A Publication of Seth J. Frantzman
October 26th, 2007
Here are this week’s articles below and attached. This week’s theme is liberalism-leftism. The full articles appear below these short abstracts.
1) Should American foreign policy be Wilsonistic or Nixonian? : American foreign policy has been thrown into a conundrum with the recent controversy sourounding a Congressional vote on the Armenian genocide which brings us to the subject of whether it should be based on pragmatism of idealism. A look at American history and the future of this debate.
2) Judgment: Mans best friend: Judging is often condemned on a variety of grounds, but a world without judgment would be savage.
3) The Lone Voice: A Liberal literary device : Leftist-liberals frequently claim they are standing up against the ‘system’ and opposing the ‘state’ and that their ideas are both unique and original and that those ideas are a minority ‘radical’ voice. An analysis of this literary device and why it is both successful and a massive fabrication.
Should American foreign policy be Wilsonistic or Nixonian?
Seth J. Frantzman
October 22nd, 2007
The debate over the logic of the Armenian genocide bill has divided normally party line voters. Charles Krauthammer and the Economist agree that, although the genocide happened, a congressional vote on it is not necessary and comes at a bad time for American-Turkish relations. The Armenians living in Armenian do not care about the resolution and the Armenian patriarch in Constantinople (Istanbul) claims to oppose it (although he may merely fear being gunned down like the Armenian editor Hrant Dink).
Zionist and Israel defenders such as Abe Foxman (ADL president) and Caled Ben-David (author of a Jerusalem Post oped ‘Caught between an Armenian anvil and a Turkish Hammer’) have both opposed the non-binding resolution, although Foxman recanted after pressure from Jewish groups Elie Wiesel. It has split Republican and Democrats. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House supports it, Robert Livingston, a former Republican heavy, works for the Turkish lobby now (which is like the Jewish lobby but with less emphasis on banks and world domination). However Republican Representative Chris Smith has declared that ‘friends don’t let friends commit crimes against humanity’ and many Democrats have shied away from their earlier support of the genocide bill.
For some people who count themselves Republican, conservative and supporters of Israel this means they have to make up their minds for themselves. That’s a tough call. For those that condemn the crimes of liberalism and Islamism it doesn’t lead to an easy answer either. Liberals support the bill. The Turkish Islamists don’t like it, but neither to the Turkish secular-nationalists. Turkish liberals like it though, especially dissident authors such as Taner Akcam and Orhan Pamuk, who one might compare ideologically to Israel’s Ilan Pappe and America’s Noam Chomsky. So does a western conservative sympathize with Turkish liberal-leftists who are slightly self-critical, or does he sympathize with the Turkish secularist-nationalists.
Certainly for many Israelis there has been a long denial of the Armenian genocide. But this has been for very pragmatic reasons and also because of parallels that Israelis see with Turks. The Armenian claims against Turkey are compared to those of the Palestinians. The terrorism suffered by Turkey at the hands of Kurds (and in the 1970s the Armenians Secret army for the liberation of Armenia that killed Turkish diplomats and was based in Lebanon and the U.S) is comparable to Palestinian terrorism against Israel. Turkey and Israel are both U.S allies. The Ottoman empire invited the Jews to settle in its regions in 1492 when they were expelled by Spain. Turkey didn’t join with Hitler (but it did put Jews in camps during the Second World War.) Turkey has been the oldest Muslim ally of Israel.
But there is an ominous link between the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust. Jews such as Henry Morganthau were the first to recognize the Armenian genocide and Hitler used the genocide to justify the Holocaust. The arguments by the supporters of Turkey, that the ‘question of the genocide should be left up to politicians not historians’ echoes the speeches of David Irving, the Holocaust ‘questioner’ who also thinks Holocaust denial laws should be repealed, and libel laws should be raised, so that he can deny the Holocaust and receive legal protection from anyone daring to call him a ‘holocaust denier.’ With Turkish backing many Universities and many scholars already deny the Armenian genocide.
The question of how to deal with the Armenian genocide is one that cuts to the heart of America’s foreign policy dilemma. On the one hand America has a history of a foreign policy based on idealism: Washington’s advice about staying out of foreign entanglements, Jefferson’s sympathy for the French Revolution, Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves, Mckinley’s desire to free Cuba from the shackles of colonialism, Wilson’s desire to make the world safe for democracy, FDR’s condemnation of colonialism while fighting the war on the side of England against Nazism, Carter’s ending of American support for Iran because of the Shah and Reagan’s ending of American support for the Philippines because of Marcos, Clintons bombing of Serbia to stop the ‘ethnic-cleansing’ of Bosnia and Albania, Bush’s desire to bring democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq.
