NOT GOING TO PARIS IS AN ODD CHOICE
THAT STIRS UP SOME OLD SUSPICIONS
Whenever people speculate that President Obama is a secret Muslim my response has always been…
I don’t think he’s a Muslim. I think he’s a nominal Christian who is philosophically committed to secular leftist ideology but has a sentimental attachment to Muslim culture because of his childhood in Indonesia.
What we know of Obama’s personal history, including his youthful experiences, his education, his political connections, and his involvement in progressive groups and causes, would seem to support my assessment.
Yet, from the beginning of his administration the President has shown an affinity, not just with Muslim feelings and attitudes, but with Islamist organizations and goals. This has continued to stoke suspicions about his deepest sympathies.
Obama’s fervent overtures to Arab nations can be attributed to overconfidence in his own understanding of Muslim culture and an intent to demonstrate that the U.S. isn’t hostile to Islam (a point which George Bush had made many times before). His appointments of Muslims to sensitive homeland security positions and his outreach to American Muslim groups (even some with highly dubious Middle East ties) can be seen as statements of trust after the frictions that had developed between government agencies and the domestic Muslim community in the years following 9/11.
But what to make of the continuing program of releasing captured terrorists from Guantanamo? Can standing by a seven-year-old campaign pledge still be justified after we’ve seen so many Islamist fighters return to action with the very terror cadres from which they were taken?
Or how to reconcile Obama’s role in overthrowing the Gaddafi and Mubarak regimes with his stated desire for peace — especially when the Islamist opposition had promised, and eventually delivered, anything but peace and reconciliation (i.e. Benghazi)? Carry that a step further: How to explain administration coolness toward the military regime in Egypt that has restored order after ousting the Muslim Brotherhood, and even cooperated with Israel in trying to contain the Hamas militants in Gaza?
And what to make of our continuing financial support for Hamas, or for that matter, of the very credible reports of U.S. arms supplied to the more shadowy anti-Assad elements in Syria, possibly including the so-called Islamic State? Or, perhaps most chillingly, what of the eerie silence emanating from the White House on the continuing genocidal persecution of Chaldeans and other Arab Christians?
Last week we witnessed a major diplomatic gaff, the glaring absence of any top-tier American official from participation in the Paris march against terrorism. This failure is fraught with all kinds of suggestions about U.S. commitment and reliability — just at a time when Europe looks to be gearing up for a continent-wide push against Islamist radicalism.
After being blasted by the world press, the White House is apologizing to anyone who’ll listen about not sending a representative with a “higher profile” than our ambassador and an obscure undersecretary of state.
Granted, the President of the United States has a pretty full schedule and you can’t always foretell which events will be perceived as important. Still, somebody must have been tracking the RSVPs that were coming in for this gathering. Somebody must have known that a lot of international bigwigs were signing on.
Can it be that nobody told Obama about British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the dozens of other world leaders committed? Did the pink phone message slip fall into the trash can?
It’s a safe bet that, if this were still the Bush Administration, “W” would have been there. Laura would have made sure he wore the right tie and got on the plane (or the perpetually scowling Dick Cheney would have).
But Obama? Time and again, he has exhibited a lack of concern for the optics involved in important events, a supreme Oh-screw-it-all! attitude about how things look that diminishes his seriousness and shames his office (see my post of September 26).
I think the explanation for this latest…well…this faux pas, as the French would put it politely, is pretty clear.
The big Paris march was about demonstrating solidarity in support of free expression as a hallmark of Western culture. But solidarity against what? Against radical Islamism, of course, with its total disdain for free expression and utter contempt for Western culture.
But such a demonstration put Obama in a kind of box. He wasn’t all that eager to be seen by the Muslim world as an exponent of this particular brand of solidarity. After all, he’s invested a lot of effort trying to show that he’s untainted by the cultural imperialism of the West. That he’s risen above the whole Ugly American thing. That he’s an open, cosmopolitan, multi-cultural kind of guy attuned to Third-World strivings and ever so apologetic about the legacy of Western colonialism and economic exploitation.
Not to mention that radical Islamism has a substantial following in many corners of the Muslim World.
To be sure, Obama is all for fighting extremism. Isn’t he set to host a big conference on that topic next month? Isn’t he dropping bombs on ISIS?
Extremism is one thing.
Hey, every religion has extremists!
But radical Islamism is something else again. And radical Islamism was much on people’s minds in Paris.
That very terminology was used by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who was so bold as to point out in his speech to the marchers that the world faces…
“a war against terrorism and radical Islamism, against everything that would break our solidarity, our liberty, our fraternity.”
Obama grasped at once how things would go in Paris, and he wanted no part of it. In fact, the very last thing he wanted was risking his “cred” (such as it is) in the Muslim world.
Incidents like this are the reason these old Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim charges refuse to go away. Maybe there’s a benign interpretation of the Paris decision. Maybe. But I think it can do nothing but stir up old suspicions.
An odd symbiotic relationship has developed between radical Islamism and the Western Left, both of which are intent on reducing America’s influence in the world. I think the President shares that vision to a great extent. And this, in itself, supports my assessment of him as just a secular progressive.
Still…I recently watched a DVD of “The Manchurian Candidate” — you know, the original with Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh?
You don’t suppose…
Oh, forget it.
It’s just my old paranoia kicking in,
(NOTE: With the revisions in my blog format, you can now link to articles by clicking on the media logos.)
CBS notes White House insistence that Obama didn’t go to Paris because…
“the president’s security would have significantly interfered with the crowd that was estimated at nearly 3.7 million people.”
How considerate. The report also points out that…
“Attorney General Eric Holder, who was already in France for an anti-terrorism summit, did not attend.”
CNN’s chief Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper, has declared himself “ashamed” that the U.S. wasn’t represented at the event by a high-level official. Writing on the CNN website, he observed…
“I certainly understand the security concerns when it comes to sending President Barack Obama, though I can’t imagine they’re necessarily any greater than sending the lineup of other world leaders, especially in aggregate.”
Mid-East scholar Daniel Pipes has explored whether the President was ever a practicing Muslim since before the 2008 election. While his research is inconclusive, Pipes has uncovered numerous suggestive facts. A list of his writings on the question can be found on his website.
Not Exactly Related but Important…
With our recent focus on the Paris killings, the mass slaughter in Nigeria, the ISIS atrocities, and countless other Islamist terror outrages, it’s easy to forget about the ongoing and steadily rising death toll of abortion.
Close on 60 million babies have been killed in the U.S. since Roe v Wade. And despite some successes in reducing surgical abortions, the growing use of abortifacient drugs (the so-called “morning-after pill” among others) demonstrates that the end is not yet in sight. A lot more active grassroots work and a lot more prayer will be required to bring people back to their senses on the value of unborn human life.
The United States Catholic bishops have an effort underway in the prayer department. Starting today, Saturday, January 17, you can join in the special USCCB novena, “9 Days of Prayer, Penance, and Pilgrimage.” Information on how to participate is available online at…