January 30th, 2011

Egypt: will it be democracy, or will it be…

Are Obama and Hillary Clinton becoming neo-neocons? Well, sort of:

Asked if Washington supports Mubarak as Egypt’s leader, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton avoided a direct answer, telling Fox News in an interview, “We have been very clear that we want to see a transition to democracy, and we want to see the kind of steps taken that will bring that about.”

I don’t think much of El Baradei. And, although the Muslim Brotherhood is “willing to let ElBaradei act as pointman for the movement,” I feel fairly safe in saying that he probably won’t be a very permanent pointman.

Will El Baradei be the Brotherhood’s Bakhtiar? For those who don’t get the reference, I’ll refresh your memories:

Shapour Bakhtiar took office as Prime Minister of Iran on Jan 6, 1979. He was appointed by the Shah in one of the latter’s final acts in Iran, a country from which the Shah departed on Jan 16.

But Bakhtiar was not the Shah’s man. He was a well-known dissident who was appointed in an effort to show that the Shah was ready to reform in ways that would satisfy those who were proponents of greater freedom and civil liberties in Iran.

The Shah is one of those figures in history who, like Ataturk in Turkey, was faced with the dilemmas common to those who would modernize and Westernize a third-world country, and especially one with a strong traditional Islamic clerical tradition. It is beyond the scope of this post to discuss why Ataturk was able to successfully buck the fairly substantial opposition of religious leaders and the populace in Turkey, and why the Shah’s effort ultimately failed in Iran. Some day I may attempt to tackle that one–but suffice to say for now that the Iranian Shah had the same goal of modernization as Ataturk, but the opposition to his rule was stronger, and his efforts to crush it far more Draconian…

On Bakhtiar’s appointment as the new Prime Minister, Khomeini condemned him, of course, from his exile in France. But Khomeini continued to live his charmed life; Bakhtiar allowed him to return to Iran shortly thereafter. The reason? A combination of Bakhtiar’s own devotion to freedom of speech, and the Shah’s old conundrum: Khomeini was so popular that to try to ban him would cause such public unrest in Iran that it seemed counterproductive. In essence, Bakhtiar, although a far different ruler than the Shah, faced the same dilemma; he resolved it in favor of not suppressing the opposition.

So who was Bakhtiar? Like many Iranians, he’d spent many formative years in France, acquiring graduate degrees in political science, law, and philosophy. But he was also a man of action; residing in France during the Nazi occupation, he fought for the Resistance. Returning to Iran after WWII, he continued his resistance, becoming an opponent of the Shah, who imprisoned him for many years.

Thus Bakhtiar had his bona fides–no patsy of the Shah, he had been one of the leaders of those who were against the Shah’s regime because of its human rights abuses, and he himself had suffered greatly for his bravery. But by the time Bakhtiar came to power it was most decidedly too late, both for him and for the Shah’s modernization program, as well as for the civil rights that Bakhtiar championed. Perhaps the only beneficiary of that campaign for civil rights was Khomeini himself, ironically enough.

Bakhtiar’s regime lasted about two weeks before Khomeini and the clerics took over, establishing the primacy of Sharia law, abolishing most of the rights women had enjoyed, banning alcohol and gambling and a host of other un-Islamic pursuits as well as newspapers, and instituting his own murderous crackdown to stifle all opposition. Khomeini didn’t have to worry about making martyrs of his enemies, nor about whether to allow them to remain in Iran and exercise freedom of speech. Tyranny doesn’t struggle with the same sort of philosophical questions about how much toughness is too much, questions with which its opponents wrestle mightily:

It was announced that any spreading of corruption would be punished by death. A variety of the Shah’s former friends, colleagues and generals were seized, and after trials of a few minutes they were executed immediately – to prevent news spreading to the others who were detained – the executions lasting without stop for several weeks. The bodies of the prisoners were loaded into meat containers and dumped into mass graves. Khomeini dismissing international protests, saying that criminals did not need to be tried, just killed.

Bakhtiar, however, was not one of them–at least, not right away. He left Iran and settled in Paris again. From that venue he organized another resistance–a movement to fight the Islamic Republic of the mullahs. For his pains, he was almost assassinated in 1980; a policeman and a neighbor died, but Bakhtiar lived to fight another day.

In 1991, however, the number of this brave man was finally up. The assassins got their man; Bakhtiar and his secretary were murdered in his home. The assailant later was captured and tried in France. At his trial he admitted to having been sent by the Iranian government.

What lessons can we draw from the life of Bakhtiar? The first is that one can be both committed to freedom and personally courageous, and yet lose the battle against repression and tyranny. The second is more of a question: is it sometimes acceptable (or perhaps even necessary) to use greater ruthlessness, to be willing to use oppressive tools against an enemy that–if successful–would not hesitate to abolish all the civil liberties and the advances for which you are fighting?

This is the dilemma faced not just by Bakhtiar, but by all those who would oppose the likes of Khomeini. How much of a crackdown is too much? How little is too little? At what point do you compromise your own principles so much that you become too much like the enemy you are fighting?

There are no easy answers. Only the questions–and Khomeini’s regime, in its present-day manifestation, Ahmadinejad– remain.

Come to think of it, Bakhtiar was 100 times the man El Baradei is. And yet ultimately he was defeated by the forces of tyranny.

60 Responses to “Egypt: will it be democracy, or will it be…”

  1. Parker Says:

    Your question about how far one should go to defeat an enemy who if victorious would abolish all individual liberty and ruthlessly suppressive all who might dissent poses an interesting moral/ethical question. I think there is no correct answer as much of one’s actions in such circumstances would be unique to each situation.

    Personally, I would be willing to go pretty far to defeat an enemy I knew to be utterly cruel and ruthless. I know I would be willing to use extreme measures to destroy anyone who harmed my family or friends or my cats. The dilemma is to avoid becoming the monster you wish to vanquish. In such circumstances your motives have to be impeccable.

