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Foreign Affairs 101

By Bad Harmony in MLP
Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 05:26:52 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Foreign Affairs, an influential magazine published by the Council on Foreign Relations, has put together a collection of articles that are relevant to the recent terrorist attacks on the United States. The web page includes links to the full text of the articles and reviews of related books.


One of the more interesting articles is The Clash of Civilizations? , by Samuel P. Huntington. It argues that world affairs will be dominated by clashes between civilizations, not political ideologies or nation-states.

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Foreign Affairs 101 | 12 comments (11 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Clash of Civilizations (3.50 / 2) (#2)
by WombatControl on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:14:02 AM EST

That article was later expanded into a full book, also called The Clash of Civilizations. It's probably one of the most insightful predictions of future world politics I've seen in several years. Anyone seeking a degree of understanding as to what this conflict is about should read that book.

I'd also add, if one can find it, David Pryce Jones' The Closed Circle, which is a book about Arab culture. It does an excellent job of explaining why only one Arab nation (Turkey) has been able to escape from religious fundamentalism and exactly why we have this resurgence of Islam across the Arab world. Unfortunately, that book is no longer in print and is quite hard to find.



Huntington (4.50 / 2) (#8)
by twodot72 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:19:23 PM EST

Huntingtons ideas are not universally accepted though. Edward Said, acclaimed author of several works in the same area, has written a rebuttal published in The Nation.

[ Parent ]
Interesting Rebuttle... (2.50 / 2) (#10)
by WombatControl on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:23:04 AM EST

Said's response is interesting, even though I comepletly disagree with it. I believe Said really fails to graps just how deep the divide between the West and the Islamic world really is - they simply don't (in a large part) understand the world as we do. Furthermore, I believe that Said has a long way to go before he can disprove the scholarship of Huntington's article. Considering the level of analysis found in The Clash of Civilizations, Huntington has a much stronger case. That being said (no pun intended), Said makes some good points, but the evidence still overwhelmingly points towards Huntington's thesis.

(That being said (again, no pun intended) I used to think Fukuyama was dead on in predicting the victory of liberal democracy - trying to prognosticate is always a tricky business. Said could be right, Huntington might be right, or Fukuyama could have gotten it right the first time... one never knows...)



[ Parent ]
Turkey not an Arab nation (5.00 / 2) (#11)
by CtrlBR on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 08:41:41 AM EST

Turkey is not an Arab nation, Turkey in fact oppressed Arabs for a long time (until England helped them gain freedom during WW1, remember Lawrence). The Turk identity is not really a racial one (some Turk are definitly Europen and some looks very Asian) and not much of a religious one, mut much more a linguistic one.

Most of them are Muslims, but that doesn't make them Arabs.

If no-one thinks you're a freedom fighter than you're probably not a terrorist.
-- Gully Foyle

[ Parent ]
Diplomacy (4.50 / 4) (#3)
by wiredog on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:26:39 AM EST

Is the art of saying "nice doggie" while one reaches for a rock.

In 10 to 15 years the mid-east will be fighting over something much more basic than religion, oil, or national boundaries. Water. The area is, after all, a desert. With an exploding population. You'll have entire countries with nothing to lose and lots of weapons.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle

choice of words (4.00 / 2) (#4)
by Ludwig on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:50:37 AM EST

"Exploding population," huh? I guess they won't need water after all...

Seriously, wouldn't they have enough money to build desalinization plants? Saudi Arabia and Israel are already building them. There aren't a whole lot of landlocked countries on the Arabian Peninsula.

[ Parent ]

Won't cut it (4.66 / 3) (#5)
by jayfoo2 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:16:58 AM EST

Desalinization isn't efficient enough to solve those problems. It is only really practical in two situations

--If you have so many petrodollars you have nothing better to do with them and energy is basically free in your country because it's your damn oil (Saudi Arabia)

--If your security situation is so critical that you absolutely need it as a backup (Isreal)

One of the real problems is water for agriculture. Ag uses a lot of water (especially if you are trying to grow things in oh say a desert). Desalinization plants can provide enough water for people to drink and stay alive, but not enough for the farms.



