Syria and the West

Discussion of current events
Ellen
Posts: 221
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:02 pm

Re: Syria and the West

Post by Ellen » Sun May 02, 2021 12:20 am

That's correct. The recycling of oil wealth from 6 relatively small Arab countries to the rest of the Arab states has allowed complete fossilization of their political systems. None of the dictators have any incentive to democratize their political life and promote tolerance and education. All of these trends would undermine the autocratic form of governance. So, instead they have taken money received from the recyled oil wealth AND Western/Russian foreign aid and built well-armed police states that keep these societies in a permanent state of oppression and backwardness. No region of the world, even sub-Saharan Africa, has demonstrated so little progress in the past 70 years.

This is the fundamental cause of all instability and discontent in the MidEast, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As is visible, not one Arab country today is willing to sacrifice one soldier to help the Palestinians in their armed struggle vs Israel. And yet, the Palestinians continue to believe that this is the way they will win. How do you explain such delusionary behavior?

You see the same delusionary behavior from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He no longers pretends to be interested in Palestine, but firmly believes that Saudi Arabia should, can, and must be one of the leading countries in the world in terms of technology and economic output. To this end, he is throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at a whole slew of white elephant projects designed to demonstrate how advanced the Saudis are becoming. Yet, none of these projects have attracted any foreign investment and technology transfer, which is key to their success. What does that tell us? That the bigtime investors from West and East don't share the Prince's enthusiasm for the richness of the human capital of KSA or the political wisdom of its leaders. They are afraid of throwing a lot of money right down the drain.

The idea that a country of illiteratie bedouins who haven't contributed a thing to world civilization since the visions of Mohamed became the basis for a new religion - 1400 years ago - could become a world leader in renewable energy, in hi-tech, in absolutely anything at all is a deep illusion. And yet, Saudi investment policies are now based whole hog on this illusion.

These two items demonstrate a civilization that is living in a fantasy world whose bubble is already bursting. Who encouraged them to dwell in this fantasy world for the past 50 years at least, since the oil boom and boycott years of the 1970's? The Russians for their own selfish reasons, Western oil men and bankers for their own selfish reasons, and European politicians for their own selfish and hateful reasons. Now, all of these parties and others are washing their hands of this mess (the US and Europe) or moving in like birds of prey to occupy and annex territories and resources of the failing Arab civilization (the Russians, Turks, and Persians).

neverfail
Posts: 6748
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:47 am
Location: Singapore

Re: Syria and the West

Post by neverfail » Sun May 02, 2021 2:31 am

Ellen wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 12:20 am
That's correct. The recycling of oil wealth from 6 relatively small Arab countries to the rest of the Arab states has allowed complete fossilization of their political systems. None of the dictators have any incentive to democratize their political life and promote tolerance and education. All of these trends would undermine the autocratic form of governance. So, instead they have taken money received from the recyled oil wealth AND Western/Russian foreign aid and built well-armed police states that keep these societies in a permanent state of oppression and backwardness. No region of the world, even sub-Saharan Africa, has demonstrated so little progress in the past 70 years.

This is the fundamental cause of all instability and discontent in the MidEast, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As is visible, not one Arab country today is willing to sacrifice one soldier to help the Palestinians in their armed struggle vs Israel. And yet, the Palestinians continue to believe that this is the way they will win. How do you explain such delusionary behavior?

You see the same delusionary behavior from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He no longers pretends to be interested in Palestine, but firmly believes that Saudi Arabia should, can, and must be one of the leading countries in the world in terms of technology and economic output. To this end, he is throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at a whole slew of white elephant projects designed to demonstrate how advanced the Saudis are becoming. Yet, none of these projects have attracted any foreign investment and technology transfer, which is key to their success. What does that tell us? That the bigtime investors from West and East don't share the Prince's enthusiasm for the richness of the human capital of KSA or the political wisdom of its leaders. They are afraid of throwing a lot of money right down the drain.

