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Saturday, September 15, 2012

What is Our Real Interest in the Middle East?

"My policy has been, and will continue to be, while I have the honor to remain in the administration of the government, to be upon friendly terms with, but independent of, all the nations of the earth. To share in the broils of none. To fulfill our own engagements. To supply the wants, and be carriers for them all: Being thoroughly convinced that it is our policy and interest to do so." — George Washington, letter to Governor Morris, 1795.

What George Washington was stating in his letter to Governor Morris is that his foreign policy boiled down to one simple doctrine — what’s best for the United States. He was not interested in spreading our revolution and the principles as expressed in the Declaration of Independence or our Constitution around the world. In essence if a nation wanted to be friendly we would make trust with that nation. If a nation did not want to befriend us we would remain independent of them, and if a nation wanted to make war on us we would respond with force of arms. He was not interested in spreading democracy around the world for he, as many of our founders knew, unfettered democracy would eventually lead to tyranny.

In his 1775 letter to Patrick Henry George Washington stated:

“My ardent desire is, and my aim has been to comply strictly with all our engagements foreign and domestic; but to keep the United States free from political connections with every other Country. To see that they may be independent of all, and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home.”

Last year in the so called “Arab Spring” we intervened in Egypt and Libya to remove to dictators and tyrants who had been sympathetic to our national interest. We did this in the passion of promoting something the media proclaimed as “The Democracy Movement.” Both of these countries have replaced the dictatorship of one man with the organized tyranny of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The fires of revolution in Egypt were feed by the Islamics and the increasing costs of food and fuel, and looked upon by the media as a democratic movement. Both our Media and the Obama administration were consciously blind to the fact that those feeding the fires of this revolution were not interested in our best interests and were standing in the wings ready to capture the passions of the people demonstrators and assume power. Once they had that power they would turn Egypt into an Islamic nation where sharia ruled. This can be said of all revolutions that began in the streets. They all began with the cries democracy and power to the people and ended with the iron-handed rule of a select elite. This is what happened in France, Russia, and Cuba.

In Libya the story was the same, but with a different twist. We were acting in the best interests of our European allies and their need for a steady flow of oil from a country from which we receive very little oil from. However, the results were the same — a dictator replaced with the Muslim Brotherhood that, as the events of 9/11/2012 showed were not acting in our best interests.

The same Islamic revolt is occurring in streets and towns of Syria today. The reason the Russians and Chinese are not prepared to throw Bashar Hafez al-Assad under the bus in the name of anything. They see dictatorship of Assad as representing stability and this is in their national interest. They know that if Assad goes there will be a vacuum and that empty space will be filled with the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood thus taking another step towards the establishment of the second caliphate and expanding the power of Islam across the region. This is not in our best interests as this spreads to Afghanistan, Tunisia, Iraq, and Indonesia. Nor is it in the interests of the Russians, Chinese, or Europeans.

Our embassies in Libya and Egypt have been ruthlessly stormed — on theFlag Burning 11th anniversary of 9/11, no less. Four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, are dead, victims of what appears to be not some spontaneous protest but a well-coordinated, pre-meditated assassination by Islamic terrorists. Ambassador Chris Stevens’ body was dragged through the streets of Benghazi following the attack —partaking in a triumphal repeat of Mogadishu ’93 or Fallujah ’04. The Obama administration’s immediate, reflexive response was not to condemn the jihadists who perpetrated these vile acts but to castigate the filmmaker who supposedly incited them and preach about limits on free speech when it comes to Islam.

Meanwhile: 1) The radical new Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt called for more anti-filmmaker protests this Friday on the heels of its recent re-militarization of the Sinai, but canceled those calls 2) Our embassies in Tunisia and Algeria are on high alert 3) Syria is aflame and awash in blood 4) Yemen is an Al Qaeda-friendly shambles 5) The Jordanian and Saudi monarchies are quaking in their boots. 6) Jihadists in Gaza continue to fire rockets and missiles into Israel and 7) President Obama has callously declined a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a moment when our shared enemy, Iran, is on the threshold of acquiring nuclear weapons.

