Obama’s “Chickens” of Foreign Policy Have Come Home to Roost
UPDATE BELOW 1600PT
Forget “Sputnik Moment”, this is President Obama’s “Jimmy Carter Moment”. When Middle-Eastern Muslims take to the streets and violently protest their existing governments, Barack Obama becomes meek and mute.
Obama’s policy on how the United States would deal with Muslim nations was made clear in his inaugural address on January 20, 2009, “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”
President Obama’s statement then, has become the template of the hands off, no comment, no criticism policy. The only statement issued from the White House today on the escalating and violent citizen protests in Egypt, was from Robert Gibbs. The message; “Turn Social Networking and the Internet back on.”
No outright condemnation of the manner of protest and any warning by the United States that it cannot tolerate a potential Islamist Government takeover by the fanatical Muslim Brotherhood. This outcome would parallel the Hamas election victory in Gaza and the recent takeover by the Hezbollah of the government in Lebanon.
President Obama visited Turkey in April 2009 and said, “Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.”
Obama’s “Muslim World Tour” then took him to Cairo, Egypt and on June 4, 2009 said, “I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
Nine days later millions of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran in peaceful protests over the rigged re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The violent and murderous quashing of this protest by the Iranian government was barely rebuked by the Obama Administration.
In fact Obama and his family were happily vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard where the “What Me Worry?” photos of eating ice cream, contrasted horribly with the bloody photos of Neda Agha-Soltan, shot and killed in broad daylight.
The Iranian uprising of 2009 was the moment that President Obama should have seized to voice U.S. support for the freedom fighters in Tehran. Obama did not want to be seen as “meddling” in Iranian politics, and only said, “violence directed at peaceful protesters” is “not how governments should interact with their people.”
Let’s contrast this with President Reagan, who spoke from the White House on December 23, 1981 over the Polish Solidarity uprisings,
“They have been betrayed by their own government.
The men who rule them and their totalitarian allies fear the very freedom that the Polish people cherish. They have answered the stirrings of liberty with brute force, killings, mass arrests, and the setting up of concentration camps. Lech Walesa and other Solidarity leaders are imprisoned, their fate unknown. Factories, mines, universities, and homes have been assaulted.”
Now the protests in Egypt have turned ugly and the military is in the streets to quell the uprising. True, President Hosni Mubarak’s thirty year rule has been supported by the military and facilitated by the United States. This cozy relationship goes back to the Cold War, where we have been pouring billions in aid to buy their cooperation.
Barack Obama has distanced himself from any point of view, even tacit support of the current government. This uprising began on the same night the President delivered his State of The Union speech to the nation. Obama said not a word on the unrest in Cairo or it’s implications for the entire region.
The Egyptian military will attempt to brutally end this. However the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, acting as proxies for Iran could very well topple the government and take over the only Middle Eastern country with a peace agreement with Israel. What then?
This unrest could very well spread to Jordan and Saudi Arabia and suddenly Islamic fundamentalists with nuclear ambitions could turn our security and economy into total ruin.
Jonah Goldberg, writing in the Los Angeles Times on June 16, 2009 said, “Do it, President Obama, please. Take the side of democracy.
Declare yourself and your nation on the side of hope and change where it is more than a slogan and better than a rationalization for ever-bigger government. Stop measuring the success of your diplomacy with Iran by the degree to which the grinning, hate-filled stooge of a clerical junta will “temper” his rhetoric about the pressing need to destroy Israel and slow his ineluctable pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Instead, choose a higher standard. Look to history. Look to the aspirations of the students risking their lives and livelihoods to protest a sham election. Stop fawning over the mythological Muslim street only when it hates America, and look to the real Iranian street at the moment of its greatest need, when its heart may be open to loving America.”
It is time for President Obama to retrieve his balls and be the leader of the United States and the free world — maybe for the first time.
UPDATE: Finally at about 6:30PM, President Obama said something on the unrest in Eqypt.
“I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters,” Obama said in a statement shortly after speaking with Mubarak by telephone for 30 minutes.
“The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association. The right to free speech and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights.”
“I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words. To take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise,”
This is another feckless and impotent statement by President Obama. Obama consistently picks the middle of the road response, basically telling all of our Arab allies that you cannot count on the United States of America for support. This is not leadership, but the weak kneed words of a leftist, who should really be working at the United Nations.