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Total number of comments: 9 (since 2013-11-28 16:33:03)


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  • Parliament takes over in Modern Libya's First Peaceful Transfer of Power
    • With time, I think Libya could end up being a model democracy for the rest of the Arab world to follow. It has the oil resources and small population to more easily allow for stable governance, and it's not in a particularly hostile corner of the world.

  • Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others
    • "and their own sense that they are part of a larger, global, ongoing cause"

      What makes you think far right wing extremists don't feel the same way? Many of them prattle on incessantly about 'the survival of white civilization' and the supposed common cause that people who have light skin and European ancestors share.

    • Brilliant list.

  • Romney, and Aryan Racial Theory as a basis for Foreign Policy
    • I see what you're saying, thank you for the follow up response. I am curious about something though. You write that "Bretons are not genetically distinctive from the rest of the French, hence not a separate race." What, in your mind, qualifies as a separate race?

    • Thanks for taking the time to respond Professor Cole. To clarify, I'm not saying that race isn't a societal construct. In fact, I think it would be better if 'race' as a word wasn't used at all, as something like 'ethnicity' does a much better job of talking about the differences that exist between races.

      But ethnic groups, like races in their contemporary usage, have distinguishing characteristics that can be intelligently talked about. Your argument strikes me as wanting to ignore the differences that do exist. For example, the area of Western Europe that was Gaul under the Roman Empire and what is today France shifted from being populated by primarily Celtic and Latin peoples to Germanic (i.e. the Franks). The legacy of that can still be seen today with the province of Bretagne or Brittany, which retains a degree of Celtic heritage unique from France as a whole. In this sense, speaking of the Celtic 'race' or Germanic 'race' can be useful, though as I said above I would rather use 'ethnic group.' Obviously this is a hazy area, and I'm not trying to echo the sentiment of Tacitus' Germania, but I do think the differences and movements are worth talking about.

      Your theory that we differ due to your background as an historian couldn't be further from the truth. I just finished my honors thesis on the East India Company, where I traced its evolution from a trading company to a colonial power.

      Unfortunately article comments don't always offer the best format for this sort of thing, but hopefully my stance is clearer now.

    • Professor Cole, I greatly respect you and your blog, but I find your attitude towards race to be puzzling as well as self-defeating. You're clearly an advocate for more racial tolerance, and in fact for dropping the whole idea of highly segmented race altogether. But saying things like "There simply are no distinctive 'races' in Europe" while citing human origins going back 45,000 years don't strike me as constructive or very realistic. You've also made similar statements in the past.

      Races of people can have marked variations in appearance, cultural values (as a whole), and health. Some 90% of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant, something I actually discussed recently with an Asian American friend of mine. This isn't some intrinsic biologic trait of the Asian 'species' of course, but due to a variety of historical factors it is a fact. Health professionals also don't shy away from pointing that certain racial groups, like African Americans, are at higher or lower risks for certain diseases. And as you're well aware, movements of various peoples throughout history have also played a huge role in the fate of nations and geographic regions (e.g. the massive presence of Turks in modern day Anatolia). Talking about these massive human movements must invariably involve discussion of race.

      In my view, reducing the debate about race to the point of nothingness does little to further any substantive discussion on the subject. It also strikes me as having little to no chance of convincing people who are racist of your viewpoint -- they would, most likely, simply dismiss your arguments as being unrealistic and overly generalized.

  • Marsh on Obama: The Party's Over
    • I find this frankly to be a rather lackluster and unconvincing article. Yes, Obama has, overall, turned out to be more of a centrist than progressive liberal, and he's caved on some issues in a rather disappointing fashion. But we're also talking about someone who repealed DADT and succeeded in passing a universal healthcare bill that is at least a step in the right direction. And due to the marked right wing shift in the American political conscious, he's about as liberal a president and presidential candidate as you're going to get. What do you want, Bernie Sanders to run? He wouldn't even win the Democratic primary.

  • Britain Closes Tehran Embassy
    • I'm becoming increasingly worried that we have started down a path that will inevitably lead to war between the U.S. and Iran. The saber rattling of the Republican presidential candidates is disconcerting, but Obama has shown that he is not averse to military action if he deems it necessary. The problem is that unlike the successful Libyan intervention, Iran would be a can of worms that would take a lot more than air attacks to fully subdue. And going into Iran on foot would be a nightmare, given the country's geographic size and population (nearly 80 million).

  • Our News and their News
    • While it's true that Fox News does not have half the country watching it, it does have enough people watching it to make a difference. It's a very popular cable channel with a kind of cult following, and that cult following can influence elections that have close margins. Fox News, and MSNBC as well, also point to an overall trend of regressing journalism. We are returning to the days of yellow journalism and sensationalism that was rampant at the turn of the 20th century and the late 19th century which helped to push us into the Spanish-American war. Also, "your news" is far less popular and widespread than organizations like Fox News and thus doesn't really represent what people are usually watching. I hadn't even heard of KCRW until you mentioned it.

      I would also be interested to hear what exactly you would like Professor Cole to do instead of blogging and providing an alternative viewpoint. Should he be out protesting? Protesting is basically a waste of time unless it's incredibly widespread, and even in cases where it does gain a lot of steam, like in Wisconsin recently, it often doesn't achieve much (in the case of Wisconsin, the bill that they were protesting was still passed). Should he run for congress? Given his views on America and the fact that he is an expert on the Middle East, it's extremely doubtful the average patriotic (nationalistic would be more accurate) American would vote for him. Until something changes, blogging, as well as researching and teaching in his "Ivory Tower" about the problems in America and the Middle East is the most valuable kind of action that Professor Cole can engage in.

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