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Home Can the Left Learn to Love ISIS?

Can the Left Learn to Love ISIS?

The extremist group carved out territory for its utopian state through ruthless brutality and a steady flow of international recruits who arrived believing that the new terror state represented the fulfillment of their belief system. The world was horrified as the radicals who had seized towns and cities showed off severed heads and mutilated bodies, killed hostages and openly threatened the world.
The Americans, British and French intervened hoping to end the reign of terror and restore stability to the region. But their mission had no clear commitment behind it.
The President of the United States, a Democrat often accused of putting transnational idealism over national interests, did not believe that the terror group could be defeated. While he did not agree with its brutal tactics, he shared some of its ideological worldview and was reluctant to attack it. His credo was democracy and the terror group had enough popular support to win elections.
Under pressure from Britain and France, the United States sent thousands of soldiers, but they lacked a clear mission and were hardly allowed to fight. Their European allies had a complicated agenda that led them to occasionally aid the terror group. One visionary leader warned that the terror group had to be stopped while it was still weak, but he was dismissed as a warmongering extremist.
American soldiers on the ground took some initiative, but had no support from the White House which was only interested in world peace and nation building. Despite winning its limited battles against the Communist guerrillas, the United States withdrew from what would soon become the Soviet Union. 
A generation later the former terror group had nuclear weapons and was busy taking over the world.
The West is making many of the same mistakes with Islamism that it did with Communism. And it’s making them for the same reasons.
Islamic terrorism is excused on the same grounds that Communist terror was excused; as a response to our imperialistic foreign policy, as the outcry of the oppressed and an attempt to secure equality. Some atrocities are dismissed as myths, worries over terrorism are written off as fearmongering and terrorists are transformed into victims who were singled out by paranoid politicians for their political beliefs.
The left is using the same exact playbook on Islamic terrorism as it did on Communism.

The ISIS plan for conquering Europe depends on allying with "a growing population of left-winged activists" who "look up to the Muslims as a force who are strong enough to fight against the injustices of the world". ISIS and other Islamist groups expect to form the same alliance with European leftists that they had once formed with Communists.
Like Communist leaders, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations base their operations out of the West. Lenin conducted his campaign out of Munich and London, Trotsky operated out of Austria, London and New York. Today the Muslim Brotherhood operates out of London and Austria. The Blind Sheikh ran the Islamic Group out of New York. The Ayatollah Khomeini organized the Islamic Revolution in Iran from a Paris suburb. ISIS draws on thousands of European recruits.
If the West had really wanted to "strangle Bolshevism in its cradle”, as Churchill had urged, it had the key players living in its own cities. If the West really wanted to shut down the Jihad, it could do more by going after the Salafist networks in its own cities than by bombing Syria.
The United States is the fourth most popular country for ISIS tweeters. The UK is in the top ten.
The State Department is offering a $25 million reward for Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current head of Al Qaeda and the man behind its ideology, but he visited mosques in California on a fundraising trip during the Clinton era. Abu Musab al-Suri, another key Al Qaeda ideologue, operated out of Spain. Anwar al-Awlaki lived comfortably in the United States until he was ready to step into a global role.
The West doesn’t really want to defeat Islamic terrorism. It responds to terrorism while ignoring the ideology. And then it roots around for root causes that coincidentally turn out to all involve progressive policy priorities like economic inequality and global warming.
Churchill’s call to "strangle Bolshevism in its cradle” was never picked up because the West had been compromised by its own mixed loyalties. The Bolsheviks were viciously hostile to fellow leftists once they took over, but they shared the same ideological DNA so that the left had trouble rejecting them.
The left sees Islamists as an anti-colonialist minority lobby rather than theocratic supremacists. Muslim Brotherhood front groups, like Communist front groups, are willing to use “useful idiots” on the left. But rather than forming a common front, Communists and Islamists hijack left-wing causes and make them their own. So, for example, Muslims turn #BlackLivesMatter protests into anti-Israel campaigns.
No matter how often Western leftists were taught that they could not work with Communists, they quickly forgot the lessons because ideology mattered more to them than reality. The same is true of the left’s relationship with Islamists. Every time Islamists take over, they turn on the left. But the left has learned nothing from its experiences in Iran, Egypt or Tunisia.
Liberals are too conflicted when it comes to Islamic terrorism to be able to fight it effectively. Islamists, like Communists, exploit the Western weakness for democracy, to take over. And they exploit the left’s affinity for anti-imperialist radicalism to gain its support or at least forbearance for its terror networks.
The left has spent so much time finding ideological common ground with the likes of Hamas or Al Qaeda that it is baffled by ISIS because the group shares many of the same tactics and goals as these terror groups, but makes no attempt to find common ground with the left to employ its people as useful idiots.
That is one reason why so many progressive pundits and experts profess to be so baffled by ISIS ideology as to insist that it doesn’t have one and that its members are just a bunch of random barbaric savages.
ISIS has a highly developed ideology, but they are incapable of recognizing it because it lacks any of the left-wing policy points they are used to hearing from even the worst Islamic terror groups.
The Islamic State directs all its propaganda to Muslims. It shows no interest in recruiting the left to its cause. It views the Caliphate as a reality and sees no need to lie to the left.
Can the Islamic State evolve into another Soviet Union? It may seem improbable now, but the United States, despite refusing to recognize Bolshevik rule until FDR, was quickly dragged in by the need to provide humanitarian aid and stability. That humanitarian aid went to bolster the Communist regime.
In a repeat of history, the United States funds ISIS by providing humanitarian aid. ISIS has to be bribed to allow the aid to pass to the civilian population and then ISIS takes the aid and passes it off as its own.
Such humanitarian engagements have a history of dragging us into a political engagement. While negotiations with ISIS would appear unlikely, Obama did undertake negotiations with the Taliban. The Communists went from using embassies as terror bases, filling them with bombs and guns for domestic terror attacks in Europe, to using them as bases for espionage and influence operations.
If the Islamic State survives, it may decide that it has something to gain from a subtler approach. The effort to strangle the Bolshevik baby failed because of a lack of Western commitment. The same appears to be true of the campaign against ISIS. The conviction that the Communists represented the popular will and could not be defeated became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The same approach has been taken to Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas and its Muslim Brotherhood parent. The next stage is acceptance.

