How exactly did we get to the point where this kind of argument is prominently featured in a mainstream publication?:
‘The point here is not to excuse the terrible acts perpetrated by committed extremists and others around the world in reaction to the video, or to condone physical violence as a response to words — any kind of words. The point is to emphasize that U.S. law makes a distinction between speech that is simply offensive and speech that is deliberately tailored to put lives and property at immediate risk. Especially in the heightened volatility of today’s Middle East, such provocation is certainly irresponsible — and reveals an ironic alliance of convenience between Christian extremists and the Islamist extremists they claim to hate.’
While Chayes does not currently represent the Obama administration (that’s a little far even for them), I suspect if you look a couple of ticks center-ward, you might find some on the current foreign policy team, and some sentiment from the President toward the Muslim world.
I don’t think the administration’s response after Ambassador Stevens’ death was just designed to protect an increasingly ineffective foreign policy platform given events, or worse, just a cynical political calculation for his foreign policy to be seen as effective. He may actually see his job as some sort of bridge-builder between two cultures, and peace-maker between civilizations under ideas he presumes to be universal. How such an approach working out in practice is another matter.
Here’s a quote from Anne-Marie Slaughter, on liberal internationalism:
‘The central liberal internationalist premise is the value of a rules-based international order that restrains powerful states and thereby reassures their enemies and allies alike and allows weaker states to have sufficient voice in the system that they will not choose to exit’
What if you can’t even appease extreme and radical groups of violent Muslims as they murder your diplomats and citizens under the pretext of the video…let alone get them on-board some sort of ‘rules-based international order’?
What if there is such a chasm between Western and Muslim civilizations that even less violent Muslims on the street have no clue as to the concepts we’re defending, and why?
What if you go so far down this path that you are, or least appear to be, willing to bend on a key issue and core freedom for our country (admittedly maybe not as far as Chayes is willing to bend it)?
Addition: From Walter Russell Mead:
‘Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah chief who usually stays hidden from public view because he fears being assassinated by Israel, made a rare appearance at a massive rally in Beirut yesterday, calling on hundreds of thousands of supporters to prolong protests against the U.S. because of the now notorious anti-Islam video.’
Maybe we can trot out Nakoula again, or turn him over to the mob and keep apologizing?
Another Addition: Ronald Bailey has more here at Reason. Don’t reward violence. Don’t shovel off the responsibility of standing up for Americans’ right to express themselves to Google, or Americans themselves. Obama is on a fast track to the European solution, which is to say, a problematic cauldron.
Related On This Site: Chayes is a former NPR reporter (Is NPR essentially the mainstreaming of the New Left of the 60’s into mass and popular culture?) that went off the map in Afghanistan and has started a cooperative there, also advising the military and the joint chiefs: In understanding Afghanistan better, you could do worse, but I didn’t realize…..: Sarah Chayes On Afghanistan In The Boston Review: Days Of Lies And Roses
Free speech (used both well and unwell) meets offended Muslims: ‘Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks Headbutted‘During Lecture’……From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’…From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’…From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’