Tuesday, January 6, 2009


The Atlantic continues its downward spiral. Robert Kaplan writes:
And yet in a startling rebuke to geography and recent history—and in testimony to the sheer power of audacity and of ideas—the mullahs in Teheran hold more sway in Gaza today than does the tired, Brezhnevite regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
I don't see how this Iran's putative influence in Gaza servers as a testimony to the power of ideas. Rather, Egypt likely holds little influence in Gaza because it aids Israel in blockading and consequently starving Gaza. Ideas simply aren't powerful enough for Gazans to bow to Egypt when Egyptian troops are slaughtering Gazans attempting to escape the open-air prison for Egypt.

Kaplan continues:

Gaza constitutes the western edge of Iran’s veritable new empire, cartographically akin to the ancient Persian one, that now stretches all the way to western Afghanistan, where Kabul holds no sway and which is under Iranian economic domination.
This is sheer, fantastic nonsense. They said the same thing about Nasser. Suggesting that Iran--a moderately sized, fairly poor nation-state--is a reincarnation of the immensely powerful ancient Persian empire is absurd. Kaplan continues manufacturing nonsense:

Whether it is the sub-state entities of Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon, or the Mahdi movement in Shiite southern Iraq; or the hopes, dreams, and delusions of millions of Sunni Arabs, principally in Egypt, who feel a closer psychological identity with radical Shiite mullahs than with their own Pharaonic Sunni autocracy, Iran has built its dominion on a combination of anti-western ideas and the dynamic wiliness of its intelligence operations (which, in turn, are a reflection of a civilization more developed and urbanized than that of the Arabs).

Hamas is fighting to establish a nation-state in Palestine. Hezbollah was created as a response to Israel's occupation in Lebanon in 1982, and speaks for Shi'ite Muslims in Lebanon, who, without them, would have little other political representation. The Mahdi army is fighting to controll Iraq. These are all disparate groups with disparate goals, and lumping them together reflects the thinking of someone who casually refers to Arabs as less than civilized.

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