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Cultural Sensitivity and America’s Continuing Crisis

Our relativism relating to Islam isn't winning us any points with Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, or here in America.

by
Abraham H. Miller

Bio

November 24, 2010 - 12:00 am
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The wars persist. Victory is as elusive as it is undefined. The spilling of blood and treasure goes on. We cannot kill our way to victory, and we cannot reshape the foundation of these cultures.

Our status in the world diminishes. For all the public adoration and media hype about the president, his last trip was a bust. The president couldn’t get the South Koreans to sign on to a trade agreement the Bush administration had previously negotiated down to the ratification. China hypocritically lectures us about the manipulation of our currency, while it buys up GM’s initial public offering and continues to buy up the world’s strategic resources with its surplus American dollars created, in part, from its own currency manipulation. In the Middle East, China is launching a unilateral strategic policy by replacing Russia as the new merchant of death.

And the Obama administration, having disengaged from Israel, has decided, in an act of consummate recklessness, to create a Saudi hegemony, to balance Iran,  with the largest arms deal in the history of our nation, sixty billion dollars. Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. This was the policy of prior administrations with regard to the shah of Iran, who was supposed to be the hegemonic power in the Persian Gulf, offsetting  then Soviet interests in that region. And we all saw how well that turned out.

So now we are banking on an aging royal family with the legitimacy of Weimar standing in the headwinds of rising fundamentalism, a family that has walked the tightrope of dealing with the West while exporting its own brand of Islamic fundamentalism to undermine Western traditions and institutions. We are afraid to confront them, for in our multicultural mindset one culture is as good as another.

The arms deal will require an increasing American presence in the Islamic kingdom, adding fuel to the fires of fundamentalist outrage. We will become a recruiting poster for al-Qaeda, and as we build Saudi defenses against Iran, we create an internal Saudi vulnerability to the inevitable war of the flea, the war of the guerrilla.

Iran is not going to fight a conventional war with Saudi Arabia. All Iran has to do is undermine the Saudis internally.  We are selling the Saudis weapons they will never use against Iran, but these weapons will become the means of the Saudis’ own destruction.

Our influence in the world declines along with the value of our currency.  We elected a president whom the world’s leaders do not take seriously. We are saddled with large unemployment in an economy that exports jobs faster than it creates them.  We are becoming Britain of the post-World War II era, but now there is no America in the West to step into the power vacuum.

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Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a former head of the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association.
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