I just had an emergency appendectomy last night so I’ll be recovering for a while.
Published on May 23, 2017 by The Glazov Gang
On the four-year anniversary of the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby by two converts to Islam, a Muslim suicide bomber named Salman Abedi attacked exiting fans at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22 and injuring 59 others. Can we understand this brutal attack? Only if we turn to the Muslim sources.
Western countries would rather accept a certain level of threat than do what it takes to mitigate it.
National Review, by David French, May 24, 2017:
Make no mistake, there is an emerging bipartisan consensus that a certain amount of terrorism is just the price we have to pay to live the way we want to live. Now, to be clear, very few people will come out and say this explicitly, and national-security establishments do their best — within certain, limited parameters — to stop every single terror attack, but more than 15 years after 9/11 it’s clear that there are prices our societies aren’t willing to pay. And neither our nation nor any of our European allies is willing to pay the price to reduce the terror threat to its pre-9/11 scale.
Consequently, an undetermined number of civilians will die, horribly, at concerts, restaurants, nightclubs, or simply while walking on the sidewalk. It almost certainly won’t be you, of course, but it will be somebody. And they’ll often be kids.
While it’s impossible to predict any given terror attack, there are two laws of terrorism that work together to guarantee that attacks will occur, and they’ll occur with increasing frequency. First, when terrorists are granted safe havens to plan, train, equip, and inspire terror attacks, then they will strike, and they’ll keep striking not just until the safe havens are destroyed but also until the cells and affiliates they’ve established outside their havens are rooted out. Second, when you import immigrants at any real scale from jihadist regions, then you will import the cultural, religious, and political views that incubate jihad. Jihadist ideas flow not from soil but from people, and when you import people you import their ideas.
Let’s look at how these two ideas have worked together in both Europe and America. The map below (from AFP) charts significant terror attacks in Europe (including Turkey). You’ll note a significant increase in activity since 2014, since ISIS stampeded across Syria and into Turkey and established a terrorist caliphate in the heart of the Middle East. There existed a safe haven and a population to inspire back in Europe. The result was entirely predictable:
What about the United States? A similar phenomenon was in play. This Heritage Foundation timeline of terror attacks and plots documents a total of 95 incidents since 9/11. The numbers are revealing. After the implementation of the (now) much-derided Bush strategy, there were a grand total of 27 terror attacks and plots — almost all of them foiled.
After the end of the Bush administration, the numbers skyrocketed, with 68 plots or attacks recorded since. A number of them, including the Fort Hood shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, the San Bernardino mass murder, and the Orlando nightclub massacre, have been terrifying successful. Indeed, there have been more domestic terror plots and attacks since the rise of ISIS in the summer of 2014 than there were in the entirety of the Bush administration after 9/11. And make no mistake, jihadist terrorists are disproportionately immigrants and children of immigrants.
What did Bush do that was so successful? He not only pressed military offensives in the heart of the Middle East, he fundamentally changed the American approach to immigration and implemented a number of temporary measures that, for example, dramatically decreased refugee admissions and implemented country-specific protective measures that have since been discontinued. And don’t forget, aside from their reckless immigration policies, our European allies weren’t just beneficiaries of the Bush doctrine but also participants in Bush’s military offensives. Our NATO allies have been on the ground in Afghanistan since the war launched in earnest. Britain was a principal partner in Iraq.
It seems clear that the great Western democracies would rather face an increased terror risk than make the sacrifices that have been proven to mitigate the danger.
Here is the bottom line — since the end of the Bush and Blair administrations, it seems clear that all of the great Western democracies would rather face an increased terror risk than make the sacrifices that have been proven to mitigate the danger. There is little appetite across the entire American political spectrum for an increased ground-combat presence in the Middle East. So the slow-motion war against ISIS continues, and terrorist safe havens remain. In the United States, even Trump’s short-term and modest so-called travel ban has been blocked in court and lacks public support.
If you listen closely, you’ll note that some politicians are actually starting to level with their people. They’re not willing to do what it takes to reduce the terror threat to substantially lower levels, so they’re trying to adjust their populations to the new reality. After the Nice truck attack, the French prime minister said, “The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism.” German chancellor Angela Merkel also told her people that they have to “live with the danger of terrorism.”
All too many Americans, sadly, still seem to labor under the fiction that they can have it all — tolerant immigration policies, no land wars in Asia, and Muslim allies who finally pick up the slack with the right level of prodding and with appropriately minimal air support. When necessary, we can send in our SEAL Team superheroes to take care of the truly tough tasks.
