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Thread: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Post 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Finally, someone makes a historical analogy that makes some sort of sense to the lemur. Forget the left's Vietnam talk, that doesn't fit the bill. And forget the WW2 chatter the administration was emitting for most of 2006. A blogger draws an extended analogy with the European wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, and I find myself nodding.

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    My own darkest fear is that the Middle East is at the beginning of its own period that Europe experienced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: a massive, sectarian, regional bloodbath. I hope this won't happen. I hope to be proven wrong again. But I fear the process is already underway. The best hope for Iraq is perhaps a temporary surge in U.S. troops to make one last effort at some effort at a relatively peaceful de facto partition, before the near-inevitable U.S. withdrawal and subsequent involvement of Saudis and Egyptians in support of the Sunnis and the Iranians on the side of the Shia. (At this point, I'd be relieved if we can save the Kurds.)

    The major powers in the Middle East, in other words, are on the verge of behaving like the major powers in Europe centuries ago: they will act as expressions of national interest but also of sectarian theology. And they will fight a terrible war before they agree on a chastened peace.

    The difference between now and the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe is that this regional war within a divided monotheism will take place in a time of vastly greater technological capacity for destruction. So the consequences of such a war may be far more ominous than the massacres, burnings and civil wars that beset Europe in the past. The silver lining of this terribly dark prospect is that catastrophe may strike sooner rather than later, and that only through such a catastrophe will Muslim Arabs and Persians realize that their best interests lie in forgoing the bromides of fundamentalist certainties for the messy, secular, banal success of liberal democracy. So what took Europe two centuries may take the Middle East a decade.

    America's mistake is to believe it can impose this learning curve on another civilization - in a speed-reading course. We cannot. Moreover, America, because it was an unintended beneficiary and result of Europe's religious failure, has never experienced this kind of religious conflict itself and so is ill-suited to manage it. Our basic goals, it seems to me, should be to protect those parts of the region not infected with religious madness: the Israelis, the Kurds and the Turks. Keeping the latter two apart and at peace is the great challenge. But a Muslim regional civil war may have the consequence of sidelining the Israeli-Palestinian question in the Muslim psyche. Maybe. Or it may lead to the eradication of Irsael through a nuclear strike from Iran. Such a strike may be the "Hail Mary" of the Shiites - a way of becoming the true savior of Islam by annihiliating the ancient enemy of both Shia and Sunnis.

    This, I fear, is the wider context of our intervention in Iraq. Our best bet is a responsible attempt to restrain it, but not a full-scale attempt to stop it. Some things are unstoppable. I fear this looming conflict is close to unstoppable (and Iraq was the trigger, not the cause). Meanwhile, we need a very serious plan for new energy resources - because oil will soon become prohibitively expensive.

    A reader responds, with some noggin-provoking ideas of his own:

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    First, you mention that the technology of destruction has improved dramatically since the seventeenth century. This is clearly true. But you cannot necessarily extrapolate from this that a Moslem equivalent of Europe's religious wars will be that much more lethal. I say this for two reasons. The first is that wars simply don't get much more lethal. The Thirty Years War killed off a third of the population in much of Europe, and by some estimates fully half the population in Germany. The capability to organize the conduct of war simply cannot survive casualty rates much worse than this.

    The second reason is that the improvement in technologies of destruction has been matched by improvements in technologies that save lives. Modern logistics can feed huge populations whose indigenous food sources have been destroyed. Modern medical and public health knowledge can prevent the much of the disease associated with war that traditionally (before antibiotics) killed far more people (soldiers and civilians alike) than enemy soldiers did. A Muslim war of religion would certainly not be a pretty sight, and by contemporary standards the human costs would be horrendous and appalling. But these costs would probably not be on the same scale as the Thirty Years War.

    Second, you speak of Saudis and Egyptians and Iranians, but make no mention of Turkey. I seems to me that the biggest danger facing out Middle East policy, and our Muslim policy, right now is taking Turkey for granted. We are so accustomed to thinking of Turkey as being with the West (although not necessarily of the West) that we tend not even to consider the possibility of losing Turkey to the West. But we are (arguably) closer to this possibility than at any time since the consolidation of Ataturk's republic. A quick look at a map establishes Turkey's strategic importance. Add to this an economy twice the size of Egypt's, and a formidable army. What are the odds of a regional conflagration that does not draw in Turkey? This is a question that we need to be paying more attention to in discussing the Iraqi quagmire (and certainly in discussing any "Kurdish Option").

