In the Middle East, There Are Only Lose-Lose Options

On this morning’s translated op-ed about the European immigration crisis, our Arabic translator ritamalik left an excellent comment that is worth reproducing in its entirety. It has been edited slightly for punctuation and clarity:

I certainly disagree with you on so many levels, RonaldB. First let me say that I am an Iranian ex-pat, and I want to tell you my perspective on these issues as an outsider to Western culture:

As I have observed you Westerners now for close to twenty years that I have lived amongst you, I have learned that you are a people that think you are responsible for all the things that go on in the world.

You are obsessively solution-oriented people, which means you think for any problem that we have in this world, there must be a solution, and you implement various solutions to international problems that you see around you. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.

You also are a highly responsible people, and when even the slightest thing goes wrong, you are very angry and indignant about it and you quickly want to find the one responsible for it and punish him. You quickly look for someone to sue.

Being a guilt-oriented culture (as oppose to shame- and honour- oriented) also you are very quick to take responsibility when you feel (real or imagined) that you did something wrong and quickly start to beat your chests in a public mea culpa and engage in proverbial self-flagellation.

All of the above make you incapable of understanding people from my neck of the woods, and your and our tendencies have made a really toxic combination on the world stage.

Why? Because we in the Middle East are a very irresponsible and fatalistic lot. When things go wrong for us (as they often do) we never fuss too much over why they went wrong. We expect things to go wrong all the time as part of the natural process of things, and when they do we don’t try to find the guilty party to sue him. Analysis and self-reflection and making sure it will never happen again and stuff like that are highly alien activities to us.

Unless of course what went wrong causes us shame and embarrassment, in which case we will do anything possible to deflect blame from ourselves, especially if we have a hunch that it actually was our fault. We will make a lot of noise, give lots of excuses and engage in a lot of blame-shifting. We roll up in a fetal position and pretend that we are actually the prime victims of what went wrong, all the while knowing full well that we have caused the damned thing to go wrong ourselves!

All of that dysfunctional behaviour is highly exacerbated if there is a willing person (or country or culture) who is gladly taking all the blame for our behaviour on himself and has the peculiar tendency to totally disregard our role in what went wrong.

Now this toxic mix applies to the politics and wars in the Middle East and in the Third World in general in this following way:

We in the Middle East have a problem. For example we have a brutal dictator like Saddam. Then you see that we are suffering and people are being tortured in his prison and you wonder how you could help. Then Saddam invades Kuwait. You decide, enough is enough, and attack and free Kuwait, but you decide not to go all the way in and remove Saddam. Then Saddam, angrier than ever, lashes out even more at his own people and kills lots of dissidents and gasses the Kurds.

Now all of this becomes your fault, because you didn’t finish the job and didn’t remove Saddam. Then Saddam continues his bad behaviour and now he is even trying to develop WMDs. This time you say, enough is enough, and you go in and remove him. You offer democracy and financial aid on a platter to the Iraqis. Now in post-Saddam Iraq, Shias and Sunnis start to fight and chaos starts to reign, and no matter how much you try you cannot properly pacify the country.

So now all of this chaos becomes your fault. Everybody says that you should not have intervened and removed Saddam because even though he was brutal, he was keeping everyone in line and preventing Shias and Sunnis from killing each other. So now what do you do? You say OK! Enough is enough, we leave and won’t intervene again because we just made a mess. So you pull out your troops, and now what? The Shia vs. Sunni fight is exacerbated, and even war and chaos spreads to the rest of the region. In Syria you decided not to intervene and now ISIS has taken over. So now you assume that the rise of ISIS was somehow your fault as well. But had you actually intervened and tried to put in a regime that was a bit more manageable than ISIS, you would have been blaming yourself for having installed a puppet regime that would predictably torture everyone and make people miserable and want to leave their country. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t seems to be the destiny of any policy that you pursue in the Third World.

People are still blaming the West for not having intervened in Rwanda in the ’90s when 800,000 people were killed, while simultaneously blaming the West for intervening in Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere.

In all of these blame and regrets one thing is missing: assigning responsibility to the people of the Third World themselves, who are actually the primary causes of the chaos and mayhem in their own countries. As if we are passive objects that if you push the wrong button in us we will inevitably act in a certain way. The West was not at fault for the genocide in Rwanda! The Rwandans were! The West is not at fault for the chaos in the Middle East, we Middle Easterners are! We are the ones who have a bloodlust and long to shed each other’s blood for silly reasons. Your “failure” to stop us from destroying ourselves IS NOT YOUR FAULT!! We are a confusing and hard to deal with lot! Please get that!!

