Free Markets, Free People

Obama’s Middle East policy is a disaster

Do you remember the promises?  When Obama took over, the Middle East would come to love the US again.  As Obama, famously declared in his 2009 Cairo speech, his election meant a “new beginning” with the Muslim world.

The truth, however, is much uglier:

President Obama’s first journey to Israel as president comes amid earth-shattering change in Middle East, much of it for the worse. The Arab Spring, which once raised hopes of freedom and dignity, has diverged onto the dark path of Islamist authoritarian rule. In Syria, tens of thousands of people have died in a bitter civil war that might have recently seen its first use of chemical weapons. And Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons capability, heedless of international condemnation. Obama’s effort to seek peace between Palestinians and Israelis is in tatters.

And Libya?  One word: “Benghazi”.

How about the much anticipated and promised love fest that would occur after that mean old George W Bush was retired and The One waved his mighty hand and blessed his own Middle East policy?  Yeah, it hasn’t quite worked out that way:

According to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, confidence in Obama in Muslim countries dropped from 33% to 24% in his first term. Approval of Obama’s policies declined even further, from 34% to 15%. And support for the United States in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan is lower today than it was in 2008 in the closing year of George W. Bush’s administration.

Israel, our closest and most important ally in the area isn’t much enamored with Obama:

Of all the strained relationships in the Middle East, the partnership with Israel is the most important and potentially the most easily repaired. Obama is not popular in the country. A poll released last week showed he had a scant 10% approval rating in Israel, with an additional 32% saying they respect but don’t like him.

And, if the tactic of stiffing Israel had the intent of winning popularity among Palestinians, that too hasn’t worked:

If Israelis don’t like Obama, Palestinians are even less favorable.Washington’s perceived failure to take a harder line with Israel over the final status of Jerusalem, and U.S. opposition to President Mahmoud Abbas’ successful campaign for higher Palestinian status in the United Nations, have engendered a deep sense of frustration. Passions spilled over in Bethlehem this week, when young Palestinians defaced a billboard with Obama’s image and burned pictures of him in the streets. Obama’s symbolic nods to Israel’s history are likely to raise Palestinian ire even further.

In fact, none of the administration’s policy initiatives have had any positive impact, or, for the most part, any impact at all (despite a fawning media telling us how wonderful a SecState Hillary Clinton was, this is her legacy too).

So, what will Obama do today in Israel?  What he usually does.  Make a speech:

The hope that Obama will say the right things in Thursday’s speech at Jerusalem’s convention center is negated by doubts he will follow through. The president has to assure Israelis and Palestinians that he is still engaged if the peace process has any chance of moving forward. In part, this means convincing them that he still matters.

Key point emphasized.  If you’ve watched Obama even casually over the past years, you can’t help but have noticed that he’s very strong on “talking the talk”, but hardly ever “walks the walk”.  He doesn’t know how.

And there’s absolutely no reason this particular issue will see him even attempt it now.  Oh, he’ll say the “right things”. That’s what he does. His problem is he never then does the “right things”.  Rhetoric is his action.  It’s for the history books, not as a guide to leadership.  He’s not a leader.

But you know that.  And the results of that lack of leadership are evident for all to see in the Middle East.


34 Responses to Obama’s Middle East policy is a disaster

  • How dare you!!!!! He walks the walk too!
    From the 1st tee all the way to the pin on 18.
    Err…wait….. he DOES use a cart doesn’t he….
    strike that……

  • As I’ve said…truthfully…for years…
    Obama made it worse.

  • I have to say, its a bit puzzling in some respects. We are out of Iraq. Wouldn’t you think that seeing daily casualties of civilians that involved our troops be the nadir of our popularity?
    I supposed drones have taken over that aspect.
    Perhaps also, by supporting the MB some “secularists” have returned to hating us, and the Islamists were never going to love us?

    • I read and hear constantly that Arabs culturally detest weakness…or Obama.

      • Bush was correct in listening to OBL about the strong horse. Unfortunately we only have the back end of it in office now. And nobody cares.

      • They also detest Jews, Christians, Americans, and each other. Let’s use up their oil and let them get back to fondling their camels and goats.

  • He has a policy?

  • I gotta go with kyleN: he has a policy? He has a perpetual campaign, which he stretches out to the rest of the world, but an actual policy would be hard to find. It’s more like grade schoolers on summer vacation “hey, what are we going to do today?” “No idea, something will happen….hey, look, my brother’s cherry bombs. This looks like fun!”