Forget “Are you better off than four years ago?” In the Middle East, the question regarding the Obama administration is, “Are you better off than you were two years ago, pre-Arab Spring?” The answer from everybody in the region — other than the Muslim Brotherhood and the hardcore Salafists who are now ascendant — is a resounding “No!” Followed by a loud, desperate cry of “Help!” — particularly if they are a Jew or Christian.

In light of these recent events, can we all just admit now what has been painfully obvious for a long time? The vaunted “Arab Spring” has become a sinister Islamist Winter that has replaced U.S.-friendly (albeit undeniably wicked) secular tyrants with something far worse: Islamist fanatics who are gleefully fanning the flames of jihadist fury against America, Israel and all things Western. The Obama administration has encouraged and rewarded these blossoming Islamist regimes at every turn while pushing Israel into a corner and emboldening the Iranian regime in its relentless pursuit of the Bomb. As a result, it’s now not a matter of if war is coming to the Middle East, but when?

Mitt Romney has, inexplicably, largely avoided the topic of national security thus far as he focuses on America’s crumbling economy and crippling debt (a national security challenge in its own right). The spectacle of John Kerry — seen cavorting with the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo–portraying President Obama as a rough-and tough terror warrior at the recent Democratic National Convention while reminding us for the umpteenth time that Osama Bin Laden is dead? Unanswered by the Romney team–even as national security threats far more dangerous than Bin Laden and Al Qaeda continue to mount.

Anti-American Islamists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, are on the rise throughout the Middle East and North Africa. America’s influence in the region is waning while that of Putin’s Russia increases. Israel now feels completely alone. Iran is ready for the Mahdi, arming Hezbollah to the teeth and merrily enriching uranium. All of this has happened and continues to happen under President Obama’s watch.

If Governor Romney does not hammer these points home forcefully in his debate on foreign policy with President Obama on October 22nd — not with wonkish policy talk but in stark, sober terms that the average American can understand — he misses a golden opportunity. Events will soon take place in the Middle East that will bring conditions in the Middle East and Obama’s leadership even more to the forefront of American politics.

Dan McLaughlin writes in Red States:

“If there is one common theme about Barack Obama’s leadership style in a crisis that runs throughout his time on the national stage and is evident yet again in his response to the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi, it is passivity. Obama has shown, time and again, that he prefers to sit back, keep his distance and see what other people do first before he says or does anything. This is not an entirely bad trait – smoking out what everyone else at the table is thinking is an effective way to play poker, and there are times when doing nothing or being a follower is the wiser course. It has certainly paid him political dividends in situations where his opponents overextended themselves. But what it also clearly demonstrates is that vigorous public leadership – getting out in front and rallying the public to take some action that was not already widely supported – is above his pay grade.


Caution and deliberation are not necessarily bad things; important decisions sometimes take time and require the gathering of additional information, and consensuses sometimes form better without heavy-handed leadership. Sometimes, an empty chair is all the leadership we need. Certainly, in at least some of the crises Obama has faced in the Middle East, doing more would have risked creating even bigger problems. But the next four years will present more occasions when active leadership is needed – leadership on facing down Iran, leadership on containing America’s public spending, entitlement and debt crises. Barack Obama has proven, time and again, that he’d rather wait for somebody else to step up so he can decide who to follow. America deserves better.”

The winds of war are blowing stronger in the Middle East, all because President Obama refuses to realize the threat posed by radicals in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East.

It is difficult to say what’s harder to believe: that is has been 11 years since the 9/11 atrocities or that national security has become an irrelevant issue in the most consequential presidential election in decades.

The first observation reminds us that September 11th was a day of remembrance: of the loss of nearly 3,000 of our fellow citizens; of the bravery of those who willingly gave their lives to save others; and of the heroism of the men and women who put on the line all that they have. That includes the love and well-being of their families, on whom the burden of American national security has been imposed while the rest of us go on with our lives — too often, without giving them a first thought, never mind a second.

