Former CIA analyst: “Islam is not the reason for the rise of Islamist movements”
And then they wonder how we reached this pass. According to this book review, former CIA analyst Pollack’s “tremulousness about Islam makes nonsense of much of his book.” “Ex-CIA Analyst Ignores Islam in Muddled Mideast Strategy,” by George Walden, for Bloomberg, August 11, thanks to JW
Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) — Whoever wins the U.S. presidential election this November will require a rethink on the Middle East. Kenneth M. Pollack, a former National Security Council staffer and CIA analyst, claims to provide one in ``A Path Out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East.”
Imagine a book on the U.S. arguing that the Protestant religion had absolutely nothing to do with the nation’s economic successes and failures, its mode of government or its attitude toward sex. That, in essence, is what Pollack writes about Islam and the Middle East.Â Islam, a religion that claims to infuse every part of human life, turns out to be responsible for nothing according to this book.
* Turns outÂ Â Kenneth M. Pollack and his helpmeet wifeÂ Andrea Koppel have a nice little scam going, jetting around those palaces and invitations in the ME.
Take a closer look at this Andrea Koppel careering Â and it all falls into place: the connected daddy who pushed her cart over the hill ever since she learned how to crawl, good God: she even looks dumb! And then there is the essential socializing with the Kuwait Ambassador and Diane von Furstenberg, (you get the drift) the socialites of the news-circus, and the third world parasites in suites and fancy costumes who so enrich the lives of us all.
Yes, there are reasons why people write crappy books that don’t make sense. Those Arab petro-dollars wouldn’t have a thing to do with it…
“Islam is not the reason for the rise of Islamist movements,” he writes. “Lack of prosperity, not Islam, tends to explain the lower rates of democracy among predominantly Muslim countries,” he asserts. And so on.
Pollack argues that Malaysia and Indonesia prove that Islam and democracy are compatible. This is disingenuous. We’re talking about the Middle East, not Southeast Asia; the whole point is that the practice of Islam in its homeland is far more rigid and inhibits progress.
The author, a research director at the Brookings Institution in Washington, should know better. Yet his tremulousness about Islam makes nonsense of much of his book.
He deplores the rote-learning and uncritical acceptance of authority inculcated in Mideast schools, yet Islam — the word means submission — bears no blame. He laments the “bizarre theocratic oligarchy ruling Iran,” yet skirts the dangers of nuclear weapons falling into that regime’s hands.
Most culpably,Â he’s evasive on the position of Muslim women in the Middle East. Never mind that the cycle of ignorance, poverty, brutish patriarchy and overpopulation begins with the subordination of half the population:Â We can’t risk offending anyone by suggesting that religion could be involved, can we?
And terrorism? Well, that stems from the intrusion of the West into Muslim lives — and from the economic, social and political problems that feed the festering despair of Middle Eastern peoples, Pollack writes.[…]
If sophisticated Muslims, whether practicing or lapsed, have called for religious modernization, why is Pollack silent on the subject? My guess is that he’s suffering from a misguided multiculturalism, whereby all religions are not just equal but equally developed.Â He probably dreads being labeled “Islamophobic.”
The U.S. is rightly keen to retain its liberties in the face of terrorism, yet “A Path Out of the Desert” presents a lesson in how intellectual freedom gets eroded.There can be no adult discussion of the Mideast without an honest debate on Islam.
Fitzgerald: Lack of prosperity in the Islamic world
InÂ this article, George Walden says that Kenneth Pollack asserts this: “Lack of prosperity, not Islam, tends to explain the lower rates of democracy among predominantly Muslim countries.”
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, et al.), Qatar, Libya, and the other six Muslim states, or states where Muslims run things, that are members of OPEC, and thus the beneficiaries, since 1973 alone, of more than ten trillion dollars in oil revenues, are none of them democracies — and now we all know why. It’s their “lack of prosperity.”
So how shall we make Saudi Arabia prosperous, given its “lack of prosperity”? And Kuwait? And the U.A.E.? And Qatar? And all the other Muslim states in OPEC? Was Iran more dangerous when it had no oil wealth, or when it acquired great oil wealth and became unhinged by that oil wealth, and at the same time, with that oil wealth became able to acquire the kind of weapons and power it is now acquiring?
Do we want “prosperity” for the Muslim world? Is that the key? What, besides the more than ten trillion dollars that constitute the largest transfer of wealth in human history, do they need? What, aside from the billions we Infidels give to all the Muslim states that don’t have oil wealth, could we be doing? What is it the Pollacks of this world want Infidels to do? Continually to keep Muslims prosperous, despite their own, Islam-inculcated inshallah-fatalism, with our money, lest they become….well, you know….extremists?
What utter nonsense. Top to bottom. What a dope.
The lack of prosperity in the Muslim lands that do not have oil is explained by Islam itself. It is Islam that encourages the habit of mental submission, and by extension, the habit of submission to The Ruler, as long as the ruler is a Muslim. It is Islam that encourages inshallah-fatalism. And both of these have economic consequences. The first, the habit of mental submission, the discouraging or punishing of free and skeptical inquiry (beginning with any “free and skeptical inquiry” about Islam), leads to an absence of entrepreneurial flair and a deep reliance on manna or handouts from the state. The recent reports about the failure of a “free market” to develop in Iraq, and the enlargement of the state-owned parts of the economy, despite the huge and expensive efforts of the Americans, should not come as a surprise. It was inevitable. In the oil-rich states, the money comes from the government. The whole effort is to make sure that your sect or tribe or family manages either to seize control, for that sect, that tribe, or that family, or failing that, manages to ingratiate itself with that sect, that tribe, or that family. The royal road to riches in the Muslim Middle East? Ask the Al-Saud, the As-Sabah, the Al-Thani, the Al-Maktoum, and all the others, with their courtiers (“You Know Me, Al” is their favorite story) and hangers-on and candying spaniels at court.
As for inshallah-fatalism, why try very very hard when, in the end, every fiber in your individual or collective being tells you that, in the end, it’s all up to Allah, and he will intervene, quite inexplicably and suddenly, whenever he wants. Why try to create or accumulate wealth in societies suffused with Islam which, in any case, are subject to constant upheaval? There is constant jockeying for position in order to obtain more wealth — such as the oil wealth available, so much more abundant than anything the Arabs themselves could possibly make. And in any case they don’t try. They rely on millions of foreign, mostly Infidel, workers.
And in those Muslim-dominated lands that forgot to be born with oil and gas reserves, the Infidels — not fellow members of the Umma — have somehow gotten into the bad habit of shelling out tens and by now hundreds of billions for those Muslims, in Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, the so-called “Palestinian” territories (Arab-occupied Gaza and the “West Bank”), and anywhere else that such Muslims can be found. Infidel donors pledged two billion dollars a few weeks ago for Kosovo.
Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s famous phrase has been transformed for a new application: “As for work, our Infidels will do that for us.”
Pollack claims that “lack of prosperity” explains the violence and aggression and threats emanating from the Muslim lands. No. “Lack of prosperity” comes from the same source that, entirely independently, explains the violence and aggression and threats against Infidels, and emanating from Muslim lands (and from Muslims living, often quite comfortably, and certainly far more comfortably than they did in the Muslim lands from which they came, deep within the Infidel lands of Western Europe).
That source is Islam. And that is what the bland unimaginative thoroughly-bureaucratic in thought, word, and deed, kenneth-pollacks of this world cannot possibly begin, or allow themselves to attempt to begin, to understand.