Well, that’s a strategy, but it’s one that means that every few months we’ll put memorial ribbons up on Facebook and Twitter, express pride in our valiant first responders, and wrap our arms around grieving parents who have to close the casket on their eight-year-old girl. It’s a strategy that expresses pride that we foil most attacks, and it’s one that leads us to hope and pray that the losses remain acceptable.
The Western world knows the price it has to pay to decisively reduce the terror threat. It’s no longer willing to pay that price. It’s no longer willing even to let their militaries truly do the jobs they volunteered to do. So there will be more Manchesters, more Parises, more Nices, and more Orlandos. But that’s what happens when we’re not willing to do what it takes. I hope at least our hashtags can make us feel better about our choice.
CJR: Listen to Phil Haney pointing out that the phrase “drive them out” appears in the Quran and has been used by jihadists to exhort Muslims to drive out the infidels. This phrase therefore may resonate with the Arab mindset. From Secure Freedom radio: Podcast (podcast2): Play in new window | Download
American Thinker, by Karin McQuillan, May 24, 2017:
The children of Manchester were killed by a Jihadi known to authorities. So were the victims of 12 out of the 14 Islamic terror attacks in America under Obama’s watchful eye. That must end. Our terror watch list must become a terror deportation list.
President Trump went to the very heart of Islam, Saudi Arabia, and told the assembled leaders of the Muslem world they must drive the Jihadis out of their mosques, out of their communities, out of their country and out of this earth.
The Saudis are responsible for their country. We are responsible for America. Let us start right here and right now. We need to drive all those who preach Jihad out of our American mosques, community, and country.
Preachers in America are not allowed to encourage murder or the overthrow of our government. It is immoral and illegal to allow the preaching of Jihad in our mosques. Yet time after time, whenever we have an Islamic atrocity in our country, we discover the killer attended a radical mosque. One estimate is thathalf of the mosques in our country were founded by radical Muslim Brotherhood members.
In 2012, then-President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, banned radical imams from entering France; in 2016, France closed down a handful of radical mosques where they found terrorist weapons caches. We should do that and more. We should close all radical mosques. Especially for those who believe Islam is a religion of peace, it is clear these are not true religious institutions, but centers promoting Muslim supremacy, violence, and the suppression of other religions.
Make no mistake. Islamism in America reaches far beyond mosque walls. We have a pro-Jihadi curriculum in our schools, Jihadi preachers and speakers in ourmosques and prisons, Jihadi bureaucrats and support staff in our government, Jihadi judges in our courts (one appointed by New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie), and Jihadis serving on oversight committees of police departments, theFBI and Homeland Security.
President Trump is asking the Muslim leaders across the globe to step up. We have to step up at home. We have to step up at every level. We need to support courageous citizen activists like Pamela Geller and Brigitte Gabrielle, the remarkable Charles Jacobs and Steven Emerson. These heroic Americans have been carrying the burden to fight Jihad. They have been doing it almost alone for years. We need an all-out effort by city and state governments, Congress and every federal department, and yes, the president, who has to get moving. They are supposed to protect us from organized killers.
Defending ourselves from Jihadi murderers is impossible, we are told by multiculturalists, without doing irreparable damage to freedom of religion andfreedom of speech. Wrong. Our freedom of religion and speech will beimpossible unless we stop the immigration of adherents of Sharia, and drive out American Jihadis. Our Constitution does not require us to adopt as fellow citizens people who hate our constitutional freedoms, let alone those who are crazed with an evil piety to maim and kill infidels. Free speech has never protected those organizing violence.
Naturalized citizens who break their oath of citizenship can have their citizenship revoked. Their American-born children and other American Muslims involved with terror supporting-Islamist groups should be declared enemy combatants, and appropriate action taken.
Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
The multiculturalists who dominate our media, universities and the Democratic Party are in deep moral confusion. Their imperative is to protect their ideals. Progressives would sacrifice all of us to the idol of their delusions.
They turn their faces away as innocents in the Middle East and Africa are kidnapped, burned alive, beheaded, raped, and tortured. They are sad, but willing to do nothing, as innocent Christians and Jews in America and Europe are targeted on purpose, blown up, run over, and shot.
