Iraq War: Is Iraq Better Now Without Saddam? | Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar | INTERNATIONAL | Rubin Report

Iraq War: Is Iraq Better Now Without Saddam? | Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar | INTERNATIONAL | Rubin Report

– That’s why I think the Iraq
War has failed miserably, is that democracy’s not
just about elections, it’s about institutions,
it’s about civil liberties, it’s about all of these, good education, good infrastructure. That was not, I mean,
and that was not built, even though some argued that
was the intention of the war, but as you dig in more
and you see the corruption between the contractors
and the other contractors, and suddenly just the money
disappears for some reason, which was all meant for kind
of rebuilding institutions. (calming music) – I’m Dave Rubin and
this is the Rubin Report. Quick note everybody, we’ve changed up our publishing schedule, so going forward, clips are going up throughout the week
and our full interviews will be right here on YouTube on Sundays. And of course click that subscribe button and turn on notifications,
blah, blah, blah. And, more importantly, joining me today is the founder of Ideas Beyond Borders, a brand new American citizen, Faisal Al Mutar, welcome
back to the Rubin Report. – Hello Dave, how are you? – Good, I’m fine, thank you for asking, I dropped the Saeed there, I said Faisal Al Mutar, do you
go by Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, Faisal Al-Mutar? I’m actually not sure. – I go with Faisal Saeed
for a reason, I mean, Saeed is my dad’s name. – Yeah. – And the reason I kept it is because I have a very strong
relationship with my dad. And the reason why he raised
me to be the person that I am. I mean some people keep
their dad’s name away, but I kept my dad’s name,
and actually my first name, so I can maintain my
relationship with him. – Alright, then I feel
I should look at you and do that intro again, welcome to the show,
Faisal Saeed Al Mutar. – Thanks, Dave, thank you. – I am very excited to
have you here my friend, because as of right now, you are now a five time
Rubin Report guest. I believe that puts you in the Jordan Peterson,
Ben Shapiro category. – Wow. – And you. – Oh. – A recent immigrant to the United States, can you believe it? – I think I’ve made it. That’s it, I’m out of this country. Actually, what I just, I
was just noticed is that, you really notice all my development since I came to the
States, you actually like, if people, if your audience
watched the previous episodes to now, they will see like, pretty much my, I think you interviewed me one year after I get my green card. – So this was around probably… – 2014 I think, 2014, 2015? – No it was 2015, probably, fall of 2015. – Yeah, and that was one year
after I get my green card, which is 2014. I landed in Los Angeles in 2013. And then, yeah, and then here I am. I don’t know, it’s like, it’s
so kind of mind boggling. – Yeah, well we’ll have a playlist of just the interviews
that I’ve done with you, and it is an interesting evolution, we’re gonna talk a little
bit about your story, and all that. But it’s funny because when you
were on the way this morning and I was thinking about
what I wanted to talk about, and Ideas Beyond Borders and everything else that you’re doing. You feel to me like an old friend. But it’s funny because
we only know each other for four or five years, and a lot of what we know
about each other is public, although, you know,
we’ve been out to dinner, and all that so many times. But it shows you how
fast things are changing, because it does feel, this feels like an old friendship to me. Which is weird, because it’s not like we’ve
known each other for 30 years. – I mean five years is
one fifth of my age. (laughing) But yeah, I’ve known you since, yeah, since I came to the United
States almost, yeah. – Alright, so let’s– – And I hope the friendship continues. – Well, let’s just see how that goes. – Yeah, let’s see about tonight. – Yeah, okay, so, first off, you are a brand new American citizen and I wanna talk about that. – [Faisal] Proudly so. – You’ve got the leather jacket to match. You are loving America right now. But, for people who
don’t know who you are, because obviously this
show has grown a lot since way back when. – I know, yeah.
– Could we just talk a little bit about
your story in Iraq, growing up in Iraq, and the
war, and everything else. Let’s do a quick recap on that. – Well, I mean, I was born in Babylon. Babylon, Iraq. And then my– – [Dave] What year? – That was 1991. – [Dave] Okay. – So right after the first Gulf War and enter the sanctions. – God, you’re a young kid. – Well, when you hear the story, you’ll see that I’m now more,
more mature than average, but, and… So I was born in 1991,
and then my parents moved to Baghdad as I was
seven or eight years old. And my dad’s an orthopedic surgeon, my mom is a lawyer. So I come from, my dad stayed in the UK. And came back to the country to fix Iraq, but then Saddam Hussein
went to the Gulf War, and then that country went downhill. – Were you born during
the Gulf War, actually? – No, after. – So the Gulf War was 90. – In 1990, and then, so
I, and then, after that, from the Iraq side, we
declared that the war has won, and it’s called the mother of all battles. So, that happened, and then, as I was growing up, I grew
up under Saddam Hussein, and, I mean one of the main anecdotes that I, is actually very relevant to
what I was saying is that, I didn’t know that Iraq invaded Kuwait. The way that it was
manufactured by both the state, and then there was a
mosque next to our house, called the mother of all battles, with the menorahs designed
as a ballistic missile, and an AK-47. – [Dave] Wow. – So Saddam Hussein
started building mosques all over the country. – With missiles,
basically, as the ornament at the top of the mosque. – So that was like,
and declared Iraq to be kind of an Islamic state, which brings us to the future, but he’s the one who put God
is great on the flag, so, the environment I was growing up in, even though the misconception, generally, is like, Saddam used to be
secular and all of that. I grew up in an era
called the faith campaign, in which Saddam actually,
Saddam Hussein moved Iraq to become a more religious state. – So before you were born, though, so when your parents were younger, it was more of a secular, or Saddam was more secular
than after the war. – Relatively, yeah, and it
was more Arab nationalists, so Arab nationalism was
kind of the phase that, first Saddam moved in, it
was in a war with Iran, and we had to differentiate ourselves as the Arabs versus the Persians, and the Iranians, all of that. Actually the battle’s called Khafji, which is also relevant
to the battles, anyway. So, 2003 happened, that’s
where the Iraq war. So the area that I used to live in was an area in which
many of Saddam generals used to live in. So, as the war happened, and
Iraqi military was defeated, obviously, many of these generals start leaving the district. And houses became all empty. So from suddenly a full residential area with a lot of people, suddenly
it’s like many of the houses were on the highway, totally all empty. – Meaning they were going to fight, or they were fleeing? – No, they were fleeing the country. Many of them either went to Jordan or some other Arab
state, some of them went different provinces,
we don’t know honestly. But I know that they left. And, so, after these houses became empty and now suddenly chaos start
erupting in the country. These houses start being
taken over by Al Qaeda. So from normal families into now militias walking the streets. – So what was that really like? So now you’re in your
community where you live, and suddenly okay, now
there’s abandoned houses, you don’t know where these people went, they departed the army. And now Al Qaeda shows up, I mean what is that actually like? – So what it’s like is what I think many people have seen in videos of when these militias take over. The usual day was, there is an IED, so an
IED is an explosive device that they put in the street. So when there is a US Humvee comes in or eventually Iraqi army starts coming up, blow up and then kill some soldiers, and then there’s a fight
back and all of this. Now that’s not the usual day, that’s what people do on the weekend. And if, I mean, from my end, I mean I’ve seen, I mean I’ve seen it all. From people firing rockets on US tanks to beheadings, to dead people on the street. So that was my, that’s why, that was my high school era. – So you’re seeing that at like, basically like 14 years old, 15 years old, something like that, like, I mean, what does that do
to a 14 year old’s mind? Like what did you think was happening? – I’ll talk about that actually, after moving to a safer area, and kind of getting that, actually, maybe I can
say it now is that I, just a year ago, was
just sitting in my patio, my friend’s patio, and, it just came into me as like, wow, I’ve been safe for a while. Like this is, this normal life looks cool. (laughs) This kind of, because
the usual day is, I mean, I mean, my mom was
obviously tortured as well, is that she never know whether her kid is gonna
come back to house. I’ve had this realization
actually kinda recently is like, This normal life, which is
like, not to worry about bombings and suicide
attacks and all of that. At the time was my
normal, that was actually, and after a while, somebody
get desensitized, honestly, I mean, after you
constantly start seeing it. And the whole environment is
like that, it’s like yeah, you talk to a friend he’s like oh I just, my brother got killed. Oh, okay. Wanna grab lunch? Seriously, this is actually the, the mood of the day. So that was, in a way, these were like, the first two years were the good years. So even though there were
IEDs and some suicide bombers there were the good days. And then there was a major
day happened in Iraq, in which Al Qaeda blew up one
of the largest Shia mosques in the country. It’s called (speaking foreign language) which is an area in Northern Baghdad. And as a result, now the Shia
