To this day, the Brotherhood’s motto remains, “Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, Jihad is our way, and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu akbar!” Still, our see-no-Islamic-evil foreign-policy establishment blathers on about the Brotherhood’s purported renunciation of violence — and never you mind that, with or without violence, its commitment is, as Qaradawi puts it, to “conquer America” and “conquer Europe.” It is necessary to whitewash the Ikhwan’s brutal legacy and its tyrannical designs in order to fit it into the experts’ paradigm: history for simpletons. This substitute for thinking holds that, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice famously told an Egyptian audience in 2005, America has too often opted for stability rather than freedom. As a result, the story goes, our nation has chosen to support dictators when we should have been supporting . . . never mind that.
But we have to mind that. History is rarely a Manichean contest between good and evil. It’s not a choice between the pro-Western shah and Iranian freedom, but between the shah and Khomeini’s ruthless Islamist revolution. It’s not a choice between the pro-Western Musharraf and Pakistani freedom, but between Musharraf and a tense alliance of kleptocratic socialists and Islamists. Back in the 1940s, it was not a choice between the British-backed monarchy and Egyptian freedom, but between the monarchy and a conglomeration of Nasserite pan-Arab socialists, Soviet Communists, and Brotherhood Islamists. And today, the choice is not between the pro-American Mubarak and Egyptian freedom; it is a question of whether to offer tepid support to a pro-American dictator or encourage swift transition to a different kind of tyranny — one certain to be a lot worse for us, for the West at large, and for our Israeli ally: the Muslim Brotherhood tempered only, if at all, by Mohamed ElBaradei, an anti-American leftist who willfully abetted Iran’s nuclear ambitions while running the International Atomic Energy Agency.
History is not a quest for freedom. This is particularly true in the Islamic ummah, where the concept of freedom is not reasoned self-determination, as in the West, but nearly the opposite: perfect submission to Allah’s representative on earth, the Islamic state. Coupled with a Western myopia that elevates democratic forms over the culture of liberty, the failure to heed this truth has, in just the past few years, put Hamas in charge of Gaza, positioned Hezbollah to topple the Lebanese government, and presented Islamists with Kosovo — an enduring sign that, where Islam is concerned, the West can be counted on to back away even from the fundamental principle that a sovereign nation’s territorial integrity is inviolable.
The Obama administration has courted Egyptian Islamists from the start. It invited the Muslim Brotherhood to the president’s 2009 Cairo speech, even though the organization is officially banned in Egypt. It has rolled out the red carpet to the Brotherhood’s Islamist infrastructure in the U.S. — CAIR, the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Society of North America, the Ground Zero mosque activists — even though many of them have a documented history of Hamas support. To be sure, the current administration has not been singular in this regard. The courting of Ikhwan-allied Islamists has been a bipartisan project since the early 1990s, and elements of the intelligence community and the State Department have long agitated for a license to cultivate the Brotherhood overtly. They think what Anwar Sadat thought: Hey, we can work with these guys.
There is a very good chance we are about to reap what they’ve sown. We ought to be very afraid.
— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.