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October 15, 2007

Dignity

I think Shadi Hamid's post situating the need for dignity as central in the decisions that states make is well worth the read. I don't think the retributive urge that gripped America after 9/11 was really the same -- that wasn't about dignity, it was about reestablishing a sense of control and power. Our treatment of Iran, conversely, has been so misguided precisely because we refuse to admit that their pursuit of nuclear weapons is, in part, a pursuit of international dignity, and if we are to have any chance of disrupting their intentions, we'll have to find some other way of giving them dignity. This may mean sacrificing some of our own, and letting an eventual deal look like some the Iranians "won." But so far, we've done quite the opposite, seeking to isolate and humiliate them, and refusing to even speak, as countries that respect each other would.

October 15, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

What makes Muslims so emotionally seek dignity is their inferiority complex, quite resonable and inavoidable. They can not come to terms with the sad truth that the whole of their civilization is ridiculous failure, that they never would be able to overcome this miserable state. They are not simply losers, but very bad losers, and no jests of westerners can heal this psychic wound.

Posted by: Sergey | Oct 15, 2007 3:13:42 PM

For a civilization to be a "ridiculous failure," one must assume that one is looking at the final endpoint in the evolution of that civilization. Someone in the Dark Ages who looked at Christian Europe and the Arab world with the desire to label a civilization a "ridiculous failure" would likely label Christian Europe as such. Present-centric analysis that pretends to be timeless is just sad.

The lack of dignity and the feeling of humiliation that Russians and Chinese earlier this century felt helped to lead to the rise of both the local fascist (the Whites and the Guomindang) and communist (Bolsheviks and the CCP) movements in both countries. The same factors, a national feeling of a lack of dignity and the embarrassment of humiliation, could be said of the rise of Kemalism, Peronism, Nazism, the East Asian developmental state, African socialism, Arab socialism, juche, liberation theology, the Latin left and other movements in their respective countries. Both Carter's malaise speech diagnosed this problem, while Reagen's "Morning in America" slogan was offered as a solution to it.

Posted by: Reality Man | Oct 16, 2007 3:48:38 AM

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Posted by: peterwei | Oct 21, 2007 11:40:40 PM

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