The Donkey Is Dead

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Once upon a time a mad Caliph demanded of an old servant of his that he teach a donkey to talk for his amusement. If he refused, he would be put to death. If he failed he would be put to death as well. The old servant shrugged and asked for a year’s time in which to complete the task. When other servants asked him why he had accepted, he answered. “A year is a long time. Either the Caliph will die, the donkey will die, or the donkey will learn to speak.”

It’s been quite a few years and the donkey is on its last legs. Obama has done to half a dozen countries what Carter did to Iran. The Islamists are in ascendance and the Caliphate genie has been let out of the bottle. Down the road they may well implode, but for the moment they are a rising political force in the region. The handful of Muslim countries that could have been accused of having moderate governments are gone now.

The posse of “Islamist Whisperers” in the press, lead among them Thomas Friedman, are busy looking for fallback positions. In his latest column he explains that the Islamist victories only came about because the dictators prevented “independent, secular, democratic parties” from developing. What he fails to understand is that the dictators were the only force maintaining a modicum of secularism, not because they were freethinking atheists, but because many of them had come out of the military and wanted a functioning state, instead of a theocracy.

In Turkey the military was the guarantor of secularism until the European Friedmans decided that it was much better to back the Islamist AKP and its democratic commitment to turning Turkey into an Islamist state. Now the generals are locked up and a sneering imbecile who bankrupted his country to funnel money to his associates and create a temporary economic boom is threatening Europe.

The Shah of Iran, Ben Ali and Mubarak are just a few of the badly flawed rulers who nevertheless maintained some measure of social freedom, rather than democracy, and paid the price when the idiots that we elected decided that the region would be better off if it were in the hands of the Islamists.

Secular and democratic are a contradiction in terms where the majority of the population supports the Islamists. The secular activists that Friedman and the Western media embraced are an out of touch elite that is more familiar with Twitter than with the ordinary Egyptian. They have more in common with the dictators they are campaigning to overthrow, and in many cases have familial connections to the ruling class. Had the West succeeded in shoving El-Baradei into the top spot sans election, then they might have taken power, otherwise they are going to remain in the Islamist shadow.

But never fear, Friedman promises that once the liberal independent secularists get some time to learn how the whole elections thing works, then the Islamists will have to “compete with legitimate secular parties”.

Reading Friedman is like arguing with the proponent of a completely discredited theory who keeps asserting that given time it will finally stand up to the test. But does the mustached wonder of the Times really believe that the Islamists will wait around for the secularists to compete with them? Friedman and the rest of the gang dismissed the idea that Egypt would follow Iran, but now he might want to take a second look at the history of Iran. Islamist democracy begins when the old regime falls and ends when they take power.

In FriedmanLand (TM) if the Islamists rig elections then the people will rise up and overthrow them. But how well did that work out in Iran? The difference between the Islamists and Mubarak is that the jolly bearded boys don’t care how many bodies they stack up and the only people they answer to are even more extreme than they are.

The media is still operating under the delusion that the Islamists will maintain democracy once they have profited from it, and that only shows their basic ignorance. The essence of the Islamist agenda is to deny people the freedom to live the way they want to. And that being so why would they allow  any parties that don’t toe the Koranic line to play in their new sandbox when that would be in violation of their principles?

Financial analysts have popped up to inform us that the Muslim Brotherhood is pro-business, which it true is in the same way that Iran’s leaders are pro-business, and Mubarak was pro-business and Vladimir Putin and the rulers of the People’s Republic of China are pro-business. Meaning that they like money and running an oligarchy which will control much of the country’s industry or solicit bribes from those businesses it doesn’t control. To a financial analyst this is good news, but he might want to take a closer look at what the GDP of Persian might have been today if it wasn’t overrun by black robed parasites and their pet thugs.

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  • KarshiKhanabad

    You raise some excellent points – it will be anything but a steady harmonious coalescence of the "ummah" into a monolithic Caliphate. Too many local tinpots having to secede too much power. Anyone remember the United Arab Republic 1958-61? And don't forget how Muslims love to play "more Muslim than thou!" and back it up with suicide bombs.

    And not even Mad Mo their Profit could have foreseen the capital of the Caliphate (Damascus, IIRC) or any Islamic power center having a nuclear bullseye painted on it. Besieging armies, yes, but not a single massive glassmaking pop. So the Middle East may well soon be emptied of not only its infidel minorities but of any non-Muslim visitors, tourists, or business people. What a wonderful world they'll enjoy.

