Malott has not addressed the main issue
By Peter Masry
Former US ambassador to Malaysia John Malott’s response (see Malaysiakini / Din Merican or elsewhere in blogosphere) to American blogger Rachel Motte on Feb 14 regarding Anwar Ibrahim deserves a response in return.
Briefly, while Malott may be right that Ms Motte engages in hyperbole, and possibly defamation, (calling Mr Malott “Anwar’s Pet” is not wise at all), nonetheless she brings up the point (though somewhat inarticulately) that Malott is one-sided.
Malott is correct to take offense at Motte’s rudeness; where he is not correct is his assertion that Anwar is misunderstood by the critics who claim that Anwar harbours a latent anti-Semitism. Clearly, Anwar does, Malott’s protestations notwithstanding.
Malott questions Motte’s knowledge of Malaysia, and indeed she seems not to be an “expert” on Malaysia. Malott seems to claim to be an expert and yet seems to know nothing of Anwar’s hyperbole against Malaysian Chinese (primarily) and Jews (secondarily) in his Abim and Umno days?
Is that credible? Anwar was created out of whole cloth in the late 1980s and was never Mahathir’s pet project prior to that? That strains credulity beyond belief.
Anwar did subscribe to Mahathir’s skewed Malaysian nationalism then, and it is fair and reasonable to question whether he still does. Or is Anwar’s current political epiphany only modified with public rhetoric rather than actual substantive change in the intervening 20 or so years? I think so.
By any reading of Malott’s various commentaries, it can be deduced that Malott knows Anwar only since Anwar left Umno.
‘Some of my best friends are Jews’
Malott’s disingenuous strawman of absolving Anwar of bigotry by the latter’s purported friendship with Paul Wolfowitz, George Soros and former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen due to Wolfowitz’s Jewish background (Soros is barely Jewish; Cohen’s father was Jewish but Cohen was actually raised an Episcopalian) is such a canard that Malott should really know better. Like the old adage, “Some of my friends are black” (or “Some of my friends are Malays”), the syllogism is immature.
Wolfowitz’s girlfriend is a Libyan World Bank staff and a member of the Libyan elite; so what should I make of Wolfowitz dating an older Libyan Muslim woman rather than a ‘nice’ Jewish girl from New York?
I should think Malott would know better than to try and fob off on intelligent readers the archaic syllogism that one’s associates pre-determines one’s ideology. This is indeed why I have politely asked Malott to state his criteria for claiming Anwar’s purported innumerable attributes rather than (as Motte seems to have done) simply claim that Malott is Anwar’s American mouthpiece.
Frankly, I think Anwar himself is his own primary American mouthpiece (his having spent as much time in Washington DC, New York and Boston as Kuala Lumpur and Penang).
In the end, Malott has not addressed the main issue: We are all well aware of Najib’s (and Umno’s) deficiencies yet why is Malott so willing to defend Anwar and PKR with little apparent criticism?
Anwar’s Apco fixation
Malott’s comments on the international public relations consultant Apco are also unsubstantiated.
[Malott had alleged that according to The Washington Post, “Apco was engaged in a similar effort last year, paid for by the Malaysian government, according to Apco's official filings”; the effort being “to smear Anwar -- a multi-million campaign funded by the Malaysian government”and implicating Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.]
Apco lobbies for 50 countries, including Israel and several Muslim countries. Where they’re concerned, it’s just a job. I don’t hear much whining about Apco’s work for Nigeria, Pakistan or the Saudis. I wonder why?
Finally, Malott should re-examine his comments regarding Umno not with respect to largely justified criticism but with regard to why he seems so keen to not only absolve Anwar of (the court charges against him — still legally unproven and likely incapable of being proven in Malaysia’s byzantine judicial system) but of bigotry, corruption and sophistry, at least two of which have been clearly substantiated over the course of Anwar’s long intrepid political career.