It’s Dictators All the Way Down

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.


Three years ago in the spring, Barack Hussein Obama came to the Middle East offering a new beginning. With that new beginning no longer would the United States support Arab dictatorships for the sake of its own interests. America 2.0 would defuse that great mythical wellspring of Muslim anger toward the Great Satan by embracing Muslim democracy.

On a cold winter’s day, two years later, Obama celebrated the fall of Mubarak by proclaiming that “the people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same.” Now one year later, in the teeth of another winter, an Islamist winter, Egypt seems very much the same.

There are hundreds of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square denouncing the power grab by the ruler, there are roving gangs of regime sympathizers smashing skulls and assaulting women, there are police squads battling to put down the uprising and a regime media apparatus blaming the whole thing on an outside conspiracy.

The Egypt of the winter of 2012 is hard to tell apart from the Egypt of the winter of 2011. The big difference is that the bearded men who were formerly protesting against the regime are now the regime. Mubarak is Morsi and Morsi is fighting to suppress the Nov 22 Revolution in the name of the Jan 25 Revolution. And if the Nov 22 Revolution is successful, then before long the Muslim Brotherhood will be out in the streets with its own revolution or counter-revolution or counter-counter-revolution.

Obama, who gave Mubarak the boot one year ago, has had nothing to say about the gangs of paid rapists or the Muslim Brotherhood’s torture chambers. Instead the nation’s First Golfer has occupied himself with commemorating various dates in American history by being photographed next to some historically relevant object. While the wire services have filled up with photos of bloody Egyptian protesters, they have been matched by a frenetic output from the White House of photos of Obama stumbling with a wreath toward the Pearl Harbor Memorial or gazing blankly around Rosa Parks’ bus as if trying to escape into history, from the history that is taking place all around him.

“There are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others,” Obama said in his New Beginning speech. That is a perfectly adequate description of the Muslim Brotherhood by a leader who has proven to be inadequate to the task of holding the same group that he brought to power accountable for treating democracy like an express train to the Thousand Year Caliphate.

But somewhere in between the golfing sessions and the aimless celebrity shindigs, the New Beginner has discovered that there are some dictators that he is willing to tolerate for the sake of the nameless interests that he holds dear. Every politician has his price and his pet tyrants. Morsi, like Erdogan and Jebali, is Obama’s pet tyrant. Or perhaps Obama is Morsi’s pet Democrat. Nietzsche said that when you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you. And when you spend enough time cultivating tyrants, then eventually it turns out that it is the tyrants who have been cultivating you.

Stephen Hawking’s apocryphal story of an eccentric old woman approaching Bertrand Russell to put forward a theory of cosmology ends with her famous explanation, “It’s turtles all the way down” as its punch line. The story is meant to showcase the absurdity of creationists, but theoretical physicists have their own “turtles” moments culminating in the multiverse, which replaces turtles with universes but leads to the same place.

Every system of thought has its moments of equal absurdity when it must resort to a turtle loophole to fill in a hole in its own reasoning. But in the Middle East it isn’t turtles all the way down; it’s dictators all the way down.

Obama pledged to create a new beginning by ending, in the name of democracy, the old policy of supporting dictators, only to inaugurate a brand new policy of supporting dictators in the name of democracy. The ritual democratic elections led to the same place that they did in Iraq and the Palestinian Authority. And now Obama is forced to support a dictatorship in order to support democracy.

Obama’s support of Morsi has enraged the Arab Street, at least those Arab Streets in certain parts of Cairo, and nullified the entire point of the New Beginning program for winning over the hearts and minds of the Middle East.

Look down on Cairo, Baghdad, Benghazi or Ramallah, or any of those other exotic eastern precincts where the democracy dreamers thought the reformation and renaissance of Islam would begin, and as far as the eye can see, it’s dictators all the way down. The great spiritual, political and cultural revivals that were supposed to neuter terrorism, end the need for drone strikes and naked scanners, for men pouring water down on other men in secret prisons, and for all the rest of it, has never come to pass.

