Empire Reflection on Rashid Khalidi's Resurrecting Term Paper

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Reflection on Rashid Khalidi's Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints, and America's Path in the Middle East

How does Khalidi frame his analysis of the current war/conflict in Iraq?

According to Rashid Khalidi, quite often the current crisis in Iraq, like so many Middle Eastern conflicts previously, is framed in terms comprehensible to the Western powers -- that of progress vs. fanaticism. In other words, representatives of the West and proponents of Western institutions and culture are depicted as advocates of freedom and democracy, contrary to the forces of oppression. Viewed as such, the West is seen as a liberating and progressive force contrary to religious and nationalist movements that would presumably pull the Middle East back into tyranny and theocracy. The West is rendered neutral, while representatives of native movements become non-neutral 'evils' and backward elements that are roadblocks in the way of a morally neutral good known as democracy.

This is a cogent analysis of how the United States became involved in the current quagmire in Iraq. The U.S., in its own self-image, but not in the cultural understanding of the Middle East itself, becomes a neutral force of democracy, while representatives of the Iraqi religious communities are portrayed as fundamentalist in the Western media and therefore evil, just as Saddam Hussein can have no support from 'good' progressive Iraqis. Little historical context is given to the region, either in the understanding of policymakers or in the terms the issue is framed to the general population.

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How is the current crisis in Iraq and Afghanistan related to other problems in the Middle East and Central Asia?

Term Paper on Empire Reflection on Rashid Khalidi's Resurrecting Empire: Assignment

However, in Iraqi and Afghanistan terms, quite often what the West sees as fundamentalist, these nations see as nationalistic and anti-colonial in nature, even by persons who have received secular educations and who are highly literate. The United States condemned and mocked the Soviet tanks that came into Afghanistan and called Russia a force of national liberation. The secular Soviets were then replaced by a fundamentalist regime in the form of the Taliban. But the United States made the same mistake in Iraq and used a similar universalizing ideology, albeit one of democracy and not of communism on par with the Soviets.

Regardless, the legacy of colonialism is more recent in the Middle East than the United States, which did not have major colonial holdings within the region, might realize. Khalidi points out that almost any citizen over the age of fifty in any Middle Eastern nation has some memory of the colonial past, in other words, most young persons' grandparents. This age group includes most of the ruling and powerful patriarchs of the Middle East, fostering a distrust of the West, Western institutions, and Western ideology, of which democracy is seen as one -- amongst every nation's cultural leaders and shapers.

Amongst young people, this memory of colonialism is kept alive within their own civic institutions such as the national school system, holidays, monuments, and all of the other types of cultural reinforcements that American young people are instilled with to foster national pride. Singing about liberty and the uniqueness of America is not something that 'everyone' wishes to do or does, rather it is a part of our own civic religion, and proudly proclaiming the regions' liberation from the West, is part of Middle Eastern secular and in some cases sacred rituals and institutions. Religion, in many if not all Middle Eastern nations, such as Iran is often equated with national liberation, especially as an advocacy of Islam is one of the cultural factors that makes the Middle East special or distinct from its neighbors.

According to Khalidi, what are some of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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