The idea that a country of illiteratie bedouins who haven't contributed a thing to world civilization since the visions of Mohamed became the basis for a new religion - 1400 years ago - could become a world leader in renewable energy, in hi-tech, in absolutely anything at all is a deep illusion. And yet, Saudi investment policies are now based whole hog on this illusion.

These two items demonstrate a civilization that is living in a fantasy world whose bubble is already bursting. Who encouraged them to dwell in this fantasy world for the past 50 years at least, since the oil boom and boycott years of the 1970's? The Russians for their own selfish reasons, Western oil men and bankers for their own selfish reasons, and European politicians for their own selfish and hateful reasons. Now, all of these parties and others are washing their hands of this mess (the US and Europe) or moving in like birds of prey to occupy and annex territories and resources of the failing Arab civilization (the Russians, Turks, and Persians).
Now Ellen, what prompted this volcanic eruption of scorn towards Arabic civilisation?

I seem to recall Dagbay making the point "Arabs are not ready for any type of pluralistic government as they are stuck in the tribal age. But there are non-murderous forms of government see the Emirates...." I did not disagree.

Then Jim the Moron butted in with his silly line "Arabs? What's to understand? (& etc)."

Regardless of whether the Gulf Emirates are politically "fossilised" or not, would you not agree with Dagbay and concede that these are in a far happier sitate than the likes of Syria and iraq?

User avatar
Sertorio
Posts: 4996
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Syria and the West

Post by Sertorio » Sun May 02, 2021 3:23 am

neverfail wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 2:31 am

Regardless of whether the Gulf Emirates are politically "fossilised" or not, would you not agree with Dagbay and concede that these are in a far happier state than the likes of Syria and Iraq?
Syria and Iraq were in a far happier state before they were the victims of western aggression.

User avatar
Milo
Posts: 3220
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:14 pm

Re: Syria and the West

Post by Milo » Sun May 02, 2021 1:50 pm

neverfail wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 2:31 am
Ellen wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 12:20 am
That's correct. The recycling of oil wealth from 6 relatively small Arab countries to the rest of the Arab states has allowed complete fossilization of their political systems. None of the dictators have any incentive to democratize their political life and promote tolerance and education. All of these trends would undermine the autocratic form of governance. So, instead they have taken money received from the recyled oil wealth AND Western/Russian foreign aid and built well-armed police states that keep these societies in a permanent state of oppression and backwardness. No region of the world, even sub-Saharan Africa, has demonstrated so little progress in the past 70 years.

This is the fundamental cause of all instability and discontent in the MidEast, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As is visible, not one Arab country today is willing to sacrifice one soldier to help the Palestinians in their armed struggle vs Israel. And yet, the Palestinians continue to believe that this is the way they will win. How do you explain such delusionary behavior?

You see the same delusionary behavior from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He no longers pretends to be interested in Palestine, but firmly believes that Saudi Arabia should, can, and must be one of the leading countries in the world in terms of technology and economic output. To this end, he is throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at a whole slew of white elephant projects designed to demonstrate how advanced the Saudis are becoming. Yet, none of these projects have attracted any foreign investment and technology transfer, which is key to their success. What does that tell us? That the bigtime investors from West and East don't share the Prince's enthusiasm for the richness of the human capital of KSA or the political wisdom of its leaders. They are afraid of throwing a lot of money right down the drain.

The idea that a country of illiteratie bedouins who haven't contributed a thing to world civilization since the visions of Mohamed became the basis for a new religion - 1400 years ago - could become a world leader in renewable energy, in hi-tech, in absolutely anything at all is a deep illusion. And yet, Saudi investment policies are now based whole hog on this illusion.