But America has an equally strong history of pragmatic policies: Adams’ support for England, Monroe’s doctrine, Jackson’s relocation of the Cherokees, Polk’s war with Mexico, Lincoln’s support of Grant and Sherman, Mckinley’s decision to keep Cuba and the Philippines, the Congress’ refusal to join the League of Nations or support the Treaty of Versailles, the isolationism of the 1930s, Truman dropping the bomb, Eisenhower’s fiddling with Iran and Lebanon, JFK’s Bay of Pigs, LBJ’s Vietnam, Nixon’s détente, Ford’s refusal to help the Vietnamese in 1975, Reagan’s support of the Contras and the Mujahadin in Afghanistan, Bush I’s war in the Gulf, Clinton’s withdrawal from Somalia and his refusal to help the Tutsi in Rwanda, Bush II’s decision not to invade Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Pragmatism demands that America not recognize the Armenian genocide, which we are reminded took place 90 years ago, for feat of ‘offending’ the Turks and perhaps jeopardizing the war in Iraq should Turkey invade Iraqi Kurdistan.
Idealism argues for recognizing the genocide, and in a time honored fashion, say one thing at home and do another abroad.
What America should do is not just recognize the genocide and build a museum to it but it should go further. Pragmatism in the Middle East has brought America much woe. The Arabists, descendants of American missionaries to the Middle East who founded the American Universities in Beirut and Cairo, who controlled American foreign policy with the Middle East until the 1960s and still hold a great sway over it, focused American support in the region on a pragmatic alliance with the secular Sunni elites. These Arabists are not a myth, they were e tight group of connected individuals who worked for the State Department or American corporations (oil for instance) in the Middle East and lobbied successfully for an American alliance with the Saudi regime, the Sunni elite in Beirut (such as the current Prime Minister, Fuad Siniora), Saddam Hussein (who was a whisky guzzling Sunni) and Egypt (America supported Egypt against Israel in 1956, lest some forget). But these alliances with the devil, in the case of Saudi Arabia, have brought grief and suffering, not just on 9/11, but throughout the region. It helped bring the deaths of the American marines in Beirut in 1982. It helped bring about the ridiculous policies for and against Saddam. Its only positive outcome has been the support for Jordan’s king, and that has mostly been a British project. The whole region has fallen like a house of cards. America’s Sunni Palestinian friend, Mahmud Abbas, is a failure and the Islamists are winning in ‘Palestine.’ The Muslim Brotherhood, descendants of Said Qutb who became an Islamist because an American woman tried ‘chatted him up’ immodestly, are ascendant in Egypt. Saudi Arabia provides up to 90% of the foreign fighters and terrorists in Iraq. Almost all of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. The Gulf Arab states, all Sunni led, are cesspools of irrational exuberance and discriminatory apartheid which suppress the foreign workers who make up 90% of their populations. Lebanon is a Shiite ministate. Libya, led by a good-ole Sunni Bedouin, is no friend. Syria, led by an Alawite, is no friend. Now Turkey is threatening to leave America.
So how can America go further? America should build an alliance of minorities across the Middle East. This was the dream of Ben-Gurion who fantasized about an Israeli alliance with a Druze ministate in Syria, a Maronite Lebanon, a Persian Iran, A Bedouin Jordan, a Christian southern Sudan, and a Turkish Turkey. Ben-Gurion was right, except his policy was right for America, not Israel. America has abandoned the minorities of the Middle East because of expediency. But America should reverse course immediately. Take every policy of the last 20 years and do the opposite. Support, armed support, for the Southern Sudanese. Support for the foreign workers in the Gulf. Support for the Shiites in Saudi. Support for the Druze in Lebanon and Syria. Support for the Copts in Egypt and the Maronites in Lebanon. Support for all the Christians such as the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Jacobites and Mandeans (Gnostics). Support for the Jews, well America already has Israel. Most of all, support for the Kurds.
In fact America should be arming the Kurdish militias. Surely this will bring cries of hypocrisy, since America is fighting a ‘war on terror’ how can it arm terrorist Kurds? Well America is not fighting a war on terror, she is fighting a war against Sunni and Shia terror, mostly Sunni, and in fact mostly Sunni Arab. America should use the twin prongs of anti-Turkish statelets in Iraqi Kurdistan and Armenian to challenge the Turks. America should rescind her barbarous policy of supporting the Bosnians and Albanians, and switch that policy to one of supporting the Serbs. Reagan would have supported the Serbs because Reagan was nostalgic about those people who had fought alongside the U.S against the Nazis. The Serbs lost 10% of their people fighting the Nazis while the Albanians and Bosnians sent 40,000 of their young men to serve in S.S units. America coddles racist proto-Nazi states such as Croatia, there can be no excuse for such a mangling of historical memory.
