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Obama’s Middle East speech

Or same song, different verse.

Not much new in this that I was able to discern, especially about Israel.  While claiming that the Palestinians have some responsibilities and the Hamas/Fatah reconciliation is troubling, most of the onus for peace is once again placed on Israel with the claim that it should withdraw to the ‘67 borders.  Of course the last time they agreed to a withdrawal and did so, they paid a price for it.  Doubt this is going to fall for that again.

Couple of interesting things to note.  Speaking of Libya:

As I said when the United States joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just how costly and difficult it is to impose regime change by force – no matter how well-intended it may be.

About “Arab spring”:

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 multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian democracy. There, the Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence for a democratic process, even as they have taken full responsibility for their own security. 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. As they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.

Hmmm … anyone else spot a little contradiction here?

Back to the now officially “illegal” war in Libya:

Unfortunately, in too many countries, calls for change have been answered by violence. The most extreme example is Libya, where Moammar Gaddafi launched a war against his people, promising to hunt them down like rats. As I said when the United States joined an international coalition to intervene, we cannot prevent every injustice perpetrated by a regime against its people, and we have learned from our experience in Iraq just how costly and difficult it is to impose regime change by force – no matter how well-intended it may be.

But in Libya, we saw the prospect of imminent massacre, had a mandate for action, and heard the Libyan people’s call for help. Had we not acted along with our NATO allies and regional coalition partners, thousands would have been killed. The message would have been clear: keep power by killing as many people as it takes. Now, time is working against Gaddafi. He does not have control over his country. The opposition has organized a legitimate and credible Interim Council. And when Gaddafi inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to an end, and the transition to a democratic Libya can proceed.

Two points – one, massacres in Iraq, using the Obama reasoning here, were already ongoing.  Anyone, was Saddam hunting down opposition like “rats”?  Er, yeah.  So, what’s the beef with doing what Obama attempts to sell here for that reason only?  And if Iraq was a dumb war, notwithstanding the same thing happening as in Libya, does that make Libya a dumb war (as well as “illegal”)?

Two – How does he know that “the transition to a democratic Libya” will be the result?  And how does he plan to ensure it? 

Obama gave Syria and Iran a tongue lashing, but I expect little else to occur in terms of action.  Some sanctions will be imposed which, as they always do, hurt the poorest in the nation.  He also mentioned Bahrain and Yemen in the speech.

Conspicuously absent from his bombast was any criticism of Saudi Arabia.

Like I said, nothing much new in the speech.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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13 Responses to Obama’s Middle East speech

  • Over at Commentary, Max Boot claims:

    [T]oday’s speech at the State Department marks Barack Obama’s emergence as a full-fledged, born-again neocon firmly in the George W. Bush mold.

    McQ, Anyone: Boot is a conservative and a military historian. However, after reading him for several years in Commentary, I’ve come to expect him to function as an apologist, sometimes even a cheerleader, for Obama. Is this just a Beltway effect? Is Boot a commentator worth attending?

    • No, I used to read Boot as well and dropped him. The title says it all: Obama has been mugged by events. Boot has just demonstrated that he is squarely in the “forces of history” school of thought which is direct opposition to say … the “great men” school of thought, you know, those guys like, Christ, Newton and Leibniz. But, FDR, Lincoln, Confucius and Siddhartha are OK because the forces of history were with them, so to speak.

      And, in passing … allowed Madam President an out because he knows just like everyone else on the planet, nothing is going to change when it comes to the Arabs and Israelis. So, when the Madam’s initiative fails, and miserably so, the narrative is already set up. Adroit, pas de?

      That said: my BS filter is never off just turned up or down. So, if Chris and Rachel always insure that I turn up my squelch knob to 99.9fine, Boot gets a 50/50 rating.

    • “Actions speak louder than words!”
      Wait a week or two.

  • Obama gave Syria and Iran a tongue lashing, but I expect little else to occur in terms of action.

    If I were a head-duck in Syria or Iran, I would figure we could go with power up, as the rocket jockeys say.  I could look happily on the history of DaWon, and feel a high degree of confidence he would CONTINUE to sit on his hands.

  • the onus for peace is once again placed on Israel with the claim that it should withdraw to the ‘67 borders.

    >>> What’s Israeli for “go f**k yourself”?

    Because that’s what Baracky the Jew hater is gonna hear.

    • BB amd Obama meet tomorrow in DC.  Is there a room in town big enough for both of their egos ?

  • >> Anyone, was Saddam hunting down opposition like “rats”?

    No, he wasn’t!  Well, unless you count the 400,000 bodies found in the mass graves. (http://www.9neesan.com/massgraves/)

    Except for those, Saddam was pretty well-behaved. 

    So, hey, don’t nit-pick.

    —Tom Nally, New Orleans

    • So, we can’t count the ones that you could use as mulch from the wood chipper?

  • Captain Bullsh*t is like an incompetent fire chief simultaneously b*tching about how the LAST chief caused a lot of water damage to a burning building that he put out (but doesn’t that building look great NOW?), crowing about putting out somebody’s charcoal grill because it MIGHT have gotten out of hand, and ignoring a burning orphanage.

  • Obama just greenlighted attacks this summer against Israel.  Already there was a coordinated “boarder uprising”.  I believe if conflict can be provoked, that will give the radical elements in the ‘arab spring’ what they need to rally popular support to themselves.  Instead of having to share power or take it bit by bit, they can be swept into full control.  But don’t worry, if someone notices, Israel’s aggression will be blamed for the radicals’ ascent.

    Heck of a coincidence that those radical groups might get exactly what they need this summer to cement their power.

    Even further, this can be played into a reason to unite the radicalized nations to act against Israel, Islamic transnationalism, built on attacking Isreal directly or indirectly.

  • President Obama’s speech yesterday had a built-in applause line on the May 1 killing of Osama bin Laden.

    And after years of war against al Qaeda and its affiliates, we have dealt al Qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader, Osama bin Laden.
    [Pause. Silence.]

    No one in the crowded Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department applauded.

  • take a look at the article posted on http://www.newsmule.co.uk/american-middle-eastern-strategy-will-it-all-end-in-tears/ it has an interesting view on the strategy for Eygpt and Tunisia

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