The Democracy Delusion and Obama’s Failed Mideast Policy

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The New York Times headline on Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to Egypt said it all: “U.S. Is in a Quandary.” That’s putting it mildly. Better words for this administration’s foreign policy are “confused,” “contradictory,” and “delusional.”

Start with Clinton’s meeting with newly elected Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. Clinton suggested to the Muslim Brother that breaking the war of wills with the military leaders running the show for now requires “dialogue and compromise, real politics.”  The U.S., she added, would strive to “support the democratically elected government and to help make it a success in delivering results for the people of Egypt.” Morsi was happy to listen to Clinton chanting the “democratically elected government mantra,” given the $1.5 billion in aid given Egypt every year, and the promise of even more “economic assistance.”

The unexamined and delusional assumptions in the administration’s approach to Egypt are legion. The first and most important is the magical thinking that a “democratic election” in a country lacking democratic traditions, principles and beliefs is anything more than machinery for redistributing power. This mistake, by the way, transcends political party. It compromised George Bush’s foreign policy as well, which relied on simplistic notions of “democracy” and “freedom” for its policies across the region. Not even the disaster of “free elections” empowering the terrorist outfit Hamas in Gaza could disabuse the administration of this article of faith.

The Obama administration continues to make the same mistake. It works off a simplistic calculus in which “dictators”  are bad and “democratically elected governments” are good. The legitimate calculation, however, is which form of rule serves the security and national interests of the United States. If a country has beliefs and principles compatible with democratic government, then it is more likely to serve our interests, or at least not actively subvert them. If not, however, then promoting “democratic elections” will very likely unleash forces in a country damaging to those interests.

What the democracy peddlers forget is that in a true liberal democracy, elections are just the expression of political principles and ideals, the most important being the basic rights all humans possess by virtue of being human, such as freedom of speech and religion, which cannot be taken away by the government, nor limited because of race, sex, belief, or religious creed. Next, in a liberal democracy violence is proscribed as an instrument of politics, replaced by law and procedures subjected to statutory limits and accountability. These core beliefs naturally lead to the idea of tolerance for those holding different ideas or beliefs, with conflict decided through non-violent political processes that involve negotiation and compromise, with everybody respecting the outcome and working for change through the political process. All these principles must be second nature to citizens in true democracies.

These obvious truths from Political Science1 should have suggested to our political leaders that they exercise prudence in dealing with the recent revolutions in the Middle East, and put our own interests and security at the center of our policies. But addled with the heady wine of democracy promotion, Obama used American cruise missiles to remove Muammar Gadaffi, a murderous thug who nonetheless had been behaving himself as far as our interests were concerned. What we got in his place is a congeries of militias and terrorist outfits like the al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which includes veteran killers of our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq; and thousands of assault rifles, machine guns, mines, grenades, antitank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles capable of bringing down commercial airliners flooding the black markets throughout the Middle East. Meanwhile, the head of the Libyan National Transition Council has announced, “The constitution will be based on our Islamic religion,” which means gender apartheid, the death penalty for “apostates,” and virulent hatred of America and Israel.

Despite that debacle, Obama went ahead and abandoned Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, another murderous thug who nonetheless had maintained the cold peace with Israel and kept a lid on the Islamist Muslim Brothers. First, the Brothers were magically transformed, in the words of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, into “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.” This is the same organization whose Supreme Guide, Muhammad al-Badi’, has preached that the “improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.” After the Brothers and other Salafist parties took 70% of the vote in the first round of elections, other commentators counseled us not to worry, since the responsibility of governing would require pragmatism and compromise in order to deliver the social order and economic boons for which the Egyptian people were presumably pining. Sadly, we indulged this same delusion back in 1979 with the Iranian revolution, when the Islamist fundamentalism of the Ayatollah Khomeini was dismissed as mere rhetoric. Iran’s continuing genocidal rhetoric, brutal suppression of dissent, and march to the possession of nuclear weapons should make the folly of that mistake obvious.

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  • Anamah

    Stop encouraging and founding Radical Islamist Obama/Hillary/Soros!!! This is so shameful as destructive…

  • Alvaro

    Arabs are either at your feet or at your throat.

  • truebearing

    "When will the interests of the United States factor into Obama's foreign policy?" Never. By now, given everything he has done, and left undone, it should be as clear as a mountain stream that Obama is intent on doing the opposite of what is in our interest. He is trying to hurt us and help our enemies, especially the Muslim ones. i defy anyone to name just one thing that Obama has done that is in the interest of the US.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      He's shown us just how evil the Democratic party has become under their Leftist/Marxist/Islamist
      matrix?………………………

  • davarino

    Yup, I got suckered into the belief that democracy cures all evil and was in full support of going into Iraq and Afganistan. Those two countries deserved it but now I see that these people need dictators to rule them because they dont play nice with others.

    • Jim_C

      At least you admit you got suckered. It's a start.

      • davarino

        What ever that is supposed to mean.