  2. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    El Baradei is no Bakhtiar, that’s for sure. He is simply a stooge, first for the Iranian’s, now the Muslim Brotherhood and, if the need arose, likely for Al Qaeda as well. He’s a good little Muslim bureaucrat, whose contribution to jihad is non-violent but perhaps more dangerous because he’s demonstrated a mastery of Taqiya, the art of lying in order to advance Islam’s agenda.

    Bakhtiar was defeated by the forces of tyranny, as heroes often are, yet would this country even exist had not the good triumphed? Had not tyranny lost, could England have had its Magna Carta? Leonidas stopped the Persians at Thermopylae and western civilization was not stillborn.

    Tyranny, in the end, always loses because it’s self-defeating. At the moment of a heroes sacrifice, it often appears to be in vain but then as Orwell observed, “Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible”.

  3. Tom Says:

    I was trying to remember Bakhtiar’s name. Thanks, Neo.

    I was once reluctant to say this, but my belief has strengthened over time: We must be as brutal as our brutal opponents are. As in show them no mercy. Smashing thugs into oblivion will not stain or corrupt us. That compromises no principles, none.

    Cancers are many billions of cells strong, and cure is achieved only when the last cancer cell is killed. Most cancer killers work by first-order kinetics: one dose kills X percent of the malign population. To illustrate: dose A kills 90 % of one billion cells (900 million), leaving 100 million. Dose B again kills 90%, but this time only 90 million are killed, not 900 million. So, many repetitive doses are needed, until you’ve got 10 cells left (assuming no repopulation for this example). Now the same dose that first killed 900 million only kills 9 cells. You’ve gotta keep going and going until the last cell is killed.

    Translating that to thuggish, malign, yes evil, groups of people requires the same determined persistence. It is not ipso facto corrupting of those that do the “treatment”. To do less is to fail.

    That there is always collateral damage (toxicity, in my cancer example) is not sufficient reason to decline treatment, or refuse to provide it.

  4. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Muhammad El Baradei was obviously the Muslim’s/Iran’s man at the UN who, as the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA)–despite a whole lot of evidence to the contrary–never seemed to be able to find any evidence of the existence of Iraq’s nuclear program, or, more recently, any evidence of the Iranian nuclear weapons program either.

    Thus, despite the fact that he wears a western suit and tie and not a robe and a keffiyeh, he is in no way a friend of the West.

    That the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ikhwan, is backing him—however strategically and temporarily—is not a good development.

    Meanwhile, I note reports that ol’ Barack Hussain Obama has spent yet another day today golfing, topped off by watching football on TV. As President, this dolt and poseur is obviously operating so far above his level of competence in all areas, but particularly in foreign policy, that perhaps him having his head up his ass is a good thing, since it gives him less time to make even more catastrophic mistakes.

  5. Stark Says:

    The Muslim Brotherhood has been a player in Egypt for a very long time. It is merely wishful thinking to hope that the fundamentalists who are no doubt well supported by Iran are not going to assume more power if the current military government falls. The question will be whether they will still get huge US financial aid by pretending to be a cooperative “democratic” client state.

  6. Parker Says:

    Egypt will not become a democracy. I think the odds of an open society governed by the rule of law developing in Egypt are somewhere in the 100,000,000:1 range. It will either remain a (somewhat) secular police state (with a new face as head of state) or it will become a sunni sharia state.

  7. LAG Says:

    Ed Driscoll has this headline posted, ‘The President Who Lost Egypt.’ It follows on a story in Haaretz (http://pajamasmedia.com/eddriscoll/2011/01/30/the-president-who-lost-egypt/).

    Not to be (too) flipant, but if this is so, O follows a long Dem tradition–Carter and Iran, a Dem Congress and Vietnam, Truman and China. Maybe you could add James Buchanan and the Confederacy, but Lincoln got that back.

  8. LibertyAtStake Says:

    @Parker: Agreed. Perhaps we can also agree secular polic state (somewhat) friendly to Israel is much better than sharia state openly hostile to Israel.

    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  9. Deeka Says:

    Plan on the unveiling of the Islamic Republic of Egypt within a week or two. The hand of Iran is obvious in not only Egypt, but now in Tunisia as well. The tactic is no different from the Soviet methods used to influence places like Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, etc. post-WWII and into the 1980’s.

    Yes, the tyrants eventually fall, but I do not believe I will live to see an end to this new Islamic block run by Iran.

  10. Tom Says:

    The Caliphate returns. While good men do nothing.

  11. rickl Says:

    A new Karl Denninger post at the Market Ticker:

    Astounding And Dangerous Crap…. (Egypt)

    The facts are this: We’re largely responsible for what’s happening over there. We have, through our abuse of our status as the world’s reserve currency and the pegs maintained by other nations, forced inflation into other countries instead of taking the hit ourselves. Our Central Bank and Treasury continue to claim that there’s “no inflationary pressure” but that’s a lie. There has been enormous inflation but we have shifted it onto the backs of other people and literally forced them to eat it, both in China and through other nations with currency pegs, such as Egypt.

    America “loves” these pegs, especially in the oil-producing nations in the Middle East. Through them we get to enjoy oil that doesn’t cost $300/bbl as a consequence of our money printing. We get to force others to swallow the ever-increasing loads of monetary inflation that our government and Federal Reserve emit upon the world. This is our definition of “stability”: We print, you starve, we enjoy it.

    Read the whole thing.

  12. Brad Says:

    I like rickl because he at least keeps an open mind about things.

    Hate on me all you want, but so long as the Persian Gulf remains open , the MB don’t openly assume power, no war is declared on Israel, and I know Israel has nukes, I’d say its not our business to interfere in this one way or the other.

  13. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Given that Islam and Muslim’s Jihad has as its ultimate goal the destruction of the “House of War,” of the West, and the conversion, enslavement, despoliation and domination, or death of each and every unbeliever, any situation which results in Islam and Muslims becoming stronger is a bad development for the West and for the U.S., and any situation which sees Islam weakened is a good one for us. That is why I have always thought that U.S. “nation building” in the Muslim world was counterproductive and against our interests; we are not going to change the fundamental nature and aims of Islam.

