Krauthammer acknowledges that the “Arab Spring” has led to Islamist rule

Charles Krauthammer, the most overrated individual in American punditry, the man with the guru-like, expressionless face who is treated as a sage at the “conservative” National Review Online and “conservative” Fox News, has tacitly admitted that the “Arab Spring,” which he and his fellow neocons began pushing in January 2011, has empowered “Islamism,” i.e., Islamic rule. I say tacitly, because nowhere in his article does he mention that the Arab Spring he is now calling a disaster was pushed by himself. How many times have I said that when neocons change their position, they never admit it—they never admit that until five minutes ago they were the advocates of the policy they are now condemning?

Thus le sage Krauthammer (my take-off on Voltaire’s respectful description of John Locke as le sage Locke) writes at NRO:

[T]he Arab Spring is a misnomer. This is an Islamist ascendancy, likely to dominate Arab politics for a generation.

Then this:

Hence the Arab Spring, serial uprisings that spread east from Tunisia in early 2011. Many Westerners naïvely believed the future belonged to the hip, secular, tweeting kids of Tahrir Square. Alas, this sliver of Westernization was no match for the highly organized, widely supported, politically serious Islamists who effortlessly swept them aside in national elections.

This was not a Facebook revolution but the beginning of an Islamist one. Amid the ruins of secular nationalist pan-Arabism, the Muslim Brotherhood rose to solve the conundrum of Arab stagnation and marginality. “Islam is the answer,” it preached, and carried the day.

He concludes:

The only thing we can be sure of today … is that Arab nationalism is dead and Islamism is its successor. This is what the Arab Spring has wrought. The beginning of wisdom is facing that difficult reality.

I would say that the beginning of wisdom is to admit one’s mistakes and change one’s way of thinking. Neither of which Krauthammer has done. He speaks of the “many Westerners [who] naïvely believed the future belonged to the hip, secular, tweeting kids of Tahrir Square,” without pointing out that he was a leading voice among those Westerners. How can such a man maintain a minimal reputation for intellectual honesty, let alone be seen as embarking on the “beginning of wisdom”?

Paul Mulshine at the Newark Star Ledger is also having none of Krauthammer’s second thoughts. He writes:

The same guy who helped cheerlead the Bush team into “liberating” the entire Mideast—and who just a few months ago was urging the Obama team to go into Syria—is now espousing the exact opposite policy.

Just a few months ago, Krauthammer was talking up the benefits of aiding the Syrian rebels:

Why aren’t we organizing, training and arming the Syrian rebels in their sanctuaries in Turkey? Nothing unilateral here. Saudi Arabia is already planning to do so.

But now he writes:

As for Syria, if and when Bashar Assad falls, the Brotherhood will almost certainly inherit power.

What the hell?

Mulshine continues:

[Krauthammer] claims to decry the dewy-eyed optimism he once embraced:

Many Westerners naively believed the future belonged to the hip, secular, tweeting kids of Tahrir Square. Alas, this sliver of Westernization was no match for the highly organized, widely supported, politically serious Islamists who effortlessly swept them aside in national elections.

Just where did those many Westerners get that idea?

Of course, they got it from Krauthammer and the other neocons.

Mulshine continues:

But the real problem with Chuck can be seen at the end of his column: He’s just not very smart:

Genuinely democratic rule may yet come to Arab lands. Radical Islam is the answer to nothing, as demonstrated by the repression, social backwardness and civil strife of Taliban Afghanistan, Islamist Sudan and clerical Iran.

Repression? Social backwardness? Civil strife?

That’s the very definition of “genuinely democratic rule.” Give a bunch of Iranians, or Pakistanis, or Libyans the right to express their true feelings and they’re going to choose repression, social backwardness and civil strife every time.

That’s something that any 12 year old with a normal IQ could understand. But as Mulshine has just shown, Krauthammer still doesn’t get it. He still thinks that “genuine democracy,” i.e., democratic elections producing and maintaining a liberal regime that protects individual rights, is possible in a Muslim state. So despite his admission that the Arab Spring hasn’t worked out, he still subscribes to the underlying illusions that led him to support the Arab Spring.

The man is and remains an ideological idiot. But in our idiot pundocracy, he remains le sage Krauthammer.

* * *

As proof of my previous sentence, Rush Limbaugh, in the very act of reporting Krauthammer’s turnabout and complaining that Krauthammer does not apologize to the people (including Limbaugh himself?) who were warning from the start that the Arab Spring would lead to Islamist rule, states, “I have profound respect for Charles Krauthammer.” As long as Limbaugh avows his profound respect for this overrated bozo, how can rejection of the ruinous neocon ideology get anywhere? How can conservatism ever amount to anything serious, unless conservatives make speaking the truth more important than maintaining the mutual ass-kissing society that the conservative movement now is?

