About Scott MacMillan

Scott is on hiatus from afoe. An American freelance journalist who lived in Prague for nine years, where he also owned a restaurant. He is now on the run and was last spotted beneath a table at a pub in Dublin. An occassional contributor to Slate, Scott considers himself center-left in America but increasingly center-right in Europe. Writes Scotty Mac.

Multiculturalism vs. “multiculturalism”

I’m not alone in thinking that our last debate about multiculturalism was marred by the fact that nobody seemed to agree on what the word actually meant. The following bit from a Christian Science Monitor opinion piece caught be eye:

Supposedly [European authorities] were enlightened “multiculturalists” who respected differences; for many, the real reason was a profound discomfort with the idea of “them” becoming “us.” Naively, they imagined they could preserve their nations’ cultural homogeneity while letting in millions of foreigners and smiling on their preservation and perpetuation of values drastically different from their own.

Perhaps we need to distinguish between “multiculturalism” and multiculturalism?
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“Multiculturalism”? As if!

I’m going to barf if one more person writes that “multiculturalism” has somehow contributed to the riots in France. How exactly you square “multiculturalism” with France’s ban on the headscarf – and the fact that French is, officially, about as un-multicultural as you can get – is beyond me.

If you ask me, I’d hazard to say it’s a complete and utter lack of multiculturalism that had created the situation we have now.
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Islamism in France?

Daniel Pipes, a Middle East scholar prone to lambasting Edward Said, says that the French media is ignoring the obvious: that radical Islamism is behind the riots in France.

I don’t read French so I can’t check all his links. The theory fits in nicely with many people’s worldview (including, I suppose, Pipes’s), but is there any hard evidence this it’s actually true?

Scott into the breach

Well, I don’t read or speak French, have probably spent less than 30 days in France in my entire life, and I don’t tend to follow French politics much. But what the heck, here I go.

Of leading French politicians, it seems Nicolas Sarkozy has actually made one of the stronger efforts to reach out to the Muslim community…
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Sarkozy into the breach

From a July profile on Nicolas Sarkozy in Foreign Policy:

Stéphane Rozès of the polling institute CSA compares Sarkozy to Napoleon during the famous Arcole bridge battle, in which Napoleon charged ahead urging his soldiers to trust him despite not knowing what was on the other side. “Sarkozy charges ahead, begs his supporters to follow him and defy adversity but he does not tell them what lies ahead,” says Rozès. “In his mind, the movement creates the destination.”


The Hunt for Mladic and Karadzic

Today is the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. AP quotes the commander of EU peacekeepers in Bosnia saying “the net is closing in” on the two men responsible for the worst massacre in Europe since World War II.

Nice, except that’s followed up by the dumbest quote I’ve seen this morning (it’s early yet): “It’s a bit like getting Osama bin Laden,” he said.

No, it’s not.
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Nothing to see here but (more) death and destruction

I?m grateful for the thought (and the information and the links) that have gone into recent posts by my co-blogger Edward. I find myself disagreeing with him about only one thing: That the London bombing will (or should) lead to a major change in the way we see things, or to the West?s anti-terror strategy in particular.

I certainly don?t support aspect of Western leaders? anti-terror strategy, although I?ve been a proponent of a global war on terror since 2001. (I think the war in Iraq has turned out pretty disastrously, for instance.) So yes, I think something should change. I?m just not sure what the London bombings have to do with it.
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