    If the Muslim Brotherhood takes power in Egypt, is it better to have an Egypt that is openly hostile and opposed to the U.S. vs. one that pretends to be our friend and Ally?

    At least such a development would clarify things, and also save us the billions of dollars in aid we have been giving each year to our “friend” and “ally” Egypt; aid that was merely putting off what appears to be the inevitable movement of Egypt towards the camp of Islam, a movement similar to the one which another of our Muslim “Allies,” Turkey is also making.

  14. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Michael Totten, who knows the ME better than most, did a blog post about Egypt in 2005. The conclusion was that when Mubarak goes he will be replaced by a theocracy set up by the Muslim Brotherhood. I don’t think much has changed since 2005 to negate that conclusion.
    Read the whole thing:

  15. Occam's Beard Says:

    the MB don’t openly assume power

    Brad, Americans use singular verbs with collective nouns. If you’re going to pose as an American you need to know that.

  16. Tom Says:

    In what specific way(s) could the USA “interfere” in Egypt’s present matter? To what ends? We don’t have a lever nor a place to stand. BTW, you mean “Suez”, not P. Gulf.

    I wouldn’t hurry to get under Denninger’s umbrella. Ain’t the USA that put the alleged inflationary hit on Egyptians, anymore than the USA caused the PIIGS or 20% Spanish unemployment. Best look closer to home.
    Egypt doesn’t produce anything except maybe cotton and li’l Egyptians is its problem.

  17. Tom Says:

    Heck, OB, Brad just sounds like me! Maybe his neck is red too.

  18. Brad Says:

    Occam’s Beard:

    I don’t care for a grammar Nazi. Got anything substantive to add or do you just stroke yourself insulting people?

  19. Tom Says:

    Cut out that “Nazi” sh*t, son.

  20. Brad Says:


    If we are willing to play dirty enough there is a whole crapload of underhanded things we can do. Or we could just send a carrier or two to the area and openly push our oil ambitions.

  21. Brad Says:


    Thank you for an interesting link and an interesting analysis. Perhaps he is right. Though the mid east experts disagree a bit on this stuff, I freely admit I’ve never been there and I think he has much better reasons for his beliefs than most here. All I can say is if the Muslim Brotherhood comes to full power (whether openly or not) it not only will add more instability to the region, but will in my opinion mean more than even odds that the US will need to use some sort of military action to protect the flow of oil if nothing else.

  22. Brad Says:


    When he acts like a grammar Nazi he will indeed get called one. It’s a standard term on the web. Or does it make a difference that he dared to question my citizenship over a grammatical mistake?

  23. Roy Lofquist Says:

    This war has run hot and cold for 1400 years. Looks like the earth is actually entering a cooling phase climatologically. Better break out the cold weather combat gear.

  24. rickl Says:

    I think it will be a miracle if the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t come to power. The MB has enjoyed wide popular support for years in Egypt. Mubarak has been keeping the lid on that pressure cooker, and it looks like it finally blew off.

    In a way you could say that this is delayed fallout from Carter’s peace agreement in the 1970s. That got Sadat killed for his efforts, and then Mubarak assumed power. The radicals have never approved of Egypt signing a peace treaty with Israel.

    I expect to see this spread to Saudi Arabia sooner rather than later. Our foreign policy is a highly complex fabric of alliances and agreements. It’s all unraveling now. Somehow I don’t think Obama minds very much. He seems determined to throw our allies under the bus while simultaneously empowering our enemies.

  25. rickl Says:

    I forgot to add that much of the history of America’s brokering of peace agreements in the Middle East has involved us keeping Israel on a tight leash. Even the Reagan administration initially criticized their attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor. It probably would have been better in the long run if we had let Israel do what they needed to do to ensure their own security.

  26. rickl Says:

    Here is Subotai Bahadur’s take. He is always worth reading.

  27. Tom Says:

    I hoped you would have a serious thought, not “playing dirty, crapload of underhanded stuff”. That’s airhead, playground talk. Sending a carrier? which one? how many we got? where’re they at? when will it get there? to do what? intimidate how?
    Good rule: don’t pull a gun unless you’re prepared to shoot.

  28. Tom Says:

    Gen. McCaffery’s thoughts:

  29. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Kerensky’s proto-democratic Duma was destroyed by, in Lenin’s triumphant words, “a battaliion of Lettish sharpshooters”. This was, presumably, a bunch of wandering troops from one or another of the little ethnic groups caught up in the war–this time from the Baltic–and the ensuring fighting around the edges of western Europe. Just happened to be co-opted by the Reds. Could have been anybody. The battalion of sharpshooters, I mean.
    If you can’t fend off such brainless muscle, your virtues ain’t gonna mean squat in the long run, which is to say, in the next couple of weeks.

  30. Parker Says:


    The problems in the arab world are of their own making. The USA didn’t hold a gun to their collective heads and tell them to create a culture of misogyny, repression, and religious xenophobia. They did that to themselves about 1400 years ago.

    Ever since the UN created Israel (always remind your liberals friends who weep for the ‘Palestinians’ and curse the fascist Jews that their precious UN created the state of Israel, it makes them grind their teeth) in 1948 the leaders of the arab world have misdirected their citizens’ anger and frustration towards hatred of Israel and the West. According to the arab leaders (secular & religious) everything that keeps their populations repressed, everything that keeps them poor, everything that keeps them locked their rigid societies is the fault of the Jews and the West.

    I have absolutely no respect for arab culture, or the culture of Islamic nations in general. Let me repeat myself: by and large (though not exclusively) nations where Islam is the predominate religion are misogynistic, repressive, and xenophobic. I have nothing but contempt for their culture. No one in the West makes them stone their daughters after they have been raped because they have dishonored the family. No one in the West makes them execute homosexuals. No one in the West makes them do any of the sick, twisted things they justify under sharia. If the ‘arab street’ wants to know why they are in their sorry state all they need to do is look into a mirror.

    Also Ricki, the issues you bring up about the serious problems created by our FED are legitimate issues fit for a different discussion.