In dealing with us, the people of the Middle East, you have had, and will have one long series of lose-lose options. There are no win-lose options! None! When dealing with irresponsible and bloodthirsty cultures you cannot have good outcomes, no matter how much you wrack your heads and try to come up with a policy that would work and bring peace and prosperity to us. It will not happen! We are the ones who have to change and do some self-reflection and soul-searching in order to maybe… just maybe, learn to be a bit more civilised!

Meanwhile, all that I ask of you is that, whether you decide to intervene or not in our affairs, keep your expectation of the outcome low. Accept no responsibility for the outcome. Put the blame for the negative outcome of whatever policy you pursued where it belongs (on us!) so that we won’t have the chance to save face despite our countries’ being in an embarrassing mess, and feel like victims when we should be soul-searching. And, for the sake of anything that you hold holy and dear, please don’t wreck your nice and orderly and civilised societies and advanced cultures by taking millions of refugees, in order to save us from the mess that has nothing to do with you and came about despite your best efforts, that we have caused with our own hands, and given half the chance, we will cause in your countries as well as soon as we settle down here, or even sooner!

Thank you!

29 thoughts on “In the Middle East, There Are Only Lose-Lose Options

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if those from the Hope not Hate side of the Collective read those words and really, really, really understood the message contained within them and then actually chose to turn their own hate filled lives around.

    • Hope Not Hate and their fellow delinquents in the UAF are not interested in the truth. Al l they are interested in, is their own petty spiteful hated of us and themselves. They are sick.

    • Never going to happen. The narcissism is too strong with them. The socialist zombie army marches on. FORWARD!

    • Have to add my agreement, written in English everyone can understand–Churchill would have approved!

  2. As an outsider, I can only add “well-said”.

    I am reminded of the shock of recognition when an older friend of mine whose career in the foreign service took her first to the Middle East and later on, straight to Ireland. She was surprised by the similarity in the two cultures: clannish, suspicious of outsiders, and women were definitely second (or third) class. Men first, then boys, then women.

    Of course that was many years ago. I’m sure Ireland is a progressive utopia by now, what with being a member of the EU and having squelched the Catholic Church (with its French Jansenist tendencies,RCism did indeed need squelching). With all its current PC MC changes, Ireland must be a happy place indeed. At least it’s no longer a 3rd world economy, kind of not. Maybe.

    Like the other four members of the exclusive PIIGS , it teeters on the brink of Belgium’s bad attitude.

    • Hi Dymphna, you may for a long time not have heard of me but I check out GoV almost every day.

      It’s just that I’d like to correct you because Belgium’s behaviour on the international scene has actually gotten better over the past decade. Where a socialist regime wanted to sue Rummy twelve years ago, Belgium has over the past five or six years actively participated in the WOT with F-16s performing combat missions over Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

      Economically, we are recovering from 2 1/2 years of a socialist hiccup when in 2011 the general malaise between Flemings and Walloons temporarily brought the Parti Socialiste to power, but we have again a center-right government. Belgium’s definitely no economic basket case, to the contrary, it’s punching above its weight.

      There’s still a lot of PC crap around, that’s for sure alas.

      • Mike! It’s good to hear from you. I mis-spoke myself: my meaning was intended to refer to the Colossus in Brussels – that huge E.U. infrastructure. Its corrupt bureaucracy almost rivals that of the UN. That is not the same thing as BELGIUM at all.

        When you say it’s punching above its weight, are you being sarcastic? Is that a reference to the hilarious Danish compilation of all the times President Obama has used that expression when meeting with the representative of a small country??

        That is a short (mercifully short) send up of a president whose idea of leadership is to “lead from behind”. I still laugh whenever I see it. Besides “punching above their weight” he praises countries as “one of our strongest and closest allies” even as he insults them with his behavior.

        The “PC” manure to which you refer is caused by all those darn unicorns the Utopians insist on having around. I don’t know why these rainbow-hued animals are so central to the myth of utopian statism since the legend has it that the only person who can tame a unicorn is a virgin. How many of the latter (past the age of 14 or so) still remain?

        I just went over to your blog,

        It’s just as eclectic as ever it was. Glad to see you’re in touch with Tundra Tabloids. I also noted your sidebar snark – e.g., America’s most notorius abortionist now safely in jail. We seem to be morally blunted or, at the very least, to have lost the ability to make moral distinctions about abortion. It’s bec. we politicized it. That injection of polarized politics into every phase of public life is nowhere more apparent than it is here. And the damage is accumulating.

        Thanks for checking in. Please get on Twitter. I just tried to find you by checking out the VB account. Your wit would be a welcome addition to that “social” media.