The multiculturalists enjoy that hit of moral superiority, each time they preach to us that we must tolerate Islam — if beautiful toleration requires our lives be snuffed out, they are willing to accept that price. Terrorism, President Obama lectured us, is not an existential threat. It was never a serious problem to him.
It is a serious problem to us. We are not willing to sacrifice a single American life. Toleration of evil is not good. We are protecting our freedoms, not harming them, when we take up the burden of fighting jihad in America. It is moral to drive Islamists out of our country.
In France, within hours, national security risks are put on a plane to their country of origin; appeals may follow from the home country.
In the U.K., the Home Secretary has broad power to deport any foreign national whose removal would be ‘conducive to the public good.’ Appeals go to a special court, not to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
In Ireland, the Minister of Justice “would make no apology” for deporting people who support Islamic extremism without taking the case to court.
In America, it seems we treat national security threats little different from minor immigration violations. We also deport national security risks, but we do it rarely and very slowly. Our laws are not well designed for the 21st reality of the Jihadi threat.
The idea that we are helpless to stop Islamist murderers before they act is a purposeful lie, pushed by progressives and the D.C. swamp because they wish to do nothing, says Andrew McCarthy:
Virtually every time a terror attack has occurred, the actor initially portrayed as a solo plotter lurking under the government’s radar turns out to be — after not much digging — an already known (sometimes even, notorious) Islamic extremist.
As amply demonstrated by Poole’s reporting, catalogued here by PJ Media, “lone wolves” — virtually every single one — end up having actually had extensive connections to other Islamic extremists, radical mosques, and (on not rare occasions) jihadist training facilities. There are, and can be, no lone wolves. The very concept is inane, and only stems from a willfully blind aversion to the ideological foundation of jihadist terror: Islamic supremacism.
The global, scripturally rooted movement to impose sharia — in the West, to incrementally supersede our culture of reason, liberty, and equality with the repressive, discriminatory norms of classical Islamic law — is a pack. The wolves are members of the pack, and that’s why they are the antithesis of “lone” actors. And, indeed, they always turn out to be “known” precisely because their association with the pack, with components of the global movement, is what ought to have alerted us to the danger they portended before they struck.
Patrick Poole elaborates:
As I’ve noted here at PJ Media going back to October 2014, the “lone wolf” canard was spun by the Obama administration to exonerate themselves whenever a terror attack occurred….
The United States might not be suffering from terror — AT ALL — if our law enforcement agents had not been hamstrung by the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton “politically correct” approach to monitoring Muslim suspects.
They placed the sensitivities of Muslim Americans ahead of public safety. Not their rights — law enforcement already operates knowing that rights must be respected to successfully win a later prosecution in court.
Not their rights. Just their sensitivities.
We KNEW about virtually EVERY terrorist. But FAILED TO ACT IN TIME on virtually every terrorist.
We are done with tolerating Islamist murderers in our midst. We agree with President Trump that Islamic extremism is evil and must be driven out of our mosques, our communities and our country. Start driving, Mr. President.
Gatestone Institute, by Alan M. Dershowitz, May 23, 2017:
Every time a horrendous terrorist attack victimizes innocent victims we wring our hands and promise to increase security and take other necessary preventive measures. But we fail to recognize how friends and allies play such an important role in encouraging, incentivizing, and inciting terrorism.
If we are to have any chance of reducing terrorism, we must get to its root cause. It is not poverty, disenfranchisement, despair or any of the other abuse excuses offered to explain, if not to justify, terrorism as an act of desperation. It is anything but. Many terrorists, such as those who participated in the 9/11 attacks, were educated, well-off, mobile and even successful. They made a rational cost-benefit decision to murder innocent civilians for one simple reason: they believe that terrorism works.
And tragically they are right. The international community has rewarded terrorism while punishing those who try to fight it by reasonable means. It all began with a decision by Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian terrorist groups to employ the tactic of terrorism as a primary means of bringing the Palestinian issue to the forefront of world concern. Based on the merits and demerits of the Palestinian case, it does not deserve this stature. The treatment of the Tibetans by China, the Kurds by most of the Arab world, and the people of Chechen by Russia has been or at least as bad. But their response to grievances has been largely ignored by the international community and the media because they mostly sought remedies within the law rather than through terrorism.
The Palestinian situation has been different. The hijacking of airplanes, the murders of Olympic athletes at Munich, the killing of Israeli children at Ma’alot, and the many other terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists has elevated their cause above all other causes in the human rights community. Although the Palestinians have not yet gotten a state – because they twice rejected generous offers of statehood – their cause still dominates the United Nations and numerous human rights groups.
