Friday, November 11, 2005

part 8

Before we delve into further reasons for the Arab-American clash, let’s definitely say what it is not. Terrorism is not as some suggested a result of poverty in the region where extremism and fundamentalism can be bred more easily. Poverty may be a factor in the joining of some two terrorists the Al-Qaeda bandwagon but it definitely does not explain why a rich prince from one of the richest countries in the world, Saudi Arabia, went to live in barren southern Afghanistan and found many others willing to do his bidding and to follow him there. Poverty also does not explain the overall mood of Arabs toward the US in places as varied in per capita income as the UAE and Morocco. Poverty does not shed any light on the puzzle that vast majorities from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf are anti-America, especially when that region has the highest per capita income of all other developing regions. If terrorism was mostly caused by poverty then large swaths of Africa, South America, India and China would have much of it fermenting but that is really not the case. Anti-American terrorism is really confined to the Middle East. Another stated, but unsatisfactory, cause of terrorism that is highly connected to poverty is the level of education. According to the United Nations Arab Human Development Report, the Arab nations, while lag behind developed countries in education spending, are still the highest spenders on education of all other developing regions, including Southeast Asia and South America. So basically, the anti-Americanism in the Middle East is not caused by low levels of education and information but, perhaps, by the opposite, too many well informed Arabs dislike the US the more they learn about its role in their part of the world.


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