No matter which political party has been in power since 9/11, there has been2012-09-14-digest-cartoon-1 a great deal of bloviating about “the rule of law.” It is as if we had evolved beyond anything so crude and benighted as armed force and national interest — especially national defense. Let’s remember that we have the luxury of living under something resembling the rule of law only because dedicated Americans sacrifice themselves to confront evil — in this case, the adherents of an evil ideology, Islamic supremacism, that is closer to the law of the jungle. The rule of law has precious little to do with why we have gotten through 11 years without a reprise of 9/11. A better explanation is that terrorists who have been captured or killed cannot commit more terrorism.

On the matter of evil, it is good to remember that it exists. Evil is not a misunderstanding, a cultural gulf, or a natural reaction to political policies adopted in pursuit of American interests or Israeli self-defense. That brings us to the second observation: the fact that national security concerns are absent from the 2012 campaign, even with tens of thousands of Americans at arms in distant hellholes, even with tens of millions of Americans enduring the increasingly overbearing government that has been the cost of heightened vigilance in an era when barbarism is met with political correctness.

The United States defeated the ideological threats of the twentieth century because we were unafraid to see evil for what it was — to diagnose it and understand it. Today, we ignore it, rationalize it, and assume we are somehow to blame for it. For the bipartisan ruling class, 9/11 is about “violent extremism” — as if irrational, wanton killers, seized by a “psychological disorder,” committed mass-murder for no better reason than to visit on the world’s most famous office buildings the most shocking case of “workplace violence” in history.

The “violent extremism” narrative is nonsensical. It defies reality as well as history. But it is a convenient fiction. For the Obama Democrats, it miniaturizes the enemy. With the killing of bin Laden, the president can now portray the enemy as defeated — even as al Qaeda resurges; even as Iraq has become an Iranian-influenced sharia state that works against the U.S. and Israel (remember when “victory” was defined as a “stable” “democracy” that is a “reliable ally”?); and even as Afghan Islamists (a redundancy, I know) turn their weapons on their American trainers, and the administration pleads with the Taliban to negotiate (remember when “victory” was defined as a “stable” “democracy” that “prevents the Taliban from returning and giving safe haven to al-Qaeda again”?). The “violent extremism” canard allows the administration to declare victory even as we are being humiliated.

The Republicans are no better. They want no part of dealing with Islamic supremacist ideology. To see it, diagnose it, and understand it as, say, Reagan did with Soviet communism, would — they’ve decided — result in their being slandered as “at war with Islam.” It would, moreover, lay bare the lunacy of the “Islamic democracy” project, which is what became of the incoherent “war on terror” after mid-2003 — a futile, prohibitively costly debacle. Indeed, it is the ambition of the Republican establishment to double down on this enterprise in Libya and Syria, among other venues, even as we see its wages in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey — “sharia democracies” that are among the world’s worst human rights violators. Most Americans see an enemy when they look at Saudi Arabia — where sharia is the only law, where religions other than Islam are banned, where women are systematically abused, from whence Islamic supremacist ideology is propagated throughout the world, and from whence hailed 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers. The Republican establishment looks at Saudi Arabia and sees a “key counterterrorism ally” with whom we may have, you know, a few “minor disagreements.”

In sum, the Obama campaign does not want to talk about national security — other than “Obama killed Osama” — because with the Middle East unraveling, with its record of abetting the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendancy, the president’s claim of success is specious.

The Romney campaign does not want to talk about national security because talking about terrorism reminds people that Obama killed Osama, and talking about “promoting democracy” suggests more Iraqs, Afghanistans, Libyas, and coming soon, Syrias — self-defeating exercises that most Americans want no part of.

Neither campaign wants to talk about the ideological threat that imperils us, Islamic supremacism, because the Muslim Brotherhood’s American network has intimidated or co-opted them into believing that doing so would make them “Islamophobes.” Besides, to acknowledge the ideology would oblige them to do something about it, and then we’d have to concede that all these wonderful allies we’ve cultivated actually despise the West and work energetically to undermine us.

In closing I refer to the words of Alexander Hamilton when he stated:

"Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others."

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