Advertisements

Pure Evil and Moral Relativism

maSomething in the modern liberal mindset always seeks to find a moral equivalence between western civilization and its enemies, but the Islamic State is making the task more difficult than usual. The terror gang that is currently hiding much of Iraq and Syria, already notorious for mass executions and beheadings and crucifixions, has now reached for a new level of sadism by burning a captured Jordanian pilot alive.
If that sounds too much like wartime propaganda to be true, you need only search the internet for the video of the horrific event that the Islamic State has proudly posted to encourage more recruits to join their ruthless jihad. Such brutality has considerable appeal to the enemies of western civilization, offering both full indulgence of mankind’s most evil instincts and the promise of a heavenly reward, and confounds the modern liberal mindset. One has to reach back centuries to find such brutal methods employed by the west, no matter how one might try to equate water boarding or the Abu Ghraib prison scandal with the Islamic State’s behavior, and demonstrates an evil in the human soul that modern liberalism usually ascribes only to opponents of same-sex marriage or higher tax rates on the upper income brackets or some other Republican policy preference.
Acknowledging such evil in the sacrosanct “other” calls into question the moral relativism of modern liberalism, suggests the need for a stronger and more active military than modern liberalism would prefer to have, and disproves the theory that the west’s enemies can be placated by soothing rhetoric and concessions of land. Such evil is a distraction from the more pressing business of fundamental transformation of the west, too, and a political inconvenience for those politicians who would prefer to believe that it will never affect our land. Americans have been among those beheaded, though, and when terror groups have controlled lands far away they have used them to launch deadly attacks in countries far away including our own. The president’s assurances that the “tide of war is receding” because that is the public’s preference will not suffice, and only a thorough victory over the Islamic State will.
The Jordanian government has responded with executions of Islamic State prisoners, the Saudi King is vowing an increased military response with quotations from Clint Eastwood’s more robust movies, and one hopes that a similarly stiff response will come from much of the Islamic world. Perhaps that will still even modern liberalism to resistance, but we expect the usual rationalizations instead.

— Bud Norman

Advertisements

Meanwhile, in the Rest of the World

All of the attention is currently focused on the continuing train wreck that is Obamacare, naturally enough, but it is worth noting that America’s foreign policy is also going off the rails.
The last time Americans took notice of the rest of the world was when President Barack Obama tried unsuccessfully to whip up some enthusiasm for a bigger-than-a-pinprick-but-still-“unbelievably-small” war in Syria, and when that crisis was outsourced to Russian President Vladimir Putin and receded from the headlines the country happily resumed its inward gaze. Without an imminent threat of war, even an unbelievably small one, most people assumed that except for the unpleasantness in that Kenyan shopping mall and the usual massacres of Christians in Pakistan and Nigeria all was once again well with the world. Our international relations have actually been going so badly, though, that the results are starting up in the midst of all those horror stories about Obamacare.
Even The Washington Post, which is usually loathe to report anything embarrassing to the administration, seems alarmed by America’s recent estrangement from Saudi Arabia. The paper’s veteran foreign affairs writer David Ignatius likens the situation to a car wreck, the train wreck metaphor apparently having been reserved for the Obamacare stories, and although he allots some of the blame to the Saudis he does not spare the Obama administration his criticism. He notes that in the past week Saudi Arabia has declined to take a seat on the United Nations’ Security Council as a deliberate affront to America, and notes that the former Saudi intelligence chief publicly expressed “a high level of disappoint” in America’s stands on Syria and Palestine. There’s also a great deal of Saudi disappointment in America’s weak response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which threaten all of the Arab and Sunni Islam world, and in Obama’s support for the radical Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere, and a “knowledgeable Arab official” is quoted as saying that the Saudi monarch “is convinced the U.S. is unreliable.”
The Saudi monarch is a terror-loving tyrant running a backwards and troublesome land with typical Middle Eastern brutality, but his country has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy in the region since Franklin Roosevelt started sucking up to it back in the ‘30s. Losing Saudi Arabia to the Russian sphere of influence, along with its considerable economic clout and central position in the Muslim world, is a worrisome development. Worse yet, this time the Saudi’s concerns are all quite reasonable, except for the lack of appreciation for America’s Israel-bashing attempts to coddle the Palestinians, and are shared by such essential allies as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and of course Israel, which has its own reasons to worry about Iranian nuclear bombs and American fecklessness. Throw in the reports that Secretary of State John Kerry is facing the same sort of dissent within his own State Department over the still-lingering-despite-the-news-blackout Syrian civil war, and America’s Middle Eastern policy seems in complete disrepair.
Crucial allies in other parts of the world have also been dissatisfied with America’s conduct in recent years. In Germany, where Obama was treated as a sort of messiah when he spoke to an adoring throng while campaigning there for some reason or another during the ’08 campaign, the big story if Chancellor Angela Merkel’s anger at the revelation America had been listening in on her cell phone conversations. White House spokesman Jay Carney has huffily denied that America is doing any such thing, but he conspicuously declined to deny that America has done in the past, and the omission did not go unnoticed in Germany. Revelations about the National Security Agency’s extensive data-gathering outraged many of the Americans whose phone records and internet use were being monitored, even if the press politely let the topic drop from the news, but Germans who are still smarting from the snoopiness of the Stasi secret police in communist East Germany and the Gestapo of an earlier era are understandably even touchier about such things. The rest of Europe seems miffed, too, and its Parliament has now threatened to stop cooperating with American intelligence efforts.
Obama won the presidency and wowed those naïve German crowds by promising to make America the most popular kid in the international school cafeteria, but that seems to be going about as well as the promises that Obamacare would lower your insurance premiums, allow you to keep your coverage, and be a model of bureaucratic efficiency.

— Bud Norman