Other groups with grievances have learned from the success of Palestinian terrorism and have emulated the use of that barbaric tactic. Even today, when the Palestinian authority claims to reject terrorism, they reward the families of suicide bombers and other terrorists by large compensation packages that increase with the number of innocent victims. If the perpetrator of the Manchester massacre had been Palestinian and if the massacre had taken place in an Israeli auditorium, the Palestinian authority would have paid his family a small fortune for murdering so many children. There is a name for people and organizations that pay other people for killing innocent civilians: it’s called accessory to murder. If the Mafia offered bounties to kill its opponents, no one would sympathize with those who made the offer. Yet the Palestinian leadership that does the same thing is welcomed and honored throughout the world.
The Palestinian authority also glorifies terrorists by naming parks, stadiums, streets and other public places after the mass murderers of children. Our “ally” Qatar finances Hamas which the United States has correctly declared to be a terrorist organization. Our enemy Iran, also finances, facilitates and encourages terrorism against the United States, Israel and other western democracies, without suffering any real consequences. The United Nations glorifies terrorism by placing countries that support terrorism in high positions of authority and honor and by welcoming with open arms the promoters of terrorism.
On the other hand Israel, which has led the world in efforts to combat terrorism by reasonable and lawful means, gets attacked by the international community more than any other country in the world. Promoters of terrorism are treated better at the United Nations than opponents of terrorism. The boycott divestment tactic (BDS) is directed only against Israel and not against the many nations that support terrorism.
Terrorism will continue as long as it continues to bear fruits. The fruits may be different for different causes. Sometimes it is simply publicity. Sometimes it is a recruitment tool. Sometimes it brings about concessions as it did in many European countries. Some European countries that have now been plagued by terrorism even released captured Palestinian terrorists. England, France, Italy and Germany were among the countries that released Palestinian terrorists in the hope of preventing terrorist attacks on their soil. Their selfish and immoral tactic backfired: it only caused them to become even more inviting targets for the murderous terrorists.
But no matter how terrorism works, the reality that it does, will make it difficult if not impossible to stem its malignant spread around the world. To make it not work, the entire world must unite in never rewarding terrorism and always punishing those who facilitate it.
The principal fiction in the president’s speech in Saudi Arabia was the claim that we share ‘common values’ with the sharia society.
National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, May 22, 2017:
So for what exactly is the “extreme vetting” going to vet?
That was the question I could not shake from my mind while listening to President Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to dozens of Sunni Islamic leaders and a global television audience.
There were certainly some positives in the president’s rhetoric. Trump did not cite American policy or “arrogance” as a contributory cause of jihadist savagery, as President Obama was wont to do. He was less delusional about the splendor of Islam than were Obama and President George W. Bush. Gone were absurd inflations of Islam’s historical achievements and place in the American fabric; gone were allusions to the “religion of peace and love.” In their place was an acknowledgment that Islam is besieged by a “crisis” of terror that is engulfing the world, a crisis that is ideological in nature and that only Muslims themselves can solve.
All true. Nevertheless, the theme that came through the speech is that terrorism is something that happens to Islam, rather than something that happens because of Islam. That is simply not the case, even though it is true, as Trump asserted, that the vast majority of those killed by Muslim terrorists are themselves Muslims.
There is thus a good deal that is not real about “Principled Realism,” Trump’s name for what he heralds as a new American strategy — “new approaches informed by experience and judgment,” a “discarding” of strategies “that have not worked.”
The principal fiction in “principled realism” is that we share “common values” with Sunni Arab sharia societies. That is problematic because these purported “common values” — in conjunction with “shared interests” — are said to be the roots of Trump’s approach.
The president stressed that during his first overseas trip as president, he would be “visiting many of the holiest places in the three Abrahamic faiths.” The irony was palpable, at least to some of us. Trump is not visiting the holiest places of Islam.
Yes, upon departing Saudi Arabia, he headed to Israel where he prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. In the offing is a jaunt to Rome, to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis. But for all the treacle about “why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation [Saudi Arabia] that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic faith,” Trump sidestepped the fact that he is not welcome in those two sites, Mecca and Medina.
Why? Because the president is a non-Muslim. Non-Muslims are not allowed to step their infidel feet in Islam’s sacred cities.
