In defense of classical liberalism 7

A Harvard University reader of this website, who goes by the pseudonym of Adam Smythe, sent us by email this well-informed reply to the Yoram Hazony article we posted yesterday. He explores the issues with admirable intellectual rigor:

The article is interesting, though rather confused – mainly because the categories that he is trying to describe are themselves confused. In turn, I found much of his article confusing, and my response will, doubtless, further confuse the issues in question. So confused at first was I by his article that I did not know whether I wholeheartedly agreed or abjectly opposed it.

First things first: von Mises strongly believed (too much, I would say) in the right of self-determination. The comment  he made about world government mentioned in the article was predicated upon all countries first adopting his brand of liberalism. He argued that the size of a state was an irrelevancy, and that if all states happily adopted liberalism, then a world government in line with the liberal program would be favorable.

That von Mises opposed hugely bureaucratic institutions, of the kind lauded by “globalists”, is even more clear. It is true that German and Austrian 19th century liberalism did generally argue for the widespread adoption of governmental bureaucracies full of well-educated administrators; one might conclude from this that Mises, an outspoken “liberal” himself, would be in favor of a world bureaucratic government. Nothing could be further from the truth — he wrote extensively against bureaucracies in, among other things, his scathing book Bureaucracy, and was the originator of the entire intellectual opposition to the idea of “educated” planning with his essay Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. In this respect he was opposed to his “liberal” colleagues.

The “liberal” infatuation with bureaucracies further confounds the author’s thesis that liberalism is fundamentally rationalist. Most liberals liked these bureaucracies because they could be empirically minded, and pragmatic, whereas laws originating from legislative bodies could not. Von Mises, however, generally opposed this position.

To argue that von Mises was in favor of big government, on the basis of the single comment mentioned by the author, and to further conclude that this is the backbone for the case for widespread “liberalizing” military intervention in contemporary American politics, is absurd. In particular, a man in favor of international government in general or forcible interventions by liberal states into the affairs of non-liberal ones, would not write as von Mises did in Man, State and Economy:

Liberalism knows no conquests, no annexations; just as it is indifferent towards the state itself, so the problem of the size of the state is unimportant to it. It forces no one against his will into the structure of the state. Whoever wants to emigrate is not held back. When a part of the people of the state wants to drop out of the union, liberalism does not hinder it from doing so. Colonies that want to become independent need only do so. The nation as an organic entity can be neither increased nor reduced by changes in states; the world as a whole can neither win nor lose from them.

In fact, I would say von Mises went too far in opposition to world government — he believed strongly (I believe too strongly) in the right of self-determination. Also from Man, State, and Economy):

The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent state or to attach themselves to some other state, their wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars.

As for Hayek: it is true that Hayek broadly favored multinational trade federations, and a European trade federation in particular. He enunciated the conditions for such trade federations in an early essay from the 30’s.  Most of Hayek’s followers despised and despise the EU itself, however. (I cannot find Hayek’s point of view on the EU.) But Hayek outspokenly did not identify himself as a conservative. The AEI has an interesting piece on this: http://www.aei.org/publication/europes-hubris-and-nemesis/

In both cases, any discussion of world government was predicated upon the government being, in the first place, little more than a nightwatchman state. So it is wrong to read into them the kind  of technocratic “globalist” view so reviled by Trumpist or Bannonist conservatives.

The author is right insofar as he claims that von Mises and Hayek believed that liberalism and human liberty were universally good, and that all states ought to adopt liberal policies. He is wrong to suggest that these ideas lead to the conclusion that liberal states ought to forcibly liberalize illiberal ones. (Ayn Rand, however, did say that liberal states had the right — though not the obligation — to liberate illiberal states. But, she wrote, there were, in fact, no presently existing states – America included – that were “liberal” enough to have earned this right .)

The position that liberal states like America ought to forcibly liberalize illiberal states is quintessentially “neoconservative” — a philosophy which certianly borrowed some things from the liberal tradition, but, in this respect, not only parts company from its classical liberal forebears, but lies in opposition to them. In today’s world, for instance, most right-wing individuals who identify as “classical liberal” as opposed to “conservative” – Rand and Ron Paul, for example – do so in order to make it clear that they favor an isolationist foreign policy, in opposition to conservatives on this very issue.

If we are to conclude, as the author does, that America’s intervention into Iraq and Afghanistan are failures (even if we simultaneously acknowledge that postwar liberalizing of Japan, Germany, Eastern Europe, and Korea are successes), and we therefore conclude that the internationalist position on American hegemony is wrong, then we simply ought to conclude that internationalism has not worked, not that liberal ideals are wrong in general. 

You see, Mr. Hazony goes  further: not only is American military intervention as a general practice wrong, he says, but the very idea that the “virtues” of classical liberalism  — private property, free markets, and individualism — are universal, is wrong, too. This is chucking the baby out with the bathwater. The reason Iraq and Afghanistan failed is because they failed in the end to liberalize Iraq and Afghanistan, not because liberalization as an end is bad. 

The fact that some societies do not easily adopt liberal policies does not mean that liberal policies are not the right ones always to strive for. For what are the alternatives? Dictatorship, oppression, and serfdom. The problem with an interventionist foreign policy might be that, in an effort to liberalize certain nations under the rule of a dictator, say, we create a power vacuum that is filled by something even worse (think about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt after the toppling of Mubarak). For instance, I am the first to acknowledge that Pinochet was a superior leader of Chile to Allende, despite the fact that the latter was “liberally” elected. This is because I measure a government, always, on the scale of how liberal it is. And despite the despotic nature of Pinochet, society was governed far more liberally under him than under his deposed predecessor.

I do not at all take the (almost) relativist stance, which is advanced in the article, that we shouldn’t hold classical liberal ideals as universal. We absolutely should, even if we are pragmatic about when to urge (or force) other societies to adopt them. Our consideration should be the effectiveness of such policies, not whether the ends of liberalism are the right ones for that particular society. The answer to that question, I think, is always, “Yes. They are.” 

Now, in general, as far as I can tell, the author is somewhat bizarrely categorizing present-day ideological associations as follows (I’ve tried to offer a respective juxtaposition of each of the views):

Conservatism — Empiricism — Religion — Nationalism — International Pragmatism

(Classical) Liberalism — Rationalism — Secularism — Globalism — Interventionism.

Not just one, but every single one of these categories is disputable.

The least debatable is the association between classical liberalism and secularism versus conservatism and religion, which I think has been true historically. But there are plenty of religious classical liberals, and plenty (led by Jillian Becker) of atheist conservatives! 

However, assuming that classical liberalism is less empirical and more rationalist as a rule is wrong. True: Ayn Rand, von Mises, and, to a lesser extent, Hayek, were fairly “philosophical”, “a priori”, or “rationalist” in their reasoning. Milton Friedman, however, was not; he and the “Chicago School” considered themselves to be (and indeed were) very empirical. Meanwhile, many “pragmatic” liberals — Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner, for instance, founded the liberal tradition (continued by Hayek) about societal evolution in metaphor with Darwin’s theory of species evolution. This is clearly not a viewpoint that considers values to be unchanging without reference to observed facts. I am also fairly sure that there is significant overlap between American “pragmatists” and American classical liberals of the nineteenth century. “Pragmatists” eschewed general principles on principle. Today, this is something far more associated with the political left than the political right — many on the right think of the left as deeply unprincipled, whereas they are guardians of the classical virtues; the left thinks of the right as doctrinaire, whereas it thinks of itself as pragmatic. 

Indeed, the left thinks (and to a certain extent they are right in this) that the universal “values” upheld by many on the right, stem from the right’s greater religiosity. But then for Hazony to suggest that religion is something founded more on empirical than a priori “rationalist” principles is bizarre. Indeed, religion should be eschewed on both rationalist and empirical grounds — God is an intrinsically incoherent concept, for which there has never been any shred of real-world evidence. And whereas I have seen many a fallacious rationalist justification for God, I have never seen an “empirical” one from any of the “serious” religious propagandists.

To suggest that liberalism, in its “rationalist” adherence to principle, neglects noneconomic forces, is curiously myopic. Hayek considers these institutions at great length – including family, religion, and moral precepts –  particularly in his later writings (see The Fatal Conceit, for example). And finally to suggest that somehow liberalism is associated with globalism and military interventionism, whereas conservatism is (or should be?) associated with nationalism and international pragmatism is, as I’ve described above, rather odd.

November 8: day of triumph or disaster for the Muslim Brotherhood 1

As far as Islam is concerned, Barack Obama is a Muslim because his father was a Muslim. We don’t think Obama is religious (though for many years he attended the church of Jeremiah Wright who called for the damnation of America), but we couldn’t help noticing that he is strongly sympathetic to Islam. In addition to helping Iran become a nuclear power, he has given significant help to the Muslim Brotherhood to advance its agenda of world conquest.

Nonie Darwish writes at Gatestone:

The goals of U.S. President Barack Obama in the Middle East ended the rule of most of the “secular” Arab leaders in the area. …

The goals of the Muslim Brotherhood happened to be in tune with Obama’s goals in the Middle East. Obama’s first major presidential speech took place in Cairo before a large number of Islamic sheikhs and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. They were empowered and given legitimacy by Obama. A scorned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak did not attend; thus, with the blessing of the United States, the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt was begun. Today, ordinary Egyptians link the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood directly to the Obama administration. Cairo was about to become the capital of the new Islamic Caliphate if Egyptians had not, after a year, come out in the millions to stop it.

After Egypt took down the Muslim Brotherhood, the goal of establishing the Islamic Caliphate in Egypt simply moved to Syria, the only Arab nation where a secular Muslim leader had survived the Arab Spring.

Promoting Islam also seems to have been a major factor in Obama’s equation for America. Before Obama started to implement his promise to “change America as we know it”, he first had to change the Middle East as they knew it. Many of the changes over which he presided were in harmony with the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Its motto is:

Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.

But while the Muslim brotherhood has been made illegal in Egypt, the Obama administration still refuses to label the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

Under Obama, Islam became untouchable, not open to any kind of criticism. He even claimed that “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed suit, and hosted several closed-door conferences in Washington and London on “Defamation of Religion”, to suppress free speech and internationally criminalize any criticism of Islam with fines and prison.

Even in a recent debate, Clinton stated, “Islam was always part of American history — even since the Revolutionary War.”

She would rather blame terrorism on free speech than on the violent tenets of Islam.

Only a person from the Middle East could understand the immense value of such a gift to the goals of Islamic jihadists in America.

It is unfortunate that many Americans apparently still do not know that Islamists rewrite history in order to claim that any land they wish to conquer was originally Islamic or founded by Muslims – even though historically Islam did not exist until the seventh century, hundreds of years after Judaism and Christianity.

Today, Muslims have re-written their history books to claim that Muslims originally built the ancient Jewish Biblical sites, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has bowed to the wishes of Qatar and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – a bloc of 56 Islamic nations plus “Palestine” – to back up this fiction. UNESCO recently passed resolutions obscenely declaring ancient Jewish Biblical monuments – such as Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, home of the great ancient Jewish Temples – Islamic sites.

Which country will be next?

This escalating subversion should be reason enough for all Western democratic countries permanently to part company with the United Nations. Its history of corruption is neither new nor surprising, or that it is run anti-democratic “club of dictators” whose interests are opposite to ours.

Jihadists today are stating that they also have a claim over Italy, Greece, and Spain — and now America. Obama and Hillary Clinton actually just solidified such claims for future Muslim history books about who actually built America.

Americans have a choice: they can either keep on empowering Islam, and helping extremist Muslims infiltrate into the American system – even as there is a resolution in the House of Representatives to shut down all criticism of Islam – or they can end the gamble of the current administration, which seems bent on changing America forever by allowing the worldwide empowerment of Islam. They can continue the Islamist “Arab Spring” revolution to change “America as we know it” or preserve the freedoms of the American republic.

It has recently become clear through WikiLeaks that the American system is indeed rigged and that Washington DC has turned into a swamp; or more accurately an “Arab Spring” swamp.

Egypt, on a much smaller scale, had to face such a choice in 2012-13, between life under the values of the Muslim Brotherhood or a life under a sliver of hope for a democracy, which Islam, under its laws, can never allow.

Both Egyptians and the West sorely need to understand that Islamic law, sharia, does not permit anything other than an Islamic government under the rule of Islamic law. Consequently, only military force can stand against sharia tyranny. The Muslim Brotherhood had proven once again that the only way out of Islamic theocracies is through military dictatorships.

