Still, Erdogan is making his leadership bid. Here he is at the Arab League foreign minister’s meeting: “It is time for us to take responsibility for our common future….We are entitled to meet the righteous demands of our people using any legitimate means.”
Note two phrases: “our common future” means forget about Arab nationalism. All us Muslims got to stick together. Seeing Turks as Europeans is an obsolete notion for him. Ninety years of secular, Western-oriented nationalism is over.
“Any legitimate means” means the right and need to go to war against Israel. Of course, the U.S. government still acts as if nothing has changed, that Turkey is not just a reliable ally but an especially honored role model, star ally.
Incidentally, don’t waste any time on the lies and denials, here’s Turkey’s foreign minister explaining the new policy of Turkey being leader of the Middle East as he secretly expressed it to a meeting of high-level ruling party officials and as made available to us by Wikileaks.
And let’s not forget Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser; and Syria’s Assad dynasty; and, of course, Nobel Peace Prize winner Yasir Arafat. All of them also had the same basic program. All of them failed miserably and left their people worse off.
There were some others—King Abdallah of Jordan; Anwar al-Sadat of Egypt; Bashir al-Gemayel of Lebanon. They were all murdered, though, by other locals. King Hussein of Jordan isn’t around any more. So let’s see, demagogues who back terrorism and violence, hate the West, and refuse compromise fail miserably and become heroes. Moderates who want to focus on economic progress (including here Husni Mubarak) and peacemaking are jeered and killed or deposed by their own people.
Might there be a pattern here?
Meanwhile, like Bart Simpson, President Barack Obama and other Western leaders keep writing on the blackboard one hundred times: Now, if only we prove to them we’re their friends they’ll like us.
Maybe, say the Europeans, if we recognize a Palestinian state they will like us! Maybe if we say enough things about Muslims they’ll like us! After all, it is all our fault, or Israel’s fault, that they are angry. They couldn’t possibly want a revolution based on a radical ideology followed by a repressive dictatorship because that’s what they really want!
In other words, Western leaders aren’t protecting their interests. They’re auditioning for the role of Middle East hero against those who can say they are a Muslim or even an Arab. Guess who’s going to get the part? Are they going to persuade the producers that they hate Israel more than Qaradawi or Erdogan or Fadlallah? That they will promote Islam as well as people like that? That they will kick the West (that is, themselves) out of the Middle East?
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In contrast, a Gulf Arab, who hates all this stuff, gave the alternative in a private conversation: “I don’t want an American president to behave like an Arab. I want an American president who will behave like an American.”