by Bruce S. Thornton // Defining Ideas

Photo via Front Page Magazine

Photo via Front Page Magazine

Language is the first casualty of wars over foreign policy. To paraphrase Thucydides, during ideological conflict, words have to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which is now given them.

One word that has been central to our foreign policy for over a century is “colonialism.” Rather than describing a historical phenomenon––with all the complexity, mixture of good and evil, and conflicting motives found on every page of history––“colonialism” is now an ideological artifact that functions as a crude epithet. As a result, our foreign policy decisions are deformed by self-loathing and guilt eagerly exploited by our adversaries.

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THE PRESIDENT’S LOOKING-GLASS ISLAMIC WORLD

Obama may have forgotten about “war with Islam,” but war with Islam has not forgotten about him.

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

rfrPresident Obama recently gave a speech at the Pentagon about our efforts against ISIS that confirmed he has little awareness of the real world our enemies inhabit. The talk reprised the usual received wisdom and unchallenged orthodoxy that comprise most of the foreign policy establishment’s ideas about Islamic jihadism and how we should fight it. Consider the following particularly egregious examples:

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ISLAM THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

The latest volume of J.B. Kelly’s essays shows how little we’ve learned about the Middle East.

by Bruce S. Thornton // Defining Ideas 

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

From the 1960s to the late 1990s, John Barrett Kelly was one of the most influential advisors, writers, and commentators on the Middle East. In 1980 his book Arabia, the Gulf, and the West was prophetic in its analysis of the strategic importance of the Middle East and the need for a Western “forward policy” in the Gulf in order to protect U.S. and European interests, particularly oil and its transport, against both Soviet adventurism and the greed of Middle Eastern potentates. Like all his writing, his advice was based on an intimate knowledge of the region and its culture, especially the tribal mentality intertwined with Islam, a faith historically hostile to Western civilization.

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The Postcolonial Rot Spreads Beyond Middle East Studies

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

middle-east-scholarshipsIn theory, Middle East Studies programs are a good idea. One of the biggest impediments to countering modern jihadism has been the lack of historical knowledge about the region and Islam. But even the attention and urgency that followed the terrorist attacks on 9/11 have not led to such knowledge. The result has been policies pursued both by Republicans and Democrats that are doomed to fail, as the current chaos in the region attests.

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The First — and a Half — Amendment

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

The Failed Tactic of Flattering Islam Won’t Go Away

Why admiring the Muslim world won’t stop the bloodshed.

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

The recent attack in Texas against a “draw Mohammed” event ended up with two dead jihadis and widespread criticism of event organizer Pamela Geller for “inciting” or “provoking” the assault on our First Amendment right to free speech. The hypocrisies and ignorance behind such criticism have been amply documented [2], including by some on the left [3]. But there’s another argument against actions and events like Geller’s that needs dismantling. This is the received wisdom that we should avoid criticizing Islamic doctrine or Mohammed because it will alienate moderate Muslims who otherwise would help us against the so-called “extremist” jihadists.

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L. Ron Obama and the Church of Progressivism

by Bruce S.Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

The HBO documentary about Scientology, “Going Clear,” is a must-see. Not so much because it exposes Scientology as a moneymaking, totalitarian cult, something most people already have known for 50 years. More useful is the film’s description of Scientology’s ideas, techniques, and tactics, for they bear an eerie resemblance to contemporary Progressive belief and practice.

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