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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 3, 2013 / 23 Teves, 5773

Beyond 'Toxic Nationalism'

By Clifford D. May






The Islamist threat is post-nationalist --- and second to none


JewishWorldReview.com | Robert D. Kaplan has long been among America’s most insightful analysts of global trends. I’d rather argue with him than agree with most others. Right now, I’m going to do a bit of both.

In “Toxic Nationalism,” an essay published in the Wall Street Journal last week, Kaplan observes that “Western elites” regard their beliefs as “universal values.” Because they approve of “women’s liberation,” they conclude that all thinking people from Albania to Zanzibar believe in women’s liberation. Western elites place a priority on “human rights,” assuming that must be the consensus view. Western elites are convinced that international organizations are breaking down the remaining “boundaries separating humanity,” so that must be what they’re doing, and what they seek to do.

These are, Kaplan understands, illusions: “In country after country, the Westerners identify like-minded, educated elites and mistake them for the population at large. They prefer not to see the regressive and exclusivist forces — such as nationalism and sectarianism — that are mightily reshaping the future.”

He cites, as an example, Egypt, where the hope that decades of dictatorship were giving way to liberal democracy has faded. His explanation: “Freedom, at least in its initial stages, unleashes not only individual identity but, more crucially, the freedom to identify with a blood-based solidarity group. Beyond that group, feelings of love and humanity do not apply. That is a signal lesson of the Arab Spring.”

I think Kaplan is right on all points save one: The Islamists who are coming to power are not a “blood-based solidarity group.” They are a religion-based solidarity group. Egyptian Islamists feel no solidarity with Egyptian Christians — despite blood ties tracing back millennia. This is a crucial distinction, one that makes “Western elites” — Kaplan included — profoundly uncomfortable. So they ignore it.


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Kaplan, who currently holds the catchy title of “chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor, a private global intelligence firm,” goes on to worry that in Europe there is now “a resurgence of nationalism and extremism.” He’s not wrong on that, but is it remotely conceivable that the skinheads and neo-Nazis in Finland, Ukraine, and Greece pose as serious a threat to freedom and human rights as do the jihadists of al-Qaeda and Iran, or even the more gradualist Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood?

Similarly, in Asia, Kaplan sees China, Japan, and other nations “rediscovering nationalism,” undermining the notion that “we live in a post-national age.” He adds: “The disputes in Asia are not about ideology or any uplifting moral philosophy; they are about who gets to control space on the map.” True, but is the revival of such nationalistic sentiment really a crisis or even a major problem? Meanwhile, much more significant, Islamists are offering an alternative to both the old nationalist and the newer post-nationalist models.

Islamists insist that one’s primary identity is — and must be — based on religion, not nationality, not citizenship, not race, not class. More to the point, they demand that their religion be acknowledged as superior to all others. They are committed to making their religiously derived ideology the basis for revolutionary transformation not only in the so-called Muslim world but also in Africa, Asia, Europe, the U.S. — anywhere there are Muslims who can be enlisted into the struggle. As Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, succinctly put it: “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”

They see the global map not as fractured into blood-based nations squabbling over “space” but as divided into just two spheres: the Dar al-Islam, the realm where Muslims rule, and the Dar al-Harb, where infidels still hold power and must be fought, and, in time, decisively defeated so that the Dar al-Islam can become universal.

I am confident that Kaplan knows all this. By not taking it into account, he ends up in some odd cul-de-sacs. For example, he charges that among Russians there is a high incidence of “race-hatred against Muslims.” No, Muslims do not constitute a race.

That said, there may be conceptual utility in Kaplan’s vision of a global “battle between two epic forces: Those of integration based on civil society and human rights, and those of exclusion based on race, blood and radicalized faith.” Note that in this last phrase Kaplan has finally acknowledged the disconcerting fact that religion is shaping the international conflict now underway.

Indeed, by including Islamists among the forces whose ideologies are based on exclusion and antipathy toward human rights, he is reopening the idea — “politically incorrect” and therefore rejected by Western elites — that Islamism is a version of fascism, albeit one based on religion rather than race or extreme nationalism. If Western elites, not least those on the left, can accept that unpleasant reality, perhaps they can find the will to combat it. Along those lines, Kaplan argues that the “second force” can and must be overcome, but to achieve that, one “must first admit how formidable it is.”

