Friday, February 11, 2011

More Than A U's Worth Of Difference

When the Soviet Union and China had their falling out in the 1960s, canny anti-communists such as Richard Nixon understood the potential advantages for the U.S. Those who insist that al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are indistinguishable miss an analogous opportunity. But as this analysis by Daniel Byman suggests, it's never easy for Nixon to go to China:
If the Brotherhood joins in a transitional [Egyptian] government and does not fall prey to its more radical tendencies regarding Israel and Islamicizing Egyptian society (something U.S. policy should strive to accomplish), then the hardliners within its ranks will criticize it for selling out, offering al-Qaeda a means to woo them. But should the Brotherhood lose out in a power struggle or fall prey to repression from the army or a new regime, there will be a new generation of embittered young Islamists who may find al-Qaeda's more radical message more convincing than calls for renewed participation in a system that cheated them.

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