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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Democratic Platform: No Mention of Islamist Challenge, No Support for Arab Liberals

President Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination Thursday night

President Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination Thursday night
Photo Credit: DNC

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Visit Barry Rubin’s Blog, Rubin Reports. 

When the authors of the Democratic platform’s sections dealing with the Middle East—I dealt with the section on Israel in a previous article—finished it they were no doubt quite satisfied. They felt that they had built a strong case for reelected President Barack Obama along the following lines:

America is more secure and popular. Al-Qaida and the Taliban are on the run. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are ending. America is supporting democracy, women’s rights, and gay rights around the world. Isn’t this great leadership? How could anyone not vote for Obama?

When I read the platform I am shocked and disappointed. I can pick at the issues of popularity, Afghanistan and Iraq. But the failure to deal with revolutionary Islamism is ridiculously glaring (they didn’t use the tiniest fig leaf to cover themselves), making a mockery about the democracy and human rights’ pretensions. The treatment of Middle East allies is shockingly insulting. The issues of Syria and Egypt are simply dodged. There is not a single mention of the opposition in Iran. All terrorists not involved directly in the September 11, 2001, attacks are ignored. There is not the slightest hint that any regional strategy exists at all.

Not a single word implies that the United States is willing to help allies fight revolutionary Islamist threats. In fact, the words “Islam” and “Muslim” do not appear once, even in some discussion of good Muslims versus bad radical heretics. They could have said something like: “Islam is a religion of peace but there are some extremists who wish to distort its teachings, take power, and institute repressive and anti-American dictatorships. We support our allies in defending themselves against these threats and support true democratic reformers in fighting against such oppressive forces that deny equality to women, religious minorities, and gay people.” But they didn’t even do that.

If they don’t even see the main threat at all how can one trust such people to rule the country and provide leadership in the region? What can American allies in the region—aside from Israel–expect from President Obama to protect them from internal revolutionaries, international terrorists, and revolutionary Islamist states?

Here’s the passage in its entirety:

“President Obama is committed to maintaining robust security cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council states and our other partners aimed at deterring aggression, checking Iran’s destabilizing activities, ensuring the free flow of commerce essential to the global economy, and building a regional security architecture to counter terrorism, proliferation, ballistic missiles, piracy, and other common threats.”

That’s all you get, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates! How confident are you in Obama’s leadership?

Well, here’s the lead of a Reuters story on this topic that came out during the Democratic convention “The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideological affiliates in the Arab Spring uprisings has stoked fears among Gulf Arab governments that the United States may one day abandon its traditional allies as it warms up to Islamists.”

Back to the platform. Let’s get the bragging out of the way first:

“When President Obama took office in January 2009, our armed forces were engaged in two wars. Al- Qaeda, which had attacked us on 9/11, remained entrenched in its safe havens. Many of our alliances were strained, and our standing in the world had diminished. Around the world and here at home, there were those who questioned whether the United States was headed toward inevitable decline.”

On one hand, whatever George W. Bush’s faults he had already essentially won the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (as much as that was possible) and dislodged al-Qaeda from its “safe havens.” Obama criticized the strategy that won in Iraq. So that’s a lie.

Quite true, alliances were strained, standing in the world had diminished, and there were those who asked if the United States was in inevitable decline. The problem is that, generally speaking, the situation is worse—certainly in the Middle East–in all three categories three years later.

There follows a long section on “Responsibly Ending the War in Iraq,” which credits Obama for pulling out American troops and implying that Romney and other Republicans would have left American combat troops there forever. In fact, I think it is quite fair to say that there was a consensus that the U.S. role was coming to an end. I believe a Republican president would have done precisely the same thing that Obama did. Pulling out the troops was a correct move so Obama can claim credit for it but not as his unique idea.

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About the Author: Professor 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. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


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16 Responses to “Democratic Platform: No Mention of Islamist Challenge, No Support for Arab Liberals”

  1. Mark L. Shane says:

    very honest, inciteful and we hope Barry can find a hiding place for his honest appraisals ; hiding place from obama's black shirts.

  2. Charlie Hall says:

    The Democratic platform specifically threatens Iran with military action. The Republican platform does not.

