Adieu Voltaire

January 17, 2015

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Some wag suggested that Voltaire was murdered the other day in Paris. If this is true, then surely it was a mercy killing. Men like Voltaire and Daumier would be out of place in Francois Hollande’s Fifth Republic anyway.  Euro- socialism and traditional Gallic chauvinism are now complicated by Anti-Semitism and Islamophilia. Jews seem to be holding their own as pariahs, but the French romance with Mecca and Muslims is starting to break bad.  A dozen or more body bags will do that.

To distinguish between a Jew and a Muslim in France, and in Europe at large, is to separate a culture of life from a cult of death. Jews are ever a model of tolerance, achievement, and assimilation, and at the same time true victims of bigotry in every sense of the word. Muslims, for the most part, are neither tolerant nor assimilated. Yet, somehow the Jew is still ostracized and the Muslim plays the victim, even in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Muslim sensitivities everywhere are now more important than truth or justice anywhere.

Alas, none of this has much to do with justice or morality anyway. France and many other naïve Europeans have surrendered pride and identity to Brussels and in turn volunteered to be colonized by a 5th column of Arab/Muslim religious imperialists.

It’s hard to calculate the price of cheap labor when the real currency is common sense, identity, or culture. The Arab no-go slums that surround Paris are testimony to French venality, the blowback from communal Europe, and all those associated social or economic fantasies.

With assimilation off the table, open borders become the open wounds of cultural decay. Urban necrosis in Paris and London, and many other European capitals, is a self-inflicted wound.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter, a British Sunni Imam in London crowed on the Fox Network that the key to Muslim rage was sharia, that arbitrary amalgam of contrived history, false prophets, and social toxins. Imam Anjem Choudary’s suggestion to “submit” was nonetheless superfluous. European and American journalists have been on their knees since oil was fifty cents a gallon.

Starting with Daniel Pearl, and continuing with the recent spate of beheadings by ISIS, we see video after video of journalists on their knees literally pleading for their sorry apologetic lives, denouncing their homelands, and then being butchered anyway. Journalists are a special obsession for Islam because professional writers are now the iconic representatives of cowering democracies.  No group has done more to rationalize and sanitize the barbarity that is Islamic imperialism.

You would think that Islamists would embrace their Media co-conspirators in Europe and America; Arab “spring” propagandists and Palestine pimps for example.

Au contraire! For the devout, the apostate must be put to the sword before the infidel. Apologists and traitors are reviled by both sides.

Fear is the dominant ethic of modern journalism; fear to mock Mohamed or the Koran, fear to document the clear links between atrocity and religious dogma, fear to publish the graphic evidence of beheadings, fear to expose slavery, abuse of children, and rampant misogyny, fear to offend Arab dictators, fear to offend ayatollahs and imams, and now the fear to publish the very satire that precipitated the death of real heroes. American and European editors also fear that things might get worse, a dread that now has all the earmarks of inevitability.

An amateur video about prophetic pedophilia was used to justify the slaughter in Benghazi and now provocative cartoons are used to justify the carnage in Paris.  “Piss” Christ is rationalized as high art in New York City but any mockery of Mohamed’s yen for little girls is regarded as justifiable capital blasphemy.

Yes, the Charlie Hebdo journalists were rare exceptions in a trade where timidity is the norm and candor is a vice. Any offense, real or imagined, is the real peril for modern journalists, the tar baby of political correctness. Truth is now any pablum that pacifies gutless editors and their clueless readers.

The feigned indignation, mock shock, and hypocrisy of private and public Media outlets over the latest outrage is mind boggling. There’s nothing new or startling about the bloodbath in Paris or the carnage that is sure to follow. Pander precedents are now legendary: the bloody trail from Satanic Verses to Charlie Hebdo is now a well-travelled venue of liberal, artistic, and literary shame.

The Associated Press, Washington Post, or NY Times are no more likely to publish the evidence for which their French colleagues died then they are to refuse to wear head scarfs in Dhār. The BBC, American PBS, and the Fox Network are not likely to show any satiric cartoons about Islam either. The Charlie Hebdo raid, like the 9/11 attack, is thus another win for the prophet’s vanguard, another nail in the coffin of civility.

