Barry Rubin Middle East Experts


Barry Rubin:
Middle East pseudo “experts” out for a stroll?
The Tundra Tabloids shares Barry Rubin’s sentiments about the nonsense being passed off as “analysis” by many of these so called “experts”, who actually think that they have something of value to offer concerning the problems in the Middle East, when in fact, they have very little in substance to offer at all.
The TT has spoken to, and listened to, many an “expert” here in Finland and abroad, concerning the Arabs’ conflict with Israel, and it never ceases to amaze that their analysis rests more upon faith and good will, than upon good ol’ common sense, logic and knowledge.
Like in the picture above, regardless of how demonstrably destructive and futile their analysis may be, they suggest that nontheless, their advice be taken seriously, regardless of the fact that it will take whoever that heeds it straight into the dark abyss. 
The TT shares Rubin’s frustration, there seems to be no lack of idiocy, arrogance and downright contempt for the lives of the people by these so called “experts”, perhaps in the future it would be wise to differentiate between their good and bad anal-ysis with the use of a hyphen? KGS

By Barry Rubin

After more than 30 years of watching people write dumb things about the Middle East, I believe that in the last month I’ve seen more nonsense than at any previous time. The problem arises from ignorance, lack of understanding of the region by those presented as experts; plus arrogance, treating the region and the lives of people as a game (Hey, let’s try this and see what happens!), fostered by the failure of such control mechanisms as a balanced debate and editing that rejects simplistic bias or stupidity; as well as a simple lack of logic.
To put it another way, I am reading material that simultaneously has no connection with the real world, is full of internal contradictions, and often seems deliberately tailored to misrepresent events in order to prove a false thesis. Fortunately, this stuff has not done actual damage in the real world–much of it has not been implemented in policy–yet but may in future.
As examples:
–The former director of for Gulf and South Asia affairs at President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council writes that al-Qaida will go away if a Palestinian state is created. (This article is so astonishingly bad in reshaping the facts and leaving out anything that proves the contrary point I kept thinking it was a forgery meant to discredit him. Alas, in these days people actually do write in this intellectually dishonest style all too often.)
–The most famous American columnist writing on the Middle East says the United States is responsible for radicalization in Saudi Arabia and Europe is to blame for Iran’s Islamist revolution;
–The New York Times publishes an op-ed by a U.S. Air Force analyst arguing that Iran getting nuclear weapons will be good for the U.S. position in the Middle East.
–France’s foreign minister in an interview explains that Israel’s allegedly killing a Hamas terrorist in Dubai proves there must be a Palestinian state as fast as possible, regardless of whether Israel agrees, a bilateral peace treaty is made, or even that state’s boundaries are defined. Charmingly, he adds that he might be wrong, which suggests that if such a policy resulted in total disaster and a massive number of deaths he’d just give a Gallic shrug of the shoulders and say, “Tant pis.” (Too bad.)
–Numerous people who should know better, ranging from the president’s advisor on terrorism to the former senior director for transnational threats at the National Security Council, say Hizballah is now moderate even though it has not changed in any real way.
–A prestigious foreign policy blog carries an article from a professor at a Washington, DC, university calling for an end to any restrictions on imports by the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip despite its openly declared intention of commiting genocide, repression of its own people, and clear goal of returning to war as soon as possible because this will supposedly strengthen the hand of the Palestinian Authority government which Hamas is trying to overthrow.
What are the main themes being constantly purveyed? Blame America, blame Israel, blame the West, say that radicals are moderates, insist that making concessions and holding dialogues with ideologically-directed extremists will work, blocking serious discussion of the Islamist threat, refusing to recognize the unalterably aggressive intentions of the Iran-Syria bloc, arguing that radical states and movements will act in a “rational” manner by following Western conceptions of what is in their true interest rather than their own world view.
What themes are there no room for in the prestigious foreign affairs journals and newspapers, with rare exceptions?
–The strategic disaster for Western influence that would ensue if Iran got nuclear weapons even if it never fires them.
–Revolutionary Islamism doesn’t exist mainly to get revenge on the West but to seize state power and transform their own societies.
–The fact that the Palestinian Authority neither desires nor is capable of making a comprehensive peace with Israel no matter what the West does.
–The specific things that Israel wants in a peace agreement and why it needs them.
–That Syria, for very solid interests of its own, will never break its alliance with Iran.
–The situation of Arab governments which want the United States to be tough against Iran, Syria, and the Islamists, and are rapidly losing faith that it will protect them.
–The steering of Turkey toward as much of an Islamist state as possible plus as close an alignment with Iran and Syria as posible by the regime there which pretends to be moderate but clearly is engaged in transforming the country..
–Most bad ideas, crises, radical movements, and conflicts in the Middle East are locally generated and not just reflections of wrong Western policies or misdeeds.
–The West can do only a very limited amount to solve the problems of the Middle East. Coming up with some clever gimmick, flattery, apology, concession, appeasement, or higher level of understanding isn’t going to do it.
Should I link to each of the above-mentioned articles and refute them point by point? I’m not sure. On one hand, that would be intellectually and emotionally satisfying, but would it be worthwhile?
I don’t like spending time and space talking about how someone else is so silly, how we are deluged with far more people speaking stupidity from power than speaking truth to it. I can’t help but feel that it is better to use the chance to explain what’s really going on and perhaps develop some accurate or useful ideas. But it is necessary to talk about some of the insanity just to give a sense of its all-encompassing scope.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.