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Thursday, December 07, 2017

The Muslim Reformation

The Saudis and other monarchies (including North Korea) send their children to Western schools, where they learn Marxism. And in many ways Saudi Arabia resembles a Marxist state with a lot of welfare and political corruption.

But the handwriting is on the wall. George Phydias Mitchell perfected hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of oil and natural gas -- or rather his engineer, Nicholas Steinsberger, did. At any rate, fracking saved the world from oil despots.

The oil despots are not dumb. They saw the end coming. The Saudis decided to have Prince (everyone in the country seems to be a prince) Mohammad bin Salman, 32, bring them into the 21st century.

They already made peace with Israel. The two share a common enemy (Iran) and a bipolar friend (America) who flip-flops from trustworthy when it elects a Republican president to paranoid when it elected Obama.

Myron Magnet of City Journal had a good take on this:
“Wasta” — corruption, kickbacks, and cronyism — has long governed Saudi Arabian business dealings. Now, the kingdom’s economic crown jewel — Aramco, the Saudi state oil company — is headed for sale on the public stock markets, and the financial future of the kingdom and its oligarchs is on the line.
Sadly for the Saudis, Aramco is no longer as valuable, economically and geopolitically, as it once was. Natural gas from fracking has displaced oil as the fuel of the Western economy, with the result that OPEC (and, less critically, Russian oil) can no longer hold anybody’s economy hostage.
For the Saudi government, moreover, no longer can cartel-inflated oil revenues pay for the gigantic welfare state that supports so much of the population in non-working, gilded, state dependency. 
What can’t go on, won’t, said economist Herb Stein sagely; and [Prince Salman], as the new crown prince is called, saw this reality and stepped in to take precautionary measures before a rapidly collapsing economic order sparked social anarchy, with an outcome no government could foresee or control.
Now Magnet is wondering whether Salman will succeed.

History shows Salman faces steep odds. But the collapse of the New World Order under the weight of its own hubris gives Saudi Arabia little choice.

The good news comes from Thomas Friedman of the New York Times:
I was just speaking to a Kuwaiti banker who told me that Salman’s popularity among Kuwaiti women and youth on Kuwaiti social media is unlike anything he has ever seen. Kuwaiti youth are asking why isn’t anyone throwing their corrupt princes into a Ritz-Carlton or just a tent in the desert? Why doesn’t their aging and unimaginative ruling family have someone shaking things up like Salman?
We live in a populist time where people turn for help to billionaires. The Czechs just appointed a billionaire as its prime minister.

But this also is a time of Muslim reformation.

Magnet wrote:
Recall that the Protestant Reformation ignited three decades of ferocious religious warfare in Europe, laced with massacre, torture, and forced exile. Let’s hope that the Islamic version is short and mild, but conclusive enough to deglamorize the dream of terrorism not only in the Middle East but also in the minds of those Western Muslims whose cultural alienation has sparked so much vile carnage. They, like so many others, have nothing to lose but their ideological chains.
The embrace of capitalism with its secular approach to governance should accommodate the reformation quite well.

Besides, the Muslim reformation began in Iran in 1979 when religious fanatics overthrew the shah. So we are well into its fourth decade.

Friedman thinks going after Iran is a mistake, but he also thinks Trump is a tourist.

I maintain that is the only way for the House of Saud to survive.


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  1. And feminism sticks its nose in the tent. Reformation sounds great, but Islam ain't bent that way, imo. Kinda anti-thetical you know....western marxism/feminism and submission to Allah.

    Nope, it's straight up heresy in that part of the world. The Mullahs in Iran are going to win....imo.

    Consider what happened when the Shah of Iran two or three days the House of Saud is no more. So, reformation is a western device to maintain control.....and spread feminism.

    1. Keep a couple of things in mind.

      there really are a lot of secular Moslems (one is a friend of my wife) who have been drowned out by the crazies, many in fear of their lives. Salman may be the guy to break the ice.

      There's also the fact that Islam is like Socialism, it caters to people who need to be told what to do, what to eat, what top think, and what to do every moment of their lives. When it existed at a few isolated crossroads, that was one thing. In a world of instant communication, it may have a much rougher time.

    2. True enough. I've always thought that western porn was going to really cause problems....but Islam is designed to kill off surplus males in religious ways. Testosterone addled young men are the story of history. And then you throw in the promise of the victims and honey......the smartphone is truly the agent of ruin, right?

    3. It seems to me that had we not had a person like James Earl Carter as our president at the time, the departure of the Shah and the ascent of Khomeini would not have occurred in the same way, with the same negative results.
      (I just wish Carter had given away California the same way he gave away the Panama Canal.)

  2. Trump is no tourist. He's a handyman, and Friedman is a tool.

  3. The Iranian "reformation" was going back to Mohammed and his ways--not good for the rest of the world.

  4. It is wonderful to think that Islam could be reformed; but it's resisted any kind of reform for 1400 years, so that isn't likely to happen.

    Old Mo may have been a murderous maniac, but he (or whoever wrote out that farrago of hatred known as the koran) understood how to prevent any changes in the ideology from taking place, and that part works just fine.

    There are 14 centuries of proof. There are literally millions of victims of this cult over that long span of time. No end appears to be in sight, much as I'd like to think that there could be one.

    I'd love to find out that I am wrong; but I am old, and have learned some wisdom the hard way.

  5. The Sunni Muslim Reformation is exemplified by ISIS, not Saudi Arabia.

    Muslims reading the Koran and attempting to live by its actual teachings see things like Turkey's former secular State, and now the Saudi's shift toward secularism with their new heir apparent, and they are absolutely appalled. They recognize that those forms of government contradict the clear teachings of their faith.

  6. Islam has a harder time separating church and state than Christianity -- but when enough hardline Mullahs are hung by their not-quite-believers, it will change.

    Yet I don't see the populaces in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and especially Turkey going for more secularism. In Turkey, the reverse. Yes, in Saudia Arabia, one (corrupt?) anti-corruption Prince, with the backing of his Kingly father, seems bent on becoming more a Singaporean benign dictator with lots of modernization.

    It is already interesting, and will get more so, soon.