The Wall Street Journal used a half page of its editorial space Jan. 30 to publish a totally illogical, if not delusional, column (“Israel’s New Islamist Neighborhood: If Western history is any guide, the growth of democracy slowly diminishes religious imperatives”) by former CIA Middle East specialist Reuel Marc Gerecht regarding the future “moderation” of Islam in the Middle East. It appears the Wall Street Journal’s editors, economic conservatives who can see no wrong in the human-rights abuses in wealthy Islamic nations, wanted to highlight the column to justify U.S support of the Muslim Brotherhood in the takeover of half a dozen nations in the vicinity of Israel.
Gerecht asserts that:
“Israel may one day be accepted by its Arab neighbors and by its most deadly foe, Iran – but only when Arab and Iranian Muslim identities allow for it. At best, that change is decades away. Modern Islam’s great internal tug of war, between the search for authenticity and the love of modernity, must quiet before the Israeli-Palestinian clash can end.”
The key word in this paragraph is “modernity,” which brings in the assumption that Islam will move out of the seventh century and somehow accept a Martin Luther who will “fix” Islam with a reformation that will bring about the equivalent of same-sex marriages in the Episcopal Church.
On what does Gerecht base his assumptions? Later in the column he writes:
“Yet if Western history is any guide, the growth of democracy slowly diminishes religious imperatives. Representative government demystifies politics and ethics, as the here-and-now takes precedence over abstract aspirations. It makes the mundane transcendent. It promotes healthy division because it puts competing visions, even competing fundamentalist visions, to the vote. It localizes ambitions and focuses people’s passions on the national purse.”
Western history is no more a guide for modernizing Islamic nations through democracy than Stalinist history was a model to modernize China. It took over 500 years, from the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 until the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, for cultural acceptance of democratic thought despite a Judeo-Christian religious base that promotes the dignity of the individual’s rights. Islam has no such history or character.
And to what “national pulse” does Gerecht refer? The Super Bowl? Europeans are less in touch than even Americans with any political pulse other than to demand even more benefits from their governments.
Apparently Gerecht sees a morally splintered Western society in which citizens have the power to vote themselves lavish entitlements as the model for the Middle East. His discussion of democracy shows his total lack of understanding that the words democracy and freedom have different definitions. Democracy is merely a process of selecting leaders and is in no way synonymous with freedom, as can be seen in the United Kingdom where even politicians are jailed for their Facebook comments which are deemed politically incorrect.
In that same paragraph he asserts that democracy “puts competing visions, even competing fundamentalist visions, to the vote.” When has this ever happened anywhere? Are the views of Orthodox Jews, fundamentalist Baptists, conservative Catholics or murderous mullahs put to the vote in Western democracies? This is nonsense.
Speaking briefly of Iran, Gerecht states:
“The Iranian people, if their votes could rule, would surely restore diplomatic relations with Washington and possibly even with Israel.”
This statement on Iran’s electoral process is false. The current Islamist president of Iran was elected by a vast majority of the people. The youth who demonstrated in the streets for change in 2009 were a minority and were easily crushed by the government.
Contradicting his own statement about Iran, Gerecht then says of the new Islamist states around Israel that were created by Barack Obama and his EU partners:
“Their attempts to enforce certain Islamic values through legislation will inevitably produce faction and fatigue. Secularists will grow stronger. And unlike their great liberal forbearers of the 19th and early-20th centuries, Muslim secularists who win at the ballot box will be much less inclined to kowtow to orthodox Islamic sentiments.”
Gerecht reaches this conclusion by showing a profound lack of knowledge of the basic tenets of Islam and the history surrounding it.
At the end of the article is Gerecht’s prediction of peace in the Middle East:
“The age of Islamism and democracy has just arrived. The interplay may be long, arduous and ugly. But it is conceivable that Israelis, Arabs and Iranians will finally find a modus vivendi based on something more profound than land-for-peace. It will be based on free men voting.”
He conveniently does not mention that Turkey, now firmly controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, had a secularist democratic government for decades after its founding by Ataturk. Turkey’s constitution outlawed religious political parties, and the army was tasked to protect the secular nature of the nation. After the Muslim Brotherhood came to power – in a democratic election – repression began. Dozens of generals have been sentenced to long prison sentences for “conspiracies” that allegedly occurred decades ago. Turkey has jailed more journalists than Iran since the rise to power of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Once an ally of Israel, the nation of Turkey is now perhaps that nation’s most dangerous enemy as it is well armed with modern weapons from NATO nations.
Does Turkey represent Mr. Gerecht’s vision of “modernity” of Islam under democracy?
Mr. Gerecht’s ideas about the modernization of Islam under democracy come from his time at the CIA and help explain the bizarre actions of presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama in addressing the Middle East. Apparently our entire security apparatus is advising our presidents that the ballot box is the cure-all for societies based on the sixth- and seventh-century theology of illiterates whose idea of government was enslavement and the sword. Mr. Gerecht now serves with a conservative think tank that features this article with the image of a burning Israeli flag. It is worth noting that almost the entire GOP establishment in Washington, D.C., backs President Barack Obama in giving modern tanks and fighter jets to radical Islamist leaders such as Mohammed Morsi of Egypt.
Real scholars, such as Stephen Coughlin, who understand the nature of Islam and who have studied the great jihad periods of history have been purged from the Pentagon, NSA, CIA and FBI in favor of those approved by CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations). Agency manuals on terror have been cleansed of words such as “Islamist” and “jihad” in hopes this appeasement will bring democracy and love for the West among those calling for the destruction of the “Great Satan.”
With “specialists” such as Reuel Marc Gerecht giving advice to presidents, Congress and generals, the situation is virtually hopeless and defeat of the West at the hands of the Islamists almost certain.