I wasn’t going to blog today, being occupied with my weekly column and two important NFL games. But Zbigniew Brzezinski’s op-ed in today’s WaPo is so wrong-headed, I have been too provoked to remain silent. It is useful to remember, when reading his opinion, that he was the mastermind behind the Carter foreign policy and it was on his watch that Iran turned from a valued ally into the most dangerous terrorist nation on earth.
In Brzezinski’s view, the president is making an enormous mistake in characterizing the war as an ideological one. He says that by labeling terrorism from the Middle East “Islamist,” the president is enhancing the terrorists’ power:
It certainly is not in the United States’s interest, especially in the Middle East, to prompt a fusion of Muslim political resentments against America with a wider and stronger sense of Islamic religious identity. When the president talks of Iraq as “the central front” in the war against Islamic terrorism, he links Iraqi and Arab anti-American nationalism with outraged Muslim religious feelings, thereby reinforcing the case for bin Laden’s claim that the struggle is, indeed, against “the crusaders…That fusion could endow terrorism with fanatical intensity, compensating for the weakness that it suffers in comparison to the organizational and military threat posed earlier by communism.
Is terrorism not endowed with “fanatical intensity” from Iran to Chechnya, from the UK to the U.S.? But it gets worse.
Brzezinski’s prescription — a military withdrawal from the Middle East — is hidden behind his description of the work of Robert Pape of the University of Chicago whom he quotes in support of his theory that our military presence in the Middle East is propelling the “fusion” he cites. Pape, says Brzezinski,
has analyzed the motivations of contemporary suicide-attackers. He demonstrates that in the majority of cases, the attackers’ basic impulse has been hostility toward foreign invaders, and he concluded a recent TV interview by observing that “the longer our forces stay on the ground in the Arabian Peninsula, the greater the risk of the next 9/11.
One of Osama bin Laden’s stated goals is to drive the infidels — America, Britain, all the West — out of the Arabian Peninsula. What Brzezinski wants to say, but lacks the courage to do so, is that were we to give OBL what he wants, terrorism would no longer threaten us.
I’ve seen the “cut and run” theory of resisting terrorism in many forms. This is perhaps the most elegant. But Brzezinski is as wrong as Pelosi, as well-reasoned as Moore. He is much more dangerous than they because his reasoning seems more learned. If only he were.