"Combatting Political Islam"

A piece by two experts on the subject, David Reaboi and Kyle Shideler.
For decades, a bipartisan American foreign policy consensus has endorsed engagement with and promotion of Islamists in an attempt to use them as a counterweight, to either other Islamic terror groups or larger geopolitical adversaries.

Seeking to engage Muslim Brotherhood officials or franchises has a long historical pedigree within our foreign policy establishment. As Ian Johnson documented in his outstanding history, A Mosque in Munich, America first turned to Islamists in the early days of the Cold War in order to nurture alternatives to the Soviets. During that time, however, many in the U.S. foreign policy establishment seemed to recognize that, ultimately, the long-term objectives of the Islamists were both anti-democratic and harmful to American national interests. An internal analysis from the period noted that leading Muslim Brotherhood figure Said Ramadan—then a guest in the Eisenhower White House who was backed by the CIA—was “a fascist” and obsessed with seizing power.

Unfortunately, such a blunt assessment of the U.S. government’s Islamist interlocutors seems as quaint today as a 1950s TV commercial. By 2009 skepticism of Islamists’ long-term goals had been thoroughly abandoned, as President Obama formally announced the full-throated promotion of political Islam as the legitimate expression of democratic will throughout the Middle East.
In addition to the piece, you should really read that Mosque in Munich book. It goes sadly well with the immediately previous post. It's a great story of an early CIA mission with all the swagger they used to have in the postwar period, and it provides a helpful introduction to the deep history of some of the current conflicts involving political Islam. If you know someone who likes such stories, it might make a good Christmas gift.


jaed said...

political Islam as the legitimate expression of democratic will

I can't help thinking that this is what happens after decades of education that "democracy" is the summum bonam of politics, and forgetting about the "constitutional" and/or "republicanism" parts.

And, of course, the degeneration of the very concept of "democracy" from "sovereignty inheres in the people when they act consciously as a body" to "one man, one vote, one time? No problem, as long as it's Majority Rule!"

Ymar Sakar said...

One grave, many votes, infinite times.