These two items demonstrate a civilization that is living in a fantasy world whose bubble is already bursting. Who encouraged them to dwell in this fantasy world for the past 50 years at least, since the oil boom and boycott years of the 1970's? The Russians for their own selfish reasons, Western oil men and bankers for their own selfish reasons, and European politicians for their own selfish and hateful reasons. Now, all of these parties and others are washing their hands of this mess (the US and Europe) or moving in like birds of prey to occupy and annex territories and resources of the failing Arab civilization (the Russians, Turks, and Persians).
Now Ellen, what prompted this volcanic eruption of scorn towards Arabic civilisation?

I seem to recall Dagbay making the point "Arabs are not ready for any type of pluralistic government as they are stuck in the tribal age. But there are non-murderous forms of government see the Emirates...." I did not disagree.

Then Jim the Moron butted in with his silly line "Arabs? What's to understand? (& etc)."

Regardless of whether the Gulf Emirates are politically "fossilised" or not, would you not agree with Dagbay and concede that these are in a far happier sitate than the likes of Syria and iraq?
I will leave the others to their own answers but, being as Syria and Iraq are two of the most miserable places on earth, isn't this like discussing whether mighty mouse can beat up superman?

User avatar
Sertorio
Posts: 4996
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Syria and the West

Post by Sertorio » Sun May 02, 2021 3:39 pm

Milo wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 1:50 pm

I will leave the others to their own answers but, being as Syria and Iraq are two of the most miserable places on earth, isn't this like discussing whether mighty mouse can beat up superman?
Mighty Mouse Vietnam did it... So, it can be done again...and again... :D

Ellen
Posts: 221
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:02 pm

Re: Syria and the West

Post by Ellen » Mon May 03, 2021 12:05 am

"Regardless of whether the Gulf Emirates are politically "fossilised" or not, would you not agree with Dagbay and concede that these are in a far happier sitate than the likes of Syria and iraq?"

Regarding the Emirates, as opposed to Saudi Arabia, I would agree that "the people" (all 990,000 of them) who are citizens are certainly happy there. That's why you don't see any agitation for democracy. That's also why they have responded in a genuinely positive way to the agreements with Israel. Their support I believe is sincere, and not just a show being enforced by government minders and controllers. This is what consumer societies are like. People shop til they drop, and aren't preoccupied with jihad, and the loss of Arab land to Zionist invaders, etc, etc, such as one finds in poor, wretched Arab countries like Syria/Egypt/Jordan/etc.

Nonetheless, the UAE has the same demographic problems that any tribal political entity will have once its population growth rate drops to near European levels, combined with unearned prosperity from a single commodity. How do you develop a country in a safe and sustainable way with a citizen population below one million, that is not fated to be much more than 1.3 mllion or so at its maximum level 20 years from now? How will the UAE ever build a diversified economy that isn't reliant on expats who are basically treated as servants? How will they build a real army to defend their patrimony, not one led by an Australian mercenary, who could - in a flash - return to a truly stable and happy country like Australia? Why shoud any Aussie want to sacrifice his life for a tin pot potentate who runs these little, ridiculous Emirates?

This is the real and difficult-to-solve dilemma of happy clappy states like the UAE. They are now talking about giving green cards to valuable workers (like Indian IT specialists and Lebanese entrepreneurs) and POSSIBLY someday allowing them to get citizenship.

I understand this problem very well, because Israel is also - in a sense - a tribal state that at its birth had a Jewish population of 650,000 only, surrounded by 50 million Arabs wanting to push it into the sea. How did Israel solve this problem without detribalizing itself to any significant degree, or absorbing a large Arab population that immediately turns the state into an Arab state, not a Jewish one? By mass immigration of Jews from Holocaust survivors, refugees from the Arab world, and immigrants from Western and other states who were drawn by Zionism. All of this combined with a high fertility rate. Today Israel has a Jewish population of 7 million and is as tribal as it was 73 years ago.

