Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Shia Myth Part II

In his Washington Post column, Robert Kagan echoes my earlier sentiments about the uninformed opinions on the Iraqi Shia and their intentions in the new Iraqi government by drawing the interesting parallel to when conservatives during the Cold War saw all communists as part of one big, ''monolithic'' force.

According to Kagan, during the Cold War, liberals pointed out that ''Not all communists were stooges of the Soviet Union, as China and Yugoslavia demonstrated. And not all national liberation movements were led by communists. More often, they were led by nationalists. Then there was the whole kaleidoscope of the global left: the socialists, the euro-communists, the trade union leaders, the advocates of a "third way" between East and West. It was a mistake to lump them all together as 'communists'.''

Today, the roles are reversed: ''Compare liberal and journalistic open-mindedness during the Cold War, when the subject was communism, with the remarkable rigidity from these same quarters today when it comes to a very different group of people: Shiite Muslims.''

That's a pretty interesting dynamic. Read the whole thing.


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