Tom Friedman had an especially fatuous column in Sunday's New YorkTimes, which is saying something given his well-established capacity for smug self-assurance. According to Friedman, the big challenge we face in the Arab and Islamic world is “the Narrative” — his patronizing term for Muslim views about America's supposedly negative role in the region.
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I heard a different take on this subject at a recent conference on U.S. relations with the Islamic world. In addition to hearing a diverse set of views from different Islamic countries, one of the other participants (a prominent English journalist) put it quite simply. “If the United States wants to improve its image in the Islamic world,” he said, “it should stop killing Muslims.”
Phi Beta Iota: The chart is below the fold, or at the Full Story Online
Phi Beta Iota: The sad reality is that the U.S. does not have a “rational” foreign policy, and no means of devising coherent strategies. This leads to such aggregate erros as being best pals with 42 of the 44 dictators on the planet, turning a blind eye to over 15 on-going genocides, being the world's stop arms dealer and promoter of inter-state and civil conflict, and so on. A public “net assessment” of REALITY–of where the USA stands in relation to what its policies, spending, and behavior do in relation to the ten high-level threats to humanity, would be most helpful as a baseline for reasoned dialog and informed decision-making.
Below are a small handful of non-fiction works meriting reflection.