Shouldn’t he mind that the State Department is denying “country clearances” to CIA operatives?

Hillary Clinton’s State Department bureaucrats are interfering with current CIA operations by denying passports to agents, according to intelligence community sources.

Though this has happened in the past, these denials were until recently a rare occurrence. There has been a surge in the State Department’s denial of “country clearances” in recent months. Because the State Department has legal control over the issuance of all U.S. passports — including those diplomatic and other special passports often used by active CIA operatives — its refusal to issue passports in recent months has denied the CIA the ability to mount planned operations in several nations. My sources did not reveal which countries are involved but — given the turmoil in Egypt and Pakistan, and the U.S.’s tenuous relationship with both countries — they would likely be among those nations for which the passports are being denied.

The State Department’s decreasing cooperation with the CIA may have begun as early as January 2011 when CIA contractor Raymond Davis got into a shootout with Pakistanis on a street in Lahore, killing two men who Davis said were attempting to rob him. Davis was arrested for murder and his diplomatic passport was deemed ineffective by the Pakistanis, who held him in prison until the U.S. government paid “blood money” to the relatives of the dead.

These events come at a time when rumblings about the effectiveness of new CIA Director, Gen. David Petraeus, are also being heard. If the passport denial is as great a problem as my sources indicated, why would Petraeus not be fighting the State Department’s usurpation of his job?

The denial of passports to CIA agents would most affect those who are going abroad to gather intelligence under an official cover of other U.S. government employment. Covert operations, logically, would not be affected as the agents involved would not be traveling on U.S. government passports, though “case officers” who run the covert agents might be.

NAVY’S NEW GENDER NEUTRAL CARRIERS WON’T HAVE URINALS….!!!???? Navy’s new gender-neutral carriers won’t have urinals [Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET] The U.S. Navy’s new class of carriers will be the first to go without urinals, a decision made in part to give the service flexibility in accommodating female sailors, the Navy says. The change heralded by the Gerald R. Ford class of […]

The Gordis Not
Daniel Gordis said “no” to the Levy Report in signing on to the far-left “Open Letter” (and the full text is below) released this week which has been fisked a bit here. At Haaretz, rather than his usual Jerusalem Post base, he defends his co-joining the left-of-center American Jews who decided to become very publicly upset at the publication of the Levy Report on Israel’s rights in, and to, Judea and Samaria. He published this piece, Choose hope: Don’t adopt the Levy report.
In short, he thinks that
“To state publicly that what we have in Judea and Samaria is not an occupation might be a legally justifiable claim. But it would also signal that it is time to give up even thinking about how a different reality in the Middle East might be achieved. That, we must not do.”
Might be? And why is that “different reality” abhorrent enough for Gordis to join the left-of-center crowd, lend them his name, and that of the Shalem Center? Is the issue that important for him to decide to run with this group of Israeli critics?

Well, we need to review his thinking and so here are some extracts from his defense:-
The letter did not argue that Justice Levy’s legal argument was legally incorrect; it also took no stand on settlement issue writ large…The letter simply asserts that if the Prime Minister adopts the Levy Commission report, he will do Israel serious damage.

The Path Less Chosen — on The Glazov Gang by Jamie Glazov

The Path Less Chosen — on The Glazov Gang by Jamie Glazov Three Iranian freedom fighters share why they entered the battle zone against a vicious tyranny.


This week we are proud to present the inaugural episode of “The Call,” an unconventional foreign policy round-table that will be posted regularly on Monday afternoons. Each “Call” will focus on a single subject to which panelists will bring insights drawn from their experience and contacts in the worlds of finance, investigative reporting, military operations and intelligence work. The weekly discussion will be followed by regular blog-posts.

None of the panelists adhere to any common ideological line or political affiliation, and are united simply by the fact that they like talking to each other:

Mike Breen, Vice President of the Truman National Security Project, is a former US Army officer who served in tactical and operational assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pepe Escobar is an investigative reporter based in Sao Paolo, Brazil and author of the “Roving Eye” feature for the Asia Times

David Goldman, aka Spengler, is the author of “How Civilizations Die” and the former head of fixed income research for Bank of America.

Rotem Sella is the foreign affairs editor at the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv

David Samuels is a Contributing Editor at Harper’s Magazine

Obama: Washington still broken after four years…..HMMMM…IS THIS HIS “MALAISE” MOMENT LIKE JIMMY CARTER?…RSK
President Obama concedes that Washin…
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Fridays in Pakistan: Prayer, then U.S. flag-burning
Monday, July 16, 2012
If anti-Americanism is rife in Pakistan, which currently faces the lowest point of its fractious relationship with the United States, then it is manifested, physically, almost every week in Karachi. Many rallies end in the same way: the burning of an American flag. Read more…

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Obama’s ‘war on coal’ helps Romney in Ohio
CBS News
Monday, July 16, 2012
Can Mitt Romney win Ohio by convincing voters in economically depressed Appalachia that President Obama has declared a “war on coal?” That’s the message coming from Romney’s Ohio campaign manager, Scott Jennings, says Obama’s hostility energy production will help put Romney over the top in this pivotal swing state. Read more…

Read more:
Report: Wasserman Schultz eyes Fla. governor bid YIKES!!!!
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is weighing a run to become Florida’s next governor, the state’s biggest newspaper claimed. Read more…

Read more:


Reprinted from

The Islamic Sharia is a system of law. It is a collection of prohibitions, admonitions and commands about human behavior. The Sharia is not an internal matter that only concerns Islam and Muslims. The Sharia includes a large number of provisions about people who are not Muslims. These rules are usually prohibitions that carry severe penalties if violated. These provisions of the Sharia make life unsafe and uncertain for someone who lives under Sharia law and who is not a Muslim.

Under Sharia law, someone who is not a Muslim possesses no inalienable rights. If I am wrong here, I will be relieved, and happy to stand corrected and receive your e-mails pointing out why I am wrong. But if I am right, a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay possesses more rights than a Jew or a Christian who lives under Sharia law.

Unlike the legal systems of most modern nation states, Sharia law is not subject to democratic supervision. Like international law and rabbinic law, Sharia law is an academic affair: experts discuss and debate the rules until they reach an agreement. Sharia law does not know a parliament or a government that acts as legislator, but the rules of the Sharia come into being by being agreed upon by the experts, that is, the Islamic religious leaders, the professional Muslims, the Ulama, Ayatollahs, or whatever these dignitaries are called.

Like me, most of you will be only superficially familiar with international law. The pretensions of international law have never been put to the test of a free and democratic vote. It was, to say the least, interesting to note how often the accusers of Geert Wilders in 2010 and 2011 appealed to what they regarded as generally accepted international law in order to silence Geert Wilders. As international law demonstrates, communities of academic specialists, in their isolation, have a tendency to develop a degree of pedantry that an elected lawgiver could never afford. Up to a point, this is exactly what has happened to the Sharia.

Religions are not democratic even if they sometimes may preach or tolerate democracy. Hence, the way in which the rules of Islamic law come into being is undemocratic. This implies that allowing the Sharia, or a part of it, to be the law of the land in a Western nation will diminish the democratic character of that nation. It means giving away legislative power to unelected self-appointed men, who are unknown and anonymous, who operate from far-away mosques in Pakistan or Afghanistan. In a democracy, this is not the ideal arrangement. One may have legitimate religious reasons to nevertheless prefer such an arrangement, but it entails something worse than taxation without representation; it entails legislation without representation.

Western policymakers do not take Sharia law too seriously because it is an academic and religious affair, a system of law that springs not from the power of a state but from the minds of religious scholars. In the Muslim world, to the contrary, the authority of the Sharia is overwhelming. The colossal prestige of the Sharia in the world of Islam is easy to explain: Islamic theology identifies Sharia law with the will of God; and Sharia specialists are the religious leaders of the Islamic community. No government in the Muslim world can afford to alienate these specialists of religious law if it wants to remain in power.

Each and every Islamic country nurtures its own equilibrium between its government and its religious specialists. This ever-changing equilibrium is the stuff of PhD-dissertations. Nevertheless, most Islamic countries possess legal systems that are influenced by, but not identical with, traditional Sharia law. To the leaders of the radical Islamic movements this non-identity of national law and Sharia law is a permanent source of anger. The smallest discrepancy between Sharia law and the law of the land is permanent fuel to the fire of their propaganda machines since such a difference supplies proof that a human lawgiver wanted to take God’s place, and attempted to improve on Go’ds work, which is blasphemy since God must remain the only law-giver.

Sharia law is not a practical system of law developed in courts. It is the product of the deliberations of scholars, and it does not spring from the practical concerns of judges, barristers, prosecutors or defenders. Consequently, Sharia law is poor on procedure. It is a theoretical, abstract system of law thought out in academies. This explains most of its weaknesses.

Nevertheless, Muslim theology claims that Sharia law is divine. If unfamiliar new questions arise for which the Sharia has to provide an answer, Sharia specialists, at least in theory, put forward a solution that is based upon the four principles or ‘roots’, of the Sharia. These four principles will reemerge again and again in all discussions concerning the Sharia. They are Koran, Hadith, Analogy and Agreement.

The fourth root, Agreement or Consensus, is for all practical purposes the most important criterion. Once a consensus has emerged it becomes unnecessary to consult the other sources. Theory and theology, however, attach the greatest value to the authority of the first of these four roots, to the Koran, but in practice the wording of the Koran may have to be supplemented or interpreted by the other sources, or by another passage from the Koran itself.

Here we meet with an important principle from both Sharia law and Koran interpretation. This principle, ‘abrogation’, naskh in Arabic, is often misunderstood. ‘Abrogation’ means that a verse from the Koran that was revealed early might be repealed, or ‘abrogated’, by a verse that came down at a later point in time. Sometimes even an element from one of the other three sources can abrogate the contents of a verse from the Koran. Muslim scholars analyze all possible cases in depth.

The most famous example of abrogation is of concern to anyone who is not a Muslim: the abrogation of Sura 109, a Sura from the Mecca period that preaches religious tolerance. This Sura is abrogated by later verses from Medina that command the Muslims to fight and kill the unbelievers wherever they find them.

Whatever problem Sharia scholars are confronted with, in a few generations they will work out an agreement; and then Muhammad’s directive applies that ‘God will not permit [his] people to agree on an error.’

This important directive plays a central role in the Sharia system. Its application has a number of unforeseen consequences. Abolishing a Sharia regulation on which agreement had been reached, implies that Muhammad’s umma did go wrong. But according to Islam’s Prophet, it did not. Hence, it is out of the question to go back on regulations once they are agreed upon. Examples of cases where this creates difficulties and embarrassment are numerous: just think of the Sharia punishments for apostasy, adultery or theft.

A famous example of abrogation is the prohibition of wine. In early verses, the Koran speaks well of wine; later verses forbid wine. But how do we know which verse comes first? This we can only know from the Muslim Sharia experts. How do they know? Well, since wine is forbidden, the verse that forbids wine must be later than the verse that praises wine. Outsiders will suspect circularity, but to traditional Muslims this all enjoys the support of the Most High, and reconfirms that they would be at loss without the scholarship and learning of the experts who embody religious authority in Islam.

The friends of Islam see the alleged flexibility of Islamic law as an indication of its humane and liberal character. This, however, is a mistake. Flexible laws are not humane but dangerous, since citizens do not know for what they can be arrested and executed. Islamic law, flexible as it is reported to be, is unanimous on a large number of points. Agreement, consensus, that is what the system is build upon. No important disagreements exist on the points of law that are important to whoever is not a Muslim, whatever the friends of Islam may say. Not respecting the majesty of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, is generally seen as a capital crime. If the courts or the governments do not execute the offender, spontaneous informal volunteers may feel justified to take this task upon their shoulders, whatever the cost to them personally.

Modern Western scholars have called into doubt the origins of the Sharia. They believe that the Sharia is the continuation of Roman provincial law as it was in force in the Roman Empire in the Middle East on the eve of the Arab conquests. A number of 20th century scholars wrote about the relationship between Roman and Islamic law. It is easy to see that the figure of the mufti is a continuation of the scholar of jurisprudence well known from Roman law, and other examples abound.

Strong influence from Talmudic rabbinic law on the Sharia is undeniable, and no miracle, since the Talmud and the Sharia both came into being in Iraq, in roughly the same period, 7th till 9th century AD. Fatwa’s are, of course, the exact functional equivalent of the rabbinic teshuvot, and the responsa from Roman law.

Muslims believe that their religious specialists derived the rules of the Sharia from its four sources: Koran, Hadith, Analogy and Consensus. However, modern Western scholars have come to believe that the rules of the Sharia were not derived from the four ‘roots’, but that the rules and provisions were anchored in these four ‘roots’ only in retrospect. This is again the stuff of PhD-dissertations. These academic questions, however, should not detain us here, we have a more important duty: to explain why we should concentrate on the Sharia, and not on the Koran or Muhammad, when we want to defend ourselves against the onslaught of Islam.

Modern Western scholarship on the Koran and the life of Muhammad has made great progress since the turn of the century. Consequently the traditional positions concerning Muhammad and the Koran have shown themselves to be untenable.

Whether Muhammad really existed, is more uncertain than ever. Two centuries of patient scholarship have created serious doubts about the historicity of the prophet of Islam. These doubts will not go away, no matter how small and insignificant the number of academics that works in this field may be.

The general picture which the Koran and the Islamic tradition offer of the setting in which Muhammad worked, first as a prophet, then as both a prophet and a statesman, the general picture of Mecca and Medina in the beginning of the 7th century AD, is not confirmed by the results of archeological research and inscriptions as far as these are available. This, of course, may change when research progresses but it is not a good sign, especially since what has been found, at first sight appears to contradict the traditional views.

The literary tradition about Muhammad’s biography does look like an unsystematic collection of mutually contradicting sermons that nevertheless all want to convince the audience that a certain Muhammad was the Messenger of God. The literary material that has been preserved does not look like an historical record at all. This is not necessarily fatal, but it is not a good sign. Numismatics does not confirm Islam’s version of the early history of Islam. This by itself is not conclusive, but it is not a good sign. There are discrepancies between what we know about the ancient Arab calendar and the reported stories about Muhammad. This needs not be fatal, but it comes close to being so.

True Muslims, however, do not share these doubts about their beloved prophet. The guild of Muslim religious leaders, on the other hand, will go further than simply not sharing these doubts; they will be infuriated when modern Western scholars unmask the Muslim version of the early history of Islam as a narrative created by theological necessities, as sermons that are disguised as history. It goes without saying that many Muslims will be ready to put on heavy armor to defend their religion against such attacks.

There is, however, one point of entry into the Islamic armor that sounds as pious and as Islamic as these things go. It may even be effective. The Koran unequivocally states that it is written in clear Arabic language. ‘Well’, one is bound to ask, ‘Why, if this is true, do we need Koran commentaries that run into thousands of pages?

This question is awkward already, but we have to pose an even more embarrassing one concerning the authority of the ancient founding fathers of the Sharia: the four giants al-Shafi’i, Abu Haniifa, Malik and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, all close to 800 AD; all, except Malik, geographically connected to Iraq: ‘Why do we need these four Sharia scholars to inform us which acts Islam forbids and prescribes?’. ‘If the Koran is clear, why do we need these luminaries? What did they know more than the prophet Muhammad? What did they know that is not in the clear verses of the Koran?’

These questions do not necessarily make the average Muslim laymen angry. Nevertheless, they will enrage Muslim Sharia scholars. Since these men play the role the clergy plays in Christianity, they are a force to be reckoned with. They are no doubt a spiritual force, but some of their youthful supporters do not care much about the distinction between soul and body, and do not hesitate to take all necessary steps to enforce compliance with the wishes of these clergymen.

