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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

al-Qaeda’

Topless FEMEN: who’s exploiting who?

You might have missed it in all the intense media coverage of Margaret Thatcher’s death this Monday but 5 FEMEN activists sure upset Vladimir Putin on his visit with Angela Merkel to an industrial fair in Hanover. With “Fuck you, dictator!” scrawled across their bare breasts, they chanted the same slogan as they rushed at him – only to be bundled away by the security men. Although he claimed afterwards to have been amused by the protest, according to the leader of the protest, Inna Shevchenko, writing in The Guardian 2 days later, the Russian president was furious and demanded the Germans prosecute the protestors. What a great excuse FEMEN provide to feature a picture of an attractive woman with bare breasts on my Blog – all in the name of serious sociopsychological commentary! What a great excuse for the tabloids – including those who have supposedly turned their back on Page 3 girls – to include pictures of pretty topless women in their news pages! FEMEN, the radical Feminist group who have staged topless protests at key events, including a mass by Pope Benedict in November 2011, Euro 2012 and the London Olympics, have certainly gained considerable coverage in the… Read More

‘Radical Islam’ and the Return of Tony Blair

Wow, Tony Blair sure is back in the news in a BIG way! First the Gordon Brown-bashing memoirs, then having eggs and shoes thrown at him in Dublin on Saturday and being a star guest yesterday on the inaugural showing of the new breakfast programme, Daybreak. And, of course, in the Sunday Telegraph both he and Brown were bashed by former Chief of the General Staff General Sir Richard Dannatt for failing to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq adequately. (Dannatt was in uncompromising mood, blaming Blair and Brown explicitly and personally for needless deaths.) Perhaps the most interesting set of comments to emerge from the seemingly endless round of interviews the former prime minister has conducted were those to do with ‘radical Islam’ and the threat that would be posed by a nuclear Iran. Talking about radical Islam in general, he described it to ABC News as “…the religious or cultural equivalent of [Communism] and its roots are deep, its tentacles are long and its narrative about Islam stretches far further than we think into even parts of mainstream opinion who abhor the extremism but sort of buy some of the rhetoric that goes with it.” Blair told the… Read More

Why is the West ignoring a Leading Moderate Muslim?

Are Western leaders and the Western media missing a critical opportunity to exacerbate the divisions in our Muslim communities, between the minority who advocate the use of terrorism to achieve the establishment of an Islamic hegemony and the majority who do not support such tactics and may even abhor them…? For about 5 hours on 2 March it was hot news: Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a leading Islamic scholar, had issued a detailed 605-page fatwa against suicide bombings and terrorism. He said that terrorism cannot be justified under any pretext through allusion to any real or alleged instances of injustice and there is no space for terrorism in Islam. He regretted the fact that the Islamic teachings, which are based on love, peace and welfare, are being manipulated and quoted out of context to serve the designs of vested interests (such as al-Qaeda). He said that Islam spelled out a clear code of conduct during the course of war and gave complete protection to non-combatants including women, the old, children, etc – with trading centres, schools, hospitals and places of worship deemed to be ‘safe places’. Ul-Qadri’s fatwa is far from being the first to condemn terrorism. As a reaction to 9/11, just days… Read More

Why We must win in Afghanistan

The West simply cannot afford to lose its war in Afghanistan. As the soldiers’ bodies come home in ever-increasing numbers, pressure will inevitably grow for a withdrawal. Already an unpopular war in continental Europe, it will become increasingly difficult for the American and British governments to keep their resolve if media and public pressure focus on the costs in terms of lives and money and there is little sign of real progress. Unfortunately military experts anticipate 2-3 years of hard combat and several more years of Western military presence if the South of the country is to be stabilised. But, if we don’t pay those costs, then the Taliban are likely to take over government again in Kabul. It is thought that, in spite of their apparent significant defeat in the Swat Valley, their eyes are set next on Islamabad and the prize of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Even if Pakistan doesn’t fall, Afghanistan will continue to flood the West with heroin (in spite of the Taliban officially being against opium production!) and it will almost certainly go back to being a training camp for al-Qaeda terrorists. What do we need – another 9/11 or 7/7 – to remind us what British… Read More

Obama a 2nd Tier Thinker?

Since shortly before his election last November, I’ve seen a number of articles putting forward the view that Barack Ombama is an advanced thinker. I’ve even seen it proposed by some on the Spiral Dynamics e-lists that he is a ‘2nd Tier thinker’. Even that the TUQUOISE vMEME is activated in his head.   Alongside the jubilation in many parts of the world at his election was the expectation that now things would be different – things would change. Obama would make America better and that would help make the world better. I doubt there has been so much excitement and so much expectation of an American president since John F Kennedy. The anticipation has been of almost of messianic proportions!   And Obama got off to a great liberal electorate-pleasing start. On his second day in office, he signed the order which will effectively close Guantánamo Bay. From there, he went on to do another electorate pleaser – by blocking the bonuses of many of the ‘fat cat’ bankers whose greed has all but brought Capitalism to its knees.   And now he’s stumbled. Badly.   Last Friday’s decision to stand by the position of George W Bush’s administration that… Read More

Israeli Stupidity in Gaza!

