Paying the Dane-geld in the Mideast
By Robert Morrison
Robert Morrison is Senior Fellow, Policy Studies at Family Research Council. This article appeared on CNSNews.com, March 16, 2012.
English poet Rudyard Kipling saw it clearly more than a hundred years ago. Kipling's poem, "Paying the Dane-geld" was written for a people who remembered their own long history. It was about paying the violent, pagan Danes to get out of England. Or at least to make nice. "Once you pay them the Dane-geld [Danes' gold] you never get rid of the Dane," wrote Kipling then.
Thomas Jefferson would have understood Kipling's sentiment about paying off barbarians. As American Minister to France in 1785, Mr. Jefferson was shocked at the response of an Arab diplomat to his protests. Jefferson found it outrageous that pirates on the Barbary Coast of North Africa regularly kidnapped American merchant sailors and held them for ransom.
Confronting one of their ambassadors, Jefferson demanded that such activity cease, telling his Arab counterpart that it was a violation of human rights to kidnap our sailors. The Arab envoy replied brazenly that it was the will of Allah and that the Koran permitted Muslims to enslave unbelievers. Jefferson quickly purchased a copy of the Koran to confirm this. He was stunned to learn it was true.
Jefferson had a passion for peace, but he nonetheless quickly concluded that only fighting would protect American lives and liberty. As president, he stopped paying off those Barbary Pirates. When they declared war on the United States, he gave them war. He sent the Marines to "the shores of Tripoli" and he won.
We have been paying the Dane-geld to Arab regimes in the Mideast at least since Jimmy Carter's famous Camp David Accords in 1978. But the error in paying the Dane-geld has been bi-partisan. In 1989, the U.S. State Department under Republican James A Baker III recognized Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization as the legitimate spokesmen for the Arabs living on the West Bank. The State Department began sluicing billions in U.S. aid to Arafat, the inventor of airline hijacking for terror purposes.
The late Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick told the story of this sordid affair in Commentary magazine in 1989 in an article titled: "How the PLO was Legitimized." Her words read like the international law version of Roe v. Wade. We all simply have to close our eyes and agree that homicide is not homicide; killers are not killers.
This month, we saw how Sam LaHood and his associates were released from captivity in Egypt after payment of some $300,000 each. Young LaHood is the son of an Obama Cabinet member, Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood. Their arrest and the demand for "bail" money from the new Egyptian rulers left Sam LaHood and his fellow democracy advocates "bewildered." No doubt. They probably drank too much from those famous Arab Springs.
Dane-geld. And more Dane-geld. We have paid the Egyptians billions - tens of billions - for the past 30 years. We are paying them today.
The Obama administration wants us to shell out another $600 million to what it calls the Palestinian Authority. Sec. Hillary Clinton calls upon the European Union to help the Palestinian Arabs with humanitarian assistance.
The Obama administration recently played host when the new head of the Libyan government came to Washington. No, this worthy gentleman, Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib, was not here to hand over the Lockerbie bomber. His new government refuses to do that. And no one was so undiplomatic as to demand restitution for the desecration of Christian cemeteries in Libya. Our Libyan guest can be here for only one purpose: More Dane-geld. He will doubtless warn us if we don't pay up, Libya might break apart. We certainly wouldn't want that.
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the plight of Christians in the Mideast. It is increasingly dire. Throughout the region, Ambassador Oren writes, Christians are being slaughtered. Once 20 percent of the Arab population, today Christians in the region make up just five percent. As Ambassador Oren notes, 200,000 of Egypt's Coptic Christians have fled since Mubarak's ouster. A half million Iraqi Christians have been exiled since the U.S. brought down Saddam Hussein.
The credulous Western media has hailed the advent of democracy in the Mideast after centuries of misrule by desert despots. For the persecuted Christians of this region, however, it's a sham democracy. Purple fingers torch churches. Purple fingers pull triggers. Purple fingers slit Christian throats.
None of the monies we give the Palestinian Authority will go to embattled Christian Arabs on the West Bank, of course. Arafat's gang of thieves is driving them out of the homes where they have lived since Bible times. Palestinian supporters of Arafat seized the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and used it for a latrine.
Ambassador Oren is too diplomatic to tell us we Americans are paying for all this.
But we need to reassess our entire policy in the Mideast. If we keep paying the Dane-geld, we'll never get rid of the Dane.