Apparently not, though, since we’re repeating that same error in our handling of Egypt, where free elections have brought that country no nearer to true liberal democracy. What we have got instead is increasing persecution and murder of Coptic Christians, the facilitation of terrorist attacks on Israel, and violent attacks on protestors and dissidents. As for the nature of this new “democracy,” given that 60% of Egyptians in a Pew poll from last year say that laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Koran, we can bet that it won’t look anything like what we imagine a true democracy to be. And we shouldn’t be surprised, given the Muslim Brothers’ draft platform of 2007, which proclaimed that “Islam is the official state religion” and “the Islamic shari’a is the main source for legislation.” Clearly a majority of Egyptians agree with the Muslim Brothers about the kind of political-social order they have voted for, and it’s not a democratic one.
Hence the fatuity of Clinton’s call for “dialogue and compromise, real politics,” or the administration’s statement from last year accepting “the Brotherhood’s repeated assurances that its lawmakers want to build a modern democracy that will respect individual freedoms, free markets and international commitments, including Egypt’s treaty with Israel.” Such ideals we take for granted require a deep soil of principles and beliefs that in the West took centuries to develop. Nor is there anything in Muslim history, theology, or jurisprudence to indicate compatibility between these liberal democratic ideals and Islam.
On the contrary, Western ideals like the separation of church and state, with its attendant principle of tolerance and equal rights for those of different faiths, are anathema to traditional Islam. If, as the Koran teaches, Muslims are the “best of nations” and their faith the expression of a perfect social-political-economic order revealed by Allah himself and evident in the life and sayings of his prophet Mohammed, why should any true Muslim “tolerate” infidels? As for human rights, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam makes it clear that the only Islamic “human right” is the right to live as a devout Muslim in harmony with shari’a law, or to hear the “call” to Islamic conversion without interference or temptation from decadent Western cultures. This sort of triumphalist chauvinism makes “politics” as we understand it––non-violent “dialogue,” compromise with those who believe differently, and acceptance of their success––nothing but irreligious folly.
Obama’s Middle East policy has been an abject failure. His “outreach” to the Muslim world, replete with groveling flattery of Islam, has created nothing but contempt for his weakness. His assault on our key ally Israel, the only true liberal democracy in the region, has earned no credit with the states that still refuse to accept Israel’s existence. His chummy relationship with Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan ignores that country’s increasing Islamization and hostility to Israel. Meanwhile, Iran continues down the road to nuclear weapons, and Bashar al Assad keeps slaughtering his citizens. And through it all, the United States has little or no influence on events.
Rather than chanting the mantra of “democracy,” our foreign policy establishment needs to deal with reality rather than wishes, and predicate policy on one core principle: what serves the national interests and security of our country?
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