humiliationtheory - Wounded Testicles Drive Middle East...

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Wounded Testicles Drive Middle East Conflict Defeat, humiliation, revenge, honor, envy. These are the core facets of the Wounded Testicle (WT) theory of International Relations. Though brashly worded and possibly shocking to a field rife with rigidly conventional academes, there is great accuracy in the WT theory, especially when used to explore the causes and persistence of conflict in the Middle East. The essence behind WT theory is that there is never-ending, back-and-forth conflict – one state lashing out at another as a result of past defeat and humiliation. In this case, the conflict is between the Arab/Muslim population and the Jewish/Israeli population. Of course, in more recent years (for the Muslim- Jewish conflict stretches across millennia), the United States of America – and Western powers in general – have been one of the key contributing factors to humiliation in the Middle East, especially of Arab Islamic nations. The Middle East has a long history of conflict; to put a finer point on it, there is a long history of conflict between Arab Muslims and the Jewish people of the Middle East. Though tensions run high, and the two vastly differing cultures have clashed for centuries, the scale of the conflict escalated immensely come the 1900s. The Middle East has faced its fair share of defeats over the past century, which will we explored in greater detail. As a result of these defeats, there is a profound feeling among the Arab/Muslim people of “humiliation and compulsion to revenge.” (Harkavy, 2000) There is also a collective feeling among Middle Easterners of helplessness “in affecting the most vital aspect of their lives.” (Telhami, 2003) To understand these feelings of humiliation and helplessness, one can look to the modern history of the defeats that the Middle East has seen. September 11, 2001 is one of the most important days in the modern history of the Middle East. It not only changed the dynamics of how many Arab states interact with the United States and other Western powers, but it also significantly 1
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affected the way the states perceive themselves. A month following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Osama bin Laden recorded a video message wherein he spoke of the triumphs of the Arab people over the United States. He “referred twice to the historical roots of his rage,” and he celebrated the expulsion of Arab/Islamic “humiliation and disgrace” that the Middle East has been subject to for “more than 80 years.” (Vaughan, n.d.) This history of disgrace began in May 1916 with the signing of the Sykes-Picot agreement by Britain, France, and Russia; this agreement divided Arab land into spheres of influence for these world powers, thereby imposing neo-colonial occupation for years. (Vaughan, n.d.) A second significant defeat or cause of helplessness and humiliation came on May 14, 1948. “The British mandate in Palestine [ended], and the nation of Israel [was] proclaimed by the Jewish people of Palestine, triggering war between the new country and its Arab neighbors.” (Vaughan, n.d.)
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This note was uploaded on 03/10/2008 for the course PL SC 467 taught by Professor Harkavy,robert during the Fall '05 term at Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

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humiliationtheory - Wounded Testicles Drive Middle East...

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