Muftic: Knowing one’s enemy never hurts |

Muftic: Knowing one’s enemy never hurts

Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.

If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.

If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.

So says Sun Tzu in “The Art of War,” a 6th century Chinese military classic

In passing the other week I heard President Barack Obama criticized for having a “World View,” as if that was proof that he was not American. My jaw dropped. It is an asset to understand the mentality of many cultures. This is no liability; it is an asset in our taking on our top foreign policy concerns, al-Qaida and its barbaric child, ISIS.

So who knows his enemy best? Someone who only knows their local experiences, peer group opinions, and media that justify their preconceived notions, or someone who has multicultural hands-on experience? The advantage goes to holders of a world view.

The more extreme opponents of Obama look at knowledge of the world very differently. Because President Obama has knowledge of the Muslim culture and the religion, he is un-American, does not love America, and must have been born in Kenya. Because he understands other cultures by having lived them, they automatically assume he agrees or sympathizes with them

Respect of other cultures and beliefs is not a concept easily comprehended. Or as Colin Powell called it “a dark vein of intolerance” recently. They suspect that he had an agenda that is soft on Islam because he is unwilling to re-enact the Iraq war and he even apologizes about U.S. imperfections. Only a Christian true believer should lead this nation because this is a Christian nation (never mind there are Jews, Buddhists, atheists, and Muslims, and the First Amendment). This is a war of Christianity against Islam. Some claim all Islam itself is a faulty religion.

Why this birtherism and citing his different upbringing has erupted again now is likely about the Republican primaries and which candidate is the most conservative. Obama is not up for re-election, but it speaks to the depth of their continuing personalized antipathy toward him.

Yes, Obama has his roots in several cultures, but as he frequently says, “Only in American could he have had the chance to rise to the position he has today.” That is love based upon experience and a knowledge of another culture. It is a patriotism that speaks to what makes America exceptional.

Recently the Obama world view was misinterpreted by some in the U.S. to indicate Obama’s ignorance of the religious nature of ISIS by failing to connect the religion of Islam to violent extremism. It is not ignorance. It is a strategy in the propaganda war against ISIS and done apparently in coordination with our allies since they are now using the same terminology. The King of Jordan in a CNN interview Feb. 27 said President Obama was right in not coupling Islam with violent extremism. The King called ISIS “outlaws/fringes of Islam” and to attach the term Islam to ISIS gives them legitimacy they seek. For the interview, visit

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