There are some who would argue that the Middle East is criminally underdeveloped considering her inherent wealth and her long term population base. Compared to most countries within the Western World which have applied every possible benefit attached to stable democracy and the Industrial Revolution, it’s safe to say that the Middle East, in this context, is a dismal failure.
A region laced with ancient feudal warlords, and dubious sheikdoms - a region where more than a few countries were invented with the simple drawing of some lines on a map in the 1920’s - a region where wealth is concentrated into the hands of a few more acutely than anywhere else on the planet - it’s safe to say that in many respects, the lack of stability, the lack of economic wealth (outside of oil) and the general lack of safety which exists in the Middle East in 2003 is as much the fault of the residents of the Middle East as it is of the Western World. If not more so.
However, the resentment and spite which is so very evident in the Middle East nowadays is 100% directed at the West - as if every single aspect of their lives, and their inherent poverty, is somehow the West’s fault.
The reality is that the Middle East has had at least 1,300 years to demonstrate that, if they wanted, they could invent a better way of doing things - a better social system, a better form of goverment. But nah… only the most biased non-objective person in the world would argue the Middle East is a better place to live than almost everywhere else in the world. Especially if you’re a woman.
The harsh truth, as it seems to me, is that the Middle East, by and large, is a throughly backward place compared to the majority of the globe. China, Japan, Russia and Europe, North America, Australasia, India, parts of Africa, most of South America can all lay claim to being infinitely more stable, advanced and prosperous regions.
And yet, still, to this day, I have yet to hear even ONE notable Middle Eastern voice of reason concede these points. Nope, everytime, ALL of their troubles are the Wests fault. Every single person in the Middle East is a victim of some terrible consipiracy by the West to conquer and plunder the Middle East blah blah blah.
Yes… it’s true. Poverty, and harship are inarguably the most fertile soil imaginable to nurture and grow Fundamental Islamic Militants. Without doubt.
But I will also argue this… there are some dark forces afoot in the world of Islam - dark forces who are more concerned with ego trips and vanity than they genuinely are with the well being of their peoples. Such dark forces are happy, almost glad, to see the majority of people in the Middle East to continue to live under hardship. It serves their ends.
It’s true that the West can “help” the Middle East to improve herself, but her peoples have to want to help themselves first - instead of pouring ALL of their energy into a life of spite and “poor me victim” syndrome. And yes, I’ll happily concede that the Palestinian evictions by Israel after the 1948 war were, and remain astonishingly unfair and unjust, and Israel needs to atone for such injustices. Nonetheless, the Palestinian issue is an anomoly in the context of what I’m talking about in general here. I’m talking about the Middle East in general - with the exception of Israel and Palestine.
Most importantly, if you have a situation where generational hatred is passed ad infinitum from parent to child, such children NEVER get the chance to grow up in an “enriched environment” of peace, and goodwill. This is what we’re seeing now in the children of Middle East - the hatred of the West is now being “hard wired” into their brains from birth - generation after generation.
Regardless of whether the war in Iraq happens or not, we, here in the West, are going to have problems with Militant Islamists for at least another generation or two - such is the far reaching influence of the deeply ingrained social patterns of the region. And worse still, those dark forces I mentioned earlier are more than happy to hi-jack the peaceful religion of Islam to export that hatred - as evidenced by the bizarre and obscene bombings by militant Islamists in Bali last year.
In closing, I genuinely try at all times here on the Straight Dope Message Board to be ultimately sensitive and caring in my words - especially when talking about such hot-button issues as this thread - but on very rare occasions, I feel justified in calling a spade a spade if you know what I mean.