Is Kevin Rudd a useful idiot?
The news that Kevin Rudd has called for an accommodation with the Muslim Brotherhood should alert all people concerned with the threat posed to liberal democracies by Islamism (“We must engage Muslim Brotherhood, says Rudd”, The Australian, 28/2/2011, p.2). It also raises important questions about the role he is playing as Foreign Minister.
Rudd is promoting the view that the Brotherhood is capable of entering into some form of pluralist and democratic political arrangement. This is naïve in the extreme. Founded in 1928 by the Egyptian, Hassan al-Banna, its motto is: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope”, while its oath of allegiance declares that “I believe that … the banner of Islam must cover humanity”.
Notoriously, it has indicated that it may entertain democratic procedures if they provide a path to power, working on the principle of “One man, one vote, one time”. It has one goal, a theocracy based on the rigid enforcement of Shar’ia law, in the manner of the Taliban, in a regime that will ultimately re-establish the Caliphate and span the world from Spain to the Philippines.
Rudd’s advocacy of the Muslim Brotherhood raises the question of the role played in the promotion of Islamic fundamentalism by “useful idiots”, i.e., malleable but influential personnel located in key, political, media, community, and educational positions who promote the Islamist agenda and policies favourable to it.
Despite its obvious pejorative connotations, the concept of useful idiot has been applied technically to the analysis of how totalitarian ideologies and movements mobilize support in Western societies.
The term is attributed to V. I. Lenin who used it contemptuously to describe those Western politicians, intellectuals, and other public figures who allowed themselves to be used to provide invaluable support of the Soviet Union and international communism, while denying, discounting, or remaining willfully ignorant of the atrocities routinely being committed by these murderous regimes
More recently, it has been applied to those “moderates” who defend Islamism as it pursues its goal of a reborn “Caliphate” and ultimate world domination:
Islam enjoys a large and influential ally among the non-Muslims: A new generation of ‘Useful Idiots,’ the sort of people Lenin identified living in liberal democracies who [once] furthered the work of communism. This new generation of Useful Idiots also lives in liberal democracies, but serves the cause of Islamofascism – another virulent form of totalitarian ideology. (Amil Imani, “Islam’s Useful Idiots”, The American Thinker, August 07, 2006.)
Explaining this phenomenon of “useful idiocy” is a challenge. Sheer ignorance, naivety, and complacency are tempting explanations for the persistent desire of influential figures in liberal democracies to support totalitarian political movements. And of course, the ideologues of such movements are masters of manipulation, deception, disinformation, dissimilation, and propaganda. Moreover, contemporary Islamists routinely deploy the theologically sanctioned practice within Islam of Taqiyya – i.e., dissimilation or lying to infidels.
Nevertheless, the excuses of ignorance and manipulation don’t fully explain the role played by all useful idiots, because the evidence of the utter corruption, injustice, and mass violence inherent in these totalitarian movements is overwhelming.
Islamism in particular should leave nobody in doubt about its nature. It propounds an extremely reactionary ideological mishmash of anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, anti-modern, anti-intellectual, genocidal, misogynistic, homophobic, barbaric, violence-laden, theocratic, and millennialist drivel – all of which is all readily accessible to anyone who takes the time to read, listen to, or watch the masses of Islamist material that have been produced over the past three decades and are increasingly freely available on the Web and in many publications.
Any non-Islamist lacking an intellectual impairment who examines this material would have to be appalled at its primitive quality – so why is Islamism defended by so many useful idiots on the political left?
Several useful explanations have been provided for this long-standing ‘unholy alliance’ between radical leftists and Islamists, focusing on their profound shared hatred of America and Western Civilization. (Daniel Pipes “The Islamist-Leftist Allied Menace”, National Review, July 14, 2008; Bruce S. Thornton, “The Chorus of Useful Idiots” in FrontPageMagazine.com, 11/1/2002.
These help explain the support within the far left of the ALP and within academia, but are less useful for explaining the activities of Rudd, who appears less an ideological radical and more a pragmatic careerist. Fortunately, there are also some more prosaic and venal reasons for the availability of useful idiots prepared to promote and support totalitarian ideologies and movements
For example, the Soviet Union operated a complex intelligence system under the direction of the KGB and other agencies, which identified and cultivated useful idiots by the use of enticements and the provision of assistance for their career and political advancement, and by exploiting their personal characteristics and vulnerabilities, e.g., through blackmail, vanity, ambition, and sexual favours, to achieve its goals.
Unfortunately, while the literature on this topic with respect to international communism is extensive, (see, e.g., Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story of its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev, 1990; Stephen Koch, Double Lives: Stalin, Willi Munzenberg, and the Seduction of the Intellectuals, 1996; Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West, 2000), it is at present less developed with respect to international Islamism.
Nevertheless, we can assume that most of the forms of enticement and entrapment used by the KGB and associated agencies can be used by Islamist and related organizations to identify and exploit useful idiots.
Ultimately, of course, it doesn’t matter what the exact motives of a useful idiot are, as long as they are sufficiently powerful to drive the agent forward in his tasks, and can be identified and manipulated by those handling and manipulating him.
At this stage, it is a little early to determine the exact basis of Rudd’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and we will have to await some future forensic inquiry into his motivations, once this present foray has been completed. Certainly, given the nature of the man, his support most probably derives from the less dramatic motives that historically have been exploited by totalitarian movements to gain influence over useful idiots, and perhaps builds on his vanity, ambition, and overwhelming desire to occupy centre stage.
Having failed in 2009 to lead the world in the ‘great moral challenge’ of climate change, perhaps he now wishes to lead it into an historic accommodation with Islamic fundamentalism as it presses forward towards the Caliphate and ultimate global domination. Perhaps he hopes ultimately to emulate President Obama and be given the opportunity to bow deeply in reverence to the King of Saudi Arabia.
Is Rudd a useful idiot? Only time will tell.