People are always afraid that America may ‘lose’ Turkey and Turkey will become yet another anti-American state. But it already is anti-American, 90% of the Turks now have an unfavorable opinion of the USA. Besides, what kind of foreign policy is run on the basis of winning friends and making people like us when ideals, historical truth, justice and decency are on the line.
Remember George Washington, the American Cincinnatus? He advised against foreign entanglements and treaties with Europe. Why? He abhorred the dictatorships in Europe, the monarchies and state sponsored churches. He also felt it was not pragmatic to join one alliance and risk offending others. We can learn from that. Washington’s was not a policy of making friends. But it was also a policy of isolation. America cannot afford to be isolated. But if we cannot afford isolation then we should make sure to ally ourselves with the weak and those with few resources.
America was the first country to recognize Toussaint L’Ouvertoure’s Haiti in 1804, she should be the first nation to recognize an independent Kurdistan and the Armenian genocide.
Judgment: Mans best friend
Seth J. Frantzman
October 25th, 2007
We are often told not to judge. This is the mantra of the post-humanist moral-relativist crowd. It is part of post-modernism. Judgment is like racism, to judge is to label and to label is to stereotype and that becomes eugenics and we all know where that goes. So goes the logic.
Another reason we are often told not to judge is the old argument that one shouldn’t judge others until they have walked in their shoes. Despite the logical fallacy of this argument; it precludes debate about anything except what one has actually experienced, it is quite common.
Thus we have two extremes. We have those who tell us not to judge and we have all the judgments and judging that takes place on a daily basis. Journalists speak of being unbiased protectors of the truth, and yet their reporting is massively judgmental. Those people who tell us not to judge are usually the ones who use the word ‘racist’ and ‘nazi’ to describe groups of people and actions of others the most. There are also private judgments that are made all the time. Value judgments. Judgments about all sorts of things. Wrong and right, good and evil, all are judgments.
But there is a great drive to take away all this judgment and to replace it with a cynical, pessimistic, very nuanced version of things. We should therefore ask ourselves; ‘is judgment wrong.’
Jesus instructed people; ‘he who hath no sin may cast the first stone,’ in other words he gave us a very high bar to jump over before we should judge the behavior of others. There is the common refrain, “don’t judge lest you be judged.” This goes to the heart of the matter, you should not judge the actions of others harshly for they will then judge you.
This is all well and good but where does judgment fit in among the rest of the qualities of man? Animals do not judge. This is a fact. They may make value judgments. Put a bowl of rotten beef out and another bowl of freshly sliced ham and the animal will choose the better portion. But this is not a judgment based on anything more than the obvious. What makes man so different is that he judges the actions of others. He judges based on historical outcomes. He judges based on logic, and illogic. In fact man has an instinct to judge. The person who says “do not judge” does not really mean it for they are usually the most judgmental of all. It is a deep imbedded instinct within man that makes him judge and it is this instinct that separates him from beast, it is this instinct that leads to choice and it is this instinct that is behind the notions of good and evil and right and wrong.
The attempt to strip society of judgment is an attempt to make society like animals. It is even an attempt to make society worse than animals. Animals are territorial and they learn from their mistakes. But this idea that one should never judge asks us to never learn from our mistakes. Take the people that argue against racial profiling. They argue that one must not judge based on race. They don’t make this argument from logic because it is quite clear that many types of crime in different places are associated with certain racial, economic and religious groups. Profiling is based on logic and judgment.
It is ironic that the very police who are asked not to judge also keep drug sniffing dogs at their side. Since the police may not examine any visual characteristics of the person to determine who might be a candidate for drug possession they rely on the animal to do it for them. In this case the man has so dehumanized himself that the animal must make his decisions. But if animals make better policeman than humans than why not dress them in little uniforms and call them ‘officer’. After-all half the jobs performed by airport security can also be performed by monkeys. The recent case of a woman at Skyharbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona who got angry because she missed her flight and was subsequently restrained so harshly that it caused her to die might lead us to ask a little bit about judgment. The TSA thugs who beat and dragged the woman from the airline gate to a holding room and restrained her and ended up choking her to death; These beasts could not judge. For them she was a security threat, as bad as any suicide bomber or knife wielding terrorist. They couldn’t make a judgment call regarding a crazed and unhappy woman who had experienced an especially hard day and a terrorist. Its all the same.