A head-on collision over the future of America is underway. Many Americans still do not understand the magnitude of what is at stake, but many Islamists do: they are lying in wait, hoping to return to their budding.

If Hillary Clinton were to become president of the US (unbearable thought!), the process of Islamizing the world –  by all and any means including violence – would continue and intensify. Her election would be a triumph for jihadists everywhere, and in particular for the Muslim Brotherhood. Her Middle East policy as US Secretary of State was the Muslim Brotherhood’s policy. That would not change if her power became even greater.

If Donald Trump becomes president, there is a good chance that the process will be slowed, possibly halted. At least for a few years. The Muslim Brothers will be flushed out of the White House. Hillary’s close aide and adviser, Huma Abedin – whose family is a pillar of the Muslim Brotherhood – will exit the political stage with the Clintons. (And ideally go to prison with Hillary.) It is possible that the frightful wars in the Middle East will die down; that Iran will even at this late hour be prevented from making nukes; that ISIS and Boko Haram will be crushed; and Islam’s invasion of the West turned back.

Posted under Arab States, Civil war, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 3, 2016

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The enemy of Obama’s friend is his friend 1

Obama has shown great favor to the Muslim Brotherhood. He has members of that appalling organization advising his administration on the security of the United States – which the Muslim Brotherhood is sworn to conquer! – and on foreign policy.

That is all outrageous. Why are Americans tolerating it?

Obama was delighted when the abominable Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood took power in Egypt, and was furious when he was bounced out again by the far preferable Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The puzzle is this: since Obama is so obviously committed emotionally and in practice to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a Sunni organization and movement, why is he helping Iran, which is Shi’a and everlastingly the enemy of the Sunnis, to become the dominant power in the Middle East?

It’s not as if he has forsaken the Muslim Brotherhood. On the contrary, he is still punishing Sisi for chucking Morsi out.

This is from PJ Media, by P. David Hornik:

Again, those disturbing questions about whose side the president is on.

A disturbing report by Avi Issacharoff, one of Israel’s leading Middle East analysts, notes that Egypt is now under assault by ISIS from two directions — from its own Sinai Peninsula to the northeast and from the state of Libya, or what’s left of it, to the West.

It was last month that 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians living in Libya were kidnapped by ISIS and subjected to a mass beheading on a beach. In response to that violent episode, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered airstrikes against ISIS in Libya.

And in Sinai, Egyptian forces trying to tame the region have been hit by at least three ISIS terror attacks just last week. The trouble, Issacharoff notes, is that “precisely during these difficult days for the Egyptians, Washington is delaying military assistance deliveries to Cairo . . .”

The Obama administration has held a deep grudge against the government ever since Sisi, backed by a massive popular revolt, overthrew Egypt’s short-lived Muslim Brotherhood regime in July 2013. The administration reacted by embargoing arms — even though Egypt had been a longstanding U.S. ally and Sisi’s is a nonradical, anti-terror government.

It was Sisi who, when recently addressing an audience of Sunni clerics at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, called for a more moderate Islam that would not “want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants.”

Soon after, Sisi took the unprecedented step for an Egyptian leader of attending mass at a Coptic church.

Sisi also appears likely to keep the peace between Egypt and Israel. The two countries are tacitly collaborating against terror both in Sinai and Gaza, as Sisi cracks down hard on a common enemy — Hamas.

None of this is meant to say that Sisi is an angel who has brought democracy to Egypt by waving a magic wand. Seemingly, though, he deserves better treatment from Washington.

Things did seem to be improving last September when Washington said it was going through with a sale of ten Apache helicopters to Egypt. But since then … [Obama] has been making it increasingly difficult for Cairo to make additional military purchases. For example, the US is delaying the shipment of tanks, spare parts and other weapons that the army desperately needs in its war against Islamic State.

So why is it? Why is an administration that seemingly has made fighting ISIS one of its missions choking off a would-be friendly state under ISIS assault?

The administration’s coziness with the Brotherhood — the incubus of modern Sunni terror, subject of a possible imminent crackdown in Britain — is well known (see, for instance, here and here). Thus, is the punishment for overthrowing a Brotherhood regime — even when that overthrow was backed by the most massive popular protest in history — getting thrown to the dogs amid an ISIS siege?

“According to an Egyptian official,” says Issacharoff, “the formal explanation [for the arms cutoff] is that Cairo does not respect human rights.”