Muslim laymen, as a rule, assent to whatever the professional Muslims teach and preach. The power that this guild of Islamic Sharia experts exercises over its flock is amazing and has no equal in history. It is based on social pressure. It operates in the simplest way imaginable: carrying out the prescripts of one’s religion creates prestige amongst coreligionists. This is the case in all religious systems. Hence, in the case of Islam, Muslims will admire anyone who acts in the Islamic way. Who defines how that way runs? It is the Islamic clergy that exercises the final authority on which behavior constitutes Islamic behavior.


M.A.S.H. Star Partners with Castro’s Spy Service Posted By Humberto Fontova

Though a consistently good show, few conservatives mistook M.A.S.H for anything but pinko propaganda. Last week, long-time M.A.S.H star Mike Farrell (Capt. B.J. Hunnicut) took the last few baby-steps and started spouting outright Communist propaganda.

In a letter to President Obama, Farrell officially partnered with Castro’s KGB-trained DGI urging the release of five of their agents and officers who were convicted in 2001 of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. and conspiracy to murder Americans. The Supreme Court has twice upheld the convictions of these Communist terrorists and accessories to murder.

In 1933 Stalin’s propaganda chief, Willi Munzenberg, re-monikered the Soviet Comintern as the “International Aid Committee for the Victims of Fascism.” The Soviet’s Cuban satraps and their propaganda auxiliaries have one-upped even Munzenberg. These convicted Castroite terrorists — we’re now told by the former M.A.S.H star — are actually peace-loving anti-terrorists; flower-children of sorts. Here’s the heart of Farrell’s letter:

Release them because they came here only to monitor the activities of violent Cuban exiles who, operating from bases in Miami of which our government is well aware, were planning violent actions against innocent people in Cuba.

Release them because they were trying to prevent more brutal acts against their country and save innocent lives.

But according to the FBI’s affidavit, the convicted Castro-agents whom Farrell champions were engaged in, among other acts:

• Gathering intelligence against the Boca Chica Air Naval Station in Key West, the McDill Air Force Base in Tampa and the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Homestead, FL;

• compiling the names, home addresses and medical files of the U.S. Southern Command’s top officers, along with those of hundreds of officers stationed at Boca Chica;

• infiltrating the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command;

• sending letter bombs to Cuban-Americans;

• spying on McDill Air Force Base, the U.S. armed forces’ worldwide headquarters for fighting “low-intensity” conflicts; and

• locating entry points into Florida for smuggling explosives.

Farrell’s poster-boys also infiltrated the Cuban-exile group Brothers to the Rescue, which flew unarmed planes to rescue Cuban rafters in the Florida straits, also known as “the cemetery without crosses.” The estimates of the number of Cubans dying horribly in the “cemetery without crosses,” run from 50,000-85,000. Brothers to The Rescue risked their lives almost daily, flying over the straits, alerting and guiding the Coast Guard to any balseros, and saving thousands of these desperate people from joining that terrible tally.

Prior to Castroism, by the way, Cuba was swamped with more immigrants per capita than the U.S., mostly from Europe. People from nearby Haiti jumped on rafts desperate to enter Cuba, which enjoyed a higher standard of living than much of Europe. Also, during the 1950s when all Cubans were perfectly free to emigrate with all family, property, etc., and U.S. visas were issued to them for the asking, about the same number of Americans lived in Cuba as Cubans in the U.S. In 1953 more Cubans vacationed (then voluntarily went home) from the U.S. than Americans vacationed in Cuba. Alas, none of this features in The Godfather II. So it’s mostly unknown.

By February 1996, Brothers to The Rescue had flown 1,800 of these humanitarian missions and helped rescue 4,200 men, women and children. That month, members of Mike Farrell’s current cause célèbre passed to Castro the flight plan for one of the Brothers’ humanitarian flights over the “cemetery without crosses.”

With this information in hand, Castro’s Top Guns saluted and sprang to action. They jumped into their MIGs, took off and valiantly blasted apart (in international air space) the lumbering and utterly defenseless Cessnas. Four members of the humanitarian flights were murdered in cold blood.