    Interesting enough that I thought it worth sharing with the Backroom.
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    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Someone has only been made recently aware of the prime directive, it seems.
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    Member Member IRONxMortlock's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    It was this sentence that got to me.
    America's mistake is to believe it can impose this learning curve on another civilization
    I dislike this attitude as it alludes to the existence of some kind of process that cultures must go through to "advance". It's an imagined hierarchy with hunter-gathers at the bottom through to us at the top. It allows us to belittle other cultures as they have yet to "evolve" to our standard.
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    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by IRONxMortlock
    I dislike this attitude as it alludes to the existence of some kind of process that cultures must go through to "advance". It's an imagined hierarchy with hunter-gathers at the bottom through to us at the top. It allows us to belittle other cultures as they have yet to "evolve" to our standard.
    So? Some cultures (democratic, free, etc.) are simply better than others (fanatical, tyrannical, no freedoms, etc.)

    On topic- interesting points Lemur. Something to ponder.

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    Coffee farmer extraordinaire Member spmetla's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    16th Century europe and the wars of religion didn't really lead to toleration or moderation though. The Germans merely allowed the prince to decide the faith of his subjects. The French put up with the Hugenots until 1685 when they booted them out again, the english took William III in the Glorious Revolution due to fears that James II wanted to re-catholize protestant England. The atmosphere in most of the US was unfriendly enough to mormons that they had to go out to Utah and this was just over a century ago. And although not as bad as a few decades ago the situation in Ireland is a leftover of the wars of religion.

    Wars of religion aren't nessaserally going to lead to moderate Islam, I think a moderate government and support for education free of religion is far more effective at that.

    If anything religious wars will isolate the moderates as suspect to both sides while the extremists entrench in their beliefs and create more violence. Besides, thinking that the Christian world actually solved their problems by bashing in each others heads 350 years ago ignores a whole lot of history.

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    Forum Lurker Member Sir Moody's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    I dislike this attitude as it alludes to the existence of some kind of process that cultures must go through to "advance". It's an imagined hierarchy with hunter-gathers at the bottom through to us at the top. It allows us to belittle other cultures as they have yet to "evolve" to our standard.
    unfortunately its true if you look back at our history and evolution you can draw parrels to the development of other cultures and you can see our mistakes at trying to accelerate their progress.

    Africa is a good example - when we came in most of africa was tribal, we forced organised Governments and democracy down their throats and then left - now they are still fighting tribal wars but with ak47's rather than spears

    i also agree with the guy from the original post the middle east hasnt yet left the 16th and 17th century phase but i disagree on his reasoning. Religion is still sectarian even after all the wars we fought nothing really has changed except we dont fight each other anymore, there was no moderation brought by these wars everyone has just stoped fighting - they still follow the we are right and they are wrong mentality, all you have to do is read some of the religion debates on this forum to see that. islam is still in the 16/17th century because they still fight over their religious differences.

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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Moody
    Africa is a good example - when we came in most of africa was tribal, we forced organised Governments and democracy down their throats and then left - now they are still fighting tribal wars but with ak47's rather than spears
    Very true. Wherever the western world has tried to spread "civilisation" or "democracy" it has introduced conflict, slavery, poverty and not much else. Unfortunately there's not a lot we can do about this now as it's to late. Our ancestors made the mistakes by conquering these parts of the word and then leaving them to their fates. Proper stable government did not have time to form, and dictators, military juntas and local warlords were allowed to take over while the west simply washed it's hands of them. This is evident all over Africa, as well as in Parts of the Middle East and Asia.

    The current Middle Eastern mess was contributed to by the British and French Sykes-Picot agreement, which divided up the remains of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Since then the Middle East has been in regression. The resulting Islamic fundamentalist regimes and dictatorships have been the opportunists in the last century, and have not helped the region to progress at all.

    I think countries such as the US and UK need to accept that not every country on the planet aspires to their lifestyle. You can't go out and drag a backward country into the 20th century, let alone the 21st. I do think those places need to progress by themselves. Stopping the flow of arms to these places would assist that advancement. It would force them to think, instead of making war, and develop their own technologies and trade with other countries. And I'm not patronising them either. Patronising is charities sending a handful of laptops to African countries that really need peace, industry, proper government and stability. Not flashy western consumer goods that will probably end up getting taken from them and sold on by corrupt officials or local militias. The western world's solution to the problem in Africa is wrong, and doesn't address the root causes.

    The Middle East foreign policy is culturally insensitive and blatantly hypocritical. They are out there fighting an unjust war in a country that is now a thousand times worse than it was under the Ba'athists. Fighting against terrorist groups, that were not there before, and that are being armed by their allies and enemies alike. A mess of sectarian hatred that was waiting to explode should someone come along that was foolhardy enough to provoke it. And for what I ask you? Can anyone give any good solid reason for the Invasion of Iraq? I doubt it.

    The damage is now done. Repairing the hate generated by this will take generations and the cycle of war will be almost impossible to break. This is what Blair would call "winning hearts and minds", a totally flawed concept, because in order to win one set of hearts and minds you usually always have to lose the other. It doesn't help much if you've invaded and wrecked the country where those "hearts and minds" are living either.
    Last edited by caravel; 12-06-2006 at 10:43.

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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by IRONxMortlock
    I dislike this attitude as it alludes to the existence of some kind of process that cultures must go through to "advance". It's an imagined hierarchy with hunter-gathers at the bottom through to us at the top.
    Here we diverge. Some things, in the lemur's opinion, are better than other things. Democracy is better than fascism. Separation of church and state is better than any version of theocracy. Tribalism is inferior to modern civilization; inferior in its ability to defend itself, protect its citizens, deliver basic services, etc.

    It's not a fashionable thing to say, I know, but a Yamomano tribesman is less protected and served by his civilization than I am, no matter how you choose to measure it. And I am also better off than someone born in Syria, Jordan, Iran or Yemen, to grab at some examples. I can say what I like, write what I like, work, travel and marry whom I like. It's not neo-imperialism to look at these profound freedoms and call them "better" or "more advanced."
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur
    Here we diverge....
    I believe that was not the point IxM was trying to make.

    He was trying to say that he does not like the idea of cultures who deem themselves "higher" than others and go about "correcting" them by attacking them, destroying whatever stability they may have, sometimes favoring one side, and introducing ideas with which they do not have the slightest experience.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Oh, right, the Prime Directive. Me and that James Tiberius fellow keep forgetting about it.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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    probably bored Member BDC's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Politically maybe (in places). Socially... No I think not. Religion is a bit of a spanner in the cogs though. Lesson there for the Americans maybe. Luckily Bush has alienated your extreme fringes enough to put off any sort of mass stupidity for a while.

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    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER
    He was trying to say that he does not like the idea of cultures who deem themselves "higher" than others and go about "correcting" them by attacking them, destroying whatever stability they may have, sometimes favoring one side, and introducing ideas with which they do not have the slightest experience.
    Oh sure. Introducing new and unfamiliar concepts like freedom of expression, education and the rule of law must be the crime of the century.



    Interesting link, Lemur.
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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazed Rabbit
    So? Some cultures (democratic, free, etc.) are simply better than others (fanatical, tyrannical, no freedoms, etc.)
    A dictator, tyrant or fanatic would disagree with you there and since all humans are equal, his opinion is worth as much as yours.


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    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian II
    Oh sure. Introducing new and unfamiliar concepts...
    You missed it. Badly.

    I never said those ideas were bad, I'm saying that attempts through the methods that were used to introduce them into underdeveloped cultures has lead to.... undesirable results. Notice that the cultures that you and I would perceive as more or less developed came about those ideas gradually over time before finally achieving their form today.

    Most of us in the "developed world" believe in everything being done right and ready as quickly as possible. I do not believe that this same principle can be applied to cultural advancement.

