Luis Almagro. Credit: Juan Manuel Herrera/OAS
Luis Almagro. Credit: Juan Manuel Herrera/OAS

One of the more annoying of the various manifestations of the deterioration of political dialogue in the contemporary western world is the refusal to call a phenomenon or situation what it really is, in order to be “politically correct”. A striking example of the unwillingness to call a spade a spade (and not a “digging device” to spare the delicate feelings of spades) was the unwillingness of the officials of the Obama administration to refer to acts of terrorism as being perpetrated by Muslim extremists, even when the perpetrators performed their barbaric acts shouting “Allah-u-Akbar”! Instead, euphemisms were used, such as “radical extremists” or even complete fictions, such as “workplace violence”.

There is a significant danger in this refusal to recognize the truth — if you do not correctly identify the enemy, it is difficult if not impossible, to combat him (or her) effectively. The target defines the weapon, and if the wrong target is used, the wrong weapons will be used as well. Islamic extremism is Islamic extremism, not radical extremism or workplace violence, and to effectively combat it, it must be correctly identified. None of the instruments of statecraft: diplomacy, propaganda, economic measures, subversion, military display or war, can be properly deployed and employed unless the target is correctly identified.

In the current situation, therefore, it is particularly satisfying to find an important public official willing to call a spade a spade, and to hell with whatever the spades want to make out of it. President Trump made a fetish out of doing so during his presidential campaign, but now that he is president, he seems to be backing away.

Someone who is not backing away, however, is the relatively new secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Uruguayan Luis Almagro. Since taking office Sr. Almagro has repeatedly denounced the destruction of democracy, civil rights and the rule of law in Chavista Venezuela under the presidency of Nicolas Maduro. It is indeed a pleasure to quote from the transmittal letter Almagro sent to the ambassadors of the Permanent Council of the OAS:
“Venezuela is in violation of every article in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. … We cannot allow the premise of a false dialogue to continue to be used as a smokescreen to perpetuate and legitimize the authoritarian power of what has become a dictatorial regime in Venezuela. … The people of Venezuela are faced with a government that is no longer accountable. The Constitution no longer has any meaning. … The rule of law no longer exists in Venezuela; it has been eliminated by a judiciary under the complete control of the Executive Branch…. … It has also invalidated the rights of the people…. Corruption is rampant and the economy is in free fall. … To expect solutions from a dialogue that isn’t really a dialogue…makes us complicit as we conveniently wait for others to act.”

What a breath of fresh air! “to expect solutions from a dialogue that…isn’t a dialogue..makes us COMPLICIT….” (emphasis added). Indeed. And that is precisely what those who refuse to call Muslim extremism what it is and to combat it on that basis are—COMPLICIT in the horrendous acts of the terrorists and their organizations, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida and Islamic State.

Think about that for a moment. “Political correctness” in the spoken and written word makes those who use it complicit in acts of bloody barbarism in the service of religiously-motivated totalitarians. This unacceptable situation makes it essential that those who favor calling spades “spades” demand that journalists, politicians, commentators, think-tanks, universities and others recognize and identify the truth, after appropriate confirmation. There must be an end to covering up for the terrorists, their organizations and their state sponsors, whether Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Russia, China or Venezuela. Hooray for Sr. Almagro!

Norman A Bailey is the author of numerous books and articles and recipient of several honorary degrees, medals and awards and two orders of knighthood. He also teaches economic statecraft at The Institute of World Politics and has experience on the staff of the National Security Council at the White House, in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and in business, consulting and finance. He is professor emeritus in the National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, and a columnist for Globes, the Israeli business and financial newspaper.