Mark Steyn: The Facebook Caliphate
I don’t know about you, but I have the feeling that Messrs. Morsi, Shafiq, and Abolfotoh are not spending much time on Facebook, or even on Twitter. Indeed, for a “social-media revolution,” the principal beneficiaries seem to be remarkably antisocial: Liberated from the grip of Mubarak the new Egypt is a land where the Israeli embassy gets attacked and ransacked, Christians get killed and their churches burned to the ground, female reporters for the Western media are sexually assaulted in broad daylight, and for the rest of the gals a woman’s place is in the clitoridectomy clinic. In the course of the election campaign, the Muslim Brotherhood has cast off the veil of modernity and moderation that so beguiled the U.S. State Department and the New York Times: Khairat el-Shater, the deputy leader, now says that “the Koran is our Constitution” and that Mubarak-era laws permitting, for example, women to seek divorce should be revised. As the TV cleric Safwat Hegazy told thousands of supporters at a Brotherhood rally in the Nile Delta, “We are seeing the dream of the Islamic Caliphate coming true.”
Today, we decline to export values, and complacently assume, as the very term “Facebook Revolution” suggests, that technology marches in support of modernity. It doesn’t. Facebook’s flat IPO and Egypt’s presidential election are in that sense part of the same story, of a developed world whose definitions of innovation and achievement have become too shrunken and undernourished. The vote in Egypt tells us a lot about them, but it also tells us something about us.
FP: Steyn is his usually astute self and has the West and the Arabs down pat.
Elliott Abrams: Peace Was Not At Hand
Here is Olmert, describing his negotiations with PLO chairman and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas:
I was within touching distance of a peace agreement. The Palestinians never rejected my offers. And even if on the thousandth time there are people who are going to try to say that they rejected my offers, the reality was otherwise. They didn’t accept them, and there’s a difference. They didn’t accept them because the negotiations weren’t concluded; they were on the verge of conclusion….The gaps were very small, we had already reached the very last final stretch.
This account is plain wrong.
Olmert may have believed he was on the verge of peace and “in the very last final stretch,” but there is no evidence for this claim—and all the available evidence suggests that at Camp David the problem was a Palestinian leader who was unwilling to say yes and sign. We are today where we were in 2008 after the Annapolis meeting, or in 2000 after Camp David: The most any Israeli government can offer is less than the least any Palestinian leader is willing to take. That is why the statements of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta last fall, telling Israelis and Palestinians to “just get to the damn table,” were so foolish. The gap that separates them remains a chasm, and bridging it is helped neither by demands for new negotiations that cannot today succeed, nor by fanciful accounts of past sessions.
FP: That Olmert is a liar and a cheat is well known, so that’s not the point. What is important here is how every Israeli leader ends up deluding himself that if he just overwhelms the Arabs with a huge concession he will be the “peace leader”. They don’t seem to be able to shake this delusion and realize that while they approach negotiations with the notion of a one-time final peace agreement, the Arabs approach it with the notion of a phased process, in which they pocket each concession as their starting position in the next phase, until they reach a position from which they can finish Israel off, their strategic goal.
Israeli leaders, including those on the right, and the West that is pushing them keep making this mistake over and over again, with the same results, and yet don’t stop. Failure to learn from mistakes is a dooming factor.
FP: No comment.
Group with links to al-Qaeda pledges to form new country based on Islamic law
FP: Does anybody detect a trend here?
JoshuaPundit: The Sickness Spreads - Spain Asks for Huge Bailout
Spain appears to be the next eurozone country to go under. Standard & Poor’s just slashed the credit ratings of Spain's top five banks after previously downgrading ratings on 11 Spanish banks back in late April. Moody's followed suit soon after.
Bankia, one of Spain's largest banks that was partially nationalized recently after a 4.5 billion euro bail out has asked the Spanish government for a further 19 billion euro ( $24 billion). One in ten bank accounts in Spain are in Bankia. It's an open question whether Spain can afford to bail out Bankia...or whether it can risk the social unrest that would come form letting it tank.
Bankia's rating was cut to BB+, one notch into junk status, from BBB-, while another bank BFA, which was already in junk status, was cut to B+, four notches into junk territory, from BB-.
Aside from an out of hand welfare state glommed onto by thousands of immigrants from North Africa and the Arab world, Spain has a serious problem with more prosperous regions like Catalonia being called on to fund poorer areas .
And Catalonia has just told Madrid that it is running out of cash.
FP: The collapse drags on.
Scott Johnson: Mrs. Warren’s profession
In the new issue of the Weekly Standard, Geoffrey Norman summarizes the story so far. Norman does a good job, but he quotes Christopher Caldwell’s favorable Weekly Standard article on Warren’s scholarship without analysis. Norman appears to take Caldwell at face value. Caldwell, however, was suckered by Warren. Warren’s scholarship is precisely as bona fide as her claim to Indian ancestry.
George Mason University School of Law Professor Todd Zywicki has been on Warren’s case for a while on the basis her shoddy scholarship. See, for example, Professor Zywicki’s Wall Street Journal column “In Elizabeth Warren we trust?” Professor Zywicki elaborated on his WSJ column in this video interview. Professor Zywicki has exposed Warren as an academic charlatan.
FP: I am not familiar with Warren’s academic record and I probably lack the necessary qualifications to evaluate it, but I would not be surprised if evidence validates one of my core arguments: that the academic education system has been destroyed by replacing scholarship and ability to develop minds with political activism and vocational training. The social science and humanities sections of academia today are populated by frustrated politicians most of whom are incapable or unwilling to take the risks of a political career and prefer political activity from the safety and status of academia, where they have a young captive audience they can manipulate. A few of them cannot resists the temptation and ultimately exploit their status to propel themselves into politics. Almost always they are the ones with the least intellectual justification for that status. Genuine scholars tend to eschew politics and politicians are poor scholars.
Obama is a politicians and here’s what he taught We Finally Have a Document from Obama’s College Years — Sort Of .
Daniel Greenfield: Friday Afternoon Roundup (READ IT ALL)
Bill Katz: SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE