Most Americans agree that democracy is a desirable system of government for most people in the world. The route to reach it, however, is anything but simple. With current events in Arabia, the Obama administration once again finds itself out of its depth—and once again it is reactionary. Worse yet, the reaction is wrong.
Chaos anywhere on earth is usually a harbinger of disaster. This is especially so in the dry kindle of the Middle East, where most disasters invariably concern the expansion of Islamism. Consider Iran (whose 1979 revolution had many of the same features as Egypt's does today) and the crazy Mullahs. Think about Lebanon: a country that was recently "acquired" by Iran's surrogate, Hezbollah. Similarly, ponder the expansion of Hamas into the Gaza strip. Let's hope we don't add Jordan to this list of chaos-stricken nations in the upcoming weeks. For now, however, the world turns its attention to Egypt, which is in many regards the largest and most important Muslim nation.
In geopolitics, there are no cookie-cutter solutions to political problems. But make no mistake: careful, insightful, morally clear, and competent statesmanship often pays off. Unfortunately, American policy seems to be lacking all of the above.
The recent Iranian uprising desperately needed the US' moral, political, and perhaps material support. What did the people clamoring for our help in the streets of Teheran receive? Words. Idealistic, simplistic, and unrealistic words. We utterly failed to support the opposition to the Mullahs and probably squandered a singular opportunity for Iranian regime change from within.
Egypt, a different case for sure, also needs support—and I believe moral direction—from the US. What has it received? More words, and ill-considered words at that. As Robert Spencer puts it, this week the Obama administration "gave the green light" to include the Muslim Brotherhood in any new Egyptian government. What a colossal mistake.
I remind readers of the Muslims Brotherhood's (MB) long-term motto:
Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
The Muslim Brotherhood spawned virtually every major radical Islamic movement on earth. Exercising Islamist Al Taqiyya (deception), they have recently renounced terrorism even as they continue to fully support Islamism and the terror groups they birthed. This is the apotheosis of Stealth Jihad: the conversion and defeat of the secular West by exploiting our embarrassing policies of appeasement. A sad example of this is the current mainstream media's frenetic attempt to "sanitize" the MB as a reformed and "moderate", whatever that means, organization.
On the senate floor, Senator Mark Kirk introduced Mohammed Badi, a top MB leader, as having been "elected the Eighth General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in January 2010." A few months ago, Mr. Badi said, "We will continue to raise the banner of Jihad and the Koran in our confrontation with the enemy of Islam." This week, another MB leader, Muhammad Ghannem, purportedly told the Al-Alam Iranian news network that he "would like to see the Egyptian people prepare for war against Israel." He went on to say that the Suez Canal should be "closed immediately… in order to bring about the downfall of the Mubarak regime."
Kirk again: "While we support human rights and democracy, we must heed growing warnings about the Muslim Brotherhood, their leaders, and plans for taking Egypt back to the 13th century. We have seen this movie before—in Iran, in Lebanon, and in Gaza… An Egypt locked under Sharia law and oppressing women, Christians and Jews would be a catastrophic setback for progress in the Middle East. Such a state could renounce the Camp David peace accords or even start yet another war with Israel."
Can anyone please explain to me the logic behind inviting this group to participate in the "new Egypt"? Here's a novel idea: how about the president actually promulgating American values, such as real freedom, liberty, minority rights, women's rights and at least tolerating the continued existence of those who practice a different faith? Is this asking too much from an American president? Must Obama always pander to these backward, hateful zealots? Let's all hope that our newly elected Congress (including people like Senator Mark Kirk) will result in a more balanced and rational policy.
For a while, I thought that Obama's conciliatory stance toward radical Islam was just a symptom of the president tripping over his inveterate ideology. Now I am not so sure.
Take a look at some of his appointments and associations. On the very first day of his presidency, Obama showed a readiness to accept the Muslim Brotherhood by choosing Ingrid Mattson, president of The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), to offer a prayer at the National Cathedral during inaugural festivities. Mattson, a convert to Islam who describes herself as a moderate spokesperson, might have seemed to be a reasonable choice but for one disturbing fact—the ISNA has recognized ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and radical organizations like Hamas.
In a speech at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government a year before the inaugural, Mattson tried to create enmity between Jews and Christian conservatives by stating that "Right-wing Christians are very risky allies for American Jews, because [Christians] are really anti-Semitic. They do not like Jews." Mattson was clearly an agenda-driven and divisive choice. To be fair, after it was publicly revealed that Mattson secretly met with Hamas, Obama fired her in 2009.
The Obama administration's chief adviser on Islamic affairs is another enigma. This woman, Dalia Mogahed, serves on the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; in addition, she is a firm supporter of CAIR and ISNA and is an admitted pro-Sharia Muslim, so reports Robert Spencer and Nonie Darwish.
Yet another curious appointment is Arif Alikhan. He is serving as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security. Alikhan is affiliated with the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). The problem is that MPAC is widely reported as having links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
To recap: the Obama administration's contentious appointments, repeated missteps in Middle Eastern policy, and a de facto invitation for the Muslim Brotherhood to participate in the next Egyptian government certainly reveal a disturbing pattern. At best, these are sophomoric attempts to show Muslims at home and abroad that our war against radical Islam is not a war against Islam itself. At worst, might there be some deep seated pro-fundamentalist Muslim psyche at play—perhaps from his childhood—that the president just can't shake off? Frankly, I no longer care what Obama's motivations are for his actions. I just want the madness to stop before we suffer irreparable harm.