The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Course Change

President Obama and his supporters told us in 2011 that the "Arab spring" would lead to democracy in Egypt. His sychophants in the MSM parroted his words, never looking at history and never questioning the wisdom of his judgement. Obama warned that democracy would come to Egypt in fits and starts, but the "mostly moderate" Muslim Brotherhood (MB) would rule with, well, moderation. Fits and start, indeed. Moderation? There was never a chance that would happen, but the President was either too ill-informed or too caught up in his own fantasy view of the world to recognize the inherent danger in backing and even wooing the MB.

Barry Rubin comments:
There is a long history of Western powers believing that they could manipulate or work with radical Arabic-speaking states or movements to redo the regional order. All have ended badly.
But what is more shocking is the repeated meme that the MB were moderate or at least mostly moderate. They.Are.Not. Nor have they ever been. Again from Rubin:
There are huge amounts of archival evidence, including documents showing not only Nazi payments to the Brotherhood but also that the Nazis provided them with arms for a rebellion to kill Christians and Jews in Egypt. … There is no evidence that the Brotherhood has changed its positions.

Richard Fernandez suggests that an incompetent administration was lead astray by an incompetently managed state department:
Thus the authoritarian, the church-burning, anti-semitic nature of the Bros [MB] should not have been in the least surprising. What was surprising was that State didn’t see it coming ...

The State Department should have realized that walking down the aisle with the Muslim Brotherhood to the altar of democracy was like handcuffing yourself to an anvil and trying to swim the English channel. [emphasis mine] They were bound to drag Obama down and they did. One of President Obama’s favorite phrases is “false choice”. He once said “we Reject the False Choice Between Our Security and Our Ideals”. On another occasion he thundered against the false choice between privacy and security in discussing the NSA scandal. What are we now to make about the choice offered to the Egyptian people between the ideological descendants of Stalin and Hitler? The President should dust off the teleprompter and say, “I reject the false choice …”
But that would require Barack Obama to do what intelligent leaders must always do — re-evaluate preconceived notions that are demonstrably incorrect and make a course change.

It is way past the time when this country and its President should "dust off the teleprompter" and state:
"We reject the false choice between friendship with the mainstream of Islam and the need to avoid taking a strong position on radical Islam. We sincerely want to peacefully coexist with Islam, but only to the extent that Islam is willing to peacefully co-exist with us. We believe that the vast majority of Islam wants peace and friendship and desires a mutually beneficial relationship with us.

"But Radical Islam, exemplified by the Muslim Brotherhood, is antithetical to our values, our culture and our future. When it threatens us directly we will fight it, and we will win. When it threatens others, we will help those threatened to overcome it. We do not want conflict, but we will no longer be silent when a repressive, intolerant, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, homophobic ideology wants to dominate the weak and murder those who oppose it."
Heh. The teleprompter will remain dusty throughout the remainder of Barack Obama's term, and if things go as I expect, well into the second decade of the 21st century. By then, it will be too late for a course change.

Update (19 Aug 2013):

Walter Russell Mead provides another look:

President Obama has had a rude awakening in the Middle East. The region he thought existed was an illusion built on American progressive assumptions about the way the world works. In the dream Middle East, democracy at least of a sort was just around the corner. Moderate Islamists would engage with the democratic process, and the experience would lead them to ever more moderate behavior. If America got itself on the “right side of history,” and supported this hopeful development, both America’s values and its interests would be served. Our relationships with the peoples of the Middle East would improve as they saw Washington supporting the emergence of democracy in the region, and Al Qaeda and the other violent groups would lose influence as moderate Islamist parties guided their countries to prosperity and democracy.

This vision, sadly, has turned out to be a mirage, and Washington is discovering that fact only after the administration followed the deceptive illusion out into the deep desert. The vultures are circling now as American policy crawls forlornly over the dunes; with both the New York Times and the Washington Post running “what went wrong” obituaries for the President’s efforts in Egypt, not even the MSM can avoid the harsh truth that President Obama’s Middle East policies have collapsed into an ugly and incoherent mess.
In fairness, the illusion of democracy in the Middle East began long before Obama was in office, but his administration perpetuated the fantasy and if anything, adopted a foreign policy that made a bad situation much, much worse.