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They understand us better than we understand them

Reader comment on item: When Arab Politicians' Shouts and Whispers Contradict

Submitted by Dave (United States), Dec 2, 2022 at 08:06

If it is true that Muslim leaders know how to charm their western listeners effectively, despite not really believing what they say, then it must be true that they understand what their listeners want to hear. This demonstrates a high level of cultural awareness: Muslim leaders know how westerners think, enough to fool us, even as they publicly assert their actual intentions to their own people. They thereby fulfill General Sun Tzu's dictum: "Know yourself and know your enemy, and you need not fear the result of a hundred battles". They may still have lost those battles, but at least they get Sun Tzu.
Meanwhile, back in the West, confusion reigns as we struggle to realistically interpret Muslim intentions, culture and ideology. If our leaders had the same level of comprehension as the Muslim leaders do, they would be able to flatter, cajole and fool them as effectively as they do us. We would also have avoided all sorts of mistakes. Maybe we wouldn't have over-invested in Iraq and Afghanistan; maybe the Oslo fiasco would have been avoided; maybe our diplomats would be able to drop the platitudes and have honest and realistic conversations with their Muslim counterparts; maybe MESA would actually be useful.
We may have superior technology, but we lag far behind in many other ways.


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