On Non-Intervention, Egypt and al-Qaeda, and Afghanistan-Pakistan


In a series of media appearances this week on the issue of Egypt it was again driven home to me that non-interventionism and nationalism are two positions that are outside of what Tocqueville called the circle of acceptable free speech in America. Indeed, to argue that Washington’s intervention on the side of Arab tyrannies for 30-plus years has hurt the United States makes one an America-basher; to argue that Israel is a central and increasingly lethal problem for the United States in its relations with the Arab world makes one an anti-Semite; and to argue that Washington should be banned from reaching into its citizens’ pockets, stealing their income, and giving it to Israel, Egypt, or any other foreign nation when unemployment is at 9-percent, 43 million Americans are on food stamps, the country’s infrastructure is crumbling, and 15-percent of American kids go to bed hungry makes one an anachronistic isolationist — and an anti-Semite.

We have apparently gotten to a point in American history where our governing elite, in order to feel good about themselves, prefer funding tyranny and defending theocracies like Israel and Saudi Arabia, while Americans are out of work and their kids are hungry. It seems apparent that the wages of Washington’s unrelenting interventionism are steep and bloody, and that those who lust to intervene care virtually nothing about the welfare of non-elite Americans and their families.

As an aside, whether you hate FOX News or love it, I am continually impressed by the channel’s willingness to host points of view — like mine — which are outside both its own and Tocqueville’s circle of acceptable free speech. FOX hosts seldom agree with what I say, but they seem to always seek different points of view. This is in sharp contrast to, say, the uniformity of pro-intervention and anti-nationalist views usually presented by Ms. Couric, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Blitzer, Ms. Maddow, and others cut from exactly the same cloth. And in terms of compassion for guests, no one takes better care of guests than FOX. Last night, for example, Erich Bolling was good enough to have a Rabbi on the panel who helpfully explained that to question the worth of the U.S.-Israel relationship showed not only that I was “ignorant,” but that there is “something wrong inside of me,” this last of course simply code for identifying me as an anti-Semite. Allowed to articulate my views and afforded a free, Rabbi-provided psychiatric analysis — you can’t do much better than that!

Egypt and al-Qaeda

While the ahistorical Western media, President Obama, and Secretary Clinton chirp on, like clueless clones of the lamentable Woodrow Wilson, about a “quick transition to democracy” in Egypt — where the mass of people neither recognize nor will abide a church-state separation — the big winners of the unrest in the Muslim world are, without question, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and other Islamic and Islamist groups. These entities always have identified the Muslim world’s tyrannies — and Israel — as their main enemies. (NB: The United States is attacked first because it has put itself in the way by funding, arming, and defending both.) Anything that weakens or destroys Washington’s Islamofascist allies, therefore, advances the militants’ agenda — especially al-Qaeda’s — by weakening the police states they oppose and by creating the certainty that, if those states fall, their successors will be less cooperative with Israel if they aim at all to implement their peoples’ views. For al-Qaeda, new regimes in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria would be a particular bonanza because weaker successor governments would pay less attention to keeping their borders with Israel closed, and would be less willing to kill those of its citizens seeking to aid the Palestinians.

While it clearly is wrong to say that al-Qaeda, its Islamist allies, and other Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are the “cause” of current unrest, it is just as wrong to ignore the fact that over time they will be its greatest beneficiary.


The following was published in The Hill’s blog on 4 February 2011:

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.