A society that ceases to judge becomes savage. It becomes inhuman. It degenerates into an animal-like kingdom of viciousness, except it is worse than animals because its judgments are not based on instinct or logic, but on a sub-human beast like judgment that is far more insidious than any animal could dream up.
The Lone Voice: A Liberal literary device
Seth J. Frantzman
October 26th, 2007
Along with such words as ‘unbiased account’ one of the most common claims in left wing literature is that a particular book is a ‘lone’ voice in the wilderness, some ‘radical’ rebellion against the norm that ‘challenges’ us and ‘explodes myths.’ There is a never ending search within the leftist dialectic to be the loner, the rebel, who is standing up against a society in which consent is manufactured. This theme can be seen in all of Noam Chomsky’s writings but it can also be found in such recent books as Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and Walt and Merheimer’s The Israel Lobby. They all contain the claim that their opinion is being censored or quashed or silenced and that they are the only ones contributing their ‘original’ thesis to a public shrouded in wool.
But what is most fascinating is the degree to which this claim is increasingly made at the same time that such literature is frequently the most common and well known. This is an excersize in massive self delusion on the part of the author and on the part of the reader. The author tells the reader ‘people are silencing me, I am the only one standing up for this issue’ and the reader says ‘I am being brave to read this radical and dissenting document.’ Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent is the most brilliant part of this strange dialogue. He claims that the media and corporations and the government work hand in hand to ‘manufacture consent.’ Everyone who reads his polemic agrees and he is now considered the most popular academic in the U.S. But he himself, through the amount of exposure his book and his ideas have received, has actually manufactured consent. This is how brilliant a delusion it is. Every college student reads Chomsky and each one thinks he or she is being original and a ‘rebel’ by reading Chomsky. It is like people reading J.D Sallinger and pretending they are breaking some taboo, when everyone is forced to read the Catcher in the Rye.
The mere fact that Merhseimer and Walt dared include a chapter entitled ‘silencing debate’ must be beyond insanity. Here is a book that is plastered in every bestsellers area in every Borders books, a book that has full page adds in the New York Times. Yet we are supposed to believe this book is being ‘silenced’ and the debate is being ‘quashed.’ But then again, its easy to think oneself a hero and convince oneself to buy a book when someone thinks they are doing something to stand up for a free and ‘open’ debate.
But there is one problem with all this and that is the fact that these opinions and texts are so widespread that you are frequently exposed to nothing else. Take Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing book. There is no opposite read. There is no rebuttal. It stands alone. Our world is completely dominated in this respect by the Chomsky theory and yet it is a theory that declares that our world is being dominated by something other than it.
Sitting in a class in Jerusalem in 2005 I experienced this first hand. In a class that was more than half European and non-Jewish a professor actually said “I know you are all Zionists and have been raised in Zionist households, but here, unlike in your other classes, I cam going to present you with a more radical, more open-minded, view.” But what was most striking was that the exact same speech was repeated by another professor in a different class. Here were two professors addresses two different classes, each claiming that the class of secular European Christians were Zionists and each claiming that he was the ‘lone voice’ that would challenge Zionism. The truth is that the professor began his class this way not because he really thought his class was full of Zionists or because he thought he was a ‘lone voice’ but because this was a rhetorical device so that he could then proceed to pretend that he was being original and ‘radical.’ What is most fascinating is that many people don’t even know they are doing it, they subconsciously ascribe originality to themselves when no such thing exists. Every college student who has a Dali on his wall and one of those reproduction French advertisements from the 1930s pretends he is being so original. No one knows who Salvador Dali is. But everyone has a Dali, and a bad Dali at that. No one has a Goya.
The truth is that leftists and liberals have discovered that at the heart of their movement is this desire to be different, this desire to be unique and be a rebel. But there is also the nature desire of people to move in herds. Conservatives don’t try to mask this. They admit that people like tradition and they encourage people by saying ‘this is the way things have always been done and this is the way they should be done.’
But just like every leftist shops at the ‘right’ organic food store and every leftist ‘discovers’ the right Mexican ceramic shop and every hippie uses the ‘correct’ bees wax and peculie gel for their hair, there is a massive tendency even among the ‘rebels’ to all march in lockstep.
So every person who wants to ‘rebel against the consensus’ read Chomsky, and it turns out everyone is reading Chomsky and they are all sitting around discussing how their media is being controlled by some nefarious conspiracy and they are all nodding in agreement. Chomsky was right on this point. There is a manufactured consent, but it cuts both ways, Chomsky himself has manufactured a massive amount of consent.