militias start popping up. And my neighborhood, luckily,
was just in the middle, between these two. So, they start firing
rockets at each other. And that rocket can,
and most of these people are inexperienced, so, the
rocket can hit a school, it can hit a house, it can, so, again, the usual days, oh,
somebody’s house was blown up. Oh, okay. – Can you quickly explain
the Sunni, Shia split there, ’cause I think somebody might hear, oh, Al Qaeda blew up a Sunni mosque, a Shia mosque.
– A Shia mosque, yeah, yeah, yeah. – And not understand
why they would do that. – Well, I mean, the history’s long, but, at least in the modern context. So Saddam Hussein used to be Sunni. Which is relevant in this conversation. So after, so many of the
generals and the military used to be from the Sunni, at least the leadership were
most of them were Sunnis. So that created, and they
are the minority in Iraq. They represent. And obviously some of them were dissident against Saddam Hussein,
but generally speaking, the perception is that
Sunnis were controlling. After that, then the Iraq
started getting divided into militias, so, the
Iraqi civil identity started being destroyed. So most people sort of
went back to their religion and their sect, mainly their sect. And the Shia militias, I mean, the main funder of that, funding is really much,
very relevant here. Funding of the Shia
militias come from Iran. And the funding from the Sunni militias come from Qatar and Saudi
Arabia and the gulf states. And they have a different, in a way it’s a power struggle. Who actually controls the country and what vision they have to, the concept within the Sunni, within the Sunni militias is
the concept of the caliphate, which is the ISISes and Al Qaedas. And within the Shias is the
(speaking foreign language), which is that the Shias have a version which is kind of similar
to Christianity in a way that there was a 12th man who was hidden, and the (speaking foreign
language) now in Iran, is now kind of the representative
of that human on earth, until he comes back. So in a way they’re both
theocratic authoritarian, but they have a different vision of what theocratic authoritarianism
looks like in practice. – And where the funding goes, which I wanna talk a
little bit more later, especially related to Qatar
is really interesting. – Yeah, and yeah, funding. So I’ve written an article
when I was in Iraq, and later on that I translated, which is, that it’s easier to
start a terrorist group in the Middle East than
to start a liberal one. (laughing) – [Dave] For sure. – And many of the reasons is that, I’ve seen funding going
like in front of me, like I’ve been to a restaurant and a guy came in with a bag of cash, giving it to somebody, and he’s like, oh, go fight with the Mujahideen
and all of that, so, it was, some of the funding was really public, it was not really like, hidden. So yeah. So, that happened, and then suddenly, Iraq erupted to a much
more sectarian civil war, at the beginning it was, we used to lose maybe 5,000 a month, or now it became, recent months,
reached 25,000 or 30,000. And that’s where I lost
my brother and my cousin. That was the peak of 2007, that was when things were erupting. And my crazy me at the time, were like oh, why don’t
everybody get along attitude, and I was with my friends and we’re more on the liberal side. – So you were like,
starting atheist groups at that time, right? – Not atheist, but mostly
like, secular, anti, anti theocracy, I mean
we had like some people who were religious with us, who were also antagonistic
or saw a different version of Islam, or not necessarily
believe in it that much. So yes it was kind of more inclusive than just non believers. – What was that like though, to be starting a group
or just be around people that were doing something
that’s pretty subversive, relative to what’s happening? – I mean first it started online. That’s typically how we
find ourselves, is online, when Saddam was in power, we didn’t have, we hardly all had two state television and barely no internet. Used to call it intranet
which is only local internet. And then, when the internet shows up, which is after the war, then everything was opened up. So Iraq, at the time,
the internet was as open as it is here in the United States, you can access every
website and everything. And at the time there was
a website called Blogspot, which is kind of part of
Google, Google bot, and then, through other like, forums,
and that’s what I started. And then after a while, like,
okay, where do you live, are you in Baghdad,
are you here, and then, many times people don’t
reveal their identity for obvious reasons. But I was able to, with also, from some of my friends there
were able to formulate groups in which we meet up and discuss things. Unfortunately after a while, that started becoming a target. So we went back to hiding. And I, after the loss of
my brother and my cousin, and getting multiple death
threats, I left the country. So I left Iraq in 2009. I left to Lebanon. So that’s the second phase of my life, in which post-Iraq, which is I left, I remember the day I left
Iraq, it was nine, nine, September 2009. So September 9th, 2009. And Iraq at the time was
still in its war zone. There was nothing much happening, and– – I know I’ve asked you this before, but can you just talk a little bit about, how did you get over
the border and all that? – So I didn’t have a quarrel
with the Iraqi government. So actually I left
through the usual airport. The Iraqi, it used to be called Saddam International Airport, it became eventually Baghdad
International Airport. So I was okay to leave the
country from this state, because the state didn’t have any, even though the state was sectarian, but, I mean I’m the last of their worries. I wasn’t really a target. But my neighborhood, the
whole part of West Baghdad, where I come from, there
were parts, for example, (speaking foreign language),
which means, Afghan street. So these are all Afghans,
came from Afghanistan, who came and fought in Iraq against either US military or the government. There were like Chechnyans, and there were a lot of
people from all these, so we became like the
Times Square of terrorism. (laughing) So whatever you think of,
whatever nation that had foreign fighters, they all came. And some of them actually
came before the war. And when the war, when the war ended, I remember I saw my first American, which was an Abrams tank
coming in front of my house. And that was in April 2003. – And how did you feel then? ‘Cause this is where you have
an interesting perspective, I think, on American foreign
policy relative to all this. So you see the tank going
by, what are you thinking? – It’s, I mean, first,
it’s definitely scary. But at the same time, it
was a feeling of relief. I mean the life of the last
years of Saddam Hussein were, because he knew at the time
he was going to lose power of some sort. So he was more authoritarian than usual. And the sanctions were
hitting stronger on Iraq more and more to the way that Iraq economy was destroyed,
almost destroyed. So it was kind of a relief. I mean what is there to lose,
really kind of attitude, is that, well maybe these
guys are gonna make it better. And my parents, even
though did not publicly, were opposed to Saddam Hussein, but they were not a
fan, they were not fans. ‘Cause both of them were
educated, and they wanted, they had a lot of skills
that they could contribute to make the country a better place. And he kept going from war to war, destroying the Iraqi economy. Destroying Iraq in general, killing tens of people,
hundreds of thousands of people. – When the sanctions were
happening before the war, were there people that
basically were like, if he would just change his tune, if he would stop doing certain things, then America would ease up, or the international
community would ease up on the sanctions, and things
would actually get better, like he sort of made his bed
is what I’m saying, right? – Yeah, I mean, it depends who you ask. I mean if you ask the Kurds, they will tell you like he
gassed us multiple times. There’s no negotiation here. If you ask some people who are
having relatively safer life. And also, we didn’t know
what the alternative was, I mean now many people say oh, we wish Saddam was back,
or Saddam used to be safe. But at the time, many
people didn’t know that Iraq would erupt in such chaos. So every thinking happens
in comparison, is that I, it was better back then or it was better, more wars before. So yeah, it depends who you ask. There are people, if you go to southern part of Iraq, which there was kind of a semi Arab Spring happened in 1991, after
the first Gulf War. The usual houses you see
pictures of dead children, dead sons, and, I think
these guys have a different perspective whether they
want Saddam to stay or not. And if he stayed, and he was old, most likely his son would
have been the President, which is Uday Saddam
Hussein, who was far more, I mean if you think Saddam is evil, this guy’s evil on steroids. So yeah. I struggle with these questions, and I don’t really have
the best answer to them, but I think it’s that, it
all depends what you value. If what you value for
example, which I value, is for example, freedom of information. Yes, Iraq is doing much better in terms of freedom of information, they have much more
accessibility to information. So if you want to democratize
or move the society to become more accepting
of enlightenment values, or any values that you’d like to promote, Iraq is more suitable for
it now than it used to 2003, the same way Syria, I mean
Syria now is under Assad, is equivalent to what it used to be in terms of authoritarianism
and information. So this all depends what you
value, if you value safety, Saddam Hussein’s time were much safer. But how did he kept us safe, by putting people in the gulag, the equivalent of a gulag, I mean that’s, it’s authoritarian safety, it’s not like safety as in
