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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 8, 2013 7:45pm-8:01pm EST

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perhaps they were time-bound, or bound by where you were, but you're willing to say, no, i think i'll move in a different direction, and i think that is what we need always. ... our time with nathaniel philbrick and brenda wineapple. thank
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he argues that unlike other regional powerhouses, this country has been able to hold its own with world events and this is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> thank you all very much. let me start by thanking osama and his team for tonight's event. i am most grateful and honored to be here. thank you all. i was motivated to study since 2007 at the georgetown campus in delhi. one of the first things that struck me about the country was it's amazing development and its relative success. so what motivated me to write this book is the simple question of whether or not qutar is for real. i don't know how many of you are
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familiar with qutar. but in many ways, this is a country that consistently punches above its weight to overuse and use the metaphor. it is a small state, which tries to be extremely consequential, not only within the arabian peninsula and was in the persian gulf, but also beyond. and it exercises a certain amount of power that in many ways is commensurate with its size and demography and also its history. in a region where relatively great powers like each other and syria and iraq and iran and saudi arabia, where they have long influenced regional affairs and have long called the shots, if you will. it has been extremely consequential over the last decade and a half. not only has it been extremely consequential, but it has also
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shaped the direction of current events and, in fact, history as it unfolds. so when i went there, there were several questions that i had and one was when i posted earlier. is qatar for real. is this a country that is exercising a sort of power that is fleeting and in permanent, or is that in many ways consequential? then if you look at delhi, it is an amazing and -- it is a very odd city in terms of its development. it is engaged in what you might call high modernism, with a city that is growing into the sea and sky with artificial islands and also high-rises. but it is also a city where you
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have relatively little urban tradition. and the urban tradition that is that they are a state directed and it is an urban tradition where the government deliberately tries to create a sort of parity. so the questions that i have for myself or to what extent does all of this mean, and how blasting as this? is it something that is fleeting and we have countries that have long shape the region. the more i studied this, the more i realized a couple of things. i realized that qatar is a success story. it is not unqualified success, but in many ways it is a success story, and that's where it needs to be told. i also realized that there is a series of developments and factors that have converged at the same time to resolve in what
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might be called qatar's moment in history and that is what is currently riding high. not only punching above its weight, but in many ways it is having a number of successes that are shaping, consequentially, the middle eastern history. and so in many ways it is a success story that needs to be told and also again, it does have some glitches. then i also realized for myself as well as for others that it is a place that needs to be described and it is a place that needs to be studied and analyzed. it is not just fleeting. when i went to qatar, i had an extremely hard time describing the place to others. i remember one of my first official meetings, it was with a
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high-ranking diplomat. and i said how do you describe this place to others? it's extremely difficult to describe qatar. the image that he said that he told me, he said that well, you know, this is like those scenes in the james bond movies where you have these national celebrations where people have their national dress and they are all getting together and beautiful colors of their own national dresses. and in many ways to qatar resembles that. the second image that he told me about was more lasting than that. he said that, imagine at that time that the size of the population was just over 1 million. he said that you have 800,000 people waiting on 200,000 people. that image really stuck with me. so i decided when i wrote this book, one of the first things i thought that i needed to do was to describe this difficult -- this place that is it is
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difficult to describe. this very odd place. bear with me as i attempt attempted to read you a passage from the book and try to describe this place. for those of you who have been in qatar, we know that there are lots of opulent buildings and very luxurious hotels. what i am about to tell you is inspired by the lobby of the ritz-carlton and there are another of hotels that are newer and more opulent in this particular passage, every time i go into the lobby of the ritz-carlton, in many ways i am overwhelmed by the opulence that i see. so i decided to start off with a description of doha. then i will tell you a little bit about the kinds of power and influence that i think that
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qatar is exerting what are some of the ingredients of success are also mentioned. now, doha may lack the session, but it is still filled with the glitz that numbs the senses and the perception of reality. it is like tucson, arizona on one hand. it is not surprising that today's doha is one massive construction site. no sooner are the city maps printed that they become obsolete. as multilane highways replaced old stinky streets. roundabouts, marvels of traffic engineering from a bygone era, cars and manageable street flow is being replaced with four corner junctions and time traffic lights.
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cranes and other heavy construction equipment are ubiquitous features of the urban landscape. doha, it seems, is the addicted to carry out its asphalt streets as soon as they are ready. entire neighborhoods made up of older shops and larger single-family homes are raised with unsettling frequency and replaced by tall and glass covered buildings. remembering directions to points of interest is often an exercise in point of futility. passengers find themselves giving directions to their drivers, many who are recent arrivals. it is a product of the worlds highest and deadliest traffic
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accident rates. the municipalities of speed cameras all across the city have done little to encourage a culture of driving safely. unsurprisingly, most of the people in qatar presume larger and safer cars. and the ubiquitous toyota land cruiser is the king of this and a significant symbol. in recent years, more daring colors of black and gray are also seen darting around town. all the while, the armies of construction workers in the tens of thousands remain as inconspicuous and hidden from public view as possible. the state employees at discourse baral bachelors from shopping
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malls on so-called family days and from living in family residential areas. and in this sense, it is a code word for migrant workers from south asia and family designates everyone else, married or not. the biggest interaction between unskilled migrant workers in the rest of the country's residence, are on the congested streets of doha, where half open windows of the american school buses as workers are driven from future high-rises to the distant labor camps. what i have tried to do is convey a sense of this odd mixture between hong kong and
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tucson, arizona. the city that has landmarks that have nothing to do with the culture of this. but nonetheless, they are an important part of the country's tradition and its sense of identity and theme. but then i realized that, in fact, doha, as i mentioned, is a success story. it does have challenges and it does face some serious fundamental challenges. but it is a success story. what are some of the ingredients of that success story? and what are some of the main factors that have made it, doha and qatar, what it is today? and i have decided that it can be divided broadly into four categories and first and foremost, the least compared to the rest of the middle east and compared to its other neighbors in the arabian peninsula, qatar
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has a comparative advantage that others do not. in many ways, it has remarkable social cohesion and 10 to 20% of the people from doha are said to be share and some claim they are ancestry to come from iran. nevertheless, it tends to be remarkably supportive of the families. so i'm like this, for example, where the fundamental sectarian tensions are a part of this, there is a mark remarkable social cohesion. also one that is a confederation in one of those has a way wayward ruler that has to be bailed out by the ruler of abu dhabi and qatar does not have that problem. also in addition, it has an
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extremely small demography and it ranges at most around 200,000. so it is a very easily manageable country and it also has important resources and wealth. so i'm the one hand it has a comparative advantage as compared to all of the other regional states and it has cohesion and a very manageable population and a small demography and inordinate resources at its disposal. in a second characteristic within the arabian peninsula in the larger middle east is the centralized decision-making. in many ways, a way to conceptualize this to think of it as the corporation. and that is how it is a very
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easy way of thinking about it in the major decisions in the country are made by a handful of people and there is tremendous centralized decision-making. you can imagine that the minister of energy brings in revenues and the prime minister who also happened to be in charge of the investment authorities is the guy who invests the funds that are brought in. also, it is her foundation that is in charge of culture activities and universities like georgetown and texas a&m and others to come. she also oversees cultural activities as well. and then you have h

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