Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to President Trump, gives an eye opening speech at the National Press Club on the reality of the threat posed to Western society by the Islamic State (ISIS).
Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to President Trump, gives an eye opening speech at the National Press Club on the reality of the threat posed to Western society by the Islamic State (ISIS).
John Batchelor Show, May 4, 2017:
Al Qaeda and the Taliban rule Afghanistan, 16 years later. @sebastiangorka, Deputy Assistant to the President.
Al-Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan has not occurred in a vacuum. It has maintained its strength in the country since the U.S. invasion, launched a new branch, AQIS, and established training camps with the help and support of the Taliban.
When Generals Campbell and Buchanan discussed al-Qaeda in the wake of the Shorabak raid, they described the group as resurgent. Campbell described the Taliban-al-Qaeda relationship as a “renewed partnership,” while Buchanan said it “has since ‘grown stronger.’”
But like the estimate that al-Qaeda maintained a small cadre of 50 to 100 operatives in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2016, the idea that the Taliban and al-Qaeda have only recently reinvigorated their relationship is incorrect. Al-Qaeda would not have been able to maintain a large cadre of fighters and leaders inside Afghanistan, conduct operations in 25 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, establish training camps, and relocate high-level leaders from Pakistan’s tribal areas to Afghanistan without the Taliban’s long-term support.
Al-Qaeda has remained loyal to the Taliban’s leader, which it describes as the Amir al- Mumineen, or the “Commander of the Faithful,” since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001. Osama bin Laden maintained his oath of allegiance to Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s founder and first emir. When bin Laden died, Ayman al-Zawahiri renewed that oath. And when Mullah Omar’s death was announced in 2015, Zawahiri swore bayat (an oath of allegiance) to Mullah Mansour, the Taliban’s new leader. Mansour publicly accepted Zawahiri’s oath.
Photo: Long War Journal
Breitbart, by Adelle Nazarian and Edwin Mora, april 25, 2017:
Approximately 20 protesters gathered inside the hall where the event was held with signs falsely accusing Gorka of being a Nazi, a war criminal, and a fascist.
At the prestigious foreign policy event, Gorka discussed a variety of topics relevant to foreign policy and national security scholars. His remarks focused primarily on personal experiences in dealing with fake news and the manipulation of facts by the mainstream media:
“Eight out of ten times, I can read something written in the daily paper about an event that occurred the night before, and it is literally 180 degrees incorrect,” said Gorka in his remarks to the crowded room. “It is totally contrary to what happened inside the building 80 percent of the time. That’s something that has opened my eyes to the lack of true investigative journalism.”
He labeled “the idea that a 22-year-old with access to Google is a journalist” as “problematic” and noted his view that the days of classic investigative journalism, which required in-depth research, “are behind us.”
Gorka discussed his parents’ experiences fleeing both Nazis and Communists in his native Hungary and how biased journalists have manipulated the facts of his early life to create the impression that Gorka himself is a member of the Nazi and Communist organizations he fled.
Gorka is not a member of a Nazi organization and has never pledged loyalty to any such organization.
The media accusations claim a pin Gorka wears to remind him of his parents’ struggle against communists and fascists ties him to these illicit groups. When he was eight years old, Gorka’s father was awarded a medal that is associated with a military order, the ‘Hungarian Order of Heroes, Vitezi Rend,’ created after the First World War. An anti-Communist organization gave it to him, recognizing him for his resistance to fascists and Communist dictatorship.
On Monday, he explained once again the story behind the pin he wears:
My parents died 14 years ago, and in their memory, for what they suffered under the Nazis and the Communists — my father tortured in the basement of Andrássy út 60 (the secret police headquarters of the fascists first and then the Communists)–I wear that medal to remember their suffering and their resistance. And today, because I work for somebody named Donald J. Trump, that fact is used as part of a fake news propaganda campaign that brought those people in the back of the room, sadly, to a point where they are the victims of fake news.