I don’t have the transcript of Limbaugh’s remarks. But they are worth listening to. He says some good things, about how the Arab Spring idea was wrong from the start, how it has among other things unleashed persecution of Christians, and how the neocons haven’t taken accountability for their terrible error. But notice at the same time how tentative and even apologetic he sounds in his criticisms of the democracy-spreaders.

Also, at the very moment I was complimenting Limbaugh for the somewhat thoughtful things he said about the mistakes and the lack of accountability of the democracy promoters, I came across another recent remark of his that reminds us that he will never rise permanently above the level of a moronic Republican cheerleader. On the question of Condoleezza Rice as vice presidential candidate, he said yesterday:

I, frankly, don’t care right now. If I may be blunt, I don’t care who the veep is. [emphasis added.] It’s all about Obama to me, folks, and I don’t think it matters. I think we’re gonna be able to get turnout to get rid of this guy no matter what.

* * *

I’ve googled for some Krauthammer pieces from early 2011, and found this, from March 4, 2011, where he celebrated the fact that “revolutions are sweeping the Middle East and everyone is a convert to George W. Bush’s freedom agenda.”

And on February 10, 2011, Krauthammer warned that in order to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists from taking power in the newly democratic Egypt, the U.S. must help empower the secular liberals. The obvious fact, never noticed by The Sage, is that under a system of democratic elections, the Islamist-majority country of Egypt will elect Islamists to power, regardless of anything the U.S. does to help the secular liberals.

There is an archive of Krauthammer’s columns at the Washington Post. Anyone who wants to delve further into his support for the “Arab Spring,” especially in the first half of 2011 when Arab Springmania was at its height, need only peruse these links.

- end of initial entry -

Paul K. writes:

You wrote, “How many times have I said that when neocons change their position, they never admit it—they never admit that until five minutes ago they were the advocates of the policy they are now condemning?”

And, recently, you also wrote, “Liberalism regards the self, and thus the desires and experiences of the self, as the center of the universe. But these experiences are fleeting. How can they be made to transcend the passage of time? By visibly and permanently memorializing them in one’s body.”

Combining these insights, I suggest that next time the Great Sage endorses something as problematic as the Arab Spring, he get a tattoo to memorialize his enthusiasm. It might help him keep track.

By the way, speaking of tattoos and sages, I attach for your consideration an image of liberal sage Janeanne Garofolo counseling us to stop being mean, dumb, and anti-intellectual, while flaunting her idiotic tattoos.


LA replies:

When you got to the end of your second paragraph, I wondered where you were heading with this. When I read your third paragraph, I thought, “Bingo.”

JC in Houston writes:

I agree, I think Krauthammer is an overrated neocon mouthpiece. I went to the Wikipedia page about Krauthammer out of curiosity and learned a few things (not that Wikipedia is the most reliable of sources). Krauthammer wrote articles for the New Republic and was a speechwriter for Walter Mondale in 1980, not the best credentials for being a conservative. His conservatism became suspect to me many years ago when he wrote a column opposing some liberal gun control effort. He stated in the column that he agreed that only police and military should possess guns, but that opponents should respect the Constitution and move for repeal of the Second Amendment first. That column has always stayed in my memory. What’s distressing if you read the Wikipedia article is how many fellow pundits laud him as the “most influential conservative in America,” etc. This particular passage from the Wikipedia article also seems to sum up his agenda:

Krauthammer’s 2004 speech ‘Democratic Realism’, which was delivered to the American Enterprise Institute when Krauthammer won the Irving Kristol Award, set out a framework for tackling the post 9/11 world, focusing on the promotion of democracy in the Middle East.

One would have thought that “democracy in the Middle East” is not that great of an idea after it was tried in the Palestinian areas and resulted in Hamas taking power. [LA replies: That was in 2005-06.] These guys never seem to learn. I believe it is as a result of their belief that these poor oppressed people are in reality just white Westerners waiting to emerge and institute Jeffersonian democracy. The Islamic world is NOT like us.

I recall a scene from the 1960 film Exodus in which the American nurse Kitty (Eva Marie Saint) tells the hero Ari Ben Canaan (Paul Newman) something like, “People are all the same underneath.” Ari responds, “No, people are different, they like being different.” The neocons don’t seem capable of learning that lesson. On reflection, I don’t think you’d see dialogue expounding a basic truth like that in any movie made today.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 14, 2012 03:17 PM | Send

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