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Why porn is exploding in the Middle East January 16, 2015

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Lifestyle, Religion.
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bikini_burkha According to data released by Google, six of the top eight porn-searching countries are Muslim states. Pakistan tops the list at number one, followed by Egypt at number two. Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Turkey come in at numbers four, five, seven and eight, respectively. Pakistan leads the way in porn searches for animals like pigs, donkeys, dogs, cats and snakes.

via Why porn is exploding in the Middle East – Salon.com.

The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War September 15, 2014

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, philosophy & politics.
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The U.S. has so far been prepared to act as the guarantor of international stability, but may not be willing—or able—to do so indefinitely.

Though the era just before World War I, with its gas lighting and its horse-drawn carriages, seems very far off and quaint, it is similar in many ways—often unsettlingly so—to ours, as a look below the surface reveals. The decades leading up to 1914 were, like our own time, a period of dramatic shifts and upheavals, which those who experienced them thought of as unprecedented in speed and scale. The use of electricity to light streets and homes had become widespread; Einstein was developing his general theory of relativity; radical new ideas like psychoanalysis were finding a following; and the roots of the predatory ideologies of fascism and Soviet communism were taking hold.

Hbomb-detonation-colorizedGlobalization—which we tend to think of as a modern phenomenon, created by the spread of international businesses and investment, the growth of the Internet, and the widespread migration of peoples—was also characteristic of that era. Globalization can also have the paradoxical effect of fostering intense localism and nativism, frightening people into taking refuge in the comfort of small, like-minded groups. One of the unexpected results of the Internet, for example, is how it can narrow horizons so that users seek out only those whose views echo their own and avoid websites that might challenge their assumptions.

While history does not repeat itself precisely, the Middle East today bears a worrying resemblance to the Balkans then.
It is tempting—and sobering—to compare today’s relationship between China and the U.S. with that between Germany and England a century ago. Now, as then, the march of globalization has lulled us into a false sense of safety.
Like the world of 1914, we are living through changes in the nature of war whose significance we are only starting to grasp.

Read on at http://www.brookings.edu/research/essays/2013/rhyme-of-history

Good Riddance to Brotherhood’s Fake Democrats July 5, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, philosophy & politics, Religion.
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The saving grace in Egypt, King Abdulla of Jordan said, was that Mursi seemed too unsophisticated to successfully pull off his vision. “There’s no depth to the guy,” he said of Mursi. The king compared him unfavorably to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist prime minister of Turkey. Like Mursi, the king asserted, Erdogan was also a false democrat, but one with patience. “Erdogan once said that democracy for him is a bus ride,” Abdullah said. “Once I get to my stop, I’m getting off.”

Unlike Mursi, however, Erdogan was masterful at manipulating a system that didn’t trust him, the king said. “Instead of the Turkish model, taking six or seven years — being an Erdogan — Mursi wanted to do it overnight.” Recent events in Turkey, including the government’s miscalculated response to mass protests, have shown that perhaps even Erdogan isn’t an Erdogan anymore.

Political IslamHad the military not intervened, though, the Muslim Brotherhood may have tried, over time, to make sure that Egypt’s first free and fair election was also its last. A number of Egyptian friends have written me in the past day, arguing that what the Egyptian people did — or, more to the point, what the Egyptian army, responding to the will of the people, did — was to forestall the rise of a new Hitler. If the Germans, who chose Adolf Hitler in a democratic election, had turned on him a year later, well, you know the rest. The analogy is overdone for so many reasons, but it is absolutely true that the Muslim Brotherhood is a totalitarian cult, not a democratic party.

via Good Riddance to Brotherhood’s Fake Democrats – Bloomberg.

Predicting 2013 – Opportunities and Threats January 14, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
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This report is the synthesis of a 48-hour crowdsourced brainstorming exercise, where over 60 Wikistrat analysts from around the world collaboratively explored the issues that will dominate the foreign policy agenda in 2013..

The year 2012 helped bring answers to a few of the questions that loomed large for foreign observers when the year began. We now know who will lead the United States for the next four years. We have confirmation that the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated branches across the Arab Middle East remain the dominant, if often struggling, political force in the countries where revolutions have toppled dictators. And we have learned, to little surprise, that the much-touted efforts by Washington to pivot towards Asia will remain constrained by the pullback from continuing crises in the Middle East, where major long-standing unresolved conflicts—notably the stand-off with Iran over its nuclear program and Israeli-Palestinian tensions—still occupy the front burner.

The distinction between threats and opportunities was not always clear, particularly because a well-managed threat can turn into an opportunity, just as the reverse is true. As expected, the ongoing developments in the turbulent Middle East occupied much of the analysts’ thoughts, suggesting numerous possible outcomes. But other areas of the world and other supranational trends also made the cut.

Here are some of the top negative & positive scenarios from Wikistrat’s simulation.

via Predicting 2013 – Opportunities and Threats.

The Real Quagmire in the Middle East July 8, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Religion.
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The reason American minds can’t really grasp the Middle East is because our minds are trained for concepts that are at variance with the mindset of Middle Eastern fundamentalists – and by that I mean both Muslims and Jews. The importance of today, the importance of pleasure, the importance of compromise, the importance of pragmatism, the relative unimportance of land. We have a house, we sell it, and then we move to another house. We don’t build our houses on top of our fathers’ houses.

Coexist stickerYeah. Solutionism is an American religion. That’s the most dangerous one. The other aspects of this are the misunderstandings. We can’t understand why a Palestinian would want his son to become a suicide bomber.

It’s because his son is not an individual in the same way Americans are. He’s a valuable instrument in the deliverance of salvation for his people. His desires, dreams, and goals are all selfishness. ? But our categories of success and failure are not their categories of success and failure.

It leads to the immorality of narcissism, that their collective need is so important that they can kill children with moral impunity. That’s one place it leads. The importance of remaining steadfast to the cause gives them license to do anything. Man, but when you’re licensed to do anything, it gives you power.

via Michael J. Totten: The Real Quagmire in the Middle East.

Blame The Middle East Mess On the Brits & the French? October 18, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, philosophy & politics, Politics.
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The Middle East Is Born Again – Forbes.com

“The peace settlements that followed World War I have recently come back into focus as one of the dominant factors shaping the modern world. The Balkans, the Middle East, Iraq, Turkey, and parts of Africa all owe their present-day problems, in part, to these negotiations.” —Ambassador Richard Holbrooke
The French and the British, beginning in 1919 Paris, sought to replace Arab political structures with their own European designs, creating nations in their own Western image. It was hardly a model for peace and prosperity. This template had, after all, led to a succession of bloody wars in Europe over the previous millennium. Still, Europe became the central power in the Middle East. The Western model of nations appeared to the peacemakers in Paris to be more akin to convenient political organizations with which to negotiate and do business than a host of feuding tribes.

The result is a legacy that continues to plague the region. Today, the United States is the region’s dominant power. But do the Iraqi people really want America’s Western-style democracy, or like the British and French before, does the U.S. simply want to create nations that resemble itself? In any case, it’s probably too late. The ethnic amalgams created in Paris in 1919 make any democratic nation as now constituted in a region like the Middle East problematic, as the West has already discovered in Yugoslavia. (more…)

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