Ferguson, Missouri, to Gaza, Damascus and Sinjar

An online friend “Miss Marple” notes the similarities between the thuggery in Ferguson, Missouri and the depredations of the Middle East’s jihadi wild packs:

I read a book by the historian Barbara Tuchman [A Distant Mirror. The Calmitous 14th Century] which theorized that the Hundred Years War was caused by a culture that was adolescent, because so many older people had died during the Black Plague.

All of the nobles and rulers at that time were in their late teens and had not much guidance from older, calmer heads.

That idea has remained with me ever since I read the book, and when I see crowds of angry young men, whether in the Middle East of urban America, I think about it. Adolescent cultures react emotionally, are disproportionately concerned with machismo and being respected, act on impulse, and have no long-term goals.

I think there’s something to that. It is not, however, the only connection between the two places and events.

Obama and his policies -- on foreign affairs hopelessly naive and on domestic matters fashioned only for personal political advantage -- are also intimately connected with this havoc.

Let me explain. Most of us are by now wise to a few things about American race riots.

In the first place, the media has a template that shapes the initial reports -- a template as false as it is incendiary. The slain young black man is always initially described as an honor student and a saint and is pictured as a very young, presumably fragile, boy. When the truth that he was something of a thug comes out and that he was quite a bit older and larger than pictured, the damage has already largely been done. Political figures rush in to make fair trials more difficult and prospective jury pools are invariably tainted. So it is here, where the slain man hardly fits the preferred media “narrative”. Michael Brown was over six feet tall (6’4” in some accounts; 6’6” in others) and around 300 pounds.)

In the second place, the initial eyewitness accounts given press play are fatally flawed or contradictory. In this case, the first account is from Dorian Johnson, who admitted only after the police release of a video of the event that he was an accomplice of Brown’s in a strong-arm robbery just minutes before. His account of the cop trying to pull the 300-pound Brown through the window of his car strains credulity even before the robbery video shone a new light on the events preceding the shooting.

In the third place, what the press describes as “civil rights protests” and “vigils” are unaccountably held in liquor and appliance stores and the looting and burning of the shops in the area are by some mysterious magical thinking supposed to show the moral rightness of the protesters’ cause. In fact, they only harden attitudes against them.

In the fourth place, the press seems to think we’ve forgotten the way the Tawana Brawley, Duke LaCrosse, and Trayvon Martin cases which they hyped, and the Skip Gates incident fell apart under genuine, impartial scrutiny. Most of us over 15 are not so easily misled. (Indications from the continuing release of credible information suggest that this matter will follow suit in time.)

In the fifth place, Obama pals Sharpton and Jackson, and Holder’s community agitators from the Department of Justice, succeed only in stirring up hatred and fattening the pockets of the bereaved and their lawyers at the expense of both the black communities they infest and the community as a whole. If these people cared about young black men they’d concentrate on the overwhelming and soaring number of black on black murders and on reversing the administration’s economic policies driving these young men further into poverty. As the objective standard.com observes   

Even taking the FBI’s lower figures, the number of black victims (6,329) divided by the total U.S. black population (40,818,541), yields a murder rate of 15.5 per 100,000 population. And if we assume that the FBI’s ratio holds for the larger number of homicides reported by the CDC, that indicates the murder rate among blacks is 7,973 divided by 40,818,541, or 19.5 per 100,000 population. That is horrific


So what’s the source of the problem? As Publius notes, the problem is not among the black population as a whole; rather, it is due to a “small sub-culture that glorifies violence and lives and dies by the gun.” It is the gang culture, characterized by widespread criminality, tribalistic warfare, through-the-roof unemployment, extremely high rates of out-of-wedlock births (72.1 percent among blacks in 2010), widespread welfare dependency, and nihilistic art typified by “gangster rap.”

Of course the left will cry “racism” at anyone stating such facts, but such cries are ridiculous. Although skin color and genetic makeup obviously have no causal connection to this problem, a tragically large number of blacks in America (and many whites and Hispanics as well) choose the gang “lifestyle” or at least the broader culture that supports it. And leftist intellectuals feed this culture by promoting anti-value “art,” moral relativism, the entitlement mentality, and welfare dependency—all funded by forced wealth transfers.

While we are cataloguing the administration’s failures to the black community, we’d be remiss if we didn’t observe the foolishness of arming and training local police forces to act as if domestic disturbances were  military operations. The sight of armored vehicles in Ferguson and cops dressed like paratroopers should  encourage blacks to consider whether this is in their interest. Was the administration convinced that mobs of armed tea party supporters were going to riot and burn cities? What was their thinking? How much better we’d all be if those funds went to place cameras in every police car so we’d not have these divisive incidents spin out of control over and again.

There are some indications in Ferguson among the protesters that the hustlers’ shtick is losing its power to manipulate the black community there. There are also some indications that this community in Ferguson expects Obama to do more for them. I think their desires will be unfulfilled. Obama spoke out -- recklessly and foolishly from my point of view -- for Skip Gates and had to backtrack because his racist cast was too evident. Then he tried to generate sympathy for Trayvon, whom he claimed was a would-be son lookalike. That was useful to get black voters to the polls before the whole thing fell apart at trial with real evidence -- not that baloney concocted by the media-race hustler combo. He’s not going to stick his nose in this mess, I think, because there is no way it can help him to do so. His governing principle on domestic matters is solely, will this increase my drive to power? Nothing else matters but his self-aggrandizement.

In the Middle East, Hamas and ISIS share much with the rioters in Missouri. Packs of young men on stolen U.S. military equipment or white pickup trucks, looting, raping, murdering and showing off the heads and mutilated bodies of their victims have roiled Syria and Iraq. Hamas’ strategically ill-timed aggression against Israeli civilians using their own people as targets has caused major tremors in the Middle East. Obama’s reliance on Turkey, Hamas, Iran, and Qatar in place of our longstanding Arab and Israeli allies is fully exposed as naïve and foolish. Some older, calmer adults seem to be trying to clamp down on this disastrous turn of events.

In a stunning five minute statement read on state television late Friday, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, leader of Israel’s oldest and most implacable foe, called the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza a “collective massacre” caused by Hamas. 

It is just the latest signal in a tectonic shift in Middle East geopolitics that has been largely overlooked by Western media seemingly still committed to building upon its decades-old narrative that Israel remains the united enemy of the Arab world.

In the 75-year history of conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East, no state has been more consistently intransigent against the very notion of a sovereign Jewish presence in the region than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, founded by Abdullah’s grandfather, Ibn Saud, in 1923.


Saudi Arabia’s now open disavowal of any common cause with Hamas reinforces an emerging and wholly improbable new alliance uniting every Arab state save Qatar together with Israel and against the United States.

As remarkable as was King Abdullah’s statement by itself, it pales in comparison with the transformation of the relationship between Egypt and Israel. From cold no-belligerents under President Mubarak, to near antagonists under the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi, today Israel and Egypt are tightly cleaved military allies.


Unlike President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, the guardian of Islam’s holy places and thus the putative leader of the entire Muslim world, King Abdullah did not call upon Israel to meet any Hamas demands. He made no calls for “opening up border passages” between Gaza and Israel/Egypt -- thought by many to be the primary strategic objective of Hamas’ war. 

Yes, these Arab regimes are insecure and seeking to protect their own interests. But it’s also true that the foolish policies of the administration have unleashed these out-of-control young men. The conduct of these monsters, fueled by radical leaders who have led them to believe this murderous conduct is morally justified, has required Arab states outside of Qatar to try to exert some adult supervision of their own.