Three of these men were U.S. citizens, the other a legal U.S. resident. Among the murdered was Armando Alejandre Jr., who came to the U.S. at age ten in 1960. His first order of business upon reaching the age of 18 was fulfilling his dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. His next was joining the United States Marine Corps and volunteering for service in Vietnam. He returned with several decorations.

As a member of Brothers to the Rescue, Alejandre often dropped flowers over the sea, in memory of the thousands who were unable to be rescued in time. So Castro waited for Armando Alejandre Jr. and his Brothers to be carrying these flowers—and made his move, murdering them in cold blood. MIGs against Cessnas. Cannon and rockets against flowers. Details of the atrocity are provided in a book by Matt Lawrence, one of Alejandre’s colleagues in rescue.


There are between 350,000 and 550,000 Jews who have been targeted for ethnic cleansing by the international community. Their crime is their race and religion.

In 1948, armies from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen and Lebanon invaded Israel, along with the Holy War Army, commanded by the nephew of Hitler’s Mufti, and the Arab Liberation Army, under Fawzi al-Qawuqji, freshly released by the Soviet Union after being captured with his Nazi allies in Berlin. Along with them came thousands of terrorists and thugs from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Driven by hate, they swarmed into Israel to destroy it. They seized half of Jerusalem, expelling its Jewish population, blowing up its synagogues and using tombstones from its cemeteries to pave their roads.

Villages such as Kfar Darom in Gaza were besieged, first by the Muslim Brotherhood, and then by the Egyptian Army. The village of 400 men, women and children had managed to throw back the forces of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had shelled the village and failed to break through its fence with tanks, and briefly held out against the Egyptian Army, before it was evacuated, captured and destroyed. Other villages, such as Kfar Etzion, which were not evacuated in time, witnessed massacres after their capture.

When after 1967, the Jordanian and Egyptian invaders had been expelled, and East Jerusalem, Kfar Darom and Kfar Etzion were rebuilt and resettled, the international community declared those Jews living there to be “settlers” and their towns and villages, even their homes in Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world, to be “settlements.”

What is the mark of a “settlement”? It isn’t the age of the buildings or the number of inhabitants. Jerusalem is ancient and Maaleh Adumim is about the size of Atlantic City. It is race that marks a settler as a target for persecution and ethnic cleansing.

An Arab Muslim with Israeli citizenship who buys a house in Jerusalem is not condemned by Vice President Biden, the United Nations and the media. But when a Jew demolishes the former home of Hitler’s Mufti, after legally purchasing it in order to build an apartment building on the spot, then Hillary Clinton issues a specific statement denouncing the construction of a 20-person apartment building, for no other reason than because Jews will likely live there.

Now the false narrative of settlement and occupation has been challenged by the Levy Report which restates many of the obvious points of law; most significantly that Israel is not an occupying power and did not seize any land from another state. Indeed much of the land that Israel is accused of occupying is actually land that was seized from it by invading Arab armies during its 1948 War of Independence.

The only difference between West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, between a village that is recognized by the international community and a “settlement” that is condemned by the international community, is that the so-called “settlements” are on territory that the invading Muslim armies captured and held for 17 years.

The only legal basis for denouncing the Jews who returned in 1967 to the homes that they had been expelled from in 1948 as “settlers” is by recognizing the Arab Muslim conquests of those territories. But those conquests were never recognized or accepted. Not even by the international community.

The rebuttals to the Levy Report invariably rely on emotional rhetoric and confused legal reasoning. Most of them lean on the 2004 International Court of Justice ruling, which Israel did not participate in, declaring that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the 1967 territories because they “lay to the east of the 1949 Armistice demarcation line.”

But as the Levy Report points out, the Armistice agreement that ended the war specifically disavowed the cease-fire lines as having any political or territorial significance, “being dictated exclusively by military considerations.”

Designating territory that Israel held and where its citizens resided until that territory was seized during an invasion by foreign states before then being liberated by Israel as “occupied territory” needs better legal reasoning than the simple fact of Arab military occupation. Otherwise the ICC has only chosen to recognize one military occupation and then use it to denounce military occupation.

