Treppenwitz has a cogent posting today with which I cannot but agree. So, as has happened before, he is guest-posting here.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Double standard? What double standard?!
As the late Mr. Roger's used to sing, "Who are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your nei-bor-hood...?" Let's take a peek, shall we?
Jordan...a country and monarchy invented out of whole cloth by the British (in direct violation of their Mandate) which everyone loves to think of as the most enlightened, democratic member of the Arab world.
Well, guess what?
'King' Abdullah just dissolved the legislature and pushed off elections indefinitely.
Outrage? Anyone... anyone? Oh yeah, I forgot. We have to respect their unique culture.
Lebanon... Another 'enlightened' Arab state. 'Paris of the Mediterranean' they like to call it. A cafe culture so close to our own that misguided lefty Israeli journalists are compelled to do a Jane Fonda-esque cameo from Beirut within hours of a shameful end to a war... a war that was started by these peace-loving, latte-sipping Lebanese! These same Lebanese now count Hezbollah - a terrorist militia that was supposed to be disarmed under the terms of U.N. Resolution 1701 - as part of their government. For context, that would be like the KKK holding a veto-wielding majority in the U.S. Congress, and also being given the right to raise and command their own army.
Syria... Another country made up out of whole cloth... this time by the French. Funny how Europeans who love to toss the word 'Colonial Power'' at Israel conveniently forget that it was Israel's neighbors that were created in the last gasp of the colonial era, while Israel was voted into being by a recognized legal world body. But don't tell that to any of the religious or ethnic minorities in the Arab world... it might stir them from their satisfied slumber. Syria's constitution requires that all positions of power remain in the hands of the Ba'ath party... and even though there is a national referendum for president every seven years, the Syrian people are essentially required to appoint the head of the Ba'ath Party as President. Thus this bastion of democracy is essentially saddled forever with a dynastic ethnic minority (Alawite) leader who also happens to head a minority political party.
Iran... Do we really need to do this exercise? They call themselves an Islamic Republic yet ironically consider Israel's self definition as a Jewish state to be racist. And as to the 'republic' part, any country where the highest office - called 'The Supreme Leader' - is a religious leader and not subject to election... well, I don't think you'll find that one in Wikipedia under 'Republic'. And as to their elections... I think we can pretty much agree that the outcome of these farces are set and approved by the Supreme leader well before anyone goes near a ballot box.
Iraq... Okay, since the U.S. kinda pushed the 'reset' button on the Iraqi government and all instruments of power when they invaded, it will be some time before we know what the political face of this country will look like long-term. But the likelihood that anybody will be playing nice with anyone else once the U.S. leaves the sandbox is not very high.
Saudi Arabia... Pshah! Another theocracy (see Iran, above) in a region where only Israel is castigated for religious 'offences'. The Saudis cut off the hands and feet of petty criminals and behead drug dealers. The Royal family is a dysfunctional nightmare from the dark ages, and less than 5% of Saudi women are allowed to work (the lowest percentage in the world). Heck, Saudi women aren't even allowed to drive! And if you wants to talk about freedom of speech... well you'd better not be in Saudi Arabia because it doesn't exist. There are actual laws against criticizing the government or anyone in the royal family.
Yemen... Another so-called 'republic'... this country is a model of a modern democracy, if you don't count the rampant corruption, torture, inhumane treatment of political prisoners and even extra-judicial executions. But on the feminist front there seems to be some progress (not!). They have recently abolished the rule whereby the onset of puberty marked the minimum age for a girl's marriage.
Apparently those romantic Yemenis couldn't wait that long to bed their child brides. Again, outrage anyone?
Gaza... Puleeze, can anyone say failed proto-state? If anyone were to faithfully document the situation in Gaza and make it into a movie, the American Muslim Anti Discrimination Committee would protest the absurd depiction of the adherents to 'the religion of peace' as sub-human terrorists.
Egypt... Okay, this one is really scary in much the same way as watching a car crash in slow motion. We have an aging autocrat hanging on to power by the skin of his teeth while the Muslim Brotherhood is already passing out portfolios in anticipation of their inevitable rise to power. Even though in theory the executive power is split between the President and Prime Minister, in reality all of the power rests with the president. Mubarak has even changed the election laws, raising the threshold for potential opposing candidates so high that he is virtually assured to remain in power for however much time remains of his life.
So it was beyond laughable when the current Israeli government was being formed, that much of the world (including our closest allies) bemoaned the end of Israeli democracy because Netanyahu's choice for Foreign Minister had some, let's just say 'controversial' opinions. And the two countries from the list of thugocracies above that are actually on speaking terms with us (Jordan and Egypt) had the gall to announce that they wouldn't meet with our FM. Nice.
Seriously, when are we going to simply announce to the world that we will play by whatever rules they want... but only if everyone will be bound by the same rules? How's that for a controversial opinion?!
In point of fact, while Israel may not be perfect, as so many members of the ultra-enlightened fringe always take pains to point out, it is the only modern and civilized country in the Middle-East. The rest are little more than thug-bucket tyrannies, whose people still have a long way to go. And they aren't going to get there anytime soon. Not while they and the despots that rule them adhere to feudal mores and barbaric values.
"We have to respect their unique culture"
Actually, I respect their food. Their cultures do not particularly impress me.
Yes, back in the dark ages, they had algebra and medicine. That early promise has not manifested itself more significantly since then.
They also had slavery, repression, and tyranny.
Which, more or less, is remarkably similar to their present state.
There are indeed enlightened Arabs - many enlightened Arabs. They are constantly threatened by their own regimes, and often brutally slaughtered. Do not expect them to speak out on their own behalf - doing so would be committing suicide.
The only ones who can speak out for them are the 'ultra-enlightened' members of Western Societies. Who, alas, seem more concerned with "respecting their unique culture".
It is the unique cowardice and hypocrisy of the European socialists and the American leftwing which keeps Arabs from ever realizing their potential.
A hot-house culture of Colourful Ethnics is so much easier to deal with.