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Fifty Years Ago

Reader comment on item: The Arabs as Seen Fifty Years Ago

Submitted by Peter Herz (United States), Mar 6, 2012 at 18:55

Don't forget that Americans in 1960 were optimistic people who had discovered the rest of the world "only yesterday", during World War II. They believed that Americans could do anything, from abolishing poverty in Africa and South Asia to building nations in Southeast Asia. Ten years later, there wasn't an "intelligent" American who didn't believe that Americans had done everything, from teaching tortures to the heirs of the Spanish Inquisition in Latin America to teaching corruption to the heirs of a Confucian Mandarinate in Southern Viet Nam and the Pacific Rim. In short, a lot of history happened under our noses, but we failed to recognize that whatever Marx and other 19th century European worthies might have taught our intelligentsia, there's no such thing as a "historyless" people.

But, let's also not forget that the rest of the world was also going through an enthusiastic embrace of the Marxist vision, much of which we in the States also caught. The ruin of that vision and the failures it brought to much of the Islamic world, not just the Arabs, made the resurgence of politicized Islam feasible and credible.


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