Re: Insufferable

1

By what definition is Pakistan not a country?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:00 AM
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2

By Marty Peretz's definition, Apo.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:01 AM
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3

I repeat 1: we have an embassy there. How is it not a country?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:03 AM
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4

Fair enough. I guess my question is what are Peretz's criteria?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:03 AM
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That it's inhabited by ragheads, and therefore doesn't deserve to be considered a country.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:05 AM
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See, I could understand saying Pakistanis are not a nation, when the largest ethnic group makes up less than half the population. But not a country?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:06 AM
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Are we going to debase liberal discourse by mocking somebody just because he's a vicious bigot who's used his wife's fortune to buy a pulpit for the last thirty years?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:08 AM
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4: Now I think you're expecting a little too much.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:09 AM
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My guess is that he's thinking something along the lines of Pakistan being held together by the military, rather than truth and light, which hold together the countries that Peretz think actually exist.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:17 AM
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10

Pakistan is a country - they are willing to fight for that statement. And, as Peretz vaguely realises, they have nuclear weapons (and a large, efficient army).

Why is Marty arguing in favour of Hamas? By his logic the only justification for the creation of a state is violence..


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:18 AM
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11

By his logic

Now I think you're inferring a little too much.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:20 AM
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12

His use of the word "valence" is not just pretensious, but incorrect.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:29 AM
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13

From the comments, it seems his criteria are a historical existence as an ethnic nation, or something like that. One wonders how the United States would fare on this model.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:32 AM
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14

You could argue for 'artificially created by a leaving colonial power', I suppose, but then you don't have a whole lot of real countries left in the Middle East or Africa. Israel, for instance, isn't one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:36 AM
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'artificially created by a leaving colonial power'

Heh. Real countries are created by Destiny.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:42 AM
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16

It's idiotic mideast comparison day.


Posted by: froz gobo | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:50 AM
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3: Counter-example: We have an embassy in the Vatican, and it's not a country.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:52 AM
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Yes it is, isn't it? What's not a country about Vatican City?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:52 AM
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19

Yes it is.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:53 AM
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20

It's an independent nation. Not a big one, but it has its own head of state, government, etc. Italy has an embassy to it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 8:55 AM
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21

Not a country: "Sealand has many non-Sealanders acting as official national athletes, including mini-golf and football."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:00 AM
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22

I don't want to press the issue, because "country" is not a well-defined term. But it just seems wrong to call Vatican City a country. It is a state. It's definitely not a nation. (Both of those are fairly well-defined terms in political science, right?)

I think this fact, from its Wikipedia entry, makes Vatican City not a country:

Citizenship of the Vatican City is granted ius officii, which means it is conferred upon some of those who have been appointed to work in certain capacities at the Vatican, and it is usually revoked upon the termination of their employment.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:09 AM
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23

The top of the wikipedia entry says independent nation. It's a weird one with 558 celibate citizens, granted, but it's there.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:11 AM
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celibate

Or so the cardinals would have you believe.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:15 AM
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Well come on, I mean the US probably has way more than 558 celibate citizens -- you can't use that to disqualify VC from countryhood.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:16 AM
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Is 'nation' a well defined term? I've seen it used as an exact synonym for 'state', and more loosely to mean, roughly, 'the kind of ethnicity that either does or might without absurdity be able to control a state'. But I wouldn't call the latter sense tightly defined.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:17 AM
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Was ancient Athens a "country"? Was Florence under the Medici a "country"?

Vatican City seems more like those than like our paradigmatic countries, e.g. France.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:17 AM
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28

It is a state. It's definitely not a nation.

Now you're getting into Peretz territory. Whether the inhabitants share some historical ethnic bond is largely irrelevant for legal recognition purposes.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:18 AM
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29

But I wouldn't call the latter sense tightly defined.

Better defined than "country", I think. One could have legitimate factual dispute about whether some ethnic group, e.g. the Kurds, are a nation.

But my disagreement with Cala over whether Vatican City is a country seems merely linguistic.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:22 AM
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30

There is no disagreement, merely pwnage and the refusal to accept it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:23 AM
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Speaking of definitions, I just filled out a survey for my long distance carrier (Working Assets) that had, under the "Gender" options, male, female, and transgender/other. I think that's the first time I've seen that in a big corporate setting.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:26 AM
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28: I don't think use of the term "nation" to indicate a group with historical/cultural ties implies that it has some important bearing on recognition of statehood. Peretz thinks that, but that's not implied by the terminology.

There are states that aren't nations, and that's just fine as far as I'm concerned. Ancient Athens was one. Vatican City is one. Maybe the US is one.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:29 AM
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That will just make the "other" demographic angry.

"No, no! We are not transgendered. We are other. How difficult can that be to understand?"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:30 AM
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34

Belgium and Canada are not really nations.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:31 AM
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35

30: I'll have to check my pwner's manual before I'll acknowledge this purported instance of pwnage.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:33 AM
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36

I agree about the "states that aren't nations" way of looking at it.

Trouble is, the word "nation" is deeply embedded in our national culture, despite its imprecision and misleading aspects. Gettysburg Address. I Have A Dream.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:36 AM
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37

re: 34

The UK explicitly isn't.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:37 AM
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38

I suspect he is confused in his own mind between Pakistan and separatist Kashmir.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:38 AM
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39

re: 38

I suppose that's dumb enough.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:43 AM
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I think he just doesn't cotton to this majority-muslim-nation business. If pressed, he would no doubt include Indonesia and Saudi Arabia on his list of "not actually countries".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:45 AM
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37: Yeah, but Belgium and Canada really aren't nations. G.B. just has the archaic notional entities called "Wales" and "Scotland".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:46 AM
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42

Well, sure. Indonesia: please, we're letting groups of islands call themselves countries now? And Saudia Arabia: What's with all that desert?

