The Corner

Backfire? Here’s how

Andrew, sure, some Libyans may see through the selective quotations.  But, throughout the Middle East, we hear openly and repeatedly that such statements convince the public that the West is siding with their dictatorships.  Sycophancy seldom works.  In another case, former Pennsylvania congressman Curt Weldon returned to Washington and said how he had stood firm to Qadhafi, but Libyan television showed him praising the great leader.  Freed dissidents often speak of how demoralizing such statements are and, conversely, how important moral clarity is.  

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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