With a new display of barbarism in the Muslim world occupying the headlines, Americans are being held responsible by one of our own. The suggestion that the U.S. is to blame for Islamic violence because we have not intervened in Syria is contemptible. What should we make of Senator John McCain trying to shame us into action by accusing America of complicity?
In April, McCain joined Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham in calling for the U.S. to show leadership in Syria, charging that we were “failing the people of Syria.”¹ and that the “international community is only enabling Assad to continue killing.”² Now McCain has stooped to blaming Americans for the ongoing violence:
… until we get serious about helping the Syrian people defend themselves, find safe haven, and fight back against Assad, the killing will continue, and we will be shamefully complicit, as we are now, in allowing this mass atrocity in Syria to go on and on.³
The biggest mistake we could make in Syria is believing that more Middle Eastern nation-building is in America’s best interest (see: Kerry, McCain, Lieberman Support Nation-Building. Lugar Gets It Right.). Dabbling in the politics of the Muslim world in the hope of achieving strategic advantage or cultivating American values is foolish and reckless, just like the Muslim plan to build a mosque at Ground Zero, a project opposed by McCain. How many times do we need to be taught this lesson? Democratic government is not even a remote possibility until a culture and its people are ready, and from what we are seeing, large parts of the Muslim world are still engaged in Stone Age barbarism.
If America labors under the gross miscalculation that ridding the international community of the Assads and Gaddafis will cause the Muslim world to welcome the U.S. with open arms, we deserve what we get for our efforts. Our expensive, two-faced ally Pakistan taught us a valuable lesson about the contempt with which we are held. The U.S. is a sucker good for foreign aid and whatever else we are willing to hand over. In exchange we get complicity with Osama bin Laden and jail for the man who helped turn him in.
The killings in Syria are tragic. So were the killings in Libya, the violence in Sudan, and all the other examples of how things work in the Muslim world. Islamic violence should not shock us, given that Afghanistan, our friend Pakistan, and other Muslim countries still allow stoning for moral offenses like infidelity. If we think that Islamic violence, religion, and politics are separable, we are far too naïve to be making our own contribution to the turmoil.
We keep hearing from Muslims that Islamic violence is not what their religion and culture is about. Our experience is quite different and includes random violence and terror again Muslim civilians, terror attacks plotted against citizens of non-Islamic nations, threats of extinction directed against our ally Israel, and implicit threats against the West from Iran’s nuclear program.
Given the ongoing violence in Syria, how do we deal with a culture and religion that promises one thing and delivers something entirely different? We keep our hands off, we eliminate foreign aid, and if Islamic violence journeys to U.S. soil like it did on 9/11 we make sure that it never, ever happens again.