Here are a handful of stories (excerpts provided) that echo, elaborate, buttress points made earlier on this blog. You'll notice the authors discuss the true basis for fundamentalist Islamic anger, the danger to the U.S. of appearing and/or actually being weak, and the importance of 'getting our act together' with realistic foreign policy.
Manipulated Outrage and Misplaced Fury, Husain Haqqani
- At the heart of Muslim street violence is the frustration of the world's Muslims over their steady decline for three centuries, a decline that has coincided with the rise and spread of the West's military, economic and intellectual prowess.
- Frustration with their inability to succeed in the competition between nations also has led some Muslims to seek symbolic victories.
- Yet the momentary triumph of burning another country's flag or setting on fire a Western business or embassy building is a poor but widespread substitute for global success that eludes the modern world's 1.5 billion Muslims.
- For Islamists, wrath against the West is the basis for their claim to the support of Muslim masses, taking attention away from societal political and economic failures. For example, the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Conference account for one-fifth of the world's population but their combined gross domestic product is less than 7% of global output—a harsh reality for which Islamists offer no solution.
- Mainstream discourse among Muslims blames everyone but themselves for this situation. The image of an ascendant West belittling Islam with the view to eliminate it serves as a convenient explanation for Muslim weakness.
- Once the Muslim world embraces freedom of expression, it will be able to recognize the value of that freedom even for those who offend Muslim sensibilities. More important: Only in a free democratic environment will the world's Muslims be able to debate the causes of their powerlessness, which stirs in them greater anger than any specific action on the part of Islam's Western detractors.
- Until then, the U.S. would do well to remember Osama bin Laden's comment not long after the Sept. 11 attacks: "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." America should do nothing that enables Islamists to portray the nation as the weak horse.
The Global War, Michael Ledeen
- No serious person believes that an obscure movie shown to less than a dozen people many months ago was the “cause” of the simultaneous assaults in Cairo and Benghazi.
- Whoever masterminded [the string of attacks] has scored a win against the United States, and signals to our friends and enemies that killing Americans incurs no cost.
- All will see an America that apologizes to our killers as we retreat from Afghanistan and slash our military power.
- If we do not support revolution within Iran, we will get more of these attacks, and more dead Americans. In the end, we will fulfill Churchill’s prophecy to Chamberlain on the day after Munich: you thought you had to choose between dishonor and war. You chose dishonor, and you will have war. We may yet have time to choose honor — support those who have already risked their lives to defeat our enemies — and avoid the big war relentlessly engulfing us.
The Abandonment, Charles Krauthammer
- What is incoherent is President Obama’s position. He declares the Iranian program intolerable — “I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” — yet stands by as Iran rapidly approaches nuclearization.
- A policy so incoherent, so knowingly and obviously contradictory, is a declaration of weakness and passivity. And this, as Anthony Cordesman, James Phillips and others have argued, can increase the chance of war. It creates, writes Cordesman, “the same conditions that helped trigger World War II — years of negotiations and threats, where the threats failed to be taken seriously until war became all too real.”
- This has precipitated the current U.S.-Israeli crisis, sharpened by the president’s rebuff of the Israeli prime minister’s request for a meeting during his upcoming U.S. visit. Ominous new developments; no Obama response. Alarm bells going off everywhere; Obama plays deaf.
- The Obama policy is in shambles. Which is why Cordesman argues that the only way to prevent a nuclear Iran without war is to establish a credible military threat to make Iran recalculate and reconsider.
- The Obama policy is a double game: a rhetorical commitment to stopping Iran, yet real-life actions that everyone understands will allow Iran to go nuclear.
- Yet at the same time that it does nothing, the administration warns Israel sternly, repeatedly, publicly, even threateningly not to strike the Iranian nuclear program. With zero prospect of his policy succeeding, Obama insists on Israeli inaction, even as Iran races to close the window of opportunity for any successful attack.
- Not since its birth six decades ago has Israel been so cast adrift by its closest ally.
Obama's Middle East Policy Is in Ruins, David Gordon Smith
[A sampling of views from the German Press about the Middle East violence against American embassies]