Tuesday 1 February 2011

Cohen vs Douthat: untethered hope-air ballon, vs a whiff of reality...

Reliable dhimmi and Jester to the Court des bien-pensants, Roger Cohen, does it again in “Exit the Israel alibi”, in today’s New York Times .  He lets his untethered optimism fly off into the clouds of unlikelyhood.  The ructions in Egypt are prelude to Arab democracy, as Tunisia “with its very un-Islamic revolution has just demonstrated”.  Really? Already?
Actually, I share Cohen’s hope. 
It would be wonderful if the Arab revolutions led to participatory and liberal democracy.  But I don’t share his optimism.  Hope and optimism are not a policy, nor do they ensure an outcome, simply by being stated.  How can one be optimistic when the Muslim Brotherhood is clearly and unarguably involved in Egypt and the other “revolutions” now roiling across the Arab world?
Yet Cohen's hot-air hopes soar, while he sneers at the suggestion that the Muslim Brotherhood will “fill the void”.  These arguments are “facile” he says.  Oh?  On what basis, other than classic Cohen ipse dixit?
More balanced is the ever-interesting Ross Douthat, in “The devil we know”, today’s NYT.
What should the US do?  About what it’s doing.  Carefully neutral hopes for peaceful outcome, noting the will of the people, blah, blah, boilerplate.  But at the same time (i) ramping up intelligence about what’s going on, humint and sigint, and the Israeli intelligence services and (ii) learning all the can about the Brotherhood, in the likelihood that they will be the power to deal with.  
At the very least, the fault lines will be clear if the Brothers are in charge.
More reading:

  1. "Islamist terrorism and antisemitism: The mission against modernity", Matthias Küntzel, paper presented to Stanford University, March 10, 2008.  Here.  An interesting paper on the birth of the Muslim Brotherhood, its connections with Nazi Germany during WWII and post-war history.
  2. "The Muslim Brotherhood in the US", BoT, 26 February 2010.  Here.  Muslim Brotherhood fronts in the US and aims of the Brotherhood, laid out in their "General Strategic Goal" memorandum of May 1991.