  31. Parker Says:

    To all those pondering our direct or covert intervention in Egypt I urge you to think about not only what sort of intervention would be effective (and to what ends), but what the ramifications of overt or covert military intervention might be. IMO we have to sit back and wait to see what happens. Up until our embassy and our citizens in Egypt are threatened, I hope we keep our distance. If our embassy is attacked I favor an immediate military response.

    What I would like to see is Obama publicly and forcefully confirm our commitment to a secure Israel. (Yes, I know that won’t happen.)

  32. Pat Dooley Says:

    I don’t think you can have a Democracy where the majority of people believe you should be killed if you choose to leave the majority religion. The polls tell us that’s what the majority of Egyptian Muslim’s believe. How can a Democracy emerge when the majority can’t respect dissenting opinions?

    Voltaire said “”Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.” (not what you might think he said). Islam forbids independent thought.

    We visited Egypt in 1989. Did the touristy stuff, but were also hosted by a Westernized medical professor and his family. We stayed in touch, and visited him in hospital when he came to the US for surgery that couldn’t be done in Egypt. Haven’t heard from him since 9/11.

  33. Bob From Virginia Says:

    the latest from Prof. Barry Rubin at the Rubin Report is that El Baradei is negotiating with the Moslem Brotherhood.

    The future of Egypt, such as it is, is getting increasing easy to predict.

    The MB will probably rule thru El Baradei, that way they can still get US aid and buy food. Meanwhile watch for the transfer of US military technology to Iran, the end of the peace with Israel and the creation of an Islamic secret police with Iranian assistance, recognition of the Hamas government in Gaza and the end of the blockade of Gaza, increased persecution of Christians and the establishment of terrorist training bases.

  34. Bob From Virginia Says:

    I forgot one item, the MSM calls this a victory and attributes the success to Obama’s genius.

  35. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    In addition to a majority repressive, backward religion, Egypt is, like so many other economically unsuccessful Third World countries, an economioc mess because they have no property laws backed by courts.

    “THE MYSTERY OF CAPITAL,” a book written by Hernando de Soto in 2000, details why Egypt and some other Third World countries have failed to improve economically in spite of generous foreign aid and some valuable resources, (Arable land, the Suez Canal, some oil, and the Aswan Dam.) Lack of ability to get marketable title to property is really bad in Egypt. In Egypt it takes 77 bureaucratic procedures, 31 agencies, and 5-14 years to acquire title to a piece of land with no guaranty that the government won’t decide to revoke title at its pleasure. In a ciountry where capital can’t be raised because of no property laws, the government bureaucrats, the army, the academics, and the elite families do quite well. The rest live pretty much hand to mouth.

    De Soto was hired by the Egyptian government to study their economy and recommend changes. Which he did. The Mubarak government did not make the changes recommended. I wonder what de Soto is thinking today?

    De Soto’s book is an excellent analysis of how nations with private property laws backed by courts become wealthy. A short summary of the main points of the book is available here:

    I wish some of our progressive politicians would read the book. Then they would understand why government cannot create wealth.

  36. Parker Says:

    A bit or unsolicited advise to all at Neo-Neocon:

    Watch the stock, bond, currency, and commodity markets closely over the next 3-10 days. Be nimble and be quick to move assets accordingly or get liquid. One thing is guaranteed — turmoil.

    And remember: there is no such thing as too much food in the pantry, or ammo in the can, or toilet paper in the bathroom. 😉

  37. rickl Says:

    Parker Says:
    January 30th, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I fully agree with you about Arab/Muslim culture. Dysfunctional doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    I quoted Denninger because he was pointing out that our insane economic policies (borrowing and printing to prop up a completely unsustainable welfare state) have real-world consequences.

    At the moment we’re exporting inflation overseas and also converting a large percentage of our corn crop to ethanol. Both increase the price of food. Middle class people can absorb that price increase to a certain extent, but poor people cannot. Expect to see food riots in more countries, and eventually in our own cities. Artfldgr has predicted that on numerous occasions.

  38. rickl Says:

    Parker Says:
    January 31st, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Excellent advice.

    I got out of the stock market in March 2009. Yes, I know, I couldn’t have timed it worse if I tried. But it seemed to be in freefall at the time, and my Roth IRA had gone into negative territory (total value less than the sum of my contributions). So I was just trying to salvage what I could. I admit that I panicked, but all in all I’m not sorry to be out of the market now. Since then it’s been artificially pumped up, and it still has a long way to fall.

    Anybody who hasn’t started stockpiling nonperishable food, bottled water–and yes, ammo–had better get busy.

  39. Gary Rosen Says:

    “I like rickl because he at least keeps an open mind about things.”

    How would you know what an “open mind” looks like, Brad?

  40. Peter Says:

    Anyone with a decent Air Force can solve the problem of Egypt in a ten plane bombing mission. Just bomb the face of the Aswam High Dam, the flood will take out Cairo and most of the population and military power of Egypt.

    Since we don’t have any leaders but Putin ruthless enough for such measures, war will come and Israel will probably have to use her nukes.

  41. Parker Says:

    Peter, with all due respect we can not solve any problem in Egypt given the current state of mind that exists within the majority of the American citizenry. The problems in Egypt (and elsewhere in the Islamic world) can only be resolved by the people in those nations. We do not have the economic strength or the intestinal fortitude to do what is necessary to resolve their problems for them. That is why I favor withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Please be patient and allow me to be clear about my position….

    From Carter through Clinton we gave the Islamic world mixed signals. We came across as neutered giants. When the events of 9/11/01 unfolded we had a choice to decide to resolve this conflict with a total, long term commitment to destroy radical Islam or fritter away our national power piece meal. We chose (guided by our leaders) the latter option.

    There is no middle, kind, or compassion way to deal with radical Islam. We have to be committed to total war or we have to suffer death by a thousand cuts. It seems to me we lack the will to wage all out war against radical Islam. Bush II did not have the fortitude to do what I believe was necessary; although I credit it him with doing more than his predecessors to confront jihad.

