Obama and the moderates versus extremists

Barry Rubin has a compelling take on Obama’s role in the Arab Spring here

Rubin states “the president began with three acts that foreshadowed what was to come. He gave a speech in Cairo in which Muslim Brotherhood leaders were seated at the front, thus making it impossible for Egyptian government officials to attend. Obama thus not only declared himself on the side of the opposition but of the Islamist opposition.

What’s even important but never noticed was something critical Obama did. In discussing the Middle East and the Arabic-speaking world he exalted Islamic identity. Remember that for six decades national, i.e., Arab, identity that had dominated. True, it was used by dictatorships and for demagogic, anti-American purposes.
Now, however, here was an American president declaring that religious identity should dominate. This was an action against both the existing regimes but also against the moderate opposition forces.
After the demonstrations in Egypt began In January 2011 the U.S. State Department, with the approval of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, advocated a policy in line with traditional U.S. strategy. They would work with the military to institute reforms and more freedom while jettisoning the aged, ineffective President Husni Mubarak. But they opposed the dismantling of the regime.
The White House rejected that approach and publicly declared its desire for Egypt’s fundamental transformation. Anyone who knew Egypt should have and could have predicted this meant Islamist dominance. Yet the administration rejected the idea that this might happen. Indeed, without being asked, Obama publicly stated that he had no problem with a Muslim Brotherhood government taking power. Obama deliberately didn’t consult with the leaders of Israel, Jordan, or Saudi Arabia because he didn’t want to hear their warnings about the risks he was taking and their opposition to what he was doing. He had already decided that a Brotherhood regime would be his preferred outcome.
By such actions, Obama conveyed to the military that it could not expect U.S. support and made it impossible for the generals to try to retain control over events. Indeed, in the following months, U.S. policy under Obama’s direction constantly criticized the military and called for a quick transition.”
Rubin goes on to say that Obama’s plan has been to accept the moderate Islamists which he sees as the Muslim Brotherhood, while rejecting Al Quaida, which he views as extremists.
According to Rubin “The second thing Obama did was his romance with the Islamist regime in Turkey. He constantly portrayed that government as his best friends in the region, despite their anti-American, anti-Israel actions. This conveyed the message that the United States could be easily suckered. Looking at Turkey, Arab Islamists concluded that the “Turkish model”—pretended moderation combined with continued but patient radicalism—could bring them to power. And that’s what happened in Egypt and elsewhere.”
Rubin adds “Finally, there is the shocking strategy by which Obama turned over management of the Syrian civil war to the aforementioned Turkish Islamist regime, which wanted a Muslim Brotherhood government in that neighboring country. The United States thus threw its prestige behind an exile leadership dominated by the Syrian Brotherhood. If the group had not stumbled and been rejected by the internal revolutionary forces, Obama would have been parent to a Muslim Brotherhood government in Syria. And afterward, Obama and his government made no effort to channel weapons to the anti-Islamist forces in Syria—defected officers, Kurdish nationalists, liberals, and apolitical instant warlords. Qatar and Turkey were allowed, under U.S. supervision, to arm the Brotherhood; Saudi Arabia gave weapons to the Salafists. No doubt if and when a Muslim Brotherhood regime takes over in Syria we will be told that this was beyond Obama’s control.”
Daniel Greenfield explores similar territory here where he begins by stating “The main result of the Obama Doctrine is that the Islamist program has moved ahead a generation, far faster than its leaders ever dared to anticipate.”
The chance of Obama continuing his ways was significantly reduced by the first Romney/Obama debate which was hailed as a huge disaster for Obama, from the US to Australia and in between. While Romney  triumphed, even more so it was an Obama failure.  And wasn’t it striking how the Democrats continued to obsess about the debate, even a week later and at a time when surely all Democrats have to be focused at recapturing the lost Obama momentum.

Before figuring out the why’s, let’s remind ourselves of the memorable tweet from Bill Maher “he must have used my million to buy weed!” and the New Yorker cover showing Romney debating against an empty chair. But in contrast to the New Yorker cover in 2008 which adroitly lampooned the Conservative angst about Obama – he’s a Che Guevara terrorist – this cover of 2012 is a harpoon skewering a jumble of Democrat delusions.

Closed eyes and minds are swinging open all over, and some whose minds are now open might be ruminating  “The naysayers have been right all along, it’s true, Obama has hardly ever had press conferences, yes, he has been protected by a derelict media, he REALLY does need his teleprompter, and yes, his decisions have belittled the US and its ideals, such as his decision to shaft the brave Iranian protesters, his decision to shaft the pro US Mubarak, and his attempt to shaft Israel and in particular Netanyahu (who after all is a formidable speaking competitor and threat to the Obama mystique).”

We outside the US see the threats against our Western, open life of freedom, (and yes, Israel is the canary in the coalmine) and have begun to despair that the US will be able to lead the fight to protect our way of life. We also have begun to despair that many among the new left, campus academics and so-called progressives, through naivety, ignorance or malevolence, are weakening our internal capacity to resist.

But after the momentous Romney/Obama debate, there is increasing optimism that, together with a defeat of Obama in the November elections, there will be an increasing realisation of what is at stake for the West, and that just as our forefathers stood up to be counted in WW1 and WW2, we must also stand up to maintain our hard won political, social, intellectual and economic freedoms for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

As the second debate is about to happen, it’s transparent how Hillary Clinton has tried to take the rap for the Bengazi disaster, and thereby shield Obama.  But, while the Obama supporting press are minizing the story anyway,  there are sufficient conservative press, including no doubt Charles Krauthammer, to see they don’t get away with it.

While it is quite likely that Obama will be feisty in the next debate,  the genie is out of the bottle, the Wizard of Oz is revealed as far as he is concerned ..  and Obama’s loss of support among a wide cross-section of Americans, will probably continue, irrespesctive of his performance.  As William McGurn states “In the two remaining debates, Mr. Obama will surely be more assertive, more competitive, and more engaged than he was in round one. But this time the curtain has been pulled back and the aura is gone. That means Mr. Obama’s Republican opponent—for the first time in two presidential contests—will finally be contesting a mere mortal, not a wizard of his own Oz.”

With the election campaign hotting up, we have linked to the website Real Clear Politics and The Hill which are good clearing houses for what is happening.  Washington Insider is also pretty good as is Politico.

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