Saturday, January 29, 2011

America's Choice: Rotten Dictator or Islamists?

President Obama exercising a time-worn American tradition

All this Egypt stuff is giving me Latin America flashbacks.  I saw some pretty violent stuff down there.  Almost getting killed by Cubans dressed as locals was just one of the many close calls...

Anyway, I caught some Sean Hannity with a couple of blathering Muslim women on his show arguing over which was better, a soul-snuffing dictatorship or a liberty-hating Islamist regime. Sean took the side of the dictatorship.

With Friends like the Saudis and the Egyptians...

"We've got to prop up the Saudi autocracy and the Egyptian dictatorship," goes the logic.  "If Islamists take over, we'll be attacked by fundamentalists from Saudi Arabia and Egypt."  Uh.... On 9/11 we were attacked by Islamists from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, so that pretty much blows that logic.

Why can't America simply stand for liberty?
If the Jordanians or Algerians end up electing Muslim head-cutters, so what?  It's their choice, and hopefully they'll learn from it.  If the people can overthrow a Stalinist dictatorship, they can overthrow a theocracy.  And as I previously mentioned, we've already seen how effective our Saudi and Egyptian "friends" are at containing their own poison.

We should simply be on the side of liberty.  We can trade with anyone and everyone, but let's stop getting in bed with evil people.  So violent extremists take over Saudi Arabia and Kuwait...  What the hell do I care?  They've got to sell the damned oil to survive, so let's drop the crap about "securing the world's oil supply."


It's sickening watching the Obama administration's balancing act.  VP Biden insists Dictator for life Mubarack is not a dictator, and Hillary calls the dictator and his wife "close family friends," while the New York Times frets that this looks bad for President Obama since he launched his US apology to the Muslim world from Egypt.  The liberal press also worries that the contagion is spreading across the entire Muslim world.  I say, GOOD!

A Dysfunctional Umma
"The worst psychological state is a superiority complex coupled with an inferior status."
--Jagdish Bhagwati, economist
Let the whole damned boiling cauldron of hatred burn!  The whole fragging place needs a cleansing.  I've been there, I know.  It all needs to be tipped over, spilled out and flushed down the sewer.  What a rotten, stinking hellhole these red-faced, inflamed boils on the ass of global society have created for themselves.  Ordinarily, no one would care about the shit-smeared house of horrors the spawn of Ishmael have created, but the murderous lunatics keep escaping and creating bloody havoc in the civilized parts of the world.  It's time for a cleansing, and we need to get the hell out of the way. 

I started by mentioning the death and destruction I had witnessed in Central and South America.  For all of Latin America's problems, at least they know how to use toilet paper and keep decapitations to the absolute bare minimum.  Latin Americans can also face up to their past and learn from it.  Muslims are still living in a dream world that never was.

The Muslim world must come to grips with its systemic dysfunction and utter failure.  Only then can they get past it all and try to build a future.  We are not helping by propping up hate states.  They live in a festering sewer, and we shower them with billions to carpet it over and buy air fresheners to mask the stench.  Time to step back and let reality take its course.

Afterthought:  I wrote this last nigh and it looks harsh in the light of day, but I stand by it.  All I can add is that their are millions of good people in the Muslim world yearning to breath free. There are also millions of bad people dedicated to making sure that doesn't happen.  Who's side are we on?   


Karen Howes said...

100% agreed, Silverfiddle. I'm becoming more libertarian in regard to foreign policy-- stop meddling in the affairs of other countries, unless our self-interest or security is at stake.

Jersey McJones said...

Conservatives showed a genuine lack of geopolitics when they bashed Obama for his teipd response to the popular unrest in Iran last year. Obama, wisely, avoided becoming attached to the movement, as surely any hint of American intervention or Americanization at all, would have only lent credence to the anti-American paranoia of the Iranian regime.

Sometimes it's best to keep one's big trap shut.

