Peculiar Foreign Policy Assumptions

Andy McCarthy writes:

Hatred for America and the West is rampant in the Islamic world. We are not merely willfully blind to it. Our government, wittingly or not, is endorsing it, and not just by Obama’s apology tours. At his ballyhooed Cairo speech on Islam and the West, the president insisted — over the objections of the Mubarak government — on inviting members of the Muslim Brotherhood, whom administration insiders view as Islamists we can work with. This is the same Muslim Brotherhood whose motto remains “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” It is the same Muslim Brotherhood that encourages suicide bombings and other terrorizing of Israelis (i.e., “resistance”) in the Palestinian territories. It is the same Muslim Brotherhood for which Qaradawi — who has promised that Islam will “conquer America” — speaks.

Should the Obama Administration “work with” the Muslim Brotherhood? I haven’t any idea. Ignorant as I am about the geopolitics involved, it is, for all I know, a historic blunder or a savvy gambit.

But I am always perplexed by obviously flawed arguments like the one that Mr. McCarthy offers as though it were decisive. In instances too numerous to list, American Presidents have usefully “worked with” people and regimes of the most despicable sort. FDR worked with Joseph Stalin. The very same Joseph Stalin who purged millions of his own people, took a stance of paranoid aggression against Western countries, and subscribed to an ideology literally bent on world domination. Despite being one of the biggest moral monsters of recorded history, there were times when the interests of his regime overlapped with the interests of the United States.

What explains this bizarre tendency on the American right to talk as though the primary job of an American president is to identify malign regimes and political factions, insult their leaders, and never speak to them under any circumstances? This is especially puzzling given that many of these same people venerate Ronald Reagan, who worked with everyone from the USSR to the Iranian regime to various South American despots and even fascist opposition groups who destabilized Communist sympathizing regimes.

Perhaps Mr. McCarthy has a perfectly persuasive argument about why the United States shouldn’t work with the Muslim Brotherhood. If so, he should offer it, rather than persisting in the simpleminded fiction that citing all the abhorrent things a group believes somehow makes the case that it is impossible to gain anything by engaging them.

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