Category Archives: The Middle East

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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Were We Right to Take Out Saddam?

Public opinion veers with every change in current conditions in Iraq.

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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The Westernized Anti-Westerner

What accounts for hatred of the West by people who voluntarily spent years here?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

At the White House, There’s Nobody Home

The absence of true leadership has created chaos at home and abroad.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Israel, Jews, and the Obama Administration

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

President Obama meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Oct 1st, 2014. (Rex Features via AP Images)

President Obama meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Oct 1st, 2014. (Rex Features via AP Images)

Even some Democrats in Congress have come to the conclusion that after the brouhaha over Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, President Obama wants to radically downgrade the long American special relationship with democratic Jewish Israel — and perhaps has a dislike of the idea of Israel. Add up the administration’s initial disparagement on the matter of Israeli settlements, untoward administration remarks during the Gaza War, its assumptions that a future autonomous West Bank had a right to insist on becoming Judenfrei, its downplaying the Iranian nuclear threat, John Kerry’s various editorializing about Israeli supposed overreactions, the constant hectoring of Israel, and rumors of a slowdown in military aid to Israel during the Gaza war, and so on and so on.

These acts seem to fit into a prior landscape of the administration’s anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli supposed slips, gaffes, and smears.

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The Audacity of Weakness

Obama’s morally confused foreign policy is making the world more dangerous by the day.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Make the ISIS Caliphate a Jihadist Kill Zone

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

Photo via FrontPage Magazine

President Obama’s proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force against ISIS comes at a time when Iran and ISIS are fomenting disorder and destruction throughout the Middle East. Despite the enmity between these two species of jihadism, both pose serious threats to our interests and security and those of our allies in the region. The president’s stubborn refusal to strengthen his dubious negotiations with Iran by approving Congress’s more punishing sanctions, along with his pledge not to use force against the mullahs, is guaranteed to make Iran a nuclear power that will dominate the region. And nothing in the AUMF will achieve his alleged “core objective” to destroy ISIS. Quite the contrary–– it will squander an opportunity to concentrate and eliminate tens of thousands of jihadists.

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Our Dangerous Historical Moment

Obama and European leaders are repeating the mistakes of their 1930s predecessors.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

Photo via NRO

World War II was the most destructive war in history. What caused it?

The panic from the ongoing and worldwide Depression in the 1930s had empowered extremist movements the world over. Like-minded, violent dictators of otherwise quite different Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, and the Communist Soviet Union all wanted to attack their neighbors.

Yet World War II could have been prevented had Western Europe united to deter Germany. Instead, France, Britain, and the smaller European democracies appeased Hitler.

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