    From my prospective; immediately after 9/11/01 Bush II should have gone before the American people and congress and asked for a declaration of war against any and all nations that aid, abet, support, or harbor Islamic radicals bent upon attacking Western Civilization. Instead, Bush II sent us on this half *ssed response Obama has adopted.

    I believe a person or a nation should not tread lightly into war. But once it becomes obvious one is at war, war should be fought with a ruthless intensity. War should be fought without regard to “collateral damage”. We can not defeat radical Islam until we are willing to treat Mecca or Medina or Qom or Tehran or Islamabad or Cairo or Damascus with the same intensity that we treated Dresden or Hamburg or Berlin or Tokyo or Yokohama or Hiroshima or Nagasaki during WW2.

    The American people are demoralized (when it comes to confronting radical Islam) because our leaders lack the intensity to fight an all out war against the “religion of peace”.

  42. Sergey Says:

    When there is a mighty group of extremists of clearly anti-democratic ideology poised to takeover of power, it is not anymore political or law-enforcement problem. This is a civil war in the making, and the best advice is to use political repressions as a strategic tool to eliminate or demoralize this group – if needed, eliminate them physically. This is a political terror, of course, but often it is the only way to prevent much worse political terror unleashed by extremists. This is the lesson of both Russian and Iranian revolution.

  43. br549 Says:

    Until radical muslims are climbing the fence in people’s back yards here in the states, and heading for the door to kill them and their children, nothing truly will be done. And what do people really think is going to eventually happen if the current path of Islam is left to do as it is?

    Who was it that just got at the Mexican border?

  44. Sergey Says:

    David Warren has a sober view of the clashes in Egypthttp: //www.davidwarrenonline.com/index.php?id=1240

  45. br549 Says:

    We live in a nation where, aside from mental or physical disabilities, if you are dirt poor, it’s your own damned fault. Period.

    Economic cycles, and an understanding of them, and that they are indeed cycles, are but a library away. Library cards are free. Go figure.

  46. Sergey Says:

    What we have seen yet in Egypt is not an Arab street, it is just a bunch of college kids and unemployed university graduates. Essentially, a flash-mob mobilized via Internet and cell telephones. Agrarian poor are silent, and Muslim Brotherhood is queerly silent too, while it capable to mobilize 10 times more supporters. So military still capable to take upper hand and stabilize the regime by jettisonning Mubarak and appointing their man instead.

  47. Oblio Says:

    Is Mubarak waiting out the flash mob? Won’t they get tired of being out in the street when there isn’t enough food or water?

    In the meantime, criminal gangs are taking advantage of the absence of police in the streets, and private citizens are arming themselves. Thomas Hobbes, call your office.

  48. ziontruth Says:


    “We can not defeat radical Islam until … [comparison to WW2]”

    I think those comparisons to WW2 are a great part of the problem.

    Everybody says we need a Churchill, or complains how Bush wasn’t Churchillian enough, even though far more Churchillian than the current president, who’s a Chamberlain at best (assuming stupidity and amateurism, which I’m less inclined to do with each passing day).

    Churchill this, Churchill that, but let me be frank: I think even Churchill wouldn’t be enough.

    A Churchill would be splendid where you have an ideology tied to a geographic base. Hit Germany as hard as you can until you’ve taken Berlin, and that’s it, Nazism is down.

    But what about an ideology that isn’t tied to geography or to a particular nationality? Less than twenty years after the neutralization of Marxism’s dreaded Mordor, Soviet Russia, Marxism has climbed up to the level of the presidency in the United States of America. Less than a century after nearly all the Muslim world was under Western rule, the heart of the West is succumbing to hijab and niqab.

    No, Churchill wouldn’t be good enough. Good enough would be only a leader who is so “raaaaacist” as to make Leftists’ head explode. One who treats all Marxists and Muslims with prejudice, banning the former from the political system and deporting the latter down to every man, woman and child.

    I don’t think this is going to happen except in the most abnormal of circumstances. Given the increasing interestingness of the times we live in, we may well see such circumstances arise in our lifetimes, but until then, things will go on as they have for decades, with cluelessness and appeasement of evil under the mantle of “pragmatism,” and even the best of the age being forced to comply with the dogmas of our age once they attain office (“Islam is a religion of peace,” to name just one).

  49. nyomythus Says:

    I wonder in what ways and if so to what extent has the removal of the Saddam regime contributed to the popular support for self-liberation across N. Africa, Middle east, and elsewhere?

    To soon to tell … but worth pondering.

    Also thanks J.J. for the Totten link, and thanks Tom for the Yon link!!

  50. Sergey Says:

    Yes, we need Charles Martel, Queen Isabella and Vojevoda Vlad Tepesc combined.

  51. Artfldgr Says:

    Kerensky’s proto-democratic Duma was destroyed by, in Lenin’s triumphant words, “a battaliion of Lettish sharpshooters”.

    Lettish was another word for Latvian….

    the brotherhood will prevail in this case since the point is the eradication of the peace treaties with Israel (which all this will accomplish).

  52. Artfldgr Says:

    Lettish [ˈlɛtɪʃ]
    n & adj
    (Linguistics / Languages) (Social Science / Peoples) another word for Latvian

    Lettish – the official language of Latvia;

    his was, presumably, a bunch of wandering troops from one or another of the little ethnic groups caught up in the war–this time from the Baltic–and the ensuring fighting around the edges of western Europe.

    sorry… that is WRONG… period

    the first important Soviet armed force was made up of Lettish sharpshooters


    The History of the Russian Revolution
    Volume Two: The Attempted Counter-Revolution
    by Trotsky, focus on chapter 31 “Kerensky’s Plot”

    “Our troops have carried out the tasks allotted to them in the region of the breach honorably and irreproachably, but they are not in a condition long to sustain the attack of the enemy, and are retreating slowly, a step at a time, suffering enormous losses. I consider it necessary to mention the extraordinary valor of the Lettish sharpshooters, the remnant of whom, in spite of complete exhaustion, has been sent again into the battle

    “The spirit of the soldiers was astonishing. According to the testimony of members of the committee and officers, their staunchness was something never before seen.” Menshevik Kuchin

    “In the center of the point of attack was a Lettish brigade consisting almost exclusively of Bolsheviks … Receiving orders to advance, the brigade went forward with red banners and bands playing and fought with extraordinary courage.”

