Friday, October 8, 2010

Making Friends in the Middle East

A very bright and well-informed student writes to suggest that America's foreign policy vis a vis the Muslim world is wrong-headed, and he offers an alternative:
There is a way for the middle east to become prosperous and friendly to the U.S. These steps include not bombing civilians (which have become too frequent due to drone strikes), becoming a neutral party (which it is obviously not) in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and not supporting military dictators in the region (like the U.S. did with Saddam Hussein and Musharraf). If we didn't look out for our own interests overseas and rather focused on building a truly free and independent middle east we could see large improvements in the region.
Here's my reply:

I don't think this is true. Those Muslims around the world who hate us will hate us no matter what we do. We liberated the Kuwaiti Muslims from Saddam, but still millions of Muslims hate us. We rescued the Kurds from Saddam (albeit clumsily and late) and saved the Bosnian Muslims from genocide, but still millions of Muslims hate us. We liberated 25 million Iraqi Muslims from Saddam's tyranny and 25 million Afghan Muslims from Taliban tyranny, and still millions of Muslims hate us. We are the main hope of Iranian Muslims who look to us to somehow rescue them from the tyranny of the mullahs and ayatollahs, but still millions of Muslims hate us. We gave hundreds of millions of dollars to help Muslims in the Indian Ocean basin recover from a calamitous tidal wave, we send doctors and teachers and relief workers all through the Muslim world to bring relief to suffering Muslims, we spend millions to spare African Muslims from starvation and the scourge of AIDs, and still millions of Muslims hate us.

They do not hate us because we have done too little to help Muslims. Nor do they hate us because civilians have died in the wars we've fought in the Middle East (After all, far more civilians have died at the hands of their fellow Muslims who intentionally murdered them than have died by the inadvertent bombing of innocent civilians by Americans). They hate us for two reasons in particular:

First, we are all that stands between them and the destruction of Israel, and second, we ourselves are not a Muslim nation and they see our culture and our freedoms as a threat to their values and religion. The radicals among the world's Muslims dream of a world-wide caliphate and they are prepared to kill anyone - Christian, Jew, or Muslim - who prevents them from realizing their dream.

Banned in Berkeley

There's not much that's frowned upon in the far left-wing precincts of Berkeley, California, but "Robin of Berkeley," a former secular lefty herself, suggests that there is one thing that will earn you the contempt of that fair city's enlightened citizens - a profession of belief in God. According to Robin, God is not just dead in this city named for a pious Irish prelate and philosopher, He's openly despised. She goes on to conclude that this contempt for God has had consequences that should surprise no one. Here's the heart of her column:
"God is dead," according to the existentialist Nietzsche. He might as well have been talking about Berkeley, California.
Think I'm exaggerating? Take a trip out west and spend a few days on Telegraph Avenue. Then wander over to the downtown area, Shattuck and University. If you're really the daredevil, do so after dark, when the mean streets look positively Kafkaesque.
When I say God is dead in Berkeley, I don't mean just that parts of the city look like a hellhole. I'm referring to the militant anti-God vibe.....
While it's perfectly acceptable in Berkeley to live openly as a bisexual, transgendered, or crossdresser, don't dare divulge a love for God. If you do so, expect public disapproval, even contempt.
And yet, why don't residents see the obvious: that's there's a connection between abandoning God and the un-Godliness of Berkeley's streets? The streets are filthy and uncivil; the crime rate spirals out of control. Because if God and His followers are chased out of town, what is left?
The radicals would argue that without a pesky, oppressive God, people are liberated. With no repressive authority spoiling the fun, the world becomes idyllic. But when you obscure the sunshine, only darkness remains. Seal the windows, close the blinds, and what do you have? People alone in a pitch-black world, with nothing to shield or soothe them.
And the estrangement is palpable not just in Berkeley, although the alienated are concentrated here. The militant atheists are saturating the media, the schools, the entire culture with its witch's brew. The Left, as always, is at the helm. Obama covers up crosses at Notre Dame University; he deletes the Creator from the Declaration.
Obama and the Left want our country untethered from the steadfast grip of God. Spiritually impoverished, lost in space, the masses will cling to the teat of the government. Bereft of the Divine, they're shackled to the Gospel of Obama.
There are inevitable, and disastrous, consequences for slamming the door on God. See for yourself. Come walk the streets of Berkeley, or the nearby cities: San Francisco, Oakland, or Richmond. Look deeply into people's eyes and behold the anger, the desperation...or see nothing at all.
Because when a city, or a nation, buries God, what is left is an excruciating, unfathomable void. And in the ever-widening chasm, dark forces -- the evil squatters -- take up residency.
Pretty powerful indictment coming from a former member of the atheistic left.