You can say the Islam of ISIS is a perversion of the teachings of Muhammad, just as you can say the Inquisition and the Crusades were a perversion of the teachings of Jesus, or that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin was a perversion of the teachings of the Torah. You can say the Islam of ISIS is fundamentalist and extreme, just as you can say the Christianity that supports Israel to hasten the arrival of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ is fundamentalist and extreme, or that the Judaism that supports replacing the Al-Aqsa Mosque with the Third Temple to hasten the arrival of the Messiah is fundamentalist and extreme. But what you cannot say is that the jihadism of the butchers of Paris, Beirut and Sharm el-Sheikh is a consequence of their concluding that Allah is dead, which is what calling them nihilists would mean.Read More
Pascal Bruckner is an esteemed French novelist, essayist and philosopher. Moreover—and decidedly rare among French intellectuals—he is pro-American. He taught for a year at U.C. San Diego, and is a frequent visitor to this country. He recently wrote to an American friend, “If anything tragic comes from the enemies of the West, let us say Russia or ISIS, we will be very happy to be sheltered by the American umbrella as we were in 1917, 1944, and 1948 during the Cold War.”Read More »
Germany is now realising that it cannot make such an apparently open-ended offer, so is pressing hard for other EU countries to share the burden through some sort of mandatory quota system. Poland, Hungary and some other states are resisting. They have spent long decades if not centuries grappling to assert their national and linguistic identity under different imperial powers, and are determined not to see their hard-won independence eroded.Read More »
Contrary to a generosity of spirit in America, both our political parties have shown disdain for the underdog in foreign policy, kicking them in the teeth when empathy might be more in character. Bipartisan annoyance at the suffering of foreigners seems to twin our Left and Right.
Faced with the slaughter of a million Biafrans in 1967-70, Lyndon Johnson sided forcefully with Nigeria’s central government, saying of the Biafrans, “Get those [n…] children off my television set.”Read More »
There wasn’t much to do in Brazzaville in 1980. The little People’s Republic of the Congo faces the immense Zaire (the other, capitalist “Congo”), its capital Kinshasa visible in the distance
across the mighty Congo River.
I was supposed to be teaching English at the Université Marien Ngouabi, which disdainful expats called “Le Lycée…”Read More »
It went like this: a smile, a business card, and a camera. With these three WMDs we faced down an armed police squad and ran them off a property they had invaded.
Yaoundé, 2006. Jim (not his real name) had picked Cameroon off the internet and came on a one-way trip to perform a religious mission.Read More »
In a world of metastasizing injustices, Denmark would be one of the last places to get a red flag for public policy abuse.
Still, the Danish Supreme Court stepped in it June 3 in a case against Bent Jensen, who conveyed declassified records into a publication in 2007. The outcome has Danish writers and publishers running for cover.Read More »
“…every other real or imagined candidate felt compelled to jump in with their response to what they would have decided twelve years ago based on what we knew then or what we know now or what we thought we knew then or think we know now but didn’t know then.”Read More »