    “Even in the army headquarters which contained people notoriously ready to lay the blame upon the soldiers, they could not tell me one single concrete instance of non-fulfilment, not only of fighting orders, but of any orders whatever.” Stankevich

    and here:

    and better info here

    After the occupation of Latvia in June 1940 the annihilation of the Latvian army began.

    As i said. some have experience as to what happens to their military once another takes power.

    the latvians had a special place in soviet history, until stalin decided that they were traitors, then murdered them.

    so after these men secured the soviet union for lenin…

    In 1917, a large number of Latvian riflemen sided with the Bolsheviks. They became known as Red Latvian Riflemen (Latvian: Latviešu sarkanie strēlnieki, Russian: красные латышские стрелки) and actively participated in the Russian Civil War. The Riflemen took an active part in the suppression of anti-Bolshevik uprisings in Moscow and Yaroslavl in 1918. They fought against Denikin, Yudenich, and Wrangel. In 1919 the division received the highest military recognition of that time: the Honorable Red Flag of VTsIK. Jukums Vācietis, formerly a colonel in the Latvian Rifles became the first commander-in-chief of the Red Army.

    sounds like rag tag nothings eh?

    you think that because stalin had a change of mind, just as we label fascists based on stalins missives too.

    The Latvian Red Riflemen were instrumental in the attempt to establish Soviet rule in Latvia in 1919. They suffered great losses of personnel due to the decreasing popularity of Bolshevik ideas among the Latvian Riflemen and Latvians generally, and the majority were re-deployed to other fronts of the Russian Civil War. The remaining forces of the Red Army in Latvia were defeated by Baltic German volunteers and newly formed Latvian units initially under Colonel Kalpaks and later under Colonel Jānis Balodis,loyal to the Latvian Republic in western Latvia, by the Estonian Army and allied Latvian forces in northern Latvia, and finally by a joint campaign of the Polish and new Latvian army in Latgale, south-eastern Latvia.

    Following the 1920 peace treaty between Latvia and Bolshevist Russia, 11,395 former Red Riflemen returned to Latvia.[citation needed]

    Other former Riflemen remained in Soviet Russia and rose to leadership positions in the Red Army, Bolshevik party, and Cheka.

    Many, however, were later executed or imprisoned (often dying in GULag camps) during the Great Purges, when most “old guard” Bolsheviks and high-ranking military and intelligence officers (as well as many intellectuals) were persecuted by Stalin as potential rivals or traitors.

    Latvian Communists were among the most persecuted groups. When the USSR occupied Latvia in 1940, many of the surviving Red Riflemen returned to Latvia.

    their fame is not limited to just soviets.

    when they were betrayed by stalin, they opposed the soviets using German equipment in WII…

    so after stalin broke the peace treaty, took latvia, the germans took it.

    the latvians then were conscripted into the german Waffen SS as part of the latvian legion…

    the US noted that they were NOT NAZIs and the latvians were who guarded the nazi criminals and guarded the hangings…

    In the West, people who are not well informed are frequently suspicious and mistrustful of veterans who admit they fought on the German side in the ranks of the Waffen-SS. A full analysis of these armed formations is beyond the scope of this book. I can only point out that Hitler and Himmler decided to form Latvian divisions, which were organized as the Latvian Legion in the Waffen-SS Sixth Army Corps because otherwise it would have been logistically impossible to send over a hundred thousand Latvians to the front. It must be emphasized that Latvia was in the Reichskommissariat Ostland, a territory not annexed to Germany but in a legal sense considered to be occupied enemy territory. The Hague Convention forbids occupying powers to call inhabitants of such territories into their regular armies (in this case, the Wehrmacht). Therefore Hitler, overcoming his dislike of Latvians (see the quote in the introduction), decided he could get the necessary Latvian cannon fodder by calling the new army units “volunteer divisions.” The Waffen-SS was formally a volunteer army defending the “new Europe.”

    In fact the Latvians were mobilized, by force, with severe punishment for avoiding call-up orders, and death for deserting from the front. Intensive conscription into the Latvian Legion started in the fall of 1943, when the German army was suffering one defeat after another on the Eastern front. Before that, there were Latvian battalions fighting on the front, especially in the Volchov region, but they were intermingled among German units.

    It must be emphasized that the soldiers of the Latvian Legion fought against the Bolsheviks, not for Germany. A popular song was: “First we’ll hit the lice-ridden ones [the Russians], then the bluish-grey ones [the Germans].”

    Latvia created two Waffen SS Divisions in WWII; they consisted of the volunteers of the 15th and 19th Waffen Grenadier Divisions. There were 150,000 of these brave men who fought against communism beside their Germanic brothers. All together there were 900,000 volunteers from many European countries. Latvia made the largest contribution of SS volunteers of any non-German Nation.

    The 15th SS Latvian Division was the most decorated foreign volunteer division of the Waffen SS winning 13 knight’s crosses; more than any non-German Legion.

    they were also the ones that the propagandists used most in films, since the latvians are viking heritage… they are VERY tall, and proportioned. (see how many are runway models now)

    its also interesting to read about their place in Archangel…

    and in the creation of china

    Chinese detachments in service of Soviet state

    The use of Chinese troops by the Bolsheviks was commented on by both White Russian and non-Russian observers.[13] In fact, the Bolsheviks were often derided for their reliance on Chinese and Lettish mercenaries.[19] Anti-Bolshevik propaganda suggested that the Bolsheviks did not have the support of the Russian people and thus had to resort to foreign mercenaries who ran roughshod over the Russian populace.[20]

    the latvians were often the guards of other nation states people. from the caliphate, and turkish rulers, to the germans, to the police of the Tzars…

    With German money, supplied by Helphand-Parvus, Lenin was able to return to Russia and pay Lettish mercenaries to act as Police. He was the only politician in a position to do so and in this way Bolshevik success was achieved.

    and last if you want or like to read old books that are out of print but scanned (like the stuff i brought up for slavery)


    In some districts, officers of the old Russian army are now com-
    manders in the Bolshevik ranks, having been forced by the Bol-
    shevik Government to render this service. The army itself con-
    sists to some extent of Chinese and Lettish mercenaries
    , and is
    further recruited from the lowest class of the population who are
    attracted by the pay offered and the fact that the soldiers have
    sufficient food while the rest of the population is starving.