        • Hi Dymphna, rest assured I check in on GoV every day and KUDOS to you and the Baron for the fantastic job. I can barely manage a couple of sparsely edited posts a week.

          No, re punching above its weight I didn’t think about that Obombo quote. For a country geographically as small as Belgium (around 1.5 times New Jersey) the economy is quite vibrant. I mean, nobody will ridicule Sweden’s, because people tend to think immediately about SAAB, Volvo, IKEA etc. Whereas basically all foreigners seem to think Belgium produces nothing but beer and chocolate. But Sweden’s economy is actually smaller than Belgium’s, and we do produce lots of stuff that’s not as glamorous as the above brands.

          I’m not on Twitter. Not on Facebook or Linkedln either. Tryin to keep my internet profile as low as possible. Belgium’s small, and full of jihadists. Not to mention the PC crowd, who would like to strangle misfits like me.

          Keep up the good work. May we meet once. Would really like to.

          As for the VB, they have suffered enormously over the past decade because of the emergence of what I would label a “VB Lite” party, N-VA. The VB lost many leading people and electorate because of circumstances and voter fatigue (too many people gave up voting for a party because they knew their votes were void anyway given the ‘cordon sanitaire’).

          Then there’s Filip Dewinter’s incessant warnings about the danger posed by islam. As Winston Churchill found out in the thirties, using a megaphone to shout from the rooftops that evil times are coming won’t necessarily make you the most popular kid on the block (not that I want to imply that Dewinter is of Churchill’s stature, and Dewinter himself would scoff at the notion).

          Then there’s the changing attitudes vis-à-vis social issues like gay marriage and adoption. A ten year long media barrage singing the virtues of gay sex and being brought up by two dads or two moms (SO MUCH BETTER than having a pa and a ma for parents) has influenced the minds of the people more than you could imagine. The VB is still clinging (like me) to the old notion and they find out they are not cool anymore.

          Last but not least, the core leadership doesn’t want to give up its pipe dream of Flemish Independence. Like I’ve been telling for aeons, Belgium is NO artificial country and DOES have some kind of nationalist subconscience. It’s too bad the VB leadership is mostly from Antwerp, the place in Belgium that’s furthest away (in the heart and minds) of our fellow French-speaking Belgians the Walloons. As much as I admire Filip Dewinter, he and his acolytes seem not to understand that not every Walloon is a Parti Socialiste voter. Big mistake.

          All these factors have contributed to making the VB a rather small party. Its going right now thru the desert. Time will tell if it ever recovers.

          Needless to say, I’ve stayed in it. Once I pitched my tent somewhere I’m staying put.

          Nite, say the Baron hello from me, take care of yourselves!

        • What moral distinction? Simple- if you’re against abortion, then don’t have one.

          You don’t get to tell me what to do with a non sentient entity involves in a parasitic relationship within my body. Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. Problem solved.

          • Not pleasant to hear someone describing a foetus as a parasite. Hope you never become a mother 🙁

  3. We need people like this author in positions of influence. She was clear, frank, and coherent, traits not possessed by our elites in academies or in politics.

  4. One thing that she did not spell out but seems to be implied is that we need to simply contain the Middle East. We need to keep those wild folks where they are, and under no circumstances should we bring them to Western countries (she did say this last part).

    Containment/isolation seems like the only way to deal with the Middle East. Despite all of the folk lore about a once great civilization, there is nothing there today to suggest that these people were ever civilized. We need to push them back into their sandbox, and make sure that they stay there. No more helping, only containing.

    This was an excellent article, and I agree with it wholeheartedly.

    • With the assumed permission of Gates of Vienna and ritamalik of course, I will do my little bit to help the ball rolling by cross-posting it on my blog.

      To the author: BRAVO and THANK YOU!!!

  5. Ireland and Israel share one thing. They both were royally mistreated and screwed by the British. So, it makes me wonder why the Irish are so pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. Of course Ireland now have 60,000 Muslims in the country vs. 3,000 Jews so they are well on their own way to the land of stupidity. Scotland is hopeless with the English leading the pack.

    • Ireland and Israel share one thing. They both were royally mistreated and screwed by the British.”

      And don’t forget the third mistreated party: The native citizens, who are being crapped by muslims with the elites enjoying the scene.

      60 000 muslims in Ireland only! Oh never mind each of the 10,000 imams will concubine 4 Irish pale ones and in 20 years muslims will 4 million with allah’s help.

    • Czechoslovakia learned all that it needed to know about British “honor” at Munich, which probably had to do with why it was so willing to sell arms to Israel around the time of Independence. Of course it had a large surplus due to having been forced to use its munitions industry to make them for the Nazis during the occupation. Thank you Britain.

  6. What is conspicuous by its absence is the mention of Christianity which is the sole reason for the ‘west’ being what it is. If you would read Julius Caesar’s Gallic Chronicles, I had to translate them in High School, you will find that the Celtic race was as dystopian as any middle-easterner is today. In fact, the romans only made matters worse when they relocated much of the French Celts (Gauls) to Phrygia in Turkey with the result of an Indo-Semitic admixture on steroids. Read Paul’s letter to the, you guessed it, Galatians if you want to see what Paul had to deal with. In short, the Catholics got to Ireland before the true church could take root and amplified the dysfunctional tendencies that were already present.
    What makes Western Civilization great is the doctrine of self-responsibility that is found in the Bible along with treating your neighbor as you would have yourself treated, the foundation of ethics, and valuing others above yourself. When those three ideals come into contact with socially endorsed irresponsibility, tribal chauvinism and selfishness, the result is similar to a matter/anti-matter reaction and we know how that turns out.
    The reason Islamis hate Christians, and by extension Jews, is because our ethos when lived out shows them that they have no excuse for their poor behavior. They hate the message and therefore must kill the messenger to have peace from the reminders that we are. But then, they are laying in wait for us without cause, as we have not done anything to them except exist. If they are not found guilty of 1st Degree murder here, they will be when they stand before the Great White Throne and the indictment is read. Sadly, they persist thinking that virgins await them when only eternal heat, darkness and torment will be their due. I pray for them that they may see the Light before it is too late.

  7. It takes a long time for history to unfold if the dominant nation in the world just sits back and watches. Isn’t it more fun to jump in like the Romans and force a few changes? What if MacArthur had treated the Japanese after the War in a passive–watch the culture evolve–manner?

    Half of me agrees with the author. The other feels we have earned the right
    to pave a smooth road–by rearranging some snarling dogs and potted plants–for history to progress. But I agree with minimizing expectations.

  8. Bravo! (standing in my chair clapping) Ritamalik, thank you for your inspired analysis.

    Reading this essay made me realize why Islam cannot possibly be included as one of the Abrahamic faiths. Fundamental to both Judaism and Christianity is the notion of a sin-of-omission. That is the belief that our Lord will hold us accountable for both things we’ve done and things we’ve left undone. It is this notion of a sin-of-omission that drives the Judeo-Christian West to always try and fix things, and feel guilty about things when it can’t. This is precisely what ritamalik is considering the West’s cultural flaw.

    But Islam seems to have no equivalent!

    The notion of a sin-of-omission is so fundamental to Judaism and Christianity that if Islam shared any spiritual DNA, at all, with either of them, this notion would have also come through in Islam as well. Since apparently Islam has no equivalent, one is left to conclude that at a spiritual level, Islam can’t possibly share any true heritage with the other two Abrahamic faiths.

  9. Bring on human cloning! All the countries of the West need at least one Rita Malik in the innermost circle of advisers on foreign policy.

    Ms Malik has identified with coherent precision the profound cultural differences between the West and the Middle East; and the malady that afflicts the West: we must do something to help these people! Western people naively imagine that cultural differences are merely about language, clothing, diet, social rituals etc; they are rather about mindset, the very way one interprets the world, emotionally responds to it and then interacts with other people according to it. Ms Malik identifies this phenomenon with superb acuity.

    Every Westerner in 2015 must ask themselves: was Iraq better off under Saddam Hussein than it is now? Sure, he was a brutal dictator, but compared to the murderous chaos that now reigns in Iraq (such as it still exists as a sovereign state) he was a paragon of stable governance. I knew an Armenian woman from Baghdad who immigrated to Australia after the fall of Hussein: her only comment on Husseini Iraq – a verdict that left me lost for words – was that a woman alone could safely walk the streets at night. Try being a Christian woman in Mosul and do that now.

    Hafez Assad was also a brutal dictator, but just maybe Syria needed such a man to keep the place from disintegrating into chaos. Is Syria better off now than it was under Assad seniors’ 30 year rule? Most certainly not.

  10. Glad someone sees the 3rd world the same way I do. Its the 3rd world because its inhabitants are dysfunctional, not because of any sort of Marxist tripe bleeding heart BS. There are plenty of peoples living in harsh places who do perfectly fine because they don’t have a fundamentally broken state of mind.

    I like Israel’s approach: Buy a really kick ass “lawnmower” and mow the “lawn” already…

  11. Rita Malik wrote: We are the ones who have to change and do some self-reflection and soul-searching in order to maybe… just maybe, learn to be a bit more civilised!

