Saturday, June 13, 2009


The real meaning of President Obama’s recent address to the Muslim world in Cairo is that he is turning his back on the Jews at a time when they face another possible Holocaust.

Mr. Obama called for a “new beginning” in relations between the United States and Islamic civilization. He praised Islam’s commitment to “peace,” “justice” and “religious tolerance.” He listed the Muslim world’s supposed contributions to history - algebra, the compass and the printing press, among others.

There is only one problem: It is all false. Mr. Obama’s outreach to the Arab street is predicated on a massive multicultural fiction. He believes that, if only he praises Islam enough, somehow he can talk the Muslim world into embracing America - and the West. “The Holy Koran tells us, ‘Be conscious of God and speak always the truth,’ ” said Mr. Obama, quoting the Muslim holy book. Yet his speech was riddled with lies.

It was not Islam, but the Greeks, who invented algebra. The Chinese gave us the compass. And Johannes Gutenberg - a German - created the modern printing press. What’s next: Islam invented the Internet?

The address, however, was more than a puerile and pathetic exercise in political correctness. It will be remembered as the pivotal moment in history when the United States ceased to be a superpower. Sapped of its self-confidence and sense of grandiose destiny, America chose the policy of appeasement over confrontation, lies over truth, illusion over reality. At the heart of Mr. Obama’s speech as well as his foreign policy is the notion that we are not “at war” with Islam. But the real issue is the very opposite: Political Islam is at war with us - or to be more precise, radical fundamentalists are bent on destroying America, Israel and the West.

The liberals’ mantra is that the majority of Muslims are nonviolent moderates. This is undeniably true. But it misses the point.

During the 1930s, appeasement was based upon the notion that a majority of Germans were decent people who simply wanted peace and national self-determination. Thus, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain made the fateful decision to give away the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia’s ethnic German region, to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.

By betraying the Czechs at the Munich conference, Chamberlain believed he had secured “peace for our time.” Instead, he had emboldened Hitler to wage a war of conquest. The end result was a Europe in tatters, 50 million dead and the Holocaust. The fact that there were countless moderate, anti-Nazi Germans meant nothing. Their refusal to speak out against Hitler’s Aryan racialism guaranteed its march to power - and destruction. History reveals that it is militant minorities - not reasonable majorities - that often drive events.

Across the Muslim world, Islamists are on the march. They may represent only 10 percent of the Muslim population, but that still amounts to nearly 150 million people. Mr. Obama rarely mentioned democracy and never said the word “terrorism.”

Yet the Middle East does not need greater empathy nor multicultural sensitivity. Rather, it needs to hear cold, hard truths: Its backwardness is rooted in the lack of Enlightenment modernity and liberal democracy. The region’s despots foster anti-Semitic, anti-American hatred to distract citizens from their profound misrule. The absence of press freedoms, political accountability and the rule of law has only fueled Islamic fascism. The darkness of dictatorship breeds jihadism; to drain the terrorist swamp requires systemic democratic reform - which Mr. Obama refused to address openly and candidly.

He could have called for Egypt’s corrupt autocracy to release democratic dissidents rotting in its jails. He could have called for Saudi Arabia to no longer fund radical madrassas. He could have called on Arab rulers to stop persecuting Jews and Christians. He could have called on Syria to end its support for Hamas and Hezbollah. But he did not.

Instead, Mr. Obama highlighted the core principle of his foreign policy: a tough line against Israel. He repeated his call for an independent Palestinian state and for Jerusalem to halt expanding settlements. The key issue in the region, however, is not Palestine. It is Iran.

Mr. Obama is repeating Chamberlain’s tragic mistake - except this time, the Israelis are to play the role of the Czechs, the sacrificial lamb at the altar of appeasement. Senior Israeli intelligence officials admit the Obama administration has privately told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington can live with an Iranian nuclear bomb. Mr. Obama believes it is only a matter of time. Moreover, should Israel attack Iran’s nuclear sites to prevent the mullahs from achieving the bomb, Jerusalem - not Tehran - will be blamed for any military conflict.

The Obama administration argues that Israel’s nuclear arsenal can serve as a strategic deterrent to the Iranian bomb, similar to how mutually assured destruction (MAD) between the United States and the Soviet Union kept the peace during the Cold War. But the Soviet Union was a rational, atheistic power. Iran’s mullocracy is a messianic, apocalyptic Shi’ite regime, willing to sacrifice millions of Iranians to achieve the Final Solution.

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, a so-called “moderate” and a predecessor of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has vowed that Tehran will not be deterred by the fear of Israeli nuclear retaliation. “If the day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in its possession,” he said, “… application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.” In other words, the mullahs believe Iran can survive a nuclear exchange, while Israel can’t.

These are the words - and ideas - of madmen. Mr. Obama lacks the courage and will to confront America’s deadliest enemies.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank.

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