The world may not rest on turtles or infinite universes, but the Middle East does rest on dictators and no amount of new beginnings has changed that. Pull back one dictator and another pops up in his place. Hold elections, plan regime change, send in your activists or your warplanes, and when the dust settles and all the democracy dreamers are congratulating themselves on having pulled off a successful election, the new dictator steps out from behind the curtain to give his acceptance speech, impose martial law and begin rounding up dissidents.

A bigger man than Obama would concede failure. A decent man would feel that he owed it to the people whose cause he had encouraged to tell them something, anything. But Obama is too busy posing and primping for his place in history to waste time taking a long look at the debris in his rearview mirror. Like Carter before him, and like half the elected and unelected leaders of Europe, Obama bet everything that he had on Political Islam and has no interest in looking back to find out how his bet did.

Three years after his new beginning, the New Beginner, now verging on being an Old Beginner, closes his ears to the cries from Tahrir Square. There is a new dictator there now and the new beginning has the same old ending. It’s still dictators all the way down.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The Arab Spring/Nightmare didn't shake out the way it did by happenstance, nor by accident. It was by absolute design. And here are some of the basic reasons why Barack HUSSEIN Obama laid the ground work for an Islamist take over – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/10/11/the-islamist-

    here too -http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/09/20/the-islamist-in-chief-awaits-the-muslim-mafias-front-mans-visit-a-day-in-infamy-and-treachery-addendum-to-barack-hussein-obama-set-to-formally-embrace-egypts-brotherhood-president-mors/….links within the commentaries very relevant too.

    This should suffice as an indictment – for now.

    Adina kutnicki, Israel – http://www.adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Mladen Andrijasevic

    From Bernard Lewis's latest book, Notes on a Century,Reflections of a Middle East Historian – page 342

    I am mistrustful and view with apprehension a genuine free election – assuming that such a thing could happen – because the religious parties have an immediate advantage. First, they have a network of communication through the preacher and mosque which no other political group can hope to equal. Second, they use, familiar, indigenous, language. The language of Western democracy is for the most part newly translated and the concepts are not readily intelligible to the general population. A dash towards Western-style elections, far from representing a solution to the region's difficulties, constitutes a dangerous aggravation of the problem and I fear that radical Islamic movements are ready to exploit so misguided a move. In genuine fair and free elections , the Muslim parties are very likely to win. A much better course would be a gradual development of democracy, not through general elections, but rather through civil society and the strengthening of local institutions. For that, there is a real tradition in the region.

    • dr.music

      Wishful Thinking………. Get with the program……..everybody has to be muslim………this is islam. Planet islam is the goal, The planet flag has to be green never mind if its dripping with our blood….ever wonder who will be the last humans that will convert to islam ? Those will be Our children's children's children………..but they will still be ours. islam is coming for us and ours.
      Finished. islam is finishing the human race. Soon there will be no humans….only muslims!!
      What a planet it will be. Our Grand children will be muslims and have to listen to all this islamic trash day in and day out and be forever stunted intellectually too because we were told that calling evil evil is un-islamic and racist. We did not have the guts to remind them that islam is not a race. It is our fault.
      islam will conquer the world and the arabs will be the kings of this twisted world. There will be Mecca time and within 3 generations of total islam cities and names will be all arabic and hallllaaaaahhh-hyphenated.
      NewYork will be Moremadstan and
      Paris will be Abdullahibrahimkudrisbullstan and so on and so forth. All the museums will be loudly burnt and all signs of present day western culture will be blackened over….No statues…alll smashed….no music…all banned and trampled on …no laughter….humor frowned upon….no women in sight….their unluck for being born muslim. No Body-art …..or ANY art……Not allowed ! HALLLLLLHHHH written everywhere is enough art for muslims. There can be no sign of anything parallel to islam. Bad influence. Islam is the most paranoid cult ever started. Our grand-children will be muslims because of us. Poor things. London is already Londonstan.
      Finished…..islam will finish the planet in victory. The arabs will be kings and all muslims will be their slaves……forever and ever. The arab dream will be realised. Air conditioning in the desert breeds evil. Note it down.
      All streets will be super quiet because the last dog will be killed and hung in victory.
      Forget pork…pigs will go before dogs.
      Satellites will fall from the skies and the 10th generation muslim (our grand kid) will not even have heard of satellites and it won’t be written in the co-ran….some idiots as usual will start worshipping it or examining it and analizying it but some idiot iman will claim it to be a genie and our grandkids will nod in agreement. Done….our grandkids are done for in islam.. The future man is going to be a normal dumb muslim.
      It is going to be the future man’s unfortunate luck to be born muslim. It is our fault and it will be our fault !
      It is our fault that there are still muslims on the planet. It is our fault. Plain and simple. It is our fault that islam and the arabs will in the end take credit for the nadir of our civilization and at that singular grab the planet will go downhill. The poor guys on Mars will never be able to come back if islam takes over mid-project. The people living on Mars will be our Earth’s Civilization-Tombstones but they will be on Mars.
      Air conditioning in the desert breeds evil. This is a scientific fact yet to be realized. Note it down.
      Just because an ape can talk and repeatedly say salllaaam mallleekuuum and other assorted guttural arabic sounds doesn’t make it human….actually it immediately identifies itself as a savage with that sound. It is our fault we did not want to listen. Science did not lie to us…we refused to see madly different brains at our peril. We are done. Show over …life stops islam goes on ……..done !!
      Fatwas in arabic must mean Dirty-thoughts.
      Muslims are the most pampered and rabid creatures on planet Earth today. We love islam soooo much it’s going to get us frothing and barking too. The Hippy dream of the Global Village will be on but….Totally Wrong…..it will take another 2 million years at least for a Hippy to evolve after the advent of islam on Planet Earth. Just think for a minute if the hippesw were as numerous as the muslims today….What a lovely friendly casual and cool planet it would be….but peaceful it was not to be …. Murphy's Law….islam slithered in.