This huge demographic growth has allowed the building of a sizeable modern army, a prosperous and diversified economy, and few concerns anymore about being pushed into the sea. This was truly a miracle, but do you see the UAE being able to pull off a similar miracle? Their tribalism is so petty that they won't even give a few million Palestinian and Lebanese Sunni Arabs (same ethnicity, same langugage, and same culture) citizenship, which would immediately make them a viable country for the long-term. Imagine a UAE with 5 mllion citzens, a real army, and a real workforce of people willing do real work. They would be a powerhouse country, like Singapore, even though still quite small.

This is the problem of happy Arab states such as UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar. Certainly better than the problems of wretched Arab states, which are even more insoluble. The form of government is not the real problem. I don't have any quarrel with competent monarchies. They are just as morally acceptable as a competent democracy, from my point of view. It is the petty, intolerant, selfish, hairsplitting tribalism that will sink the Arab world, even the few happy states among them.

User avatar
Sertorio
Posts: 4996
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Syria and the West

Post by Sertorio » Mon May 03, 2021 3:02 am

People are talking about robots in our societies creating a major unemployment problem. For the Emirates that might be the solution. A highly skilled native population, highly educated and inventive, served by a few million robots. You could produce anything, in any quantities, and the humans would enjoy a very high living standard, both economically and culturally... And robots could also perform all defensive tasks... Science fiction? Maybe not...

neverfail
Posts: 6748
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:47 am
Location: Singapore

Re: Syria and the West

Post by neverfail » Mon May 03, 2021 4:59 pm

Thanks Ellen. As usual I found your post highly informative; illuminating to read.

Ellen wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 12:05 am
"Regardless of whether the Gulf Emirates are politically "fossilised" or not, would you not agree with Dagbay and concede that these are in a far happier sitate than the likes of Syria and iraq?"

Nonetheless, the UAE has the same demographic problems that any tribal political entity will have once its population growth rate drops to near European levels, combined with unearned prosperity from a single commodity. How do you develop a country in a safe and sustainable way with a citizen population below one million, that is not fated to be much more than 1.3 mllion or so at its maximum level 20 years from now? How will the UAE ever build a diversified economy that isn't reliant on expats who are basically treated as servants?


You can't. Yet I would like to point out that even without taking into account the UAE's poor human capital base they would have more of a handicap than Israel in developing a "diversified" economy not reliant on a single gift of nature like oil. For one thing a dry, dusty desert climate imposes physical limitations against agriculture being a successful enterprise. Terrestially small and modestly endowed with natural respources it might be Israel is still several times better off than the Gulf Emirates in terms of its (non-oil) natural endowment.
How will they build a real army to defend their patrimony, not one led by an Australian mercenary, who could - in a flash - return to a truly stable and happy country like Australia? Why shoud any Aussie want to sacrifice his life for a tin pot potentate who runs these little, ridiculous Emirates?
When the Australian returns home substitute an Israeli ex-army officer. Like our Australian armed forces your Israeli armed forces have over the years earned something of a reputation for battlefield gallantry; so an Israeli ex-army officer would appear to be a good substitute. :D
This is the real and difficult-to-solve dilemma of happy clappy states like the UAE. They are now talking about giving green cards to valuable workers (like Indian IT specialists and Lebanese entrepreneurs) and POSSIBLY someday allowing them to get citizenship.
This is something not infrequently overlooked. While they may claim to be heirs to an ancient legacy which includes the right to occupy the land of Israel (the connecting link being the Jewish religion) a typical Israeli Jewish family would only have (as of now) lived contiguously in Israel for one, two or at most three generations. That is a characteristic that Israel seems to share with the likes of the USA, Canada and Australia: in my books it makes Israel an historically young society of immigrants. This type of nation is usually quite energetic, go-ahead places having wholly or partly dispensed with traditions from the older "lands of ancient tradition" from whence their ancesteral immigrant populations first originated. I am inclined to attribute Israeli's much noted energy and success as much to that as to any other factor.

