This article was written for the Washington Post. It is on their website now and will be in Sunday’s print edition. In writing the piece, I simply tried to point out the advantages that al-Qaeda and its allies will derive — or at least seek to exploit — from the ongoing unrest in the Arab world, and to use their documents and statements over the past 15 years to see how current events mesh or do not mesh with their goals.Continue reading “More on ‘inevitable’ democracy in the Arab world”
The rush in the West to proclaim the advance of democracy in the Arab world has led to the propagation of an ill-conceived and dangerous corollary: that the revolts in the Middle East and North Africa also mark the irrelevance of al-Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups.Continue reading “Why the Mideast revolts will help al-Qaeda”
I have spent nearly all of February traveling around America talking about my biography of Osama bin Laden and what I see as the wisdom of a non-interventionist foreign policy for America. I will always regard this experience as a privilege. For this excursion I wish to thank Oxford University Press and all of those who listened to and then discussed these issues with me in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles.Continue reading “The ‘new’ Arab world through the Marx Brothers’ eyes”
Osama bin Laden thought the mujahideen had seen the last of Marxist-like thinkers in 1980s Afghanistan where the “inevitability” of communism’s world mastery proved illusory. To his surprise and joy, however, this sort of mental malady reappeared with a vengeance this month as the woefully uneducated West cheered democracy’s “inevitable” advance in Egypt.
The piece below the broken line appeared today on the National Interest’s foreign affairs blog. It is a reflection on the costs Americans pay for their elite’s relentless interventionism, as well as for the failure of the U.S. educational system. I suggest at the end of the piece that we all could stand to closely reread George Washington’s Farewell Address; indeed, I suspect that Obama, Clinton, McCain, Cantor, Biden, and most of the Congress and media would benefit from an initial reading.
In a series of media appearances this week on the issue of Egypt it was again driven home to me that non-interventionism and nationalism are two positions that are outside of what Tocqueville called the circle of acceptable free speech in America. Indeed, to argue that Washington’s intervention on the side of Arab tyrannies for 30-plus years has hurt the United States makes one an America-basher; to argue that Israel is a central and increasingly lethal problem for the United States in its relations with the Arab world makes one an anti-Semite; and to argue that Washington should be banned from reaching into its citizens’ pockets, stealing their income, and giving it to Israel, Egypt, or any other foreign nation when unemployment is at 9-percent, 43 million Americans are on food stamps, the country’s infrastructure is crumbling, and 15-percent of American kids go to bed hungry makes one an anachronistic isolationist — and an anti-Semite.Continue reading “On Non-Intervention, Egypt and al-Qaeda, and Afghanistan-Pakistan”
President Obama’s State of the Union Speech cited a light at the Afghan tunnel’s end, and General Petraeus said a few hours earlier that conditions are improving in Afghanistan. For readers of Google News on Afghanistan and Pakistan these statements hit a discordant note; journalists are describing steady deterioration in both countries. While it is perhaps disrespectful to question the veracity of Messangers Obama and Petraeus, a look some facts can help assess their claims.
The bankruptcy of America’s ideological and unrealistic educational system — especially its universities — has seldom been on better display than during this period of unrest in the Muslim world. For the most part, the well-educated folks offering analysis on television seem befuddled that anyone could think that the mass protests in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen have anything remotely to do with religion. No, say they, the unrest is the result of poverty, oppression, and a dozen other things, but it has nothing to do with Islam.
The hearings that Congressman Peter King (R-NY) has called to discover what factors “radicalize” U.S. Muslims are a chance for non-interventionists to make an obvious point that so far has escaped the notice of almost all of the 535 federal legislators, the last four presidents, much of the media, and the academy; namely, that the United States is at war with an increasing portion of the Muslim world because of its interventionist foreign policy, especially its support for Israel and tyrannical Muslim regimes. More plainly, ongoing U.S. intervention in the Muslim world is the major engine of radicalization for young Muslims in the United States and abroad. [NB: As always, this is not to say U.S. policy either “caused” the war — America was attacked first, after all — or was made by mad policymakers. It is said to to suggest the worth of “knowing the enemy” by recognizing his motivation.]
So far, those killed and wounded in Arizona seem to have been the victims of a mentally unstable young man. He is in custody and in all likelihood will be convicted of murder or incarcerated in an institution for the insane for the rest of his life. This is, it seems to me, as it should be.Continue reading “The Arizona shootings and Rep. King’s thousand-foot rule”