I took Sunday off from reading the media reports about the current Middle East crisis. After watching this Administration completely punt on any sort of credible response, and then just continue with business as usual, my gag-response needed a day to recover.
Nothing has changed in the last 24 hours, of course. Lost in the media’s obsessive attempt to somehow pin this on Mitt Romney (which completely boggles the mind), is what this actually purports for our nation worldwide. To say that we appear weak and ineffectual is hopelessly optimistic. This is an epic foreign policy disaster.
CHRISTINE M. FLOWERS wrote a column today for Philadelphia Daily News, and it is superior to most other write-ups I’ve seen. A couple of her best points:
“The fact that this happened in a country that was famously “liberated” by American airpower last year was lost on no one. The fact that the embassy in Cairo was attacked on the same day by raging Islamists was also troubling. And the fact that these deaths and this assault on U.S. sovereignty occurred on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 was a chilling reminder of those who cheered the incineration of 3,000 Americans.
There is simply no bargaining with madmen. Muslim extremists are not a small and geographically limited group of sociopaths. They are a legion, and have sprung up in as many corners of the world as there is discontent, anger and resentment against the West. The political scientists can try to paint these criminals as the victims of poverty and the regressive policies of their leaders, but the truth is that their anger derives not from material discontent but from hatred of the “other.”
Before anyone accuses me of bigotry against Islam, I want to say this. There is great beauty in any religion that advocates tolerance, moral coherence, peaceful intercourse and a love for God and the god in each human being. But among all the world’s great religions, only Islam is susceptible to the dangerous and, as we have seen, murderous type of distortion and manipulation that results in the deaths of ambassadors, soldiers and civilians on their way to an uneventful day of work.
That’s at least the case in this enlightened age; the Crusades happened centuries ago.
We do ourselves no favor as a nation to ignore this simple fact. And although I hesitate to criticize this president for the deaths of his personnel at the State Department, I would point out that the administration’s initial response to the attacks in Cairo were not only inappropriate, they were deplorable in their obsequious tone and character.
THIS is the point exactly. Our insistence on trying to paint all of Islam as a ‘Religion of Peace’ is stultifying, counterproductive and incredibly dangerous. I’d say it’s like putting lipstick on a pig, but of course the radical Islamists would likely be offended by my “pig” comparison, so I wouldn’t dream of saying such a thing. Wouldn’t want to give the poor dears yet another reason to flip out, after all.
Strength in a superpower’s foreign policy is a necessity. The ability to squash an enemy is useless if everyone knows that you won’t actually do it. This is played out every day on playgrounds whenever a big, strong yet mild-mannered kid is serially unwilling to hit back: he quickly becomes a target, despite his obvious physical advantage.
The brilliant Mark Steyn touched on this in a column over a year ago:
After the battle of Omdurman, Hilaire Belloc offered a pithy summation of technological advantage:
We have got
The Maxim gun
And they have not.”
But suppose they know you’ll never use the Maxim gun? At a certain level, credible deterrence depends on a credible enemy. The Soviet Union disintegrated, but the surviving superpower’s instinct to de-escalate intensified: In Kirkuk as in Kandahar, every Lilliputian warlord quickly grasped that you could provoke the infidel Gulliver with relative impunity.
Until we make clear that we are less interested in trying to become everyone’s BFF, and more interested in maintaining a fair yet strong presence in the world, it appears obvious that such attacks can only worsen.
We can point to and blame Freedom of Speech, or a filmmaker’s video, or “cultural misunderstanding”, or whatever the Leftist elites are pushing that particular day, from now until the next Caliphate is declared, and it won’t change a thing, other than to encourage the very barbarians who hate us and wish us dead.
Our freedom and security are at risk, and we ignore this risk at our peril. We require leadership which projects strength, not empty bluster coupled with fawning and groveling. In a column which appeared in The Spectator on December 1st 2001, Mark Steyn yet again said it better than anyone else has, before or since:
“All I ask is an end to the deeply unedifying spectacle of western politicians jumping through increasingly obnoxious tolerance hoops.
…One-sided outreach is demeaning. It suggests we have something to feel guilty about.