When it’s good to make things worse 323

Bashar al-Assad continues to slaughter his own people — nearly 10,000 over the past year — and the Muslim Brotherhood leaders of the Syrian opposition undoubtedly would slaughter Assad’s Alawite coreligionists were they to take power. There are at least 2,000 dead and 22,000 injured in little Yemen during the past two years. All of this pales next to what is likely to come in Egypt, as the military and the Islamists fight for power.

These are quotations from an enlightening article on the “Arab Spring”  by David Goldman, aka Spengler. Read all of it here.

The Muslim Brotherhood is in the position of the Bolsheviks in October 1917, taking power at street level by creating popular committees to “combat speculators,” that is, ration food and fuel. No one should underestimate the Muslim Brotherhood. It withstood sixty years of persecution by successive military regimes. And it understands Egypt’s predicament far better than the Western conservatives who saw the Arab Spring as the harbinger of democracy in the region. The Brotherhood, on the contrary, knows that Islam is fragile, that the Muslim world is fighting a desperate rearguard battle for its existence against the encroachment of Western culture and economic globalization, and that time is running out.

An extremely interesting and important point. We too have observed that Islam is fighting for its survival in a world that long since outstripped its Dark Age ideology, but we had not thought of it as fragile.

He substantiates his assertions, and marks how Obama fails to understand the nature of what he’s supporting with his pro-Islam policies:

Why am I so sure of this? Apart from the fact that its leaders have been saying so since Sayyid Qutb in the 1950s, the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language website has posted two of my essays on the topic, one on the impending demographic and economic collapse of Muslim countries, and another on the Obama administration’s stupidity, concluding (in June 2009): “For his trouble, Obama will get more bloodshed in Pakistan, more megalomania from Iran, more triumphalism from the Palestinians, and less control over Iraq and Afghanistan. Of all the available bad choices, Obama has taken the worst. It is hard to imagine any consequence except a steep diminution of American influence.” You can read my work on the Brothers’ website (but not at the Weekly Standard, Commentary, or Fox News, where promoting Muslim democracy remains the mantra). From this I conclude that the Muslim Brotherhood is better informed than the Weekly Standard, et. al.

The most miserable people in the world, though, are the liberals.

He means, surely, the most misery-causing; liberals are all too pleased with themselves.

Liberalism boils down to the assertion that clever governments can save people from themselves. Palestine was supposed to have been the test case, where enlightened liberals would save people from their proclivity towards tribal hatred. Not only has it turned out badly for the Palestinians as such, but for the Arab world that has collapsed around them.

Then he declares what US policy towards the Arab world should be, and his idea gives us that frisson of pleasure which comes with hearing a statement that is entirely unexpected but instantly recognizable as right:

What should the United States do about it? The answer is: Make things worse.

If the Brothers are taking power in Egypt because the military can’t rule, we should undertake to make it impossible for the Brothers to rule. The human cost of such a policy will be horrific, and I use the word advisedly. It was a catastrophic mistake to help overthrow Mubarak. The consequences of that mistake are that no Egyptian officer will stand up against the Islamists for very long, because the U.S. cannot be trusted as an ally. That applies elsewhere. Two years ago, America might have thrown its weight behind pro-democracy forces in Iran. Now it is simply too dangerous to bet on regime change. The most prudent course of action is to disable the regime, even though the human consequences for the Iranians will be horrific.

We are not particularly good at this kind of stance. It does not square with the inherent benevolence and naivete of our national character. But we are being pushed into this kind of policy, like it or not, just as the Muslim Brotherhood is being pushed into a Leninist dual power exercise by the collapse of the Egyptian economy. The consequences will be tragic, to be sure; our job is to make sure that the tragedy happens to somebody else.

Shocking? Maybe – but that is the way leaders of free nations ought to think.

What may be virtues  in individuals – generosity, compassion, charitableness, self-denial – are, unequivocally, vices in a government. A government that is generous and charitable with the money that is not its own is cheating the people who’ve made it. A government cannot feel compassion, it has no conscience. A government has no “self” to deny. The government of a free people is an agency trusted by the people to protect their liberty, not to protect other peoples from their own rotten governments.