Here we go again. If President Trump’s National Security Adviser, H. R. McMaster, wields influence over the President, and if his characterization of the President’s upcoming trip to the Middle East is to be believed, Trump is now set to repeat all the mistakes that his last two predecessors made in dealing with the global jihad threat. For a man who won the presidency promising to drain the swamp, this is an extraordinary disappointment.
Speaking Friday about the trip, McMaster said that Trump in the Middle East “will develop a strong, respectful message that the United States and the entire civilized world expects our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology.”
“Respectful.” Of course. You remember Barack Obama repeatedly inviting the Muslim world to a new relationship with the United States based on “mutual respect.” In Washington, “respect” in this context is all too often a code word for an assurance that the United States will take no official (or non-official) notice of the fact that the motivating ideology of jihad terrorists worldwide comes from the Qur’an and Sunnah. We will pledge not to know our enemy, and hence not to understand or be able to counter him effectively.
And so McMaster added that jihad terrorists were operating according to “an ideology that uses a perverted interpretation of religion to justify crimes against all humanity.” But Trump, on the other hand, “will call for Muslim leaders to promote a peaceful vision of Islam.”
How many times since 9/11 has one American spokesman or another declared that “the United States and the entire civilized world expects our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology”? We have been expecting this for fifteen years now and counting. How many years must we expect this before we realize that our “Muslim allies” have quite different priorities from what we would wish to believe? Turkey has repeatedly refused to strike strongly against the Islamic State (ISIS); its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is much more concerned with hitting Assad and the Kurds. Pakistan’s government sheltered first bin Laden and now Zawahiri, was involved in the Mumbai jihad massacre and other jihad attacks, and has funneled much of the money the U.S. gave it to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. How long do we keep waiting on these “Muslim allies” to do the right thing, and weakly and pusillanimously calling upon them to do so?
And Trump “will call for Muslim leaders to promote a peaceful vision of Islam”? Now, there’s something we’ve never seen done before! Where has McMaster been for the last decade and a half? Buried deeply in the foreign policy establishment swamp that has been serving up this nonsense for all that time. And now he has apparently sold President Drain The Swamp on it. Bush and Obama called for Muslim leaders to promote a peaceful vision of Islam. They also claimed that the jihadis’ version of Islam “uses a perverted interpretation of religion.” Where did it get them? The same place comforting falsehoods always take you: into a maze of blind alleys and failed policies based on incorrect analysis.
Even worse, McMaster said that “with President Abbas, Trump will express his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians.” Isn’t there anyone around Trump who can explain to him that a Palestinian state would simply become a new base for new and more virulent jihad attacks against a weakened Israel? When they met in Washington recently, Abbas lied brazenly to President Trump, claiming that his government “educates for peace” and that the Palestinian Authority is “raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.” Meanwhile, on the same day, Abbas’ government was honoring 12 jihad mass murderers who are responsible for the deaths of 95 people.
The foreign policy establishment’s house organ, Foreign Policy, an egregiously self-deluded and willfully ignorant journal, is worried that “in the White House ‘Game of Thrones for morons,’ Steve Bannon is trying to turn the president against his national security advisor.” We can only hope that Bannon succeeds. It’s ironic that Foreign Policy would dub the Trump team “morons,” when it is the foremost exponent of the analyses and policies that have failed not once but multiple times, and that McMaster is once again pushing.
Trump was not elected to implement these policies and watch them fail yet another time. And if he continues down the road that McMaster claims he intends to travel, that is exactly what he will do: fail.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.