to us, just "a big dumb gas station"

Somebody needs a jump start, and right away! The Arab world is a mess, and we're part of the problem.

[The UN has just published a report "written by a group of distinguished Arab intellectuals"] analyzing the three main reasons the Arab world is falling off the globe. (The G.D.P. of Spain is greater than that of all 22 Arab states combined.) In brief, it's due to a shortage of freedom to speak, innovate and affect political life, a shortage of women's rights and a shortage of quality education. If you want to understand the milieu that produced bin Ladenism, and will reproduce it if nothing changes, read this report.

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There is a message in this bottle for America: For too many years we've treated the Arab world as just a big dumb gas station, and as long as the top leader kept the oil flowing, or was nice to Israel, we didn't really care what was happening to the women and children out back — where bad governance, rising unemployment and a stifled intellectual life were killing the Arab future.