Gorka also confronted the leftist protesters about their signs calling him an antisemite and fascist. Two of the female students wore hijabs, and one man wore garments traditionally worn by observant Jews. He tied the Jewish prayer shawl (known as Talis) over his shoulders like it was a fashionable scarf:
Every single person holding a placard to protest my parents and myself, I challenge you now: Go away and look at everything I have said an written the last 46 years of my life and find one sentence that is antisemitic or that is anti-Israeli. Because you won’t find it. You’ll find the opposite. My book Defeating Jihad, everything I’ve said on the conference circuit–in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem–tells you why I’m in this administration. Because this is one of the most pro-Israeli administrations in U.S. history. I’m sorry for you. You are the victims of fake news. But I’ll leave with this: I do what I do because I’ve learned that there is a connective tissue between Nazis, Communists, and Jihadists; they are all the same because they are all totalitarians. And if you perpetuate fake news, you are helping the bad guys.
Gorka cited a case study from the end of the Cold War by National Defense University’s Active Members Working Group as a model on how to identify and combat fake news during the Soviet era:
He explained how this group had “as its mandate, from the highest levels in the Reagan administration, the mission to identify Soviet propaganda, illuminate its sources, and destroy it from the inside to show just how much the message was a lie.” He suggested this group’s case study could be used to similarly combat fake news propagated over social media through mediums like Telegram and Twitter.
In conclusion, Gorka said:
What we are witnessing today–whether it’s RT, whether its ISIS tweets, Telegram–none of it is new. The platforms may be new, but the concepts of propaganda, dezinformatsiya, Maskirovka, none of these are true. They are just being packaged in new and far more effective ways. And this administration, with our allies and partners, including Israel, intends to take it very, very seriously. Thank you.
None of the few demonstrators congregated would talk to Breitbart News when Edwin Mora asked them to share their position on camera. Mora worked with Gorka during the latter’s tenure as Breitbart News’s National Security editor. Instead, the protesters shared a document accusing Breitbart News of perpetrating fake news.
No protesters responded to Gorka’s request to verbally defend their protest before the panel.
Breitbart, by John Hayward, April 13, 2017:
Host Mark Levin welcomed Dr. Sebastian Gorka, former Breitbart News national security editor and current deputy assistant to President Trump, to his radio show on Tuesday evening.
Gorka said that current American policy in trouble spots such as Syria and North Korea was consistent with President Trump’s positions during the 2016 campaign.
“Very simply put, the man that was Donald Trump before January the 20th is the same man who is the president today,” he said. “He has re-instigated American leadership around the world. We’re not going to perpetuate the vacuum created by President Obama that was exploited by people like Assad, like Putin, like the crazy regime in North Korea.”
“We are reasserting the values that made America great and will make America great again,” he said, alluding to Trump’s campaign slogan. “It’s leadership from the front, and it’s standing up to the founding principles of the Republic. It’s that simple, Mark.”
“For all the people who supported Donald Trump on November the 8th, I’d like them to think about one thing: what we did on Thursday is not 2003 nor is it the first Gulf War in 1991,” Gorka said.
The president is clear. He’s not about invading other people’s countries and occupying them, but he is not going to let dictators use weapons of mass destruction against unarmed women and children. If you have a problem with us launching a cruise missile strike on an airfield used to execute such an attack, you need to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what is the problem with taking that action and making a red line a real red line?
Levin said some disappointed Trump supporters feel he has “embraced the McCain wing of the Republican Party” with his Syrian intervention.
“I say they really need to look at the facts,” Gorka countered. “The idea that deploying 150,000 troops into the Middle East is the same as one of our ships sitting in safety, in the middle of the Med, launching unmanned vehicles to take out this airfield — the two can not be compared.”
“Also, there’s a very important point here: statecraft, leadership is nothing if it doesn’t understand that diplomacy must be backed up by force,” he continued. “We had eight years of just words — words that were exploited by our enemies and, on top of that, the support of our enemies when you look at the JCPOA, the Iran deal, the ransoms and everything else.” He said:
We understand, and the president understands this implicitly, diplomacy is nothing if you’re not prepared to back it up with force. Everyone who needs to understand what we did in Syria on Thursday understands it. Look at the nations that have an issue with it and you will see just how morally sound our actions were — and also how they overlapped with our national security as well.