      • Drakken

        Don't give up the western ship quite yet, once the western ire is stirred, it's wrath will be felt once again, the muslims will soon be an endangered species, and they will have brought that upon themselves.

        • carrie

          Who and where are these Western leaders ?
          The Europeans who watch their children be gang raped and invite more rapists in ?
          Australia who is cowering at the word racist?
          Russia who is financing terrorists ?
          Obama ? hahaha

  • http://twitter.com/Kenrick66 @Kenrick66

    Yes, it's dictators all the way down — including for the wannabe dictator, Obama.

    • kafir4life

      Explain what you mean by "wannabe", please.
      Ever since he was a small child, he'd dream of being the dictator of a third world sh*thole. We're on our way. President Stinky (BO) is well on his way.

      • Lan Astaslem

        he is a wannabe – after all, he's a trojan horse – a very narcissistic one, but a TH just the same. It's his handlers – the ones pulling the strings on lil barry that are truly dangerous and must be defeated

  • dr.music

    What TAKEOVER ?? They are killing each other left right and center. …..They are totally overpopulated and heavily socially suppressed life forms that know no reason. All this muslim rage is making them fearless life forms that know nothing besides the he righteousness to kill . …..preferabbly humans but it seems when in their cages of coubtries the only option is each other.
    They see how the rest of the planet lives and feel the rage of jealousy because they are told to do so.
    Television is the culprit…Without TV these guys would be totally docile but all this constant good times by humans is very very frustrating for muslims.
    There is no escape for muslims till they introspect their misguided beliefs of an age that was terrible to live in and to surpass. As soon as muslim introspection starts taking place the top idiots of the cult …the vile clergy will be totally visible and jobless. But this will never happen….muslims are doomed to be muslims. There is no escape from islam.

    SOMEONE SAID …."The U.N. is making an arsonist head of the fire department. It defies both morality and common sense."

    • Drakken

      If we were smart, we would encourage these savages to eliminate each other will joy and rage, less of them to deal with later.

  • Gylippus

    Another possibility is that Obama is deliberately seeking to replace secular dictators with Islamist dictators. He seeks the thousand year Caliphate you speak of. Perhaps because he identifies with Islam, perhaps because he wants to empower an enemy of Israel and western civilization (The Muslim Brotherhood), perhaps because he is in the service of interests who seek more direct involvement in the Arab petroleum economy. Obama is trained to use crises to bring about desired outcomes, and he knows that economic and political instability opens the door to ever greater tyranny. Given that, my guess is that these outcomes are planned.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Every radical muslim group he supports seems to be aligned with Iran in some way. Did you notice the only one he doesn't seem to support is in Syria where Iran is supporting the dictator in power?

