Lone and Level Sands
By way of example, here is a conversation I overheard yesterday:
Among the timeless traditions of presidential election season is arguing that the opposing candidate is a neophyte on politics in the Middle East. As we saw in last Monday’s final presidential debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney are desperately and vainly trying to persuade voters that they offer two distinct choices for America’s foreign policy agenda. However, when it comes to relations with the Middle East, the distinction between them is practically nil.
Since 1949, American journalism on the Middle East has tended to concern itself with Israel’s security and, since 1979, political Islam. But these concerns encourage a shortsighted focus on surface-level political developments in the Arab world. With the exception of the Gulf oil market, the region’s economy remains a subject of neglect.
A trailer for the video first appeared on YouTube in July. I warn you, though, it is very offensive—and I’m not just referring to its dark depiction of Islam’s prophet. With its plastic axes, fake Santa Claus beards, misplaced green screen backdrops, and irregularly dubbed lines, the trailer makes “On Harvard Time” look like a Spielberg production.