In a Media culture where there seems to be no bottom, CNN might be the worst. The Jane Fonda network used a day of “mourning” followed by a Sunday “unity” day rally to market the “moderate” Muslim majority myth ad nauseam. Islamist shills like Christiane Amanpour and Fareek Zakaria trotted out the usual tired, asserted conclusions about what most Muslims believe. Putting a Shia American and Sunni American on point to cover another Islamic atrocity is probably just a another happy coincidence for cooked books.

The apathetic Muslim majority are guiltless today in the same sense that the majority of French Parisians were guiltless in the Holocaust during WW II.

The West is now impaled on the horns of the dot.com dilemma: on the one hand governments and internet industries who exercise no restraint in collecting information; and on the other hand analysis, public and private, which ignores or twists facts for fear of offending the guilty.

Small wonder then, that the humiliation of democracies like France, England, and America is now a blood sport for the Ummah. The official response in America is prophylactic self-censorship. The Associated Press (AP) and the Obama White House have revised the official and public rhetoric of politics to eliminate words like Islamism – as if there were no links between deviance and devotion.

François Hollande, a metrosexual in the Chirac mold, called for a moment of silence the day after the latest Muslim blitzkrieg. That moment of prayer in Paris, however, was no tribute to slain journalists or freedom of the press.

Where timidity is a value and courage a vacuum, “silence” is the perfect word to capture European and American cowardice. Silence is the preferred response to jihad, Islamism, and Islamo-fascism.  Alas, silence is acceptance and silence is submission.  And ultimately, silence is the sickly sweet sound of surrender.

France also sponsored a day of “unity” on Sunday, 11 January, unity against Islamic terror. At least 40 world leaders and millions of ordinary Frenchmen marched. Even Benjamin Natanyahu came from Tel Aviv.  Washington was absent. No senior politician from the Barack Obama regime attended the “leadership” gathering.

The unity march in Paris was a gathering of world leaders, statesmen and citizens who marched to oppose Islamic terrorism. Mister Obama and his national security team do not qualify on either count. With no leadership and no strategy on the terrorism issue, their sympathies, by default, lay with Islamic reputation not French victims.

Obama and Biden were probably watching football on 11 January in silence. AWOL on Benghazi and now AWOL in Paris, team Obama continues to be “under achievers and proud of it.” The Obama regime will go down in history as an example of how democracies are capable of voting for failure.

Europe is not “Charlie.” America is afraid too. Both are weak. Voltaire and Charbonnier are now a pas de deux, both rolling in their graves.  La Belle France. and America are starting to look like museums for ideas.


Pain in the Ukraine

March 27, 2014

“He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” –Winston Churchill

Say what you will about Vladimir Putin. Some of worst may be true. Say what you will about Kremlin policy. A totalitarian history might still have some traction in Moscow. And say what you will about the Russian majority. They still seem to prefer a strong man at the helm, chaps like Vladimir Putin. But whatever you believe or say about Putin or Russia, you also have to ask; compared to what?

And don’t kid yourself about the Ukraine. The issue there is not right or wrong; legitimacy or illegitimacy. Neither side has a sovereignty argument.  And the dispute isn’t about democracy or freedom either. The real danger in east Europe is nuclear chicken – a dangerous game with a short fuse. Ukraine has 15 active nuclear reactors.

The Ukraine dispute has no moral high ground either.  US foreign policy folly has done much to undermine personal sovereignty, national sovereignty, and the good name of democracy worldwide. America has been slicing and dicing polities in East Europe, Africa, the Arab world, and elsewhere for decades pretending that the default setting is democracy.  Distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate are now arbitrary, in the end, a function of power. And the first democratic election is often the last.

When US State Department sends Assistant Secretary of State Vicky Nuland to Kiev to stir the pot, posing with neo- Nazis, supporting a pro-EU coup; no one should be surprised when Lavrov gives Kerry and Kiev a bloody nose. Any US ‘diplomat’ who flirts with fascists, or plays with nuclear matches, is looking for trouble.

Victoria Nuland is now the central figure in both the Libyan and Ukraine fiascos. Indeed, she was promoted to Assistant Secretary of State by Barak Obama after the Benghazi charade, a cover-up which tried to whitewash the Islamist role in the murder of diplomats. The irony doesn’t end there; Ms. Nuland claims to be a Jew of Russian descent. She and American foreign policy now enable a neo-Nazi coup and regime in Kiev. With Hillary Clinton in the presidential wings, American policy probably hasn’t heard the last from Nuland.

