But if we pay attention to actions rather than heeding duplicitous words, the record shows that considerable numbers of Muslims hate us not for what we do, but for what we are: infidel denizens of a civilization that once trembled at the approach of Allah’s armies, but that now dominates the world and occupies the global preeminence rightfully belonging to what the Koran calls “the best of nations raised for the benefit of men.” Contra the State Deparment and the Times, “anti-American sentiment” is not something new created by our excesses in Muslim lands, but has long permeated the Middle East and doesn’t need some minor scandal to be stoked. On the contrary, we have rescued Muslims from brutal dictators, provided aid to Muslim victims of natural disasters, poured billions of dollars into Muslim countries, and none of those good deeds has improved our image among the faithful. Indeed, despite Obama’s continuous flattering “outreach” and protestations of respect for Islam, Muslims still don’t like him or the United States much.
The second story illustrates another delusion that has compromised our security and interests: the idea that enemies sworn to our destruction can be talked out of their violent intentions and actions by diplomatic negotiation. Though this tack has failed spectacularly to change Iran’s behavior, we now are pursuing the same failed policy with the Taliban. Worse yet, we have been down this road before with the Taliban: In 1995, after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, Clinton’s Secretary of State Warren Christopher relayed a message to Afghanistan’s new rulers that the U.S. wished “to engage the new ‘interim government’ at an early stage.” In the years following, State Department suitors tried unsuccessfully to cajole the Taliban into kicking bin Laden out of the country and closing the al Qaeda training camps. But as Michael Rubin writes of this five-year stint of “engagement,” “The Taliban had, like many rogue regimes, acted in bad faith. They engaged not to compromise, but to buy time. They made many promises but did not keep a single one.”
Despite having been gulled once before by the Taliban, Hillary Clinton has asked Qatar to open a representative office there for these Islamist fanatics, and she has pledged to release Taliban detainees, including murderers of Americans, from Guantanamo, in order to lure the Taliban into entering talks. The purpose of these “talks,” of course, is to achieve some “peace agreement” with these fanatics in advance of the American withdrawal. But the historical record shows over and over the futility of negotiating with religious radicals whose worldview allows only for our destruction or submission. As PLO chief Yasser Arafat brilliantly demonstrated for decades, the jihadists can achieve some benefit, or buy more time for strengthening their position, by engaging in negotiations that provide pusillanimous Western governments with verbal and procedural camouflage for their failure of nerve or their pursuit of political self-interests. So too Iran, which has followed the North Korea playbook and used the diplomatic process to buy time for achieving nuclear capability. Anticipating the American withdrawal, the Taliban are obviously doing the same thing, at least in the estimation of someone who should know, former Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah: “Releasing Taliban detainees from Guantanamo,” the Wall Street Journal reported, “and giving the insurgents international recognition in Qatar are concessions that may allow the insurgency to reinvigorate itself, he said in an interview. ‘I don’t want anything happening under the name of making peace that strengthens the war machine of the Taliban,’ Mr. Abdullah said.”
It is a measure of the Taliban contempt for us that it makes no bones about entering these negotiations solely to get their prisoners released, not to come to some agreement with Karzai’s “stooge Kabul administration,” or to recognize the Afghan Constitution, which they deem insufficiently shari’a compliant, or to “surrender from Jihad,” as they said in a statement about the talks. And just so their meaning was clear, the Taliban killed coalition ally Hajji Fazluddin Agha, the governor of the Panjway district in Kandahar province. But even if the Taliban did cut a deal, there is nothing in their track record to show that they would hold to it. Again Arafat provides the best model of the tactical use of phony “agreements,” each one of which was followed by more Palestinian terrorist murders in pursuit of his long-term goal of destroying Israel.
But here we go again, participating in a diplomatic charade that will, like our apologies and protestations of respect, achieve nothing other than confirming the enemy in his oft-stated belief that we are weak and full of fear. And that’s another reason why they hate us––not because of our deeds, but because we demonstrate over and over that we lack the courage of our convictions, and so deserve to be attacked by the faithful until, as the Koran says, we “pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority” and are “in a state of subjection.”
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