Friday, May 20, 2011

Heading To Holocaust

When you accept delusions it is impossible to chart a rational path forward. Unfortunately Barack Obama made it clear in his speech on Thursday that he has accepted some of the delusions promoted by Hamas and the Islamic Jihadists, molding the delusions into his desires for a Middle East future. As a consequence he never made clear what that future would be. He also ignored the nuclear elephant sitting in the middle of the Middle East, adding further to the confusion over his goals.

The armistice line that ended the first Israel-Arab war in 1949, after the partition of the region by the United Nations in 1948 created Israel and Jordan as states, has no validity as a permanent solution to ending the continuing war. The ongoing rejection by the Palestinians of the right of Israel to even exist will only be advanced by Obama insisting on borders that give the Islamic extremists an advantage in making this destruction a reality. Encouraging that destruction is what Obama did in his speech. The armistice line (also called the "pre-1967 borders") is not a rational solution. For a start these are not the borders established when Israel was created in 1948. What is rational about picking the armistice line during one of the three wars waged by the Arabs against Israel and saying this is where we start our discussions?

Some claim that Obama is clueless when he accepts as a precondition to bargaining - acceptance of these armistice lines as borders for Israel. I don't agree he is clueless even though I disagree with his proposal. Obama has proved in earlier discussions he understands that these borders will not end the conflict. They only give the Islamic Jihadists a clear bargaining advantage and leave unresolved the intractable issues of Jerusalem and "the right of return". So you have to accept that Obama feels he must weaken the Israelis to accomplish his goals. That only leaves the question, what are his goals for a Middle East future? How does weakening an ally advance those goals?

In his speech, Obama claimed he has been supportive of the so-called 'Arab Spring' from its beginning. That is confusing since it is a clear rewrite of history. Elliot Abrams writes emphatically in his article "Obama's Empty Speech":
This is simply not true. The by-word early in his administration was “engagement,” with a caustic rejection of the Bush “Freedom Agenda.” Bush’s tougher policies toward Iran and Syria were to be replaced by outreach, discussion, diplomacy — far more civilized. And that engagement was with the rulers, not the ruled; Obama’s was a world of states, and you engaged with the people ruling them.

That is the antithesis of support for the 'Arab Spring'.

His new support for this movement to democracy signals some credible belief that he may now be embracing the growing movement as one of his goals. Yet the problems inherent in this embrace of a movement that may well lead to greater conflict in the region, does not have consistency in its opposition to dictators. Obama in his speech still reaches out to one of our clear enemies by his refusal to promote the removal of Assad in Syria.

That leaves muddled the question, what are his goals for a Middle East future?

It is certainly not shoring up our allies. As Jay Soloman and Carol Lee noted in their article "Obama's Israel Surprise":
Mr. Obama rattled some Arab allies by strongly criticizing the political repression orchestrated by Bahrain's ruling Khalifa family, though his statements garnered praise from opposition leaders in Bahrain. "We have insisted publicly and privately that mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain's citizens, and will not make legitimate calls for reform go away," Mr. Obama said.

Obama was indifferent to the anti-American tone of the demonstrators who he was supporting by this attack on our Bahrain ally. In fact, taking sides in this conflict mirrors the problem in almost every country in the Middle East. The rulers of many of these nations may not represent the majority of their people, yet the opposition is not representative of a group that would be less dictatorial or abusive of freedom. There is at best a small minority that is both opposed to the current leadership and supportive of true freedom. In no country is the outcome likely to favor this group coming to power. Taking sides, especially against a reliable ally, makes no sense.

What Obama totally ignored was the issue addressed in the Investor's Business Daily editorial "The Nuclear Genie". Its important point:
... during his lengthy address, billed as a comprehensive new policy toward the Muslim world, Obama barely mentioned the biggest threat of all: the growing nuclear threat of Pakistan and Iran, which may soon metastasize to other countries in the region.

Even as Obama spoke, the nuclear genie was leaving the bottle. Iran's state radio on Wednesday announced that its Bushehr nuclear plant, built illicitly with Russian help, is now "operational." This is a first for Iran — and a watershed in its bid to gain nuclear weapons.

Does Obama understand this? How is it impacted by his still muddled plan for the future of the Middle East? With Obama seemingly abandoning not just Israel but even our Arab allies, exactly what does Obama see as American interests in the region? Why should we spend any money trying to buy popularity when such plans have never worked?

In his failure to chart a clear path on any of these critical questions, Obama leaves us heading towards the nuclear holocaust that we avoided during the earlier proliferation of nuclear weapons in the twentieth century. Does he understand this? Does he care? How are we supposed to know?


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