The U.S. Dead Horse
When Obama arrived in Cairo to tell the Muslims of the world that America does not want to fight, let alone win, he was declaring that America was now the weak horse. What the bearded men understood was that the competition was over and that Islam has won. The Islamists can always win by default if they can convince the fast, strong and agile American horse not to run.
"When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse," Osama Bin Laden famously said. The deceased mass murderer had a point, even if it wasn't a very original one.
Sentimentalists may admire the horse that lets other horses win so they don't get too upset and kick it around in the stable that night, but the crowds do not flock to cheer on losers. Nor can kings and prime ministers be expected to stake their fortunes and futures on the horse that loses so other horses feel good about themselves.
When Obama arrived in Cairo to tell the Muslims of the world that America does not want to fight, let alone win, he was declaring that America was now the weak horse. "We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan," he assured the Muslim Brotherhood attendees, and told them that, "events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy."
The bearded men glowering at him heard from the new leader of the United States that he had come "to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world… based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition." What they understood was that the competition was over and that Islam had won.
Obama condemned unilateral war in his speech, but it did not occur to him that if war can be unilateral, then a cessation of hostilities cannot be. You can stop your horse in the middle of the track and tell the other riders that horse races need not be exclusive or competitive, that all riders can learn techniques from each other and skip the racing and just exchange trophies congratulating each other on making a good effort. And that is a good way to lose the race.
Islamists would not be Islamists if they did not believe that their way is in competition with all other ways. The principle, accepted by so many Christians and Jews in the West, that religions and nations are interchangeable and only individuals matter, is flipped upside down in a region where individuals are so interchangeable that they blow themselves up to make a point about the supremacy of their identification with the nation and the religion.
The Cairo speech sent a message to American allies that the days of the United States protecting them for outmoded reasons of national security or national interest were gone. America was no longer a competitor, but an accommodator, willing to make a deal with whoever came out on top in the horse race of Islamic populism. Our allies knew that their days were numbered and our enemies knew that power was theirs for the taking.
Obama chose to turn America into a weak horse and dragged down Mubarak and a number of other regional allies with him. Netanyahu has resisted accepting the weak horse status assigned to him by Washington and that has been a major source of tension with the Obama White House. The attacks in Cairo and Benghazi are a reminder that the United States cannot opt out of the competition with the Muslim world. All it can do is stop in the middle of the track and offer itself up to them as a dead horse.
Horse racing is a popular sport in the Middle East, though perhaps not as much as camel racing. Camels run somewhat slower than horses, but they do better on rougher terrain. To transform a race from a contest of speed and skill to a contest of endurance and orneriness, the conditions of the race have to be made rougher and more difficult.
Making the conditions of the race more difficult is what the Islamists have been doing to the region all along. They wrecked the track, turned on the sandstorm machines and bet on the strong camel to outlast the weak horse.
Camel racing in the Middle East has depended on imported child jockeys, and while that may seem ugly to Western eyes, like child suicide bombers, it is a reminder that there is no tactic that is considered too dirty when it comes to winning the race. The Islamists may not be able to win on strength, speed or agility, but they can always win by default if they can convince the fast, strong and agile American horse not to run.
The murder of an American ambassador and the sight of his corpse being dragged through the streets by a mob should serve as a reminder that the United States can either be a strong horse or it can be a dead horse, but it cannot, as Obama tried to do, choose not to run.
Reader comments on this item
|Obama will indeed choose not to run [84 words]||Empress Trudy||Sep 15, 2012 12:04|
|No tactic that is considered too dirty when it comes to winning the race [54 words]||IBarg||Sep 14, 2012 17:08|
|Great insight [107 words]||Imlah||Sep 14, 2012 16:00|
|Excellent article with great insight! [47 words]||D. Moder||Sep 14, 2012 11:02|
|Incorrect Analogy [56 words]||Archie||Sep 14, 2012 10:32|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
"Armed robbery in broad daylight." — Palestinians, after Hamas "seized" $750,000 from Gaza bank.
Fatah accused Hamas of "squandering" $700 million of financial aid earmarked for the Palestinian victims of war. Fatah wants to ensure that the millions of dollars intended for the Gaza Strip will pass through its hands and not end up in Hamas's bank accounts. Relying on Fatah in this regard is like asking a cat to guard the milk.
The head of the Palestinian Authority's Anti-Corruption Commission revealed that his group has retrieved $70 million of public funds fund embezzled by Palestinian officials. Arab and Western donors need to make sure that their money does not end up (once again) in the wrong hands. Without a proper mechanism of accountability and transparency, hundreds of millions of dollars are likely to find their way into the bank accounts of both Hamas and Fatah leaders.
by Mudar Zahran
"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.
"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.
"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.
"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student
"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.
"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.
by Ben Cohen
Now, with the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate having captured key oil wells in the Middle East this year, foreign oil has become an even more lethal financial weapon-of-choice for those seeking to destroy democracy and further escalate the War on Terror.
That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10, is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.
by Lawrence A. Franklin
One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."
Another Muslim cleric in a madrassa [Islamic boys' school] describes child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah that we have an unlimited number willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."
Using children as suicide bombers will stop when... they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."
by Denis MacEoin
"No religion condones the killing of innocents." — U.S. President Barack Obama, September 10, 2014.
"Islam is a religion of peace." — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, September 13, 2014.
"There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam." — U.K. Imam Anjem Choudary, CBN News, April 5, 2010.
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur'an in a "moderate" manner. The most famous modern interpretation by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
If they deviated from the true faith -- as we are seeing in the Islamic State today -- "backsliders," like pagans, were to be fought until they either accepted Islam or were killed.
In India alone, between 60 and 80 million Hindus may have been put to death by Muslim armies between the years 1000-1525.