Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Repugnant anti-American violence on 9/11

I am furious about the attacks on our embassies in Libya and Cairo. Islamic mobs marked the anniversary of 9/11 with bigoted violence and killings of diplomats.

The appeasement reflex of our embassy in Cairo, condemning those who "hurt the religious feelings of others" more than the perpetrators, is also shameful.

Victor David Hanson writes on the National Review blog:

Obama’s effort to appease Islam is an utter failure, as we see in various polls that show no change in anti-American attitudes in the Middle East — despite the president’s initial al Arabiya interview (“We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect.”); the rantings of National Intelligence Director James Clapper (e.g., “The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ . . . is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”); and the absurdities of our NASA director (“When I became the NASA administrator . . . perhaps foremost, he [President Obama] wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science.”) — to cite only a few examples from many.

At some point, someone in the administration is going to fathom that the more one seeks to appease radical Islam, the more the latter despises the appeaser.

Wishful thinking is not a substitute for policy. The "vast majority" of the Arab street is deeply hostile, and pretending otherwise is stupid.

A first step would be to make sure anyone who thinks killing people is a justified response to an "insult to the prophet" by some obscure nobody somewhere in the US never gets a US visa and never sets foot in the United States, nor anyone who makes excuses for them. We expect people to resist provocations without killing innocent parties. It should be a required test on every US visa application: "Have you ever participated in or verbally supported killing people or rioting in response to alleged insults to religious figures." Automatic denial.

This kind of zealotry and fanaticism is not acceptable. There needs to be more of a containment model in our dealings with the Islamic world, on the model of the Kennan approach to the Soviet Union. We did not endlessly praise the wonders and peacefulness of communism during the cold war, after all. We did not think the path to peace was endless recitation of the enlightenment of Marxism-Leninism. Quite the opposite. We refused to give it ideological legitimacy.

We need more separation, rather than more engagement or attempts at suasion. And we need to argue for our own values rather than ignore problems in the hope they will go away.


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