Good for Michelle Obama! She refused to cover up during a recent snap visit to Saudi Arabia. And our First Lady showed more grit than the entire Obama administration. She is also closer to a correct U.S. posture vis à vis the Mideast.
President Obama has been vigorously pursuing a policy of appeasement in the Mideast for his entire term. He has apparently adopted the view that if we give billions to the "democracy" movements within the Muslim majority lands, and back them up with military force where they happen, however tenuously, to gain control, they will support our efforts to crush the "violent extremists" in their midst. Heaven forbid we call them Islamists or Jihadists. We wouldn't want to offend the overwhelming majority there. White House spokesmen claim, for example, that the Taliban is an armed insurgency, not a terrorist group. (Even though they harbored al Qaeda and are themselves listed as a sponsor of terrorism.)
The Obama administration is not alone in pursuing a wholly erroneous policy toward jihadists. And we do not spare the previous administration from what we hope is justified criticism. It was during the Bush years that Alain Chouet, a former senior member of France's DSGE foreign intelligence service, wrote this:
[The U.S. effort] was a doomed enterprise from the very start: a "war on terror"'—it's as ridiculous as a "war on anger." You do not wage a war on terror, you wage a war against people. The Americans have been stuck inside this idea of a "war on terror"' since September 11, they are not asking the right questions. You can always slaughter terrorists—there are endless reserves of them. We should not be attacking the effects of terrorism but its causes: Wahhabite ideology, Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood. But no one will touch any of those.
President Bush held hands with King Abdullah as they strolled on his ranch at Crawford, Texas. This was the same Abdullah who refused Vice President Gore's urgent request for access to Madani al-Tayyib, the finance director of al Qaeda. That refusal was in 1998. Had we been able to interrogate al-Tayyib, we might have been able to prevent 9/11.
This refusal, and Abdullah's role, are confirmed on page 122 of the official 9/11 Commission Report.
The Obama administration has compounded all the errors of the Bush administration. This includes sluicing billions to the PLO. Excuse us, we are now instructed to call this terrorist gang that invented airline hijacking the Palestinian Authority. Except the Soviet-trained Mahmoud Abbas, head of the PLO/PA has no authority. This "leader," whose Ph.D. dissertation for Moscow State University was an exercise in Holocaust denial, dares not hold elections in his dwindling sphere. That's because Hamas would win. As they did in Gaza, and ousted the PLO after a short, sharp civil war.
Now, the PLO is in bed with Hamas. And the Obama administration continues to shovel billions in U.S. foreign aid to them.
Author Jonathan Spyer's book, Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict, explains how the British Foreign Office responded to 7/7/05, the London bus bombings with the appeasement policy that characterized those Whitehall white tails since 1933.
The policy [of the Foreign Office] was to deliberately court non-violent Islamists. It was thought that they would offer a counterweight to the men of violence. What was missed was that the violent Islamists and the non-violent ones differed on tactics. Their ultimate goal of the creation of an Islamic state that would implement Sharia law, however, was the same. It intended to marginalize the extreme Islamists by cultivating the "moderate" ones. What it succeeded in doing was to admit into the realm of mainstream debate individuals and organizations no less opposed to the West than were the bombers.
In our own capital, in 1989, the Saudis put on a grand exhibition. They brought thousands of tons of sacred sand from their desert realm. They erected an entire Bedouin village in the midst of our urban urbanity. The exhibit was all the rage. It was a great hit in the Style sections.
The armed Saudi soldiers and Bedouin warriors who strolled amid jeeps and armored vehicles, camels, goats, provided a scene straight out of The Arabian Nights. And the laser light show was spectacular. On a vast, green screen in the auditorium of the old Washington Convention Center we saw a laser light show. Across the screen, in a beam of fire, were inscribed the words of the Saudi flag—There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His Messenger. And as if the flames were not enough to get your attention, the Saudis presenters helpfully added a scimitar sword.
No Jews. No Christians. No anybody else. Submit or face the sword. That was the unmistakable message of this exhibit. And our own besotted elites went away bedazzled.
When in 1785 Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to Versailles to talk to France's foreign minister, the Comte de Vergennes, they were seeking a coalition of the willing to stop the depredations of the Barbary Pirates of North Africa. These Muslim kidnapers and hostage takers plied their trade by demanding ransom from Western—or "Christian" nations. The plight of the American and European seamen held captive was indeed horrific. They were beaten, tortured, impaled, even raped. They were sold into slavery.
Vergennes told the American diplomats that the only thing those people understand is gold and fear, fear and gold. Thomas Jefferson said we must fight them. Send John Paul Jones to fight them. John Adams said pay them off. It's cheaper. And besides, if you fight them, be prepared to fight them forever.
That was 1785. What has changed? Read the morning's headlines of ISIS—Islamist savagery inspired by Satan—and ask yourself how different these enemies are from the pirates of yore.
We prefer no money to Islamists, not a penny. And we prefer the policy that Ronald Reagan enunciated when we faced a graver threat in the USSR—We win, they lose!