Leftist Racial Politics and ‘the War on Terror’

Jack Kerwick
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Posted: Jun 05, 2014 12:01 AM
Leftist Racial Politics and ‘the War on Terror’

Explaining the left’s view of Islamic terrorism.

The exchange of five terrorists for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who had been imprisoned by the Taliban for the last five years, has provoked a backlash by those who insist that “the United States does not negotiate with terrorists.”

Whatever one’s position on this situation, there is no denying that it has succeeded in thrusting back onto the national stage both “the War on Terror” as well as President Obama’s prosecution of it.

The truth is that while many of his critics charge Obama and his party with “incompetence” ora lack of seriousness when it comes to combating Muslim terrorists, it is to the leftist ideology to which Obama has always been committed and its conception of race relations that we must turn for the true explanation of this phenomenon.

By the lights of the leftist, the world consists, fundamentally, of racially-embodied beings. More specifically, the only morally relevant actors are racial collectivities or races. But this isn’t all. This racialized universe has a decidedly Manichean structure, for the world, as the leftist conceives it, is a battleground on which the Forces of Light, “people of color”, wage perpetual war against the Forces of Evil, whites.

While this is somewhat of an oversimplification of matters, it nevertheless remains the prism through which Obama and the left view everything—including and particularly America’s and the West’s relationship with Islamic terrorists.

Obama’s critics characteristically accuse the President and his fellow travelers with being “appeasers” or otherwise “soft” when it comes to the deployment of military force. Sometimes it is said that leftists are oblivious to or uninterested in resisting “evil in our time.”

These lines may make for effective sloganeering (though even this is debatable), but they have very little in the way of cash value in supplying a convincing explanation of the contemporary left’s response to Muslim terrorists throughout the world.

First of all, the leftist does indeed despise “evil.” It’s just that his vision of evil, at least most of the time, is dramatically different from that held by non-leftists.

Secondly, more than anyone else, the leftist is driven by the impulse to maximize power and employ force for the sake of advancing his ambitions. Critics of the left who simultaneously blast their opponents for being “totalitarians” at heart and “appeasers” are patently inconsistent.

This being said, it should be noted that even if we accept that the left is guilty as charged, this only pushes the inquiry back a step: Why does the leftist view evil so differently from the manner in which his opponents view it? Why do Obama and his (leftist) party seek to “appease” Islamic terrorists and Muslim heads of state, while resolutely refusing to “appease” or lend offense to, say, the Tea Party, the GOP, the Catholic Church, Israel, and England?

After all, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—within the annals of leftist ideology that remotely suggests a correlation between, on the one hand, leftism, and, on the other, “appeasement” or “dovish-ness.” Just the opposite, in fact, is the case, for from the French Revolution through the rise of Marxist states to the coercive tactics of radical organizations and even student activists, the history of leftism over the span of 200 years or so reveals a penchant—an often insatiable penchant—for violence.

Indeed, can anyone really think that it is by accident that it was only after the emergence in the late 1960’s of “identity politics” that the Democratic Party and the left generally have been regularly derided for “appeasement?”

Simply put, Muslims are “people of color.” Moreover, they are poor people of color, far worse off materially speaking than the affluent and predominantly white peoples of America and Israel. Hell, vis-à-vis the latter, the situation of Middle Eastern Muslims is no different on the world stage than is that of American blacks relative to the white majority in America.

Whites are the Oppressor class while “people of color” constitute the Oppressed.

According to the logic of leftist ideology, impoverished Palestinians and other Islamic Davids who resist the “hegemony” of the Goliath of the West are not terrorists but “freedom fighters.” The proper attitude toward them is not one of animosity, but one of solidarity.

The truth is that America’s racial politics—which is to say, leftist racial politics—are indissolubly bound with the left’s view of, not just “the War on Terror,” but Islamic affairs overall. As long as the former prevails, so too will the latter.