Let's start with the basics. Our collaboration with the Europeans to knock off Qaddafi was a major mistake--a disaster, in fact, and a disaster that Obama now owns. The Europeans have been wrong about everything in foreign affairs for at least the past 250 years; they were wrong on Libya and yet they got our inept, naive President, and his inept, naive Secretary of State to do their bidding. That was a big mistake, and something that this little blog warned about on March 18, 2011:
"The US, of course, will have to take over the whole operation when it becomes patently clear that neither the British nor the French have the capabilities needed. That, therefore, means the whole mess will be ours: the UN will back off; the Arab League will be nowhere to be seen; and the EU will be snickering behind our backs with not a word of thanks for having secured their oil supplies. And the Libyans? All of them, pro- and anti-Qaddafi, will be angry with us and our intervention.We are now paying for the stupidity of removing the nasty, desert drag queen who long ago ceased as a threat to America and, in fact, was an ally (I have personal knowledge of this) in tracking down Al Qaeda terrorists. It was an even bigger mistake, one on the scale of Carter and the Shah, to help push President Mubarak out of power, welcome the Muslim Brotherhood, and pressure the Egyptian military into accepting the MB. We can see the results on our TV sets, in the idiotic behavior of our diplomats in Cairo (and I know a lot of them, including the Ambassador)--and in the media's never-ending quest to protect Obama and his foolishness, and give him a pass.
There is no gain for the U.S. to get involved, and no valid reason to get involved, so, of course, we will get involved."
The reason we see deranged or at least nasty and unpleasant dictators in the Arab world is that Arab societies are deranged, nasty and unpleasant--thanks largely to the brand of Islam practiced in those societies which is particularly deranged, nasty, and unpleasant. In the Arab world you can have a brutal authoritarian who tries to restrain the even more brutal religious fanatics, or you can have religious fanatics who lash out at anyone who does not see the world as they do. It is for this reason, for example, that I do not join in the enthusiasm for helping the Syrian rebels against the brutal pencil-necked Assad family. What do you think will replace the thug Assad, who is at least a moderately rational actor and responds somewhat to pressure from the Russians and others? Notice that the Israelis are quite conflicted about the rebellion in Syria; they don't say much about it. Just as I could not understand in the 1980s what interest we had in bringing an end to the Iran-Iraq war, I see no particular reason to get involved in Syria. No result will be a good one . . . literally.
The problem is not one regime or another. The problem is not creating yet another Arab state in "Palestine." The problem is not our insensitivity. The problem is Arab Islam. The deep, deep pathologies of Arab Islamic societies are out for all to see . . . yet again. And our great, overpaid liberal mass media with all their highly "educated" anchors and pundits, what are they covering? They are attacking Governor Romney for daring to say that we should never apologize for our core beliefs. The media and many at State, including the increasingly unhinged Hillary Clinton, claim that the unrest we now see in the Arab world, unrest which takes the form of attacking US embassies and murdering our people, is due to some obscure video made in July by some obscure person who has yet to be fully identified. Perhaps, then, it was in anticipation of this film that Osama bin-Ladin had his crazies fly planes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center? Wouldn't be a surprise for the media to allege that . . .
Bush understood what the sophisticates at State, in the universities, and the media did not: we are in a titanic, multi-generational conflict with the forces of Islamic jihadism. He spoke the hard truths and was reviled for it. I think that Governor Romney understands that truth, too. As a successful businessman and an astute student of the economy, he certainly understands that what gives the jihadis some heft and punch is oil money. That money allows them to pressure others more moderate, such as Indonesia, and to pay for the war on the West. The single greatest blow we could strike at the Islamic crazies is to break our dependence on foreign oil. The word "frack" strikes terror in these regimes. Without the oil, and the dollars and euros it generates, the Arab and Muslim world will be largely ignored by the civilized world. Our technology and our own vast energy resources are our greatest weapons against the Arab despots, the Iranian Imams, and their allies such as the authoritarians Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa.
The worst thing we can do is what we are now doing. This feckless policy of one-sided engagement and self-abasement, of willingness to dismiss the crazies' public utterances, and the insistence on emphasizing the positive, will only get our citizens murdered here and abroad, our diplomats dragged through the streets, our embassies burned, and our flag used as a door mat. Weakness by us inspires craziness in them. Ambassador Stevens, whom I knew slightly, thought he was safe with and loved by the people he helped "free" from Qaddafi; he saw himself as a new Lawrence of Arabia, and instead ended up as a new Charles George "Chinese" Gordon of Khartoum.
We are under attack, when we should be at war. While we build our own energy sources our dazzling ability to employ the instruments of war must be maintained and used as needed. The crazies will never love us, so they might as well fear us.