  3. thats because its a no brainer. the republicans are friends of Israel so they don't have to spell it out. You need a prime minister like Harper, not a president like Obama.

  4. Charlie Hall says:

    You think Ron Paul is a friend to Israel???

  5. I think you have dissenters in every party but Obama is about as wishy washy as they get till he gets elected. at that point he clearly will not be

  6. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Right from the beginning of his term, he was 'warming up to the Islamists.'

  7. Charlie Hall says:

    'Finally, there is a section extolling the kind of policy that the very same people would have ridiculed and reviled (and not incorrectly, by the way) a couple of years ago as Bush’s “neo-conservatism”:'.

    If that platform statement isn't support for Arab liberals, I don't know what is.

  8. Charlie Hall says:

    Ask Osama bin Laden how wishy washy is President Obama. Note that the policy that led to bin Laden's death was explicitly opposed during the 2008 campaign by both McCain and Romney.

  9. Charlie-To me this is the most important foreign policy question.

    The DNC platform "… clear that the window for diplomacy will not remain open indefinitely and that all options — including military force — remain on the table.”
    believes that there is a clear threat to use military force, but since the language is not clear, there is no mention of the word military by President Obama, just the vague options, there is no threat at all.
    If Iran thought the US would strike it would not risk staying in power and would have given up its nuclear weapons program.

    You can draw a parallel with the issue of Jerusalem. The DNC platform, after 3 loud floor fights, supports Jerusalem as Israel's capitol, but The Obama Administration does not, even though it was the President that made the call to change the platform.

    The Obama Administration also has made it clear that it will not support Israel's right to self-defense with a pre-emptive strike on Iran.

    Mitt Romney has come out that he would support Israel in that case.

    This issue is too important to use as a political football.

    The question has to be what will really be done about the Iranian nuclear weapons threat.

    To me it is crystal clear that if you cannot even commit to force verbally, under any scenario, you will never use force.

    This also lines up with a pattern of only supporting Israel when it is politically expedient.

    So when you look at both sides, even though the RNC platform does,t spell out military

    The platform warns that President Barack Obama’s “failed engagement policy with Iran will lead to nuclear cascade.”

    This is much more helpful than the DNC platform that says that the diplomatic engagement should not be open-ended when it is obvious that it is open-ended.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Umm no..Obama pulled out of Israel. 2/3 of the American troops are GONE & they know he has betrayed them. THEN to make matters much worse, he sent a US delegate to the Iranian Unaligned movement (for the 'caliphate'), so endorsing that 100% & THEN sent a pandering hand written kiss up note to the Iranian President saying he is not with Israel! Got it? He's out! Please catch up on the past 48 hours events. This usurper is NO friend to Israel or America!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Because he is one. He just loves the tyrannical Muslim brotherhood sooooo much. Sending them billions of taxpayer dollars & arming the bastards so they can cause Christian genocide & are preparing to go after Israel! What a traitor to free people everywhere!!
    He is clear & present danger to the planet! When he decided it was 'policy' to host the radical muslims to host a 2 hour opening prayer at the DNC; the same ones that speak openly of overthrowing the 'filthy' US govt to insert Sharia law the dems should have gotten a clue. But the Obots are friggin clueless. 110%!
    Here his entire foreign policy has been about enslaving people & inserting Sharia law in other countries & yet the idiot feminazis & homosexuals think he cares about them & their rights?? It's laughable if it wasn't so damn tragic how stupid these people are. And then he goes on TV today stating Romney has a bad foreign policy?!?! THE NERVE! Liberals that do not clearly see what he is doing need professional help. Period!

  12. Charlie Hall says:

    Jean Pierre Katz "This issue is too important to use as a political football."

    I agree. But this article, and lots of others, by Israel supporters, are doing just that — trying to make support for Israel a partisan one.

  13. Charlie Hall says:

    Jean Pierre Katz In fact, Obama HAS directly threatened military force with his own words. Here is one example:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/03/us-usa-israel-iran-idUSTRE82108520120303

  14. Charlie Hall says:

    "'policy' to host the radical muslims to host a 2 hour opening prayer at the DNC"

    This is a lie.

  15. Chaiya Eitan says:

    No…..Ron Paul is not a friend of Israel's. That is why he had no chance of winning the nomination.

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