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Posts Tagged ‘Rubin Reports’

The Truth About the Wave of Anti-American Demonstrations

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

Most of the debate over the current wave of anti-American demonstrations in the Middle East is, to be frank, pretty silly. It disregards both historical experience and basic political sense. Consider the following points:

–There have been several such waves before, notably over Salman Rushdie, the 2001 attacks, and the “Danish cartoons.” Leaving some death and destruction in their wake, these waves of demonstrations then fade away bringing no significant political change. No amount of apology and groveling had any perceivable positive effect. This one will also end soon but the battle for political power in each country continues as does the decline in American credibility and influence.

–The causes of these demonstrations are not some act of Islamophobia but the agitation of revolutionary Islamist groups that work systematically every day to build anti-Americanism, hatred of the West, and the loathing of Jews and Christians.

–As long as free speech exists in the West, there will always be events that provide pretexts for outrage. Radical Islamists will make sure that even the most obscure of events can be used. It has also been shown how things that happen in the West are deliberately distorted. For example, Danish Islamic clerics added cartoons that had nothing to do with those published by a Danish magazine to intensify anger and hatred.

–The task is not to stamp out “Islamophobia” any more than Soviet Communist or German Nazi propaganda could be dealt with by proving the West didn’t hate workers or did hate Jews. The problem is not some cultural misunderstanding or Western fault but an ideology seeking to seize state power. That ideology and its many sympathizers and even a lot of its local enemies know that building hysterical hatred against America and the West, Christians, Jews and Israel, benefit them.

This is nothing new. Rightly or wrong, in the early 1950s–I’ve seen the documents in which the U.S. government decided not to publicize the Nazi ties of some Middle Eastern leaders including Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. And the CIA decided (in 1950) not to pursue the then Palestinian Arab leader Amin al-Husaini for war crimes though he had been a close collaborator of Hitler. Why? Because it was concluded that such information might make them more, not less, popular.–Examining the current developments, the precise situation in every country is different:

In Libya, the radical Islamists want to overturn a U.S.-sponsored government that will not give them a full Sharia state and which they see as a sell-out. The government doesn’t like the anti-American attacks but its armed forces and administration is heavily infiltrated by radical Islamists so it is not a dependable protector for the very Americans who put it in power.

In Tunisia, a country that is relatively secular by Arabic-speaking standards, the revolutionary Islamists are especially frustrated. They are strong enough to cause trouble but not strong enough to pose a serious challenge to power. The Muslim Brotherhood controls the government but is in a serious coalition with moderates and is being cautious as a result. This makes the radicals all the more provocative. And since the Brotherhood in part sympathizes with them, it will not fully crack down.

In Egypt, the radicals are a front for the Muslim Brotherhood government which the Obama Administration has taught that radicalism and anti-American pays, or at least costs nothing. The Brotherhood regime would like to figure out a way to prove it hates the United States without any cost. Now it knows how to do so. Let the radicals go into the embassy with no interference by the security forces and the Obama Administration will still give it $1.6 billion (including security assistance to an army now controlled by the Brotherhood!), help it buy two German submarines, plan about cancelling $1 billion in debt, and make its president an honored guest at the White House. Since what the radicals do doesn’t injure the regime’s interest, it will let them do what they want. The Brotherhood will even join in the demonstrations. There’s nothing to lose.

In other places the goal is to build the revolutionary Islamist movement. And when everyone forgets about this silly little video there will be more pretexts: American support for governments including those of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Israel; anniversaries of past events; terrorists being held in prison; politicized Muslim religious festivities.

Libya: Not Just a Tragedy, but Another Endless War for America

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

Yahoo highlighted two “amazing” stories shortly after the murder of five American diplomats in Libya and the attack on the U.S. embassy in Egypt that tell us a lot about the intersection between American reality and Middle East reality.

The first article insisted that American officials thought the terror attack on the U.S. embassy was planned (yeah, I don’t think the terrorists were passing by and just happened to have a rocket with them). The other asked tentatively whether maybe the “Arab Spring” hadn’t worked out so well. It’s almost the end of 2012 and these people are still in kindergarten!

