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R. Emmett Tyrrell
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
4 Feb 2016
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Close Down Those Embassies


WASHINGTON — Allow me to offer a suggestion as to how our government might avoid the slaughter of our personnel in diplomatic installations around the Islamic world by mobs.

It seems to me most probable that insults to the Prophet Muhammad appear regularly in the modern world. After all, insults against revered figures in the world's other major religions pop up all the time. As for Islam, a book such as Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" can be published anywhere. A thirteen-minute anti-Islamic video can arrive on YouTube, and my guess is there are others that have and will appear there. In some obscure land, far from the major media, a cartoon is published perhaps with the Prophet in an absurd pose. Why not a simple slur on Facebook? Who can control Facebook? Will a slur found there set off the mobs next time? And what constitutes a slur? These Islamic mobs keep changing their standards. What was a minor lapse of taste yesterday becomes a cause for terrible indignation today.

The metamorphosing angers of Islam have been a feature of the modern world for decades. Possibly the first show of anger was in Tehran with the takeover of the American embassy. But I trace Islamic anger back further, at least to Sirhan B. Sirhan, who assassinated the 1968 presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, for some fancied transgression. From all I can tell, the angers of Islam are getting worse. Even with the presidency of Barack Obama, the Nobel Laureate, the angers of Islam have worsened. He began his presidency tendering the olive branch of peace to Islam. Now the Islamic world is afire. Mobs are burning our diplomatic installations in places where moderate Islam reigns, for instance, Tunisia. In Libya, unspeakable desecrations take place against us. Egypt seems to be out of control, and Egypt is supposedly an ally and recipient of foreign aide.

The rest of the world seems to be going forward toward prosperity. Even countries like China, India and Russia are proceeding into the future. Islam, at least in Arab lands, is going backwards. It is doing something I would have thought preposterous in decades past. It is heading back toward the Middle Ages and embracing that time and earlier times with open arms.

I think some day we will recognize it as the season following the vaunted Arab Spring.

Yet back here in America, the news is not all that bad. For one thing, we are approaching energy independence. Thanks to an abundance of recently discovered natural gas, we may in the years ahead be shipping it abroad. Also, thanks to "fracking," we can extract oil from long dead oil wells and from newer ones. If President Obama will just get out of the way, we are going to be energy independent, and our independence will last for years. The angers of Araby will be inherited by the Chinese and the Indians. I, for one, will enjoy seeing how China handles the murder of Chinese diplomats and the torching of Chinese embassies. For with energy independence, we can close our embassies in lands where they are endangered or perhaps stand as a provocation to the passing mobs. In the modern world, diplomatic business can be carried on in civilized countries rather than in dangerous backwaters. We can treat a Libyan or Tunisian envoi in Geneva, Switzerland or possibly in New York at the United Nations complex. Diplomats from those countries would still be free to visit New York City. It would be a shame if civilized citizens of Islam could no longer line up at our embassies or consulates for visas to the United States, but such is life. If there was business to be transacted, the businessmen could always transact it on the telephone or, for the advanced, the Internet.

Probably there would not be much business transacted once we are energy independent. The world would be a more peaceful place. The forward-marching nations would be happy and contented in the 21st century. The Islamic nations would be happy or angry or whatever in the 10th century, possibly earlier. They could reside in any century they chose. If an Arab potentate wanted heart surgery, he could fly off to foreign parts for the procedure. And if an indigenous mob wanted to go wild, its members could burn down the local Chinese embassy. Again, it will be interesting to see how the Chinese respond to such madness.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor-in-chief of "The American Spectator" and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Death of Liberalism." To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



2 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... I have a lot of respect for Islam... In their prime they kept the light of civilization alive for Europe to pick up in due time and make something of... Yet; if they have not progressed as we have with technology it only comes down to geography which is in a sense, history, and to the fact that they would not allow interest taken from Muslims... No interest means no capital and no capitalism; and we might well ask: Is it better for people in a society to be uniformely poor, or for most to be poor, many to be distressed, and a handful rich on interest... The whole world is over a barrel to pay interest... Almost every government and most of the people...The good servant to one is a terrible master to others...
Regardless, we want something from those people, and usually we can buy it; but we can have nothing from them without giving them due respect... And since all are Muslims, who submit to Allah, and accept Islam on their honor -which is an obscure notion to you and to other republicans, and yet, to respect Islam is to respect each of them, and to disrespect Islam is to disrespect all of them...
Now; for all you folks who want to make them look foolish or insane because we disregard their God as we disregard our own, -only have the courage to go there and say something as incredibly stupid as you usually do and count out the last moments of your life...Those people love peace though they are commited to struggle...They are much aware of their contribution to humanity... We are in their territory, Dar al'Islam, and we need them and they need us not at all...The earth could swallow us all up and then pucker up and life there would grind on as it has for an eternity...They may misunderstand Christianity, and the same may be said of most Christians...But they do not misunderstand us, and they do not misunderstand most Christians... They can see perfectly well what we are... We pray to the prince of peace and make war... We put every possible material good between our God and ourselves...They have a name for us: Infidels...
We are people without faith... And I will never be a Muslim... A good Muslim would make a great Christian, but I am a poor Christian and would only make a terrible Muslim... None the less... There is no other sort of people I prefer as much to associate with...
We have our honorable people...Many we have would swear on a stack of bibles ten feet tall with hell burning their ball and lie in your face for nothing but the pleasure of getting away with it..Sure; our churches need protection from the government... Who will protect the government from the churches??? Some of the biggest flag waving card carrying war mongers I ever met were in church with me.... From what advantage of moral superiority can we criticize them, or ridicule their faith???...We do not have the right, and freedom of expression and religion give no one the right to injure all of us through an injury to some third party...
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:34 PM
Sweeney. Your assessment of the Islam of the past is correct. However I can not agree with most of your other statement. I would say the biggest thing holding back Muslims are there own leaders, both religious and secular, who have used tribalism, corruption, suppressed women and education, while fanning the flames of hatred for the West to stay in power. You seem to paint a pretty picture of Muslims using a wide lens of observation while at the same time painting all Christians as liars and hypocrites using a very narrow lens of bias and stereotype. You speak of honor yet show very little of it when you speak of others.
Comment: #2
Posted by: david
Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:57 AM
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