There are traditions that can help move a people forward and others that can hold them back. As you and others have been at pains to point out those of the Arabs seem predominantly of the sort that hold back progress.
I understand this problem very well, because Israel is also - in a sense - a tribal state that at its birth had a Jewish population of 650,000 only, surrounded by 50 million Arabs wanting to push it into the sea. How did Israel solve this problem without detribalizing itself to any significant degree, or absorbing a large Arab population that immediately turns the state into an Arab state, not a Jewish one? By mass immigration of Jews from Holocaust survivors, refugees from the Arab world, and immigrants from Western and other states who were drawn by Zionism. All of this combined with a high fertility rate. Today Israel has a Jewish population of 7 million and is as tribal as it was 73 years ago.
See what I mean by Israel as an immigrant society? :D

I find Judism a curious monotheist (faith? movement?) in this regard. The two other monotheist creeds, Christianity and Islam, both of which ultimately have their respective roots in Judism are both world religions each with over a billion adherents apice. Both have a history of welcoming converts from among non-adherents; even from time to time to the point of "overstepping the mark" and aggressively seeking these out. But not so Judism. There are only about 30 million Jews in the world so you are absolutely right in describing Judism as "tribal".

By that definition; it seems that while Christianity and Islam are both inclusive faiths Judism is exclusive - a religion for the chosen few only.

User avatar
dagbay
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:27 pm

Re: Syria and the West

Post by dagbay » Mon May 03, 2021 8:57 pm

neverfail wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 4:59 pm
Thanks Ellen. As usual I found your post highly informative; illuminating to read.

Ellen wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 12:05 am
"Regardless of whether the Gulf Emirates are politically "fossilised" or not, would you not agree with Dagbay and concede that these are in a far happier sitate than the likes of Syria and iraq?"

Nonetheless, the UAE has the same demographic problems that any tribal political entity will have once its population growth rate drops to near European levels, combined with unearned prosperity from a single commodity. How do you develop a country in a safe and sustainable way with a citizen population below one million, that is not fated to be much more than 1.3 mllion or so at its maximum level 20 years from now? How will the UAE ever build a diversified economy that isn't reliant on expats who are basically treated as servants?


You can't. Yet I would like to point out that even without taking into account the UAE's poor human capital base they would have more of a handicap than Israel in developing a "diversified" economy not reliant on a single gift of nature like oil. For one thing a dry, dusty desert climate imposes physical limitations against agriculture being a successful enterprise. Terrestially small and modestly endowed with natural respources it might be Israel is still several times better off than the Gulf Emirates in terms of its (non-oil) natural endowment.
How will they build a real army to defend their patrimony, not one led by an Australian mercenary, who could - in a flash - return to a truly stable and happy country like Australia? Why shoud any Aussie want to sacrifice his life for a tin pot potentate who runs these little, ridiculous Emirates?
When the Australian returns home substitute an Israeli ex-army officer. Like our Australian armed forces your Israeli armed forces have over the years earned something of a reputation for battlefield gallantry; so an Israeli ex-army officer would appear to be a good substitute. :D
This is the real and difficult-to-solve dilemma of happy clappy states like the UAE. They are now talking about giving green cards to valuable workers (like Indian IT specialists and Lebanese entrepreneurs) and POSSIBLY someday allowing them to get citizenship.
This is something not infrequently overlooked. While they may claim to be heirs to an ancient legacy which includes the right to occupy the land of Israel (the connecting link being the Jewish religion) a typical Israeli Jewish family would only have (as of now) lived contiguously in Israel for one, two or at most three generations. That is a characteristic that Israel seems to share with the likes of the USA, Canada and Australia: in my books it makes Israel an historically young society of immigrants. This type of nation is usually quite energetic, go-ahead places having wholly or partly dispensed with traditions from the older "lands of ancient tradition" from whence their ancesteral immigrant populations first originated. I am inclined to attribute Israeli's much noted energy and success as much to that as to any other factor.