    I do not believe that a developed culture can or even should speed up the advancement of a culture simply because it is nearly impossible to achieve and most attempts pretty much always end badly. Certain cultures must be allowed to advance on their own to a degree before contact can be made.

    History has proven this already...
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER
    You missed it. Badly.

    I never said those ideas were bad, I'm saying that attempts through the methods that were used to introduce them into underdeveloped cultures has lead to.... undesirable results. Notice that the cultures that you and I would perceive as more or less developed came about those ideas gradually over time before finally achieving their form today.

    Most of us in the "developed world" believe in everything being done right and ready as quickly as possible. I do not believe that this same principle can be applied to cultural advancement.

    I do not believe that a developed culture can or even should speed up the advancement of a culture simply because it is nearly impossible to achieve and most attempts pretty much always end badly. Certain cultures must be allowed to advance on their own to a degree before contact can be made.

    History has proven this already...


    I agree.
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    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER
    You missed it. Badly.

    I never said those ideas were bad, I'm saying that attempts through the methods that were used to introduce them into underdeveloped cultures has lead to.... undesirable results. Notice that the cultures that you and I would perceive as more or less developed came about those ideas gradually over time before finally achieving their form today.

    Most of us in the "developed world" believe in everything being done right and ready as quickly as possible. I do not believe that this same principle can be applied to cultural advancement.

    I do not believe that a developed culture can or even should speed up the advancement of a culture simply because it is nearly impossible to achieve and most attempts pretty much always end badly. Certain cultures must be allowed to advance on their own to a degree before contact can be made.

    History has proven this already...
    Indeed. The reality of western liberal democracy is wonderful, but that's not what people in Iraq are experiencing. It's not what most people neocons and liberals speak of are experiencing. The reality they are experiencing is anarchy, as traditional conservative society is destroyed with nothing taking its place. In such a situation, as Somalia has shown, people are willing to put up with extremely strict social conditions if it will bring stability to their lives. Much more fundamentally than freedom, democracy, etc., people want stability, the knowledge that if they behave according to certain rules, they will survive to see the next day.

    Here's a chap whose father and brother were executed by Saddam, and whose mother and another brother were imprisoned (and probably tortured).

    Quote Originally Posted by Baha Al-Araji
    Was Iraq better off under Saddam Hussein than it is today?

    Now we are able to see, unfortunately, that the situation during Saddam’s reign was better than today because then, the oppression was targeted and predictable. Today, danger and oppression overwhelm all Iraqi people without exception.

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    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER
    Notice that the cultures that you and I would perceive as more or less developed came about those ideas gradually over time before finally achieving their form today.
    Are you saying that we should accept that we will be in Iraq for a long time, helping them change gradually over time?
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    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by yesdachi
    Are you saying that we should accept that we will be in Iraq for a long time, helping them change gradually over time?
    No. I am saying that Iraq should be left alone. There is a degree that some cultures reach where nothing can change them except time. It is my belief that the presence of the US irritates this process.

    However, now that the damage has been done, they must be given full control over their own country as quickly as possible so that they can function on their own. Where the country goes after that is uncertain, but nothing truly is.
    Last edited by CrossLOPER; 12-06-2006 at 17:13.
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    Philologist Senior Member ajaxfetish's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER
    You missed it. Badly.

    I never said those ideas were bad, I'm saying that attempts through the methods that were used to introduce them into underdeveloped cultures has lead to.... undesirable results. Notice that the cultures that you and I would perceive as more or less developed came about those ideas gradually over time before finally achieving their form today.
    Here's the confusion:

    America's mistake is to believe it can impose this learning curve on another civilization
    You and the blogger agree. IRONxMortlock took issue with this position as a condescending western perspective, and Lemur and Adrian basically posted that IRON's concerns are unjustified.

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    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    IMHO the blogger is on to something. The two centuries of sectarian bloodbath Europe underwent in the Early Modern period had, mutatis mutandis, much the same background as the current troubles of the Muslim world in general. Economic difficulties ? Check. Social tensions owing to badly skewded ratio of problems shelved to problems solved ? Check. Deep socioeconomical and cultural shifts beyond anyone's control and resulting feelings of helplessness and insecurity ? Check. Widespread religious revivalism partly drawing its fuel from discontent over the other troubles, and calling for the replacement of "corrupt structures" with "pure and unblemished" faith ? Check. Unscrupulous rulers, political enterpreneurs, freebooters and other opportunists willing to cynically exploit and further aggravate the situation (intentionally or not) for their own ends ? Check. Outside powers willing to fight their conflicts on someone else's land ? Check.

    Europeans eventually figured grapeshot wasn't a very good theological argument and largely shelved the whole religious zeal and smiting the heretic/papist gig (and on the side came up with the modern concept of "Westphalian" soveraign state as well as odds and ends like a professional diplomatic corps and a vague idea of international law), but it took a round century of almost nonstop sectarian bloodletting and a "first European world war" that decimated vast tracts of Germany to near unpopulated wasteland and almost bankrupted several major states. The lesson, although in hindsight and on the long run both necessary, inevitable and beneficial, was costly in the extreme.

    The same can probably be said, mutatis mutandis, for the processes which resulted in both the French and Russian Revolutions and their fallout.

    It is my opinion that the Muslim world is undergoing a similar period of fundamental shifts and the process is no less agonizingly painful, fraught with strife and reactionary backlashes. One can only hope it gets completed in shorter time and with less atrocities.
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    Insomniac and tired of it Senior Member Slyspy's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    If freedom brings chaos, then people will accept the security of tyranny.

    What is the old quote about most men not wanting freedom, but being content with kind masters?

    When society is breaking down then not even a kind master is needed, in the short term merely a strong one will do.
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    Standing Up For Rationality Senior Member Ronin's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by IRONxMortlock
    It was this sentence that got to me.


    I dislike this attitude as it alludes to the existence of some kind of process that cultures must go through to "advance". It's an imagined hierarchy with hunter-gathers at the bottom through to us at the top. It allows us to belittle other cultures as they have yet to "evolve" to our standard.
    I don´t think the idea that a culture can go from state 'A' to 'C' without going through state 'B' is viable either.

    Things evolve at their own pace....and no...sending a bunch of soldiers over there doesn´t speed things up...
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    Member Member IRONxMortlock's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    There was a famous book written in 1958 called The Affluent Society. In parts it compared the "greatest" and "most civilised" society on Earth, The United States with the most "primitive" and "uncivilised" society, The !Kung San people of the Kalahari.

    On factors such as which society could conquer the other or which had a greater access to products and advanced technology, of course the United States came out ahead. However when using some other indicators of what makes a society civilised the results were surprising.

    On issues such as:
    • Leisure Time
    • Healthy and balanced diet
    • Time spent with family
    • Time spent socialising/celebrating and ritualising


    The !Kung San came out ahead. As these issues were identified to be extremely important to Americans of the day the author used this to conclude that for all our technology, perhaps we in the west are not as affluent as we'd like to believe.

    Why are we any more "right", "evolved" or "civilised" than other society? What gives us the right to make such statements? Imagine a calamity where all our electrical systems go off line. Who do you think would survive then, us or the !Kung San?
    and New Zealand.

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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    More interesting feedback from the blog:

    If a European superpower had invaded the United States after the first battle of Bull Run, determined to save us from our own Civil War, what could the superpower have done? How would Americans of the North and South have responded? If we can't answer those questions satisfactorily even with the benefit of 160 years of hindsight and a clear understanding of our own history and culture, I see no chance - none - that we can make it up as we go along in Iraq.

    Chuck Hagel and others are correct: there is no military solution to Iraq. At the most basic level we can't even identify an "enemy" against whom the fresh troops wold be engaged. The lure of adding more troops is twofold: it is the simplest option available to us, at least in the short term; and it offers those who supported the invasion in 2003 the hope of being vindicated in some way. The drawback is that, like everything we have done in Iraq, it has no basis in reality. The ISG report is a good starting point for tugging the American government back to a reality-based view of the world. Let's not go backward.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

  25. #25
    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by IRONxMortlock
    There was a famous book written in 1958 called The Affluent Society. In parts it compared the "greatest" and "most civilised" society on Earth, The United States with the most "primitive" and "uncivilised" society, The !Kung San people of the Kalahari.

    On factors such as which society could conquer the other or which had a greater access to products and advanced technology, of course the United States came out ahead. However when using some other indicators of what makes a society civilised the results were surprising.

    On issues such as:
    • Leisure Time
    • Healthy and balanced diet
    • Time spent with family
    • Time spent socialising/celebrating and ritualising


    The !Kung San came out ahead. As these issues were identified to be extremely important to Americans of the day the author used this to conclude that for all our technology, perhaps we in the west are not as affluent as we'd like to believe.

    Why are we any more "right", "evolved" or "civilised" than other society? What gives us the right to make such statements? Imagine a calamity where all our electrical systems go off line. Who do you think would survive then, us or the !Kung San?
    The comparison between the 2 is silly. The !Kung live in an area no one wants to go to where they have few possessions and even fewer possessions of value to outsiders, they often live in mobile villages with 10-30 others and since they have come into regular contact with others (shortly after the books release) many of the !Kung have left the area in hope of finding an easier life.

    I would say that they didn’t have leisure time they had bored time.
    They did eat a more healthy and balanced diet because there wasn’t anything else to eat.
    They spent time with their family because there was no one else to spend time with.

    They may have come out ahead but once given a choice it is clear many of them didn’t want what they had as most moved away.
    Peace in Europe will never stay, because I play Medieval II Total War every day. ~YesDachi

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    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by yesdachi
    The comparison between the 2 is silly...
    You are missing the point. The argument is not about comfort or preferences. The argument is about structure and survival. Which would survive and which would adapt if something bad were to happen? Which produces the better individual?

    What is being stated is that the USA is not living up to it's own set standards.
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  27. #27
    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossLOPER
    You are missing the point. The argument is not about comfort or preferences. The argument is about structure and survival. Which would survive and which would adapt if something bad were to happen? Which produces the better individual?

    What is being stated is that the USA is not living up to it's own set standards.
    Which would survive? The society with the ability to adapt and to improvise with the resources to draw from. What if they encountered a drought or their food was hit by blight, or they were struck by a plague? The big dogs with the ability and resources to draw from would be able to overcome the “bad” that could happen.

    I am not saying that a desire for a simpler life isn’t a good thing and people in our society often do more than they have to when they could easily take more time to relax and spend time with friends and family if they wanted, but we always want want want. At what level or social status do we have to be at before we can just feel comfortable? Anyone selling anything is always going to trick you into thinking you need something you really don’t need and jealously will keep most trying to “keep up with the Jones’s”

    Clearly some in the US don’t live up to the “its better here” mentality but others that can reach a place in their own minds that they are comfortable seem to do just fine.
    Peace in Europe will never stay, because I play Medieval II Total War every day. ~YesDachi

  28. #28
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by yesdachi
    What if they encountered a drought or their food was hit by blight, or they were struck by a plague?
    You seriously figure they haven't had to deal with that several times already ? Those !Kung San are technologically primitive desert dwellers (hunter-gatherers, herders or both I don't know); it takes a lot to cause those kinds of societies problems severe enough to endanger their survival. Think about it this way - that lifestyle has been maintained in several parts of the world ever since Homo Sapiens arrived in the individual region way too many millenia ago. It's pretty robust by default, else it would have perished long ago. How long did the Australian aborgines wander the Outback for example ?

    'Course, the external pressures from the modern world tend to be less survivable - but that's not the point here.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

  29. #29
    lurker Member JR-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar
    A dictator, tyrant or fanatic would disagree with you there and since all humans are equal, his opinion is worth as much as yours.
    only if you believe in Fundamental & Inalienable Human Rights, I do not.

  30. #30
    Friend of Lady Luck Member Mooks's Avatar
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    Default Re: 21st Century Middle East = 16th Century Europe?

    Seriosly, are we dealing with a nation full of little kids? That is what it seems like to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Furunculus View Post
    i love the idea that angsty-teens can get so spazzed out by computer games that they try to rage-rape themselves with a remote.

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