    It did not take war and extreme violence to pacify and civilise the Vikings – who BTW were just as violent as the Islamic world. It was the grace of Jesus Christ that civilised the Scandinavians.

    The Islamic world does not need doctors without borders, or more aid, more weapons, more anything. What the Islamic world needs is Jesus Christ. Only the grace of Jesus Christ will save Muslims from damnation in this world, and the rest of eternity.

    Please pray for the Muslim world.

    • DP111 – When the Christian faith became entwined with the state, it became something other than the original message. Christ kept Cesar and God separate but through much of Europe they were merged and the state decided how that original faith experience would be observed/celebrated, etc. Thus in, say, Denmark, your taxes go toward supporting the state religion.

      As the American colonies were forming, they were even then dividing into state religions. Maryland for Catholics, Massachusetts for what was then Puritanism and later turned into the Congregational Church. In Pennsylvania the Quakers were predominant but they did ‘tolerate’ others. And so on…The first Jewish congregation settled in Rhode Island but only because the Dutch in New Amsterdam let them in to begin with – no one else would.

      The Church of Virginia was a child of the Church of England. For many years, the only way for bishops to be invested was to return to England for their investiture by the Archbishop at Canterbury. But meanwhile Methodists rose in the western reaches of Virginia as circuit-riding preachers establishing Methodist churches – a rivalry between the coastal urban elites and the rural folk that continued well into the middle part of the 20th century.

      The founders were concerned, after more than a century’s worth of religious tensions, to keep a wall between church and state. It worked reasonably well, with the usual human frailties showing through. With the continued rise of Communism and other versions of statism, the inexorable push became to eliminate any church using the Constitution as a weapon. This came to be applied to social groups also – e.g., the Boy Scouts. Thus the new ruling from the Supreme Court is going to ensure that churches and synagogues will be forced to perform marriage services for gays, whether or not it violates those institutions’ principles.

      Jesus is not the answer to a question that does not concern Him directly and to attempt to proselytize the indifferent is just another form of “we know best how to fix you”. It would send us right back to the European solution of making the church an instrument of the state and taxpayers required to fork over money for their state’s church. The domination of the Catholic Church in Italy, Spain, Ireland has long since proved that power corrupts and can impoverish. Ecclesiastical power is no different. Look at the economic ruins of the PIIGS. Greece’s state religion has hampered it from thriving.

      It has long been my experience that “wherever two or three are gathered in His Name, at least two will be vying for power”. We need less preaching and more compassion and example while keeping our mouths shut about it. We need to end the special non-tax status of religious groups.Christians are not discernibly different from anyone else, except perhaps for the Amish and Mennonites.

      Jesus said that if we want to pray we go into our closet and do so. I think that’s a wonderful idea: gays out of the closet and religions back in. Poor gay Christians – condemned to a closet they were stuck in for so long.

      • You forgot Calvary Chapel on the West Coast. We have been doing the work the Lord commissioned us to do, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”(Matt: 28:20)
        Those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord an Savior take Him with them to where they go, and as citizens of the State, and Heaven also, bring to the State the blessings of their new birth that has them living for others instead of just themselves.
        Of course we cannot countenance homosexuality or infanticide, as both ACTS are open rebellion against God’s created order. But that doesn’t mean that we condemn those who participate in such acts, it only means that we pray for them all the more.
        Personally, the thought and/or sight of the acts makes my skin crawl. Neither bothered me until I came to Christ, and then my eyes were opened and I saw those acts for what they REALLY were.
        PS, Gay Christian is an oxymoron. Look up Galatians Chapter 5 and 1 Corinthians Chapter 6.

        • this is not a theological blog. Your words will reach only the already-converted.

          Gay Christian is an oxymoron to YOU, but not to everyone. Please leave the doctrine and dogma at a suitable website; Gates of Vienna isn’t one of those.

          I have my own religious beliefs and practices, and my own sexual “orientation” for that matter. But as Jesus said, keep it in the closet.

          It’s not up to you or me to countenance sexual behavior. Ain’t none of our business, though aggressive sexual declarations seem to be the order of the day whether the rest of us want to hear them or not. If their verbiage/behavior bothers you then hie thee to thy prayer closet.

          Gates of Vienna is not your pulpit or your prayer space. Future preaching will not see the light of day.

  12. Misplacing responsibility for others’ actions is not confined to the Middle East and not only to our time. During the 18th and 19th centuries, when the Indian wars were raging in the plains of the center of the US continent, many in the east of the expanding nation believed that the Indian wars were principally the fault of the white man. These “rosewater dreamers”, as some called them, believed that if only the Indians were treated properly by the white man, the Indians would live in peace. Source: Empire of the Summer Moon.

Comments are closed.