Why Obama's 'Muslim Grievances' policy towards terrorism is so attractive and why it is fatally flawed.08 Mar 2015
The centerpiece of President Obama’s speeches at last month’s “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism” is the idea that the unnamed Islamic extremism is a result, not of radical ideology, but a reaction to “legitimate grievances” against America and the West.
Listening to his words, it at first seems that the President understands that terrorism is not causally related to poverty and other economic “grievances,”:
poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist, any more than poverty alone causes someone to become a criminal. There are millions, billions of people who are poor and are law-abiding and peaceful and tolerant, and are trying to advance their lives and the opportunities for their families.
This is incredibly important because it is established fact that wealthy, highly-educated people have become terrorists and billions of poor people have not:
But right after the President acknowledges this, he backtracks:
But when people – especially young people – feel entirely trapped in impoverished communities, where there is no order and no path for advancement, where there are no educational opportunities, where there are no ways to support families, and no escape from injustice and the humiliations of corruption – that feeds instability and disorder, and makes those communities ripe for extremist recruitment. And we have seen that across the Middle East and we’ve seen it across North Africa. So if we’re serious about countering violent extremism, we have to get serious about confronting these economic grievances.”
The idea that Islamic Extremism (I’ll use the term even though Obama won’t) can be properly countered by addressing alleged economic grievances is bunk.
However, the President did say something here that actually is true:
that feeds instability and disorder, and makes those communities ripe for extremist recruitment.
Of course someone who has nothing to lose and feels oppressed is more likely to buy into a radical ideology that tells him he isn’t at fault and that all his problems are caused by America or the Jews. We know this is true because it was exactly the environment in which the Nazis rose to power in Germany. A humiliated people, ravaged by war, economy in tatters, were offered a vision in which they could claim to be the victims. It wasn’t German warmongering that caused their dire predicament, it was the schemes of the Jews. In order to be the world superpower Germany was and should be, all you had to do was buy into an imagined past based on centuries of well-crafted anti-Semitism.
But it wasn’t economic distress alone that caused the rise of Nazism (many countries are ravaged by war and don’t end up turning to genocidal anti-Semitism). There were still plenty of wealthy, upper-class Germans who bought into Nazism - not because of the economic situation - but because it spoke to them as German Nationalists and fed on their history of anti-Semitism. It was these two factors that also provided the foundation for those more economically depressed Germans to see the Nazis as the answer to their problems.
This historical precedent also offers us a window into how we can achieve victory over radical Islam. When the Allies went to war against Nazi Germany, they didn’t seek to end the war and make peace, they sought nothing less than complete victory and submission from the vanquished. After this was achieved, a process of Denazification was enacted to undo the decades of brainwashing from Goebbels’s propaganda machine. This was largely successful, but it overlooked a problem we are dealing with today: Denazification was only enacted in Germany and Austria, ignoring the Islamic world that was so receptive to the Nazi’s supremacist and anti-Semitic ideology.
This message was widely accepted in the Muslim world with groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, whose founder, Hassan al-Banna, allying themselves with the Nazis and taking this message as their own. Despite their active collaboration with the Nazis, the Muslim Brotherhood was not prosecuted after the war and many Nazi war criminals a found safe haven among them. Booksellers on the streets of Cairo still openly sell copies of Mein Kampf - though without the sections describing Arabs as one of the lowest races of humanity.
The links between Nazism and the roots of Islamic Terrorism are well documented but completely ignored by Leftists like Barack Obama. Once a radical ideology takes up residence in a community, it cannot be excised without being countered on its own terms. Nazism wasn’t defeated in Germany just by building up its economy and getting out of work Germans jobs, that would have just made Nazi Germany stronger. Nazism was only defeated when it was vanquished militarily and the population reeducated. This is exactly what needs to happen in the war against Radical Islam.
#####If this is so clearly the case, then why exactly is the view that President Obama is presenting - economic grievances against the West are the driving factor in breeding terrorism - so compelling for many, especially on the Left?
It is the same reason why anti-Israel, Blue-and-Whitewashing groups like J Street are gaining in popularity as well.
In promoting their “pro-peace” agenda, J Street lobbies for American pressure against Israel (and only against Israel) to make concessions and compromises for peace. This is because, in their view, the only reason there is no peace is because Israel refuses to end the occupation. Facts have no place in this discussion, so pointing out that Arab rejectionism and terrorism pre-dated the occupation or that the Palestinians have rejected four peace plans in the past 15 years and torpedoed numerous attempts at negotiation, does nothing to change the view of these groups. To them, everything is Israel’s fault.
#####But why would such an idea be so attractive to the Jews who join J Street?
It is surprisingly simple: if everything is Israel’s fault, if peace is absent only because of what Israel does, then Israel alone can change this. Jews can do very little to change the rejectionist, anti-Semitic, and pro-terror views of the Palestinians, but if all of those are really just a reaction to things Jews do (and not what Jews are) then there is an easy answer to the problem.
This is exactly why President Obama desperately needs to believe that Islamic Terrorism is a result of American policy and not a rejection of American values by embracing an opposing ideology. If everything is really a result of “legitimate grievances” caused by the United States, then President Obama just needs to address those issues and the problem will go away. But, if Islamic terrorists and their supporters actually believe what they believe for reasons independent of the US, then only a massive program of Dejihadification can stop them, and that is a much more complicated and messy matter.
Not only is this difficult because it involves militarily defeating ISIS and replacing its ideology, but it is more complicated than Denazification because Nazism was only a political ideology and political ideologies can be changed and countered by rival ideologies and by outsiders. However, the Salafi Jihadism that is practiced by extremists in ISIS, Hamas, and Boko Haram, is believed by them to be the only authentic form of their religion. Non-Muslims cannot counter this ideology with an alternate form of Islam, only Muslims can do that. So even if ISIS is defeated militarily, unless the Muslim world creates an antidote for radical Jihadism in the form of a more moderate and modern Islam, another will just pop up.
And that is precisely why President Obama’s narrative is doomed to fail.
The shocking words of J Street’s co-founder, Daniel Levy:
Bottom line: if we’re all wrong, and the collective Jewish presence in the Middle East can only survive by the sword, it cannot be accepted, it’s not about what we do - sound familiar? They hate us for what we are, not what we do - if that’s true, then Israel really ain’t a very good idea.
This disturbing idea, proudly stated by J Street’s leader, is exactly what President Obama was saying at the “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.” You just have to switch out a few words:
Bottom Line: if we’re all wrong, and the Islamist ideology exists because its followers actually believe in its message and see it as authentic Islam, it’s not about what we do - sound familiar? They hate us for what we are, not what we do - if that’s true, then America really ain’t a very good idea.
The self-centered nature of Liberals will be our undoing if not actively countered. This idea that everything is really the fault of Israel and the West can be comforting because it imbues Westerners with an inflated sense of self-importance making them think they have the power to enact change on their own, can only lead to our own destruction.
This is exactly why it is also so dangerous.