  • ASG

    Their religious Zealots will eventually cause them to succeed their power. And I am sure for their cooperation they will be handsomely rewarded. Ultimately now that this Caliphate movement has control of official militaries and economies, the over-throw of defiant leaders will be a lot easier. We will see what seems like in-fighting amongst themselves when what appears like a traditional war between two Middle Eastern countries, when really it will be the hard core Islamists vs. the Power clinging dictator. The dictator’s forces will ultimately fight with half the heart of the zealots and easily be taken down. We are within a decade of the Islamist's dreams becoming a reality, what happens over the next 2-3 years is extremely important.

  • mrbean

    The tension between moderates and the Islamics is unsustainable. What happens when the Islamics push for expanding the scope of sharia a bit more? If sharia can govern banking and trade, for example, why not other aspects of life? Why not also institute Islamic punishments, such as beheading apostates? Having accepted in principle the ideal of sharia, moderates have no grounds to reject further means to that end. They can offer no principled opposition to the slaughter of infidels who refuse to submit, or of apostates who claim the freedom to choose their own convictions. In the face of the incremental or rapid advance of the Jihadist goal, the moderates are in the long run impotent. If Islam is the ideal, why practice it in moderation? In any conflict it is always the more ruthless that will win.

    • johnnywoods

      Be sure to keep your powder dry mrbean.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Saudi Arabia and the rest of the tribal oil states are good examples of pro-business Islamists, but the profits that don’t get funneled into palaces, prostitutes and bread and circuses for their people, are invested into terrorism and buying up Western useful idiots to do their bidding.

    Nah, not terrorism, as terrorism is a manifestation of Western civilization only and thus in Islam is un-Islamic and blasphemous, which is punished under the pain of death. On the other hand, Muslims wage jihad in stark contrast, which is holy fighting in the cause of Allah against non-Muslim unbelievers to make Islam supreme and in stark contrast to terrorism, which can be for any number of political causes and as its name implies is always violent, can consist of both violent and non-violent means of jihad.

    With respect to buying up Western useful idiots to do their bidding, do you mean like this: http://www.hermes-press.com/bush_kiss.jpg?

    I know this isn't politically correct or a very pleasant subject, but nevertheless eventually and sooner or later the Mideast oilfields and the vast unearned oil wealth of the Saudis and Gulf State Emirs will have to be seized and confiscated by the West. Otherwise, those assets will be used perpetually to wage jihad against all non-Muslim unbelievers forever. Hence, it's not like we have any other choice in the matter if we want to continue to survive. Indeed, they are perpetually waging war (jihad) against all non-Muslim unbelievers in the world. Thus, we should openly acknowledge their war (jihad) and in self-defense eliminate our enemies.

    In fact, if Iran gets nukes with impunity, which to me appears to be inevitable in the very near future, the Saudi funded nuclear weapons arsenal in Pakistan will almost over night be proliferated to the Sunni Islamic world in response to a nuclear armed Shi'a Iran. Hence, the Islamic world with its imperative to make Islam supreme will inevitably become armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons very quickly, and an Islamic world armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons will inevitably become far more belligerent and aggressive. Hence, if you think oil prices are sky high today, just wait until after the Islamic world becomes armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, as oil prices will inevitably skyrocket exponentially once that happens.

    Friedman just like our US State Department is hopelessly mentally handicapped. Indeed, just like peace between so-called Palestinians, which are the proxy of the Islamic world, and Israel is impossible, secular and liberal Western-style democracy in the Islamic world is also impossible. As the freedoms and liberties secular and liberal Western-style democracy embodies leaves the door wide open for its inevitable demise, as Islam doesn't make allowances for any other forms of governance other than Sharia. Which is why all governments in the Islamic world sooner or later end up in the long run becoming authoritarian. Indeed, they either become authoritarian or they become dead.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Who will be crying for the days of the gas guzzling V8 and Corvettes, all of the
      liberal communist rats of tomorrow and why pray tell, Nuclear Islam. What a
      nasty contradiction to the leftist agenda, they are supporting the global warming
      that will leave half the world dead and a return to the dark ages. The capitol
      of the Western Caliphate will be Washington DC or Dearborn Michigan. Obama
      has to go and so do his Islamist cohorts, slow boat to Indonesia seems good
      to me….Send Friedman with them……………………………………………..William

  • Jim

    So, how many Imams are there? 12 or 13

  • Ben

    of course Obama tries hard for the khalifate creation and leftists all over the world look at Islam as the ally but not only leftists. To cave under the force is humane,even the archbishop of Canterbury wishes some sharia. The USSR`s lesson show that backward totalitatian state can survive for a long time.These Friedmans embody not only leftist media but the Jewish communities that have big leftist parts.