    LETTISH GUARDS FIRE ON PETROGRAD RIOTERS; Hundreds of Persons Reported Killed and Wounded in Fierce Hunger Outbreaks

    so there is a reason why two years ago i mentioned food will become a big issue, is it yet?


    Lenin and Trotsky, fearing for their safety, surrounded themselves with Chinese and Lettish Guards, but one day a girl succeeded in firing three shots at Lenin and seriously wounded him. Again thousands of innocent people were shot as a reprisal.

  53. Artfldgr Says:

    The prussian system

    This i have seen
    I could not believe it unless i had seen it through and through.
    For several weeks i lived with it;
    i went all about it and back of it;
    inside and out of it was shown to me — until finally i came to realize that the incredible was true.
    It is monstrous, it is unthinkable, but it exists.
    it is the Prussian system…

  54. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “I think even Churchill wouldn’t be enough.

    A Churchill would be splendid where you have an ideology tied to a geographic base. …But what about an ideology that isn’t tied to geography or to a particular nationality? …No, Churchill wouldn’t be good enough. Good enough would be only a leader who is so “raaaaacist” as to make Leftists’ head explode. …but until then, things will go on as they have for decades, with cluelessness and appeasement of evil under the mantle of “pragmatism,” and even the best of the age being forced to comply with the dogmas of our age once they attain office (”Islam is a religion of peace,” to name just one).” ziontruth

    Your last point, addresses the premise, that prevents an effective response against Islamic radicalism. Islam is not a religion of peace, never has been and most importantly, can never be one simply because it cannot allow reform and theologically remain Islam.

    Understanding The Theological Nature of Islam is critical to a reasoned, intellectual acceptance of the truth about Islam.

    Once that understanding is gained, the pragmatic question of the appropriate response by the West to radical Islam remains but a mind free of the ‘dogma of the age’ can ascertain strategies that dogmatic minds cannot entertain.

    You rightly point out the central strategic consideration and challenge when confronting radical Islam, an ideology (seemingly) not tied to a geographic position. For how do you make war upon a religion?

    Examining ones presumptions a little deeper however reveals an obvious but critical point; Muslims are people, Islam is an ideology, they are not the same in one important respect. Muslims are not tied to a particular geographical location… Islam however is quite another matter.

    Mecca, Medina, The Dome of the Rock, etc. are most definite in location.

    A strategy that holds radical Islam hostage to their good behavior by targeting Islam’s holy sites and the mullah’s and Imam’s is a tactic that would directly make war upon Islam without making war upon Muslims in general.

    Credibly threatening to nuke the sites and assassinate the Imam’s and Mullah’s would be a game changer.

    A US policy, that boldly stated that any use of WMD’s against the West, by any group, would immediately result in a glass parking lot where Mecca used to be, would fully engage radical Islam’s attention.

    Radical Islamics value one thing above all else; Islam.

    The most devout and therefore radical of Muslims are the Imam’s and Mullah’s. Islam’s holy sites are of inestimable value to them and my analysis (see The Realities Israel Must Accept) leads me to believe that the Imam’s and Mullah’s societal power rests inordinately upon these sites.

    If it’s true that much of their power rests upon those symbolic foundations, they will not lightly risk their destruction.

    Ironically, it was Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini who inadvertently pointed the way; “Those who oppose the mullahs oppose Islam itself; eliminate the mullahs and Islam shall disappear in fifty years. It is only the mullahs who can bring the people into the streets and make them die for Islam– begging to have their blood shed for Islam.” -Ayatollah Khomeini

    We need a game changer, without it we’ll be facing a nuclear armed, Iranian led ‘alliance’ (Caliphate) of religious millennial fanatics within 5 to 10 yrs and will lose one or more American cities to a terrorist nuclear attack within 5-15 yrs.

    “… those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [God’s law].

    Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all!…Islam says: Kill the [ non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. … Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! … Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors!

    There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.” Ayatollah Khomeini, 1942

  55. ziontruth Says:

    Geoffrey Britain,

    I’m not sure about the efficacy of nuking Mecca. Judaism survived the destruction of the Temple; Islam may or may not turn out the same. I’m with you all the way about targeting the religious leaders, though. It’s similar to my own proposed strategy (in the context of the war against Marxism) of clamping down on the MSM outlets in order to neutralize their sedition.

    However, my larger point is that all this taking of the war to the outside, which began with Bush’s misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, is premature. To fight them “over there” when they’re already here is foolish to the extreme. The non-Muslim world could have saved itself a lot of grief if it were to just exercise the principle of survival, of self-defense, and deport all the Muslims for being an imperialist invasion army. The fish to fry at home are bigger than those abroad; taking the war abroad was an inversion of priorities.

  56. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    I don’t want to nuke Mecca. I want to convince the radical Islamics that we will do so, if they nuke us. Convincing them will require demonstrating a willingness to destroy Islamic holy sites because they’re sure to test us. I would start small & work toward the most important. I don’t think we’d ever get to Mecca before they capitulated.

    One of my premises is that much of the animosity of the Islamic world against the West is driven by a subconscious perception that the exposure of Islamic cultures to the modernity of the Western cultures will be fatal for them. I agree. In that context, time is on our side. No 7th century culture can long withstand exposure to the modern world. Should the West survive, I give Islam no more than another 20 yrs before it starts an irreversible decline.

    By far the greatest danger to the West is the threat that WMD’s pose to our cities. Neutralizing that threat has to be our highest priority. How to do so?

