Monday, April 9, 2012

The World According to Obama

How much does an American president influence world affairs? If he does, how does he go about doing it?

If someone had told you four years ago that a President Obama would try to enhance the status of Islamic terrorists and would side with the Palestinians against the Israelis, you might have replied that Obama himself had proclaimed his eternal support for Israel.

American Jews, in particular, thrilled to the chance to vote to repeal the Bush Era. After all, Bush had taken the fight to Islamic terrorists and was arguably the best friend Israel ever had in the White House.

Given Obama’s background and given his ties to the international left, it should not have surprised anyone that he would have displayed sympathies for the Palestinian Cause and Islamic fundamentalism.

Americans voted for Obama because they wanted peace in our time. They were horrified at the Bush administration’s conduct of war, but, most especially at its willingness to engage in war.

Obama came to prominence as the anti-war candidate. Everyone should have known that he would follow a policy of appeasement toward Islamic terrorism.

Where Bush had considered the Iranian leaders to be evil, Obama seemed to believe that they were basically good and decent people, behaving badly because the Bush administration had placed them on the axis of evil.

Obama thinks of himself as a negotiator. So did Neville Chamberlain. Neither man understood the limits to negotiation. Neither understood that peace at any price was merely a prelude to unspeakable horrors.

Obama seems always to have been an appeaser. His background and history suggests that he truly believes, with his European intellectual friends, that all problems in the Middle East can be solved when Israel stops building settlements.

If you can do business with Iran, you can do business with Hamas. Don't you agree with Obama that if only the Israelis were more reasonable then Hamas would no longer have to resort to terrorism. Hamas may be a terrorist organization, but left thinking intellectuals believe that Hamas is on the side of the worldwide socialist revolution against free enterprise, capitalism, and liberal democracy.

In the Middle East, those values are embodied by Israel, and only by Israel.

Distinguished Berkeley professor Judith Butler has declared that: “understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important.”

A professor who is adored and lionized in the academic world, a self-identified lesbian who champions gay rights, declares her fealty for Hamas and Hezbollah. And tells us that they are basically progressive movements.

I know of no better demonstration of the fundamental corruption of American universities than the respect accorded to Judith Butler. 

Whatever you expected from an Obama presidency, clearly the Obama administration is watching the forces of Islamic fundamentalism rising. Just as clearly anti-Semitism among European leftists is becoming acceptable.

Americans thrill to the fact that their president is so popular in Europe. Are they just as happy to think that this popularity has been purchased by siding with the Palestinians against Israel?

You might believe that events unfold as they unfold, let by mysterious forces like the World Spirit, but certainly the American president has a significant influence on which way they trend.

Behavioral economists are thrilled to have discovered that they can nudge people to buy this or that by arranging objects differently on a supermarket shelf.

Will they also study how the election of Barack Obama has nudged the world into conformity with what appears to be his radical vision?

Look at it this way. When a nation’s youths protest against an oppressive dictator do you think that it matters that the President of the United States supports them?

When Iranian youths rose up against the mullahs in 2009, would they have been more effective if they had known that Barack Obama was with them?

It is impossible to tell, but surely Obama’s splendid indifference had some influence on the outcome. Obama stood by and said nothing while the Iranian regime murdered, raped, and imprisoned pro-democracy demonstrators. 

Everyone knows that Obama thought he could do business with the Iranian government. He was unmoved and undisturbed by its pronouncements and its actions. Obama sold out Iranian rebels because he had his own idea about the Middle East. He was convinced that he was right and that, with time, he could bring peace to the region.

The mullahs must have thanked their lucky stars that they were not American allies. Because, when it came to erstwhile American allies like Qaddhafi and Mubarak, Obama was telling a different story.

In Libya Obama and NATO intervened directly, the better to produce the overthrow of a tyrant who had recently been cooperating with America. They are unconcerned over the rise of al Qaeda in Libya. They do not much care that Libya is not on the road to liberal democracy.

If you ask yourself whether the student rebels who overthrew the Mubarak regime in Egypt would have persevered if they had not had Obama’s support, you cannot answer definitively.

