Decidedly. This is one of those sentences, from one of those articles, that you read again and again in the hope that it might bear some reasonable meaning on closer inspection. No-one could really think that, could they? Today’s prize for greatest misplaced faith in the state goes to The Guardian’s Hywel Williams:
Middle Eastern tribalism, just like the African variety, is the direct result of colonial interference which frustrated the indigenous development of state-building.
For Mr Williams, the state is by definition good… but only when it is doing what he wants, promoting what he believes is social progress. The state is only the state for him when it is a mid-20th-century north European welfare auction. Otherwise it is a reversion to some more primitive social form, not a real state. If becomes an instrument for evil, then that is because it is not a proper state; someone must have interfered with it.
Nasty states that express tribalism are not in the ‘Western tradition’, but they are caused by colonialism in the Middle East and Africa, while Putin’s Russia on the other hand looks “to its Slavic roots”, and while Bush’s America is (apparently) a tribalism of politicised evangelicalism.
It is perplexing how ‘tribalism’ will stretch to cover everything Mr Willams does not like, but still he purports to think that local states for local people are a good thing (if permitting the English self-government is going too far, tantamount to endorsing apartheid). “Modern democratic states” are what he wants. But to be acceptable they should all be alike in this, in that, and in the other respect. His way of government is best. How is that different from imperial interference?