The future of our time: Rewriting ‘Westphalianism’

Interesting times: the new definition.

Past master. (Image via Outside the Beltway)
Past master. (Image via Outside the Beltway)

Reading Henry Kissinger’s typically well-considered and intelligent article for the Wall Street Journal this weekend (“A Path out of the Middle East Collapse”), I had a growing sense that it isn’t so much a prescription for the future as a description of the past.

The sense began with the first paragraph, in which Kissinger defines the scope of what’s collapsing, and dates it only to 1973, when the U.S. moved to stabilize the Middle East during the Yom Kippur War.

But far more than recent U.S. policy on the Middle East is collapsing today.  What we’re seeing is more like the collapse of “Rome” itself:  the organization of Western power as a Europe-centric territorial phenomenon, setting unbreachable boundaries north, south, and west of a restless and perennially “unorganizable” Middle East. Continue reading “The future of our time: Rewriting ‘Westphalianism’”

Israel-Hamas truce: It’s the big picture, stupid

Interesting times.

Guardians of the galaxy.  (Image: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 via Times of Israel)
Guardians of the galaxy. (Image: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 via Times of Israel)

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!

Newly declared caliphate: Why it’s ‘ISIS’ (not ISIL) – ‘Iraq and al-Sham’ (not Syria)

What’s in a name.

 

On the move. (Image: Reuters)
On the move. (Image: Reuters)

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!

Egyptian crisis: It’s the “holy war,” stupid

Baby don’t want no jihad.

It took a couple of weeks for the crisis to come to a head.  But the origins of the Morsi government’s crisis lie in Morsi’s radical call for a regional holy war on 15 June, when he cut diplomatic ties with the Assad regime in Syria, and proposed to throw Egypt’s weight behind the Sunni salafist opposition.

Although this move was widely reported at the time, Western media for the most part took no special note of it.  A number of outlets did report, two days earlier, on a policy announcement from the Morsi government authorizing Egyptian citizens to join the fight against Assad.  Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and a long-time associate of Mohammed Morsi and his senior advisors, had called on Muslims a few days before to go to Syria and fight Assad.

According to the Irish Times, the Egyptian military was having none of this: Continue reading “Egyptian crisis: It’s the “holy war,” stupid”

“Islamism” and the West: How do you solve a problem like the AP Stylebook?

One word: freedom.

The Associated Press has decided that the word “Islamist” may not be used to describe anything objectionable.  Lori Lowenthal Marcus calls out the relevant passage from the news service’s newly revised stylebook:

[An Islamist is] an advocate of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam.  Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.

Hmmm.  It’s an interesting question who will be called an Islamist by AP writers, given this definition.

Who is an Islamist?

Presumably, Continue reading ““Islamism” and the West: How do you solve a problem like the AP Stylebook?”