There are traditions that can help move a people forward and others that can hold them back. As you and others have been at pains to point out those of the Arabs seem predominantly of the sort that hold back progress.
I understand this problem very well, because Israel is also - in a sense - a tribal state that at its birth had a Jewish population of 650,000 only, surrounded by 50 million Arabs wanting to push it into the sea. How did Israel solve this problem without detribalizing itself to any significant degree, or absorbing a large Arab population that immediately turns the state into an Arab state, not a Jewish one? By mass immigration of Jews from Holocaust survivors, refugees from the Arab world, and immigrants from Western and other states who were drawn by Zionism. All of this combined with a high fertility rate. Today Israel has a Jewish population of 7 million and is as tribal as it was 73 years ago.
See what I mean by Israel as an immigrant society? :D

I find Judism a curious monotheist (faith? movement?) in this regard. The two other monotheist creeds, Christianity and Islam, both of which ultimately have their respective roots in Judism are both world religions each with over a billion adherents apice. Both have a history of welcoming converts from among non-adherents; even from time to time to the point of "overstepping the mark" and aggressively seeking these out. But not so Judism. There are only about 30 million Jews in the world so you are absolutely right in describing Judism as "tribal".

By that definition; it seems that while Christianity and Islam are both inclusive faiths Judism is exclusive - a religion for the chosen few only.
Two small points
1 Jewish religion is welcoming those who really want to convert. The bar is set high. Some say too damn high purposefully to exclude conversation for convenience.
2. The stable Gulf Arab countries have on thing in common - they are all individual tribes. That's to say they are all relatives and the elders run the country. The Emirates are a set of tribes as much as they are "states" in the UAE. Now it is clear why they would not consider granting citizenship to any foreign workers. They are not family!
I'd rather be diving or flying alas for now I am on terra firma.

Ellen
Posts: 221
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:02 pm

Re: Syria and the West

Post by Ellen » Tue May 04, 2021 6:40 am

Judaism is a tribal religion, but one that allows conversion, with a high bar as Dagbay has said.

The reason for this high bar, way too high by any realistic judgment, are historical and perhaps justifiable in the past. However, in Israel today, they are no longer justifiable, in fact they are very, very problematic. 450,000 nonJews (defined by religious law, not ethnicity) live in Israel today as citizens and are not recognized as Jews. This does not matter for most things in daily life, such as work and personal relationships and even marriage. It also does not matter regarding loyalty, given that all of these people are part of extended Jewish families and are loyal Israelis, certainly not interested in supporting any Arab claim to Israel or attack on the state.

Yet, they are not accepted for religious marriage and in other ways are still stigmatized. This is wrong, and should be corrected. It can be corrected, by replacing the ultraorthodox as the arbiters of who gets to be defined as Jewish and determining that only by the most stringest definition will people be defined that way. This of course, leaves these immigrants and their children (if the mother is not Jewish) as nonJews. I hope that once Netanyahu is thrown out of power, which may happen very soon, the ultaorthodox will lose the power to make these decisions, and changes will be made.

Given the success of Israel and the hi-tech job opportunities that now exist in israel, literally hundreds of thousands of immigrants could come to Israel in the next few decades. Therefore, these definitions are extremely important. If the requirements of conversion to Judaism were as lax as to Christinianity and Islam, Judaism could grow rapidly to reach 10 million people in Israel before too long.

The tribalism of the UAE is of a different sort, like what you find in desert environments where tribes are small and very close-knit. It doesn't allow for conversion. You can marry into a tribe, but not convert into it. This means that these states will never emerge from their condition of being tiny, unviable states with a lot of oil, tempting invaders on all sides to try their luck. It's hard to imagine anyone wanting to protect these princes in their palaces. Certainly, the US government has now very clearly gotten out of this business once and for all.

And no, Israel will not sacrifice Jewish blood for these ridiculous princes. Even they understand that. A little jolt of cyber warfare here or there against Iran, maybe. But no spilled blood. They will have to find other mercenaries for that job.

Post Reply