The Un-Islamic Delusion of Smart Diplomacy
During the Falklands conflict of 1982, the cartoonist Berkeley Breathed had a cartoon of Opus the Penguin standing up as bullets whizzed by his head looking bewildered and saying, “Was it something I said?”
Militant Islam is certainly the central challenge not only for U.S. diplomatic policy but for the diplomatic policy of European and Western democracies. Evidently, the smart part of the “smart diplomacy” of the Obama administration’s foreign policy in dealing with militant Islam, boils down to making sure we speak nicely and carry a big guilt complex.
This is manifest in the seemingly innocuous "un-Islamic" meme that is at the center of "smart diplomacy". No matter what calamity or gruesome event takes place on our shores or in the Middle East or Africa, we are to be assured that despite the perpetrators claim to be carrying out the will of Allah, that their actions are un-Islamic. Islam has nothing to do with it. From the massacre at Ft. Hood to Benghazi and now the beheading of James Foley, it is crucial that the U.S. citizenry (us “folks”) be reminded that Islam has nothing to do with it.
In his first speech regarding the beheading of Foley, the president warned us folks that the most important thing to realize about the atrocity is that it has nothing to do with Islam. “Let’s be clear about ISIL,” Obama intoned, “ISIL speaks for no religion.” This despite ISIL claiming that what they are doing is setting up a real Islamic state which follows the precepts of Islam. They are doing their duty in the name of Allah. How could they get it so wrong? If it is just a case of misunderstanding the precepts of their own religion, the president needs to dispatch a team of Islamic scholars from Stanford and Columbia to council Baghdadi, the ISIL leader, who is under the delusion that he is a devout Muslim.
The Foley beheading and the brutal treatment of the Yazidis -- including burying 500 Yazidis alive -- has given Islam a black eye in public opinion and many Muslim leaders are rushing in to join the president and proclaim such behavior to be un-Islamic. This includes the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia who advocates destroying all of Saudi Arabia’s Christian churches. Where have all the proclamations of un-Islamism been regarding the persecution and decimation of Christian communities across the Ummah? Middle East scholar Raymond Ibrahim calls it the “silent extermination of Iraq’s Christian dogs.” It is only when media coverage stirs outrage that Muslim leaders make solemn protestations of un-Islamism. It is not the acts themselves, it is the bad press coverage that is of concern. And the leader of damage control turns out to be none other President Obama.
It is hard not to conjure up a vision of President Reagan turning to President Obama and saying, almost with a fatherly exasperation, “there you go again.”
But there he does go again.
The incredible naiveté of presuming that Islam‘s faithful warriors and shamans will give up their supremacist mindset and dreams of world domination by stroking their egos or showing great deference and respect for their past accomplishment and stifling all criticism of their holy book is a dangerous delusion. It is about as credible as believing that the march of the Third Reich could be halted by soft-soaping Hitler with praise for the accomplishment of the Aryans and telling him what a superb masterpiece he has created in Mein Kampf.
Exonerating Islam from the butchery and atrocities committed in its name will somehow lessen the butchery? Teaching ignorant Westerners of the wonders of Islam will mollify Islamic supremacism? Purging the phrase “Islamic terrorists” from government manuals will banish terrorism in the name of Islam? Inventing phrases like “manmade disasters” for terrorist bombings will bring an end to bombings by Islamic terrorists? The idea that convincing us folks that “Islam has nothing to do with it” by word magic and bowdlerizing Islamic history and holy texts is a key to defusing Islamic animus towards the West, as if something has thereby been accomplished, is a serious delusion. It does nothing in the way of dealing with the real problem: the leaders of the Ummah are able to use Islamic doctrine to convince their minions that jihad against the West by stealth or by the sword is their holy duty and that they will be rewarded in the afterlife.
No, Mr. Obama. It is not something we said. It is something we haven’t said enough. Islamic terrorism -- terrorism in the name of Islam -- is the problem. And as long as the president thinks that reciting the mantra that terrorism is un-Islamic is a crucial component to dealing with Islamic terrorism, the president is one of Islam’s useful idiots.