Gorka noted that Russia’s response to the strike on the Sharyat airbase in Syria has been thus far limited to “some very predictable statements that they have to make for domestic, internal purposes, but I think they are drawing the necessary conclusions.”
“There is a point at which your satrapy, your client state maintaining a state like Assad’s state is no longer in the interest of even the Kremlin,” he said, making one of those necessary conclusions explicit. “I think they’re starting to understand that as well.”
Levin proposed that Russia’s weak economy would hinder them in a conflict with the United States.
“This is one of the things that Ronald Reagan understood,” Gorka agreed:
In one of his first meetings in the NSC, he asked, “What is the GDP of the Soviet Union?” He was told it was roughly on par with California. Then he understood how much of a paper tiger the Soviet Union was. So yes, if you look at the GDP, if you look at their resource-intensive economy, if you look at their demographics — 600,000 people die a year in Russia, more than are born. That’s a demographic reality. So yes, we look at the world as it is, not as we would wish it to be, which was the last White House.
Levin asked for an update on North Korea, which Gorka said he could deliver only with caution because, “unlike the Clinton administration and unlike the Obama administration, we do not give our game plan away — we do not tell our adversaries what to expect from us, as Clinton did in the Balkans, and as the last president did in Iraq.”
“I think people understand, and that the movement of our vessels, the action we took on Thursday, they’re all part of the same kind of deck of cards,” Gorka said. “We are reinforcing the statements made by the president, by Secretary Tillerson, with actions that fill the vacuum created by the Obama administration.”
Levin observed that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is “a very dangerous man.”
“The problem with that nation, in particular, is that unlike other countries, including I would say even the Russian Federation, you simply cannot model them on the rational-actor models that we use,” Gorka said. “When ideology overtakes reasoned cost/benefit analysis, nations like North Korea are very difficult to model. That’s why other messages are needed.”
“That’s the similarity between Iran and North Korea. We are not looking at your standard, rational actors in either case,” he said.
“It’s very important that everybody, whether you voted for him or not, is clear on this issue that there is no desire, and no intent, inside the White House, inside the Oval Office — the president does not wish to be some kind of global policeman,” Gorka stressed. “That is not what we’re talking about.”
However, he agreed with Levin’s point that “we have inherited a global firestorm” from the Obama administration.
“If you look at any cardinal point on the compass — north, south, east or west — the world is on fire,” he said. “Just one thing: if you listen to the United Nations, we have 65 million refugees in the world today. That’s more than we had in 1945, after the death camps and the destruction of World War II.”
“That is, in part, a direct function of the feckless foreign policy and a lack of leadership under the Obama administration,” Gorka contended. “We can’t ignore that because sooner or later that will have a national security impact on every American living in the United States as well.”
Levin feared that even Trump’s request for increased military funding was not enough and that Congress was not moving quickly enough to provide the funds requested.
Gorka said that “certain individuals” in Congress saw the urgency of rebuilding the military, although it was not a “groundswell” yet.
“There’s a lot of freshmen congressmen, many of them, who are actually Iraq veterans. Some of them are my friends,” he said:
They fully understand it. When you look at the U.S. Marine Corps, in the last eight years, ended up having to cannibalize active aircraft they were using so they could use those spare parts for other aircraft. That is the dire situation that we inherited. The president is serious about fixing that as well. But it’s separation of powers, so as you rightly note, we have to have that requisite support on the Hill to make things happen. The purse strings are there. The intent exists in the White House. We’ve already set with the increase in the budget the direction we need to go in, but it’s not just up to the president.
Levin concluded the interview by asking Gorka what it was like to “be under constant attack, in ways that really are quite vicious,” and if he was still glad to be at the White House after dealing with such abuse.