  • dr.music

    to have that dirty sharia law. We are not understanding this fact because we are not muslims. You cannot be a muslim without that dirty sharia law that mo-boy-the-dirty cooked up in the desert heat day in day out like a certified you know what. Muslims cannot deal with non-muslim. According to muslims and islam there is no such thing as a non-muslim. Are you getting all this ? Seep on ? WE humans are an anomaly for islam . This sure-death vrus lives in the co-ran. TILL there is even one co-ran on the planet there will be islam. And till there is islam there will be forced stupidity. Forced stupidity islam is …Yoda would say. Their stupidity calls us dhimmies. Rhymes with dummy.

  • dr.music

    with missing line….Bernard Lewis is skirting the main issue . …the suffocating GRIP of islam. Muslims have to have that dirty sharia law. We are not understanding this fact because we are not muslims. You cannot be a muslim without that dirty sharia law that mo-boy-the-dirty cooked up in the desert heat day in day out like a certified you know what. Muslims cannot deal with non-muslim. According to muslims and islam there is no such thing as a non-muslim. Are you getting all this ? Seep on ? WE humans are an anomaly for islam . This sure-death vrus lives in the co-ran. TILL there is even one co-ran on the planet there will be islam. And till there is islam there will be forced stupidity. Forced stupidity islam is …Yoda would say. Their stupidity calls us dhimmies. Rhymes with dummy.

  • mrstarry76

    God help us….and I know He will….we win!

    • David. Thailand

      Grow up!

  • http://alwaysonwatch3.blogspot.com/ alwaysonwatch

    It's all a part of Obama's version of a new world order.

  • HiPlainsDrifter

    A democracy, without the rule of law and a moral society with an overriding religious component
    is nothing but a prescription for anarchy and survival of the fittest ….
    as we see in these pathetic Islamic backwaters

    • BS77

      Hitler was "democratically" elected. IF the sheeple are indoctrinated, they will vote in a predictable manner. This is Basic Orwellian 101. The election might be a sham, but it's DEMOCRACY!!!

      • HPD

        Precisely why we are a Republic and NOT a democracy …

        • Drakken

          I am glad you pointed that out HPD.

  • donro

    Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim/Communist so no one should be surprised when he supports his brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood. His goal is to destroy freedom and make the human population dependent upon government and controlled by government. The word "freedom" is anathema to America's first Muslim president.

    • keith41

      You're right…what amazes me is the fact that, seemingly, the number of people who can't see this.

      • David. Thailand

        They're not allowed to.

  • IRL

    Daniel: You write well and analytically you are spot on every time. If only America had a president with common sense and advisers like yourself…

  • Attila The Hun

    'A bigger man than Obama would concede failure'
    You nailed it, Hussein O is a pathetic little man with inferiority complex who is pretending to be larger than life. Unfortunately he was able to fool the uninformed U.S electorate not once but twice.

    • Rostislav

      I think that the US electorate WAS informed, and more than generously at that: both my Kindle library and my bookshelves are filled with the first-rate information, published since 2008, from Michelle Malkin's "Culture of Corruption" and James Delingpole's "Welcome to Obamaland" to Edward Klein's "The Amateur" and Eric Rush' "Negrophilia", to name a few (and to tell nothing about a lot of the Internet sources). No, the information itself was excellent, but it seems to me that Obama's voters just have no wish to be informed – I may be wrong, of course. Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

      • Mary Sue

        The problem is many students are taught to ignore what those on the right (like Malkin) are writing, and are taught to refuse to read it because the teachers call it "insane" without really explaining why, other than, it doesn't mesh with the narrative of 'peace through appeasement'.