As mentioned, Sisi has not transformed beleaguered Egypt into the Arab world’s first model democracy. Still, the idea that Egypt is being punished for human-rights failings is peculiar especially in light of reports of severe abuses by U.S.- (and Iran-) supported Shiite militias fighting ISIS in Iraq.

ABC now reports that “U.S.-trained and armed Iraqi military units, the key to the American strategy against ISIS, are under investigation for committing some of the same atrocities as the terror group…” Compared to such forces, let alone the Iranian regime itself, Sisi’s government is indeed a very mild human rights culprit (not to mention Egypt’s deposed Muslim Brotherhood regime, which was hardly a human rights beacon).

For a list of “human rights violations” in Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, first under the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), and then under the presidency of Mohamed Morsi, go here.

The situation is also parallel in some respects to the administration’s arms cutoff to Israel while it was fighting Hamas in Gaza last summer. … A similar message came through: that being a U.S.- and Western-aligned country that is fighting terror is no guarantee of sympathy from the Obama administration.

The administration’s strange behavior at present — supporting ISIS-fighting forces on one front that are just as barbaric as ISIS; denying support to much more moderate ISIS-fighting forces on another front — can perhaps be explained in terms of moral confusion, of difficulty distinguishing between friends and enemies.

Or perhaps in terms of something darker.

Ikhwanization 2

Ikhwan is the Arabic for brothers.

Jamiat al-Ikhwan al-muslimun means the Muslim Brotherhood.

The motto of the Muslim Brotherhood is:

Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.

The following quotation is from a letter to the editor of Noozhawk, Santa Barbara, by Donald Thorn. It is a useful timetable of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power with the help of the Obama administration. We came to it via Creeping Sharia which has coined the word “Ikhwanization” to sum up the process.

Today, Egypt has a Muslim Brotherhood hard-liner president (Mohammed Morsi), and there are more calls for the destruction of Israel. There are new fears that the regime will invite al-Qaeda back into Egypt and open up a front with Israel along the Sinai.

Who helped the Muslim Brotherhood gain control? [The State Department] and the White House helped train the Brotherhood during Egypt’s elections, selling out Israel and U.S. interests in the Mideast. Even more troubling is the untold story of how the Obama administration secretly helped bring Islamofascists to power.

Consider the timeline:

»1) 2009: Brotherhood spiritual leader Qaradawi writes President Barack Obama and argues terrorism is a direct response to U.S. foreign policy.

» 2) 2009: Obama travels to Cairo and apologizes to Muslims and invites the Muslim Brotherhood, but snubs Israel and Mubarak.

» 3) 2009: Obama appoints a Brotherhood-tied-Islamist, Rashad Hussain, as U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which supports Muslim Brotherhood.

» 4) 2010: State Department lifts visa ban on Tariq Ramadan … grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood founder.

» 5) 2010: Hussain and Ramadan meet at an American sponsored conference attended by U.S. and Brotherhood officials.

» 6) 2010: Hussain meets in Egypt with Brotherhood’s grand mufti.

» 7) 2010: Obama meets with Egypt’s foreign minister, Gheit, who claims Barack said he was a Muslim.

» 8) 2011: The Brotherhood’s supreme leader calls for jihad against the United States, and Qaradawi calls “days of rage” against Mubarak and pro-western Mideast regimes. Cairo erupts into violence.

» 9) 2011: Obama fails to back his ally, Mubarak, then sends intelligence czar Clapper to Capitol Hill to claim the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate and secular.

» 10) 2011: The Brotherhood wins control of Egyptian parliament, vows to tear up 30-year peace treaty with Israel and re-establishes ties with Hamas and Hezbollah.

» 11) 2011: Obama demands Israel relinquish land to Palestine …

» 12) 2011: State Department formalizes ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, letting diplomats deal directly with Brotherhood officials in Cairo.

» 13) 2012: Obama releases $1.5 billion in foreign aid to new Egyptian regime.

» 14) 2012, June: Morsi becomes Egypt’s president and vows to instate Shariah law, turning Egypt into an Islamic theocracy.

» 15) 2012, June:  A delegation of once-banned Brotherhood terrorists join a Muslim Brotherhood delegation at the White House, meeting with a national security official.

» 16) 2012, July: Obama invites Morsi to visit the White House in September.

What does all this mean? The Muslim Brotherhood’s didn’t just suddenly take over in the Mideast or Egypt. It was helped along by a U.S. president sympathetic to its interests, over those of Israel and the United States.

It certainly looks that way. It looks like there has been an Ikhwanization of the US administration.

How should the US deal with the Muslim Brotherhood?

Karl Schake of the (estimable) Hoover Institution writes:

There is little doubt that the Muslim Brotherhood is not going to be a comfortable partner for the United States. …

The Muslim Brotherhood operates with decentralized national branches in many countries (including the United States). The different branches, however, share core beliefs. They clearly seek to attain political power in order to foster wide-ranging social change. Make no mistake, the Brotherhood is not a status quo political party. It would institute Sharia law, deny women the political and social latitude of men, and, if history is a precedent, be hostile to non-Muslims. …

In Egypt, the influence of the Brotherhood’s Islamist agenda accounts for less of their appeal than their long-standing opposition to the Mubarak government. Egyptian politicians are keenly aware that while most Egyptians support an Islamic government, polling of public attitudes indicates Islam is not a priority for Egyptian voters — only 3 percent of respondents in recent polls considered Sharia law an important issue. Egyptians are overwhelmingly concerned about security, the economy, and justice.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is not Hamas or Hezbollah …

Note that Hamas, an actively terrorist organization, is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood

…  at least not yet. It does not bring violence into the political sphere. It was not the motivating force in toppling Hosni Mubarak; in fact, its members were late to the revolution. But the Brotherhood capitalized on its decades of political organization and social activism to dominate the elections.

This should not have been surprising; the Brotherhood had a structural advantage over all of the other political parties just forming. But the sharp decline in support for Brotherhood candidates in Egypt’s June 2012 presidential elections suggested that voters were irritated at the Brotherhood’s ineffectualness in Parliament, concerned that it broke its promise not to run a candidate in the presidential elections, and worried about Islamist domination of Egypt’s politics.

Though Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi did win the election, the Egyptian voters expressed real concern about these issues during presidential polling. Exit polls suggest voters were even more distrustful of the military’s candidate, worried the secular candidate represented the Mubarak past. Voters also resented the military’s moves to usurp Parliament and the Constitution drafting process. For now, it looks like Egyptians are holding the Muslim Brotherhood accountable for their political actions, not just their ideological appeal. …

What they all agree on is that the US should continue providing Egypt with massive aid regardless of who is in power:

Even those political actors deeply suspicious of U.S. policies and resentful of our past actions want the United States to be a major participant in their countries’ transitions. … They want  American [economic] assistance — and they don’t have much sympathy for our current economic straits, given how much more dire are their own are. … They want us to actually care about their futures, not what they can do to advance our interests. …

But if what happens to them in no way serves US interests, why should the US care about them? There is something childish about such thinking.

The most worrisome thought dealing with Brotherhood and even Salafist politicians is not what will happen should they succeed, but what will happen should they fail. Moderate Muslims have been winning the argument over the past decade that al Qaeda’s nihilist vision isn’t the path. Restoration of the caliphate by any means is not the Islam most Muslims want. 

How can he possibly know that?

He is basing his conclusions on what diplomats said to each other when they met at Doha. How far are the communications of diplomats likely to reflect “what most Muslims want”?

He takes an optimistic view of what “the people” in the Arab world want, but issues a warning:

Elections in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya — even the glacially slow political change that the Gulf’s authoritarian governments are quietly experimenting with — demonstrate the people of the Arab world want accountable and transparent governments. They want institutions to constrain the power of rulers; they want grievances addressed; and they want the means by which to change their leaders if those leaders aren’t responsive to their concerns. The revolutions of the Arab spring have given citizens of those countries hope that political change can achieve those ends. If governments fail to produce that change, the al Qaeda narrative could again get traction in the disillusionment and despair that follows.

Is that something the US should fear? How much worse would al Qaeda be than the Muslim Brotherhood? How bad the Muslim Brotherhood will be, only time can show.

It is an interesting essay. Read it all here.

Pacifists for jihad 0

What could explain why these American women are seeking an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood?

We can think of no answer but ignorance and stupidity – and possibly also sheer malice.

