A salute to intellectual honesty and a reflection on implications for U.S. policy
Reader comment on item: Islamism with a Human Face?
Submitted by Samuel (Israel), May 21, 2014 at 01:36
Dear Dr. Pipes,
I just read your article today "Islamism with a Human Face?" and I was very surprised. While I am familiar with your axiom that moderate Islam could be the solution to the problem of extremist Islam, I didn't think the day would come when you would claim that Islamism itself could be redeemed.
It sounds like you believe it more likely than not that the observed changes in Islamism are tactical and not fundamental, but the fact that you went public with your consideration that Islamism might have a positive role to play in Middle Eastern politics has really thrown me for a loop. I will have to take time to make sense of it.
My first thought related to what appears to be (or have been) an overarching strategy of the Obama administration in the region—allying with moderate Islamists against the violent Salafists. Many have scoffed at this approach, claiming that no lasting condominium could be reached between the West and those bent on instituting Islamic political rule, howbeit patiently and without (undue) violence. Your read of the situation, however, seems to be that the U.S. administration's failures may have more to do with picking the wrong moderate Islamists, rather than unwisely assuming that any alliance at all could be made with this group.
I'll be thinking about this article for some time, but for now, allow me to congratulate you for, right or wrong, having the intellectual honesty to be willing to adjust bedrock beliefs when confronted by evidence which you believe does not support them.
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Daniel Pipes replies:
Thank you for the kind words.
The Obama administration is appeasing Islamists who are anything but benign; the sort of democratic Islamists that I acknowledge could exist have not yet emerged and so cannot be a focus of a foreign policy.
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