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Western hypocrisy on foreign policy

Discussion in 'Personal' started by red_observer, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    It's in the name, "capitalism".
    Religious evangelists are, I suppose, the ultimate adherents of the idea of false-consciousness!
    Both Marxism and Islam are believed to by believers to be proceeding towards an inevitable end. For Al Quada this is an world wide Islamic society. For Marxists, a communist utopia. For both, free-will is considered to exist, but does not determine the course of history. For both factions, America (or more accurately the anglosphere)as the leader of free-world, with it's emphasis on individual agency, rights and responsibilities is the considered to be an obstacle to both outcomes. I think that's why we hear so much about American Imperialism and the like and why supporters of the idea have such tremendous difficulty accepting facts that contradict it. Historical materialism is a dialectical process. Hegel, who saw the rhythm of antithesis, thesis and synthesis in everything believed that history is propelled by a conflict and synthesis of ideas. Marx, by a conflict of wealth. Religion, between revealed truth and ignorance, cultural marxism between identity groups.
  2. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    For one thing Islam and politics are not distinct. Islam specifies political and social laws for a society to live by, so I think we're going to struggle to disentangle the two from this statement.
    Is anti-Semitism an axiom of Islam?
    Possibly. Arab states have attacked Isreal on several occasions, persecuted their Jews and Christians, and Zoroastrians.
    Isreal has 150,000 Palestinian arabs. Doctors, MPs citizens etc.

    No, Islamist is a term used for terrorist organisations.

    No it isn't. Watch the video, it's quite short.
    Don't flame. It's a contentious topic and we've been getting along quite well.
    Kashmir, Chechnya, Philippines, these are not situations the Americans created. Hell, they're not a situation the British created, even Kashmir.
    A plebescite on Kashmir was promised by the new Indian government in as part of the indepence setllement. Politically correct types restructure history
    I don't know that the US supported Russia in Chechnya, I'm not going to take Al-Qaeda's word for it, though.
    Sanctions are an action against a government, not a people. For example sanctions against SA during the apartied era.
    Look, we don't need to guess what a political state Islamists desire to create. We have the example Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. Theres no " looking in the mirror and saying “maybe I’m doing something to cause/contribute to their actions” and “maybe they have some tangible real grievances” " for the brutalised, trafficked and rapedYazdi women or homosexuals who ended up getting thrown of buildings, or Christian children put into bread making machines.
    burajda likes this.
  3. fraisier

    fraisier Lead commenter

    The thing is: how much of what’s happening today in that region can we pin to the (post break-up of the Ottoman Empire) Sykes-Picot agreement which, let’s bear this in mind, is over a century old? To what extent does this agreement still shape Middle Eastern politics?

    It is a complex issue, particularly of course on the issue of the borders which were arbitrarily and nonsensically drawn by the French and British at the time (“During negotiations, Sykes and Georges-Picot famously drew a “line in the sand” between areas that would fall under either British control or influence and areas that would fall under French control or influence.”) but these new borders would later be changed anyway, as this New Yorker piece (more which below) states: “ultimately bore little resemblance to the original Sykes-Picot map”.

    Let’s not forget that, unlike other parts of the French and British empires, those where not “colonies” in the traditional sense. Unfortunately, I’m reading and hearing far too many “France, the old colonial power” in the UK media about the current events in Lebanon, it just ends up adding more confusion to an already complex issue.

    France and the UK, backed on principle by Russia, only had temporary mandates there for a few decades to essentially help the countries/parts of countries involved in that region (namely: Lebanon, Syria, Southeastern Turkey, Southern Israel, Palestine, Jordan, parts of Iraq), until they could emerge as an independent country, which they did (1932 for Iraq, 1943 for Lebanon, 1946 for Syria and Jordan, or Transjordan, the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan as it was called, then Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, aka Jordan, three yrs later).

    If we take the case of Syria and Lebanon for instance, they weren’t a French colony as such, there were never French colons there or much French commercial interest for instance, unlike what happened in North and West Africa (eg in Algeria: very bloody power-grab by France from 1830, and active colonisation).

    They were placed under French control for a transition period from 1916 until WWII, the terms were in 1920 in the San Remo conference and the whole thing was ratified by the League of Nations in 1922 (so, while it was initially “secret” it was ultimately a very official one) with a view specifically to:

    a) protect that area after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and

    b) guide these two countries to independence by trying to help transition into something approaching democracy with a functioning admin, a parliament etc. but there was no significant French presence there in terms of number, just a few thousand troops and a skeleton administration, these countries were never a settlement colony (with what that entails, often violent conquest and colonisation) unlike French Algeria for instance.

    This New Yorker piece for instance that I quoted above is interesting in parts but I find it typically misleading.

