In a detailed analysis published recently by Security Studies Group, author and expert Angelo Codevilla, who is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston University and a fellow of the Claremont Institute, goes into the historic role of American institutions, including the State Department and the CIA, to forge relationships with terror groups in the mistaken belief that they can be weaned away from violence.
He traces this flawed thinking by these state institutions and other actors to the Arab Gulf states rift with Qatar.
Codevilla writes: “As he applauds Saudi Arabia’s and its Gulf allies’ attempt to force Qatar to stop supporting terrorists, even his secretary of State not so subtly echoes the Establishment’s chorus that this is a bad idea. No one denies that whoever supports terrorism should stop doing so, that the state of Qatar in fact does support terrorists with billions of dollars, facilities, and a television network, and that the Muslim Brotherhood carries out terrorist acts directly and through affiliates. Hence the question imposes itself: how do opinions so contrary to reality and to the common sense of ordinary people acquire such power in high places?”
The author then lists the ways that Qatar has been peddling its influence in the West and especially in the US, even corrupting many institutions of the US national security “Deep State”.
“The counterintuitive influence of Muslim Brotherhood/Qatar is yet another example of what Herman Kahn used to call ”educated incapacity” – the inability of a few, acquired only by sustained effort, to understand or even to perceive realities obvious to the unschooled many,” writes Codevilla.
He then exmines how that influence has taken hold. “It is a story of how the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideas and the Qatari state’s money have encouraged the professors, think-tankers and bureaucrats of America’s National Security State to foist upon America a peculiar set of values and priorities by indulging their own prejudices.”
The author points out that as President Trump was about to command the State Department “to list the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates had already done so), Foreign Policy magazine and the Brookings Institution published nearly identical articles.”
After President Trump praised Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies’ cutting of diplomatic and commercial contact with Qatar to force it to end its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, among other terrorists, an adviser to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told The New York Times that, while “The president is focused on ending terrorism; the secretary is focused on diplomacy that will return GCC focus to fighting terrorism.”
In other words: The US government – the President notwithstanding – far from helping to isolate Qatar, will focus on ending that isolation and hope that this will have a beneficial effect on fighting terrorism.
Tillerson himself, while admitting that Qatar was supporting terrorism, made clear that this support was less important than the relationship itself.
Codevilla says that this was tantamount to saying: “We would rather support a Qatar that does not support terrorism. But we’ll support it even though it does.”
The answer also lies in the confluence between the Progressive prejudices of the American foreign policy establishment and the material reinforcement thereof by Muslim regimes, particularly that of Qatar.
The author painstakingly goes back to the post-World War II American security establishment and its moral compass, viewing view themselves on the side of the world’s emerging peoples, as “the true revolutionaries.”
“Qatar is one of the many entities that have capitalized on the US foreign policy establishment’s predispositions to Progressive ideology and to meddling. Let us abstract from such crude influence-buying as the Qatari government’s gift of one million dollars to the Clinton Foundation on the occasion of Bill Clinton’s 65th birthday or the lucrative business connections,” the author says.
“Qatari operatives rightly regard these contributions, many deployed by their National Research Foundation, as having produced the political equivalent of strategically located military units,” says Codevilla.
There are American academic institutions in Qatar, and there are as well dozens of Qatari-supported foundations and countless scholars.
Codevilla concludes:“The al Thani family, which has ruled it for decades, has used the country’s great wealth to pursue influence abroad in ways that are inherently incompatible. Tamim, the current emir, has taken that foreign policy to a point where the incompatibilities may no longer coexist.”