everybody getting along. But it’s more like if you speak your mind, you’re gonna get killed. So of course you’re gonna get safety. (laughing) So it’s… – But you get a lot of pushback when you say that sort of thing, right? When you say that Iraq now, even though Iraq is
obviously still a mess, and there was that brief moment, and I do wanna focus on it a little bit, that brief moment where there
were free and fair election, you know, basically
free and fair elections. And the whole world saw it. But then the US under Obama, just pulled out just like that, and then things got much worse, but, at that little moment, when
there were the elections, do you think more people were
thinking like you just said? Because I see you say this
sort of thing right now, that America has sort of
freed Iraq in a lot of ways. And then I see the amount
of hate that you get from, usually unfortunately
from the lefties. – Again, so, I mean, I’m, as I grow older, quote unquote, is that, I think it’s that even these
fair elections at the time were not necessarily the best idea. Because this is a country
that was devastated by multiple wars, many of the
people are either sectarian or live in less education, so, in a way the fair
elections, or the elections, has enhanced sectarianism
more than it reduces, because many of the people
who are Shias that say, voted for Shia parties, and
Sunnis voted for Sunni parties, and Kurds voted for the Kurds. So, as I now think about
it is that democracy, which I think, that’s
where I think the Iraq War has failed miserably, is that democracy’s not just about elections. It’s about institutions,
it’s about civil liberties, it’s about all of these good education, good infrastructure. That was not, I mean, and that was not built, even though, some may argue that was the
intention of the war, but, as you dig in more and you
see the corruption between the contractors and the other contractors, and suddenly just the money
disappears for some reason, which was all meant for kind
of rebuilding institutions. That is I think what was really missing. – But do you think, were we
on the path until we left, like, so you had the elections,
I get what you’re saying, it still could create a sectarian mess. ‘Cause everyone’s just gonna vote for their own home parties, let’s say. But were we sort of on the path, and then just magically left
(snaps) and then it got worse? – I mean the role was, I think, even Democrats that I’ve talked to and who were supportive
think it’s a disaster. Is that, I mean one of
the things that the, I was at the time in Iraq as well, is that the US was doing
with there is a movement called the Awakening forces,
which were Sunni militias fighting against Al Qaeda. It was kind of acting as a neutral force between all of these. Because the Shias don’t
see the Americans as Shias or Sunnis, they see them as Americans. Or vice versa. – [Dave] Right. – So the tribes, for
example, were willing more, the Sunni tribes were more
willing to work with Americans than they were willing to
work with the Iraqi Shias ’cause they think the Iraqi Shias are affiliated with Iran,
which is their eternal enemy. So in a way America was acting
as a kind of a neutral force that keeps all of these people together. And the moment that disappeared, which is from the withdrawal
which was amazingly unplanned, the Iraqi government which
was sectarian at the time, and in a way still is, it mainly pulled out the
funding from all of the Sunnis that were fighting against Al Qaeda. – [Dave] Right. – So when that happened, immediately, these guys who were
fighting against Al Qaeda, either becoming a target to
still the sleeping cells, sleeper cells of the terrorist group, or, they’re like, okay, what are
we gonna fight for any more? So then suddenly ISIS comes up. What a surprise. So for those who actually followed Iraq from all of the beginning to the end, the ISIS evolution makes absolute sense. – Right, and there’s
probably a parable here to, in a way, what’s happening right now with Turkey and the
Kurds, that we were there. Maybe we shouldn’t have been there, you can make all those arguments. But we were there and
now we moved these troops and now Turkey’s just
slaughtering these Kurds, and it’s like, alright, so
maybe if we did try to go for good reasons, you know,
like, putting that debate aside. – Yeah yeah. – We were there, we know
that the Kurds were basically our allies there. And now we’ve left just
like we sorta left there. – And now the Kurds want Americans back to defend them from all
of the other factions– – And is that our
responsibility, those are… – I mean I do think–
– Deep questions. – I do think it is, I mean, I think people on, let’s
called it the liberal world, is that we have to support
our fellow liberals. Or people at least adhere to some, I mean in Kurdish factions
there’s communists and there are other
factions that are there. – When you say liberal,
just to clean it up. So you mean, do you
mean just basic Western ideas of freedom? – People, who yes, support
freedom in general, and adhere to women’s
equality and all of that. So there is a funny quote
that’s from a Lebanese poet, he said, Sunnis have Saudi
Arabia, Shias have Iran. But secularists have nobody but God. (laughing) – That’s pretty good. – So in a ways that, if we do not support those
who adhere to these values, at least some of them, compared to others, I’m not sure that the YPJ and others adhere to Western values
or enlightenment values. But they are much better than
some of the other factions. I mean it’s all by comparison, so, if we’re gonna leave these
guys to be slaughtered, then who do we have left to support? That is one of the, is that
we need people on the ground– – Well the libertarian, the
purely libertarian argument would be just get the
hell out, let them do it, and that’s that. – I always say, is that the Middle East is the opposite of Las Vegas. What happens in the Middle East doesn’t stay in the Middle East. So, you cannot leave this region alone. It’s for, I mean, I just came back from
Europe and I see a lot of the refugees coming from
Syria and other war zones. And this is an area that is the central, it’s called the Middle East, it’s in the middle of the world. And it is the birthplace of
all the monotheistic religions. And its influence, I mean, it’s also one of the
richest parts of the world because of oil and natural gas. And we cannot be left alone. And I mean, the terrorists or the extremists are not the ones leaving us alone. So the thing is that, if you say, I’m gonna leave them alone, it is on the premise that
there’s kind of an agreement, a mutually assured destruction
here, but there’s not. I mean when you have a guy who wants to establish a caliphate, and you’re like, no, it’s not my business, this is a bad deal. – [Dave] Right. – So the extremists are expansionists. The extremists are not gonna be happy, I mean even ISIS, they
were not happy with just, even though they get a large territory, but they were not happy
with just this territory, they were willing to
expand, they have ads up– – They don’t get to a border and be like, alright, we’re good to go. – Yeah. They are anti, them and
the libertarians (laughing) have in common with them in which like it’s a world that is
borderless, is that this, they see that their ideology
is borderless, which is, which is true according
to their interpretation. So yeah. So I think it’s that
leave them alone policy. And also is like, I mean, on what premise? I mean America has
intervened in the region, so it’s just like you intervene
and then you leave it. In this situation– – If you break it, you fix it. – Yes, I do, and how to
maintain all of that world order with all of, if you’re
not gonna intervene, the Russians will, as happened in Syria. And if you’re not gonna
intervene, the Turks will. And which world order
do you want to live in? – Just very quickly on the Kurds. They basically have, the KRG
basically has a state in Iraq. Pretty much. – [Faisal] And autonomous, yes. – Would you just be for
carving out that piece of Iraq officially and just letting
them have that state? I understand that you
still have the Syrian Kurds and the Turks and all the rest. But do you think as an
Iraqi, do you think that that basically would just be fine? I mean, it sort of is. – I mean I think this all
depends on what they want. I mean there are arguments, and I’m happily an ally
of many Kurds, and, their arguments on, some
argue that we have to stay as a part of Iraq. And some of them argue that
they have to be autonomous. And there are, because there’s
a lot of natural resources that exist in Iraq that kind of, that they can rely on and benefit from. And also, if you can form a state, you also might become vulnerable. At least now, Iraq is
a state of some sort. So that if there’s a Turkish invasion. It’d still be a Turkish invasion
of Iraq in which, where, it’s the state versus a Kurdish state that they will be vulnerable. – Is that true though? Would the Iraqi army defend, you think, if the KRG, the area got attacked? You think the Iraqi army would step in? – Yes and maybe even the US army, right? I mean the US embassy in Iraq is the largest embassy in the world. So it’s still, there is still– – Still part of it. – There’s still infrastructure
that they can depend on. I mean, maybe this is, me and extremists agree
on it, but I am for unity. I agree that there needs
to be nation states and there needs to be, in a way, states that are based on ethnic groups, because of the fact that
they’re being persecuted. But at the same time, it’s, I mean there are a lot of issues that the world is now being
more interconnected than ever, and we have to, so what happens in Iraq, and what happens in other states
all connect to each other, so I’m more in favor of
more unity than division. I mean we kind of created division, okay, the Kurds have their state. How about the Shias, should
they have their state? Should they be with Iran, or should they be a separate state, or how about the Sunnis, should they be with Saudi Arabia? Like there’s always gonna be– – We think we’re divided in America. That must be hilarious to you. – Yeah, so who is gonna