    It starts with the Sykes-Picot agreement and then, without any sort of explanatory “buffer zone”, jumps directly onto the 2014 Syrian War and the US involvement in that area, without any transition, without any analysis of what happened in between (the small matter of 70-odd years...) and with no analysis of how that Syrian war is connected, as it claims, to the Sykes-Picot agreement.

    It leaves the reader at the very least inferring that the Sykes-Picot agreement, the terms of which ended nearly 80 years ago, is somehow responsible for the Syrian War, which is objectively and historically ludicrous. There might be part of the legacy of that agreement that may somehow be tenuously connected but who would seriously believe that, within that 80-year period, the countries in that area have been but mere passive defenceless victims of that agreement?

    An awful lot could have been done by those countries and regions, if buttressed by the right political willpower and the determination to improve things, to change things and adapt to the ever-changing evolution of that area.

    The reality is that many of these are dictatorships beset by ethnic, tribal divisions and sectarian violence (not helped, no doubt, by the 2003 Iraq War I’m certainly not disputing this of course, and talking of which conclusion tonight of the BBC series Once Upon a Time in Iraq), but ultimately it’s easier to claim that the Sykes-Picot agreement has affected, and damaged, Arab-Western relations to this day, it’s easier to blame that Sykes-Picot agreement and with it, Britain & France (the latter which famously wasn’t even part of the US coalition-led 2003 Iraq war).

    This for instance, at the beginning of that New Yorker long read, is laughable and IMO discredits much of the article:

    Even the Islamic State seeks to undo the old borders. After sweeping across Syria and Iraq in 2014, Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced, “This blessed advance will not stop until we hit the last nail in the coffin of the Sykes-Picot conspiracy.”

    So, the New Yorker foregrounds and gives credit to opinions expressed by mass murderer terrorist/serial rapist/etc. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Of course that psychopath is going to blame the Sykes-Picot agreement or anyone else he can think of! What warrants reporting his opinion? I mean, seriously, what next? Shoddy journalism.
    lanokia, burajda and alex_teccy like this.
  4. fraisier

    fraisier Lead commenter

    This excerpt below (taken from schoolhistory.co.uk) partially addresses this tricky issue of the Sykes-Picot legacy and IMO gives a more objective view:


    The Sykes-Picot agreement was the subject of several misconceptions. According to some historians, it is also completely wrong to talk about conspiracy or false promises since the Sykes-Picot agreement was one of those decisions made in the middle of the war, by diplomats under pressure who acted in a period of emergency.

    Another dangerous myth is the belief that Arab unity was hindered by European imperialism. In fact, this is a misconception since the Middle East was already deeply divided: Damascus and Baghdad had different administrations for several centuries, Aleppo and Damascus were rival, and the dynasties of Hashemites (moderate Islam) and Saud (Wahhabi fundamentalism) opposed each other. Moreover, Shereef Hussein was perfectly aware of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Documents in the archives also indicate that a copy was intended for him.

    The historian Eugene Rogan agrees with the statements made above by fellow historians, and he points out that the British did not betray the Arabs; nor did they stand on the side of the Zionists. More than wishing to create a Jewish or an Arab state, they wanted above all to defend their own interests, especially those that concerned the Suez Canal. Overall, the English desired to continue to control the region by undermining the nationalist movements. Thus, the promise not of a Jewish state but of a Jewish national home was made in order to create a community that would facilitate the British control over Palestine. Because of their imperialist experience, they thought they could handle the contradictory demands of both communities. It was not until 1937 that the British acknowledged that they no longer had control over the situation.

    lanokia and alex_teccy like this.
  5. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    That was a good read, thanks for posting.
    fraisier likes this.
  6. fraisier

    fraisier Lead commenter

    You’re welcome.

    There are quite a few interesting clips on YT, most of them were put together to mark the 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement four years ago, although I find that while they (rightly) stress the insensitive nonsensical way the borders were drawn by the French and British, but then as I understand modified, all of the 4 or 5 clips I’ve watched unfortunately jump from the end of the Sykes-Picot agreement, in the 1940s, to the 2000s or even today without filling in the decades in between as if that crucial period, with those states being independent, just didn’t matter and could happily be glossed over or airbrushed from history.

    Again, in some of these clips the views of the Isis leaders is foregrounded to buttress the claims that the Sykes-Picot is majorly responsible for what’s happening in the area today. I find shocking and idiotic to give so much prominence to Isis leaders and their “views” considering who these people are and what they’ve done, just ask the Yazidi women for instance.

    The Economist clip below, titled Sykes-Picot: Carving up the Middle East, does that for instance, from 1’45 onwards:

    One cannot objectively consider the legacy of that agreement without closely looking into how the countries involved in that region have evolved and what they’ve done since their independence (gained in the 1930s-1940s) to tackle these issues, to change and improve things in that respect. You have to analyse the whole 100-year+ long period comprehensively, warts-and-all.

