Thursday, June 19, 2014

ISIS Continues Advance

Reports are coming out that ISIS has captured Iraq's largest oil refinery in Baiji (Daily Mail and New York Times). Also, the Wall Street Journal reports that ISIS has seized one of Saddam Hussein's old chemical weapons factories, which may still have stockpiles of chemical weapons (you remember, the WMDs that the Liberals have been telling us never existed). All of this is, of course, emboldening the Taliban in Afghanistan, who have attacked a NATO base.

So where did the U.S. go wrong? (Besides electing to President a man so stupid, he does not dare show his grade reports in public). David Goldman examines this issue in his latest op-ed, entitled "America Wants the Impossible and Gets the Unmentionable." I recommend reading his entire piece. But the gist is that Islam is a civilization in collapse, and the best we can do is attempt to manage its decline. What we cannot do is turn individual Middle-Eastern countries (or any other alien culture) into a Western democracy modeled after the United States.

Goldman explains:
We never nurtured foreign policy elite that views America as radically unique, and other parts of the world as existentially challenged by comparison. 
America has neither the students nor the teachers to fix its problems overseas. There are a few sages still left, notably Angelo Codevilla, who holds up the example of John Quincy Adams against the utopian obsessions of the major schools of foreign policy thinking. 
... Americans seem to think that because they had the good grace to stumble into world history a couple of hundred years ago, everyone else should stop what they are doing and emulate them. That point of view is not as ludicrous as it sounds: no nation has ever been more successful than the United States, which has brought more prosperity and security to more people than any other political experiment in human history. 
America’s genius lies in assimilating individuals of all ethnicities into a state based on a laws rather than race or language, and Americans assume that because Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Christians cohabit peacefully within their borders, they should be able to do so everywhere. That ignores the possibility that those individuals who wanted to [live] peacefully with people of other ethnicities abandoned their home culture, leaving behind those who did not. 
... The radical Protestants who created the American experiment saw their achievement as a universal example but had no expectation that a depraved world would as a general rule choose to emulate it. Most of humanity, they believed, would be damned and forgotten. Today’s mainstream of American Conservatism tends to see America as exceptional only in the sense that it an exceptionally good recipe that every cook ought to be able to master. 
It has become nearly impossible in America to ask the question: Which cultures are viable and which are not? Individuals of all cultures are viable Americans, but that is not necessarily true of the culture they left behind. I have argued for the past dozen years in this space and in my book How Civilizations Die (Regnery 2011) that Muslim civilization will not survive: it passes directly from infancy to senescence. 
That does not impugn the success of Muslim immigrants to America, nor of the hundreds of head-scarf-clad girls one sees at Ariel University in Samaria, but it does mean that Muslim states will be unstable and crisis prone and that Muslim populations will be discontented and prone to extremism for the duration. It is a fool’s errand to stabilize them; the best one can do is to prevent their problems from spilling over onto us.
 Assimilating others based on law, however, seems to be receding into the past. Although Angelo M. Codevilla's March 24, 2014, comments are regarding misuse of power in regard to the IRS scandal, it could just as well apply to the current immigration imbroglio. He writes:
My point was that government officials’ use of unlawful, discretionary power—little different from the Mob’s—is becoming the rule rather than the exception in America. If we don’t like that, we have to learn to shun people who operate this way—especially if they belong to our party. 
Having gotten the reporter’s attention, I then explained that lawless politicians of any party are more dangerous than gangsters. The latter dispose only of private power, while the former have in their hands the enormous powers of modern government. 
Whereas any Albert Anastasia could send a few guys like Tony to “bend” you, any Nixon or Obama has countless minions who can get the IRS to audit you, or to screw you administratively in countless other ways—by writing agency regulations aimed at you, say, or by finding you in violation of regulations you may never have heard of, or by indicting you, or maybe just investigating and ruining you without ever bringing you to trial. Or they can include you in a group to be taxed while granting exemptions to others in the group, leaving you to pay a higher rate. The latter is happening under Obamacare.

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