Walling Ourselves Off

“We should not confuse the accident of our birth on the richer or safer side of those walls with a moral right to exclusively enjoy that relative wealth or safety.” (h/t Daniel Solomon of Securing Rights for sharing this piece)

Dart-Throwing Chimp

In the past two weeks, more than a thousand people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Africa to Europe on often-overloaded boats. In 2014, more than three thousand perished on this crossing.

Each individual migrant’s motives are unique and unknowable, but this collective surge in deaths clearly stems, in part, from the disorder engulfing parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Civil war and state collapse have expanded the incentives and opportunities to flee, and the increased flow of migrants along dangerous routes has, predictably, led to a surge in accidental deaths.

Of course, those deaths also owe something to the policies of the countries toward which the overloaded boats sail. European governments—many of them presiding over anemic growth and unemployment crises of their own—do not have open borders, and they have responded ambivalently or coolly to this spate of arrivals. Italy, where many of these boats land, had run a widely praised search-and-rescue…

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(things I’m secretly thinking about the way some Muslims talk about Hillary Clinton)

If you want to hate on Hillary Clinton because of certain policy positions, that is great. Looking forward to this elevated conversation. But going “but mamaaaa! she’s a capitalist and a neoliberal imperialist” makes you sound like you should be eating chicken nuggets and ishe cweam in the babysitting area rather than being at the table.

When did we all sign the agreement that capitalism is bad? Does it just sound smart to say that?

Capitalism like every system has pros and cons. There was a free market during the time of “Islamic empires.” And Mecca. And Medina. The hopeless Muslim Brotherhood were capitalist business owners. Erdogan is a capitalist. Lupe Fiasco is a capitalist and makes money off a free market. Islam promoted a free market as well as a system that tried to level the playing field and give a hand up for those who were in poverty. Being a social justice-y Muslim that liked a Russell Brand status doesn’t mean you’re suddenly anti-capitalism. We live in a free market world. What on earth do you think a non-capitalistic candidate will look like? The reason why your local mosque reuses its Solo cups is not because it is socialist but because its money it wrapped up in a never-ending expansion product/the imam’s random Cayman Islands Masjid Fund…for dawa/they stretched the last imam’s contract when they waived him (see: Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons) and there’s still 3 years left to pay off/it doesn’t have any money lol.

The next blow at Hillary is that she supports the same old-school policies of old-school white men (plus the new-school but actually also old-school black president she served), and that she supports Israel and is hawkish. Find me the candidate that can get elected without even praising Israel on a token basis. And if you think wanting America to be engaged militarily in situations around the world (hawkishness) is bad, then you really have not been paying attention to the past 8 years under President Obama, where revisionist sideline leadership has only created a more dangerous world, with ISIS and Middle East chaos.

Intervention in Syria— something that Hillary Clinton supported— was a good thing on humanitarian and national security grounds. Curbing Iran’s terrorism and regional imperialistic aims is a good thing for the sake of Middle East stability. You can be against Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s style of government. You can love the Iranian people and also ask them to stop supporting Hezbollah and their murderous government. You can have a balanced approach to foreign policy (!). Is the alternative to just ditch foreign policy in its entirety? Every powerful nation has interests (haram!) and mobilizes its allies and resources to preserving those interests. It can be stability, it can be a healthy market, it can be oil, it can be promotion of liberal ideals, or the promotion of illiberal ideals (like Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran).

Some forms of democracy promotion are good, starting with getting it right at home (you know, like with campaign finance reform). America is a superpower with historically unprecedented global reach with the ability to do good and bad things. We’ve done incredible things— built economic powerhouses, improved quality of life and health for many, and have maintained (broader) global peace since WWII; AAAAAND we’ve also supported occupation and dictators, abandoned some of our principles, allowed for unfettered profiteering and unsustainable practices that might actually kill our planet. *Of course* it’s going to be involved in arenas like the Middle East, especially since as a superpower (as Russia and China try to be), it is invested in global security, it’s own interests, and in places where it has invested so much resources and human lives.

Call it imperialism if it makes you feel good. In the short term, you work with what you have. In the long term, you work towards a higher standard– and these standards are inherent in our faith and our Constitution. I don’t really care much for the whole “political dynasty” claim because that’s what we have today. If you criticize her for being cold/closed off, then you haven’t been paying attention to how insulated President Obama is.

If she’s the best candidate (it might be a big problem that there’s like no real Democratic primary with her in the race), then I will vote for her. If she is not the best candidate, then I will vote for Bill Clinton.