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Rubin Reports

Who Is the ‘Imperialist Tool’ in the Middle East?

March 6th, 2013 - 1:20 pm

Let’s examine claims from the radical academia currently hegemonic in North America and Europe. What is fascinating is that a well-informed observer can easily demolish such claims. That’s precisely why such people are not being trained today and those who do exist must be discredited or ignored to keep students (and the general public) relatively ignorant.

To paraphrase George Santayana’s famous statement, those who fail to learn from history make fun of those who do.

I know that the situation has become far worse in recent years, having vivid memories of how my two main Middle East studies professors — both Arabs, both anti-Israel, and one of them a self-professed Marxist — had contempt for Edward Said and the then new, radical approach to the subject. At one graduate seminar, the students — every single one of them hostile to Israel but not, as today is often the case, toward America — literally broke up in laughter pointing out the fallacies in Said’s Orientalism. Today, no one would dare talk that way, it would be almost heresy.

Let me now take a single example of the radical approach so common today and briefly explain how off-base it is. I won’t provide detailed documentation here but could easily do so.

The question is: Who in the Middle East was the tool of imperialism? Most likely the professors and their students, at least their graduate student acolytes, would respond: Israel. Not at all.

Before and During World War One

It can be easily documented that the French subsidized and encouraged Arab nationalism before the war and during it the British took over, sponsoring the Arab nationalist revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Before the war, Islamism was sponsored by the Ottoman Empire in order to keep control over the region and battle Arab nationalism. For their part, the Germans sided with the Ottomans and encouraged Islamism.

What about Zionism? The British did not issue the Balfour Declaration, supporting a Jewish national home, because they saw Zionism as a useful tool in their long-term Middle East policy. In fact, they were interested in mobilizing Jewish support elsewhere, specifically to get American Jews to support the United States entering the war on Britain’s side and to have Russian Jews support keeping that country in the war. Both efforts did not have much effect. At any rate, long-term British policy always saw maximizing Arab support as its priority.

Post-World War One

While having promised Jews a national home, British policy soon turned away from supporting Zionism and certainly from backing a Jewish state, even by the early 1920s, realizing that having the Arabs as clients was a far more valuable prize. It was through local Arab elites that the British built their imperial position in the region. The French toyed a bit with Arab nationalism as a way to undermine British rule but also backed Arab elites. The new Soviet Union actually sponsored Islamism for several years as a way of undermining both the British and French in the region.

The only exception was T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and a few other visionaries who thought that both Arab nationalism and Zionism could co-exist under British sponsorship. That concept didn’t last very long and had no policy influence beyond the early 1920s at most.

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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What we have here is a severe lack of leadership, the roots of which lies in stupidity. With knowledge, a willingness to learn and flexibility, ignorance can be cured, but stupidity is a terminal disease. Stupidity is the foundation of failed ideologies. I just wonder how many people have to die before this plague can be beaten.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What happened to the Arab Revolt?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Who Is the ‘Imperialist Tool’ in the Middle East?"

Yes, indeed, that would be The Academy [sniff!] -- Oh! Look at them puff, and strut, and wave, and bounce off one another like Monty Python clip-art. ... And still we pay their absurd salaries. Shame on us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Who Is the ‘Imperialist Tool’ in the Middle East?"

Ans: The United States of America.

Source: Barack Hussein Obama.

Do I win? What's the prize?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Western policy wonks always forget that the enemy of my enemy is only my enemy's enemy, not my friend. It is interesting to read memoirs by British and American officials who thought they were so clever in using the locals only to find themselves being used instead. I wonder if the Hashemites have a manual or primer out on how to outwit the imperialists and obtain countries for free.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ah!... Hashim, great-grandfather of Muhammad (May the Goat's breath be upon him). Gee, I dunno. How does one obtain countries for free? I'm just curious because it could take care of my retirement needs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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