The Democracy Delusion and Obama’s Failed Mideast Policy: Bruce Thornton

The New York Times headline on Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to Egypt said it all: “U.S. Is in a Quandary.” That’s putting it mildly. Better words for this administration’s foreign policy are “confused,” “contradictory,” and “delusional.”

Start with Clinton’s meeting with newly elected Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. Clinton suggested to the Muslim Brother that breaking the war of wills with the military leaders running the show for now requires “dialogue and compromise, real politics.” The U.S., she added, would strive to “support the democratically elected government and to help make it a success in delivering results for the people of Egypt.” Morsi was happy to listen to Clinton chanting the “democratically elected government mantra,” given the $1.5 billion in aid given Egypt every year, and the promise of even more “economic assistance.”

The unexamined and delusional assumptions in the administration’s approach to Egypt are legion. The first and most important is the magical thinking that a “democratic election” in a country lacking democratic traditions, principles and beliefs is anything more than machinery for redistributing power. This mistake, by the way, transcends political party. It compromised George Bush’s foreign policy as well, which relied on simplistic notions of “democracy” and “freedom” for its policies across the region. Not even the disaster of “free elections” empowering the terrorist outfit Hamas in Gaza could disabuse the administration of this article of faith.

The Obama administration continues to make the same mistake. It works off a simplistic calculus in which “dictators” are bad and “democratically elected governments” are good. The legitimate calculation, however, is which form of rule serves the security and national interests of the United States. If a country has beliefs and principles compatible with democratic government, then it is more likely to serve our interests, or at least not actively subvert them. If not, however, then promoting “democratic elections” will very likely unleash forces in a country damaging to those interests.

What the democracy peddlers forget is that in a true liberal democracy, elections are just the expression of political principles and ideals, the most important being the basic rights all humans possess by virtue of being human, such as freedom of speech and religion, which cannot be taken away by the government, nor limited because of race, sex, belief, or religious creed. Next, in a liberal democracy violence is proscribed as an instrument of politics, replaced by law and procedures subjected to statutory limits and accountability. These core beliefs naturally lead to the idea of tolerance for those holding different ideas or beliefs, with conflict decided through non-violent political processes that involve negotiation and compromise, with everybody respecting the outcome and working for change through the political process. All these principles must be second nature to citizens in true democracies.

These obvious truths from Political Science1 should have suggested to our political leaders that they exercise prudence in dealing with the recent revolutions in the Middle East, and put our own interests and security at the center of our policies. But addled with the heady wine of democracy promotion, Obama used American cruise missiles to remove Muammar Gadaffi, a murderous thug who nonetheless had been behaving himself as far as our interests were concerned. What we got in his place is a congeries of militias and terrorist outfits like the al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which includes veteran killers of our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq; and thousands of assault rifles, machine guns, mines, grenades, antitank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles capable of bringing down commercial airliners flooding the black markets throughout the Middle East. Meanwhile, the head of the Libyan National Transition Council has announced, “The constitution will be based on our Islamic religion,” which means gender apartheid, the death penalty for “apostates,” and virulent hatred of America and Israel.

Despite that debacle, Obama went ahead and abandoned Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, another murderous thug who nonetheless had maintained the cold peace with Israel and kept a lid on the Islamist Muslim Brothers. First, the Brothers were magically transformed, in the words of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, into “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.” This is the same organization whose Supreme Guide, Muhammad al-Badi’, has preached that the “improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.” After the Brothers and other Salafist parties took 70% of the vote in the first round of elections, other commentators counseled us not to worry, since the responsibility of governing would require pragmatism and compromise in order to deliver the social order and economic boons for which the Egyptian people were presumably pining. Sadly, we indulged this same delusion back in 1979 with the Iranian revolution, when the Islamist fundamentalism of the Ayatollah Khomeini was dismissed as mere rhetoric. Iran’s continuing genocidal rhetoric, brutal suppression of dissent, and march to the possession of nuclear weapons should make the folly of that mistake obvious.