Egypt (and Tunisia) is a very different situation. There is no single, organized theocratic regime to take the country over. The Muslim Brotherhood, both in creed and organization, can not do it.

But, both in Iran and Egypt, it is not Islam itself that is causing the problem - it is disfunctional political states.


Finntann said...

Unfortunately Jersey, liberals show a complete lack of geopolitics when they think that our actions or inactions have any bearing whatsoever on anti-American paranoia.

It is called propaganda and has no requisite relationship with the truth. We, however, assist the propagandists by our actions. America, the bastion of freedom and liberty supporting the anchors of tyranny and oppression. We are already "the Great Satan", I don't think you can go much downhill from there.

America would be better served by consistently standing on its principals than trying to bend them to fit around autocratic regimes.

The Muslim Brotherhood, as a banned political party, managed to achieve 20% (88) of the seats in the 2005 Egyptian parlimentary elections, elections recognized by pretty much all as 'fixed', by running as independents. What makes you think the Muslim Brotherhood "can't do it"?

You liberals could take a valuable lesson on democracy, and perhaps gain some insight on why our nation was established as a republic, from the middle east. You need look no further than Gaza, where in the 2006 elections the people voted in Hamas.

So, what exactly is the secular liberal position on a democratically elected theocracy?

Mustang said...

President Bush insisted on democratic elections in Palestine, and the people —exercising exceptional wisdom, elected a terrorist regime. There are occasions when the best policy is to maintain silence, and this is what I recommend to Øbama/Clinton. Current Egyptian events are an internal matter; lacking the capacity to impose our will, it is both ill-advised and laughable when Øbama warns Mubarak about anything.

There is no one we can point to over the past sixty years, of either party, as an astute diplomat. This is most assuredly true vis-à-vis the Middle East—and doubly true in the case of Jimmy (The Dunce) Carter’s handling of the Iran Hostage affair. It is thus that Jersey’s example of liberal geopolitical understanding begins to break down.

Jersey McJones said...

Finn, you're arguing in circles. We would've undoubtedly aided the Iranian regime had we taken a harder stance with the uprising.

As for the MB, I've been reading a lot about it these past few days and have come to the general conclusion that they can not take over Egypt. I could be wrong, but what with differences withing the group, it's relatively apolitical creed, and it's disfavor among the Egyptian middle-class and military, I would be stunned to see them play much of a role in this usprising. So far, they appear to be watching from the sidelines. Remember too, silent diplomacy may be their MO here. If the uprising were to be attributed to the MB, it would be the perfect excuse for a military crack-down on them, and for many in the uprising to back down, not wanting to be associated with them.

There is no modern liberal position regarding democratically elected theocracies. Any liberal worth his salt wouldn't even see such a thing as possible. Theocracies are always heirarchical, dogmatic, oligarchies. And even if it were possible, theocracy is always bad, no matter who's behind it. You can't run a nation on superstition and myth.


Jersey McJones said...


It is not about "liberal geopolitical understanding." It is about having a grasp on geopolitics, period. Conservatives often have a very unrealistic view of the world, almost comic-bookish. For instance: what would you cons have had Carter do? Invade Iran? Put the Shah back in? Murder millions of Iranians? Just what sort of ludicrous response would you have endorsed?

We have a chance, in the not-so-distant future, to have a good relationship with Iran. If we had bungled the hostage crisis with military intervention, there's a good chance they would never have forgiven us.


Mustang said...

Once again, you have a somewhat selective memory. Carter’s sophisticated understanding of geopolitics was that every night he appeared on the evening news to state what he would not do in response to Iran’s illegal seizure of the US Embassy. Iran was interested, I suppose, because there was an earlier incident in Turkey involving fundamental (retarded) Islamacists and the Soviet Embassy. The soviets brought in a Spetsnaz team and took their embassy back within a few hours. There were no survivors. Would Jimmy Carter do such a thing? Of course not; he was far too sophisticated in his understanding. Consequently, the Iranians deduced that the US would do NOTHING … and that is precisely what they did for 444 days.

And then came the election of Ronald Reagan, who, during a post-election radio interview said, “If the hostages aren’t released by the day of my inauguration, I will transform Tehran into a parking lot.” Reagan said he didn't realize the microphone was on, and that he was only joking. I doubt that. But, amazingly, on the very day of his inauguration, Iran released the hostages.

Now you tell me, Mr. Jones —which of these two men had the better grasp of geopolitics: the liberal retard, or a conservative?

Don't dispair; I know how difficult facts can be ...

tha malcontent said...

America's Choice: Rotten Dictator or Islamists?

What a choice. Anyway you look at it, we lose.

Finntann said...

Jersey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Our non-position on Iran resulted in exactly what the Iranian regime wanted... our non-involvement. What would our support have resulted in? Violent suppression of dissent? you already have that.

"Any liberal worth his salt wouldn't even see such a thing as possible."

No? What do you call Gaza? Pakistan? Mauritania? While one could argue that they are all flawed democracies, one could also argue that they are all also flawed theocracies.

Or for that matter, Iran?

The President is elected by universal suffrage for a term of four years and can only be re-elected for one term. Presidential candidates must be approved by the Council of Guardians prior to running in order to ensure their allegiance to the ideals of the Islamic revolution. The legislature of Iran is a unicameral body comprised of 290 members elected for four year terms, candidates also must be approved by the Council of Guardians.

The problem with secularists, is you think given the opportunity, everyone else will choose to be secular. But give a population that is in the majority very religious the freedom to democratically select their government, chances are you are going to wind up with a very religious based government, if not a Theocracy.

I stand by the principle that America needs to stand by its values, publicly and privately. I am certainly not saying we should be going around throwing over monarchies and dictatorships, but we certainly shouldn't be providing them the capability to maintain their power.

Jersey McJones said...

Mustang, your take on the Iran Hostage Crisis is exemplary of the comic-bookish way conservative view world history and geopolitics. You believe that silly tale of how Reagan scared the hostage takers. It's a fairy tale. In reality, it was a complex situation, but ironically enough, the exact timing of the release was probably just a shot at Carter from the revolutionaries. The main reason for the length of the crisis was to keep us at bay, politically and militarily, while a new power structure could be firmly established in Iran.

Carter was not a very effective or successful president, for a variety of reasons, but he is not all that liberal and he is very smart.

Reagan, ironically, was a very effective and successful president, but he was not all that conservative, and sometimes he didn't seem very smart. Just the the same, knowledgable people seem to agree he was a keen intellect.

Both were disasters for the future of America as they ushered in an era of laizzez faire domestic policy mixed with expansive militarism, exponentially growing our fiscal obligations while heavily diminishing the capacity of the majority of citizens to bear it.


When you really look at it, there never really has been a pure theocracy in recorded history, other than very small, insignificant states. Like I said, you can't run a real country on mythical beliefs.

You mentioned a bunch of states that are ostensibly "theocratic" but all in many ways something else.

Iran's regime would fall to pieces with the military. There is no legitimate democracy there to elect a theocracy. The theocracy is autocratic and runs the country. The secular offices are of nominal power.

Gaza is as much a threocracy as it is a dozen other disfunctional systems.

Mauritania is not a theocracy. Just because something is called "Islamic Republic of..." doesn't mean it's an Islamic republic.

Think of all the various "Christian Democratic" parties all over the world. Each are to one degree or another more or less one or the other, but they are really two different things operating together.

Now, you are absolutely wrong in every way if you believe for one second that "secularists" (I assume you mean Realists) have any doubt that people won't vote away their freedom and best interests in heartbeat under certain circumstance.

I believe it was Sam Harris, someone I assume you loathe, that applied that reasoning to argue against democratization of the Middle East. I don't know anyone who would call themselves a "secular thinker" (I know of know serious "secularist" movement) who would argue against that argument! It was conservatives who turned their backs on "no nation building" and went about wrecking havoc.

One of our prime "values" as Americans, by definition, is to let the Old World fight out their own stupid battles. Without us.


Leticia said...

You are absolutely correct and there is no sugar-coating the truth. As harsh as it may be. This is what the Dems and liberals have a hard time understanding that concept. They want to live in candy land.

Freedom always comes at a price.

Finntann said...

Jersey, you can play semantic word games with "true" until the cows come home. You couldn't call the US a true democracy or a true republic either. Want an example of a true theocracy? Vatican City is probably the closest you'll come.

As to whether or not Mauritania is a theocracy, you need look no further than their constitution. The major difference between Mauritania and Iran is that the High Council is appointed in the former by the democratically elected president, and in the latter by themselves. The point is, many states are theocratic in nature.

As to Sam Harris, no, I don't particularly loathe him, although I would caution that fanatical atheists are about as dangerous as the fantatical religious. It's pretty bad when other atheists are coming out against you for being intolerant and authoritarian. When atheism becomes a religion unto itself, what's the difference?

"One of our prime "values" as Americans, by definition, is to let the Old World fight out their own stupid battles. Without us."

I don't think this article is advocating going in and establishing democracies across the middle east. What it is advocating is not propping up dictatorships and authoritarian states that operate contrary to our stated principles, and offering moral support to those actions that are moving in what we consider to be the right direction.

You know what the message pro-democratic advocates are getting in Egypt? Tear Gas grenades stamped "Made in the USA"

Maggie@MaggiesNotebook said...

Silver, I've reached the same conclusion. Stay out of it. The people there have said they do not want to replace the government. They want to replace Mubarak. Whether that will happen or not remains to be seen.

I've read several places that the government is actually the military, and that it will not fall.

Whatever happens, these people know the Brotherhood. Let them decide, and then they have to live with it. What kind of hope is there in a country that is 90% Muslim anyway.

Silverfiddle said...

Finn is right. I am advocating staying out of it. We've been sold a bill of good that if we make a bargain with the devil it will keep a legion of devils from troubling us, and we've seen that just isn't true. We've kissed the ass of all these bloody tyrants, illiberal dictators and rotten regimes, and what do we have to show for it?

DarcPrynce said...

I'll explain this in the most simple terms possible. The reason why we are in bed with Middle Eastern dictators is because liberal Democrats have made it virtually impossible for us to produce our own energy here at home, and we have to get it from somewhere or we're truly fucked as a nation.

As I wrote in response to your post in the comments section of the Daley Gator regarding the issue of the recent Egyptian uprisings:

Maybe what you say is true, and there is no genuinely positive outcome in this particular situation. Personally I don’t care much if there is or not… Egypt isn’t my country. What I do care about, however, is the cost of oil and gasoline, and until this country pulls its collective head out of its collective ass and starts producing a lot more petroleum products here at home, simply turning our backs on that part of the world is a practical impossibility, unless of course you don’t mind suffering another great depression far worse than the last.

Yes, the choice right now is indeed between the lesser of two evils, and those who would – through childlike naivete or plain old apathy – allow the greater of two evils to prevail in this case, are just begging for the imminent collapse of the United States.

I guess holding such opinions makes me a “neocon” as well, but I’d rather be labeled that than bury my head in the sand and pretend we can run a country of 300 million people on Ron Paul speeches for the indefinite future. Until such a time as we finally decide to open a shitload more oil fields to exploration and drilling, build more refineries, open more coal mines, construct more coal and nuclear plants, and increase our natural gas output, I’ll be siding with John Bolton on such matters.

Why? Because high-minded idealism isn’t going to prevent me or my pipes from freezing when the cost of home heating fuel skyrockets to ten bucks a gallon and I can no longer afford to fill my tank.

Silverfiddle said...

Darc: Well said. It would behoove the neocons to use such stark language. Waving the stars and stripes for America-hating dictators just ain't cutting it for thinking Americans anymore.

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