Juan Cole: Top Self-Defeating Moves in the Middle East
Juan Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. For three decades, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context. His most recent book is Engaging the Muslim World (Palgrave Macmillan, March, 2009) and he also recently authored Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
One of the great mysteries in Hollywood is how bad films get made. After all, no one sets out to make a bad film. And most major films are made by professionals with a proven track record, backed by savvy investors. But occasionally these film professionals make an “Ishtar” or a “Town & Country.” Not having a finished script before shooting is often a big part of the problem. Stars and directors who have gotten so big that their aides don’t dare criticize them is probably also a common problem.
The same conundrum exists with regard to bad public policy. Regimes that seemed to have some real successes, whatever their failings, can sometimes just start behaving in completely self-destructive ways. (Witness the US Republican Party, which has morphed into a strange combination of populism and big capitalism that does things damaging to the people and to big business, like refuse to lift the debt ceiling).
Self-defeating policy dominated today’s foreign policy news. To wit:
The Syrian government, having failed to quell dissent over a period of four months with its heavy-handed tactics of repression, engaged in heavy-handed tactics of repression again on Tuesday in Homs, leaving some 13 dead. Homs has seen demonstrations in the hundreds of thousands, and was the site of a 1982 massacre. Shooting people there is a little unlikely to calm things down....
comments powered by Disqus
- Most Millennials Resist the ‘Millennial’ Label
- Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers – and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting
- China military parade commemorates WW2 victory over Japan
- New documentary explores the legacy of the 5,000 Rosenwald schools set up by a Sears magnate and Booker T. Washington
- Rare silent Native American movie of 1920s attracting a lot of interest
- AHA President Vicki L. Ruiz named National Humanities Medalist
- Historians of Color Are Revolutionizing the Narrative of ‘American Exceptionalism’
- Henry VIII voted worst monarch in history
- The Fuhrer style: Historian says press coverage of Hitler’s lavish life fueled his rise to power
- Two scholars from UT object to the Texas school's decision to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis