Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Martin Indyk: A Commentary on Post-Modern Education*

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

To avoid misunderstanding, I must say at the outset that I am not interested in Martin Indyk per se, if only because I do not regard him as worthy of my attention. But since pundits take Indyk seriously, perhaps they may be enlightened if I use him to reveal the basic cause of Israel’s and America’s malaise. Hence, a brief bio of Indyk is necessary, for which Wikipedia will suffice.

Indyk was born in 1951 to a Jewish family in England, but grew up and was educated in Australia. He graduated from the University of Sydney in 1972 and received a PhD in international relations from the Australian National University in 1977. He immigrated to the United States and later gained American citizenship in 1993.

He has taught at the Middle East Institute at Columbia University and at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. He also served as special assistant to U.S. President Bill Clinton (whose administration, according to military theorist and former U.S. Army Colonel Ralph Peters, was “the most cowardly administration in history,” having failed to react vigorously to terrorist attacks on U.S. forces abroad, a failure leading to 9/11.)

Returning to Clinton adviser Martin Indyk, he also served as senior director of Near East and South Asian Affairs at the United States National Security Council. While at the NSC, he served as principal adviser to the President and the National Security Advisor on Arab-Israeli issues, Iraq, Iran, and South Asia. He served two stints as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, from April 1995 to September 1997 and from January 2000 to July 2001.

Writing in the New York Times, and interviewed by Israel Army Radio on April 22, Indyk blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the rift with the Obama administration. He went so far as to say “Israel has to adjust its policy to the interests of the United States.” Since I am anything but a fan of Netanyahu, this report should not be deemed a defense of Bibi.

Notwithstanding Indyk’s education and his experience in the American executive department, he appears abysmally ignorant of facts documented in American sources and confirmed by U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye and former Chief of U.S Air Force Intelligence George Keegan that dollar for dollar, Israel gives more to the U.S. than the U.S. gives to Israel—to say nothing of the overt and covert U.S. military aid to Israel’s enemies, including the Palestinian Authority.

Like his Washington handlers, Indyk has long advocated a Palestinian state, even though one does not require military expertise to arrive at a former U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff conclusion that such a state would endanger Israel’s existence. This is why Netanyahu insists that an Arab Palestinian state must be demilitarized and barred from forming alliances with any Arab regime.

Never mind that no Palestinian leader would survive a day if he accepted such terms. Consider only the fact that Indyk wants Israel to negotiate with the PA, whose mentality and behavior have been shaped by Islamic scriptures permeated by murderous hatred of “infidels,” especially Jews. Hence, I am not impressed by Indyk’s academic credentials and experience in the Clinton government, no more than George Orwell was impressed by the British intelligentsia of the 1930s which held posts in the Chamberlain government.

When Indyk served as Clinton’s ambassador to Israel, Israeli conservatives called him a “court Jew.” Such labels are not helpful. We know court Jews in America bend over backwards to avoid the canard of “dual loyalty.” Israel pays a price for this “political correctness.”

For a Democrat like Clinton, whose presidential campaign funding depended very much on Jewish donations, his appointment of Indyk was “religiously” as well as “politically” correct. And since Yasser Arafat was reportedly the most frequent foreign guest at the Clinton White House, Indyk’s endorsement of a Palestinian state made him a virtual ally of Arafat.

But what is “political correctness” if not a label descriptive of someone who willfully avoids taking a candid position on controversial political issues? To put it plainly, “political correctness” is a euphemism to describe a person lacking intellectual integrity or moral courage. But this label short-circuits serious thought about the factors that have shaped Indyk’s mentality.

Would it be proper to regard him simply as ignorant of the bellicose and mendacious nature of Arab-Islamic culture? But how is this possible given his fields of study at various universities? Can it be that his mentors were dominated by moral or multicultural relativism—the same doctrine that has influenced Barack Obama?