Obama and Hillary contend that ISIS cannot be defeated militarily. And if it cannot be defeated militarily, the only options are Cold War containment or diplomatic outreach. It’s not too hard to imagine the arguments that will be made for the latter at the expense of the former. They were the same arguments that were made and are still being made by the left for engagement with Communist terror regimes.
ISIS has not done anything that the Soviet Union did not do. Its ideology is thoroughly different, but both were built on swamps of atrocity, mass murder, mass rape, ethnic cleansing and raw butchery. If the left could serve the Soviet Union, who is to say that it won’t learn to love the Islamic State?


  1. Your take on the left-wing view of Isis is one of haphazard misadventure. I take a much more cynical conspiratorial view. The conspiratorial facts fit like a glove.

  2. I've posted this excellent analysis of the Left's squirrely relationship with ISIS on Facebook. Good job, Daniel.

  3. Anonymous11/12/15

    "Those who don't learn from history,
    are doomed to repeat it,
    without a sense of ironic futility."

    - Errol Morris

  4. Y. Ben-David11/12/15

    It should be noted that we see a parallel phenomenon regarding the radical Left's love affair with Shi'ite terrorism as embodied in Iran and their HIZBULLAH allies. Recall Prof. Judith Buthler's infamous statement that HIZBULLAH and HAMAS are "progressive" movements since they hate Israel and supposed "Western Imperialism". For the 'progressive Left' (and this includes Obama and his acolytes), "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" and since he views the US and Europe as the main enemy of mankind which must be brought down (and he has been doing a fine job of it) so anyone who hates the US and its allies (like Israel) is a "progressive".

  5. Socialist President Hollande in France garnered 93% of the Muslim vote. That was the crucial difference in winning a 5 year term.

    In the US, the latest polling indicates a preference of Muslims for Democrats @ 73% and Republicans @ 11%. The rest are independents and undecided.

    Obama and the entire Democrat Party know that importing Muslims is a winning strategy to perpetuate the Democrats in office. Along with an open Southern border the Republicans fates is sealed.

    That is why idiot Republicans like Graham, Kasich, Christie, Rubio, Bush and so forth are committing electoral suicide. Are they that stupid?

  6. I was under the impression that they already loved it. Like a moth to a flame nihilists are always attracted to their own destruction.

  7. I always post your articles to Facebook, hoping that my "friends" will learn as much about history and politics as I've learned from reading you. Keep going!

  8. Anonymous11/12/15

    DP111 writes

    ISIS might and does fool Leftists in the West, but it cannot fool East Europpeans or Russians. They knop too well the way communists operate.

    Russia is dealing a death blow to ISIS. The US and the West are joining in not to help in the destruction of ISIS but to stay Russia's hand and leave ISIS battered but still alive - very likely because Saudi Arabia has ordered the US to do so.

  9. The left generally has always endorsed, embraced and supported transnational, supranational movements. The anarchists, the Marxists, the communists, the fascists, , the UN, the EU and now ISIS. It's axiomatic that in their desire to do away with nation states they cling to whatever horse will bring them there. It doesn't matter what a movement does or stands for. It's just a tool. Of course they can support ISIS. Or al Qaeda or violent Islam in theory, just like they embrace any other sub state or non state actor such as AI, Hamas, HRW, Hezbollah or pick your own.

