March 04, 2006


I've done several phone interviews over the last week, and you can listen to two of them in podcast format.

"Tom Paine" from Shire Network News spoke to me from Melbourne, Australia.

And Shawn Wasson interviewed me from Clear Channel in Florida. (Itunes format.) (Flash Player format.)

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 4, 2006 03:39 AM

Kurds are pro-Israel and America 100%, we dont have any reason to hide that or exaggerate it, as some asume in your forum.
Kurds and Jews have an old ancient ties from The babyolnian exile. Jews are the closest to Kurds genetically, in a study of Jerusalem university despite that Jews are semits and and Kurds Indo-europeans.

Thank you Michael for your nice stories about Kurdistan

Posted by: Diyako The mede at March 4, 2006 06:16 AM

Michael -

Those secular know it all anti-American secular liberals.

Diyako the mede -

The Kurds and Jews are most closely linked via the Y chromosome studies of paternal heritage so far. The theory is because Abraham was a Kurd who led some Kurdish tribes out of ancient Kurdistan before Arab invasion some 2700 years later to Canaan.

The fact that this is so however I would imagine little if anything whatsoever to do with apparent positive feelings Kurds may have towards Israel (or America).

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at March 4, 2006 08:57 AM

Congratulations, Michael. On interviews. On links.

On Watcher's Council selection (Beginning of Universe; maybe somebody told you there.) (They think they might need a new category for you.)

Yes on the book; even if e-book first; or later.

Sorry, but your printed words are better than your interviews, so far. [Tech issues: The first one, you don't start until some 3/5s into it. The second one fades out (iTunes on WinXP) after just a couple minutes.]

I sincerely wish Fox or somebody would pick you up (I'd guess you'd prefer CBS? or NYT?). Maybe the Chicago Tribune?

You're doing great work in writing; keep practicing on the interviews.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at March 4, 2006 05:40 PM

This may be slightly off topic---but I want to encourage our host to regularly visit Megan McArdle has a lot to teach him regarding economics. This subject is too important to overlook. Much damage has been done by well meaning people who are economic illiterates.

Posted by: David Thomson at March 6, 2006 08:28 AM

Dear Mr. Totten,

Those pictures are wonderful, I hope you will take many more.

Thank you for your beautiful work!

Posted by: Diane at March 6, 2006 09:16 AM

Actually Tom, if you hit subscribe on the second interview you will get the whole 33 minute conversation. It's one of the better interviews I've heard in some time now. Good luck! If that doesn't work, there is a flash link. And Michael, may I reccomend It is a website set up by one of the co-founders of Apple where you can publish your own material. Be it a book or CD, you can sell it worldwide and keep the lions-share of the profit!

Posted by: Jay Lindo at March 6, 2006 11:28 AM


Here is a bit of analysis from my international relations days. Oh, so long ago...

Anyway, I predict that Iraq will not survive Kurdish secession. It is my understanding that not any one of the three major powers in Iraq is dominant enough to ignore the other groups. The Shi'a are the closest with about 50 percent of the population. As a general rule, when there is a balance of power among three powers, the powers will migrate towards reconciliation. This is because no group can afford to have the other two groups ally against it. However, a balance of power between two powers migrates towards hostility. Any gain made by one power makes the other power less secure. Therefore, not only will the powers spend significant energy competing, but they will generally have a hostile reaction to anything good that happens to the other power. Envy, insecurity, and competition are not the natural conditions in which peace arises!

For example, the cold war thaw had its roots in Nixon's trip to China. There were many factors, but the detente strategy was an important cause of the thaw. Nixon noticed significant tensions between Russia and China, which was an opportunity for America. Russia could not afford to have China and America allied against it. Therefore, when America opened relations with China, it scarred the Russians. Therefore, they changed their tune from "we will bury you!" to "can't we all just get along?" (to paraphrase). A large part of the change was nothing more than a move from a bipolar power structure to a tripolar power structure.

