That the Arab world is dysfunctional is almost a given if you’ve done any casual reading on the subject, a certainty if you’ve read seriously. Just how broken things really are and the impact of this phenomenon on the War on Terror is the subject of a speech I stumbled on last evening. The speech, given by Haim Harari, a theoretical physicist, is required reading if you wish to understand what the West is up against in the war with radical Islam. Mr. Harari lays some groundwork with the following observations:
The root of the trouble is that this entire Moslem region is totally dysfunctional, by any standard of the word, and would have been so even if
would have joined the Arab league and an independent Israel would have existed for 100 years. The 22 member countries of the Arab league, from Palestine to the Mauritania , have a total population of 300 millions, larger than the Gulf States and almost as large as the EU before its expansion. They have a land area larger than either the US or all of US . These 22 countries, with all their oil and natural resources, have a combined GDP smaller than that of Europe plus Netherlands and equal to half of the GDP of Belgium alone. Within this meager GDP, the gaps between rich and poor are beyond belief and too many of the rich made their money not by succeeding in business, but by being corrupt rulers. The social status of women is far below what it was in the Western World 150 years ago. Human rights are below any reasonable standard, in spite of the grotesque fact that California was elected Chair of the UN Human Rights commission. According to a report prepared by a committee of Arab intellectuals and published under the auspices of the U.N., the number of books translated by the entire Arab world is much smaller than what little Greece alone translates. The total number of scientific publications of 300 million Arabs is less than that of 6 million Israelis. Birth rates in the region are very high, increasing the poverty, the social gaps and the cultural decline. And all of this is happening in a region, which only 30 years ago, was believed to be the next wealthy part of the world, and in a Moslem area, which developed, at some point in history, one of the most advanced cultures in the world. Libya
That’s just groundwork. He goes on to describe how radical Islam fights its war, and what we must do to win. And have no doubt, this is war. Read the whole thing.
Feeling introspective? Here’s another one of those internet personality tests, but this one is a lot more “in depth” than most, given that it’s ten pages of questions. Don’t let the ten pages bit put you off, you can answer the questions in about a minute or less per page. I’m a sucker for these sorts of things, so I took the test. I pretty much agree with the results, although I don’t like the label the test designers assign to people who test like I do, i.e., “Independent Leader.” I suppose “Independent Leader” is more PC than “Over-Confident Recluse with no Aesthetic Sense Whatsoever.” I’ve been called worse.
You can take the test here. And if you’re interested, you can view my results here. I’d be interested in hearing about your results…either in the comments or on your blog, whatever works for you. (h/t: Bookworm, at her old site.)