Did Clooney Just Say Multi-Culturalism Doesn't Work?

It's one thing for my favorite political podcaster, the National Review's John Derbyshire, to assert, as he is often wont to do, that multi-culturalism doesn't work.  But George Clooney?

Yet that was the point the actor seemed to make, appearing on Morning Joe today to discuss the recent referendum in which the people of southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly to secede from the north.

View video after the jump.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Explain to our viewers what's going to happen here. The civil war between the North and the South: it's been religious, it's been ethnic; two million killed. They're going to actually try to divide the country in half, aren't they?

GEORGE CLOONEY: They're basically going to try to put it back the way it was.  You know, as a lot of us who have colonized over the years have learned, you know, it doesn't necessarily work when you just draw something and say, OK, let's make a nice country out of these two groups who actually got along OK for a long period of time, but didn't particularly love each other and now suddenly they're one country.

They're basically going back.  It's less religious.  People like to call it a Christian and Muslim fight.  It's more in some ways racial.  But it's also very much about territories. You know, the South, the Dinkas, are farmers, and the North are nomads.  And so basically they fought a war ending in 2005.  Killed about 2.5 million people in that war. And there was an agreement that said five years from this date, when they agreed, if things aren't working out for you guys as one country, then you have the right to vote for your independence, which they decided to do overwhelmingly.

 

To be sure, the situation in Sudan is much more dire than elsewhere, but Clooney's words can be seen to have broader applicability.  From the old Yugoslavia to Belgium, from Canada to Europe's problems with integrating Muslims, multiculturalism seems to struggle wherever it's tried.   Perhaps the United States has been and can be an exception, but only if people come here with the desire to assimilate, and the country adopts policies encouraging this.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.