What follows is excerpted from what I put forward in an online college forum. It is nothing new to readers here or to those who edify themselves with the work of those perspicacious thinkers who've graciously linked to me (links added here):
I do not disagree with this mood of frustration, although I hope we can collectively try to be more tactful. A conspicuous US presence in the Middle East has not been good for the Occident.
Creating refugees that must be absorbed is, in itself, reason enough to clamor for a withdrawal. The Islamic world is characterized by a few incorrigible attributes that, taken together, render it truly noxious:
- Consanguinety. Unfortunately, it is rarely mentioned, but in Iraq, for example, over 50% of males are married to a second cousin or closer. The nepotism this engenders in business, and the tribalism it sustains in social life, makes national unity impossible unless forced under the iron fist of a tyrant. In the West, we tend to perceive the 'clash of civilizations' as one between (post-)Christendom and Islam. It is easier to get our minds around, as we're all familiar with religion. We are not so familiar with how kinship over any concept of ecumenicism makes a non-partisan justice, governmental administration, etc, virtually impossible.
- That segues into a related obstacle, power concentration:
In Syria, the Alawite minority holds power over 90% of the population.
In Lebanon, the Christian 'ruling class' (and that's progressively becoming a thing of the past) continues to fight off a census, as one hasn't been taken in over seven decades. They're no longer a majority. Not even close.
In Saudi Arabia, the corpulent House of Sa'ad engages in a perpetual balancing act, attempting to mollify hardline Salafists and Wahabbists while making ambiguous, often shallow overtures to the West. Al Qaeda despises the Royal Family even more than it does the neocons.
In Egypt, the secular Mubarak outlaws his populist opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood. And Coptic Christians? Better not to even go there. The tragedy that has befallen this ancient people makes any purveyor of lugubrious claims about Palestinian oppression blush.
The ruling Donmeh (a crypto-Jewish group that has worn an Islamic veneer for centuries) in Turkey are fervently secular, and their complete control of the officership in Istanbul's military not only keeps a flailing Islamism under control, it also frustrates Turkey's Kurdish population in the country's southeast, which looks increasingly to an all-but-official country called Kurdistan to its east.
Libya? Qaddafi. UAE? Emirs, and international business interests (and the South Asian slaves they exploit). Kuwait? More of the same.
In Iraq, the iron fist was overthrown. The other side of the Middle Eastern coin is what Iraq has become and what the 'West Bank' has been for some time--infinite layers of tribalistic infighting, the worst sort of internecine bloodshed from the perspective of a Middle Eastern nationalist (of which there are so few today).
- Islam. This militant religion was founded by a militant leader. Muhammad besieged Medina and had most of the men from the ruling Jewish clans their executed. Then he felled Mecca. Eight years after he died, Muslims would march on and take Jerusalem. A religion that was founded over six centuries after the birth of Christianity had pushed the religion of Paul completely out of its place of birth, capturing all of Spain and making it as far as modern-day France, where the hordes' expansion was finally stopped by Charles Martel more than a century after it had begun. It would be four centuries before a reeling Christianity would, under the auspices of Pope Urban II, be united and strong enough to strike back.
Whether it be Van Gogh's body in the Netherlands, thousands of cars on fire in Paris, skyscrapers crumbling in New York, conflagrations in London's subways, trains being blown off their tracks in Madrid, children being massacred in Chechnya, residents being beheaded in Indonesia, or women on buses being blown to bits in Israel, the inherent predilections for dominion, and the intolerance that necessitates, guarantees that unless the tenets of Islam change, its militancy will not.
Paraenthetically, a prerequisite to commentary on this point is a full reading of the Koran (keeping in mind that it is organized by sura length, not chronologically, so that the Medinan writings mostly appear at the front even though they came after the Meccan writings), and a familiarity with 'hadith qudsi' (roughly analagous to the Agragpha in Christianity--words of the prophet that did not make it into the holy book).
- Average IQ. The national estimates gathered by Professors Vanhanen and Lynn in their groundbreaking work, IQ and the Wealth of Nations:
Saudi Arabia: 83
There are no liberal, developed nations in this IQ range. We can cling to the idea of unfettered egalitarianism, incapable of separating it from isonomy or spiritual equality, or we can ditch the epicycles and try to make sense of the world as it is. This is a major roadblock.
So what to do? Disconnect. End Islamic immigration to the West. Arab Americans, for example (most of whom are Lebanese Christians), are among their country's most liberal, best and brightest. Draining the region of these people will only make it more backwards. Europe continues its steady move to the nationalistic right as North Africans, Middle Easterners, and Central Asians settle in as members of a seemingly permanent underclass that is threatening the very fabric of the Scandinavian model of the welfare state that makes Finland or Norway such a nice place to live.
Meanwhile, our most promising are dying in the sands of Babylon, for the benefit of a Shia government and its Mahdi Army allies. We've irritated Turkey, destabilized Syria and Jordan, and made Saudi Arabia nervous while alienating much of the developed world with our incursion in Iraq. The greatest beneficiary has been our antagonist in the region, and Israel's putative arch-enemy, Iran. Time to get out, pour what remains of the $2 trillion we'll end up dumping into the Iraq miasma into a Manhattan Project for energy independence, and obselesce oil so that the Middle East can fall back into the seventh century if that's where it thinks it belongs.