    Very little, if anything, is devoted to that side of thing in the pieces I’ve read/seen and that’s a huge flaw in the reasoning of those who, rightly or not, inveigh against that treaty.
    As I wrote in post 83, I don’t dispute that the Sykes-Picot was shoddy in many ways but it ended eighty years ago if one is serious about analysing its consequences, one has to thoroughly examine the role and actions of the countries of that region since then.

    This article below, published in The Independent in 2004, is from Jerusalem-based Palestinian journalist Said al-Ghazali and offers an alternative view, worth what it is but certainly worth a read as it’s a rare criticism, by an insider, of where the blame should lie first and foremost (of course, as it was written in 2004, it doesn’t factor in the repercussions of the Iraq war):

    Said Ghazali: Arab problems require an Arab solution

    We blame only others: at times we seem almost to revel in the role of persecuted victims
    lanokia likes this.
  7. burajda

    burajda Star commenter

    You may have to be more careful with that term. I think an 'islamist' to be a person involved in the peaceful and lawful study of islam. 'Miltant Islamist' may be a better term. Just saying.
  8. burajda

    burajda Star commenter

    A lot is written and talked about the involvement of the US in the region post 1945, but less about the huge role of the USSR and its deep involvement with Arab states particularly Syria, Egypt and the support provided to non government groups like the PLO.
  9. burajda

    burajda Star commenter

    There are nearly 2 million Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. They are full citizens with equal rights as Jewish Israeli citizens.
    lanokia likes this.
  10. fraisier

    fraisier Lead commenter

    Yes, it is a very complex, multi-layered long-standing issue, yet the material I've read or seen on it isn't brilliant TBH, it really leaves a lot to be desired.

    There are many vast areas which are just not tackled at all, the Russian one as you say but also the role of the countries in the area since their independence in the 1930s-1940s (surely, that should be a priority of the historian and "experts" of that issue - doesn't seem to be I'm afraid) and also hugely elephant-in-the-room-esque conspicuous by its absence is the Arab League. I mean, if there is one area where the Arab League should stick its oar in, is that one. Yet, we never seem to hear from them. I know, it's one heck of a disparate organisation (what have, say, the UAE in common with Somalia or Mauritania for instance?) but still, maybe they could come forward with concrete proposals from time to time.

    There is far more to this issue than the involvement of the US/"The West" and the France-UK tandem through the Sykes-Picot, yet the focus of many "experts" on the issue appear to be narrow.
  11. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    Careful of what? Careful of whom? Careful that somebody reading my words might conclude something you don’t want them to?

    Careful because somebody might think that some followers act upon some of the Axioms of Islam?

    A theoretical recourse to violence makes any doctrine extreme by definition, the only difference being when that recourse is acted upon. For example we don’t talk about “militant facists”, in order to distinguish between those who espouse the violence and those who carry it out!

    And of course, the difficulty in censoring words because their use is perceived as unjust, is that the designated replacement term then itself becomes unjust. Because there’s a need for that word to actually describe something in the first place!

    And “militant” is a very misleading term to describe the level of human rights abuses carried out by Islamist terrorists. For one thing it is synonymous with military conflict, not genocide, murder and targeted killings.

    I also find that your equivocation shifts the problem from where it belongs, onto the victims- The doctrine behind Islamist terrorism isn’t the problem, it’s that the victims don’t understand there’s a differended between the violence and the doctrine that motivated and justifies it!
  12. burajda

    burajda Star commenter

    An islamist can be someone involved in peaceful study of the religion. In your reply, this time you use the term 'islamist terrorist' yourself rather than 'islamist' . Islamist terrorist seems a better more specific term to differentiate between violence, nonviolence and peaceful innocent study. Thats not censorship, just being specific with terminology. And I agree 'militant' doesnt go near enough to describe terrorism or the extreme doctrine that leads to it.
  13. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    It is? Since when? You seem to be worried about the stigma attached to the word, but let me assure you it is well earned.

    I understood the term “Islamic scholar” was used to describe Islamic scholars. Or Islamic theologian, (presumably just “theologians” in Muslim majority countries. You know, like Swiss rolls)
    If all Islamist terrorists are Islamist, then it’s an accurate use of the term, even if not all Islamists are terrorists, according to you!

    Anyway it’s irrelevant. At some point someone will come along and tell us we should be “careful” using the words “Islamist terrorist”.

    Apparently the word “******” was introduced because of the stigma attached to previous terms. Look where it is now! (Edit: it got asterixed out when I posted the message. Clue: A word for a very unintelligent individual. See? There’s no nice way to say it!)

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