    • Just calling it what he and Hillary called it – they claimed to have a policy.  If so, it’s a disaster.

      • As usual he mistakes “speech” for “policy”.
        How does that expression go, “Hope is not a plan”.

    • I find it embarrassing he is campaigning in Israel. I am not so anti-Obama on foreign affairs, so when I say that, I mean it.

  • Given how much Obama has repaired since Bush’s disastrous war, the title of this post is comical.  As someone who teaches foreign policy, I had to laugh out loud.  Turkey and Israel just normalized relations, al qaeda is weaker than ever, the Arab spring is not turning into the disaster you predicted, and there is more hope for progress on peace than anytime since talks broke down in 2000.  The US learned in Iraq that we do not have the power to dictate our terms or be in charge of how Mideast politics develops.  The US is not a dominant state or a super power.  We’ve learned some humility.  That’s a good thing.  You’re stuck in the 20th Century.

    • since Bush’s disastrous war

      That would be the war that Obama and Biden have declared a victory?  TRY, at least, to keep up, Erp.
      You are stuck in delusion…regardless of “century”…as you make plain with your “Turkey and Israel just normalized relations” bullshit.
      Really, you exceed self-parody!  As usual.

      • They ended the war, but it did not do any of what was intended, the costs exceeded the benefits, and it helped create the financial mess we’re in.  They thought Iraq would be a model democracy, Iraqi oil would pay the costs, Iraq would become a loyal ally (they’re closer to Iran than to us), we’d get the oil contracts, we’d be able to use our Iraqi ally as a base to spread democracy and markets throughout the region.  None of those things happened.  To his credit, President Bush changed policy in 2007, stopped trying to defeat the insurgents and create a pro-US ally, and instead trying to coopt them and find a face saving way out.  He deserves lots of credit for that, President Bush in his second term was actually a good President.  If the GOP had listened to him on immigration, they’d be in a much better situation.

        • They thought Iraq would be a model democracy, Iraqi oil would pay the costs, Iraq would become a loyal ally (they’re closer to Iran than to us), we’d get the oil contracts, we’d be able to use our Iraqi ally as a base to spread democracy and markets throughout the region.

          But they were not figuring that the anti-Americans…
          1. In the Senate would screw American oil companies out of any chance to help Iraq exploit its resources;
          2. Obama and his Collectivists would bollocks up the withdrawal.
          As to Iraq as a market…it IS a market, and it IS also a democratic nation (especially by “Arab Spring” standards).

          • Iraq is not considering a functioning democratic state.  In many Shi’ite areas local clerical control have laws far more restrictive than during Saddam’s time.  Sunni tribes run much of their region, and the Kurds are functionally autonomous (and have been since before Saddam was deposed).    But hey, blame Obama, that’s your MO.  Even though he was continuing Bush’s policy and Bush realized that we had to get out of there, that the original plan had failed.   Of course, if it wasn’t for the Iraq war, Obama would probably never have won the Presidency, and health care reform would have never passed.  So perhaps there are silver linings….

          • Iraq is not considering a functioning democratic state.

            By whom?  You…!?!?
            Laughing out loud, again.
            And, of course, YOU would consider Egypt a “functioning democratic state”…!!!
            I LOVE it when you pwn yourself…!!!  Which you so reliably DO.


        • “They ended the war, but it did not do any of what was intended,”
          Actually, it did some, but any person who actually knows history realizes that wars frequently do not ac complish all of their objectives and usually have unintended consequences.

        • So, I gather the recent poll gave you license to think you were right then.

      • Also figure that the US sooner or later had to learn the lesson that military power is of limited value in shaping political outcomes.    The Iraq war was won militarily in 2003, three weeks or so after it began.   The idea the US could easily transform Iraq into a loyal ally and use it to spread democracy, well, that was an over-estimation of US power.  Bush’s war was disastrous, but he’s a case study in how a President can turn around his foreign policy after a major fiasco.  LBJ couldn’t do that with Vietnam, he needed Nixon to go and fix it.  Bush shifted completely, even dramatically, to the point that Obama essentially continued his second term policies.  The far left and the far right suffering from BDS and ODS want to spin and cherry pick the news to try to make it seem like Bush or Obama was all bad and horrific and unable to lead.  Real foreign policy analysis gives much different results.  Gotta remove the partisanship from such analysis.

