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A reader asks: “I agree that democracy and economic development are not panaceas for the Middle East, just as they are not for any other location on the planet. But aren't they a start? And since it is possible to chew gum and walk at the same time, does it hurt to at least pay lip service to doing things to bring the rest of the Middle East into the 21st century? And what would those things be in your opinion?” As you noted, both candidates in the presidential election spoke of economic development as a top priority in their Middle East policy. This sounds good to voters but is pretty meaningless.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has written an op-ed piece about what’s wrong with President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy and what he would do if he is elected president. There aren’t many surprises but it reminds us how far Romney has to go before he can be said to have articulated a clear foreign policy of his own.
The United States is only at the start of a nasty conflict in Libya which is going to be very anti-American. It is shocking that there is so little recognition of that fact and an apparently sincere belief that all the problems there are due to a You-Tube video. Having a big problem is bad enough; refusing to recognize that one has a bad problem is potentially fatal.
Of course, Romney was correct in what he said. Indeed, he was merely stating the obvious. In the current upside-down era, telling the truth is heresy, or at least there are powerful establishment figures who try to make it seem so.
These waves of demonstrations are relatively small ways of advancing the ideological readiness of the masses to accept the radical Islamist groups’ program.
Libya tells the story with a terrible irony but we should understand precisely what is going on and how the situation in Libya differs from that in Egypt. For it is proof of the bankruptcy of Obama policy but perhaps in a different way from what many people think.
Egypt tells us everything we need to know about the horror of Obama's Middle East policy. The latest development is that a group of several Salafist and Jihadist groups--including the local affiliate of al-Qaida--announced a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy. This was explained as a protest against some obscure film made in America by a crackpot that criticizes Islam but has never actually been shown to an audience and probably never will be!
Barack Obama is not a Communist, a fascist, a Muslim, a Marxist, a Progressive or even a socialist. Obama and those who control much of America’s academia, mass media, and entertainment industry—plus a number of trade unions and hundreds of foundations, think tanks, and front groups—are believers in a new, very American form of leftism.
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.
The information released about the Democratic convention seems to show it is designed to prove how radical the party is, to play to the most limited possible sector of the population.
The next era in the Middle East will be dominated by the debate over whether Islamism is the way to go. Islamists will radicalize the regional scene, carry out terrorism at home and abroad, and inflict repression on their own people wherever they get power.
The interesting news was not that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pelted with stuff while visiting Cairo, the important issue was who was doing the pelting. Once upon a time, anti-American radicals threw things at U.S. leaders. But now….the hurlers of objects were people from the Free Egyptians Party and other Egyptian liberals. At the same time, leading Christians refused to meet with Hillary.
The tide seems to be turning in Syria. While the civil war is far from over, the regime is clearly weakening; the rebels are expanding their operations and effectiveness. There have also been more high-level defections. What does this mean and why is this happening? There are three main factors that are making a rebel victory seem more likely.
Here we are in the middle of 2012, and all of the events of the last eighteen months don’t seem to have taught the current administration’s policymakers or its supportive scribes anything. Can’t they even consider: “Hmm, perhaps this “Arab Spring” thing isn’t working out so well … “, or, “Maybe the rapid rise of revolutionary Islamist movements is just a little bit scary. Maybe we should be cautious about promoting it”? Can’t they?
Israel’s has had dramatic success in terms of economic progress. The country has become a world leader in high-technology, medicine, science, computers, and other fields. It has opened up new links to Asia. The discovery of natural gas and oilfields promise a massive influx of funds in the coming years. And the idea that Israel is menaced by the failure to get official peace with the Palestinians is a staple of Western blather but has no big impact in reality.
If there is an Islamist president and parliament who pass laws that correspond only to Sharia and who appoint Islamist judges and al-Azhar shaykhs then Egypt will be a Sharia state. No doubt though the Constitution will be interpreted by many Western observers of proof that the Brotherhood and Salafists have moderated.