West refuses to read old warning signs

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In an interview ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, speaking with Charles Moore of the Telegraph, discussed the unfolding reality of the Middle East.

Blair admitted after 9/11 he underestimated the bad “narrative” of Islamists that the West oppresses Islam and Muslims.

Any objective reading of recent history indicates, however, the extent to which the West in accommodating both has leaned perilously in appeasing the enemies of freedom and democracy. Among all western leaders, Blair is the most clear thinking on Islamism and Islamists.  This is strikingly evident from his memoir, A Journey: My Political Life (2010), in which he devotes considerable space to the subject.

Blair confided in his interview with Moore that Islamists seek “supremacy, not co-existence,” and that the “West is asleep on this issue” even as it poses the greatest challenge in our time.

The extent to which the West is asleep, or unserious, about this subject is symbolized by the Huma Abedin flap in Washington. This flap is the portal through which we can take measure of how the West has been lulled into embracing the Muslim Brotherhood, and how multiculturalism has become a tool for Islamists to disarm the gullible westerners choking in guilt over their past history of colonialism.

What is not new — and Blair is well aware of this — is that the West has a record of being willingly lulled by its enemies into a false sense of security. The decade of the 1930s stands out as the West’s most ignominious period of appeasement in the past century, of wilfully ignoring the rise and consequences of Nazism.

But it was not only with the Nazis, there was also the woeful gullibility in dealing with Stalin and the Soviet Union. The KGB files smuggled to Britain by Vasili Mitrokhin and disclosed in his book co-authored with Christopher Andrew, The Sword and the Shield (1999), reveal how deep and far went the penetration by Soviet agents inside governments in western democracies.

Klaus Fuchs, a German physicist and Communist, for instance was, as Mitrokhin points out, the most valuable Soviet spy recruited in Britain in 1941. He would be the most important Soviet asset as a member of the British team of scientists sent to work on the Manhattan project in Los Alamos, and his contribution to the Soviet bomb as Moscow’s spy was invaluable.

Then there was, among others in the U.S., Alger Hiss in the State Department. Whittaker Chambers — an American Communist and Soviet agent who defected — divulged all he knew about Soviet espionage in America to Adolf Berle, assistant secretary of state and president Franklin Roosevelt’s adviser on internal security, on the outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939.

When Berle briefed Roosevelt, according to Mitrokhin, the president “seems to have dismissed the whole idea of espionage rings within his administration as absurd.”

Hiss remained in government and went to Yalta in February 1945 for the Big Three conference.

There Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill discussed post-war Europe’s future and, as KGB files disclose, Stalin came out smiling, having been briefed ahead of time courtesy of Hiss.

The West seems destined to repeat its folly.

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Salim Mansur is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. He is a columnist for the London Free Press, for the conservative blog Proud To Be Canadian and the Toronto Sun, and has contributed to various publications including National Review, the Middle East Forum and Frontpagemag. He often presents analysis on the Muslim world, Islam, South Asia, Middle East. . He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Islamic Pluralism based in Washington, D.C., a Senior Fellow with the Canadian Coalition for Democracies, and an academic-consultant with the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. He has been a consultant with CIDA on development issues and has published widely in academic journals on foreign policy matters and area studies of the Middle East and South Asia. . Mansur is featured on the documentary Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West produced by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He also unsuccessfully ran for the Canadian Alliance party in 2000. Mansur has been accused by Canadian Islamic Congress of using "provocative, self-serving rhetoric", and for "promoting an anti-Arab and anti-Muslim agenda". . Mansur is an Ismaili Muslim. . At a press conference on October 2, 2008, Mansur stated that "Islam is my private life, my conscience...[but] my faith does not take precedence over my duties...to Canada and its constitution, which I embrace freely;" "I am first and most importantly a Canadian;" "only in a free society will you find Islam as a faith and not a political religion." Mansur also criticized New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton, whom Mansur said "has gone to bed with Islamists", because he is running candidates in Ontario and Quebec who are closely identified with the push for Sharia law.