After September 11, the reasonable thing to do would have been to take steps to save ourselves from Islamic terror. Instead, we went on a crusade to save Muslims from themselves. The latest stop on that crusade is Syria, where the foreign policy experts responsible for decades of horrifying misjudgments tell us that we are duty bound to save the Syrian people from their dictator.
Rarely do we ask why it is that Muslims so often need saving from their dictators. Or why a party that campaigned on improving America’s reputation by promising not to bomb Muslims anymore, is now improving America’s reputation by bombing so many Muslims and so often that it makes George W. Bush look like a tie-dyed hippie.
The Obama Administration has had a role in regime change in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya all in one year. Along with the other “Friends of Syria” it would like to bomb its way to regime change in Syria. The point of all this regime change is to replace totalitarian Muslim regimes with democratically elected totalitarian Muslim regimes on the theory that will make everyone happier.
The reason why Muslim countries end up with dictators can be seen in the streets of Libya where militias run wild and former members of the regime and anyone with black skin is dragged off the street for torture sessions and a bullet in the back of the head. Peel away the presidents, colonels and other suit-wearing tyrants fronting for an oligarchy, and that is what every Muslim country will be reduced to.
To understand the problem with Syria, one only need look at neighboring Lebanon where every attempt at coalition building between different religious and ethnic groups has gone badly over and over again. The ruling Alawites have to hang on to power because the alternative is to be an oppressed minority. The Sunnis have to strive for power because the alternative is to be an oppressed minority. This pattern repeats itself across the region.
To the extent that Western multiculturalism works, it does so because Europeans and their descendants have agreed to cede some power and privileges to minority groups while maintaining confidence in the rule of law to protect equal rights for everyone. Such a state of affairs is ridiculously inconceivable in the countries that we are assuming will adopt that same value system.
The only form of protection for a minority in the Muslim world is to either seize power or form a coalition with the ruling party. Such coalitions are inherently fragile because tribal instincts of race and religion always end up overriding agreements. Mohammed’s treaties weren’t worthless just because he was a duplicitous power-mad figure, but because all treaties are worthless in the region. After his death, Islamic succession wound up being settled with assassination and civil war among his own family members and allies.
Muslims look to Islam as a central unifying principle of universal allegiance, but it’s nothing of the sort. It’s actually an excuse for constant internecine violence. Islam adds another layer of allegiances and another excuse for infighting that did not exist previously. Underneath the robes and beards and Korans is yet another oligarchy with family mafias clutching their ill-gotten gains, as is the case in Iran and as will be the case in Egypt, where the Brotherhood has already gotten a head start.
Under conditions like this how can democracy exist as anything other than a temporary state of affairs? When there is an overwhelming majority in favor of one religion, it becomes nothing more than a rubber stamp for tyrants, as was the case in the Egyptian elections. When the country is sufficiently divided along religious lines, as is the case in Iraq, it becomes a prolonged struggle with both sides marking their positions and building their coalitions in preparation for a civil war.
Acting as if all this can be resolved with a few lessons on democracy is absurd, especially when such problems linger on even in the countries doing the teaching; just ask the Flemish or the Basque. Nations can only overcome such divisions when they have shared higher values to strive for. The only “higher value” there is Islam, and it is only another source of sectarian strife.