Sunday, September 2, 2012

Obama's new isolationism in the Middle East

Sunday, September 02, 2012

by Carl in Jerusalem

Victor Davis Hanson sees the Obama administration as isolating itself from the Middle East. I can only hope that he's right, but I fear that with respect to one issue - Obama's obsession with the 'Palestinians' - Hanson is wrong and we will likely see the results in a second Obama term if God forbid there is one (Hat Tip: Ricky G).
Let’s get this all straight. America has been damned for its Machiavellian shenanigans in supporting authoritarian governments; for its na├»ve idealism in using force to implant democracies; for its ambivalence in not using force to protect democratic protesters; and for its recent isolationism in ignoring ongoing Arab violence. Why, then, bother?

There are other growing fault lines. The old conventional wisdom was that Sunni Muslims shared Israeli fears of a Persian bomb on the horizon. The new conventional wisdom is that the Arab masses that are propelling the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Egypt prefer the idea of a nuked Israel to the danger of a nuclear Iran.

The subtext of Middle Eastern anti-Americanism is that the region, if given a chance, will embrace its own brand of freedom. But that does not appear to be happening in Egypt or Libya. And for now, desire for democracy does not seem to be the common glue that holds together various Syrians fighting to overthrow the odious Assad dictatorship.

Newly elected Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood attended college and later taught classes in California. Apparently Morsi once came here to enjoy American freedom, and for his family to be protected by our tolerance and security. Is that why he is crushing liberal opponents and the Egyptian media — to ensure that they never enjoy the protections and opportunities that were offered to him while a guest in the United States?

Note that anti-Americanism was often attributed to the unique unpopularity of Texan George W. Bush, who invaded two Middle Eastern countries, tried to foster democracies, and institutionalized a number of tough antiterrorism security policies. In turn, Barack Obama was supposed to be the antidote — with a Muslim family on his father’s side, his middle name (Hussein), early schooling in Muslim Indonesia, a number of pro-Islamic speeches and interviews, apologies abroad, and a post-racial personal story.

Yet recent polls show that Obama is even less popular in the Middle East than was Bush.

Staggering U.S. debt also explains the impending divorce. With $5 trillion in new American borrowing in just the last four years, and talk of slashing $1 trillion from the defense budget over the next ten years, America’s options abroad may be narrowing. President Obama also envisions a more multilateral world in which former American responsibilities in the Middle East are outsourced to collective interests like the United Nations, the European Union, and the Arab League.

Perhaps soon the problem will be that we simply will not have enough power to use for much of anything — and we would have to ask the U.N. for permission if we did.

Usually nothing good comes from American isolationism, especially given our key support for a vulnerable, democratic Israel. But for a variety of reasons, good and bad, our Humpty Dumpty policy of Middle East engagement is now shattered.
Read the whole thing. The extent to which Barack Hussein Obama has degraded US capabilities in the Middle East and elsewhere over the last four years is simply appalling.