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.

So far the U.S. ambassador, four diplomats, and two U.S. soldiers trying to rescue the rest of the staff have been killed. According to a Libyan officer whose unit was helping the American rescue effort, the terrorists seemed to know precisely where the staffers were hiding. Might they have been tipped off by sources in the Libyan government or military? Probably, yes.

What happened in Libya has nothing to do with an obscure video from California, it has everything to do with the question of which side rules Libya. And the relationship of the attacks to the September 11 anniversary was meant to show that the Libyan terrorists supported September 11 and wanted to continue that battle.

In one sentence: the problem in Libya is that Obama got what he wanted and thus set off all the usual Western policy dilemmas—that he always denounced—which had existed in the region for a century. But Obama is not only ill-equipped to deal with these problems, he either cannot even recognize them or interprets them in ways disastrous for U.S. interests. For whatever reason you would like to attribute, he wants to make nice with people who want to destroy his country. That might have been a forgivable naivete in early 2009 but by this point it is clear that Obama will never change, and that four more years in office will not improve him and his administration by one millimeter.

Obama decided, although only after what we are told was a titanic inner struggle, to kill Usama bin Ladin because bin Ladin launched a direct attack on American soil. But he sees no need to battle those trying to take over the Middle East and crush its people (including women, Christians, homosexuals) and wipe Israel off the map. Nor does he see the need to wage effective struggle with governments that stand and deliberately do nothing while the American embassy is invaded or the American ambassador is murdered.

President Barack Obama and U.S. NATO allies got rid of a terrible dictatorship in Libya. Of course, there were dreadful murders and human rights’ abuses by the rebels—even racist murders of people because they had black skin, and were thus presumed to be supporters of the old dictator!–but Libya was too obscure a place and the mass media either didn’t care or wouldn’t hold Obama responsible for these things.

Then Obama had a second success in the election, where his client politician won over the Islamists. True, the new regime gives lip service to Sharia law but it is not a radical regime but precisely the kind of government, given the limiting conditions of Libyan society, that the West would want in Libya.

And now the problem begins. For the great “anti-imperialist” Obama has set up a classical “imperialist” situation. In Iran, for example, the Eisenhower Administration helped an existing, legitimate regime stay in power in 1953 and this supposedly led to Iranian radicalism and seizure of the U.S. embassy a quarter-century later. In Libya, the process may just take a few months.

The Islamists of various factions, ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to al-Qaida supporters, loathe the new government and the fact that the United States is behind it. In other words, Obama has just done what he has been denouncing his whole life: he interfered in another country and “bullied” it into submission to America’s will. Now he has sent two American warships to Libya’s coasts. Obama’s friends call this “gunboat diplomacy.”

One special feature of this situation, of course, is that some of those he helped were anti-American terrorists, armed and trained by NATO. Some of these people have entered the new military, others are now trying a stage-two revolution to overthrow the regime and institute a real Islamist revolution.

Otherwise, though, it follows the usual pattern. The Islamist revolutionaries have not accepted the status quo and hope to seize state power and drive out the Americans.

Obama has fallen into precisely the trap he has denounced in all his books and speeches. True, America is not claiming Libya as its territory but Obama’s friends call this “neo-colonialism” and “post-colonialism.” He is now the patron of the Libyan government. If it is incompetent, corrupt, or oppresses the people, Obama shares responsibility.

Moreover, as it does all these things and refuses to implement serious Sharia law lots of Libyans will blame those arrogant, imperialist Americans. Why shouldn’t they want to kill the American diplomats who “supervise” the status quo and prevent them from turning Libya into Afghanistan under the Taliban; Iran; Gaza under Hamas; or, somewhat more mildly, Lebanon under a mainly Hizballah government, and maybe what will happen in Syria at some point in the future.

What are the Libyan government’s options? It can try to appease the opposition by more Islam. But that won’t work really. It can try to appease the opposition by distancing itself from the United States, but given its weakness that won’t work. And it can try to repress the rebels but since it cannot depend on its own military forces–which are riddled with jihadists–that won’t work either.

That is the real lesson in Libya. For once, Obama took sides against the revolutionary Islamists. We are seeing in Egypt and the Gaza Strip that appeasement doesn’t work; we are seeing in Libya that engaging in conflict has its high costs, too. Obama claims to have “liberated” Libya but to many Libyans he has enslaved it to infidels.

So what next? American military aid to the Libyan government and U.S. military advisors? An endless war against the jihadists? And what if the government in Libya, which is pretty fragile and cannot fully depend on its own military, starts to fall? In Somalia, the local al-Qaida branch didn’t win only because Ethiopia and other African nations sent in thousands of troops. In Bahrain—a complicated situation in which there is a mistreated Shia population whose opposition has both moderates and radicals—the government was only saved by Saudi troops and against the will of the White House.

Treating what has happened in Libya as an isolated tragedy misses the point. Viewing it as generalized proof of Obama’s terrible policy doesn’t get us to the solution. There is a battle going on in the Middle East that will continue for decades. Obama has largely helped the enemy side. In Libya while he gave some help to the Islamists, his basic policy supported the moderates for once. Now the price must be paid or one more country fall to revolutionary Islamist rule and U.S. influence and credibility decline even further.

This is a war, not a misunderstanding. It is a battle of ideologies and a struggle for control of state power, not hurt feelings over some obscure video.

PS: I have a lot of friends in the Foreign Service, now and retired, and I was very upset about the deaths of five American diplomats and two American soldiers in Libya. I know this person was a colleague, too. But my goodness, how horrifyingly revealing is this quote:

“They got the wrong guy,” said a friend of the slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens at the [notoriously anti-Israel, BR] U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, “If there was someone who cared about the Arab and Muslim world, it was Chris,” who had previously served there as chief of the political section. “He spoke Arabic, he was dedicated to the cause of the Arabs.”

Perhaps this diplomat should give al-Qaida a list of approved Americans they should be assassinating. In other words, what? It would have been better to have killed a Foreign Service officer more friendly to Israel? To have murdered some Republicans or Jews? I’m afraid that this is very frankly how these people think. And what is “the cause of the Arabs?” Which Arabs? To wipe Israel off the map? To have radical nationalist dictatorships? To have Sharia states? At least define your “Arabs” as the genuine moderates, genuine democrats, genuine liberals or even–since there aren’t so many of those people–those who feel their self-interests basically coincide with those of the United States.

I find this person’s statement even more shocking than the apology over the mysterious little you-tube film. And yes I have heard this before in private. OK, an anecdote. I’m sitting with about a dozen U.S. military officers doing a briefing a couple of years after September 11 and my co-briefer–a medium-high State Department official in the Middle East section–starts visibly panicking as he’s speaking. “Other issues might threaten you,” he tells them looking really scared, “but only the Israel issue can endanger your life.” I can only report that the looks of contempt on the face of the officers made me proud of the U.S. army.

Note: I don’t mean this as a criticism of all Foreign Service Officers. There are many good ones. But this reaction from a Jerusalem-based American diplomat to the death of Ambassador Stevens, plus four diplomats and now two U.S. soldiers rescuing the rest of the embassy staff is all too revealing. Perhaps he’s just too confused about what country’s capital he’s in.

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

Obama Apologizing for Egypt’s Failure to Protect our Embassy

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

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!

But note well that everyone–except the Western media–understands that holding such a demonstration on September 11 means supporting the September 11 attack. The Egyptian government knew the time of the demonstration and the participants–it was all publicly announced–yet Egyptian security forces did not protect the embassy.

And so the demonstrators scaled the wall, entered the compound, tore up the American flag, and put up the historic revolutionary flag of Islam (the eighth century black, not the seventh century green one) in its stead. Why didn’t Egyptian security forces stop them? It was a deliberate decision no doubt taken at the highest level.

