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Motivations

Reader comment on item: America's Know-Nothing Diplomacy [article]

Submitted by Alex, Nov 10, 2016 at 10:44

I personally suspect that the attitude Dr. Pipes identifies here has two deeper motivations:

1) A modern Western view of history as linearly progressive, as summed up in the quote from John Wolf that Dr. Pipes cites, "My lack of experience was an advantage. I learned that in the Middle East, people always tend to look back, and I was asking them to look to the future." This contrasts exactly with the "old man's theory of time" that Marshall Hodgson often noted in Islamic political culture.

2) Antisemitism; the men who Western nations dispatched to the Middle East during the Colonial and post-WWI eras were almost all raised as Christians, and I think they knew subconsciously that the Jews were the good guys, but desired more strongly to project an exotic romanticism onto Muslim peoples than to spread American values via their more likely allies in doing so. It is one thing to view history as inevitably arriving at progress and another to view the world in culturally binary terms, and antiSemitism (I suspect) was and is the vehicle for combining these two beliefs.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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