be a representative? – People are arguing
about marginal tax rates, and you’re like, come on. This is not sectarian, but real quick. I think we have to bizarrely
give Hillary Clinton a shout out here, because,
when did you move to America, in 2009, right? – 2000, no, 2013. – 2013. – Yeah, I left Iraq in 2009. – So during the campaign,
the first Obama campaign, when they were in the
primary, Hillary versus Obama, I don’t know if you saw
this from the outside, but Hillary kept saying
we have to leave Iraq, but we have to do it responsibly, with a timeline, and this whole thing. And Obama kept saying no,
we’ve gotta go, we’ve gotta go, and that was in the midst of
the hope and change thing. And just everybody just
like drinking the Kool-Aid. And then he did do it,
and then as you’re saying, it led to a lot of those
things, so in a weird way, Hillary actually deserves some credit for being honest, at least,
about what should have been done as opposed to just the rash
decision to just get going. – And then at the end of the day, it’ll help that we’re gonna talk about modernization in a bit, is that I think that
at the end of the day, people in the Middle East
have to fix their own region. I mean I’m not in favor of
interventionism forever, or even interventionism in some cases. At the end of the day,
the people of the region have to choose their own destiny, and that destiny should not
be antagonistic to the world. And so, which brings up the need that we cannot rely, I mean I
think now is more than ever and even previously, the United States is
not a reliable partner. If you are fighting in the region, the United States might
switch left to right, and some people might use interventionism as an argument for getting votes, and some people might get
it to not getting votes. At the end of the day
you cannot rely on that. And it is in a way a weakness
of the United States, because as a democracy, you
can have all these shifts. Well for example with Russia,
I was having a call with, with actually a Syrian, not militia, but he’s kind of an observer. And it was like, at
least with the Russians, I know what’s gonna happen
in the next 10 years. With the Chinese I know
what’s going to happen in the next 15 years. But with the Americans, okay, we can have an
interventionist President like Bush, for example, and then you
can have Obama after that. And now I don’t know what
the shitshow is, but– – It’s an interesting sort
of soft spot of democracy, somehow, yeah. – And I mean the problems
in many of these issues, of extremism, authoritarian, these all need long term solutions. I mean even for example, which is kind of, we rely that as a basic
of what people ask us about theory of change,
is that in the Cold War, when the United States pushed
for that communism was evil, and we had these values,
and we have to spread them, or defend them. That was a consistent policy in both Democrats and Republicans, like you see here JFK
talking about Communism in the same way that Reagan
was talking about Communism, is that there was not this split about, who is the enemy and how can we fix it, was consistent policy that
we stand for these values, as a state, and this
value, which is Communism, which is spreading around the world. We have to put a stop to it. And this is a long term solution, so, if the Democrats won,
if the Republicans won, it doesn’t matter. – [Dave] It doesn’t matter. – And I think that, if there is gonna be constant intervention or
state solution to this, which is, not to say I believe in it, but, ’cause I’m more on the
non state intervention, ’cause I think that the states have, I mean, New York subway barely works, so forget about fixing the Middle East. – You just became a citizen, and you’re already railing, on ironically the best subway
system probably in the world, as terrible as it is. It runs 24 hours a day. – And it’s great. But I think it’s that this
issue’s back cover is that, these issues need long term solutions. And this polarization of America, with left to right and all that, is really harming our partners. I think at the end of the day, which I’m setting up as my organization, and other allies and partners, we have to empower the
people in the region to be self sufficient. At the end of the day the
goal is self sufficiency for the people who hold up our values and for them to fight for themselves, and fight for others. – Well that’s why I
brought the Hillary thing, ’cause it’s interesting,
we just have to think about these things seriously, to whatever extent we’re
gonna think about them, because, just saying okay,
something bad’s happening, we’re just getting the hell out of there, because it makes us feel good, isn’t necessarily the wise thing. It doesn’t mean that
staying is the right thing. But at least be willing to think
about some of these things. – I think there is– – Or at least talk about them honestly. – One of the amazing quotes
which I always remember from David Petraeus, who was at the time, the head of the multi
coalition versus Iraq. He said the only time we’re
actually able to defeat terrorism in Iraq, which
actually he did in some parts, in which we cared about
the citizens of Iraq as much as we cared about the
citizens of the United States. So, any policy that is, I mean in a way is that being compassionate
is actually a winning policy against, because if you,
I mean as in case of, I give talks and stuff. If the conversation is always about, okay, how is that gonna
benefit the United States? Not to say that this
should not be a policy if you work in the State Department, but, I think it’s that the
best policy is a policy that looks at that target
audience or the people there. And are like okay. We care about your safety as well. Not, okay, you guys kill each other and we’re gonna sit on
bases and protect ourselves. I think there should be, and
it has been applied before, which actually, I mean with
the Petraeus situation. He worked with a lot of Sunni allies, called Awakening Forces at the time. And which they actually
were able to defeat Al Qaeda step by step, they formed these, when they saw that,
okay, well the Americans actually care about us. They’re not just opportunists
who would throw us under the bus, but rather
care about our lives as much as they care
about their army’s lives. And when that happened,
actually there was defeat for Al Qaeda. – And that’s basically like
when the surge was happening. – Yes, yes. So that was, so the
surge was complementary to these Sunni allies who were fighting. So I think that is the
best policy, is not, okay, oh this guy costs too much for us. Should not be looked at in this way. Should be that if we’re
gonna defeat terrorism, we have to side with allies there, and give them our word and
actually stick with it, not flip around. – So I wanna switch sort of, to you coming to America
and everything you’ve done since then, but I thought
an interesting transition to all this would be you probably saw, just in the last couple weeks. Ellen DeGeneres had to go on her show and basically sort of
apologize for sitting in a box at a football game with George W. Bush, because everybody was
saying George W. Bush is a mass murderer, and got us into Iraq, and all of those things.
– Oh yeah. – And I thought, that’s kind of consistent with a lot of the pushback that say I get on some of these things, but really, let’s make this about
you, you are the guest. When you come to America and talk about some of these issues, I
know for you it’s been really bizarre to find out, who the people that kind of hate you are, and where your allies comes from, can you talk about that a little bit? – I mean on that note. – ‘Cause you’re another kind of apostate. You’re not just a religious
apostate, I suppose. – It’s actually really interesting. After the had a walk experience,
which I think was chilling. I’ve decided I almost like 50, two months ago or 50 days ago, that I’m not gonna read the news. I actually, I’m only gonna
focus on my work, and how, And if there’s any news
that is relevant to my work, I will get it from my staff. (laughing) I’ve had a policy which
is sometimes inconsistent, because I’ve been following
a lot of what happened with the Kurds and everything. But I was like, if
there is something I am, number one, not my expertise, number two, incapable of changing,
why am I bothering myself? Because all I get is
getting complete agitation. – You mean you don’t want
to tweet about it a little? What are you doing, then? Okay, so putting this ideal in things. You know what I’m talking about
with the general philosophy. You’re coming to America, you’re
a brown skinned immigrant, you come here, you really
start getting success and friends and all of these things, and you’re talking about these issues. When was the first moment
that you realized, whoa. The people that are
supposed to be supporting me here in America are not,
and the ones that I thought were gonna hate me suddenly support me? If that’s a fair way of
starting this question. – It’s really interesting. I mean that has been an
ongoing discussion internally, not to sound like a crazy person, but… – Well you’ve had an external discussion, because we’ve been talking
about this for years. You were actually one of the first people, the first time you were on my show, was one of the first times that I really, fully understood it from
another perspective. I was seeing it from
my own perspective, oh, of the lefties kind of
abandoning liberalism, but seeing, I mean truly
just because of your identity in a way, and where you
come from, I was like, oh, this one’s just really obvious now. And now everyone sees this. – I mean the best example
I think is an article you tweeted about what happened
in University of Rochester. And I was talking about the need for Ideas Beyond Borders and everything, and then there was, I think,
she had like a Marxist thing on her back. And they were amazingly
disruptive, and she, I mean she was shouting at
me and she was insulting and all of that. And she was accusing me of, oh, then there was another one