Rather than expose the phony excuse for the demonstration and condemn the Egyptian government’s behavior, the U.S. government groveled. It issued statements in English apologizing for the fact that someone had exercised his right of free speech within its country. The tweets it sent out in Arabic were even worse, pitiful pleas of the we-are-on-your-side-against-this-terrible-Islamophobia variety. And will Egypt’s failure to protect the embassy–because it is on the side of America’s enemies–have any effect on the Obama Administration’s helping the Egyptian government get two German submarines (against Israel’s efforts); take $1 billion off Egypt’s debt; and have a nice meeting with the visiting Egyptian president (while refusing to meet Israel’s prime minister, this supposedly super-pro-Israel president)? You know the answer.

This is a policy of institutionalized cowardice unprecedented in U.S. history.

Last week, the U.S. government asked its good buddy Egyptian President al-Mursi to inspect an Iranian ship suspected of carrying arms to Syria while it passed through the Suez Canal. Remember that to do so is arguably in Egypt’s own interest since Cairo is supporting the rebels while Tehran backs the regime. But it is also possible that the U.S. government blundered, or was badly timed, since international agreements dictate that Egypt is not supposed to inspect ships in the Canal itself. The Egyptian government despite three decades of massive U.S. aid, licensing to produce advanced American tanks and other equipment, strategic backing, and an invitation to Washington to meet Obama—refused to help out, since he possibly could have done it outside of the canal itself.  Indeed, al-Mursi headed for Tehran to attend a “non-aligned” conference, albeit admittedly one with broad international support.

Did I mention that the al-Mursi government is about to retire 70 generals? Get it? Just as the Islamist government broke the Turkish army because Obama would not back America’s old allies, now the Egyptian Islamist government is going to break Egypt’s army. Who will replace these generals? Two types: opportunists and Islamists. [Here’s a good analysis of the army situation.] And then the army will be completely transformed. And then the state Islamic institutions, And then the courts.

Meanwhile the Western media and U.S. government will stand by and not comprehend a fundamental transformation unfolding before their eyes. Or will they comprehend it but think that it is a good thing? The first possibility is total incompetence and ideological blindness. The second possibility approaches the equivalent of criminal conduct in the destruction of U.S. interests, not to mention democracy, human rights, and the maintenance of peace.

Did I mention that the al-Mursi government is installing several Brotherhood leaders as provincial governors, members of the media council, and–yes, they do have a sense of humor–leaders of human rights’ commissions? And now al-Mursi is controlling what is going to be in Egypt’s new constitution, too.

As I noted previously:

Does this mean Egypt will ally with Iran? Only if Iran surrenders to radical Sunni Islamism ruling every Arab state. Since Tehran will never agree, in the end Egypt will fight Iran for influence tooth and nail. The two anti-American countries will kill the others’ surrogates. But it means al-Mursi feels no friendlier toward America than he does toward Iran. And Cairo will not lift a finger to help Washington against Tehran unless by doing so the Egyptian Brotherhood advances its own cause of putting more Sunni Islamists (anti-Americans, of course) into power.

Obama is a New Kind of Leftist

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

Barack Obama is not a Communist, a fascist, a Muslim, a Marxist, a Progressive (in the pre-1920s’ meaning of that word, before it just became a cover for Communists and other leftists), 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. It is very statist, very dangerous for freedom, and economically destructive. But we first have to identify what “it” is. Our difficulty in doing so has been a huge reason why we have not persuaded more people–though goodness knows a lot of people have woken up that there is a huge problem here.

Yet calling Obama those various names doesn’t persuade a large portion of the American population because they sense that these definitions aren’t accurate and can come up valid counter-arguments or be fed by schools and media with phony ones. And all of those who rage in the talk-back columns of websites aren’t persuading anyone anything except, perhaps, that Obama’s opponents are delusional. You may not like hearing that but it’s the truth.

