Hugh Fitzgerald takes issue with Rayan El-Amine’s view of American foreign policy:
“American foreign policy that has waged wars directly or indirectly on the Arab and Muslim world for decades for geopolitical reasons without any regard for its inhabitants.”
In 1956 Eisenhower and Dulles forced Britain and France to end the Suez Campaign, thus saving Nasser from defeat and humiliation. The United States government not only did nothing to shore up the French in Algeria, but supported, under Kennedy, Algerian independence. For the past 60 years, the American government has allowed itself to believe that Saudi Arabia is a “staunch ally” and has consistently relied on a chimera — the idea that the Saudis somehow will “do us favors” — as a substitute for a relentless policy of raising, through self-taxing, the price of oil so as to diminish revenues to malevolent Muslim states.
In recent decades the American government has consistently pressured Israel to give up territory it had every legal, historic, and moral right to retain, beginning with the Sinai. The Sinai was for Israel legitimate spoils of war: see the boundaries that are customarily withdrawn after every war; see, especially, what happened all over Europe after World War I, and after World War II. Yet Carter and Brzezinski insisted Begin yield it for a handful of promises about Egypt ending hostile activities and propaganda. Not one of those promises was kept by Egypt.
The assorted plans, the Oslo Accords, and now the American encouragement — assisted suicide –of the vacuous and dangerous destruction, by the Israeli state, of Jewish villages that bestride the chief invasion route, and in some cases were founded before the state of Israel was declared, is mad policy. A real ally would have understood the geopolitical significance of allowing a “Palestinian” and hence an Islamic triumph. A real ally would have known that such a triumph boded ill — and not only for Israel, but for other Infidel peoples and polities, not least in Europe (where the connection between allowing Muslim control of the Holy Land through whittling away at an all too-compliant Israel, and the moral collapse of the Western world, is not understood).
The American government for decades was the main diplomatic and military support for Turkey, a country which in the last few years has begun to show (and then to try to hide) the Islamist colors that were, during those same decades, hidden by Kemalist camouflage. Those colors are now running.
The American government rescued Muslims, not all of them entirely guiltless or quite as wonderful (nor the Serbs quite so horrid, and their fears, given five hundred years of history, quite so implausible), in Bosnia, and in Kosovo.
The American government has supplied one of the most anti-American countries in the world, and a promoter and exporter of anti-Americanism, Egypt, with $2 billion a year. It started as a way to bribe Egypt into behaving itself (though Egypt never felt it had to obey the Camp David Accords, once it had safely pocketed the entire Sinai, in three tranches). The American government is the main source of aid to Jordan. The American government has sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the “Palestinian” Authority.
The American government has now spent $300 billion to do two things: to remove a monstrous regime that had ruled Iraq for 35 years, and was prepared to rule for another 35 years, and to “reconstruct” Iraq, which has already resulted in 4.5 million Iraqis now having potable water, thousands of schoolrooms built, a hundred hospitals rebuilt and completely re-equipped, and power plants rebuilt and enlarged.
And none of this, nor the lives of soldiers disrupted, or marred, or ended, will earn any lasting gratitude from more than an infinitesimal number of Iraqis. As for the “war for oil” — there is not, and never was, such a war. The price of Iraqi oil will remain the market price, and no special favors will be done the Americans by the Iraqis, as none have been done for Western countries by any Arab or Muslim state, anywhere, at any time.
There is much to deplore in American foreign policy toward Muslim states. That policy has been grounded on a misunderstanding of Islam, on a failure to recognize the central nature of Jihad (to be promoted, through a variety of instruments, whenever possible), to recognize how Muslim doctrine (derived from the immutable canonical texts — not only the Qur’an, but Hadith and Sira as well) divides the world uncompromisingly between dar al-Islam and dar al-harb, between Believer and Infidel. The failure of American foreign policy has led to the pursuit of a will-o’-the-wisp: Arab or Muslim goodwill.