in Portland State University in which I was accused of
spreading white supremacy. – Well they called me a homophobe and Christina Hoff Summers anti-feminist. – Yeah, so, and it is actually one of the
most, the strangest things. And I’ve seen it in Europe as well is, this unholy alliance between the far left and the Islamists, in a way, it’s funny, in Iraqi elections,
the last Iraqi elections, the communists and the Islamists were in the same coalition party. Which is really interesting, because I think it’s that
there is a correlation of the ideology between
those who are far leftists and Islamism, they really
hate the same people. Which is, in a way, the capitalistic, or neoliberalism, whatever
they wanna call it. – But is the real cohesion there just because they both
want state power, right? Like they want it for different reasons, but it’s almost like, like here the way I would view it is that the reason that the Islamists
love the progressives is because the progressive are
trying to attain state power, and then the progressives
will just sort of be the last ones to be beheaded. I mean that kind of
metaphorically and literally. But do you think that’s
like a fair estimation? Because it’s both about
accumulating power. Maybe for different reasons. – I think you’re putting
too much thinking into it. I think it’s that
people, at least the ones that I’ve talked to who
sympathize with Islamists, who really don’t have any fucking idea what they’re talking about. They know what they hate. – You’re talking about the Islamists, or you’re talking about the progressives?
– The far leftists, yes. Is that they know what they hate, right? And they know, as they go with this, more ideologies come
in of intersectionality and all of that. So they know what the enemy is. So in a way– – Well I agree with that. I agree that most of them
don’t know what they’re doing. – They would, so, okay, this
fits the identity politics that we want to fulfill. And I’ve talked about
this I think on your show about the zoo theory in
which they want a rainbow, and oh here is a panda and here is a, so they want this diversity, so they put the hijabi in. Because she looks authentic, so in a way, they are committing racism itself by putting a religion, or, in their ways, connected religion, ethnicity,
into like a certain look. So yeah. – Which is an un-progressive look. – It’s just absurd, it’s
just absurd, honestly. – Yeah. But do you– – And then six years and
then how I feel, I mean, I just don’t know how
to make any sense of it. It’s just… – We gotta keep going with this though, because though when they
see, when they see you, by their rules, they
should be all about you. – They should, and some of them have. I think that for me to have, at least from an
organizational perspective, you should donate. You know? I think it’s that people– – [Dave] We’ll talk about
Ideas Without Borders. – But the thing is that, I look at, I mean I need allies. But at the same time I need supporters, which I think is a bit different. And I’ve mysteriously, which is something that I
would like to try out one day. I think it’s that, that university world, and actually, I’m cutting a lot of
my speaking engagements in universities for that reason. And also the social media. Is really, I mean I think your bios is, Twitter is not real world, right? And said– – Twitter is not real life. – Many Americans are really nice people. – Yeah. – Like I can say that with certainty now, as I’ve been now to 40 states. And I’ve lived, actually I was hosted by a family who is gun lovers, who are, she’s Mexican Chinese,
married to a Native American African American, and they love me, and they were like, semi
conservative and semi liberal. And hosted me in their house for a year. And I still call them my American family. And I got to know, these are not the people
you see on college campuses or you see on Twitter, right? These are, they can be
progressive on some others, on some things, and
conservative in others. And there have been this type of mix. Not the ideologues from one side. This kind of mix have
been our biggest allies for the organization, and
for me, as an individual, but also as an organization,
so I think it’s that, that, I think there’s
also study done on Twitter is that how, like those
who are actually on Twitter are those crazy maniacs. It’s kind of a self
selection, is that this is, like even I had a lot of
prejudices against the right, when I moved to the United States. – [Dave] That’s exactly
what I was gonna say. – And when I, and obviously hearing the
left wing or that section, the talk show host, and
to have made a boogeyman of these people. And other than the actual boogeymen and those who are also talk
show hosts of the right wing establishment, but most
people who are conservative are also very nice people, you know? So I think it’s that that is, the problem is that how can
we give these guys platform? Which I think you are doing some of. I think it’s that– – Wait, who do you mean, these guys? – Those who are actually sane people, who are not fighting with– – I’m trying, man! – Yeah, who are not like,
starting at Dave Rubin, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, or like, at Faisal, like you know? These are, unfortunately
they are very the loudest in most of the, but, I’m now realizing it after
I said I quit the news and even social media, I only post selfies of me eating shawarma. But I think it’s that as I
go outside, and I am now, and then yeah, many people
are actually really nice. – It’s interesting because, you know, I’ve traveled the country,
and the world actually, about 20 countries over
the course of last year, on tour with Jordan. And that also, my main takeaway was that. It is particularly unique
here in the United States, how great everyone is. – [Faisal] It’s amazing. – Okay, so now, as a citizen here, somebody that’s been
here for six plus years. – [Faisal] Yeah. Proudly so. – How often do you face
hate and face racism? Let’s say from the quarters
that they would tell you you’re supposed to getting it from? Are the Trump supporters hunting you down? – I mean, thank goodness,
not that I know of. But no, I mean, I think– – But I mean, we go out
all the time in New York, and you make all sorts
of funny Arabic jokes to the waiters and waitresses. – You’re by the way,
the only person I know that when you sit down at a restaurant, you order two drinks at once. – I get a glass of red wine. You get a beer and a margarita. – Because I know I’m gonna order them, so might as well get them
together, so that way– – But then the margarita
just starts melting. I’ve tried to explain this to you. – My physics knowledge is very limited. But, yeah. I mean– – But really, do you face any racism that you know of in America,
any anti immigrant feeling? – So yes and no. I mean you invited me to be on your show when the travel ban happened, and my mom was in Iraq when that, so that thing affected
actually me personally. Overall, I mean yes, I think
it being any public figure of any sort, you get,
hate is part of the game. But it’s much significantly less. – [Dave] But I mean, just in day to day– is in no way comparison, like, like, I mean maybe my sandals are low. – I don’t mean hate though, I mean, I don’t mean hate like,
I don’t like his policy, I don’t like him, something like that. I mean that you are a brown
immigrant in the United States. – Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I mean overall I
would say, yeah, I mean, by any comparison, like compared to living in the Middle East to here, is in no way. I mean not even, I mean, I mean I think there are… Obviously some people have
different definitions, but, I think, is it dehabilitating to my life? No. Having, I think by most
accounts, a good life. I love living in America. I love my friends here. I think that, I now have a
strong bond to this country as a country who accepted
me from the environment that I still live in,
and really gave me that, I think the American dream,
I think I’m a symbol of it in a way. – Well that’s what I love. Seeing your posts, I love
seeing you on Instagram, and you’ve, you know, when
you just posted all this stuff from the party that you had when you officially became a citizen,
you got the big American hat on, the American jersey. And it’s like, you are
the American dream to me. I really believe that. – And the people who attended
that party, by the way, I had a party to be a US citizen, and the people who came to the party are from every faction, of, of either humanity or political views. And, no, I think it’s that those who can always look for fights will
find them, as in any case, but I think it’s that, and obviously everyone’s
experience is different. I mean I don’t live in,
I don’t know, small town, I don’t live in the Bronx. These people might have
different experiences than I do. But I think, I mean, I would
be dishonest to play this identity politics, oh, I’m a
victim here, and I think life– – I’ve done events with you in Texas and then we’ve gone to local bars, where redneck bars, remember that night? I forget what town we were in. But we went to that,
what the average person would think is some middle
America redneck bar, and we had a great freaking
time and nobody cared, and you’re loud, right, you’re
always loud and laughing, and nobody cares. – No, yeah, I think these are a lot of polarizing misconceptions
that need to be fought. I mean my parents live
in Texas, by the way. All my exes live in Texas. (laughing) Actually they don’t, they live
in California, but, but I, no, I mean my parents live
in Texas, I go to many, I go to Texas quite a lot. This misconception that people there are a bunch of racists and, I mean I’ve also been to like small town, there is an area called
Frittersburg, Texas, which has kind of German
wineries and beers and stuff. And many people there were like Texans, and they were not antagonistic whatsoever, they were like super friendly. – Can you talk a little bit about, ’cause you’ve been traveling a lot lately. I know you were in Europe just these last couple days actually. How the sort of integration
thing or race conversation or the rest of it, how
that’s different here than it is in Europe,
from what you’re finding? – I mean my, if there
is one word to describe, it’s tense, man. It’s tense. – So you were in Denmark,
you were in the UK. – I was in Denmark mostly. I was in Denmark for
like seven, eight days, and then I went to Norway
and I went to the UK. The thing is like, and also I’ve been to Germany and the UK. So I’m using my American passport. When I get the passport, I was like, let me go to Canada to maybe test it. Does this really work? And I went to Montreal, I was like, oh, this shit actually works! And I was like, okay,
I can go to Europe noW. – And that’s hilarious, you
just wanted to test it out in Canada, ’cause that’s a little easier. – Because it’s the closest country. – I love it. You become an American citizen, you get a sharp leather jacket and you immediately go to Europe. (laughing) – Living good, yeah. I think it’s that, I mean obviously, I
think the main difference between the United
States and Europe is that everybody can be American. America is a land of immigrants. At the core of it is that the identity is attached to values. And I mean, when I became
a US citizen, it was, I mean the test is easy,
but it’s like, okay, what does United States,
what are the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, all of that. – You mean you didn’t
have to pledge allegiance to white power or something like that? That was not on the test? – Not this time, no. But they said come back in five years. (laughs) I think it’s that, so,
that mixture of like, that this is a state based upon values, I mean that’s one of the reasons. I mean I was actually had possibilities, I mean I was rejected from
entering the United Kingdom, but I had possibilities of
entering different states in Europe to immigrate. Even though I was in that tough situation, which I would take it
regardless where it come. If I had the choice I
would choose America. And I would still choose it again. Is that this is a land
that is based on values. So, as a result, see, you and I, having a conversation, we
had a margarita together in multiple states. I think, yes, while this can happen in different European
states, is that Europe… Europe in a way like Asia,
is part of the old world. And there is history and
there are conflicts there that if you are an immigrant, it is used, I mean when I was in Denmark, it was obvious I was a foreigner. It was obvious I was a foreigner, because Denmark has a
king, it has a history, it has, in a way, specific
tribe that eventually became a state, as in the case of many. – Although they are
struggling a little bit less with the immigration issue than the other Scandinavian
countries, right? At least that was my take
when I was in Denmark. – I mean it depends who you ask. I mean and now I think that
all the social democrats are getting tough on immigration, to protect the welfare
state and some of that. So you have this kind of, I would say the threshold to integrate is more difficult than America. I think America is easy to integrate to. I think many people, it’s
a melting pot, I mean, some guys like, oh you’re
not American enough, well like, I was like, I
drink Bud Light, is that… No, is like– – Did someone really ever say that to you? ‘Cause that would get
to my question earlier. – The guy was, the guy from England. (laughs) – The guy was from England? – Yeah I was telling
him, I was telling him, he’s like, oh, you’re not American. I was like, I don’t have
time for you, but… So I think it’s that the threshold
to enter American society or to integrate to America is different. I think, so, there, it’s
more difficult to integrate. By default it’s more
difficult to integrate. Imagine you’re from Aleppo, and you grew up in a
religious Muslim background, in which you were taught
that the West is an enemy, or your values are more
superior to their values. Clash immediately happens. Is that like, it’s already, I mean the Poles are difficult
to integrate in Denmark, leave aside somebody from
Raqqah, or small town Syria. So as a result, it is, so you have this state
with, to some extent, strong identity that
is tied to the history and tied to, in some
extent, ethnic identity, which I’m not a fan of, but these are, it’s a different history. And then, it is not easy to, even if you are like, let’s say, even if you are the secular open minded, you might also be viewed differently. And imagine if you’re
not secular open minded. So now you’re going minus
50 on level of integration. And if you wanna, not only that, you wanna abuse their system,
then, the clash expands. So in a way it’s that
some of the bad immigrants who move there have, just
like in any case of extremism, is that they also ignited the far right. So now the far right,
and so now there’s like, this huge tension between
the far right in Europe, and then the Islamists who are getting more and more organized. And unfortunately the victims of that are the good immigrants who
really have nothing to do with all of that bullshit. – Which of course is most of them. – Which is, yeah. I mean I’ve talked to some of them who really love living in Europe, and I mean it’s a privilege. To live in a society
that gives you rights, and it’s a privilege. Not everybody, most people in the world still live in authoritarian states. It’s a privilege to live
in liberal democracies. – Are you shocked that so
many people in the West are, let’s just take it from
an American perspective, now that you’re an American, are you shocked that so many Americans are just afraid to say what
you’re saying right now? Even before you repeatedly said values. – Yeah. – But I know pretty much that all 12 of those Democratic
candidates would be scared to say something like, I
believe in American values, because the implication is somehow that means something racist now. Right, so the only people
you have talking about values are either conservatives,
or say the more fringe, far right people, who
do mean it in some way. – That’s what I’m talking about. Is that they talk about values, but they talk about values only directed to in a way, conservative Christians, or kind of far right, even though these are separate categories. But yeah. – And that’s cultural relativism. – We should talk about it, right? – Yeah, that’s where cultural relativism is very cancerous, because
it’s, that, I mean, which is again, back to
the accusations that I get, is that oh, I’m trying
to westernize the Arabs or something like that. And I was like, when
John Stuart Mill wrote, ’cause we translated a lot of Mill’s work. – Yeah, we’re gonna get to that. – Is that John Stuart Mill,
when he said freedom of speech, he didn’t say freedom of
speech for white people. Or people in England, he
said freedom of speech is a universal human right, this should be applied
everywhere and the fact that people from there are
protesting in the streets now in Baghdad and Syria and all the, are demanding these rights. To deny them these rights in the name of cultural relativism is racist and harmful.
– Is racism. – So it’s a mix of both,
it’s dangerous and racist. So saying that, what I
find is also interesting, is that cultural relativism, now I’ve gone too philosophical,
is itself self destructive, because if cultural relativism
is, everything is relative, then this is an objective statement. – Now you’re going Yoda deep on that. Just get rid of that pillow,
you want that pillow back? – Sure. By the fact that you are
saying everything is relative, you are making an objective statement. – And it’s also, everyone
knows it’s not true, not everything is equal. Some countries throw gays
off roofs, some don’t. That’s not equal. – Yeah, not values, of course. And the thing is that we
know, now we know better. I mean that’s one of the things that, I mean you have interviewed
Steven Pinker on your show, and Steven Pinker have
written this amazing book. I mean I call him the ayatollah
of Ideas Beyond Borders. (laughs) and Steven Pinker wrote
this book Enlightenment Now, which is– – There it is, right there. – And we’ve happily translated it. And the thing is, it talks
about that these are the values, enlightenment values of how
they made the world better everywhere they were applied. So it really, identity
politics is irrelevant here is that when you have societies that have better women’s rights,
have better equality, have better freedom, they become better. That is an objective, and he has a full freaking book with data. So what is the argument? So that’s the thing is that, they don’t have an argument against that. They don’t have an
argument that if you allow women’s right and LGB,
and minority rights, individual rights to
flourish in these countries, these countries become,
they don’t have an argument against that, so what
they do is that they shift the argument into oh, you
are white supremacist, or you are westernizing. And I was like, no, the
people from there wanted it. You think that people
from there don’t want to adhere to these values? – It would only make
sense if you didn’t think that Western values and
enlightenment values were good. But they are universally good, as you just said.
– Exactly. And there are Arabic states, for example, Tunisia, when they
have applied women’s rights, they became better states. So that’s why I was saying that it’s both racist and dangerous. ‘Cause you’re denying people there, who you know that the values are good, and you know that they work, but you deny them because you, in the name of whatever
ideology you want to justify. So I think it’s that, that’s why I think, I mean those who, there are two sides who
actually attacks us. And both of them are racist in my opinion. The first one is the cultural
relativists, which is, oh, these are our values,
who are we to tell them? And then the other one will be like, oh these values are only
attached to the white race, and brown people cannot adhere to them. In a way, both–
So that voice, though. – Uh huh? – So that voice, though, so I get, I think we all understand,
everyone watching this understands the first version, I think, ’cause it’s what we
talk about all the time. That other version, though, who is that? I mean is that just like an online voice? ‘Cause I don’t see that voice– – Not necessarily. I mean I’ve had some conversations with a lot of, I mean,
political parties in Europe, who in a way, play on this… – So that’s interesting to me. Do you think it’s more
of a European concept? – I need to spend more time talking with American politicians. But I think in America it’s
probably much less, is that, and that’s why I’m very worried, not using the term Western values, because when somebody
attaches a value system into a region, it becomes,
it gets complicated, right? So when some people say
Western values, they, some of these faction of these people mean that only Westerners
adhere to these values, or only Westerners can
adhere to these value. So it’s sometimes very important
to actually differentiate. I mean I don’t think people
say Western values are racist, I think there are factions
within those who will, which is in a way the same
as the cultural relativists, it’s actually no different whatsoever. – Right. It is cultural relativism, actually. – It is cultural relativism. So it’s not, nothing, I mean, on a personal,
also organizational level, I mean we have not been
attacked by any prominent figure within the people who advocate that, in our organization, so that’s good. But I think, I mean I’ve
had some conversations with some parties, and
some who are Swedish, and some who are, and who are like… They kept saying that, in a way, again, similar to cultural relativism, is that you are acting Western
and you are acting white. (laughing) – Because you want people
to be free, basically. – So in a way there is, I mean, kind of the horseshoe
theory, in a way is like, they are really similar, in a way. – Well I’m glad you clarified
the different between it from an American and European perspective, ’cause from an American perspective, yes, there are little
fringe voice on the internet that I see saying things like that, but no real institutional
power or anything. – Yeah, not that I know of. If I find someone I will tweet at them. – Please do, all right, so, wait, we have to finish up
by talking specifically about Ideas Beyond Borders, you mentioned John Stuart Mill, you know
I’ve got a copy of On Liberty on my night stand, you can sign it later.
– It is one of my favorites. – Can you write something
in Arabic on that? That would actually be pretty great. – I can do it, of course, yeah. – So I’m gonna have you
do that after the show. – I’m gonna put God is great. (laughing) – Excellent. No, talk to me about example what Ideas Beyond Borders is doing, ’cause you guys have translated tons. – Yes.
– How many books? – 3,100 articles as of now and 12 books. – Amazing. And so just where did
this idea really come from and what are you guys doing? – So, the first, actually
it’s very relevant to have conversations, the
first act that we defend our organization about is that from the United Nations Development Report for the Arab world, it
says there are more books translated to Spanish in one year than Arabic in 1,000 years. And also only 0.6% of
internet content is in Arabic. Even though it’s a language spoken by 400 plus million people. As I was growing up in Iraq, thank goodness I was bilingual. I was taught English at a very young age. And as a result I was able to access the alternative voice, in
that case, the liberal voice. If you are an Arab young man
growing up in Iraq and you, or not in Iraq, but all over. And if you search about basic
stuff about human rights, freedom of religion, all of that. The two main things you get are either from authoritarian states or extremists. Even though many people
are hooked to the internet, but really the information
that they are getting– – [Dave] Yeah, just hits a wall. – It’s really from, I
mean, the bad guys, right? Those who want to advance. So, as somebody who grew up there, and now having the privilege
of being safe, number one, and being able to connect
to people like you and be on media and connect, is that IBB is becoming
a platform to help people in the region who adhere to our values, to translate and distribute the materials that make the world a better place, which are enlightenment values. So we started with a small office, and then,
I start pitching the idea around to young Arabs, not to Westerners, but to young Arabs, is
that something we want? Yes, is the answer, is yes. And then we formed a team. I mean now we’re expanding
to 120 translators all across the region. Demanding and translating this content about the enlightenment to be translated and viewed by Arab youth. The connect to all of that is that living in the Iraq war and
seeing all of these things is that this war on terror
or bombing of terrorists, only deal with the tip of the iceberg. We kill the Bin Ladens
and we killed the ISISes. But that doesn’t deal with
the root of the problem, which is values. Extremist values bring destruction, and enlightenment values
bring hope and prosperity. It’s clear, it’s factual. And these values need to be, those who adhere to them
need to be supported, and these values need to be spread, to counter extremist, not that, but even replace it in the future. So that is kind of the gist
of Ideas Beyond Borders, is to provide, is to prevent extremism, the mission of our organization is, preventing extremism before it takes root. So and that way, if you
change the ecosystem of a formation, which they
get, the Steven Pinkers and the John Stuart
Mills and they read them. And then when extremist
guys comes into them, and is like, hey, do you want
to establish a caliphate, and all of that, the answer will be no. And not only to be recruited
to the organization, but to reject all of that ideology, which is the Islamist ideology, which is of having authoritarian
state built on religion or other authoritarians like the rest. So, we’ve actually had tremendous, which actually brings us back to the concept of cultural relativism. Our content has been
viewed 12 million times. In Arabic, I’m not targeting
students of Rochester, I’m targeting young Arabs. And we have 4.5 million followers. So at the beginning, I was like, oh, maybe people will not
read this content, it’s too, the demand is there. People want these, at least, I think some of it is relative to times, is that they have seem
what Islamists look like. They live under them. For me Al Qaeda is not just
something I see on television. I lived under Al Qaeda, I’ve seen– – If you lived under Al Qaeda, why not try an extremist
like Steven Pinker, you know, like give it a shot, right? – The thing is that
many of the young people don’t need convincing honestly, that the values of the
extremists suck, but, they need an alternative. And we are trying to provide
that context and knowledge in which these people
will be able to access it, and now we are in the third phase, in which we actually want to
build a movement on the ground, which back to the self
sufficiency argument, is that, I want this movement that
believes in enlightenment values to be everywhere, to run
for mayoral elections, to be on television, to have a video blog. So that is the other angle,
which is empowerment angle. We make the knowledge available, but also we empower those
who adhere to these ideas. And let them lead the way. And we run surveys which I’d
love to share one day with, is that we run surveys about, okay, what do you guys
need to be translated? Enlightenment. That’s what some of these
people want translated. They want to know books
about freedom of speech, freedom of religion. All of this stuff that we value as– – When my book comes out in
April, Don’t Burn This Book, can we translate it? – Sure! Just talk to your agent, because sometimes they’re
a pain in the ass. – Don’t worry about that. – Actually I wanted to mention that. Because I think it is, we’ve had some difficulty. – You’re in the book, by the way. – Oh yeah? – Yeah. – As what, as a shawarma delivery guy? – You’re my falafel guy. (laughing) – Is that we’ve had, so, I
don’t wanna name and shame, but, we’ve had some issues, so for example, the author would be like oh,
please translate my book, I don’t want money, it’s
for the youth and all that. – [Dave] I’ll do it for free, obviously. – Thank you, yeah. Then the agent will be
like no, I want $10,000. And then we’re like,
we’re a small non profit, where am I getting the $10,000 from? So sometimes it’s that
even because I think, some translation rights are
not owned by the author, they’re owned by the publishing house. And as a result, you had many authors who were trying to authorize their book, and then the conversation
just ended with the agent, we’re like, oh, if you
don’t give us 10,000. So, not– – We’re getting a little
insider baseball here. But if my agents won’t do it, I’ll pay whatever it is. – Okay, okay, thank you. – We could do this all day long. – I know. – And we’ll do this over
dinner in a couple days in New York, but you really
like, doing this show, it’s like, I’ve met so many
people I love and admire and that were heroes of
mine and great authors, but we’ve really become real friends outside of this room, and,
– I know. – and you are exactly
what the American dream is all about, and I’m
just so thrilled that, later maybe when I’m on the plane tonight, I’m gonna go back and look
at that first interview that we did and the fact
that you built this thing and you’re successful, and
you’re now a citizen, man, I mean this is the same
stuff I would say to you off camera but really, I love it, I’m thrilled for you. And for you guys. Check out If you’re looking for
more honest and thoughtful conversations about international issues instead of non stop yelling, check out our international playlist, and if you wanna watch full interviews on a variety of topics, check
out our full episode playlist, they roll right over here. And to get notified of all future videos, be sure to subscribe and
click the notification bell.