I’m amazed and amused by people who say that Obama cannot be a leftist because he–gasp!–appointed people from Wall Street to his cabinet and favors certain specific companies and banks. Excuse me, you are merely saying perhaps that by engaging in corruption and getting some big favored capitalists to give him big campaign donations in exchange for favors that Obama isn’t an “honest” leftist. If the left can get support from some such people it would be foolish to throw away the chance. Refusing to act like that was how the Old Left and the 1960s’ New Left behaved and we saw what happened to them.

We are in a totally new era. The nineteenth and early twentieth century debates and categories no longer hold. Indeed, when the New Leftists climbed out of the wreckage of the 1960s-early 1970s they realized this and successfully built something very new. (If you are looking for a “prehistoric” founding document in terms of some important themes, albeit very much altered, read the original Weatherman Manifesto and then delete all the hysterical parts. Dress it up in a suit and tie and seat it behind the desk of a professor, foundation director, reporter, or politician. I don’t have the space here to explain this point in detail.)

Let’s start with the word “socialist.” The European socialist, or social democratic, movement was strongly anti-Communist. Did they hate their countries? Remember, these were the people who remained patriots during World War One, that’s one of the main reasons they first broke with the Communists. The European Socialists gave up the idea of abolishing capitalism many decades ago. While some parties were further to the left (notably in Spain and Sweden), most had settled into relatively moderate positions. When was the last time they nationalized anything?

Moreover, remember that European statism is as much of conservative as of socialist origin. Consider France, a country whose high degree of centralization goes back to feudal times and Napoleon, not to mention the Gaullists. America is very exceptional all right, but because it broke with both European conservative and leftist models. The welfare states there were the results of multi-partisan efforts.

Have European socialists—I’m not talking here about left-wing academics and journalists—fallen in love with Barack Obama? Not at all. They might like Obama more than George W. Bush but they liked Bill Clinton better than either one. Not only do they not see Obama as a comrade but they could probably give him good advice about why his policies will inevitably fail. They may not have the answers for their own countries but they understand capitalism and how to make it work—and want to make it work—far more than he does.

So here’s a key point: Obama and his ideological comrades—let me call them the New New Left (NNL)—are to the left of almost all of the European Socialist parties.

Is Obama and company a Marxist group or a bunch of Communists, (referring to the movement begun by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and run thereafter by Joseph Stalin). Well, certainly there are parallels and ideas taken from that movement. But in many ways they have turned Marxism on its head. Let me give one critical example. Marxists held that material conditions were primary and would determine the course of history. The NNL rejects this and argues that it can use ideas and modern methods of advertising, educational indoctrination, a takeover of most media, and so on to bring about the fundamental transformation of America. They draw mainly from a deviant form developed by such people as Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School. But they have learned the most by taking mainstream American techniques and putting them at the service of radical ideology.

A Middle East Policy for President Romney

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

There was virtually no discussion of foreign policy at the Republican National Convention. This was entirely appropriate given the crisis and priority of domestic issues. Yet I haven’t even seen a single article discussing this issue at all, and it is going to be important.

Here is the key factor: Mitt Romney, the Romney-Ryan ticket, and Republican congressional candidates have a variety of choices on foreign policy. Some of them can be bad and because there are different and complex issues the line taken will not—and arguably should not—be consistent.

Of course, there are the general principles: make America strong and respected again; support the soldiers; help friends and make enemies sorry that they are enemies. There must be an end to apologies and the defense of legitimate U.S. interests. Popularity is okay but respect and trust are far more important. Avoid either isolationism or excessive interventionism and get over the democracy-solves-all naivete. Don’t be chomping at the bit to go to war with Iran as a supposed panacea.

These are important but these principles don’t necessarily tell us how to do things. An average Arab citizen put it best in private conversation: “We don’t want an American president who acts like an Arab. We want an American president who acts like an American.” The old diplomatic virtues of credibility, national interests’ protection, preserving alliances and promises, recognizing friends and enemies, and so on need to be reinstalled.

The easiest theme is to stop helping anti-American dictators in Venezuela and several other Latin American countries; the Muslim Brotherhood (everywhere, including Hamas as the ruler of the Gaza Strip); and Hizballah; as well as many small terrorist groups and al-Qaida.