Want to seem like brutal stormtroopers butchering children? Want to undermine a relative moderate (Mahmoud Abbas) and turn his people against him? Want to have Arab governments with no sympathy whatsoever for Hamas forced into denouncing you by the protesting hordes flooding on to their streets? Want to swell the ranks of al-Qaeda with bitter young men and women dedicated to killing Jews and Americans? Want to have massive anti-Israeli demonstrations in the capitals of all the countries you used to call your friends? OK, let’s really go for it: want to seem like the SS in the Warsaw ghetto? Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni could not have got it more wrong. Of course, Livni is right: Hamas need to be destroyed (“toppled” is the word she reportedly used). As do all terrorist organisations locked into rigid RED-BLUE thinking – see the feature, Killing the Terrorists in the Global section. But this brutal onslaught on the Gaza Strip, one of the poorest and most populous places on the planet, is not the way to do it. The Israeli military are doing their best to keep foreign journalists out of Gaza; but, in these days of the internet and video uploads from… Read More

Abu Ghraib, Auschwitz and Mumbai

It is, of course, decidedly early to pronounce on just who is behind the terrorist attacks in Mumbai; but it is almost certainly radical Islamists of one persuasion or another. One senior Indian military officer has claimed that the attackers came from Pakistan – yet one of the gunmen in the Oberoi Trident Hotel managed to get hooked up to a TV channel and told them he was from the ‘Deccan Mujahedeen’, a (previously-unknown) group of Indian Muslim extremists.  Given the marginally-improved state of the usually-hostile/often-verging-on-war relations between India and Pakistan, one might almost be forgiven for hoping it was an internal Indian operation that could not so easily be a catalyst for open military confrontation between the two nuclear powers. However, in light of the Hindu orgies of violence against Muslim communities which have followed previous Islamist terrorist incidents on Indian soil, thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths might prove equally unpalatable.   Where ever the attackers originated from, few will be surprised if they didn’t have at least tacit assistance from radicals in Pakistan. And few will surprised, given the sophisticated level of organisation in the Mumbai attacks, if the hand of al-Qaeda isn’t to be found somewhere in the pulling of the strings.   What… Read More

The Sons of Iraq – a Step towards Stratified Democracy?

The level of violence in Iraq has decreased to the point where troop withdrawals by both the British and the Americans are once again being discussed seriously. Iraq and the United States have reportedly set a preliminary timetable to start withdrawing American forces from Iraqi cities from next June, according to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari last week after his meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The Zebari-Rice agreement would link troop reductions to the achievement of certain security milestones. But, given how cautious President George W Bush has been to committing to a timetable for American withdrawal, for his Secretary of State to agree to one at all is an indicator of how much better things have become. And, of course, a few weeks before, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a statement to Parliament announcing the intention to further reduce British troops in 2009. Who would have thought it a year ago? So, what’s changed the battleground so much in the past 14 months? Partly the much vaunted ‘surge’ of American troops in Baghdad, while merely displacing many insurgents to other parts of the country, did create short-term some of the essentials for peace at least in parts… Read More

Iran: Jaw, Jaw or War, War?

Early in June the Israeli airforce carried out an exercise – sending 100 F15s and F16s out over the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece – supported by aerial tankers for in-flight refuelling. It was an impressive logistical feat and is being portrayed in the media as a dry run for bombing the Iranians’ principal nuclear facility at Bushehr. Interestingly it was not the Israelis or any of the other Middle Eastern states which ‘leaked’ the story but the Americans – with the spin that the Israelis were demonstrating to Tehran that they do have the capability of getting as far as Bushehr. As the news leaked (June 20), the Israeli government stepped up the war of words with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (struggling to regain domestic credibility after more corruption allegations) saying: “Iran will not be nuclear.” Even more ominously Deputy Prime Minster Shaul Mofaz told journalists a strike on Iran was now “unavoidable”. Arch neocon John Bolton, one-time US ambassador to the United Nations, has gone on record as saying he believes Israeli will strike in between the presidential election in November and the inauguration of the new President. A strike before the election might influence it unduly; if Barack Obama… Read More

Great Ideas from the East…?

I don’t think I’m racist. At least, not consciously so. And I would hate to think I was unconsciously racist. (Althougth the PURPLE vMEME easily makes racists of us all if we’re not careful, with its not-of-our-tribe discriminations!) I guess I sort of knew enough from my studies in Psychology and Sociology to recognise vaguely that I was ethnocentric. Today it was brought home to me just how ethnocentric I am. I was exposed to the ideas of a female Pakistani business consultant – WOAHHHH!!!!!! Hang on! A female business consultant from Pakistan???????? Well, there goes the tabloids’ version of a Pakistan stuffed full of sub-al-Qaeda clerics intent on reducing the world to a feudal fundamentalist state, with the women only allowed out of their homes if chaperoned by their menfolk and dressed in full burkha. Clearly there is more diversity in Pakistan than ‘The Sun’ newspaper would have us believe! Score one on the enthnocentric challenge meter! Then, the ideas of this consultant, Ramla Akhtar, are really rather interesting. Although it is nominally a business model, Ramla’s People Centred Model of Businesa (PC-MoB) is as much a model for growing psychologically-healthy individuals in a sociologically-healthy society. Ramla admits to developing her schematic before discovering Spiral Dynamics;… Read More