The US faces national-security threats from al-Qaeda, a radical Islamist terror network, and is at war with in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban, another radical Islamist terror network. Iran represents a growing threat to national security, especially for our allies, primarily due to its triumphalist and messianic radical-Islamist theocracy/military dictatorship. We also face regional threats from Hamas and Hezbollah, both radical Islamist terrorist groups. In fact, in all the serious asymmetrical threats the US faces, the common thread is the radical Islamist movement.
Considering that, it may come as a surprise to some that the Obama administration is about to deliberately ignore that common thread, at least in its public declarations of national-security policy:
President Barack Obama’s advisers will remove religious terms such as “Islamic extremism” from the central document outlining the U.S. national security strategy and will use the rewritten document to emphasize that the United States does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terror, counterterrorism officials said.
The change is a significant shift in the National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventative war and currently states: “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.”
The officials described the changes on condition of anonymity because the document still was being written, and the White House would not discuss it. But rewriting the strategy document will be the latest example of Obama putting his stamp on U.S. foreign policy, like his promises to dismantle nuclear weapons and limit the situations in which they can be used.
The revisions are part of a larger effort about which the White House talks openly, one that seeks to change not just how the United States talks to Muslim nations, but also what it talks to them about, from health care and science to business startups and education.
The “larger effort” seems more focused on political correctness than actual change. The nuclear policy changes almost nothing, especially in public perception of our range of responses. This is more of the same. Are we going to stop fighting the Taliban and dropping missiles on AQ hideouts? No.
In fact, all this does is make the case for hypocrisy and semantic game-playing. It’s on par with changing the nomenclature of “terrorist attack” to “man-caused disaster.” It just minces around the truth, as though the US is somehow afraid of confronting it. Muslim nations watching bombs fall in Waziristan and military strikes in Yemen will react to reality, not the attempted prettification of the White House of it, and react accordingly to it. They know we’re at war with those radical Islamists who declared war on us, even if we’re not saying it.
It does have one effect, although certainly not the one Barack Obama intends. It makes us look weak and afraid of radical Islamists in general. It also makes us look dishonest, and it insults the intelligence of everyone Obama aims to impress. This kind of exercise asks Muslims to engage in intellectual dishonesty, rather than challenge them to oppose the radical Islamists in their midst and defeat that ideology.