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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Terrible Weeks

The media is fond of telling us that Mitt Romney has had one "terrible week" after another on the campaign trail. Pro-Obama pundits suggest that because of those terrible weeks, Romney is toast—he's already lost. Maybe, but I sometimes get the feeling that they're fortifying their defenses against a potential preference cascade.

As this has been going on, Barack Obama has had two truly horrendous weeks, but if you follow the majority of the MSM (now a blatant extension of the Obama campaign), you'd never know it. Over the past two weeks, the core of Obama's foreign policy in the Middle East has collapsed, not in the gentile world of diplomatic disagreements, but in violence, death, and rampant anti-Americanism.

Sure, the media has reported Muslim unrest and violence, but they haven't probed the underlying reasons. Instead, they parroted a dishonest White House position (stated repeated by the President's press secretary, by Susan Rice, his UN ambassador, and by Hillary Clinton, his Secretary of State) that it was an offensive anti-Muslim video that was the driving factor of the embassy attack in Libya, when in fact, the attack was an al Qaida-inspired terrorist operation. Finally, the truth came out, but only after 9 days of obfuscation.

But even that wasn't the real story. Few within the MSM seemed to connect the violence in dozens of Muslim countries with a major foreign policy failure by this President and those that did never probed the underlying reasons.

Fouad Ajami provides some background:
No American president before this one had proclaimed such intimacy with a world that stretches from Morocco to Indonesia. From the start of his administration, Mr. Obama put forth his own biography as a bridge to those aggrieved nations. He would be a “different president,” he promised, and the years he lived among Muslims would acquit him—and thus America itself. He was the un-Bush.

And so, in June 2009, Mr. Obama descended on Cairo. He had opposed the Iraq war, he had Muslim relatives, and he would offer Egyptians, and by extension other Arabs, the promise of a “new beginning.” They told their history as a tale of victimization at the hands of outsiders, and he empathized with that narrative.

He spoke of “colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.”

Without knowing it, he had broken a time-honored maxim of that world: Never speak ill of your own people when in the company of strangers. There was [on Obama's part] too little recognition of the malignant trilogy—anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and anti-modernism—that had poisoned the life of Egypt and much of the region ... .
The President insisted that by subtly blaming the West for the region's problems, he had achieved a "reset" with the Muslim world, until it blew up in his face this month. Widespread anti-American violence, a dead ambassador, an Egyptian leader who egged on violent protest in Arabic speeches, a resurgence of al Qaida in North Africa, violent protests in Pakistan, continuing green on blue murders in Afghanistan, and the continuing march toward nukes in Iran belie the notion that mea culpas work in the Arab crescent.

After violent protests resulted in the deaths of 15 people, Obama and his secretary of state doubled down on mea culpas and appeared in a TV commerical in Pakistan arguing that the US Government had nothing to do with the offensive video. I guess the subtle defensiveness of such an action escaped them. James Taranto comments on this by first quoting a Reuters report:
Mohammed Tariq Khan, a protester in Islamabad, said: "Our demand is that whoever has blasphemed against our holy Prophet should be handed over to us so we can cut him up into tiny pieces in front of the entire nation."
He then writes:
It seems likely that this Mohammed Tariq Khan faults the U.S. government for failing to do so. Now of course Americans understand what Mrs. Clinton means when she says the government has nothing to do with it. The video's makers are alive and free not because the government has permitted it but because the Constitution prohibits the government from doing anything else. Don't blame Obama, don't even blame George W. Bush. Blame James Madison.

What message does the ad actually send the Mohammed Tariq Khans? On the one hand, a message of weakness: Assemble a big enough mob, kill enough people, burn enough flags and churches, and you too can grab the attention of the most powerful man and woman in the world. On the other hand, a taunt. If Obama and Mrs. Clinton really mean it, the Khans must think, why haven't they presented the video makers for public mincing? The State Department's ad contains no answer to that crucial question.
The only "public mincing" that has occurred has been the Arab street's mincing of the Obama Mid-East doctrine. Talk about terrible weeks.