The American Right and Left now share common ground. Hillary Clinton and John McCain  now occupy the same foreign policy turf, sod with more than a whiff of imperialism and anti-Semitism. Strange bedfellows indeed! One of the few sober voices on today’s crisis is Jack Matlock, former ambassador to the USSR. Matlock fingers NATO’s ham fisted interventions and expansion as the source of Kremlin angst. Progressive imperialism marches under a “humanitarian” flag these days.

The Ukraine, like Georgia, is a political cesspool cum economic basket case; civic train wrecks with ready nuclear potential. Loose lips in Kiev are already talking about banning the Russian language, “scorching” the ground under Russians, and rearming opportunists with nuclear weapons.  With luck, the Ukraine no longer has any nuclear warheads on hand, but Kiev still has a very sophisticated nuclear infrastructure, a support system for 2000 weapons until a few years ago.  Half of Ukraine’s electric power comes from nuclear plants.

A dirty bomb might be had in six months or less. Putin and his colleagues, predictably, will not tolerate a hostile, unstable, nuclear armed border state. The possibility that NATO would rearm or fortify a regime sharing power with crypto-Nazis in Kiev is every Russian’s worst nightmare – indeed, an open invitation for Moscow to secure all of Ukraine’s infrastructure in the name of nuclear sanity.

Russian can no more live with a hostile nuclear border state than the United States could tolerate nuclear weapons in Cuban, Venezuelan, or Mexican cartel hands. The crucial distinction between Moscow and Washington at the moment is not policy, however.  The difference at the moment is adult leadership.

Russia has been a relative success since the demise of the Soviet Union, because the Kremlin has had a modicum of political stability and just enough natural resources not to mortgage its national integrity to creditors.  In the same two decades, America and the EU have done their best to flirt with cross-border chaos, default, and bankruptcy.

The chickens of proliferate social democracy are home to roost too.  Political acedia, apathy, and incompetence are ever the ingredients for failure. Domestic malfunction is often the source of manufactured political distractions abroad.

All of this leads to a larger strategic question. Does the EU and America still have game?

If economic, military, and foreign policy performance of the past two decades is evidence, the answer is no! If progress with terror and associated Islamism is a measure, the answer is no! If courageous, moral, or innovative leadership is a metric, the answer is still no!

Does NATO really want to raise the ante with Obama, Kerry, Power, Hagel, Clapper, and Brennan at the helm? A chronically weak American politburo might not be the best team to field in a spat over Ukraine. And a government, nay an administration, which cannot manage a web site in the digital age, is not one likely to persecute a successful economic or shooting war, one with atomic potential.

Also, remember that any US general who might be a tad independent or think for himself has been put out to pasture. There isn’t a serving Obama flag in the Pentagon with a winning record, won a war, anywhere.

The US may have had variety of military adventures globally since the Korean War, but America hasn’t prevailed since 1945. And with general officer honor, measures of military effectiveness, and quaint notions like victory off the table; who wants to double down?  Or worse, hazard an economic or shooting war with Russia with team Obama at the helm – “leading from behind?” Remember any pain from a conflict over the Ukraine will be European; and there, Russia has a home field advantage.

Before the White House raises the stakes, or puts another ‘bailout’ on the table, in East Europe; America might want to wait for regime change in Brussels and Washington. At the moment, Europe and the US are playing with bush league coaching and very little game.

Or as a doomed Scottish politician of another day might put it: “Something wicked this way comes … It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and furysignifying nothing.” In the classic tale of regime change, a king literally loses his head. But in the end, Macbeth’s failure, like Barack Obama’s, is metaphorical; a self-inflicted wound. Hubris is a terrible thing to waste.

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G Murphy Donovan is a former Intelligence officer with tours at USAF, NSA, DIA, and CIA. He now writes about the politics of national security

Images:

Putin;

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQOU3gt57LAk_pCW1PgMnmO0ISNlvsF0HbrCRJIXShw4nguDHL

Nuland with neo-Nazis;

http://austrogirlblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/280214nuland.jpg?w=560&h=372

John McCain with Tayhnybok (center) in Kiev;

http://www.businessinsider.com/john-mccain-meets-oleh-tyahnybok-in-ukraine-2013-1

Kiev street scene;

http://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/UkraineFascists.jpg

 

 

 


Amphibian Politics

June 6, 2011

“We forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy is men who are afraid of the light.” – Plato

Great political metaphors earn a long shelf life.  Plato coined one of the best, a thought probably lifted from Socrates. Plato likened the 1,500 some odd classical Greek settlements and city states arrayed around the Black and Mediterranean Seas to “frogs around a pond.” Greek culture had spread far and wide for its day, but it was still a small piece of the universe. Early philosophers were humbled by what they didn’t know about the larger world beyond Greece.

Nonetheless, poor and untimely communications may have nurtured the political pluralism and religious diversity that was the true glory of ancient Greek culture. For most Greeks, including Spartans, independence was more important than democracy. The variety of polities in Greek waters ran the gamut from chaotic egalitarianism to ham-fisted dictatorships; when neither worked, the vacuum was often filled by a tyrant. Yet, the individual city states were independent and free – and vulnerable. The cement that bound Greeks was language, art, and commerce – not politics. The enlightened, if not loose, Greek water world was always at risk; first to Persians and then to Romans.

Greece is associated with democracy today because of Athens, a democratic experiment which reached an ironic climax with the trial of Socrates. The formal charges against Socrates were impiety and pedagogic corruption. Socrates drank the hemlock to score one last debating point; suggesting that democracy might be its own worst enemy. A jury of Athenian citizens helped Socrates stage his last teaching moment.

The trial was not about freedom of speech; it was about opposition to democracy. Socrates opposed the Athenian brand of polis and several hundred free men voted to silence his voice of dissent. Wisdom of crowds, indeed!

Neither Socrates, nor Plato, nor Aristotle were great friends of democracy.  Aristotle became tutor to Alexander, the boy general who ended the Athenian experiment with government “of the people and by the people.”

The Roman culture that superseded that of Greece was symbiotic.  An educated Roman was one that spoke Greek. The irredentism which became the Dark Ages did not start with the fall of Rome; it began with fall of Athens. The Roman Empire may have lasted for two millennia, but it was always an avatar of an earlier civilization. And when that empire fell, first on the Tiber, then on the Bosporus, the vacuum was filled by lower forms still; rodents, fleas, disease, and ignorance – a civic and ideological night that lasted for a thousand years.

All of the world’s great waters are surrounded today by noisy frogs; and the political hubris that subverted early democracy is with us still.  Emboldened by the fall of National Socialism and Communism, America and Europe celebrate a universal democratic norm; a mythic idiom, a political silver bullet that Utopians believe to be the closet aspiration of all rational men. Never mind that the world’s most populous nation, China, is still warmed by the fires of Marxism. And never mind that another fourth of the world’s population, dar al Islam, is energized by the Hira of a 7th Century religious zealot.

Three fatal flaws, or toxic assumptions, are usually associated with democracy; universality, determinism, and vendibility.

Idealists assume that democracy is a model with universal application. Little historical evidence supports this view. Beginning with the Greek experience, most examples of egalitarian political forms failed or devolved to republics; and the republican exemplar flourished only briefly during the Roman era. Indeed, the declaratory and constitutional boilerplate associated with the American experiment does not mention “democracy.” And constitutional provisions, like the separation of powers, are daily reminders that the founding fathers did not believe in the wisdom of crowds. “Of the people, by the people, and for the people” might make for a memorable speech, but such sentiments have little to do with political reality – especially in Lincoln’s day.

A second flawed predicate is one that assumes that democratic institutions represent an evolved political consciousness. Such political Darwinism confuses history, or the passage of time, with progress. History is a two-way street; irredentism is as likely as improvement. Historical phenomena like the Dark Ages, National Socialism, and contemporary Islamism are all cautionary tales about the twin vectors of human history.

History is not wishful thinking; it is not deterministic; it does not move only from right to left; and if evidence and science matters, human politics are as likely to regress as advance. Irredentism and stasis are not simply options; they may be the preferred historic choices. Apathy is often the loudest voice in the public square.

The agent of regression is ignorance. And ignorance, now the science of Agnotology, is at the heart of the vendibility problem. Celebrated facilitators like the internet and social networks are as likely to spread falsehoods as truth. And like history, communication, no matter the technology, is a two-way street. The internet makes it possible, as Mark Twain forecast, to get “a lie halfway round the world before truth gets its pants on.” Demagogues, like the Muslim Brotherhood’s Yusuf Qaradawi, with the assistance of al Jazeera, reach an audience of 60 million Muslims a week – in Arabia alone. Repetition is the mother of convention.