It has led to much else. Had Islam not been seen only as a “bulwark against Communism” (which led to all sorts of follies, including a misreading of Turkey, and a dreamy belief that tens of thousands of Stinger missiles should be distributed to Afghani mujahedin), the Americans might have understood that they must work not to arm but to disarm Muslim countries, or to sell them only the equivalent of jeeps, rifles, and zumbookars. The United States realized after World War II that its wartime ally, the Soviet Union, was — and had always been — its enemy, because of its ideology. After the Cold War ended, however, it has still not been sufficiently realized that those stout “anti-Communists” — because Muslim — states, such as Saudi Arabia, whose interests so misleadingly seemed to coincide with ours in Afghanistan, are — and always have been — our enemies, and in a more profound way than Communism (which is still a product of the West, and unlike Islam, cannot hide or explain away its own failures in the very area — economic performance — where it promises paradise).
The political, economic, social, and intellectual failures of Muslim states and peoples are a result of Islam itself. But they cannot see it, and many Muslim states cushion or hide their failures through the fantastic accident of OPEC oil revenues. Others (Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, the “Palestinians”) do what they can to extract foreign aid from Infidels (never fellow Muslims, who are loyal to the umma, and will pay for weapons and prize-money to the families of suicide bombers, but not anything else).
The Arab and Muslim states will continue, absurdly, to berate and blame the West, and America, for the faults of their own societies that are really the result of Islam. All such blame should never be accepted; it only encourages the patient in his delusions. Everything should be done to force that patient to begin to recognize the sources of his disorder, the sources of misrule, and the sources of poverty and failure, despite trillions in undeserved OPEC revenues, to create modern economies. Everything should be done to force the patient to face the failure to have left much by way of worth for at least a thousand years, when compared, say, to the West, or China, or even societies that once seemed less impressive than Islam, but now seem more — such as those of Meso-America.
Saudi Arabia, the richest and, with Iran, the most malevolent of Muslim states (because Iran and Saudi Arabia are the states where the sharia is in force, where Islam remains undiluted by local ways or cultural softenings and distractions), did not suddenly begin to offer up hatred for infidels in its textbooks and sermons in the last few years. It has been doing it all along, but only in the last few years has anyone in the West begun to notice, or occasionally to write about it. Saudi Arabia has now been recognized as a state likely to use some of its undeserved oil revenues to promote Islam (and that is the most natural thing for the Saudis to do — the obvious, unstoppable thing) by paying for madrasas and mosques all over, and by distributing ill-disguised bribes to former government officials, diplomats, intelligence agents, journalists, and academics all over the Western world, in order to keep the Saudi claque clapping every time someone from the Al-Saud family steps out on stage. But this has only been recognized by a few.
There is much to find fault with in American foreign policy vis-a-vis Muslims and Arabs. But it is not the kind of fault that the Muslims themselves charge — that we have demonized them, and are “racists” and “Islamophobes.” Quite the reverse. The real faults have only been realized in the past few years, and despite the best efforts of Western governments (how many times do we have to endure being assured by our rulers that Islam is a “religion” of “tolerance” and “peace” — all three words are highly misleading). How many stories of Muslim persecution of non-Muslims have been buried, or never covered? How many statements made in khutbas (sermons) can be found on the Internet, but never reported in the Western press? How many historical studies, by the dozens of great Orientalists whose names now scarcely register (Joseph Schacht, say, or C. Snouck Hurgronje, or Edmond Fagnan, who studied Jihad, or those important works pioneering scholar of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or) have simply been ignored? It is if these scholars, and their works, had never existed. Instead, we are directed again and again to vaporings and apologetics by people who are either working out their own psychic disarray (Karen Armstrong), or repaying those who, directly or indirectly, support them (John Esposito), or who are simply the snappy-phrasing Irwin Coreys (“Dr. Irwin Corey, world’s greatest authority” was a comic act of the 1950s), such as Davos-attending mountebanks like Tom Friedman. All these, with their well-reimbursed lectures and books, produce guides to nothing and to nowhere.
With American foreign policy pursuing such strategies, based as they are on Armstrong/Esposito dogma, Rayan El-Amine should see it as Islam’s good friend.