On May 23, 2013 President Obama laid out his American foreign policy vision- near-sighted, delusional and dangerous in it’s breathtaking lack of understanding the “fundamental transformation” gripping the Muslim world (full text here). This speech will be pulled up by historians decades from now and pegged as the Neville Chamberlain “peace in our time” moment. In trying to define this “struggle” against Muslim-driven terrorism, President Obama completely misread the events of the past decade and by asserting victory, while leaving an enemy still fighting on the battlefield, so to speak, he has set the course for emboldening not only al Qaeda and Muslim-driven terrorists, but also all our other adversaries in the world. This speech serves as a delusional attempt at pretending that by saying something is true, it makes it true. Certainly, we don’t want to keep large numbers of troops engaged in nation-building across the Muslim world, in the hopes that we can buy loyalty and cooperation. But we must remain vigilant and flexible in taking the fight to Muslim extremists, both terrorist actors and the many state sponsors of Muslim extremism. Alarmingly, President Obama has aligned himself with Muslim Brotherhood leaders, whose stated purpose is to advance the very same goals as Al Qaeda and it’s affiliates.
President Obama states, “So America is at a crossroads. We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us.” No truer words have ever been spoken and therein lies the rub. We have never defined this struggle, because out of misplaced political sensitivity, President Bush and President Obama perpetuate the misguided “Islam means Peace” trope and refuse to ever define this struggle in the real world terms of “enemies” – those people or groups intent on defeating us. An ideology, benign or violent, will never threaten anyone. It takes that human factor to bring an ideology to life and it’s the humans who embrace and act based on an ideology whom pose a threat to us. Enemies are always people. Islam, as preached and practiced, by a substantial number of Muslim clerics, falls far from a religion of Peace . We have groped around trying to find suitable terminology to differentiate “peaceful Islam” from the radicalized form, but this whitewashing effort is purely a one-sided effort, because for most of the world’s Muslim clerical experts – there is only one Islam and that Islam is the one that embraces Sharia law, reestablishment of a Caliphate and a world controlled by Muslims. It is a totalitarian political doctrine, wrapped up in the trappings of a religion. Until we have the guts to define this struggle as a political struggle against a totalitarian movement, we will continue to lose.
Al Qaeda is not dead, in fact, it has been breathed new life by the Arab Spring revolutions and these Muslim Brotherhood dominated countries will aid, fund, arm and utilize these al Qaeda groups to do their dirty work. They will find plenty of work to carry our the black ops for actual states now. It’s ridiculous to believe our government’s constant refrain that we’ve neutralized al Qaeda, because we’ve killed so many of it’s top leaders and at the same time believe the many years our government was explaining the challenge of defeating al Qaeda was because it wasn’t a hierarchically run organization (no top down leaders) – no it was tentacles of terror – lots of loosely aligned groups of like-minded radicalized nuts.
The major foreign policy failure of our time is our reliance on “experts” from academia and think thanks, who conjure up fancy sounding theories and rationales for events unfolding around the world. We’ve revamped and restructured our intelligence operations in the wake of 9/11, yet we seem more clueless and misguided than ever at actually understanding world events and understanding unfolding events. It’s because we allow agenda-driven hacks to formulate our policy rather than paying attention to the events unfolding and listening to what these adversaries and enemies say. Al Qaeda and it’s many affiliates give rambling speeches to recruit followers and to let the world know this is their “mission”. And here’s the stark reality, no blinders on view – they have a clearly stated mission, that has not wavered. We have wishful thinking on our side.