  10. Only in Russian propaganda, is Russia dealing a death blow to ISIS.

    Like Obama, Putin is putting on a show. Unlike Obama, he actually gets a variety of tangible benefits from it, including arms sales.

  11. So concise. What do they feed you?

  12. Anonymous11/12/15

    The communists and their fellow travelers have No Problem with slaughter, concentration camps, torturing political prisoners, mass genocide (100 million in the 20th century alone, by some estimates). They, and the Death Cultists, are truly demonic. When Ann Coulter published a book by that name, I thought she was being a bit hyperbolic. Now? she just nailed it.

  13. Above all else the left hates western civ in general and America in particular. No lie is too big nor no ally too depraved to not be used in their quest to 'fundamentally transform' this country and western civ. In their eyes the white-patriarchy is the greatest evil born and no price is too high to get rid of it.

    Well.... as long as they have others willing to do the dirty work. They'll sit back and provide emotional and material support and do their best to weaken the will of this country.

  14. Anonymous11/12/15

    It does not take boots on the ground to destroy ISIS. It takes a willingness to do the same level of collateral damage as bombing campaigns in Germany and Japan during WW 2. Turn Raqqa and other ISIS controled towns into smoking holes in one afternoon and watch as ISIS enemies slaughter the survivors then send the Syrian refugees back to rebuild their country.

  15. Anonymous11/12/15

    “The West is making many of the same mistakes with Islamism that it did with Communism. And it’s making them for the same reasons:”

    ... because they want to destroy the united states, and any convenient enemy will do?

  16. Gary Starr11/12/15

    Excellent article as usual but I think the real question no one is asking is, on the way to Utopia, and no matter decrepit the EU is, or how close behind the U.S. is in becoming the E.U., why would the internationalists, who are running things into the ground here and in Europe, let in the very enemy who would destroy the system they are in charge of?

    The current excuses for not going after Islam and Islamists are for public consumption only and part of the leftist propaganda machine:
    1) We have to appear tolerant
    2) Islam is a religion of peace
    3) ISIS is not Islamic
    4) That is not who we are
    5) We don't have religious tests
    6) we have always welcomed immigrants
    And on and on

    There must be another reason as yet unseen. There is no way a "go along get along" deal will be made by the internationalists and the Islamists. Being George Soros (aka Goldfinger ) wouldn't seem like much fun if you are surrounded by an Islamic controlled pile of rubble.

    So what is really going on?

  17. Anonymous12/12/15

    God works in mysterious ways. D. Trump is the 'sent one'

  18. Linda Wray12/12/15

    Thank you for all you've taught me over the years Daniel. When I see your name on a piece I know I'm going to learn something new, plus your sense of humor is a joy during these dark days we face.

  19. I always link to it via selected quotes...it looks like everyone is pointing to you, Mr. Greenfield.

  20. I am from Czech Republic and absolutelly agree with you Daniel and with DP111
    ("ISIS might and does fool Leftists in the West, but it cannot fool East Europpeans or Russians. They knop too well the way communists operate.")
    Great article!!!

  21. Sickening, but true.

  22. Anonymous13/12/15

    "The left sees Islamists as an anti-colonialist minority lobby rather than theocratic supremacists."

    Whoa. Like the 11:00 number on Broadway, that's a show stopper, and really sums up the cognitive dissonance better than anything I've seen.

  23. Every time I read an article by Mr. Greenfield, I can feel my grey matter growing. Leftism is the senility of a nation. Muslims are maggots on the corpses of once great nations.

  24. Nailed it again, as in "lid on coffin" -- great essay.

  25. Anonymous14/12/15

    For a long time, I could not understand the left's love affair with Islam. You would think that someone who claims to support lgbt rights and women's rights would be among Islam's loudest critics. If you recall, these are the same people who called the Boy Scouts of America "Nazis" for refusing to allow openly gay scoutmasters. But it seems that the mere fact that one is a Muslim somehow trumps every negative quality a person may have.

    But eventually I figured it out. One thing that all liberals have in common is that they never got over their teen angst: rebellion against authority simply for the sake of rebellion makes you cool. Whether deservedly or not, in the minds of American liberals, Christianity and Judaism are associated with "The Establishment". Therefore, support for other religions = sticking it to The Man = I'm cooler than you.

    There is also a strong element of inertia involved. With very few exceptions, only conservatives criticize Islam, and liberals are reflexively for anything that conservatives are against, so liberals automatically support Islam without bothering to look at facts.

  26. ISIS is the most popular topic to be discussed nowadays, are they doing it for their religious beliefs or they are doing it to get the attention of the world??? Nobody is able to understand the ideology of them correctly, all we can see is that they are not treating humans like human.


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