Still, after Obama did withdraw his support for Mubarak, the regime fell, and the road was open for Islamic fundamentalists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood to take over in Egypt.

How has the crack Obama-Clinton foreign policy team reacted? Why, it has chosen to get into bed with the Brotherhood and to fund it to the tune of $1,500,000,000.

No one is paying very much attention to this. AndrewMcCarthy points out that the media is so fully in campaign mode that it is happy to overlook the administration’s turn toward appeasement.

It is not surprising that Obama would sympathize with the Muslim Brotherhood. When he famously lectured in Cairo in 2009 he invited representatives of the then-outlawed group to attend.

Did this count as a gesture of support? Of course, it did. Did it mean that Obama was granting credence and legitimacy to a terrorist organization? Or course, it did.

The Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood is the terrorist group Hamas.

McCarthy explains:

Given the organization’s unabashed goals and hostility towards the West, it was U.S. policy, until recently, to avoid formal contacts with the Brotherhood — although agents of the intelligence community and the State Department have long engaged in off-line communications with individual MB members. By contrast, the Obama administration from its first days has embraced the Ikhwan [the Brotherhood] — both the mothership, whose leaders were invited to attend Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo despite its then-status as a banned organization under Egyptian law, and the Brotherhood’s American satellites, which have been invited to advise administration policymakers despite their notorious record of championing violent jihadists and repressive sharia.

Now, Western media stars and diplomats are explaining that it will be easy to do business with the Muslim Brotherhood, and especially with its presidential candidate, Khairat el-Shater.

McCarthy explains that the Western media has cast el-Shater as a liberal democrat, a champion of free enterprise and capitalism. The New York Times is saying that el-Shater is a better alternative than more “conservative” elements.

They will probably not pay any attention, but McCarthy attempts to set them straight:

Shater is the MB’s “Deputy Guide.” He is a revered figure: jailed by the Mubarak Regime for much of the past two decades and regarded as the “Iron Man” of the Brotherhood movement. Naturally, the Western press — the folks who package the Brothers as “moderates,” “pragmatists,” and even “secularists” — render Shater as a “businessman.” But he happens to be the businessman the Brotherhood has tasked to shape its comprehensive strategy for post-Mubarak Egypt. The Ikhwan refer to this as “the Nahda Project” — the Islamic Renaissance.

It turns out that a year ago in Alexandria, Shater delivered a lengthy, remarkable lecture, “Features of Nahda: Gains of the Revolution and the Horizons for Developing.” The Hudson Institute learned of the lecture, which is now available on YouTube, and this week released the first installment of a translation. Speaking in Arabic to like-minded  Islamists rather than credulous Congress critters, Shater was emphatic that the Brotherhood’s fundamental principles and goals never change — only the tactics by which they are pursued. “You all know that our main and overall mission as Muslim Brothers is to empower God’s religion on earth, to organize our life and the lives of the people on the basis of Islam, to establish the Nahda [i.e., the ‘renaissance’ or ‘rise’] of the Ummah [the notional global Muslim nation] and its civilization on the basis of Islam, and to subjugate people to God on earth.” He went on to reaffirm the time-honored plan of the Brotherhood’s founder, Hassan al-Banna, stressing the need for both personal piety and internal organizational discipline in pursuing the goal of worldwide Islamic hegemony.

I doubt that Obama will declare himself to be the presiding genie who inspired the new Islamic Egypt.

There are votes to be culled and voters to be duped, so Barack Obama portray himself as the great giant killer, the man who eliminated Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, and Muammar Qaddhafi.

He will also claim credit for putting 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on trial in Gitmo. If the military tribunal sentences KSM to death and if the death penalty can be carried out in the Fall, it will be perfect political theatre.

The assassinations and executions provide Barack Obama with plausible deniability. While the Middle East seems more and more to embody Obama’s vision, Obama can claim that he bears no responsibility.

Many American voters, especially American Jewish voters, will happily ignore the fact that Obama is funding the operations of the Muslim Brotherhood-- godfather of Hamas and sworn enemy of Israel.