How the Left Misreads World Affairs

It’s an odd thing.

The right is susceptible to misreading its own country, while the left has a knack for misreading the world around us.

Here are just five examples that expose the left’s foolishness or willful blindness.

1. The left says Islam has nothing to do with the Paris attacks and ISIS

I wish it were not so, but even Shadi Hamid, a Muslim and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is honest enough to say there is some kind of connection.

We don’t need to go over the well-trodden footpath of those who have pointed out that Islam itself, in its leader Muhammad, has engendered the violence. Rather, suffice it to link to this long article, where you can research how Islam has innate problems: Jihad and Qital in the Qur’an, Traditions, and Classical Law.

2. Kerry says ISIS had a certain “legitimacy” or “rationale” behind killing staff at Charlie Hebdo, while the recent Paris attacks seem indiscriminate, without (evil) logic

Whichever word is used -- legitimacy or rationale -- Kerry misreads the fact that the Hebdo attacks and the recent attacks in the French capital are of a piece -- ISIS is trying to  terrorize the weak West, with the ultimate goal of defeating it and submitting it to Islam; to them, the West is corrupt and does not follow the law of Allah, so it is on the wrong side of history. They will win.

That’s why it is so important to defeat them militarily. Evidence is that ISIS is a paper tiger (see no. four, below).

3. Obama says winning is not the goal against ISIS in its territory

He said in his press conference in Turkey on Nov. 15, 2015:

But what I'm not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning, or whatever other slogans they come up [with]….

It’s stunning both in its forthrightness and wrongheadedness. Evidently he has in mind a swaggering Texan who fires his two six-shooters in the sky, yelling, “Yeehaw!” 

The American left can’t seem to understand world history. So let’s spell it out for them: Sumerians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans… and skipping to more modern times… the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, the British. A nation-state or dominant government arises and imposes order on the world (though the quality varies). Like it or not, that’s just the way the world seems to work, throughout time.

Now it’s our turn. So it is always a good idea to win wherever we lead.

4. Obama says we could easily conquer ISIS, but he doesn’t want to occupy a country

At the same press conference, he says:

[A large number of troops on the ground] would be a mistake -- not because our military could not march into Mosul or Raqqa or Ramadi and temporarily clear out ISIL, but because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before, which is, if you do not have local populations that are committed to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes, that they resurface -- unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.

Yes, Mr. President, we need to defeat ISIS, especially since you believe it is so easy, and occupy the area. Though it may seem counterintuitive to the left, our “occupation” of a self-destructive country (or “caliphate”) that also engages in worldwide destruction benefits the world and even said country, once the evildoers are cleared out.

Analogy to help Obama and the left figure it out: our troops in the demilitarized zone in the Korean Peninsula and our bases in Japan have held back the dark forces of communism and other fascisms. At that link, South Korea and Japan glow with prosperity, thanks to us, while North Korea sits in darkness, thanks to China and the old Soviet Union.

5. Obama says there should be no religious test for accepting Syrian refugees

He accuses some unnamed Republicans who said we should admit persecuted Christians from the Greater Middle East, but slow down or stop accepting Muslims.

Again at the Turkey press conference:

And when I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution -- that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

However, Andrew McCarthy at NRO and AT, commenting on McCarthy’s article, has already pointed out that the law favors immigrants who are persecuted mainly for their religion. If that doesn’t describe Christians in the Middle East, then nothing does.

In the bigger picture, I cannot let my personal feelings of compassion dictate national policy. The fact is, to play off the first point, above, Islam has inherent problems, and accepting Muslim refugees from that part of the world at least should make us think twice.

However, if we’re really going to accept Muslim refugees instead of opening up safe havens in the Middle East, then we should welcome women, children, and their grandparents, but young men need to go through better screening, even if it takes a year, and possibly be rejected.

Why does the left misread the world?

The reason, perhaps, that Obama misreads it is that he misreads himself. He refuses to see, for example, that his withdrawal from Iraq, against the advice of generals, left a vacuum that ISIS was too eager to fill. But he stands up at the Turkey press conference, with his tweaked smile, his elevated eyebrows, his precise gestures, as he gazes out over the horizon at no one in particular and preaches to the large number of people at the Turkey press conference how much he knows, delivering a condescending lecture.

The irony must have been so thick in that press conference room you could have cut it with a dull knife. He doesn’t know that he doesn’t know things -- very little self-awareness.

That’s the psychological explanation for one man.

Socially, in a certain percentage of humans, the utopian impulse is strong. Plato had it; Thomas More possibly had it. The left around the entire world definitely have it, as they use big government to make the world a better place, in their eyes.

However, wherever socialists -- who make up the majority of utopians -- settle and dominate any economy around the world, the economy slows down to a crawl. Their track record on foreign policy is abysmal.

Next, we have all observed that a certain percentage of humans suffer from self-loathing. In the left’s case, when terrorists attack, they blame the target country. “What did we do? Is it globalization? Imperialism? Did we occupy country-x and make them mad at us?” Somehow it’s always America’s fault, not the terrorist’s or their evil ideology.

This brings us to the next point. They misread the nature of evil. True to their utopian impulse, they believe humans are innately good. Maybe they believe this precisely because religion teaches the opposite -- the left generally are not big fans of religion, except when appearing to be friendly with it helps them stay in power. Their belief in inherent human goodness surely led them, for example, to make a bad deal with Iran, as if the mullahs can be trusted. “Let’s understand them! Let’s reason with them!”

Whatever the causes of their misreading the world, the sooner we vote them out of office, the safer we will be.

James Arlandson’s website is Live as Free People, which is updated almost daily and where he has posted the short piece the left’s track record on foreign policy.