Zbigniew Brzezinski, the man who advised President Obama to shoot down Israeli planes, now argues for the appeasement of radical Islam.
Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser criticized some of the satire directed at Islam as "unnecessarily nasty" and "extraordinarily provocative." He said that it was very important "to avoid becoming the number one enemy of the fanatics." Brzezinski argued that we must not be engaged "in anything that appears to be a struggle against Islam," and he criticized President George W. Bush for speaking of a war against "jihadist terror." According to Brzezinski, "jihadist terror to Islam, to Muslims, means just war."
Could Brzezinski's approach possibly work: or, more likely, would it be understood as the weakness it is, giving that much more encouragement to the Islamist fanatics?
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: We have to be patient and realize that this is going to be a long haul challenge to us. And we have to also be very measured in how we conduct ourselves. The most important thing we have to do, in my judgment, is to avoid becoming the enemy number one of Islam in the eyes of the believers in the world of Islam. I think we have to draw clear lines and be patient and also be responsible. We have to preserve our rights, that is to say freedom of expression and the freedom to express our views but at the same time we must avoid being provocative and unnecessarily nasty because some forms of humor directed at for example the Prophet in recent times in some publications in Europe were extraordinarily provocative . . .
Obviously we are democracies, we have the freedom of expression. But it doesn't do any harm to be measured even in humor and to avoid engaging in forms of humor and sardonic or whatever that then becomes profoundly offensive to the deepest religious motivations of people who are insecure, who are confronting modernity for the first time, who easily interpret slights into offensive, intolerable acts and can then be swept up by a fanatical movement. That's point number one.
Point number two, as to the reaction to all of that, we have to avoid not overdoing what we do over there in the Middle East. One of the most important things in my mind is to avoid becoming the number one enemy of the fanatics. Because that will turn the sharp edge of fanaticism altogether against us and will make it difficult to resolve the problems of the Middle East in such a fashion that the authentic moderates in the Middle East are effectively in charge . . .
The conflict in the Middle East is the conflict for the soul of Islam. Will an authentic self-assertive Islamic world be moderate, or will it be increasingly fanatical? The less we are engaged in anything that appears to be a struggle against Islam as such the better off we'll be. Some years ago the previous president spoke about the war against jihadist terror. Jihadist terror to Islam, to Muslims, means just war. A fair war. The war of convictions. We're not waging a war against jihad, jihadist terror. We're not waging a war against Islam. We're simply first defending our own people when they get killed unfairly and two, we're helping the countries in the Middle East prevail with moderate leadership at the helm. And I think those distinctions are fundamental and that limits the scope of our engagement.