Obama stands condemned

In 2011 U.S. Primacy in the Middle East Died; In 2012 The Funeral Will Be Held

    “This is the end…
    Of our elaborate plans, the end,
    Of everything that stands….
    No safety or surprise….
    There’s danger on the edge of town….
    And all the children are insane….
    The West is the best….
    But you will never follow me.”
    –“This is the End,” The Doors

By Barry Rubin

Here’s your basic problem for 2012-2013: In the Middle East, the vultures are coming home to roost. Of course, the main cause of developments in the region is the long, failed legacy of radical Arab nationalism which is now being replaced by what we’ll be calling in 20 or 30 years the long failed legacy of revolutionary Islamism.

But the secondary cause is the mistaken policy of President Barack Obama. Let’s make a list.

    –By putting the priority on Muslim identity, as he did in the Cairo speech and elsewhere, Obama helped empower Islamism over nationalism and democratic choices.

    –By pressing for revolutionary change in Egypt, Obama helped bring a radical Islamist regime to Egypt, the Arab world’s most important country, leading it to break the alliance with the United States and move toward heightened belligerency—possibly war—with Israel

    –By pressing for revolutionary change in Egypt, Obama helped bring to power a regime allied to Hamas, providing that regime in the Gaza Strip with unlimited arms, money, and terrorist reinforcements and thus bringing renewed armed conflict with Israel.

Let me stop here a moment and respond to the claim that Obama couldn’t have done much on this issue. Of course, if we look at the demonstrations on the ground that seems a sensible argument. But the key pressure point was the U.S. ability to affect decisions taken by Egypt’s elite and military in January and early February 2011 to give up and even join the revolution.

U.S. encouragement and pressure—as the State Department wanted to do at the time—would have allowed a post-Mubarak transition with some reforms rather than an all-out revolution. There’s an interesting parallel to Iran in 1978, when almost year-long inaction by the Carter Administration helped create a situation producing the Islamic revolution there.

    –By overthrowing the horrible Muammar Qadhafi, however much that can be justified by the evil nature of the old regime, Obama handed power over to radical forces, not consciously or intentionally but inevitably given the reality of that country. We already see such signs as a refusal to cooperate with the Lockerbie bombing investigation and the destruction of Christian and Jewish graveyards.

    –By failing to help the Iranian opposition, not taking a strong stance when the election was stolen, and doing nothing serious about Iran’s nuclear program for more than two years, the Obama Administration has helped create a situation in which either Israel will attack Iran or Iran will get nuclear weapons. Or both.

    –By never criticizing or seriously pressuring the Palestinian Authority (as it sought unilateral independence at the UN, allied itself with Hamas, and refused to negotiate with Israel) the Obama Administration made the “peace process” absolutely, positively dead.

    –By backing Islamist forces in the Syrian opposition, and not helping the opposition generally, the Obama Administration is making most likely the worst two options: the continued pro-Iran, anti-American regime in Damascus or an Islamist takeover.

    –In failing to help U.S. allies, Obama has alienated the few remaining states that sought American protection against revolutionary Islamism to the point that they know they are on their own, retreat before the radicals, or make their own deals.

    –In distancing itself from Israel, the Obama Administration has emboldened radicals to escalate operations against that country and persuaded the less radical to go along with them.

    –By embracing an Islamist regime in Turkey, Obama has allowed that government to continue with its agenda of transforming Turkey while disproving the opposition’s argument that radical policies at home and abroad might damage the country’s standing in Washington.

    –By showing so much weakness (which it portrays as friendliness, sympathy, multilateralism, and cultural sensitivity), the Obama Administration has convinced the radical, anti-American forces that the United States is weak and ripe for collapse. Listen to what the Islamists in the region actually say.

This is the government that portrays itself as the best friend of Israel even as it undermines Israel’s security because Obama keeps saying how much he supports Israel and “allows” continued congressionally mandated aid to go to that country. With best friends like this who needs enemies?

Nothing could be more ridiculous than these assurances of success while the Middle East burns, while U.S. standing and interests there are in sharp decline. The “funny” thing about all of this is that virtually everyone in the region itself knows that everything written above is true even as virtually everyone in the “mainstream” discussion in the United States denies it.

Any possibility that Obama’s policy might not bring disaster in the Middle East died in 2011. In 2012 we’re going to see the funeral.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.

March 20, 2012 | 5 Comments »

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5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. Perhaps that is exactly what Pr. Obama wants.
    This good for the far left but very problematic for the US.

  2. This man has been a disaster on every front. He was never fit to be president. He must be defeated.

    Although he wasn’t my first choice and the choice of others here, we must get fully behind Romney since its inevitable he will be the GOP nominee.

  3. The Entire media of North America has been converted to Anti-Israeli, pro Gaza, pro-Islamofascist sentiment.

    I think it’s far beyond Obama, The Ruling class has decided Israel is in the way of their profit margins. Somehow they think they can control the Islamic masses. All ordinary people are just pawns to them Islamic money and oil flows like rivers in the coffers of the North American Ruling Class.
    Things look bad.
    Obama stand condemned? No, Mindless Elite Western Fascism has condemned civilization.

    –By overthrowing the horrible Muammar Qadhafi, however much that can be justified by the evil nature of the old regime, Obama handed power over to radical forces, not consciously or intentionally but inevitably given the reality of that country. We already see such signs as a refusal to cooperate with the Lockerbie bombing investigation and the destruction of Christian and Jewish graveyards


    Total garbage! This guy’s a fanatic fruitcake. It wasn’t ‘Obama’, Republicans wanted it more than the Dems and they said Dems didn’t do enough moreover it was USA, UN and NATO. Libya co-operated with Lockerbie and a small civil disorder with the graves by an unrepresentative gang doesn’t make an Islamofascist state – and BTW the vandals have been arrested or being hunted, the graves are being restored etc..) In Libya now, Democratic ideology is undercutting Islamic ideology – it’s a hopeful experiment.
    Fanatics don’t care much about facts – just promoting hate and destruction.

    ‘however much that can be justified by the evil nature of the old regime,’

    There is no BUT. There is only one choice between evil and good.

  4. Only eight months until elections, and Obama still has some BIG trump cards. Concerning the Jewish vote, for instance, he can always free Jonathan Pollard. Jews will then idolize him. He can do similar tricks with other groups. Have Bernanke do a little smoke and mirrors with the economy (print a gazillion dollars, for instance, and drop them out of airplanes if he has to), and what the press portrays as a “close” election could translate into an easy victory.

    How to handle the Middle East? Give Israel an offer or two it can’t refuse. So far that hasn’t worked; but he can still threaten Netanyahu’s family. The bottom line in Middle East policy has nothing to do with Israel, Syria, Egypt or Iran: It has everything to do with elections in Russia, France and the US.

    I don’t think we’ll see any funeral for Obama’s policies in 2012 — unless God decides to bring one about; and that will be a miracle.

  5. 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World, Farenheit 451, rolled into one developing apocalyptic nightmare. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.