aka Dan Perkins has written the sanest, most reasonable opinion on Israel/Palestine I have read. There’s so much extremism around it seems as if all moderate opinion has been drowned out. Even worse, many people with extreme opinions are positioning themselves as moderates all the while suggesting that theirs is the only valid opinion.
: Bush Decides to Oust Saddam Hussein. I don’t know how the US leadership thinks it can contravene international law, unilaterally, and simultaneously demand that others follow it to the letter. This fits in well with a thesis I’ve been working on (on and off) for some time. The US works very hard to develop new international treaties and regimes, but then steadfastly refuses to ratify or sign them, thus setting up a system whereby it has one set of rules (basically, ‘we do what we want’) and everyone else has another. American exceptionalism at its best. Trouble is, it plays right into “rogue” states’ hands. They are very happy to have well-documented evidence that the US is itself a lone wolf, willing and able to do what it wants in the world without concern for international rules and laws.
in the NY Times: Today’s News Quiz. The only thing I’d add is that our own democracies, though robust, could use a little refreshing as well. All this stuff about holding people without charges and summary judgements and general reduction of civil liberties in the post 9/11 world is profoundly anti-democratic. And it is my deep belief that the only clear way out of this whole mess is to strengthen our democracy, not to dilute it with hysterical laws and such.
I singled out Little Green Footballs for attention due to overall good-to-read-it-ness. Today, I call attention to it more specifically. Charles’ coverage of the anti-semitism in ‘friendly’ arab countries deserves – no, demands – our full attention. Just cause they’re our “friends” doesn’t excuse anything. It’s an outrage, and they use it (with their oil of course) to manipulate the US and force the US to paper over grave problems in several regimes.
What this whole conflict makes clear is that although in the past deep contradictions in the West were acceptible, and probably unavoidable, in the post-Cold-War world, we’ve moved along to the point where a new theoretical and (dare I say it?) moral center has to be defined – and doggedly pursued. No exceptions.
The contradictions make it too easy to challenge the West on theoretical and moral grounds, and technology has made it relatively easy to do so in practice.
So no more “oh land mines are evil, but we’ll still use them thanks very much”. No more “this repressive Islamic theocracy/dictatorship is evil, but this one over here is dandy.” No more “we support and pursue minimal human rights for workers (ha!) at home, but for you sweatshop workers, sorry.”
It’s simply untenable following 9/11. We have to be good to be right. And so will our friends.
on Islamism and the Current Situation: Yes, This Is About Islam. “The restoration of religion to the sphere of the personal, its depoliticization, is the nettle that all Muslim societies must grasp in order to become modern. The only aspect of modernity interesting to the terrorists is technology, which they see as a weapon that can be turned on its makers. If terrorism is to be defeated, the world of Islam must take on board the secularist-humanist principles on which the modern is based, and without which Muslim countries’ freedom will remain a distant dream.” [via Aaron]