An interview with Daniel Pipes.
(Page 3 of 4)
TB: Earlier, you mentioned Algeria. It is a big Muslim state that we don’t hear about today.
DP: Twenty years ago Algeria was a major focus of attention. That long ago ended, although in France coverage is still significant. Algeria is ripe for the same kind of upheaval that we have seen in other North African states, such as Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. I think it is likely to happen before too long.
TB: What about Syria?
DP: Assad’s power is steadily diminishing and I cannot see how his regime will remain long in power.
TB: Should the United States get involved there?
DP: No, Americans have no dog in this fight and nothing in the U.S. Constitution requires us to get involved in every foreign conflict. Two wretched forces are killing each other; just look at the ghastly videos of the two sides torturing and executing the other. Listen also to what they are saying. It’s a civil war involving the bad and the worse. I don’t want the U.S. government involved. That would mean bearing some moral responsibility for what emerges, which I expect to be very unsavory.
TB: So you are supporting the Obama position?
DP: Yes, though he reaches it with far more angst. Also, there appears to be some serious, clandestine U.S. support for the rebel forces. The September 11 meeting in Benghazi between the Turkish and the American ambassadors was very curious. They are both based in Tripoli, hundreds of miles away. What were they doing in Benghazi? Arranging for American arms going via Turkey to Syria, it appears.
TB: How important has Israel been to the revival of Islam?
DP: It is a major factor in the neighboring states. But elsewhere, in Morocco, Iran, Malaysia, it has minor importance.
TB: Since the “Arab Spring,” Israel seems increasingly beleaguered.
DP: Not really, not yet, though I agree that it will be more beleaguered with time. Its neighbors are so consumed with their own affairs that they hardly pay Israel attention. But once the neighbors get their houses in order, Israel will most likely face new difficulties.
TB: You have questioned U.S. support for Islamic democracy, which does seem naïve.
DP: The U.S. has been the patron for democracy for a century, since Wilson’s 14 Points, and a wonderful heritage it has been. When an American travels the world, he finds himself in country after country where his country played a monumentally positive role, especially in democratizing the system. We naturally want to extend this to Muslim-majority countries. Sadly, these for some time have offered an unpleasant choice between brutal and greedy dictators or ideological, extreme, and antagonistic elected Islamists. It’s not a choice we should accept.
TB: So what should we do?
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