Based on the news stories that leaked out yesterday via the Dutch site Elsevier, it seemed that former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen was going to make an abject and groveling apology to the Turks for the Mohammed cartoons. This was alleged to be the price extracted by Barack Hussein Obama in return for Fogh’s appointment as secretary-general of NATO.
As it turned out, Mr. Rasmussen didn’t kneel down and kiss the feet of his colleagues in Istanbul. He didn’t roll over and expose his naked belly to their scimitars. He didn’t prostrate himself and beg for forgiveness.
But he came damned close.
According to Reuters:
New NATO Chief Pledges Conciliation With Muslims
ISTANBUL (Reuters) — Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday he would pay close attention to religious sensibilities in his new role as NATO chief in comments aimed at allaying Muslim concern at his appointment.
Turkey had threatened to veto the former Danish prime minister’s appointment over his handling of a 2006 crisis triggered by cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper.
His comments at an Istanbul conference on Monday fell short of the outright apology which Turkish officials had hoped for.
“I was deeply distressed that the cartoons were seen by many Muslims as an attempt by Denmark to mark and insult or behave disrespectfully toward Islam or the Prophet Mohammad. Nothing could be further from my mind,” he said.
The Copenhagen Post had a somewhat different take on these events, and was at pains to point out that the former prime minister most definitely did not apologize:
Anders Fogh Rasmussen sought to smooth Muslim reservations during first international appearance after being nominated to become Nato’s next leader
Former Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen reiterated today that he condemns the demonising of cultural groups, but did not fulfil expectations that he might issue an apology for the 2005 publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed.
“Listen. In Denmark we do not apologise for having freedom of speech,” Fogh Rasmussen is quoted by Ritzau as saying.
“You all know that a Danish Prime Minister cannot apologise on behalf of a newspaper,” he continues.
It’s understandable that the Danes want to put the best face possible on this humiliating moment. They’ve invested a lot in their reputation as the sole Western country to stand up to Muslim bullying and extortion.
But the uncomfortable fact is that their former prime minister came within a hair’s breadth of an outright apology, and all in order to advance his career as a senior statesman of “Europe”.
Fogh says that he is deeply distressed that Muslims were offended by the cartoons. But it wasn’t always this way.
There was a time when something other than hurt Muslim feelings deeply distressed Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Once upon a time he was defiant when his fellow Danes were being threatened with assault and murder for exercising their God-given right to express themselves freely.
There was a time when Fogh stood up for Grundloven, the Danish Constitution.
But that was then, and this is now. Today, in his new elevated role as the head of NATO, he has to stand up for the sanctity of Islamic symbols. Reuters again:
“I respect Islam as one of the world’s major religions as well as its religious symbols,” he said during a panel discussion at the conference aimed at building bridges between the Muslim world and the West.
The row over his appointment, which threatened the image of unity at NATO’s 60th anniversary summit, was resolved after Obama guaranteed Turkish commanders would be present at the alliance’s command and that one of Rasmussen’s deputies would be a Turk.
All these Turks in NATO, all this salaaming and kowtowing and self-abasement — what’s it all for? What does NATO get out of Turkish membership in the alliance? Besides the coveted imprimatur of “diversity”, that is.
And the following might be considered a veiled threat on the part of Turkey:
NATO is engaged in the biggest military operation in its history in Afghanistan, and Turkey, the only mainly Muslim member of the alliance, had said Rasmussen’s appointment would make the alliance’s mission there harder.
In other words: “If you don’t behave yourselves, we’ll sabotage NATO operations in Afghanistan.”
I don’t blame the Danes for wanting to salvage what they can from their richly deserved status as champions of free speech.
But the painful truth is that Anders Fogh Rasmussen backed down from his principles in order to further his political ambitions.
We needed a ringing endorsement of our liberties, and we got a wimp-out.
Fogh sold his free-speech birthright for a mess of pottage.
He failed not just Denmark, but Europe and the entire West. He could have said, “F**k NATO! I don’t need this stinking job, not if it requires me to repudiate my Danish heritage!”
But he didn’t. He hemmed and hawed and truckled and regretted causing offense to Islam.
And, after all that, the world’s 8.5 quintillion Muslims have not been appeased. Fogh’s obsequiousness is not good enough. They are obviously demanding complete self-abasement. According to the official Jordanian news service:
NATO leaders’ appointment of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO’s new secretary-general Saturday would spark more hostility against Islam and Muslims, members of the “Messenger of Allah Unites Us” campaign said.
“It is a provocative step and reveals the western leaders’ insistence to reward those who instigate and nurture clash of civilization and religious feuds,” said a statement by campaigners on Sunday.
With the coming of the US democrats to power, world nations particularly the Arab and Muslim world have anticipated drastic changes in the western politics that could reflect positively on peoples’ lives across the world, said the statement.
It was just the opposite. The appointment of the extremist and racist Danish Prime Minister as NATO Secretary General came in defiance and provocation of feeling of millions of Muslims at the people and formal level.
So what’s next for Fogh? And whither NATO?
One thing is for certain: from now on the primary mission of NATO will not be the collective defense of its member-states. Its mission will be to reassure Turkey and the rest of the Muslim world that we are good guys and love Islam and would never harm a single hair on any Muslim’s head.
We are forgetting that Islam will be appeased by nothing short of our full submission — or death.
Hat tips: Fausta and TB.