Expectations about the internet and democracy are misguided, if not implausible. Republicanism is a fragile commodity, a bottom up phenomenon. Even in America, the republic gained its sea legs in fits and starts, as much a product of imperial neglect and religious reform as premeditated design. Democracy is not always fungible. It’s just one unlikely branch of political evolution; and surely not the most persuasive.

Democracy and theocracy seem to represent the poles of modern political possibilities.  The two camps are similar, like frogs trapped in different wells, to the extent that each is afflicted with tunnel vision. Neo-conservatives and liberals see only the blue skies of democracy; and Muslim theocrats see only the dark clouds of jihad. The neo-conservative right believes that democracy is a kind of shotgun wedding; the progressive left thinks democracy is a logical consequence of bloody revolution. More pragmatic Islamists believe they can exploit the naiveté of both.

This binary world is reinforced by amoral communications. If numbers matter, pornography, not politics, is the more likely utility for cyberspace; although, as time goes by, the two may become indistinguishable (see Anthony Weiner, D-NY). Clerical demagogues and asabiyya (clan loyalty) are unlikely to be replaced by elected or appointed Muslim parliaments – or blackberry toting, English speaking nerds now posturing on al Jazeera.

When European and American politicians agitate for regime change, giving Arab autocrats, like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Syria’s Bashar al Assad, the bum’s rush; the busybodies do not facilitate political freedom so much as open the door to religious tyranny – a  pathology that has stalked humanity since the 7th Century.

No Western ideology or political institution is liable to save Islam from itself. The prerequisites for modern democracy are radical religious and cultural reform. Such change is hardly inevitable and unlikely to be imposed. The major targets of internal Islamic politics are rapidly shifting from   infidels to apostates. Secular Muslim government is the enemy, not the goal of Islamic insurrections.

And for Western spectators, there is no “right” or “wrong” side of  history. History is history, merely the immutable past; subject to interpretation, but changeless nonetheless. If political eras or politicians were tested by morality, neither would pass. Human history is like a Greek tragedy, a litany of foibles punctuated by tedious political hubris, fleeting moments of levity, and the incessant chatter of myopic* frogs.

* (Frogs are naturally near-sighted. They see no further than they can jump.)

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This essay appeared in the  5 June 11 edition of American Thinker .


What Arab Awakening?

May 1, 2011

                                                                                      

“Revolution is a transfer of power; reform is the correction of abuses.”  Lytton

First it was the “Jasmine Revolution” and then it was the “Arab Spring.” The “Arab Awakening” is latest euphemism for internecine mayhem in Muslim world. These fragrant purisms are invariably accompanied by the adjectives “peaceful’ and “democratic.” As the body bags accumulate, such circumlocutions are harder to digest. The principal purveyor of such pretense is al Jazerra, global network propagandist for the Arab Emirates. American and European reporters, indolent or inept,  are quick to take their cues from al Jazerra, but the latest attempt to mask the mayhem of Muslim civil wars offers a special insult to American history.

The “awakenings’ of American history were religious reforms. The carnage in the Arab world is a lot of things, but religious reform isn’t one of them. Indeed, the images from Arab television (chanting mobs of burkas, green banners of jihad, and contorted faces of clerics like al Yusuf al Qaradawi); reveal an Arabia that is not so much awakening as sleep walking back through history.

It is religious reform and tolerance, not political revolution that makes democracy and republicanism possible. Islam does not, nor has it ever, recognized a distinction between church and state. Indeed, contemporary Islamic clerics and scholars hold that religious/secular distinctions create a “hideous schizophrenia” in the West – the source of all European and Americadegeneracy. Such dogma offers few prospects for renewal, internal or external to dar al Islam.

With the European Reformation, the ink had hardly dried on Luther and Calvin’s absolutism, notions of predestination and fatalism, when a thousand apostates bloomed. Early the next century, many Christian free thinkers fled from the intolerance and religious wars ofEuropeto the relative freedom of the British and French colonies inAmerica. Once there, the Protestant varieties of Christianity continued to multiply, many of them restoring Catholic values that Luther had rejected. Prominent among these were free will, redemption, clergy, and good works.

It was left to Americans to fire the forge of democratic ecumenicism; a furnace where freedom, republicanism, and the best common law traditions of Judaism and Christianity would be alloyed.

The story of how the American “awakenings” changed Puritan thinking was best told by Nathanial Hawthorne (1850) in the fictional Scarlet Letter.

Hester Prynne is not simply the story of a fallen angel redeemed. The back story is even more fascinating. Hawthornewas writing in midst of the Yankee critique of Luther and Calvin. In the process of trying to reform Catholicism, Puritan zealots had rejected beliefs in free will, penance, and good works. Hawthorne, a writer with Puritan roots, and his fictional adulterers, helped to restore these core values to American variants of Christianity. In the end, Hester’s scarlet letter becomes: a red badge of courage, an affront to clerical hypocrisy, a symbol of personal responsibility for moral choices, and ultimately, an icon of good works; the path to redemption – in this world, if not the next:

“…the scarlet letter had the effect of the cross on a nun’s bosom. It imparted to the wearer a kind of sacredness                   which enabled her to walk securely amid all peril.”

The early American colonies were unique in two respects. The choice of government, if not governors, was a bottom-up phenomenon. And religious tolerance was not so much a choice, as a necessity. The young American democracy developed in tandem with two religious “awakenings,” in fact a serial American religious reformation which produced a diversity of Christian sects inAmerica that Luther and Calvin could never have imagined. The spires of Christianity and Mogen Davids of Judaism, the American religious mosaic, are still visible today in every town from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Europe took its “democratic” cues fromAmericafrom that point forward.  Historians seldom note that the US Constitution never mentions democracy. American founding fathers had little faith in the wisdom of crowds. Subsequent, political and commercial success inEuropeandAmericawas made possible, not by the decline of religion, but by the rise of reform; republican reforms that released the constructive energies of true political and spiritual diversity.

Europe might well take credit for social “democrats” as these were linear descendents of Luther, Calvin, Hegel, Marx, and Lenin. Ecumenical Judeo/Christian republicanism, however, was a product of the American experiment, and the wellspring of Yankee exceptionalism. The Civil War wasAmerica’s great secular transformation; it was made possible by religious reforms movements that insisted on social justice. The abolitionist movement, Lincoln’s Republican Party, and the Underground Railroad  all began and were sustained by the conscience of congregants.

Short of radical reform, utopian Islamism is doomed to ruinous failure. Monocultures, religious or secular, are impossible in this world – and possibly the next. Islam has never allowed itself to evolve or repair the depredations of orthodoxy.

The sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity were written by many hands; insuring degrees of observance and a rich diversity of interpretations. The holy texts of Islam come from a solitary source – or at least that’s the claim.  The genius of Talmudic and New Testament commentary is the daily effort to make religion relevant to a developed world. Republican democracy is impossible without such religious pluralism and complementary political diversity.

The world is both enriched and bedeviled by spirituality. Religion is a basis for ethics in classical education and an ancient curb-level contributor to common law. Too frequently, Western scholars and politicians are uncomfortable with religion; unable to harness its power and unwilling to condemn its excess.

The European and American Enlightenment is a telling example. Academics wax eloquently about the political and scientific contributions of John Locke, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, and Thomas Jefferson, but few are inclined to value the spiritual reforms of Desiderius Erasmus, Jonathan Edwards, Roger Williams, John Carroll, or Abraham Geiger.

Frontline recently ran a candid retrospective of the Muslim Brotherhood’s manipulations in Tahrir Square during the recent Egyptian revolt. The Frontline documentary reveals that al Ikwan was involved in the Egyptian insurrection from the beginning, and more importantly, with the assistance of al Jazerra, was instrumental in creating the “secular” facade reported by almost every foreign network. Then came the first Friday prayers after the Mubarak resignation, and the presiding cleric in Tahrir was none other than the Brotherhood’s most outspoken hate monger, Yusuf al Qaradawi. No small coincidence that al Ikwan spokesmen, such as Qaradawi,  and al Jazerra news anchors both find refuge and financing under the autocratic Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in Qatar.

The alliance between clan chieftains, orthodox clerics, and kept journalists is not difficult to rationalize. Irredentist religious clerics probably see al Jazerra journalists as “useful idiots.”  The preferred model of governance in Arabia is theocratic tribalism, not democracy – Saudi Arabia being the baseline exemplar. The regimes under siege in the Arab League today are secular apostates; Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Libya.

Bahrain is a simple case of Sunni sectarian repression. The Saudis would like to insure that the parochial religious poles, Shia for Sunni, are not reversed in Manama as they were in Baghdad and Beirut.

If European and American commercial imperialism was a crime against Muslim history, surely Islamic religious imperialism is a crime against the future. Freedom and democracy has always been impossible without religious reform.

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 This essay appeared in the 1 May 11 edition of American Thinker.