“Look, Mark, I’m living the dream,” Gorka replied. “I was an immigrant. I chose this country because I truly believe it’s the last great hope. I came here nine years ago, and I’m walking around the West Wing every day. God has smiled on me, and I’m thankful for that.”
“With all of these fake news attacks — there’s going to be another one in USA Today tomorrow — I just smile and I laugh. Why? Because I’m not in the cellar of the secret police headquarters in Budapest being tortured, like my father in 1950. So bring it on. Call in Karl, Ben Rhodes, Politico — I laugh in your face because it is pathetic and it’s only words,” he declared.
New York Post, by Paul Sperry, March 21, 2017:
No, Sebastian Gorka is not a goose-stepping Nazi.
This was a revelation to the writers and editors of The Forward, who all but accused him of being one last week, and to the publications that picked up and spread this juicy story before it was debunked by Liel Liebovitz at Tablet magazine. (At issue was whether Gorka is a secret member of a Hungarian group that collaborated with Nazis during World War II. He categorically denies it.)
The personal attacks aimed at Gorka and Michael Anton, both key national-security aides to President Trump, aren’t the only false stories in the left’s smear campaign against these two.
They have been painted in outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Politico and The Atlantic as Islamophobic hardliners hellbent on dragging us into more Mideast wars. But that bears little resemblance to their writing, which the Trump haters haven’t bothered to explore in any depth.
A closer reading of their voluminous writings reveals a cold-eyed realism about global affairs vs. the wild-eyed “extremism” portrayed by the media.
Gorka has cautioned against using “inflammatory” religious terms to describe even terrorism done in the name of Islam, arguing in his largely overlooked Ph.D. dissertation that it offends “law-abiding Muslims everywhere.” Also in his 240-page dissertation, Gorka calls a policy of exporting democracy “totally wrong-headed,” especially in the Middle East. “Any notion that concepts of democracy are universal must be discarded.”
“There is much evidence beyond the core tenets of the Quran and the Muslim world that suggests that our culture has been consciously rejected by other parts of the globe,” he explained, adding that promoting our brand of democracy in those regions often leads to “instability.”
Gorka, whose father was tortured by the Communists as a Hungarian freedom fighter, calls the harsh US interrogation techniques used against Iraqi prisoners a “scandal.” Abu Ghraib, he wrote in 2007, “has provided grist to the mills of the propaganda machine of Salafists.”
Anton, meanwhile, has argued for a middle path between “paleo-isolationism and neocon overreach.”
“Among the many reasons to be hopeful about President Trump’s foreign policy is that he seems to understand that correcting the errors of the neo-interventionists does not require adopting those of the paleo-isolationists,” Anton argues in the current issue of American Affairs Journal.
Both he and Gorka part ways with isolationists like Pat Buchanan when it comes to dealing with Iran. They agree it’s in America’s interest to intervene to deny Tehran nukes. But toppling dictators simply for the sake of promoting democracy is a fool’s errand, the two realists argue.
“In some regions, democracy also correlates highly with instability, which breeds war and chaos that are antithetical to American interests,” Anton writes, adding that opening elections often installs tyrannies worse than what preceded the “democracy” (as with Hamas in the West Bank and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt).
When it comes to battling global terrorism, Gorka knows that “we cannot realistically hope for a perfect victory” against jihadists. At the same time, he asserts that we have to do more than the “whack-a-mole” strategy of the past eight years. The ISIS “caliphate” proves the folly of such a reactionary approach.
Victory demands a more comprehensive strategy, starting with recognizing the connection between Islam and terrorism. While “we are not at war with Islam,” says Gorka, who studied theology at the University of London, our jihadist enemy is using Islamic doctrine to justify its actions. Key to defeating it is understanding that threat doctrine.
A cohesive strategy also means preventing ISIS and other terrorist groups from using our immigration policy as a Trojan Horse to sneak jihadists inside our borders.
