Saturday, 27 October 2012

"Working with the Muslim Brotherhood"

The on-again, off-again Roger Cohen, this time off again in his "Working with the Muslim Brotherhood". (NYT, 23 October)
The title gives it all away: get in cahoots with this gang of west-haters.
A couple of sentences jump out:
To keep doing the same thing when it does not work is one definition of madness. [para 6]
But what is the "same thing" that's been done that is the "definition of madness"?  Is he referring, perhaps, to the support of some unsavoury dictators over the last several decades and more?  If so, then at least they held a sort of peace and balance; moreover it's far from certain that their replacements will be any less unsavoury, with the admixture of virulent anti-westernism to boot.  Morsi is a case in point.  I wonder if he'd go quietly, if the electorate decided he'd done a bad job.  Somehow I think not.
But when aid is cut off, and American attention turns elsewhere, and future generals start getting their training in Saudi Arabia rather than Kansas, we know the result: Pakistan. [para 10]
This one is superficially attractive.  A version of "better have them inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."  But what if they're inside the tent pissing in? The most important Muslim Brother of them all (founder Hassan al-Banna aside) is Sayiid Qutb.  He went to America in the fifties, and instead of being energised and inspired by it, this cramped little creep was revolted by what he saw in the US, repelled by his friendly hosts.  His was clearly a deeply repressed sexuality, which, when confronted by the open norms in the US, found outlet in spite and spittle.  This cramped, repressed, vitriolic little shit went back home to become the voice of the Brotherhood, revered to this day by Muslims worldwide.  I suggest a reading of the fellow to get a feel for what the MB is all about.
Now, what if the "future generals" were to go for training in the US and instead of going home inculcated with the values of freedom and democracy, return more Qutb-like. For the failure of Pakistan is not due just to their having training in Saudi; they too, were subject to training in the US.  Didn't help much, did it.  See the late Christopher Hitchens on this, in his "From Abbottobad to Worse".