    I’m open to suggestions but have yet to see another proposal for a strategy to neutralize the terrorist nuclear threat based in anything beyond wishful thinking, or simple denial of the threat.

    Pragmatically, our current ‘Homeland Security’ is inadequate and ‘beefing-up’ our security measures is economically impractical, so its essentially based upon wishful thinking. We’re reduced to hoping that a real life ‘Jack Bauer’ will save us…

    Deporting all Muslims isn’t going to happen but even were it to happen, it would not sufficiently address the threat of a nuclear terrorist attack.

    Bush’s overseas adventures failed to address a central component of Islamic terrorism, one known for a long time; “Rogue states never turn out to be quite the pariahs they are deemed. They are only able to cause, or at least threaten to cause, mayhem because they enjoy the covert support – usually by means of technology transfers – of one or more major powers within the charmed circle of global ‘good guys’.” — Margaret Thatcher

    Those major players include Russia, China and large parts of Europe…unfortunately, deporting American Muslims won’t address that factor.

    Which is not to imply that domestic concerns such as CAIR, ‘moderate’ Muslims silence, Islamic intrusions into American financial, governmental and educational spheres are not crucially in need of being addressed, so I take your point.

  57. Parker Says:


    I agree radical Islam is a collection of organizations that do not directly represent a nation state. The jihadists do not wear uniforms or conduct war within what we recognize as the rules of war. However, there are nation states that use these organizations to conduct their war against the West. Iran is an obvious example as is Syria. The Saudi regime has been and probably remains a major source of funds for these organizations (in their case it may largely be a matter of funding the radicals and telling them to go kill infidels so their own home grown radicals do not overthrow the House of Saud). I would guess the Egyptian government has placated the MB by giving them funds.

    I’m not a crazy person who wants to start bombing every site that is holy to Muslims or the capitals of every Islamic nation. But, IMO we made a big mistake in Afghanistan. We knocked down (but not out) the government that sheltered and assisted al qaeda. Then we prattled on about winning hearts and minds and fumbled around setting up elections. The whole counter insurgency warfare talking points.

    Now, like Nam, we have gotten ourselves into a true quagmire. We should have placed the entire country under martial law and told them what sort of administrative system of government they would be allowed to have and who would be allowed to run it. We should have told them this is the structure of civil laws you will live by and sharia is not allowed to be a part of the legal system. (Also, we should have told the farmers if you want to grow poppies you have to sell the opium to us.)

    We did the same thing in Iraq and it will not end up as a stable nation friendly or at least neutral to the West after we leave. Again, we should have told them exactly what sort of legal system they will allowed to have and that sharia can never be part of that system.

    Maybe all of my opinions are why I’ll never be the secretary of state or defense. 😉

  58. ziontruth Says:

    Geoffrey Britain,

    “No 7th century culture can long withstand exposure to the modern world. Should the West survive, I give Islam no more than another 20 yrs before it starts an irreversible decline.”

    Their culture may be 7th-century, but as Mark Steyn has noted in America Alone (specifically in the chapter “The State-Of-The-Art Primitive”), they have no problem adopting modern inventions (weaponry, but also litigation, lawfare) in order to deal blows to the West. And they have modern allies all too willing to teach them how it’s done (yes, I’m talking about the Marxists).

    “Deporting all Muslims isn’t going to happen but even were it to happen, it would not sufficiently address the threat of a nuclear terrorist attack.”

    Maybe not for America, but I’m pretty sure Israel is going to deport all Muslims at some stage. For one thing, because that option is already primed as acceptable by virtue of being encoded in Jewish Law. (Hence also my fixation on it.)

    But to your point about a nuclear terrorist attack. It’s a recurrent theme by the commenters on Gates of Vienna that such an attack (God forbid) would be answered by a retaliation in kind, probably on a Muslim holy site as you say. I’m skeptical: A nuclear terrorist attack would differ in quantity certainly, but not in quality, from 9/11. If 9/11 has been shrugged off by the usual suspects (right-wing pragmatists as well as Marxist fifth-columnists) as cause-based (“Blowback” etc.), what’s to prevent a nuclear attack from being explained away just the same? I’m of the opinion the Danish Cartoon Riots woke up far more people than did 9/11, because those riots were much harder to explain away politically than the latter.

    I said invading the Muslim heartlands was premature, not that it was totally unwarranted. In fact, I think all the victims of Islam would be justified in invading all oil-rich Islamic countries for the purpose of confiscating their oil, which they use to bankroll the worldwide jihad. Their use of their oil to fund Islamic imperialism constitutes an act of war, therefore it is legal to confiscate it. Without their petrodollars, the jihadists have no leg to stand on. It might even prevent the development of nuclear weapons by Muslim states if not left too late.

  59. ziontruth Says:


    “But, IMO we made a big mistake in Afghanistan. We knocked down (but not out) the government that sheltered and assisted al qaeda. Then we prattled on about winning hearts and minds and fumbled around setting up elections.”

    I remember Ann Coulter saying on 9/12: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” The first part was done right way. The second, directly or not, sometime afterward. But the third suggestion was drowned out before even a single American soldier left for Afghanistan. When Bush apologized for his phrase, “This crusade…”, it was all over.

    I have no particular dog in this suggestion… being Jewish, the option of converting the enemy to my religion is out for me (yet another reason why mass expulsion is my forte), and anyway, for “convert them to Christianity” you could substitute something else. The point is, the American occupation force both in Afghanistan and Iraq approved of new constitutions where Islam is stated to be the basis of law. As far as apostates from Islam are concerned, living in U.S.-ruled Afghanistan or Iraq (or Western Europe, for that matter!) is no different from living in Saudi Arabia or Iran. For all the Leftists’ accusation of American imperialism, the fact is America has exhibited too little of it.

    Ultimately, it all comes back to the aftermath of 9/11, to the failure to set the correct goal: A less Islamic world. Once Bush declared Islam a religion of peace, any bystander could tell you it was over. What a waste of troops and material!

  60. Parker Says:


    I’m all in favor of a less Islamic world. And, it certainly was a waste of blood and treasure.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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