Friday, September 21, 2012

What remains of Obama's Mideast policies?

Charles Krauthammer excoriates the fatuousness of the President's confidence in his own abilities to reach out to the Muslim world to change America's image. His belief that all he had to do was be sworn in office and apologize for past American actions in the region and all would change.
Obama had come to remonstrate and restrain the hyperpower that, by his telling, had lost its way after 9/11, creating Guantanamo, practicing torture, imposing its will with arrogance and presumption.

First, he would cleanse by confession. Then he would heal. Why, given the unique sensitivities of his background — “my sister is half-Indonesian,” he proudly told an interviewer in 2007, amplifying on his exquisite appreciation of Islam — his very election would revolutionize relations.

And his policies of accommodation and concession would consolidate the gains: an outstretched hand to Iran’s mullahs, a first-time presidential admission of the U.S. role in a 1953 coup, a studied and stunning turning away from the Green Revolution; withdrawal from Iraq with no residual presence or influence; a fixed timetable for leaving Afghanistan; returning our ambassador to Damascus (with kind words for Bashar al-Assad — “a reformer,” suggested the secretary of state); deliberately creating distance between the United States and Israel.

These measures would raise our standing in the region, restore affection and respect for the United States and elicit new cooperation from Muslim lands.
The whole approach betrayed Obama's typical arrogance and naivete about how the world works.

So what have we gotten from Obama's approach? Absolutely nothing. Indeed we're now facing anti-American protests across the Muslim world. And all the Obama administration has to answer this is to blame a video trailer. Their own director of counterterrorism contradicted the preferred administration narrative by testifying to Congress that the attack on the Libyan consulate was indeed terrorism. Everyone recognized this except for the administration that spent a week blaming the video. They sent their ambassador to the UN out on Sunday to five talk shows to blame the video and say it wasn't terrorism. But now they admit that it was terrorism and never mind what they said for a week.
Sovereign U.S. territory is breached and U.S. interests are burned. And what is the official response? One administration denunciation after another — of a movie trailer! A request to Google to “review” the trailer’s presence on YouTube. And a sheriff’s deputies’ midnight “voluntary interview” with the suspected filmmaker. This in the land of the First Amendment.

What else can Obama do? At their convention, Democrats endlessly congratulated themselves on their one foreign policy success: killing Osama bin Laden. A week later, the Salafist flag flies over four American embassies, even as the mob chants, “Obama, Obama, there are still a billion Osamas.”

A foreign policy in epic collapse. And, by the way, Vladimir Putin just expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development from Russia. Another thank you from another recipient of another grand Obama “reset.”
As Thomas Joscelyn writes in answer to the Democrats' triumphalism at their convention, "Bin Laden is dead, but al Qaeda is alive." And they're very strong in Libya stepping into the vacuum after Qaddafi's fall. The world is scarier than it was four years ago. And Obama's combination of arrogance and naivete is not what we need facing this reality that the Obama administration doesn't seem to even recognize that exists.