The power structure of the Middle East may also help us understand why peace in the Middle east has proven so illusive. Clearly, the hatred between Israel and the Muslims in the Middle East is much deeper and has many more causes than the power structure of the region. I think, however, that most people and leaders in the Middle East see it as a bipolar world between the Muslim world and Israel. The power structure is, however, a significant impediment to peace help us understand why reconciliation between these powers is such a difficult thing.

Therefore, being tripolar, Iraq will probably move slowly towards reconciliation. This is not to say that this is an irresistible force and that success in Iraq is assured so long as it remains tripolar. But it is a fairly strong force that will make success more likely than not to succeed so long as the it remains tripolar. It seems to me that the two event most likely to upset the current tripolar power structure are (1) the Shi'a gaining too much dominance and (2) Kurdish succession.

By the way, this is not to necessarily express a moral view of Kurdish secession in and of itself. There is a good chance, however, that secession will be a bad thing for any of the Iraqi peoples. Do they really want a civil war on their borders? Would an independent Sunni state be easier to deal with than a Sunni confederate? Would an independent Kurdish state able to protect itself as well as unified Iraq? I doubt that anyone knows the answers to such questions, but doubt it is wise to bet the future on the answer being "yes" to all three.

Posted by: JBP at March 7, 2006 09:05 AM

“Clearly, the hatred between Israel and the Muslims in the Middle East is much deeper and has many more causes than the power structure of the region.”

Whoa, I can’t let you get away with this perhaps inadvertent falsehood. Very few Israelis hate Muslims. There is only one real reason why there is so much tension between these two groups: a very high percentage of Muslims are anti-Jewish. Israel is a victim and not an aggressor. The Palestinians should be among the most prosperous Arabs. Unfortunately, their hatred of Jews has resulted in the destruction of their economy. This is essentially nobody’s fault but their own.

Posted by: David Thomson at March 7, 2006 09:28 AM


I appreciate your comment because it gives me the opportunity to correct a possible misunderstanding.

To you point: I think you have read too much into that sentence. I did not really assert relative levels or original causes of such hate. And I clearly did not address culpability for the hatred, which appears to me to be the heart of your point. I merely identified the fact that there is significant hatred within the relationship and point out that such hatred has many causes beyond the topic of the post.

Indeed, I tend to agree with you that the lion's share of the culpability does not fall on the Israelis. (Note to any Muslim readers: That statement does not imply or state that all or even most Muslims bear culpability, that Islam is the problem, or any such thing. I merely stated that most of the fault that exists appears to me to be with those who have attacked Israel.) That does not mean, however, that there are not Israelis who hate their opponents. Consider, is the rapist more likely to hate the victim or is the victim more likely to hate the rapist? The rapist bears all the culpability, but both sides may feel hate. So I am not so sure that hatred and culpability are synonymous.

It would probably have been wiser on my part to use the term "tension" instead of "hatred."

Take care.

Posted by: JBP at March 7, 2006 10:27 AM

Lovers of Islam Unite! - Pancakes for Mohammed, peace be upon Her

Keep your calendars open for Sunday, March 18th, at 11 AM for the first annual Pancakes for Mohammed, peace be upon Her, Sunday Pancake Fundraiser at Dennys. This is a great way to raise money for our Islam saving cause while eating great pancakes. And remember, “Hold the sausage please!”

For those of us who are trying to convince our Muslim brothers and sisters about the true gender of the Prophet, peace be upon Her, come out and speak up and bring a few shekels to donate. Also, be sure and bring your best drawing of the Prophet, peace be upon Her. I propose that each group vote on the best depiction of the Prophet, peace be upon Her and pay for the winning artist to eat for free.

Now remember, drawing the Prophet with a bomb on Her head has already been done, so please, choose something else.

Posted by: ohammed is a woman, peace be upon Her at March 10, 2006 08:39 AM

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