In my previous post on this subject, I discussed the riots that were occurring in Egypt and made two points: 1) the result of the riots in Egypt would not be a Western democracy, and 2) unless the US chose to save its puppet government, the result would be a resurgence of Islamic hardliners. I have been proved correct on both accounts. And since the unrest has merely built in intensity and has now spread across the western half of the Muslim world, I thought I would revisit the subject in more depth.
After the collapse of European colonialism in the Middle East and North Africa after World War II, the US government sought to bring the newly independent countries under its control. Much of this was done through clandestine means, such as the CIA-engineered coup that brought Saddam Hussein to power in Iraq in 1968, or the propping up of the Shahs in Iran in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, or the CIA’s creation of the Taliban in the 80s. This was done both to keep the Middle East out of the USSR’s control, and to maintain a reliable flow of cheap oil into the West. The problem with this quickly becomes apparent when you take into account the type of regime produced. With several notable exceptions, these were regimes dedicated to enriching the rulers at their own countries’ expense, and authoritarian enough to quite brutally crush any internal opposition to their rule. Most of these governments quickly became hated by large portions of their people, people who by extension hated the US — knowing full well that it was US foreign aid that bought the weapons their own governments used against them. So it was no surprise, when the Iranian people revolted against that Shahs in 1979, that the US was also a target of their anger.
The spark that set off the current protests we are seeing is actually a result of the worldwide economic recession. While many Americans have lost their jobs and homes, those in Third World countries, like those in the Middle East, who were already living in poverty, have been hit even harder. Food prices have risen into the unaffordable range and unemployment is epidemic. A hungry man is a desperate man, and this finally gave the people the impetus they needed to attempt to oust their authoritarian oppressors. The protests began in mid-December in Tunisia, and on January 14th they succeeded in toppling the Tunisian government. The protests began to spread like wildfire after that, with protests hitting the majority of Middle Eastern and North African countries by mid-February. The protesters succeeded in toppling the government of Egypt as well; Libya is currently embroiled in a full-scale civil war with thousands already dead; and Yemen may soon follow.
The liberal western media has been touting the current uprisings in the Middle East as a sign that “democracy” is finally coming to the Middle East and continually labels the protests as “democratic.” They are — in a sense. When a true conservative westerner speaks of democracy, he is speaking of liberty and the check on government power; when a faux conservative or liberal westerner speaks of democracy, he is speaking of degenerate and decadent freedom and “equality”; but when a Muslim speaks of democracy, he is doing so either as a smoke screen to gain sympathy or a foothold in a western country, or as a generic “will of the people” idea. It is in the latter sense that the current unrest is “democratic.” A true Christian will seek to live in a Christian society, and a true Muslim will seek to live under Sharia law, but a Christian society is one of liberty while Sharia law breeds repression. The liberal western media is getting all misty-eyed with the thought that these protests will bring western consumerism, freedom of speech, goodwill towards the US, betterment of women’s status, and the like; but they will get none of those. Instead, they will get a resurgent, hardline Islam bent on imposing Sharia law, not only in their own countries, but over the entire world — and with a grudge against the US for arming and propping up their former oppressors.
Am I being overdramatic? Must an overthrow of a US-backed authoritarian regime in the Middle East always result in a hardline Islamic authoritarian state taking its place, like in Iran in 1979? The media would certainly have you believe so. They would have you believe that that protesters are rallying for liberal democracy. One of their poster children to support this view is the regional Google executive Wael Ghonim. Wael Ghonim is an Egyptian whose efforts on Facebook and Twitter helped launch and sustain the protests in Egypt, and who became an icon for the protesters. Wael Ghonim is a true believer; I have no doubt he truly believes in a form of liberal democracy. I also have no doubt that he is part of a very small minority even amongst the protesters. The media trotted out his TV interview in which he claimed, “There was no Muslim Brotherhood presence in organizing these protests. It was all spontaneous, voluntary. Even when the Muslim Brotherhood decided to take part it was their choice to do so. This belongs to the Egyptian youth.”1 This was treated as proof that the protesters were liberal democrats rather than hardline Islamists, and that, should the protesters triumph, the result would be a democracy with all the liberal bells and whistles, not a Sharia law government run by the Muslim Brotherhood. And yet, when the Egyptians celebrated their “Day of Victory” on Feb 18th, and when hundreds of thousands flocked to hear speeches by opposition leaders, Wael Ghonim was barred from speaking while pro-Sharia law and Muslim Brotherhood-backed Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi spoke. He gave a long speech in which he called for a new Islamic caliphate in the Middle East and North Africa, denouncing “hypocrites” (i.e. those Muslims who oppose full Sharia law).2
Some peoples’ response to all this will be to advocate for US military intervention in the Middle East crisis; this is wrong. Not only is this not our affair, and not only would such an action would be unconstitutional, and not only are we already stretched to the breaking point with two other unconstitutional wars at the moment, but it was the US’s meddling in the Middle East in the first place which in a large part helped create this situation. US intervention can only make matters worse, further destabilize the region, and create more anti-American feeling. Even if we did succeed in either propping up our puppets, or replacing them with new ones, this would merely put the lid back on the boiling pot and make the next revolution and anti-West backlash that much worse. In fact, both sides in the Libyan civil war have said they want the US and other foreign governments to stay out of the war.3 For further reading, see It’s Libya’s War; Not Ours by Pat Buchanan.
The two takeaways from the current unrest are the following. 1) Muslims and Islam are fundamentally incompatible with Western Civilization and our liberties and forms of government. Muslim immigration into the West should be banned, and those already here should be deported. Even Muslims claiming to support democracy will want Sharia law; just ask the folks in Minnesota. 2) Meddling in other peoples’ affairs is not only immoral, but has disastrous effects down the road. The US should take this opportunity to leave the Middle East. I’ll end the same way I did last time: if true liberty and freedom is ever to come to places like the Middle East, it must be built from the ground up with a foundation of Christianity — not imposed by an “all-powerful” US government from the top down.