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Basketcase Forever?

Just read an interesting – yet somber – editorial in the Jerusalem Post today.The author, Barry Rubin, asks the question “why is it – since we are a superior people (Arabs) with a superior religion (Islam) – that we are behind the West and what can we do about it?” Rubin offers a familiar explanation: the long history of colonial imperialism, the failed experiments with oppressive nationalist governments and the rise of radical Islam have all contributed to the malaise. Frustratingly, Rubin diagnoses the problem but offers no treatment plan. He posits that the jihad waged by Islamists will linger on for another 50 years before crumbling, by which time “Arab and Muslim-majority countries will be left even further behind the rest of the world.” Why will it take 50 years? And what concrete steps can be taken to avert this scenario from unfolding? It’s a shame that these questions go unanswered. After raising such a provocative issue – why the Middle East lags behind the West – it would have been refreshing to read a novel take on what a recovery plan would look like.

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One Response

  1. I’m torn on this editorial. It bothers me when commentators treat Islamists, especially the violent groups under that banner, as completely irrational. Here, we have someone who understands what motivates Islamists, yet by the end of the article his approach verges on mocking.

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