Anton, who holds two masters degrees and worked previously (2001-05) at the National Security Council, calls “terrorism and mass illegal immigration” the “two biggest threats of our time.” He’s right, and adjusting foreign policy to respond to them is hardly “xenophobic.” As he notes, “The first priority of every state is to protect its own safety and the safety of its citizens.”
For nearly a decade, Islamofascists have been on the ascendancy around the world. Acts of jihadist terror, aided by liberal immigration policies, have multiplied in Europe. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the most vocal critics of the Trump Doctrine and its architects are the architects or cheerleaders of the failed doctrine it seeks to replace.
Paul Sperry, a former Hoover Institution fellow, is author of several books on national security.
PJ MEDIA, BY DEBRA HEINE, MARCH 16, 2017:
A story alleging that Trump aide Sebastian Gorka is a “crypto-Nazi” actually made the rounds today on left-wing media and even among mainstream news outlets. The allegation is so absurd one has to wonder if the White House baited the media into looking foolish.
The Forward published the story Thursday morning, claiming that Gorka is a lifetime member of Hungarian nationalist group Vitézi Rend. The charge was based on the hearsay of two members of the group.
The Forward characterizes Vitézi Rend as “Nazi-allied”, but that is a stretch. The group, also known as the “Order of the Valiant,” began in 1920 and is recognized as an “Institution of Chivalric Character” by the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry. During World War II, many members of the group collaborated with the Nazis — but many also died fighting against Hungarian Nazis, according to some historians.
Liel Leibovitz writes in Tablet:
Gorka’s father, Paul, was a dedicated member of the anti-Communist underground, and had risked his life to organize the Hungarian resistance and deliver vital information about the Soviets to western intelligence agencies, including the MI6.
He was eventually arrested, badly tortured, spent two years in solitary confinement and some more in forced labor in the coal mines before eventually escaping to England.
In 1979, Vitézi Rend awarded the elder Gorka with a medal for creating an anti-Communist, pro-democracy organization at the university he attended in Hungary and Gorka has occasionally worn the medal proudly in public.
Gorka spoke about the medal and his father’s torture at the age of 20 in a video last month for Breitbart News, which covered this smear of Gorka here:
To hear the piece tell it, Gorka, a top counter-terrorism advisor in the Trump White House, has sworn a lifetime oath to Vitézi Rend, an outfit that the story tells us is a nasty nationalist group in Gorka’s native Hungary that giddily collaborated with Hitler. Well, not the Vitézi Rend — that group was outlawed by the Communists, naturally — but the off-shoot of Vitézi Rend, resurgent after Communism’s fall in 1989. Or at least an off-shoot of the group: there are two, and Gorka, according to The Forward’s sources, appears to belong to one of them, called Historical Vitézi Rend. How do we know that? A member of the group, Kornél Pintér, said so. “Of course he was sworn in,” Pintér told The Forward in a phone interview. “I met with him in Sopron [a city near Hungary’s border with Austria]. His father introduced him.”
As Leibovitz noted, Pintér didn’t say that he’d witnessed Gorka’s swearing in, he merely said that he’d met the man because he was an associate of Gorka’s father Paul. Gorka told Leibovitz that the allegations are flat-out false:
“I have never been a member of the Vitez Rend. I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitez Rend. Since childhood, I have occasionally worn my father’s medal and used the ‘v.’ initial to honor his struggle against totalitarianism.” It’s a perfectly plausible explanation, and you’d have to be of a very specific mindset to still pursue allegations of Nazi affiliation.
Why didn’t Gorka simply tell this to The Forward? A source close to the White House, who was briefed on how the administration treated this story, explained things a little more to me.
“These guys genuinely believed that the allegations were so blatantly false and so aggressively poorly sourced, that no responsible journalist would ever publish them,” the source told me on the phone. “Is Seb Gorka, whose family literally bears the scars of anti-fascist fights, a secret Nazi cultist? Come on now.”
As National Security consultant David Reaboi wrote last month at PJ Media, Gorka has “fought and tried to undermine anti-Semitism on the far right” for his entire life. Many prominent Washington insiders have stood up in support Gorka’s character and against the smears.
