Other examples abound. On Obama’s watch, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has purged both the military and the judiciary. Likewise, Turkey’s oppression of journalists has continued unabated. In Syria, the president has looked on helplessly as Bashar al-Assad has gassed civilians and rebel groups, and as al-Qaeda-linked groups have infiltrated the country to create a solid base of operations if and when Assad is eventually ousted. In Afghanistan, Taliban groups are re-asserting their primacy in many areas of the country.
Failure to identify democrats
Perhaps worst of all has been the administrations failure to identify potential democratic elements in most or all of these countries, and to support them. With strong economic interests in all the country’s mentioned above (with the possible exception of Afghanistan) the United States maintains the ability to use economic and diplomatic pressure to encourage democracy, human rights and personal liberty. Having failed to do so, one can only conclude that the president simply fails to understand both the nature of radical regimes and the nature of Muslim complaints about the United States.
All of which leads directly back to Washington’s recognition of the Palestinian unity government. Yet again, the Obama administration has thrown its support behind an Arab government known for corruption, violence and suppression of minority opposition rights. Once again, the US administration appears to given in to a strong inferiority complex. Once again, American officials have ignored the murderous, illiberal program of a radical Islamic movement to plead for a little recognition. “Please, Mr Haniyeh. We recognise your “right” to oppress your countrymen; would you mind very much not killing us now?”
Or, in the words of one American diplomat shortly after Obama’s election, “everybody loves the new tenor of American foreign policy. But let’s see what happens when the world realises that American interests haven’t changed.”
But it is hard to demand the world recognize America’s policy interests in the Middle East when it seems that Obama himself lacks a clear understanding of what those interests are.