From David Horowitz’s Newsreal:

As Americans keep a wary eye on Muslim radicals in Yemen, little attention is being given to a far more dangerous enemy right in our own backyard. Under the banner of ‘anti-war’ activism, the radical group Code Pink is running banner advertisements on the English language version of the official Web site of a terrorist sympathizing group, the Muslim Brotherhood, one of which invites the Muslim Brotherhood to “join us in cleansing our country.”

The ad is entitled ‘Arrest The War Criminals.’ Only problem is, Code Pink believes the war criminals are none other than George W. Bush and Co. And they’re actively recruiting radical Muslim terrorists to help them in their cause.

A link on the ad goes to a web site that actually calls for the kidnapping of former President George W. Bush, his wife Laura, his family, and various former administration officials. To date, not a peep has been heard from the Secret Service.

Maybe that’s because Jodie Evans, the co-founder of Code Pink was a top fundraiser for Barack Obama. Or maybe not.

This isn’t the first time the rabid feminist anti-war group has had amicable ties with terrorists. As Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government reports:

“The Muslim Brotherhood published a statement by Code Pink issued in May to promote Code Pink’s trip to Gaza that month. In December, the Muslim Brotherhood published an open letter to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by Code Pink and the Gaza Freedom March decrying the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow the group passage into Gaza.”

Once again, yet another radical group is discovered to have close ties to President Obama….

Most alarming …  is the absolute media silence…. The media ‘watchdogs’ are asleep and the ones we trust to protect us are instead offering aid and comfort to our enemies when they’re not prosecuting Navy Seals, CIA officials and anyone else whose job is to keep America safe.

Rumors of war 2

There’s talk in the ether that Obama has decided to allow Iran yet another year to ‘unclench its fist’ and stop enriching uranium for nuclear bombs. If so, this will be – what? the sixth or seventh extension of time that Obama has given the grim mullahs and the poisonous Ahmadinejad. The answer is always the same ‘No!’  Before Obama came along, Europe had persisted for about eight years with hinting to the Iranians that they should really try to play nice. ‘If you don’t stop’, they warned, ‘we’ll have to ask you again!’ Ignoring that withering threat, and scorning Obama’s ‘deadlines’ which they were confident would always be extended, the Iranians advanced steadily and vigorously towards becoming a nuclear-armed power.

It is also being said (less believably, we think) that Prime Minister Netanyahu has agreed to wait yet again, but only for another six months before he will use force to stop Iran getting the bomb.

Meanwhile certain Arab states which quietly hoped that either the US or Israel, or preferably both together, would act against Iran, may be running out of hope and patience. Now something dramatic seems to be developing.

Here is a mixture of fact and surmise from DEBKAfile:

The powerful Iranian speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani, arrived [last Sunday, December 20] in Cairo and was received at once by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak for a conversation lasting two hours.

DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report that the Iranian visitor carried with him a wide-ranging proposal to ease the strained relations between Tehran and the moderate Arab governments.

Without wasting a moment, the next day, the Egyptian president flew to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Arab emirates to discuss the momentous turn of events.

The octogenarian Mubarak travels very infrequently these days because of his failing health except in extraordinary circumstances. He was galvanized this time by the message Larijani brought from Tehran containing the offer of “a new Iranian approach to resolving outstanding issues.” Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already offered to open an embassy in Cairo for the first time since ties were broken off after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

Aware that any breakthrough with the Arab governments was contingent on allaying their fears of its nuclear drive, Iran’s offer of a new beginning is reported by our sources as including a form of Iranian-Arab nuclear cooperation. Its immediate objective is to close ranks with the Arab nations in order to outmaneuver the US-Israeli campaign against its nuclear drive, thereby derailing the US president Barack Obama’s plans for … sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The expeditiousness of Mubarak response to Tehran’s overture and the promptness of his Gulf consultations indicated that the bloc of Arab nations, which he and Saudi king Abdullah lead, has given up on effective action by America or Israel, including force, for throwing Iran off its current nuclear course.

Within the region today, coexistence with Iran looks like a safer bet.

If this burgeoning realignment of Middle East partnerships goes forward, the region’s strategic balance will be pulled out of shape, Washington’s influence heavily downgraded and Israel isolated.

And Obama’s pacifist policy towards Iran will have increased the probability of war.