Like other “politically correct” democrats, Indyk tends to “mirror image”—sees Arabs as he sees him own peace-loving face in a mirror. This may explain his inability to take the bellicose nature of Arab-Islamic culture seriously. Perhaps he imbibed the academic doctrine of “conflict resolution,” which reinforces the natural bent of diplomats—a doctrine that ignores the enormity of evil in the world? There are legions of such people in academia—especially at Columbia and Tel Aviv universities, where moral relativism and pacifism flourish.

This might explain why Indyk ignored Arafat’s remark that “peace for us means the destruction of Israel.” It might also explain why a person tainted by multicultural relativism cannot factor into his evaluation of Islam the significance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s vow to “wipe Israel off the map,” even though that Muslim leader sent tens of thousands of Iranian children to walk across and thereby explode Iraqi minefields in the Iraqi-Iranian war. (By the way, Ahmadinejad he was a recent guest of Columbia University!)

Hence, it is reckless folly to dismiss Ahmadinejad’s maledictions as mere rhetoric, as smug academics teach their students. The genocidal imprecations of Arabs and Muslims vis-a-vis Israel and America underlie what Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington have called the “clash of civilizations"—which means, to any person unaffected by academic obscurantism: It’s either them or us.” Does Indyk deem these renowned scholars ignoramuses or “extremists”?

Even more important on a practical level than Lewis and Huntington is Ralph Peters mentioned earlier. In two books, Fighting for the Future and Beyond Terror, Peters cautions us not to negotiate with terrorists—and the Palestinian Authority is nothing if it not a terrorist organization bent on Israel’s annihilation. I assume the learned Mr. Indyk has read the PA’s genocidal charter. If so, he seems to construe it as mere rhetoric for the masses.

Let me therefore urge him to study the extraordinary erudition and worldwide experience of Michael Radu, especially Radu’s recent book Europe's Ghost: Tolerance, Jihadism, and the Crisis of the West. What’s left of Europe is a “ghost”—nations disembodied by the multicultural relativism of their ruling elites (academics and politicians, judges and journalists). No wonder Barack Obama has been called an “empty suit.”

Of course, my remarks will have no impact on those who take civilization for granted. Like overindulged children, our decision makers and diplomats do not really understand—because they have not been taught to understand—how much hard work and stamina, how much self-sacrifice and heroism, are required in each generation to defend civilization against its enemies. Read Lee Harris to learn why. Or think of how much it cost in blood and treasure to save Europe from barbarism in the wars of the last century—a barbarism no less monstrous than that promised by totalitarian Islam.

Perhaps Ralph Peters, Michael Radu, and Lee Harris are beyond Mr. Indyk’s limited comprehension. I doubt men of their “politically incorrect” views are required reading at Columbia and Tel Aviv universities. I wonder if any academic today—despite all the drivel about academic freedom—can remain at his post if he were to explain, in scholarly terms, using Islamic documents, why it is futile and fatal to negotiate with the self-professed enemies of Israel and America, be they Fatah Palestinians or Iranian mullahs.

Since Martin Indyk surely does not want America and Israel to become mere “ghosts,” I wonder what he would say after reading Raymond Ibraham’s essay on the Islamic art of dissimulation, “taqiyya,” a military doctrine best revealed by Ibrahim in the Winter 2010 edition of the Middle East Quarterly (http://www.meforum.org/2538/taqiyya-islam-rules-of-war).

Some readers may accuse me of arrogance by criticizing a man of Indyk’s academic and governmental background. But I feel obliged to do so not because I am a former officer in the U.S. Air Force who studied under Leo Strauss, a classical political scientist without equal in the twentieth century. No: you don’t need to be a soldier or a scholar to discern the enormity of evil confronting America and Israel. So I am not impressed by America’s erstwhile ambassador to Israel. Indeed, he reminds me of Nietzsche’s remark about German intellectuals: “great learning and great stupidity often go well together under the same hat.”

*Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, 26 April 2010,

No comments: