Friday, November 20, 2009

US policy, even under Obama, encourages radical Islam

Reading about the problem of radical Islam's availability in websites in English reminded me of Barack Obama's June interview with BBC where he expressed his support for Egypt's dictator:
Justin Webb: Do you regard President Mubarak as an authoritarian ruler?

President Obama: No, I tend not to use labels for folks. I haven't met him. I've spoken to him on the phone.

He has been a stalwart ally in many respects, to the United States. He has sustained peace with Israel, which is a very difficult thing to do in that region.

But he has never resorted to, you know, unnecessary demagoging of the issue, and has tried to maintain that relationship. So I think he has been a force for stability. And good in the region. Obviously, there have been criticisms of the manner in which politics operates in Egypt.

And, as I said before, the United States' job is not to lecture, but to encourage, to lift up what we consider to be the values that ultimately will work - not just for our country, but for the aspirations of a lot of people.
There is a real structural problem here. US support for Israel puts the US, in any objective sense, into conflict with the Muslim world, a conflict that is more intense the closer a country is to Israel, either geographically or empathetically, but not a misunderstanding or PR problem, a conflict.

Two specific phrases of Obama's somewhat stun me. One is "unnecessary demagoging of the issue", the other is "And good in the region." What stuns me about them is that these statements could not be made by someone who does not understand the opposition between democratic ideals and support for Israel in the Middle East.

There are over 60 million people in Egypt that Obama thinks is "good for the region" that they live under a dictator who doesn't "unnecessarily demagogue" the issue of the conflict against Zionism. It says something disgusting about Obama's perception of the value of the lives and interests of Arabs compared to Jews in Israel (a tenth in number just of Egypt) who insist they must form a permanent political majority if necessary at the expense of the Palestinians.

That was just a hideous answer. I'm grasping for words to capture how evil it was. "I don't use labels" is just an affront. "Criticisms of the way politics operates." Obama, from an Arab or Muslim point of view, is a monster. No worse than any other plausible US national leader, but absolutely indefensible.

But Obama didn't make it up. Given that American policy is that it is good for the people of Egypt and many other countries to live in dictatorships for the benefit of Israel, it is not hatred or even unreasonable that there will be Arab messages that are anti-American.

The truth of the matter is that a US soldier fighting for Obama's vision of the Middle East is fighting for the subjugation of the Egyptian people in favor of a ten times smaller group of Jewish people in Israel. If that soldier has a connection with Egypt, that soldier is committing an act of betrayal. Or Palestine, or Jordan, or Arabia, or Islam.

This is a structural problem that the United States brings on itself through its support for the Zionist project. A problem that could be solved with fewer resources and more in line with US values by supporting the establishment of a South Africa-style resolution to the conflict over Zionism. Instead the United States has tasked its subject dictatorships with reprogramming Arabs who oppose the US within their jurisdictions.

It does not seem sustainable over any long period of time.


Lysander said...

While I agree with much of what you say here, as devils advocate I would point out that Governments still hostile to Israel, Syria for example, are no more democratic than Egypt.

Indeed Egypt, back when it was also hostile to Israel, Under Nasser or the first few years of Sadat, was not at all democratic.

It is however true that even a non democratic government such as Nasser's would never have allowed to starvation of Gaza if they could stop it.

And it is also true that the U.S. is always more concerned about democracy in Iran than in Egypt.

lidia said...

"U.S. is always more concerned about democracy in Iran than in Egypt" - ONLY is Egypt is pro-Israel and Iran anti-Israel. So, one could see what are the value of USA "concern about democracy" Anyway, about Syria I have heard opinion, that after horrors that USA have done in Iraq, even the most democracy-loving Syrians prefer not to rock the boat too much - so USA is being a foe of democracy even in states that mostly are not pro-USA.

Arnold, not being Arab neither Muslim I nevertheless found Obama's words (and deeds) as horrible as you suppose Arabs would. I guess you are right about it and would like to know how come that YOU were able to see it as such - I suppose it is a very rare trait in a Western person

Arnold Evans said...

Thanks for the question Lysander. It's something that had crossed my mind, but it had never occurred to write about at length and I probably should have long ago.

But here:

Lidia, I was raised in a non-religious family that if it had been religious would most likely have been Muslim.

During my formulative years, I've been very thoroughly exposed to the idea that Islam has played an important role in progressive causes, not only in self defense but reaching out to other groups in coping and combating oppression.

I'd actually say my views are very rare, but more out of most progressive westerners having never put real thought into the issues than hostility towards Islam.

Non-Jewish progressive Westerners who are not already anti-Zionist are very easy, trivially easy, to convince that the anti-Zionist struggle is the closest current conflict to the anti-Apartheid struggle of the 1980s.

Essentially all progressive Westerners see the anti-Apartheid struggle as a crystal-clear example of right against wrong whose lessons should be applied as broadly as possible.

lidia said...

Thank you, Arnold. I hope you are right about westerners