Obama once upon a time took tuition from, or at least listened intently to, the likes of Rashid Khalidi, a practiced performer on the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict. And there were others too, who similarly presented the Arab case, with a practiced air of indignation, victimhood, and sweet reasonableness.
But like Prince Harry, when he becomes Henry V, Obama will have to reconsider, and not just for election purposes, some of the dangerous innocences and perhaps enthusiasms and misunderstandings of his youth, especially on a subject where, apparently, he never received any countervailing presentation from those capable of offering it. Jewish financial backers of the Peace-Now variety are not what one means by those capable of offering a countervailing presentation as to the history of Arabs and Jews, not only this year, or twenty years ago, but over the history of the Middle East since Islam arrived — and put in the context of the Arab and Muslim treatment or attitude toward all non-Muslims and, as well, toward non-Arab Muslims such as the black Africans in Darfur.
Obama has shown himself to be intelligent and also a quick study, as well as a keenly ruthless politician. It would be good if, rather than offer the pro-forma and palpably unfelt rhetoric that may please the easily-pleased audiences of AIPAC, he were really to study the source, nature, and unsusceptibility to “solution” through further Israeli surrenders of land and relinquishing of rights, of what is not a “struggle” for “the legitimate rights of the (recently-invented) “Palestinian” people (i.e., the local Arabs), but rather a Lesser Jihad against the Infidel nation-state of Israel. This Jihad is without end, though it is possible to manage it through deterrence. And this Jihad is participated in not only directly, but indirectly. Propagandists, including those who may not be Muslim but rather islamochristian (Khalidi may, like Hanan Ashrawi, possibly may fall into this category), should have their soothing presentation balanced by real study and thought about what Islam means, and about what the texts and tenets and attitudes and atmospherics of Islam mean for non-Muslims as judged by those texts, and by the behavior of Muslims toward the non-Muslims whose many lands they conquered and whom they killed, or converted, or subjugated as dhimmis.
Forget, for right now, about Israel. Study what has happened to Hindus in India, to Buddhists and Hindus in East Asia, to Christians and animists in sub-Saharan Africa. Study what is happening today to the historic, now “post-Christian” West in its center and source, Western Europe. Once all of that is grasped, then return to the subject of tiny, hardly-to-be-discerned-on-a-world-map Israel. Compare its size, with the thousand times more land and the fabulous unearned wealth of the Arab Muslims, who everywhere treat ruthlessly their own non-Muslim or non-Arab minorities. Then, in Obama fashion, start to think about “distributivist” or “redistributivist” justice when it comes to what the Arabs possess and what the Jews of Israel have built out of land which, pace Khalidi, was an ill-considered backwater, fallen into ruin and desolation. All the accounts of Western travellers support this view. All the demographic and cadastral records will give a different picture from the one Obama was so plausibly painted.
He needs to understand not the easygoing, syncretistic, even slightly-lapsed Islam that he may identify with his father and with his stepfather, and with still-tolerant Indonesia during those years of his youth. But one cannot judge Islam on that basis; one has to instead study the texts, and the history of Islamic conquest.
One would be relieved to learn that Obama was reading Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who come bearing intelligent and uncowed witness, just as one would be relieved if he were known to be reading, say, such a book as “Since Time Immemorial” and looking not so much at the author’s sometimes too-sweeping rhetoric as at the wealth of quotation that cannot be unsaid or undercut.
And one would be even more relieved to discover that Barack Obama, whether or not he wins the election, were not only reading the books by, but meeting with, Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, and perhaps, especially, someone who lived in Somalia, and Kenya, and Saudi Arabia, and then in the Netherlands and the United States, and could help Obama see things straight — Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Besides, Obama is not foolish enough, one assumes, if he wishes to achieve any of his domestic agenda, to use up political capital and to confirm all the worst fears, or heighten all the anxieties that remain about him. They remain among some who may, nonetheless, decide to vote for him, allowing themselves to believe that he will act as they hope, and not as they fear.
One does not wish to trade the incomprehension and messsianic sentimentalism of the Bush Administration in Iraq (and Afghanistan) for what would be even worse: a policy of dealing with the worldwide manifestations and instruments of Jihad (the “struggle” to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam) through greater “dialogue” and “understanding.” Such an understanding is really based on a willful refusal to understand the texts and tenets of Islam, and the behavior that naturally flows from such texts and tenets, and their steady inculcation, whether in a mosque or madrasa, or simply through one’s own steady reading, and a taking of those texts to heart. Such false understanding is miles away from what we need: a clever policy designed to exploit pre-existing fissures within the Camp of Islam and — most importantly — to force Muslims themselves to confront the fact that the political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral failures of Muslim states and societies are a direct result of Islam itself. And this can only be done if Infidels themselves come to that clear understanding.
If Obama is willing to learn this, such an understanding would stand him in good stead, and help him to make the case not only for leaving Iraq, but also for not repeating the same naive kind of errors in Afghanistan, and instead for shoring up those conducting the war of self-defense against adherents of Jihad through other means — including, most importantly, every conceivable attempt to diminish OPEC oil revenues that supply the Money Weapon that has been used to such great effect not least in the capitals of the Western world.
If he proves unable or unwilling to do this, he will probably ends up, for example, appointing as Secretaries of State and Defense those who have given every sign of being susceptible to Muslim arguments and blandishments, or who exhibit a long history of being notably anti-Israel in their voting records and attitudes. That is a sure sign of being more likely, for emotional reasons, or other sorts of pathologies present in a forme fruste, to wish to continue to willfully misunderstand the nature of Islam — not least because a right understanding would naturally help Israel.
One has only to consider how eager Pat Buchanan is to not understand the worldwide threat of Jihad. For to the pat-buchanans of this world, it is more important to persuade the American government to essentially throw Israel to the wolves, even if this whets, rather than states, Arab and Muslim appetites for further triumphs, and not all of them confined to the Middle East. McCain, if he wins, clearly will be appointing some Democrats to his cabinet. If Obama wins, he might do worse than appoint someone who has held posts dealing with security and who demonstrates an immunity to that anti-Israel undercurrent so obvious in the votes of Senators Hagel and Lugar, who are both mentioned in the short lists. What if that Secretary of State were to be, for example, James Woolsey?
Such a choice would relieve a great many people who are worried about — and not completely out of whole cloth — Obama’s ties to, or sympathies with, Islam and Islamic causes.
And were Obama to lose, he would still need to better inform himself about Islam, and not to surround himself with Yesterday’s Men who have spent the last few decades unaware, essentially, of what the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest in the countries of Western Europe mean. They have not been paying attention, and have focused idiotically only on the Middle East and, in some cases — see Dennis Ross — have professional reasons for insisting upon believing that “peace-processing” and “shuttle diplomacy” and endless “negotiations” leading to a “peace treaty” mean a great deal, when any student of Muslim treatment of all treaties with Infidels (see Majid Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam) demonstrate how silly, futile, and dangerous such pious hopes on the Infidel side will and must necessarily be.