With the Obama administration’s controversial “extremism” summit now over, critics from across the political spectrum are outraged. Muslims and Islamic organizations are crying foul because, they say, the gathering focused too much on jihad and Islamic extremism. Anti-jihad groups are outraged because the summit supposedly did not focus enough on Islamic extremism — even to the point of avoiding the term entirely — and because a Muslim Brotherhood-linked figure was selected as Obama’s new “extremism” propaganda czar. Christians were outraged, too, partly because of the half-baked comments by embattled State Department spokesperson Marie “jobs-for-jihadists” Harf. After being mercilessly ridiculed for suggesting ISIS members needed jobs, Harf claimed that imaginary “Christian” extremists were also a serious threat.
In the end, though, few media reports or analysts focused on the fact that Obama’s extremism summit ended up promoting all sorts of anti-Constitution and Big Government extremism — much of it to be imposed at the international level, all of it under the guise of fighting nebulous notions of non-Islamic extremism. Officially dubbed the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, last week’s gathering was an extravaganza for pushing radically increased government power, centralization of power at the federal and global levels, government propaganda, and numerous other extremist schemes. Some analysts even described Obama’s summit as a bizarre convergence of the extreme Left and extremist Islam to push common goals: Big Government, less liberty, more wealth redistribution, blurring the lines between church and state by having government “train” and fund "religious leaders," and open attacks on traditional American ideals.
Statements made by Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other senior U.S. officials support that view. In a “fact sheet” about the summit posted on the White House webpage, for example, the administration explains how it is working with “local communities” to counter extremism. But “local communities” in an unconstitutional “partnership” with the federal government will not be the only entities involved. Indeed, in the fact sheet, the White House makes clear yet again that the United Nations and emerging regional regimes will play a key role in the battle. At a UN summit last year, Obama called on the largely autocratic UN member regimes, many with links to terror and mass-murder, to return this year with steps to address “the underlying grievances and conflicts that feed extremism.” At the summit last week, the president added that, “if we’re serious about countering violent extremism, we have to get serious about confronting these economic grievances.”
The Obama administration, of course, has made clear what it views as the “grievances” that feed extremism, citing, among others, a lack of Big Government and welfare. “The most basic issue is good governance,” claimed Kerry in an opinion piece about the extremism summit published by the Wall Street Journal. “It may not sound exciting, but it is vital. People who feel that their government will provide for their needs, not just its own, and give them a chance at a better life are far less likely to strap on an AK-47 or a suicide vest, or to aid those who do.” While Kerry and Marxists worldwide may hold the extreme view that government must “provide” for people’s “needs” to end “extremism” — Kerry proposed, among other schemes, “training young people so they can get jobs and envision a future of dignity” — the founders of the United States would have viewed such a proposition as totalitarian extremism unworthy of a free people.
The U.S. Declaration of Independence explains clearly that the purpose of government is to protect the God-given rights of each individual — not to “provide” for people’s “needs.” Extremist governments around the world, by contrast, have cited providing for people’s needs as justification for quashing freedom, seizing control of the economy, and widespread atrocities. The autocrats enslaving North Korea, Cuba, and Zimbabwe, for example, all purport to “provide” for people’s needs. In the United States, individuals, families, churches, and charities have traditionally been expected to provide for needs, with government existing primarily to protect and preserve the unalienable rights endowed upon each individual by the Creator.
In the White House fact sheet, the administration also said it would be training religious leaders to promote the government’s views. “The United States works with religious leaders and faith communities around the world to address both religious and non-religious causes of violence and extremism, including by working with religious leaders on projects emphasizing peace, tolerance, and coexistence at the community level and training religious leaders on outreach to at-risk youth,” it said. The administration is also “supporting young leaders in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, including through projects that provide youth a sense of belonging, as well as technical skills and vocational training, scholarships, opportunities for civic engagement, and leadership training,” it said. Other U.S. and foreign officials have been promoting censorship of social media and the Internet as a tool to combat “extremism.”
In addition to promoting Big Government extremism at home, Kerry and other officials promoted further empowering the UN “dictators club” at the international level — another extreme proposal, considering the extremist regimes that dominate the UN. “This summit at the White House and State Department will expand the global conversation and, more important, adopt an action agenda that identifies, shares and utilizes best practices in preventing and countering violent extremism,” Kerry wrote, echoing other officials who indicated that the UN would play a major role. “And when world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly next fall, a key topic of discussion will be the steps we’ve all taken to fight extremism based on the agenda we outline this week. Put simply, we are building a global partnership against violent extremism.”
Many of the “partners” involved in fighting “extremism” are about as extreme as can be — as a brief examination of the world’s governments and dictatorships, ranging from communist to Islamist and beyond, makes abundantly clear. Obama made the UN’s role clear in his own remarks as well, saying the “international community” (the UN) must “come together and eradicate violent extremism.” Late last year, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron even called on the UN to lead a global war on “non-violent extremism,” which he said includes beliefs in conspiracies, religious prophecies, and more.
Other troubling extremism at the extremism summit highlighted by analysts included the guest list, which was packed with attendees considered by analysts to be Islamic extremists, including numerous Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamists. The modern-day KGB boss was there, too — especially concerning given the Kremlin’s role in fomenting “Islamic” terror worldwide over many decades. In an article headlined “Extremists Attending Obama’s ‘Countering Extremism’ Summit,” Breitbart also identified numerous Islamic extremists with long histories of support for extremism.
