why Arabs are different (its not culture)

Steven Den Beste neatly summarizes his thinking about Arab culture:

Do the Arabs who became terrorists think of themselves as being victims of American foreign policy? Certainly. But they're not the only ones who have thought of themselves that way, and no one else seems to be doing it. Where are the Chilean terrorists? The Argentine ones? Angolan? Burmese? Vietnamese? (Surely the Vietnamese have a lot bigger cause for anger at us than the Arabs do.)

None of them are terrorists. It's Arabs. Only Arabs. So there must be something about Arabs which is different from the Vietnamese and Burmese and Angolans and Chileans, all of whom have been shafted at least as badly by American foreign policy without turning to terrorism.

curiously, right before this passage, he invokes the great scourge of the french-fry peril:

Have you heard of the great french fry peril? Consider this: every single convicted murderer in the US ate french fries before committing murder! It's obvious that french fries must be implicated in their crimes, isn't it?

Well, no, not really. A lot of other people have eaten french fries without descending to a life of crime.

which is really a metaphor for explaining the basic truth that correlation is not causation. Steven's argument is that there is something different about Arabs than Chileans, Vietnamese, Burmese, etc. and this is the basis of his argument that Arab culture is inherently flawed.

But Steven has disproved his own point. The difference between the Arabs and the other ethnic groups is that the Arabs had the misfortune to be the people who lived in the oil-rich middle east. As a result, they have been the focus of targeted, systematic, widespread imperialist and colonialist intervention of a kind not seen anywhere else.

The western powers have consistently supported anti-democratic and dictatorial governments in the Middle East for 100 years. The reason for this is because the Middle East is strategically vital to the entire planet.

That isn't the case with any of Steven's counter-example countries and therein lies the difference. Interestingly, there was a nascent nationalist and pan Arab movement that had its roots with teh Ba'ath party (currently ruling Iraq) and Nasser and Sadat (the latter of which courageously spoke to the Israeili Knesset about peace). To counter it, the West supported radical Islamic groups to act as a political counterweight (including Wahabism, which had the British empire as a sponsor at its outset).

Theres a lot more that could be said about this but Im already well past teh point where readers agree or disagree.

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