The return of the Axis of Evil

January 17, 2011

Michael Ledeen looks at events around the world and sees a coordinated message being sent to the US: we’re going to take you down:

Obama’s getting kicked around from Lebanon to China, but nobody seems to notice the pattern. Why shouldn’t we think that the near-simultaneous attacks — China’s humiliation of Defense Secretary Bob Gates, and Hezbollah’s (that is to say, Iran’s) takedown of the Lebanese government — were coordinated? Or do you believe that the remarkable simultaneity of the events is sheer happenstance?

The two key bad actors — Iran and the People’s Republic of China — are known to be in cahoots. And Syria is one of Iran’s closest allies (some might say it’s a virtual Iranian colony). All three have strong reasons to demonstrate that the United States has opted out of the geopolitical game, or has been effectively stymied by the three. That message is a lot stronger when it’s sent in two separate theaters at the same time than if it has to be inferred from events spread out over weeks and months. It’s like the terrorist strategy of blowing up two targets in separate countries at the same hour, as they did to American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 or on occasion during the fighting in Iraq.

There is every reason to believe that we’re looking at the return of the axis of evil. These are not random events; they’re part of a global pattern aimed at our domination and ultimate destruction. If you read the articles linked above, you’ll find the same “message to the world” in both cases.

But a more recent event, the revolution in Tunisia that’s scaring the pants off dictators across the region, points a way forward against this challenge — standing up again for the American idea, something President Obama seems incapable of doing:

On the other hand, we are the only truly revolutionary country in the world, and — as Obama once unfortunately put it — whether we like it or not, our very existence inspires a lot of the desire for democratic revolution. Many, perhaps even most, of the people in the streets of those countries, are our greatest weapon against the jihadis.

So we should support the revolutionaries. Obama has praised the bravery of the Tunisians, and although he has cravenly refused to do the same for the Iranian people (who, after all, have been fighting tyranny longer, and have paid a far greater price in blood and torture than the Tunisians), logic demands that he now do so.  There is no convenient way for him to praise freedom fighters in one Middle East dictatorship and waffle in baffling generalizations elsewhere. Democratic revolution is ours, and we had best embrace it.

This support doesn’t require military action, which might in fact be counterproductive. But, as the last stages of the Cold War showed under Reagan, America as an ideal can be an inspiration to those fighting oppression, simply by being openly, unashamedly, and loudly in their corner at every opportunity and in every forum. As Natan  Sharansky related in his The Case for Democracy, Reagan’s “evil empire” speech about the Soviet Union echoed through the gulags, inspiring political prisoners to persevere, emboldened by the knowledge they weren’t abandoned. In Poland, the moral support the United States provided was so instrumental to Solidarity’s survival and the fall of Communism there, that statues have been raised to President Reagan and public squares named for him.

The point, of course, is not that Obama should do this for the honors he might get, but that American moral leadership in the cause of human liberty truly has an effect and is a genuine weapon to be wielded against the tyrants in Beijing and Tehran who work against us. It’s about time he started.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Imam Rauf: building bridges to where, exactly? -UPDATED

August 23, 2010

Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam at the center of the controversy over the mosque proposed for Ground Zero in New York City, has claimed he is a man of moderation, a bridge-builder between Islam and America, between Muslims and Americans of other faiths. He wants to show that Islam and the Muslims can be a part of America’s democratic society.

Praising Ayatollah Khomeini and Iran’s theocratic fascist dictatorship is a funny way to do that, however. Soon after the fraudulent Iranian elections of 2009, he wrote, as reported by Michael Ledeen:

He proclaimed that calm had returned to Iran, and that the “official” results–Ahmadinejad in a landslide–were correct.  Indeed, the whole system, according to Imam Rauf, is admirable:

  • The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was in part to depose the shah, who had come to power in 1953 after a CIA-sponsored coup overthrew democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossaddeq. And in part it was an opportunity to craft an Islamic state with a legitimate ruler according to Shia political theory.
  • After the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took the Shiite concept of the Rightly Guided Imam and created the idea of Vilayet-i-faqih, which means the rule of the jurisprudent. This institutionalizes the Islamic rule of law. The Council of Guardians serves to ensure these principles.


(…)

  • (Obama’s) administration understands that what is going on now in Iran is an attempt by the Iranian people to live up to their own ideals. Just as American democracy developed over many years, the United States recognizes that this election is part of the process of an evolving democracy in Iran.


That’s pure appeasement of Iranian tyranny.

So, then, just where does this bridge Imam Rauf wants to build lead?

UPDATE: From the horse’s… mouth. Tell me again this guy is a moderate? On what scale?

As Jim Geraghty puts it:

…to suggest that the indirect effects of a U.S. sanctions regime is remotely morally comparable to al-Qaeda’s deliberate mass murder – much less to suggest that they are morally worse – is to eviscerate one’s claim to be moderate, pro-American, or sensible. He says it is a “difficult subject to discuss with Western audiences.” Does he ever wonder why?


To envy a tyrant’s power

September 24, 2009

Michael Ledeen on Barack Obama:

American politics are very fractious, and always have been. Leaders are constantly frustrated, and some of them come to yearn for an end to our freedom. They think they know best, they just want to tell us what to do and have us shut up and do it. I think Obama is one of them. He’s not naïve. It’s different. He doesn’t like the way things work here, he thinks he can do much better, and he’s possessed of the belief that America has done a lot of terrible things in the world, and should be prevented from doing such things ever again. The two convictions mesh perfectly. It’s The Best and the Brightest run amok.

Democratic leaders’ envy of tyrants’ power can be understood. But it can’t be forgiven.


Quote of the day

September 13, 2009

From Michael Ledeen:

This  of course has been the real issue all along, the issue nobody wants to talk about:  they’re killing us.  They’ve been doing it for more than thirty years.  And still we only want to talk.