Making matters worse, numerous critics said, was the administration’s appointment of Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamist Rashad Hussain to lead the U.S. “Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications.” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi recently identified the statist and Islamist Brotherhood as the source of Islamic extremism — a term Obama refuses to use. Unsurprisingly, critics lambasted the decision to put a “terrorist supporter” in charge of the anti-extremism outfit.
Others criticized the fact that the summit’s second day opened with an Islamic prayer by an imam, but no other religious texts or prayers were offered. Even some Islamic groups, though, blasted the extremism scheming, citing, among other concerns, the government being perceived as “advancing one ideology or set of beliefs over others” by choosing which “community and religious” groups to fund and collaborate with in its war on extremism.
“Here's the president of the United States and his various appointees insisting that it's merely violent extremism that's at issue — and with no particular religion connected to it,” complained Robert Knight, a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union, adding that the lack of religious connection only applies to Islam. “The president's own spokeswoman at the State Department Marie Harf actually referred to the 'Lord's Resistance Army,' the group of terrorists in Africa — and she called them a 'Christian militant' group. They're as far from Christian as you can get.... It's interesting that [Harf] would go out of her way to name a religion falsely connected to one group while the president of the United States declines to name the religion that actually is responsible for most of the violence around the planet.”
Indeed, as The New American’s Selwyn Duke recently explained while skewering Harf for the absurd comments, the terror group in question actually counts Islam among its influences, while it rejects fundamental Christian doctrines. Obama, though, reiterated the everyone-might-be-an-extremist-or-terrorist view. “There is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist,” he said. “So there is no way to predict who will become radicalized. Around the world and here in the United States inexcusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different faiths by people of different faiths. Which is a betrayal of all our faiths. It’s not unique to one group.”
In other words, anybody could be an extremist — including you! Another post on the White House website emphasized the point: “A violent extremist could be anyone — a person of any color or creed,” claimed the White House blog. “What we do know is that their extremism is rooted in common challenges: the unchecked spread of extremist ideologies, their economic grievances, and their political grievances.” In case it was not clear, violent extremism is not just “barbaric acts,” the post continued — “It’s the ideologies, the propaganda, the recruitment, the funding.” To emphasize: ideologies and propaganda can now be "violent extremism" in and of themselves.
Of course, one way to stop the Islamic extremism wreaking havoc across much of the Middle East would be to stop funding and supporting it with tax dollars, as Obama did in Libya and Syria by openly backing self-declared al-Qaeda leaders in rebellions against “apostate” dictators. Even Vice President Joe Biden admitted that Obama’s “anti-ISIS” coalition was funding and arming ISIS. However, that sort of extremism was never addressed at the summit. Instead, Obama claimed those who label ISIS as “Islamic,” such as many Republicans, are feeding extremism — and that massive government and "international community" schemes are the only answer.
“When people — especially young people — feel entirely trapped in impoverished communities, where there is no order and no path for advancement, where there are no educational opportunities, where there are no ways to support families, and no escape from injustice and the humiliations of corruption — that feeds instability and disorder, and makes those communities ripe for extremist recruitment,” Obama claimed, implying that the fight against extremism is really a fight to spread Big Government to all corners of the Earth. Of course, his administration has been doing that from the start, but now "extremism" provides new cover.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blasted Obama’s extremism rhetoric as a “bizarre, politically correct double-speak” during an interview on Fox News. Citing Obama’s recent historically outlandish comparison of the Crusades (defending against Islamic jihad) and the Inquisition to ISIS’ savagery, Cruz also said the president was serving as an “apologist for radical Islamic terrorists,” a concern echoed across America in recent days. “I don't think it's too much to ask the president to stay in the current millennia,” Cruz added.
To the relief of many conservatives and Tea Party activists, the administration did not — as it has many times in the past — openly focus in on the alleged threat of “right wing extremists." Since Obama took office, though, the administration has disgorged a steady barrage of nonsensical propaganda demonizing tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of Americans for their mainstream political views. In one case, Homeland Security even relied on a known hoax website as its primary source. Pro-life activists, veterans, Ron Paul supporters, opponents of illegal immigration, supporters of states’ rights and individual liberty, and many others have been in the “extremism” crosshairs. Catholics, Evangelical Christians, and Orthodox Jews were even cited in a Defense Department training program as “religious extremists” — on the same slide as terror groups al-Qaeda and Hamas.
What is clear is that the emerging supposed war on “extremism” is being used as a catch-all excuse to radically expand the size and scope of government across the board while promoting the very same Big Government extremism that has consistently produced misery and death worldwide. In the last century alone, governments murdered hundreds of millions of people. Obama's own political career began in the home of a Castro-backed domestic terrorist whose Communist terror organization was plotting to murder 25 million Americans, according to FBI agent Larry Grathwohl who infiltrated the group. Stopping extremism begins with stopping government extremism, and based on the content of Obama’s latest extremism summit, that will probably not be happening as long as Big Government extremists remain in charge.
Photo of President Obama at the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism: AP Images
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at