By Barry Rubin
Brennan is no less than the father of the pro-Islamist policy. What Obama is saying is this: My policy of backing Islamists has worked so well, including in Egypt, that we need to do even more! All those analogies to 1930s appeasement are an understatement. Nobody in the British leadership said, “I have a great idea. Let’s help fascist regimes take power and then they’ll be our friends and become more moderate!” That’s the equivalent of what Brennan does.
Brennan’s only life accomplishment has been to propose backing radical Islamists. As a reward, he isn’t just being made head of intelligence for the Middle East but for the whole world! Has Brennan any proven administrative skill? Any knowledge of other parts of the world? No. All he has is a proximity to Obama and a very bad policy concept. What’s especially ironic here is that by now, the Islamist policy has clearly failed and a lot of people are having second thoughts.
With Brennan running the CIA, though, do you think there will be critical intelligence evaluations of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizballah, or even Hamas? Is the CIA going to warn U.S. leaders about the repression against women, Christians, and moderates? Will there be warnings that Islamists are taking over Syria or reports on Islamist involvement in killing Americans in Benghazi? Can we have confidence about U.S. policy toward Iran?
To get some insight into his thinking, consider the incident in which a left-wing reporter, forgetting there were people listening, reminded Brennan that in an earlier private conversation he admitted favoring engagement not only with the Lebanese terrorist group Hizballah, but also the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Ask yourself this question: when an American intelligence chief told Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood was a moderate, secular group, who approved that line of argument?
As for Hagel, suffice it to say that the embarrassing quotes and actions from him in the past — including his opposition to sanctions against Iran — fueled a response to his proposed nomination so strong that the administration had to back down for a while.
What would have happened if President Harry Truman turned over American defense, diplomacy, and intelligence in 1946 to those who said that Stalin wanted peace and that Communist rule in Central Europe was a good thing?
Obama has been president of the United States for four years. Yet in foreign policy, having some decent and competent people in high positions mitigated the damage. Well, the reins are now loosed; the muzzle is off.
I apologize for being so pessimistic, but look at the cast of characters. When it comes to Obama administration foreign policy’s damage on the world and on U.S. interests, one can only say, like the great singer Al Jolson, folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
To get a sense of his thinking, check out Brennan’s article, “The Conundrum of Iran: Strengthening Moderates without Acquiescing to Belligerence,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 618, Terrorism: What the Next President Will Face (Jul., 2008), pp. 168-179. Here’s the conclusion:
If the United States actually demonstrates that it will work to help advance rather than thwart Iranian interests, the course of Iranian politics as well as the future of U.S.-Iranian relations could be forever altered.
The Obama administration followed this advice during its first two years with the result being total failure. The theme of the 2008 article carries over to his view of the Muslim Brotherhood. If the United States shows it is friendly, helpful, and does not oppose their taking power, then revolutionary Islamists will become moderate.
For example, he also proposes a U.S. policy “to tolerate, and even to encourage, greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system….” This step, he suggests, will reduce “the influence of violent extremists in the organization.”
Of course, Hizballah does not need to stage terrorist attacks if it holds state power! Terrorism is only a tactic to seize control of countries. If you give revolutionaries their goal, then why do they need to continue using such a tactic? Yet putting them in power does not increase stability, improve the lives of people, or benefit U.S. interests. If al-Qaeda, for example, overthrew the Iraqi or Saudi government, you would see a sharp decline in terrorist attacks! If the Muslim Brotherhood rules Egypt, Tunisia, or Syria, it doesn’t need to send suicide bombers into the marketplaces.
The same, by the way, would apply to anywhere else in the world. If Communist rebels took power in Latin American or Asian countries, you wouldn’t find them hanging out in the jungles raiding isolated villages.
In Brennan’s terms, that means the problem would be solved. Instead, the correct response is parallel to Winston Churchill’s point in his 1946 Fulton, Missouri, speech: “I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines.”
This is what Brennan — and the Obama administration — fails to understand regarding this point. The danger is not terrorism but a dangerous revolutionary movement that becomes even more dangerous if it controls entire states, their resources, and their military forces.
Read it all at PJ Media