That iteration of Islamic intolerance is squarely based on scripture — see, e.g., the Koran’s Sura 9:28: “Oh you who believe! Truly the idolaters are unclean, so let them not, after this year, approach the sacred mosque” — a verse that specifically relates to the Grand Mosque in Mecca (Makkah), and has been extended by Islamic scholars to Medina. That is why Trump’s House of Saud hosts enforce a ban on entry by non-Muslims to both cities.
I say that this ban is just one “iteration of Islamic intolerance” for two reasons.
First, there are many other iterations. Scripturally based Islamic doctrine systematically discriminates against non-Muslims in many particulars, and against women in many others. Since Trump’s “principled realism” is said to be rooted in “common values,” it might be worth a gander at the guidance Trump’s State Department provides to Americans pondering a trip to the kingdom:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, imprisoned, subject to physical punishments, or even executed. Penalties for the import, manufacture, possession, and consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs in Saudi Arabia are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences, heavy fines, public floggings, and/or deportation. The penalty for drug trafficking is death . . .
Faith-Based Travelers: Islam is the official religion of the country and pervades all aspects of life in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi authorities do not permit criticism of Islam, religious figures, or the royal family.
The government prohibits the public practice of religions other than Islam. Non-Muslims suspected of violating these restrictions have been jailed. Church services in private homes have been raided, and participants have been jailed.
Muslims who do not adhere to the strict interpretations of Islam prevalent in much of Saudi Arabia frequently encounter societal discrimination and constraints on worship.
Public display of non-Islamic religious articles, such as crosses and Bibles, is not permitted.
[And, of course . . .] Non-Muslims are forbidden to travel to Makkah (Mecca) and Medina, the cities where two of Islam’s holiest mosques are located . . .
LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex sexual relations, even when they are consensual, are criminalized in Saudi Arabia. Violations of Saudi laws governing perceived expressions of, or support for, same sex sexual relations, including on social media, may be subject to severe punishment. Potential penalties include fines, jail time, or death.
The State Department guidance suggests that readers consult the International Religious Freedom Report produced in 2015 by State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. It relates the brutal punishments meted out by some Islamic countries — not jihadist organizations, but governments in Muslim-majority countries — for blasphemy and apostasy. The paragraph on the Kingdom is worth reading:
In Saudi Arabia, media and local sources reported that the General Court in Abha sentenced Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh to death for apostasy in November, overturning a previous sentence of four years’ imprisonment and 800 lashes (the death sentence was subsequently overturned in February 2016 and a sentence of eight years’ imprisonment and 800 lashes imposed). Officials from the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice initially arrested Fayadh in August 2013, after reports that he had made disparaging remarks about Islam. In a separate incident in January, authorities publicly lashed Raif Badawi 50 times in accordance with a sentence based on his 2013 conviction for violating Islamic values, violating sharia, committing blasphemy, and mocking religious symbols on the Internet.
This is why, watching Trump and his senior aides prance about the palace in Riyadh, doing “the sword dance” with their fellow male revelers, I couldn’t help but wonder if they realized how often their host regime uses the scimitars to carry out beheadings for violations of Islamic law. There were 153 decapitations last year and 158 in 2015.
It is worth emphasizing: That is not something that was done by ISIS for violations of sharia. It was done by the government of Saudi Arabia for violations of sharia.
Which brings us to the second reason why Islamic intolerance must be noted in our consideration of “principled realism”: That intolerance is the foundation of “extremism,” the studiously unexamined term Trump now applies to jihadist terrorism, just as Obama and Bush did before him.
There was much ado in the lead up and delivery of Trump’s speech regarding how he would describe the phenomenon he labeled “radical Islamic terrorism” throughout the 2016 campaign — ridiculing the craven political correctness of rivals who shied away from this terminology. As with much else Trump said on the hustings, the label is the subject of intense infighting in his administration.
Reflecting the view of former military commanders who serve in the administration’s top ranks (and who carried out Bush’s “Islamic democracy” building and Obama’s embrace of our Islamic “partners”), national-security adviser H. R. McMaster is said to be repulsed by the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” apparently seeing it as needlessly provocative. Other Trump strategists, who supported the campaign’s promise to be unflinching in illustrating the nexus between Islamic scripture and Muslim terrorism, strongly favor the term. Trump, who simultaneously wants (a) profitable relations with the Saudis, (b) the refutation of claims that he is anti-Muslim, and (c) credit for being honest about the connection between Islam and terror, seems torn.
