David Harsanyi

Even Egypt -- our "moderate" ally that subsists on $6 billion in U.S. bribe money not to wage war on its neighbor -- regularly imprisons political dissidents, executes sexual "deviants," and runs state-funded television shows that would give Nazis pause.

Hey, I guess Egypt is "moderate," compared with Sudan.

Our nation should not be in the business of imposing our values on other cultures. We can't. Our values not only diverge but also are, most often, antithetical. And let's never pretend there is anything "mutual" about a call for respect. The deep and fanatical hatred of America flourished decades before the Iraq war or George W. Bush. Islamic leaders have long blamed their own societal corrosion on the West.

Obama promised to transform American foreign policy. He was elected to do so. So he used his first chance to make an impression as president by apologizing for imaginary crimes against Islam and employing a tone of subservience rather than defending our principles.

Not surprisingly, the more "thoughtful" among us immediately embraced the president's self-flagellation in front of some of the world's worst offenders of human rights as a constructive approach. As a geopolitics ploy … well, we'll see what happens.

But there is undoubtedly nothing thoughtful about offering a false choice. To wage war or to offer respect? We can avoid both. We should.

David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.