Friday, December 30, 2016

Mideast: Replay of Europe 1600

The Middle East is the despair of well-born western elitists everywhere. Educated to a fare-thee-well in their Ivy League secular seminaries and finishing schools, so that they know the currently approved orthodoxy and know to avoid heresy and also have learned the "social graces and upper class cultural rites as a preparation for entry into society," these tender souls cannot understand why the folks in the Middle East have not embraced Peace and Justice.

Well, there are those nasty Israelis, of course. But for them the arc of history would be bending towards...

But what do you expect after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire? And after European dead white males, educated in all the usual state seminaries and finishing schools, had mucked around in the Middle East for a century with their foolish attempts to create a European style region. As Alan Massie writes,
None of these creations was a nation-state. There was the idea of the Arab nation, and it’s an idea that has never found practical expression. In most of the new states people felt loyalty to their tribe and their religion, not to the state.
Let's take a look at the Middle East. It has numerous tribes and enclaves, and mostly people identify themselves by blood and kindred. It has two competing versions of Islam. It has a holy site, in Mecca. And it has great powers interfering all the time, just because they could.

Gee, that sounds familiar. How about the German lands in 1600, or so. You had the dozens of principalities and even bishoprics. You had the memory of a lost empire in the Holy Roman Empire that was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire. You were the front line between Protestantism and Catholicism. You had the holy center of Christendom down the street at the Vatican. And you had great powers, like France and Sweden, meddling in German affairs, because they could.

Let's say that the German problem started with Martin Luther and his 95 Theses in 1517, kicking off the schism in Christianity. About a century later you had the Thirty Years War from 1618 to 1648. The end of the war saw the Treaty of Westphalia and the advancement of the idea of the Nation State.

That was cool for the non-German powers, because they were already nation states. But what about Germany. Too bad. It took another 200 years of war and revolution before the Germans got themselves a nation state, courtesy of the genius of Otto von Bismarck. Then, of course, the heirs of Bismarck mucked things up and got Germany into two world wars of Germany-vs.-the-rest.

So the result of all that religion and war and revolution is that the Germans are checking out of the world, with their women refusing to have babies and their German lands being overrun with migrants from the Middle East.

Here we have 500 years or so of complete elite cock-up in Europe, and you chaps are all wigged out about the fact that the Middle East hasn't yet settled down in a mere 100 years after the end of the Ottoman Empire?

What planet are you living on? Or more to the point, which secular seminary did you get your orthodox faith from? And which finishing school gave you your social graces?

I say let's give the Middle East another couple hundred years of war and mayhem before we decide to send in Graham Chapman and "The Colonel" to stop the silliness.

On the other hand, perhaps we should encourage Arab on Arab mayhem. Imagine if the Arab Middle East ever unified into a single entity, bursting with energy, whether religious or linguistic or national.

I don't think that would be much fun for the rest of us.

So maybe the result of Barack Obama's foolishness in the Middle East is the best possible outcome. He has managed to dissolve the whole place into wars and revolutions and terror and massacre. No chance for a unified Arab world on his watch. Yay Barack!

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