The Forward’s smear campaign against Gorka is just the latest contribution in the fake media’s ongoing narrative that the Trump administration is a hive of Nazis and Russian spies.
More than a few outlets bit:
Adam Weinstein, @AdamNoahWho http://taskandpurpose.com/trump-advisor-took-lifelong-oath-nazi-collaborators-report/
Jesse Singal, @jessesingal http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/03/far-right-hungarian-group-gorka-swore-a-loyalty-oath-to-us.html
Talal Ansari, @TalalNAnsari https://www.buzzfeed.com/talalansari/sebastian-gorka-report?utm_term=.jse68onA3#.rwbYwbW12
Andrew Joyce, @AndrewPaulJoyce- https://mic.com/articles/171326/sebastian-gorka-nazi-vitezi-rend-hungary-immigration-trump-adviser#.FkpPjlMcv
Sydney Robinson, @SydneyMkay- https://trofire.com/2017/03/16/breaking-trump-adviser-lifelong-member-nazi-group-lied-immigrating-u-s/
The White House didn’t respond to The Forward’s emails for comment, and now all of these reporters have egg on their faces. Hmmmm.
A series of hit pieces is part of an effort to take down the White House counterterrorism adviser.
National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy — March 1, 2017
They’ve taken down General Michael Flynn. The former Trump national-security adviser resigned under fire when a false narrative — his purported collusion with election-hacking Russians — was inflamed by criminal intelligence leaks, exacerbated by his poor judgment (or, at the least, poor execution of his duty to brief senior administration officials). Now, the swamp is after its next scalp, Sebastian Gorka, a White House counterterrorism adviser. If the White House is wise, they won’t get it.
Seb is a friend of mine. He is also an accomplished scholar of jihadist ideology and methodology. A series of transparently coordinated hit pieces against him has issued from the usual mainstream-media sources. They have been ably rebutted, among other places, here at National Review Online, in a column by Colin Dueck, and at the Washington Free Beacon, in reports by Bill Gertz and Adam Kredo. The notion that he is racist, “Islamophobic” (as opposed to anti-jihadist), or uninformed is absurd. I wish only to add a couple of observations to the mix.
First, Washington’s government-centric clerisy has forged its own counterterrorism industry over the years, consisting of former investigators and intel analysts, along with the academics who collaborate with them. Much of the work they have done is very solid. But some of it has been highly politicized — in the Bush years, when the powers that be took umbrage at any suggestion that Islamic culture and some mainstream currents of Islamic thought are inherently resistant to Western democracy; and in the Obama years, when any whisper of the nexus between classical, scripture-based Islamic doctrine and terrorism committed by Muslims was a firing offense.
Gorka, an American citizen who grew up in London and holds a doctorate in political science from the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration, is an outside-the-Beltway academic. His clear-eyed understanding of totalitarian ideology, as we shall see, is largely based on having experienced its wages. In short, he is a gate-crasher who does not share the industry’s presumptions. Worse, from the industry’s perspective, he is an extraordinarily effective speaker and writer, who connects well in the classroom, on the page, in the council hall, and at the television studio. He is anathema to an expert class that has spent years willingly putting itself in the service of such farce as “countering violent extremism,” “workplace violence,” “Arab Spring,” “religion of peace,” and other manifestations of willful blindness.
There is thus a target on his back. The Trump administration’s quick cashiering of General Flynn has convinced establishment Washington that it may not take much character assassination for the next guy to be thrown under the proverbial bus.
Second, Flynn was replaced as national-security adviser by General H. R. McMaster, a commendable warrior but one lodged firmly in the Bush/Obama see-no-Islam mindset, which is at odds with Trump’s oft-stated determination to recognize the connection between Islam and terrorism. General McMaster evidently objects to Trump’s naming of “radical Islamic terrorism” as the enemy. As I’ve contended, naming the enemy is necessary but not nearly sufficient; it is but a first step toward the real necessity of understanding the enemy. I have expressed my own reservations about the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” so I can hardly fault McMaster on that score. I can quarrel, though, with his reportedly Obama-esque position that the Islamic State is not Islamic. That is no more sensible than saying that the Islamic State is perfectly representative of Islam.