  1. Iraq was Israel's biggest enemy. The Mossad provided the fake evidence that Iraq had WMDs and the idea that Saddam would provide it to Al-Qaeda who allegedly just attacked on 9/11. So Iraq was invaded and destroyed without Israel having to fire a single shot.

  2. How about ask the Iraqis themselves? It's not that we removed him. It's that we didn't properly follow up afterwards. The world is better without Saddam and the Iraqis will say so themselves.

  3. When Saddam and Gaddafi were in charge there were ZERO terrorists in that region because they would be put to death . No messing around because Saddam and Gaddafi wanted to keep good relations with the west.
    Also let's not forget that Libya was accused of the Pan Am Lockerbie terror attack so he had good reason to kill any terrorists.

  4. The wars will never end until we're finally allowed by the various social media and news platforms to speak truth about Islam and to destroy the Islamic ideology.

  5. This guy is difficult to listen to, with the "yeah,yeah,yeah" 's and the "at the end of the day" 's… and so many leading questions…

  6. At what cost? All of these wars, at what cost? All of these trade deals, at what cost? We have destroyed What took centuries to build.

  7. It wasn't Hillary's position to stay in Iraq. That was the Neo-Con/Lib position to stay. She was saying what she was told to say.

  8. All these wars are proxy wars for Israel, to destabilize powerful countries in their proximity. No more wars for Israel, no more dead ื’ื•ื™ื

  9. Amazing conversation. So this guy runs a non-profit translation service into Arabic – what is it called and is there a donation link somewhere? Thanks Dave for hosting this guest and cause.

  10. For how many years have we heard the phrase "at the end of the day'? I think Trump wants to see the end of the day for the United States in this region sooner rather than later.

    Uncle Sucker needs a nap.

  11. Saddam Hussein interview 1991.
    Saddam is 100% correct:

    Question: You have been launching missle attacks against Israel.
    Are you disapointed Israel has not been responding with it's own forces?

    Saddam: "All the force that is now being used against Baghdad is Israel.

    What interest would you as an American have, to come & attack Baghdad?

    This war that is being waged against us is a Zionist war.

    The Zionists are inciting us (to draw) American blood in order to be the dominant power in the area once the war comes to an end.

    Had it not been for the Zionists, you would not come here to occupy our land."

  12. Ghadaffi and saddam were trying to stop what the globalists were doing with central banks and the petroldollar, and they ended up dead because of it. Libya, Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan did not have central banks prior to 2001. Now, after 18 years of war and US invasions, they all have one. Iran still doesn't have a central bank. If you've been following global events, you can see they're trying to do the same thing with them as they did with the other countries. False flags, false claims, scary news coverage, etc. Iran is their next target folks.

  13. Hit the nail on the head! "The left doesn't have any freaken idea what they are talking about!" And that's putting it mildly!

  14. Interesting but, how offputting was it that Faisal repeatedly squawked yeah yeah yeah over Davidโ€˜s statements and questions. Maybe he could rethink that technique for his next interview.

  15. Excuse me but the "values" of the country were born of Judea Christian values. They are not "far right"! They are America. The far left and globalists are doing their best to destroy and make these values look bad. That is why you can't count on the US anymore!

  16. Thank you for the new "Central Bank" in Iraq too.
    These Juice are all the same. Play both sides and fool some Cukservatives.

    So that's what a typical American looks like and sounds like?
    So funny. Talk about social constructs! Iraqui one day, American the next. What bs!

  17. Democrats are accusing Trump of abandoning the Kurds in Syria, when Bush and Obama could've created a Kurdistan nation in Northern Iraq.

  18. Faisal, welcome to America, as an American……
    I think you will find that all those of us on the right will really ask of you as an American citizen is to love our, and now your county above all and any other…..
    That's all we ask of you to be one of us….
    Do this and you are no longer a them, you're now an usโ—๐Ÿ‘
    Welcome to the family brother…..๐Ÿ˜Ž

  19. They say โ€œObama left Iraq,โ€ but they didnโ€™t mention that the Iraqi government insisted that the U.S. leave because the U.S. could not agree on a Status of Forces Agreement because the Iraqi Parliament insisted that U.S. personnel in Iraq not have immunity from Iraqi courts when they murder Iraqis.

  20. It isnt just the contractors…….we installed two giant power stations – show the Iraqis how to run them….and some weeks on handing them over – no power, We investigated – the Iraqis were in the process of dismantling the stations – they were selling them off piece by piece. And the US cant fight indefinitely while Iraqis feed and shelter the foreign fighters.

  21. Saeed, jr., could there be independent cantons within a country, like there is in Switzerland, which has various ethnically French, German and Italian cantons?

  22. You can't shoot an ideology out of existence, but you can give people smarter, better, more interesting things to think about.
    That what I think his foundation is doing.

  23. So we will never leave the middle east, and it's up to us to solve all of the disputes in the region..(our blood for your countries)
    Got it..

  24. I hope that the media would shed more light on the Iraqis protests they have been protesting since a month now against corrupt and dictator regime as well as every official in the government. since 2003 especially they have been living in oppressed countries and their oil they don't even get peanuts from it. Furthermore when they protest to ask for clean water, electricity and jobs just like the minimum standards of living, they then get clashed with the government which in turn face them with shotting tear gas directed towards and thorough their skulls and kill them instantly! Hundreds of videos has documented such brutal slaughter of innocent young souls most of them less than 20 years old. In addition the tear gas which the Iraqi government use is forbidden by UN and it weigh 10 times more than the allowed one's. They also have snipers everywhere to shot them directly to their heads or chest. More than 250 has been killed in less than a month and more than 7 thousands have been injured. Iranian supported militias in Iraq are doing all of this and they've more authority than the supposedly Iraqi PM. Just because they're asking for a government whichs capable of providing the minumum standards of living.

  25. i think the problem with american politics is there are three versions of each party . the power, the media and the actual people. and all are completely different.

  26. Isn't the the bloke that is pushing for the end of our borders?
    I Don't trust him.
    And Dave the New York metro is no where near the best!

  27. You think Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar had a tough youth/? I was exploited by capitalists selling me acne ointment at inflated prices !

  28. 56:50 Certain values have made the world ''better''? What definition and scale of ''better''? The Western world in particular is crumbling with increasing drugs, violence, depression, suicide, loneliness and general loss of the meaning and purpose of life. Forsaking God and only applying secular values is the main reason!

  29. How does this man know more about our politics,history and country than eighty percent of millennials . Funny , the leftists and the Islamist are united in their hatred of common targets. Please have this man talk to AOC and her victims of America crowd . The statistic about the amount of material translated to Arabic languages explains something as to how the Middle East stays disconnected from the world around them , information doesnโ€™t reach them .

  30. The only losers were the Christians. Once Sadam was linched, the Christians were doomed. America armed the jihadists and the purge began. That is what the Great Satan does and has been doing. Every country invaded, America arms the bad guys. The Christians gots ta go! So far, 70 million Christian babies murdered in America. Get right people, or be left!


  32. If you're going to ask us "which world order do you want to live in?" that would imply that it is feasible/moral to impose our world order on the middle east. No empire has held that region for very long, it is a black hole of resources for any empire that tries. The only thing that will be sustainable in the middle east is something that middle easterners build. If we could give them military security in exchange for a tithe that would be acceptable, but they must govern themselves.

  33. 11 seconds into the video and propaganda begins…. Democracy is a controlling ideology same as religion it is a myth. What "liberty" or "institutions" there are in US or EU for example? There are buildings and bureaucracy, there is everything except for functional system that actually is for benefit of ordinary people. The institutions are there to ensure the top 1% ration the power.

  34. You can't just give middle-easterners enlightenment values. Especially not by force. England is where the celebrated and successful part of the enlightenment originated, where those values evolved over time and people got used to them. The founders of the US were basically English. It doesn't matter how happy or successful a culture is supposed to make people if it isn't theirs, they will reject it if too much is forced on them at once. Introduce a small change that has a very beneficial guaranteed effect, and then wait for people to appreciate it before introducing the next one.

  35. Something worth noting is that there were more than twenty coalition nations that endorsed and partook in the 2003 invasion. As an Australian, I hate to hear speakers characterise the war as solely American aggression. This was a group effort, and a group failure.

  36. Thank you Mr. Rubin for another interesting and informative conversation. I'm just an ol' cowboy (I prefer "gentleman of western persuasion") but I am most pleased that young Faisal has joined our American melting pot. He will be a valuable American citizen.

  37. Who is this guy? He leaves his country for the USA as a young man and tells young men from the USA to go there and fight?

  38. Donโ€™t normally watch rave dubin anymore but I like this guy. Been to Iraq and Afghanistan several times each. What a shit show.

  39. Middle East needs a democratic state in between all the Middle East states and put them all back in their own states and they can immigrate to that democratic state slowly and if they behave to eachother right they can stay if not back to their birth state.

  40. So let me see if I get this straight: The USSA illegally invaded your country, destroyed your national infrastructure, murdered your fellow Iraqi citizens, demolished your economy, decimated your government, ravaged your women and YOU in return decided to pledge allegiance to and become a citizen of the USSA. How D-E-S-P-I-C-A-B-L-E is THAT?

  41. Dave: "It was during Obama's Hope & Change thing when everybody was just drinking the cool-aid"
    Not everybody dave, not everybody

  42. Rubin says Faisal is now in the Jordan Peterson category? Dave, you shouldn't be insulting your guests like that comparing them to an arrogant faux intellectual like JP. Thank you however for pointing out that the Iraq war was a giant mistake; just remind viewers that most Democratic legislators voted against it, and almost all Republican legislators voted for it. Thanks.

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