        • Rostislav

          Students are taught to ignore?! Well, in fact the situation is quite familiar to me – I've seen it by my own eyes in my own University more than half a century ago. But my University wasn't in America. It was in Leningrad, in the Communist USSR (and even then lots of us were refusing to learn ignorance). To see the Soviet type of education successfully resurrected in the Land of the Free in XXI century is something beyond my imagination – no wonder then, that the country elects CPUSA-supported president, and not only once, but twice! Just how your parents, your politicians and, finally, your national security organizations could permit this dreadful transformation for so long? How? Can't understand it! Rostislav

  • tagalog

    Maybe I'm dense, but "turtles all the way down" and the "multiverse" is a correspondence that I never thought of. I believed that the multiverse is a mathematical expression of faith, but I hadn't thought about that particular connection. Thanks for the new idea, I like it.

  • marios

    This great country degenerated for the last years enormously. Obama and his accomplices Dem's party establishment used our taxpayers money to bribe their marginal's electorate. Why Rep's are not resisted it is big question as majority of Rep's control budget and mostly money cannot be spent without their approval. Did Dem's found some loophole in Constitution to avoid Rep's control? Half of country population pay no Federal taxes and live on food stamps plus have free charge health care, etc. MSM is controlled by Dem's/neo-commies and the same all Educational system. Who read such serious books as Rostislav enumerated? We, readers of this site and some conservatives but not marginals. Marginals and those who are feed up by Dem's (Unions members, for instance) will never want to know true info. Dem's/neo-commies are friends of Islamo-Nazists.

    • tagalog

      How did a $300 or $400 billion deficit in 2008 suddenly balloon into a several-trillion dollar deficit in such a short time? I mean, from $400 billion to $4 trillion (or something like that) so quickly? Was it the stimuli? How can anybody be seriously talking about any more stimulus money in the future?

      I know we've been kidding ourselves financially for quite a while, but that much? And the scales fell away from our eyes in just a year, after Obama was elected? Something is odd about that jump. I wish someone would explain it to little ol' dummy me.

  • marios

    BHO is proxy of MB as they financed his at least 2008 campaign. By the way who paid for his studying in Universities? Most likely Muslims as well that is why he deleted all his corresponding data by spending 2 MLN on it. If Rep's will not have a gut to comprehend that this regime is threat to them and start serious uncompromising battle with WH and Dem's (of course, non-violent) just right now the scenario which described dr. Music can become reality.

  • PAthena

    There is one country in the Middle East which is not a dictatorship but a democracy – Israel. President Barack Hussein Obama is doing his best to destroy it. His opposition to liberty is shown in his denouncing a video (Innocence of Muslims) – he cares not for freedom of speech.

  • Ghostwriter

    Sadly,President Obama convinced a lot of people that he cares about them and the government will help them with their problems. We may soon find out that that's not the case.

  • Willy Rho

    Muslim Democracy what an idiotic oxymoron. In Islam, Mohammed already had all of the Laws and Rules of Living handed down to Man through Mohammed, the Profit or the Prophet, or both. There is no need for Democracy only for the Imams to interpret all things of law. Pay for a Fatwa and get someone killed. Men may Kill their Wives and Daughters. And may Mutilate their women's Genitals for Fun and Profit.. In the last 1400 years, Islam has only murdered 270,000,000 people, what a Righteous Religion that is. And to be a GOOD Muslim, one must be willing to Murder their best friend if they will not convert to Islam or murder their Father, Mother, Brother or Sister if they Convert Out of Islam. It is such a sweet and wonderful Religion. When they take over the World, they get to behead all of the 4.5 Billion people if they will not convert. Oh, I Swoon at the Wonder of Allah and his Prophet. Alaphooey actune.

    • UCSPanther

      The Islamic world has never had its version of the Magna Carta, which introduced the concept that even a ruler was accountable to the laws of the land.

      Without that one fundamental building block, republican-style democracy has no chance to even get started as a concept there.

      Until at least one Middle Eastern country (other than Israel) can successfully introduce its own version of the Magna Carta, the Arab world will continue to wallow in the stifling world of monarchies, dictatorships and theocracies.

  • pierce

    Is the gist of this article in a way saying that some of the leaders of this world we live in are DICTATORS, or are they starting to act like DICTATORS. WHICH EVER IT IS, THIS NOT NOT THE SAME WORLD I GREW UP IN. THIS WORLD TODAY IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE HOSTILE, AND ANGRY TOO, AND IT REALLY STARTED BECOMING THAT WAY 4 OR 5 EARS AGO.