Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The truth, but not the whole truth
Fareed Zakaria says the Bush administration's rhetoric - lumping all Islamic opponents of the U.S. in one basket - is counter productive and that the U.S. should seek to exploit the differences between Shias and Sunnis, Persians and Arabs, and Asians and Middle Easterners. As he notes, representing Muslim opposition to the U.S. as a monolithic entity is precisely what the leaders of that opposition want. He's exactly right. But while his focus in the piece remains on how America's words play a role in uniting opposition, what about its actions? As Vali Nasr says in this interview with Jon Stewart, Hezbollah has made giant strides in its popularity with Sunni Arabs as a result of the Lebanon conflict, a conflict which only went on as long as it did because of America's complicity. And we all know how easy it has been to use the Iraq debacle to recruit and unite extremists. This doesn't, of course, take away from his point, which is well taken and perfectly valid.

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