  • KKKK

    Throton said it well. we should not have gotten invovlded in Libya to overthow a thug not threatening us; we should have stood by Mubarak in Egypt; and we have praised the revolts in Syria and elsewhere. this, despite the resurge of sharia organziations (incudling Al-Qaeda linked ones) and virulent hatered of America and Israel and gender discrmination. osama-obama thinks htat havign elections means freedom; he deosnt get that to truly have freedom oen needs the values that freedom presupsoes and endorses…which is-lame does not.

  • http://www.maghrebchristians.com Youssef

    Pray for pastor Youcef who has now been imprisoned for over 1000 days now in Iran.
    http://www.maghrebchristians.com/2012/07/16/1000t

    Youssef

  • KKKK

    meanwhile, iran continues its path toward mass gencodie aganist America and Israel, in fufilemnt of its promises. and osama-obama has done nothing except abandon Iranain dissdents and minorities and put weak "sanctions" agansit Iran that have done little to persude iran to stop its nuke program.

  • Western Spirit

    A president who said this is the biggest Moslem country in the world is worse than delusional.

    A country that was founded on Christian principles, with our founders saying they had followed Christian principles in founding the country, is now the largest Moslem country? With that statement he has undermined the reason people wanted to surrender to us during WW2 and have appealed to us for humane treatment everywhere.

    For Christianity believes that man was created in the image of God and could not be killed, made victims of genocide, or massacred because of this relationship to a holy God,

    while Moslem kill as a religious duty.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mensch.keymelon Mensch Keymelon

      This country was not founded on Christian Principles, it was founded on a bed rock of seperation of Church and State, as Jefferson put it, ""I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." That's pretty firm denial from a founding father of your position. America was not founded on Christian principle, but the principle of freedom and duty to defend that freedom…the soveriegn right of its people to self determination and self governance. Not Christianity.

      • Sage on the Stage

        No, the U.S. wasn't formally a Christian nation; that is, neither Christianity or any other religion was America's religion.. But informally, America was, in the words of Rev. Bradford, "the shining city on a hill." All of the 13 colonies were strong religious enclaves–either Puritan or Protestant, but most were with the mainline Anglican church. However, early American education was very strongly influenced by the Christian religion. Jefferson's religious beliefs weren't terribly strong; in that respect, he wasn't representative of the majority of Americans.

      • Looking4Sanity

        You're no mensch. You're a shmuck…and you're wrong.

      • fiddler

        Okay, its time for a little context. What ELSE did Jefferson say about this relationship?

        Kentucky Resolutions of 1798: "No power over the freedom of religioun (is) delegated to the United Staqtes by the Consitution…

        Second Inaugural Address, 1805: "In matter of religion I have considered that its free exeercise if placed by the Constution independent of the powers of the General (i.e. national ) Government."

        Letter to Samuel Miller, 1808: " I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting an establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the general government (10th Ammendment). It must then rest with the states as far as it can be in any human authority…"

      • fiddler

        Here is some more. I suggest you do a little research.

        Patrick Henry: "It cannot be emphasized too strngly or too often taht this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but Christians, not on religions but on the gostpel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, properity , and freedom of worship here."

        Here is a quote from John Jay the first Chief Justice of the SCOTUS:
        "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilage and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

        Since you cited that "wall of separation". Believe it or not that has a historical context. Jefferson used those words in a letter to Danbury Baptists patterned after one of their pastors to quell their concern about a state-controlled denomination. The modern court has twisted the original intent of this phase for its own use.

  • fiddler

    Okay, its time for a little context. What ELSE did Jefferson say about this relationship?

    Kentucky Resolutions of 1798: "No power over the freedom of religioun (is) delegated to the United Staqtes by the Consitution…

    Second Inaugural Address, 1805: "In matter of religion I have considered that its free exeercise if placed by the Constution independent of the powers of the General (i.e. national ) Government."

    Letter to Samuel Miller, 1808: " I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting an establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the general government (10th Ammendment). It must then rest with the states as far as it can be in any human authority…"

  • fiddler

    Pardon my spelling, I had to hand type this from a book: "The Myth of Separation, what is the correct relationship between Church and State? An examination of the Supreme Court's own decisions."

  • RonL

    The problem is that this lunacy is bipartisan. John McCain would have done the same things. Heck, during the debates, Romney thought that we were making a mistake in not taking the lead in Libya. In other words, helping the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb is dandy, so long as take responsibility and don’t leave the heavy lifting to the frogs and limeys. Neoconservatives and the above are all for helping the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda in Syria.

  • pierce

    All of Obamas policies are failures; Obama care; Backing Solyndra; His racist policies; His class warfare.
    4 more years of Obama will bankrupt this country, and be the ruination of capitalism.

  • Michael

    One thing you should never ever ever ever forget: it is allowed by the religion of peace to lie to win

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Either we change leadership, rules of conduct for elected Officials and hold them to the same
    laws we live by or we roll over and die………………………………………………..William