We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
To understand the life-or-death significance of what the Pope does and says when he arrives in Istanbul, it is necessary to see this confrontation for what it is. This will involve some traumatic re-adjustment for most of the opinion-forming class in Britain. The first assumption that will have to go is the premise that Islamist terrorism can be understood in pragmatic, politically rational terms: in other words, that it can be addressed with the usual mechanisms of negotiation, concession and amended policy.
The most readily accepted version of this is that a change to our policy in the Middle East will remove the grievances that “fuel” Muslim terrorism. The Cabinet has apparently been advised that all foreign policy decisions over the next decade should have the goal of thwarting terrorism in Britain and that this should involve “a significant reduction in the number and intensity of the regional conflicts that fuel terror activity”. So Britain is contemplating constructing a foreign policy, specifically in the Middle East, that is designed to give in to terrorist blackmail.
Well said. Why is it so difficult to understand that it's not about "grievances"? It's just old-fashioned imperialism, with a religious inspiration. Phony grievances have been used as excuses to rationalize warfare forever. Trojan War, for one.
Editor's note: Speaking of the Pope visiting Istanbul, Tangled Web reminds us of how Constantinople "evolved" into a Moslem city. Yes, 1453 was a very "evolutionary" year for Constantinople: evolution by scimitar. You "evolve" quite a bit when your head is cut off.
Image: Yes, the Hagia Sophia, The "Mother Church," the "Church of Holy Wisdom". Visit it, before you die. It's worth the trip.
That's an interesting picture of the Hagia Sophia. The more compelling one would be non-photoshopped and would include the four minarets at its corners.
Anyone who discusses the Hagia Sophia is duty bound to point out those curious minarets and to point out that instead of turning the Cathedral back to its original faith, the "secular Turks" chose to turn it into a souless, lifeless, faithless museum. See Josh Trevino's impression's at The Brussels Journal at http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1708.