Friday, September 14, 2012

Links after the Chris Stevens assassination

Following my post reacting to the assassination of Ambassador Stevens, here is a round-up of related perspectives and insight:

Ann Coulter points out that, in contrast to the Arab Spring, the American Revolution was controlled by our Founding Fathers, not a mob overthrow. Coulter includes a President Obama quote from his speech on Libya last year that is ironic given the attack's pretextual protest over an obscure youtube clip: "[We] must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms: . . . our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves".

Forensic psychiatrist Marc Sageman explains terrorist networks. His conclusion: "So in 2004, Al Qaeda has new leadership. In a way today’s operatives are far more aggressive and senseless than the earlier leaders. The whole network is held together by the vision of creating the Salafi state. A fuzzy, idea-based network really requires an idea-based solution. The war of ideas is very important and this is one we haven’t really started to engage yet." Thanks to Belmont Club commenter Highlander.

Ed Husain overlooks political Islam.

Ambassador Stevens warned about extremists near Benghazi in 2008.

White House asks Google to take down youtube clip. Does the youtube clip constitute an exception to protected First Amendment speech? No. Reminder: President Obama taught ConLaw at Chicago Law. Half-serious question: I wonder if Nakoula can be charged under 'bullying' statutes, given that their liability is judged by the effect and impact on the victims.

Why the attacks on broadly West-identified targets? The Islamists identify the youtube clip as merely a symptom of the cause, Western values. Obama wants to blame the youtube clip as the cause; if the problem is thus defined, the solution can be focused on domestic actors. In his September 20, 2001 speech to Congress, President Bush famously said, "They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." At the time, President Bush was mocked. Bush was right.

Libyan President al-Megarif contradicts US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice on the basis of the attack. Defining the problem frames the solution. The way the Libyan president is defining the problem would seat Libya in the War on Terror against the Islamists, thus demanding greater American involvement in Libya as the solution and calling Obama’s hands-off strategy to the Arab Spring into question. Whereas Ambassador Rice is attempting to define the problem so the incident is a one-time ‘spontaneous’ incident and therefore no basis for greater American involvement nor indictment of Obama’s strategy. Last year, Obama pointedly contrasted the American roles in post-Qaddafi Libya and post-Saddam Iraq. But Libya is now taking a step closer to needing US intervention in post-Qaddafi Libya. The US seems to be running from that approaching call for help. Reminds me of the US State Department spokesmen who did their best to avoid using the term "genocide" during the Rwandan genocide in order to avoid US intervention in Rwanda. The Islamists primary purpose is to clear the field of local competitors in order to construct an Islamist future in the Middle East. The 'protest' of the youtube clip is a competitive maneuver to equate Free Speech with anti-Islam. The Arab Spring liberals are associated with Free Speech. Most vulnerable are the Arab Spring liberals, and it looks like we're abandoning them and conceding the Arab Spring to the Islamists.

Wow - connection made. Susan Rice was on President Clinton's National Security Council as the Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping from 1993 to 1995. Rice was instrumental in the US avoiding the defining label of "genocide" for the Rwanda genocide in order to avoid the solution of US intervention. Rice appears to be repeating the same tactic responding to the Stevens killing in order to limit the US reaction and uphold the Obama policy for post-Qaddafi Libya.

Marc Thiessen says Obama's Middle East policy has actually been on the wrong side of history: illiberal, supportive of autocrats, leading from behind the mob, even cutting funding to democracy promotion while claiming to support liberals, thus helping to explain the Islamist surge in the Middle East.

Liberals and Islamists facing off in Libya. This event recalls my observation at Professor Nacos's blog that the critical contest is not between the US and Islamists but between Muslims and Islamists where the winner will declare the loser is the intolerable apostate. Pakistani Raza Rumi discusses the intra-Muslim contest.

Middle East unrest . . . blame the Soviets? This book says Russian interference in the Middle East is severely underestimated.

Washington Post fact-checker charts the Obama administration's changing story on the Benghazi attacks.

Kyle Orton justifies the Libya intervention: "instability was coming to Libya no matter what the West did, and the main problem with the intervention was that it wasn’t early enough, forceful enough, or protracted enough".

Eric

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