“To see what is in front of one’s nose,” George Orwell once wrote, “needs a constant struggle.” By calling attention to a dangerous truth from which Western elites prefer to avert their gaze, Kaplan has rendered a service. But there’s more to it than he’s acknowledged and less time than we might like to get it in focus.


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Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism. A veteran news reporter, foreign correspondent and editor (at The New York Times and other publications), he has covered stories in more than two dozen countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland and Russia. He is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio news programs, providing analysis and participating in debates on national security issues.




Previously:


12/21/12: Jews in the Judean Desert?
11/08/12: Our enemies learned the Lessons of the Battle of Benghazi. Will we?
11/01/12: American Exceptionalism and Its Discontents
10/25/12: Feckless pols are letting America's enemies get away with murder
09/27/12: Letter from Ireland: A 'peace of sorts,' but no model for the Middle East
08/17/12: What did Obama promise the Kremlin, and why isn't it a topic in the campaign debate?
08/02/12: After the Fall
07/19/12: Why are we still tolerating terrorists?
07/12/12: Talk to Iran: But this time talk to the people --- not their oppressors
07/05/12: New York Times v. Adelson
06/28/12: Lose LOST
06/21/12: The Trouble with Multiculturalism
06/07/12: The Battle of Syria
05/31/12: Whose Middle East Policy Is It, Anyway?
05/24/12: What Iran's Rulers Want
05/17/12: Missile Defense Is for Wimps
05/10/12: The Real Palestinian Refugee Problem
05/03/12: The Foggiest War
04/19/12: Law Games
04/19/12: Liberate 'Zones of Electronic Repression'!
04/12/12: Dare we actually listen to the Islamists?
04/05/12: Lone-wolf terrorists are a growing threat. Moderate Muslims are among those in the crosshairs
03/29/12: The Diplomats' Dilemma
03/22/12: 'Destroy All the Churches'
03/15/12: A Guide for the Perplexed Fareed Zakaria
03/08/12: How to Stop Putting Gas in the Islamist Tank
03/01/12: (War) Crimes and Punishment
02/24/12: Al-Qaeda's Big Fat Iranian Wedding
02/16/12: Listening to the Syrian Resistance
02/09/12: Are Sanctions Working? If the purpose is to penalize Iran's rulers for their crimes and discourage civilized people from buying blood oil, yes
01/26/12: If Pakistan fails it, there must be consequences
01/19/12: How terrorists lose their stigma
01/12/12: Muslims Attacked! But they are the wrong types of Muslims, so who cares?
01/06/12: The Historian, the Diplomat, and the Spy
12/29/11: Iran and Al-Qaeda: Together again for the first time
12/22/11: The Case for Palestinian Nationalism
12/15/11: What's Islam Got to Do with It?
12/09/11: Buried Treasure
11/24/11: What Would the Gipper Do?
11/17/11: Appease, temporize, posture and gesture?
11/11/11: Brave New Transnational Progressive World
11/03/11: What's Wrong with Economic Justice?
10/27/11: Autocracies United
10/20/11: The most critical threat confronting America
10/13/11: We've Been Warned
10/06/11: Anwar Al-Awlaki's American Journey
09/22/11: Cheney Got It Right on Syrian Nukes
09/15/11: The European Caliphate
09/08/11: Disoriented: The state of too many Western leaders ten years after 9/11/01
09/01/11: Palestinian Leaders to Seek the UN's Blessing . . . for a two-state solution. For a two-stage execution
08/25/11: Better understanding of Islamist experience needed
08/18/11: The Arab Spring and Europe's fall
08/11/11: Borrowing from Communists to pay Jihadis?
07/28/11: Who's to Blame for Terrorism?
07/28/11: Do Somali pirates have legitimate gripe?
07/21/11: Why Bashar al-Assad matters to the West--- and what the Obama administration still doesn't grasp
07/07/11: MAD in the 21st Century





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