Posted by Curt on 5 May, 2013 at 12:00 pm. 4 comments already!


Robert Stacy McCain:

Flaming skull alert at Ace of Spades for the release of e-mails confirming that (a) officials knew from the outset that the attack on the consulate in Libya was the work of terrorists, but (b) this information was suppressed for political purposes:

State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, worried that members of Congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for “not paying attention to [CIA] warnings.”

So, it was CIA vs. C.Y.A. at the State Department which, quite frankly, has been infiltrated by Edward Said-influenced Arab specialists to such an extent that it was practically a Muslim Brotherhood outpost even before the Obama administration took over.

Seriously, you can ask Bush administration people about this: Middle Eastern scholarship within academia is so dominated by anti-Western views that, insofar as anyone has the credentials to qualify as a specialist in the field — i.e., to get hired into and promoted within the bureaucracy — they’re certain to have been saturated in ideas about “Western imperialism” and the legitimacy of Arab/Islamic grievances. And while this has also been a problem at the CIA and the Pentagon, the State Department is absolutely chock-full of such people in staff positions, so that even with hawkish neocons in the political appointee roles during the Bush years, the pro-Arab/pro-Muslim culture at Foggy Bottom never really changed.

I feel the need to point this out now because some of my well-meaning conservative friends, who (quite correctly) complain about the dubious influences within the Obama administration, often neglect to discuss the larger problem, which pre-dates Obama. However, there is good reason to think it is more of a problem now:

In 1998 Obama attended a speech by [Edward] Said, in which the scholar called for a nonviolent campaign “against settlements, against Israeli apartheid.” In a well-publicized photo, Obama and Said can be seen talking over dinner at this pro-Arab event.
According to the Los Angeles Times, in the early 1980s Obama had been one of Said’s students in an undergraduate English class at Columbia University.

None of this is necessarily related to the Benghazi cover-up — I don’t mean to feed anyone’s conspiratorial paranoia — but it does highlight the nature of the larger problem, what Jeanne Kirkpatrick rightly called the “Blame America First” mentality.

There is a sort of  perverse narcissism involved in this worldview: Encountering people who hate us, liberals think, “It’s about us.”

This error was what crippled liberalism during the Cold War. If the Soviet Union wanted to destroy America, liberals imagined, this must be because of something wrong with America, rather than something wrong with the Soviet Union. So liberals wanted to change American foreign policy — détente! — in a more pro-Soviet direction, accepting the Leninist critique of “Western imperialism” as essentially accurate, so that you had Jimmy Carter claiming (and evidently believing) that a U.S. commitment to “human rights” would somehow repair the damage to American international prestige.

Except it wasn’t about us. It was about them.

Ronald Reagan understood instinctively that the Cold War wasn’t America’s fault, and that it couldn’t be ended by making American policy less “imperialist” (mainly because imperialism was a propaganda accusation conjured up in Vladimir Lenin’s imagination). The Cold War could only end with the destruction of the Soviet Union, and so Reagan made that the object of his foreign policy.

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