Saint Paul

September is in many ways the start of the year, despite the astronomical convention. At least in the northern hemisphere, where all the major economic and military blocks are situated.

And this year September has undoubtedly started with a bang. Several of them, in fact. The murder mystery of the Englishman who came from Iraq continues, as both Poirot and Miss Marple investigate,  now the hue and cry has died down. And Islam and the Crusaders (sounds like a bad band) continue at loggerheads, this time over an asinine movie called Innocence of Muslims.

I thought it was important to watch a little of this triumph of the seventh art, but a little was more than enough. This is a film with no plot, appalling acting, and pathetic production. It does seem that its only purpose is to instigate hatred. And in that it has succeeded beyond the perpetrators’ wildest dreams.

Any piece of propaganda that has secured the death of the American ambassador to Libya, motivated an attack on Camp Bastion, riots and deaths in Cairo, Tunis, and Amman, and brought out the U.S. Aegis missile fleet, must be declared a winner. All in all, a heavy price to pay for the first amendment, but if you exclude utter stupidity as the motivation for this film, why make it?

One possibility is that with U.S. elections fifty-five days away, this could well be a game-changer. Obama is suddenly facing a major foreign policy crisis, where lunatics in a number of countries which the U.S. recently helped are busy burning flags and storming embassies. If the film had been made in Israel, it would have been another act in the Israeli-Arab play. By portraying this as an American movie, albeit with an Israeli-American director, the pickings have been rich indeed. Reichsminister Goebbels would be proud!

The current prime minister of Israel has already declared his support for the Grand Old Party—relations with Obama were always strained. A nice bit of Mid-East chaos, seasoned with a few high profile deaths, might be just the ticket. The exposure this movie got is remarkable. Someone was keen to provide a translation into Arabic. Many actors have American accents (not the donkey). This is people politics at its best, in the worst possible fashion.

The streaker, a species that like Lehman Bros., is no longer with us, threatens Judaico-Christian moral values in Hong-Kong. Any image can be a provocation if you’re gullible enough. Unfortunately in this case it’s just some poor fellow displaying his shortcomings.

The interesting aspect is that Islamic extremism and right-wing Israeli politics are well matched, particularly when seasoned with some of the more radical ideas of the Republican ticket. And now Paul Ryan is part of the team, the radical world view is front and center. That film director is too stupid to have thought this up himself, but whoever did must be smiling. Through blood-stained teeth.

If Ryan and Romney win (because that’s the real order of business), it will be a very different America, which necessarily means it will be a very different world. Within the U.S., Ryan represents a hard line view on abortion, under any circumstances, and his position on budgetary support for the underprivileged has placed him under fire from Catholic groups. In business, which has pumped a king’s ransom into the overthrow of Obama, we can look forward to the same wildcat capitalism that brought the world to its knees in 2008.

Today is in fact the fourth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. In my new book, for which I’m currently seeking representation, it marks the start of an era, where America is poised to elect a black president. The story largely hinges on the Mid-East, and on America’s oil habit, currently at nineteen million barrels a day.

The government official, an undersecretary in the Defense Ministry, raised his champagne flute. He suspected that this materiel would be put to use against the Americans.
“The US supported Savimbi and UNITA in the independence war,” the MPLA man said.
“That is another war they lost.”
The two opposing liberation movements fought a bitter civil war of twenty years, which ended when the charismatic head of UNITA, a member of the rival Ovimbundu tribe, was murdered in a covert operation.
The arms dealer looked over at Khaled, noticing the long scar for the first time, and laughed broadly.
“I do not like Americans.”
“Who does?” said the Saudi coldly, raising his glass.

I think the last lines sum up the whole issue. No matter how much America does to promote the values of freedom in the Mid-East, to the extent that a Muslim Brotherhood president now sits in office in Egypt, after the U.S. helped replace their long-term ally Mubarak in the name of democracy, there is no empathy.

The India Road QR links for smartphones: point your camera and click.

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