There is wide diversity in the observance of Islam, and significant diversity — though less of it — in Islamic doctrine. If that were not the case, there would be no Muslim reformers, since there would be nothing objectionable to reform. I’ve argued that there is enough internecine conflict among Muslims to call into question whether there actually is a “true Islam”; and that it has thus been a waste of precious national-security energy to debate for nearly the last 40 years whether jihadists — who are practicing a scripturally endorsed form of warfare — are “un-Islamic.” From the perspective of Americans concerned about security and liberty, what matters is that (a) a sizable plurality of the world’s 1.5 billion-plus Muslims believes classical sharia — which fundamentally contravenes our Constitution — is the required framework for governing society, and (b) some percentage of that plurality is active in the pursuit of that belief, including a small but not insubstantial subset of violent jihadists. Whether these sharia-supremacist Muslims are faithful or heretical is not something non-Muslims are going to decide for Muslims, nor are Muslims much interested in our meanderings on the subject.
There is not only diversity in Islam, there are salient contextual differences in how we must deal with this diversity. There are places in the world where American interests are at stake and where Islamists are the only game in town — such that alliances with unsavory elements are unavoidable if worse elements are to be quelled. Warriors like General McMaster were thrust into such situations and could not have carried out their missions otherwise. Understandably, they have a perspective on the prudence of going the extra mile not to give offense to Muslims that is apt to be different from, say, a federal prosecutor whose case hinges on a jury’s understanding of the nexus between the defendants’ fundamentalist Islamic doctrine and their terrorist actions. It ought, moreover, to be common sense that how we should deal with Islamists on their turf when our security requires it may be markedly different from how we should deal with them on our turf when they are making demands that run counter to our principles and culture.
What these and other permutations ought to tell us is that group-think burdened by political correctness is the enemy of security. If an administration is going to meet our challenges effectively, it needs General McMaster and Dr. Gorka. It needs patriotic experts whose goal is the same — to protect the United States — but whose well-grounded views and experiences of what that requires may be very different. To untold millions of Muslims, jihadist terror is an abomination. But if the president is hearing only that terrorism is “un-Islamic,” he is missing a big part of the picture, and he can never “know thine enemy.”
Seb Gorka is far from an extremist. His short, accessible, best-selling book Defeating Jihad is a good, macro-level primer on the Islamic doctrinal and scholarly roots of jihadist terror. He is quite clear in it, as he has been in his public presentations, that Muslims are, by far, the most numerous victims of jihadism. Indeed, while I see the focal point of the threat as adherence to classical sharia, Seb emphasizes takfiri jihad, which targets Muslims who do not adhere to the brutal al-Qaeda and ISIS construction of Islam.
There are three major takeaways from the book, all rooted in Seb’s argument that the threat against us is ideologically-based. First, the ideological challenge is as much within Islam as about Islam, so it is critical that we empower our Muslim allies. Second, it is an ideological challenge of a nature we have successfully dealt with before (the book seeks a modern analogue to the Cold War containment doctrine championed by George Kennan and Paul Nitze). Third, it is an ideological challenge rooted in totalitarianism, a subject Seb grasps with particular clarity. The most riveting part of the book is the prologue, in which he relates the story of his own father, an operative in Hungary’s anti-Soviet resistance, who was detained for years and tortured after being double-crossed by Britain’s traitorous Philby spy ring. The elder Gorka made his way to the West, and to freedom, in the chaos of the 1956 uprising, even as the Kremlin crushed it.
Seb Gorka has valuable insight about the need for clarity and resolve in confronting a determined, remorseless enemy. He is a resource the Trump national-security team is fortunate to have. They’d be well advised to keep him, regardless of the Swamp’s preferences.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.