Nothing to do with Muslims, honest!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:48 AM
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43

Imagine there's no countries . . .


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:51 AM
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44

On second thought, imagine there's no Marty Peretz.

There. I feel much better.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 9:52 AM
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45

MAE and IDP are making me laugh.

I think that's the first time I've seen that in a big corporate setting.

I just saw a Selective Service form that offered, as one of the excuses for failing to register: "I am a transsexual." All I could think of was "I was female at the time!"

(thank you, Eddie Izzard)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 10:06 AM
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46

The Navajo Nation is a nation. Right?

Not every group that calls itself a nation is a nation, though.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 11:44 AM
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47

46: Not to mention the Cherokee Nation.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 11:47 AM
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48

And Carrie Nation!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:02 PM
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49

Rhythm Nation?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:03 PM
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50

What about Rhythm Nation? I'll turn to Heebie as the resident expert.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:04 PM
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51

Oh, damn it, LB.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:06 PM
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52

By the way, aside from demonstrating that he has no idea what the words "country" and "nation" mean, what the fuck was Peretz getting at with this postscript? Was he implying that Blair's time would be better spent negotiating a settlement between India and Pakistan than trying to broker peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians?


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:07 PM
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53

What I like about this is the way that (as someone already sort of said) Pakistan is a nation in almost exactly the same way that Israel is a nation.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:08 PM
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54

I support negotiating a settlement between India and Pakistan!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:09 PM
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55

Somebody should ask him if Iraq's a nation.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:11 PM
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56

Weird. In the comments, somebody asks Peretz whether anybody is a nation. here's his reply:

"yes, let's see, the French, Brits, Americans, Egyptians, Chinese, Poles, Hungarians, Italians, Finns, Danes, Scots, Mexicans, Vietnamese, Berbers, Bulgarians, Laps, Letts, Japanese, Koreans, Spaniards, Portuguese, Ashanti, and on and on. Also the Kurds. No, not the Iraqis and not the Lebanese or the Syrians and certainly not the Palestinians."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:11 PM
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57

Thanks, somebody!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:11 PM
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58

Egyptians, but not Syrians. Do we see a pattern here?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:14 PM
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56: what on earth is he talking about? Seriously I keep trying to parse that and I'm stumped. Berbers? Americans? Chinese? What could possibly be the unifying thread, besides Peretz's dementedness?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:15 PM
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60

Huh. The 'Brits' and the 'Scots' are both nations. Does the former include the latter, or how does that work?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:15 PM
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61

Like, it's not ethnic homogeneity. It's not state boundaries. It's not historical nationhood. It's not strictly anti-islam. What is he thinking?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:16 PM
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Wait, Americans? I assumed he was working with some sort of demented ethno-linguistic definition, but, no, he's just a lunatic.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:16 PM
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54 - Me too, but not because I think it has greater "valence" than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

56 - I wonder if Peretz believes the Tibetans belong to the Chinese nation.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:17 PM
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38: Yeah, I thought that was cool too.
45: Don't spill the beans on my plan for PK.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:17 PM
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65

The demented ethno-linguistic definition falls apart pretty damn fast in the case of China, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:18 PM
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66

And don't forget Woodstock Nation, which, as Abbie Hoffman assured us, was a State of Mind.

Does this man have any function in the real world beyond providing a butt for the mockery of people on Unfogged?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:18 PM
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67

66: it's an excellent question. He doesn't even own the damn magazine anymore.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:20 PM
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68

Colbert Nation!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:23 PM
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69

Trepanation!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:24 PM
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70

You could make an argument that many big states consist of a large, hegemonic "nation" core, plus minorities. But if he still thinks "Americans" should be thought of as fitting that pattern, as I suppose many people did and do, that's a different thing for us to be disgusted about.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:27 PM
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The nation of Islam?

I wrote this two hours ago and forgot to post it:

Rather than wonder about the technical senses of "country" and "nation" I'd be interested if there's any sense of those terms that (a) makes Peretz' claims true and (b) does some useful work, that is, the concepts are ones we have reason to be interested in. I suspect a smarter Peretz would, in response, provide some explication that makes his claims true, but leaves us asking 'so what' about the concepts involved.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:44 PM
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72

I think not with the list of examples he gave. Without that list, there might be something plausible along the lines of the ethnic definition of 'nation', although I'm not sure what work it would be expected to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:46 PM
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73

Listen, you haters, he listed Mexicans right there in his reply thus including all Middle Easterners. It's our own latent racism that limits us such that we only think of Iranians in that way.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 12:50 PM
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That list in 56 is crazy. Totally mental.

60 also makes a good point. However, I suspect he's just making that common mistake of translating 'Brits' as 'English'. Which we Scots just adore.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-29-07 1:01 PM
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I keep reading the list and playing "spot the token ethnicity included to show he's not racist". lol, Ashanti. Sure, Marty. Sure.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:07 AM
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The problem is that I keep being tempted to subscribe to TNR solely so I can leave humorous comments on Marty's ravings. Perhaps that was the whole plan with giving him a blog?


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07- 2-07 1:40 PM
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