The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dark Clouds

Egypt is devolving into anarchy with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military fighting to see who can be more anti-American and anti-Israel (so much for the vaunted “Arab-spring”). Libya stumbles forward as “freedom fighters” with al Quaida connections pilfer surface-to-air rockets and biological weapons from Qaddafi’s stash to be sold to international terrorist groups. The Palestinians go to a corrupt and clearly anti-Western UN asking that it unilaterally grant them a state, even though they cannot govern their own territory without massive international welfare.

In all three cases, the actions of the Obama administration have clearly exacerbated an already bad situation and made it significantly worse.

When President Obama came into office, he was ignorant of realities in the Middle East or simply chose not to care. His 2009 mea culpa speech to the Arab world in Cairo was intended to better relations with Islam, but instead, his words then and his subsequent actions projected weakness and indecision. Although the MSM is loath to tell you, President Obama’s current polling in the Middle East is 10 percentage points lower than President Bush’s poll numbers at the end of his term (when Obama’s supporters kept telling us that the world hates us because of Bush).

The President’s reaction to Egyptian and Libyan unrest is a clear indicator of the vacuity of his foreign policy in that region. Richard Fernandez addresses this when he writes:
Washington’s function has changed from that of a damper to that of an accelerant without even the virtue of knowing in which direction it is accelerating. It is for change, whatever it may be, because it sounds nice; because the administration cannot be seen to as behindhand even when it is.

Hope and change. That’s the problem. The Obama administration hoped that by suggesting that dictatorial Middle Eastern leaders be changed, a time of liberal ideals and attitudes would follow. In the Middle East, that’s a naïve and dangerous hope—one that is disconnected from reality. Worse, by repeatedly criticizing Israel, the President has given the Arab world a sense that it can overreach, that the U.S. will not stand by it’s long time allies.

Dark clouds are gathering in the Middle East. They are in no small measure the result of catastrophic mismanagement of our foreign policy in that region over the past three years.