  • Mark McDonnell

    Apparently what we're going to need, is an American version of Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House. Someone with a thorough working knowledge of the Islamists, their tactics and ultimate goals. One, having the will and the resolve to use whatever means are necessary to stop them, using initially, the least destructive means possible to achieve them, with a view towards own survival being preeminent in those calculations. This is indeed a tall order, to say the least. This isn't going going to be a picnic in the grass. It's a
    backwoods barbeque, plenty of napkins will be required for the cleanup!

  • Flowerknife_us

    Odd-referencing a Jackass that both talks and writes.

  • Debanjan Banerjee

    Well the Islamic World is much more varied now since the time of the last caliphate.

    But the real problem in countries like Egypt are not Muslim brotherhood , it is the hunger as Spengler says so many times.

    SO according to Spengler , there is only one way for Muslims to survive. They must at all cost force those Billion dollars that their corrupt elites stashed in Western bank accounts to be used to purchase much needed cultiviable land in places like Canada , Australia and US and move there.

    That accoreding to Spengler is the only solution to the problems in ISlamic World. I support that view.

  • popseal

    The caliphate genie may be out of the bottle, but there's a joker in the Muslim deck in regards to that subject. Sunni and Shi'ite will kill each other before one accepts the other as caliph. Aint it grand?

  • ASG

    Hell of a ride indeed!

  • StephenD

    My friend Chez, Welcome back.

    "we should try in every way possible to foster national and confessional division in the Muslim realm…at the same time that we work towards unity with the rest of the non-Muslim world. " 

    My problem is I can't see a way clear to work toward unity with the non-Muslim world. When we have extreme Left countries, Communism, Socialism, etc., that have more in common with Islam than with our Republic how can we work toward unity with them? 

    I would suggest our first priority would be to acknowledge on a National Level that our problem is with Islam. Then, with all those that make the same acknowledgment, we can look to foster unity of cause with them. 

    Unless and until we see the political world view of Islam balanced against our ideas of Personal Liberty and Individual Responsibility with Equality under our laws, we won’t see it as the enemy of this way of life that it truly is. Political Correctness not  withstanding, we must start to call a spade…a spade.

  • Mark

    Chez, an intellect that promotes respect. I found your comment and exchange with Stephen very insightful and refreshing. Thank you!

  • StephenD

    Again, my simple mind looks for simple solutions. I say, Term Limits (among first strikes). Secondly, I'd say there ought to be a law that says you cannot vote on how tax dollars are spent if you don't pay taxes. Period. When the votes dry up, there will be less likelihood of politicos clamoring for them. And, truly, doesn't this just make sense? Why should I have any say over how your household treasures are spent unless I've contributed to it myself?
    The SS System and the folks that have paid into it aren't the problem. The raping of it by Congress is the problem. Revamping the system won't affect those about to or those in the system as it is today. We can adjust retirement age gradually and thus increase the solvency of the program. Say from age 55 and over ~ no change. Add a month to the retirement age for every year under 55. So instead of retiring at 67 (if you are 54) you now must wait until you are 67 + 1 month and so on up until a max of 68 yrs. old. This measure alone would keep the system functioning long past our grandchildren retire.

  • Chezwick_Mac

    Term limits and extending the retirement age are both viable, do-able, and make perfect sense. Personally, I would accelerate your timetable for extending the retirement age.

    I'm not sure about the constitutionality of excluding non-taxpayers from the voter rolls…but even if it were constitutional, I seriously doubt it would ever become law…just too exclusionary (though I happen to agree with it in principle). A much simpler approach would be reform of the tax code so that everybody pays at least SOMETHING.

    Anyway, thanks for taking a stab at it.

    I wish to God a statesman would come along who could articulate the necessity of sacrifice…ala Churchill's "blood, sweat and tears". But he'd have to be a silver tongued sonofabitch to be able to effectively sell it at the same time that he lowers the tax and regulatory burden on investors.

    I'm not sanguine about our prospects.