The intramural squabble was evident during the speech. As prepared, the text had the president calling for “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires” (emphasis added). But when he actually delivered his remarks, Trump departed from the script, speaking instead of “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.”
An unidentified aide insisted to the New York Times that the president was “exhausted” and simply misspoke when he invoked “Islamic.” To the contrary, I believe he is struggling to resolve this tension. As I pointed out prior to his inauguration, however, it is unclear that Trump grasps why the tension is significant: For him, it may reflect concern over the inevitable criticism if he abandons hot campaign rhetoric, not over whether the distinction between Islamic and Islamist is viable.
We draw this distinction out of a conviction that Islam the religion should not be confounded with Islamism the political ideology. This conviction may be more a matter of wishful thinking than anything that can be called “realism.” That is manifest when we review the afore-described State Department guidance. Intolerance of non-Muslims and subjugation of women is not a reflection of jihadist “extremism”; it is mainstream Islam as practiced and codified in sharia societies.
So here is the problem: The definition of “extremism” that Trump’s “principled realism” sets itself against is artificial and incoherent. It is true, of course, that not all Muslims who support the intolerance rooted in Islamic doctrine and expressed by the policies of majority-Muslim regimes will become violent jihadists. Nonetheless, violent jihad is a natural progression from that intolerance. Yet Trump’s “principled realism” holds that the American people and sharia societies share “common values” that will cause the latter to fight jihadism.
How could anyone believe this is the case unless he is willfully blind to how the kingdom is governed, the longstanding support Saudis have provided for terrorism, and the number of Saudis complicit in anti-American terrorism? Trump is trying to have it both ways: acknowledge that the threat is ideological (and demand plaudits for brave political incorrectness in doing so), but pretend that the violent aspects of the ideology can be — indeed, have been — compartmentalized from the intolerant dehumanization of non-Muslims at the core of the ideology.
If this is Trump’s position, then why all the fuss about “extreme vetting”?
If you are myopically focused on terrorism, you are missing most of the challenge posed by sharia encroachment.
The imperative to enhance the vetting process for people trying to enter the U.S. from hotbeds of radical Islam was a major plank of the Trump campaign. It is the eventual goal hovering over disputes over temporary travel bans the president has tried to impose since the start of his administration. But does anyone remember the objective of “extreme vetting”? It was to bar entry to those adherent to the ideology (which I prefer to call “sharia supremacism”) that promotes not just terrorism but anti-Americanism and anti-constitutionalism. Our immigration law already vets for ties to terrorism.
In his “principled realism” speech, however, the president takes the position that we’re only concerned about violence. “We are not here to lecture — we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do,” he says. Our “goal is . . . to conquer extremism” — a term the president narrows to mean terrorism — lest he insult his “gracious hosts.” If you are myopically focused on terrorism, however, you are missing most of the challenge posed by sharia encroachment. Jihadist terror is not pointless; its purpose is to impose sharia — a version of it similar to what the Saudis enforce.
The president is up in a balloon because, as he explained in his speech, he has “signed historic agreements with the Kingdom that will invest almost $400 billion in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia.” Perhaps his strategists could inform the president that when Saudi Arabia invests in America, the result invariably includes the construction of schools and mosques that propagate the ideology that causes the State Department to issue the travel guidance outlined above. (See, e.g., my 2010 profile of the Dar al-Hijra mosque in Virginia.)
According to the president, “principled realism” is based not only on purported “common values” but also “shared interests.” That does make sense. The Trump administration is returning American foreign policy to its pre-Obama orientation against the Shiite jihadist regime in Iran. The Sunni states also oppose Iran. That is the “shared interest.” It is a significant area of agreement, but a narrow one. We should not delude ourselves into thinking it signifies “common values.”
In a passage that could as easily have been spoken by President Bush, and probably even by President Obama, President Trump asserted:
This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between Good and Evil [capitalization in White House-issued text].
So we’re back to the question whether Islam has anything to do with Islamist (or Islamic) terrorism.
I’ll take it from the Saudi perspective. Let’s say, as the president does, that we are truly engaged in a battle between good and evil. When you read the State Department’s guidance regarding travel to Saudi Arabia — guidance that is necessary because of the way the Saudi government treats non-Muslims, women, apostates, and homosexuals — do you suppose the Saudis and their Sunni confederates see the United States as the “good” or the “evil” side?
President Trump is banking on the former. I’m not.