A question for Jeffrey Feltman
Not too long ago I wrote about Lee Smith's terrible book, The Strong Horse, which I noted is not just bad but actually hysterically racist in its essentialism. In the comments to the post, reader Lubnani alerted me that the Hudson Institute will be hosting the book's launch tomorrow. Guess who the guests are:
For over half a century, the United States has established itself as the Middle East's dominant "strong horse." Yet, with war raging in Afghanistan and Iraq — and the possibility of conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran — does America have the resolve and the resources to maintain its status?Please join Hudson Visiting Fellow Lee Smith to discuss his new book, The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations (Doubleday). Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and Elliott Abrams, former Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy in the Bush administration, will offer commentary. Hudson Institute CEO Kenneth Weinstein will introduce the event.
Now, I'm not surprised Abrams would endorse such a book by appearing at this event — it fits the bill perfectly. But how about a currently serving head of the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs bureau? Does he share Lee Smith's opinion that:
To be sure, a significant part of the Middle East, including Osama Bin Laden, is expressly at war with the US.
September 11 is the day we woke up to find ourselves in the middle of a clash of Arab civilizations, a war that used American citizens as yet another venue for Arabs to fight each other.
The Arabs hate us not because of what we do or who we are but because of who we are not: Arabs.
[In the Middle East] Bin Ladenism is not drawn from the extremist fringes, but represents the political and social norm.
Anti-Americanism is an Arab constant, the region's lingua franca, from Nasser to Nasrallah it has not changed in over 50 years.
These are all from Smith's book. Now here's the question:
Does Jeffrey Feltman feel these sentiments to be his own, or those of the administration he represents? Does he want his office to be associated with such spurious and incendiary material?
I do not expect Feltman to only attend events for people or publications that he entirely agrees with. If he attends, I certainly hope he'll at least speak out on the matter. The topic of the conference — US power in the Middle East — is excellent; its title and promotional material most unfortunate.
Incidentally, this is very funny.