The basic grand strategy for the Middle East should be to form and lead a very broad and very loose—not institutionalized—alignment of forces opposing Islamism. These include showing real leadership to the Europeans, many of whom are better on this issue than Obama. It also means supporting Israel, of course, but there is a long list of others:

Governments: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain (despite its faults), Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya (we hope, Obama can claim credit for that one), Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia (despite its faults), and the United Arab Emirates. You can add some other former Soviet Muslim-majority republics.

Opposition and democratic moderate movements: Iran, Lebanon, Syria (where the United States is supporting the Islamists!), Tunisia, and Turkey (see Syria, above). Let’s also keep in mind the Berbers, Christians, and Kurds in general as communities that overwhelmingly link their survival to fighting revolutionary Islamism. Such ethnic communities can also be found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This cooperation to defeat radical Islamism, however it disguises itself, should be the backbone of U.S. policy. It can be implemented in a thousand different ways. Post-victory planning, which better start soon at least among independent analysts, needs to define these.

There are some Middle East problem countries that require special consideration.

It is time for a withdrawal from Afghanistan and a clever policy of backing—with a mixture of covert and financial as well as other assets—those who will fight to keep the Taliban out of power. Afghanistan is not going to be democratic or a nice place. But it must a place that does not threaten America again.

Yemen is a mess and, like Afghanistan, will continue to be a mess. The U.S. policy should cooperate to the maximum extent with Yemen on fighting terrorism without illusions about the nature of the regime and its willingness to betray the United States at any moment.

Qatar must also be treated with great caution. For reasons of local pride and ambition, it likes to stir up trouble and often supports Islamists, as well as playing footsy with Iran. Qatar should be treated with extreme suspicion not because its interests are different from America’s (everybody’s are) but because it likes to play the role of joker in the deck of cards.

Unfortunately, there is a parallel here with the far more important case of Pakistan. This is a headache without resolution. On one hand, the United States must ensure that the regime is not overthrown by radical Islamists. On the other hand, the United States cannot trust Pakistan at all to cooperate in fighting terrorism. Indeed, Pakistan is a major world sponsor of terrorism, not only against India but also to help the Taliban in Afghanistan, even—as we’ve vividly seen—al-Qaida! As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan the relationship with Pakistan should be reduced.

Democratic Platform: No Mention of Islamist Challenge, No Support for Arab Liberals

Friday, September 7th, 2012

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.

Democrat Convention Plan Shows Obama will Lose the Election

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

The Republican convention, whatever your critique of it, was designed to show that this is not a group of scary horrible people and that even if it is conservative this is also a moderate, rational group in the conservative solutions it proposes and in its broad appeal. Of course, the mass media did all it could to distort that fact but, of course, the terrible economic situation favors the opposition party.

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. There will be hatred and vicious character assassination. Of all the imams that could have been chosen, one with a radical background was picked to lead services while—from what I’ve read—Catholics were almost deliberately dissed. This is a convention featuring Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. There will be a lot of scary people and nasty rhetoric, sort of like a Keith Olbermann film festival.

I estimate that two-thirds of the Democrats in Congress are really moderate though they lack the courage to speak up. But will any of them be allowed to make any moderate statements that truly differ with the far-left line? No. Lots are staying away because they know this to be true; others will smile on the outside and be totally depressed knowing that the iceberg is on the way.

And the more the mass media gushes over this carnival, the more it will discredit itself and increase the cognitive dissonance (a fancy word for: What, are you guys nuts!) among a lot of Americans. When you are a wolf dressed up in a sheep suit you don’t want to unzip it, step out, and bare your teeth.

This is typical of a pattern often seen historically in democratic countries around the world, in which a party drifts so far to the left or right, is so dominated by ideologues, so arrogant in believing it is the only possible ruling party that it collapses.

I might be wrong but I think the design of the Democratic convention shows why Obama and his congressional supporters are going to lose the election big-time.

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

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