This is distorted on several levels: First, he focuses on “American hostility to Islamist movements,” not “Islamist hostility to America”—which is what prompted “American hostility” to the Islamists in the first place. Nor does he mention why U.S. foreign policy has traditionally been supportive of dictators: they are simply the better of two evils. A secular dictator is better than an Islamist one who has an ideological agenda rooted in the 7th century. Yet reading the NYT article, everything is in a vacuum: the impression is that America was, for no good reason, inexplicably hostile to the Islamists, and inexplicably supportive of the dictators—dictators who in reality kept a lid on those who would violate both U.S. interests and the humanitarian rights of those Egyptians who do not wish to live under Sharia law.
As one reads on, it becomes clear that Shane’s distorted views are based on the distorted views of the “experts” he quotes. He writes that Morsi’s “move on Sunday to revive the dissolved Parliament had Western experts scrambling to understand his strategy.” Is it really hard to understand what Egypt’s Islamist president was trying to do? Having won the presidency, and despite all his talk of rule of law, pluralism, etc., once president, he thought he could—as only the Muslim Brotherhood is notorious at doing—break his word and flagrantly return his Islamist friends to power. If “Western experts [were] scrambling to understand” this move, rest assured that virtually all Egyptian analysts, who are as realistic as only an Egyptian living in Egypt can be, saw Morsi’s blunder for its sheer simplicity.
Shane closes his article with several assurances that “Experts on the Middle East” suggest that “Americans should not assume that the rise of Islamists puts the United States in greater danger from terrorists. The opposite may well be the case, they say.”
He quotes the assurances of one Stephen McInerney, executive director of the Project on Middle East Democracy: “I would say people should not be too alarmed by the anti-American rhetoric”; McIlnerney adds that the end of Mubarak’s rule in Egypt last year “is an important step in combating terrorism in the region and undermining its appeal.” Go figure what this means. Anti-American rhetoric?—don’t worry about it. Ousting the man who kept Islamic terrorists in prison?—this is “an important step in combating terrorism.”
He also quotes one “Michele Dunne, an Egypt expert at the Atlantic Council, a Washington research institution,” who confirms the same old line: “’The major Egyptian terrorists, including the [blind] sheik and the current leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, were shaped by their rage against the Mubarak dictatorship.’ The movement of Islamists into mainstream politics should reduce the terrorism threat, she said.”
This is simply absurd, as it does not at all take the Islamists’ own words, which consist of fatwas, treatises, and entire books unequivocally making clear that hostility for infidels—whether a secular regime or the United States—is a doctrinal matter, and not based on this or that grievance.
Worse, Shane closes with Dunne’s warning: “If Islamist groups like the Brotherhood lose faith in democracy that’s when there could be dire consequences.”
Not quite. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists do not have any “faith” in democracy—which they always portray as an infidel practice to be exploited to empower Sharia. When it comes to the U.S., the only thing they likely have faith in is the continued compliance of the Obama administration.
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