August 4, 2007

It's time to ignore the Middle East

Western analysts are forever bleating about the strategic importance of the middle east. But despite its oil, this backward region is less relevant than ever, and it would be better for everyone if the rest of the world learned to ignore it.

So says Edward Lattwak, who presents a compelling case, in one short essay.

When you consider the column inches devoted to all things middle east, including oil, terrorism, global threats, cultural clashes, alleged repression and dispossession, supposed burgeoning military might, and on and on it goes, Lattwak makes it all look
anencephalous and anfractuous .

His lucid thoughts beg the question why politicians, of all hues, the world over are so cringingly and persistently stupid in relation to the middle east.

The Middle of Nowhere ...


  1. Anonymous7:31 PM

    Excellent article.

    There is something sinister about the degree of attention the middle east gets given its relative significance. I have long thought that. Is Israel/Palestine really worth about 60% of the UN's time and resources?

    I wish somebody would explain to me why.

  2. It's a wonderfully sobering essay Geoff.

    I've never believed the bunkum about the military might of the middle east, actual or potential, and it's nothing but a bad joke when you read Lattwak's summation of the truth.

    As for the oil, well, when placed in perspective, the middle east needs the west (and the USA in particular) almost more than we need their oil. They pretty much have no economy other than oil, they'd be a bit stuffed without customers.

    Only 4% of global GDP comes from the whole of the region. Can't believe it's so low. You wouldn't guess it by all the fuss and bluster.

    "The middle east was once the world's most advanced region, but these days its biggest industries are extravagant consumption and the venting of resentment.

    Indeed. We should leave them to it.

  3. What if the Hamas threatened to hold their breath? Should we keep on ignoring the middle east anyway?

    Not that I am advocating such drastic procedures as a method of diplomacy. But who knows what an organisation like Hamas is capable of?

  4. Hmm, depends what shade of blue they turn.

    Persian blue, la maison bleue, peafowl, ulysses butterfly, alaska sky, cobalt, or some other garden variety blue?

    See, they would really need to hold their breath in such a manner as to provide a shade of blue that pushes the envelope, something that can be used next season for everything from kitchen splash backs to baby crocodile Prada handbags.

    Otherwise we would have no choice but to ignore them.