Filed under: Foreign Policy, Islam, Middle East, Progressivism, The Constitution, United Nations | Tags: A Legacy of Failure, Mistakes and Misjudgments, President Barack Obama
Walter Russell Mead, registered Democrat and excellent essayist, Friday:
We should all be very glad that we have a Democratic president right now; otherwise the news would be terrible. We would be seeing a rash of horrible and depressing stories in the newspapers about strategic failure, with unremitting second guessing and belittling of a president who agonized for months before the surge and then saw his plan fail. We’d be hearing non-stop reports in the media about the incompetent and klutzy leader who torpedoed his own policy by announcing a withdrawal date; the man who tried to please everybody and do everything—and failed at all he tried.
This whole thing is really difficult for Mr. Obama. He had a view of the Middle East that has not, shall we say, turned out well. He believed firmly that his experience of growing up in Indonesia, and his memories of the call to prayer in the morning hours, would be meaningful to Muslims. He believed that the previous administration’s War in Iraq was wrong, largely because anything done by the Bush administration had to be wrong, and if he, as a new president, disavowed everything Bush and apologized for being the American bully that Muslims seemed to think we were; then we would have a new era of peace and goodwill, and he would be celebrated as a hero and a peacemaker.July 2012
Didn’t work out that way.
In a May, 2011 speech at the State Department, Obama took credit for the Islamists’ rise to power as part of his broader Mideast strategy to free them from the “repression” of despots, while ending their “suspicion” and “mistrust” of America resulting from the War on Terror.
“That’s why, two years ago in Cairo, I began our engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect,” Obama announced. IBD listed the steps Obama has taken :
- 2009 — Obama made a pilgrimage to Cairo to deliver an apologetic speech to Muslims, and managed to infuriate the Mubarak regime by inviting the banned Muslim Brotherhood leaders to attend. Obama snubbed Mubarak, who was not present nor mentioned.
- 2009 — Obama blamed Mideast hostility toward Israel and the West on “Colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to Muslims” He also promised to withdraw U.S. troops from Muslim lands and push for the creation of a Palestinian state, saying “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. The Brotherhood applauded wildly.
- 2009 — Obama appoints Rashid Hussain — an Islamist tied to the Brotherhood, as U.S. envoy to the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation which works closely with the brotherhood.
- 2010 — Hussain travels to Egypt to meet with the Grand Mufti of the Brotherhood, followed by Obama who makes another trip to Egypt.
- 2010 — Sec. of State Clinton lifts visa ban on Egyptian-born grandson of Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna. Tariq Ramadan, a suspected terrorist on the U.S. watch list, is warmly received in Washington. (Clinton’s closest adviser Huma Abedin has extensive brotherhood ties in the region.)
- 2011 —White House fails to back Mubarak in a coup organized by the Brotherhood
- 2011 — Obama sends intelligence Czar James Clapper to testify at Capitol Hill. He tells Congress the Brotherhood is a moderate “largely secular” organization.
- 2011 — Clinton sends special coordinator for Middle East transitions William Taylor to Cairo to give Brotherhood leaders special training to prepare for the post-Mubarak elections.
- 2011 — State Department formalizes ties with Egypt’s once-outlawed, terror-tied Brotherhood, allowing diplomats to deal directly with Brotherhood party officials.
- April 2012 —The administration quietly releases $1.5 billion in military aid to the new Egyptian regime and vows to get additional billions from the IMF and World Bank. It also taps Overseas Private Investment Corp, a US agency, to underwrite $2 billion in private investment in Egypt and other Arab Spring states. And it forgave up to $1 billion in Egyptian debt. Aren’t we generous!
- June 2012 — Clinton granted visa to banned Egyptian terrorist who with Brotherhood officials from Egypt met with Obama’s deputy national security adviser to demand the release of the Egyptian Blind Sheik terrorist sentenced to life in prison for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
- July 2012 — Obama invites Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi to visit the White House in September. He is expected to demand Obama free the Blind Sheik.
- September 2012 — Mr. Obama plans to address the United Nations next week to apologize to all the Muslims of the World for our First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech, even unpleasant speech. He will undoubtedly say that violence is never the answer. Except when it is.
This is potentially the biggest scandal of Obama’s presidency, although he’s garnering quite a few. The Blind Sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman, is a convicted terrorist rivaling Osama bin Laden in importance and reverence among al Qaeda followers. Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the Blind Sheik expects the plan is to agree to the terrorist’s release, but not to have it become public — until after the election. So many things are being put off till after the election that one would think that Mr. Obama is trying to put something over on the public.
His craven apologies to Muslims because they riot and storm embassies and kill our Ambassador and each other is beyond shameful. Barack Obama came to office promising to repair relations with the Islamic world. What he could not accomplish with his own presidency, his name, his childhood in Indonesia, he would achieve through “smart diplomacy.” Instead his efforts have been crowned with mistakes, incompetence and failure.