by Daniel Greenfield
American policy toward the
The Stabilizers were old foreign policy hands in the State Department, the Pentagon or the CIA, sometimes tied in with the oil industry. They advocated maintaining stability in the
The Radicals were often academics, part time journalists or old line leftists. They insisted that everything wrong in the Middle East was caused by Western colonialism and imperialism, and the healing could only begin when the
Until the Carter Administration, the Stabilizers held sway over foreign policy. With Carter though, the Radicals had their first taste of power. Following the doctrine of the Radicals, the Carter Administration helped bring Islamists to power in
Neither the Stabilizers nor the Radicals were utilizing new ideas in their approach to the
The Radicals meanwhile were fueled by left-wing anti-Americanism, which translated into a foreign policy of "
With the Carter Administration, the Radicals increasingly began winning the argument, and the Stabilizers moved to accommodate them. Portions of the Radical agenda were incorporated into that of the Stabilizers. This was easily enough done, since the Stabilizers had never cared too much about who was in power, so long as there was no chaos or unrest. That was why the Eisenhower Administration had backed Nasser over its former allies in
But the Radicals made very little headway after the Mullahs took over
The Stabilizers had inherited the old British antipathy toward
To the Radicals,
The Stabilizers were more than willing to give
The Neo-Conservatives represented a break with both the Stabilizers and the Radicals. They were opposed to the status quo in the existing Muslim regimes, like the Radicals. But they were also opposed to the pet terrorists that the Radicals wanted to replace them with. What they wanted to do was to dredge the swamp, reform and democratize the region. The Neo-Conservatives were naive about the realities of the Middle East and the resources such plans required-- but for the first time a group with significant influence on foreign policy had managed to articulate something resembling a moral policy for the
The Stabilizers and the Radicals both reacted about the way you would expect when after 9/11, Neo-Conservative ideas about
Of course no foreign policy that was even loosely pro-American could survive for very long. The Bush Administration was undermined from the inside. The reconstruction of
Obama's ascension marked the return of the Radicals to power. Outreach to the Muslim world was now the top priority. Covert contacts with Hamas and the Taliban were quietly opened.
Where do we stand today? We've seen the three basic approaches, that of the Stabilizers, the Radicals and the Neo-Conservatives-- and all are fundamentally flawed. The Stabilizers support tyrants who covertly make war on the
The Neo-Conservatives however dramatically underestimated the amount of effort and energy needed to reform entire cultures. Their excessive optimism led to introducing democracy in countries where the only real opposition parties that had managed to survive, were Islamists. The Bush Administration in particular treated democracy as a totem that could do anything, because it had adopted a simplistic model in which the Muslim world was not bad, only its leaders were. And once the people had a chance to vote for peace and prosperity, better leaders would emerge. Where these leaders would come from, and did people in the Muslim world really want peace and prosperity, in the American sense, were questions that went unasked. The Radicals and the Stabilizers both understood this quite well, and knew that with a few pushes in the right places, their whole project would come crashing down.
Those are the three. Which means what we now need is a fourth approach that avoids the flaws of these three. What is the primary flaw of all three? They all sought to determine who would rule in the Muslim world. The Stabilizers thought that the best way was to keep the Muslim world as it is. The Radicals and the Neo-Conservatives wanted to remake it. And all three of these approaches tangled them in the political chaos and instability of the Muslim world. But there is a fourth way.
Rather than trying to shape their behavior by shaping their political leadership, we can use a much more blunt instrument to unselectively shape all their leaders. A blunt instrument does not mean reconstruction. It doesn't mean Marines ferrying electrical generators. It doesn't mean nation building. It means that we will inflict massive devastation on any country that aids terrorists who attack us. If they insist on using medieval beliefs to murder us, we will bomb government buildings, roads, factories and power plants to reduce them back to a medieval state. We will not impose sanctions on them, we will simply take control of their natural resources and remove the native population from the area, as compensation for the expenses of the war.
Accountability means no more aid to tyrants or terrorists, and no grand democracy projects either. It means that we stop trying to pick a side, and just make it clear what happens when our side gets hurt. We gain energy independence and never look back. And when we've done that, the Muslim world will no longer be able to play
It will be a cold day indeed, when
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.