[ Parent ]
Warning on Publisher: CFR is an arm of government (3.16 / 6) (#6)
by greenrd on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:58:48 AM EST

The Council on Foreign Relations, the publisher of Foreign Affairs, counts many US elites (ex-presidents, Henry Kissinger, etc.) amongst its members. It is effectively an arm of government - for example:

During World War II, study groups of the State Department and Council on Foreign Relations developed plans for the postwar world in terms of what they called the "Grand Area," which was to be subordinated to the needs of the American economy. The Grand Area was to include the Western Hemisphere, Western Europe, the Far East, the former British Empire (which was being dismantled), the incomparable energy resources of the Middle East (which were then passing into American hands as we pushed out our rivals France and Britain), the rest of the Third World and, if possible, the entire globe. These plans were implemented, as opportunities allowed. Every part of the new world order was assigned a specific function. The industrial countries were to be guided by the "great workshops," Germany and Japan, who had demonstrated their prowess during the war (and now would be working under US supervision). The Third World was to "fulfill its major function as a source of raw materials and a market" for the industrial capitalist societies, as a 1949 State Department memo put it. It was to be "exploited" (in Kennan's words) for the reconstruction of Europe and Japan. (The references are to Southeast Asia and Africa, but the points are general.)
Noam Chomsky, What Uncle Sam Really Wants

(Clearly no hint of imperialism there. US imperialism is obviously a figment of the socialist imagination.)

Just thought I'd mention that.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes

In Utah (4.66 / 3) (#7)
by wiredog on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:56:19 PM EST

And in other bastions of the Loony Right the CFR is considered to be a branch of the Worldwide Communist Conspiracy. (You did know that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a Soviet plot to get us to drop our guard, didn't you?) I figure that, if both the Loony Right and Loony Left think it's bad, it's probably good.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
CFR is an NGO, thank you very much... (4.00 / 3) (#9)
by WombatControl on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:38:07 PM EST

The Council on Foreign Relations is not an arm of government, they do not have any direct influence on the foreign policy of any nation. While they may have some influential members, that does not mean that they are a governmental body. Just because many ex-Presidents are Methodists does not mean that the Methodist Church is an arm of the US government. Their only influence is due to their experience in the field of international relations and the scholarship of their work.

Furthermore, Chomsky is about as credible in foreign affairs as Art Bell. While he enjoys pretending to be a major thinker in international relations, he spins broad conspiracy theories consisting of out-of-context statements and half-truths with some bald-faced lies mixed in. Please, if there was a grand scheme by a sinister cabal to systematically oppress the Third World, it would be far more clear. Believing that there is an international military-industrial-media complex that stifles all debate over these issues is as patently rediculous as the notions that the government is secretly hiding a million square kilometer base under Nevada with the help of the Beta Reticulan Greys. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Thus concludes my International Relations 101 rant...



[ Parent ]
conspiracy's (4.50 / 2) (#12)
by ooch on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 02:50:29 PM EST

I recently started out in a book(never finished it) which among other things described this CFR. It is like a club of maybe 2000 influential figures, bankers, industrials, politicians who every now and then come together in small groups and discuss things around the globe, in total secrecy. That is fine in it self, but the problem is that almost all important posts in the State Department, most important embassadors, etc. are held by members of this CFR. That means they have an enormous influence, but no-one really knows what they are doing. I'm personnaly rather sceptical about this, but you know what they say: just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you:-)

While he enjoys pretending to be a major thinker in international relations, he spins broad conspiracy theories consisting of out-of-context statements and half-truths with some bald-faced lies mixed in. Please, if there was a grand scheme by a sinister cabal to systematically oppress the Third World, it would be far more clear.

Though you may disagree with some of Chomsky's analyses(I sometimes do), saying he uses out-of-context statements and half-truths with some bald-faced lies mixed in, is just a bald-faced lie. Every quote usually comes with a source, so you can check it. But if you can show me some of those lies, I'd be more then interested, though I doubt you can find any. Good luck.

[ Parent ]

Foreign Affairs 101 | 12 comments (11 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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