        • Also figure that the US sooner or later had to learn the lesson that military power is of limited value in shaping political outcomes.

          Gawd, you are stupid.  You mean like…in Japan, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, Korea.
          Do you READ…???

    • As someone who teaches foreign policy, I had to laugh out loud.

      Yeah.  Me, too…  It was an ironic kinda laugh, as it was mixed with profound pity for the poor undergrads who had to endure you and your preening.
      Oh, the humanity…

      • Remember when Scott Erb mocked people who predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood would take control in Egypt?

        Now, he has the temerity to say, “the Arab spring is not turning into the disaster you predicted….”

        Scott “Goebbels” Erb sure knows how to make a fool of himself.

        • Freakin’ phenomenal isn’t he?  We here said from the beginning the most ruthless and best organized would win and in the case of Egypt, that was the MB.  All we got from him was “no, no, no”.  Then he disappeared (right after the MB took over).  Apparently he thinks the dust has settled enough that he can come back by and claim he never said what he said.  Pure Erb.  Predictable as sunrise.

          And he “teaches” this stuff.

          Lol …


          • Surely he must know that others will clearly remember his ridiculous denial that the MB would take power, or that he was speaking of twitter and unicorn farts.

            He just came in here to set off a string of firecrackers, so he could slink back to his lair snickering at how he got those neanderthals upset.  What a way for a perfesser to behave.  So mature and academically astute.

    • “We’ve learned some humility.”
      “We’ve”?? I know at least one person who hasn’t.
      “Turkey and Israel just normalized relations”
      Which puts them back where they were in the Bush administration.
      “al qaeda is weaker than ever”
      That is certainly a debatable proposition.
      “The US is not a dominant state or a super power”
      So what is your definition of ‘dominant state’ or ‘superpower’?
      By the way, teaching a subject is not a reliable indicator of expertise in that subject. You may fool the freshmen, but by the time they graduate most students have had at least one professor whose knowledge of the subject was deficient. Professional students like myself have usually had a number of less than expert professors.

    • Good to see the delusions are holding out in your mind.   Air dropping supplies to them are you?

    • Libya, Mali, Somalia, Syria, Egypt.   Peaceful Iran.
      Yessir, that Arab spring thing has just filled the world with Democracy.   Al Queda, practically dead.   Bengazi, just a spontaneous peaceful protest in a Democratically run country where no one was hurt and only a few drapes were singed in a smoking accident.   And the EU and the Euro, brilliant, brilliant, going like clockwork.
      You’re awesome.
      Democracy – One man, one vote, one time.  That’s all it takes right?

    • “Given how much Obama has repaired since Bush’s disastrous war, the title of this post is comical.”
      Keep talking college boy.

  • Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that despite Israel’s apology over the IDF raid of the 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla, it is still too early to drop the case against IDF generals accused by Ankara of being responsible for the death of nine Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara, Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman reported.
    Erdogan said Netanyahu’s apology satisfied Turkish expectations when he used the word “apology” instead of “regret,” but that it was still too soon to fully restore diplomatic ties and appoint new ambassadors, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported….
    Erdogan also confirmed that he intends to visit Gaza and the West Bank next month. “I may eventually visit Gaza and the West Bank in April. This visit would take place in the context of a general effort to contribute to the resolution process [of the Palestinian issue],” he said….
    Today’s Zaman quoted Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh as saying that Erdogan and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal had arranged the Turkish prime minister’s visit to Gaza in a phone conversation in which the Turkish leader had briefed Hamas on the apology from Netanyahu.
    According to Haniyeh, Erdogan told Mashaal that Netanyahu had promised to “lift the siege on the Palestinian people.”….
    An official Hamas statement released Friday applauded Erdogan for having won the apology from Netanyahu.
    Bulent Yildirim, mastermind behind the Gaza flotilla, expressed his pride over Netanyahu’s formal apology to Turkey for the raid, Hurriyet reported on Friday.

    Yeah.  “Normalized“.  Whadda moron…

  • Regarding Iraq, please see my thoughts on the 10th anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom:

  • President Obama:

    Indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy. The Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence in favor of a democratic process, even as they’ve taken full responsibility for their own security. Of course, like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. And as they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.

  • This President surrounds himself with academics who haven’t been at ground level and think in terms of theory rather than reality. They don’t know the cultural problems they confront. And they seemly don’t learn anything since they are so full of themselves.