Sunday, March 06, 2011

President Barack Obama: Naïve, Inept, and Dangerous

Any American who has not been living in a cave knows that we are facing major changes in the Middle East and North Africa. Our President tells us that "When you look at what’s the Middle East, it is a manifestation of new technologies, the winds of freedom that are blowing through countries that have not felt those winds in decades, a whole new generation that says I want to be a part of this world. It’s a dangerous time, but it’s also a huge opportunity for us.’’ He adds that “the United States should not be ‘afraid’ of change in the Middle East”
Barry Rubin has an excellent piece  in which he shows the naiveté of this approach.  He uses as an analogy the expansion of the Japanese Empire during World War 2, and points out what Roosevelt did not say: that Americans shouldn't be afraid of change in Asia. Or, for that matter, he did not say that Americans shouldn't be afraid of change in Europe as Hitler gobbled up one country after another.
Let us be clear; Obama's statement that we "should not be ‘afraid’ of change in the Middle East” is a very different approach than that of President Obama’s predecessors. Here’s what Harry Truman did not say: “we will not use nuclear weapons, because we are not afraid of change in Japan”  Truman took the very real and controversial responsibility of using nuclear weapons  to bring about a quick end to the war in the Pacific. (For the record Truman was not a war-monger; he fired General Douglas MacArthur  who wanted an expansion of the Korean war into China)..
President Barack Obama
The Soviet Union was our ally during World War 2. Should we have been worried after 1945 as Stalin exerted hegemony over the nations of Eastern Europe?  It is probable that  President  Obama would  have told us that while it may be  a dangerous time, it’s also a huge opportunity, and that we should not be afraid of change in Eastern Europe.
Here is another instructive example. In October 1962, John F Kennedy did not say; “what is happening in Cuba represents “winds of freedom”, and that we “should not be afraid of change”.  Instead, he acted as a responsible adult,  and took seriously the role of the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. Rather than make a sophomoric speech, he analyzed the data from the CIA, saw that the Soviets were installing long range missiles in Cuba, instituted a blockade, and made clear that any use of the missiles by Cuba would be considered an attack by the Soviet Union.. No words of false comfort, no attempts to prove his bona fides as a peace maker.
That is one of the real differences between Obama on the one hand, and Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy on the other.  None of them would have said that “the United States should not be ‘afraid’ of change in the Middle East”
I am not arguing against regime change in the dictatorships  of the Middle East. But I am saying “be careful what you wish for”. In Iran, 32 years ago, we supported the replacement of one autocratic regime by another. In the process we traded a pro-American regime for an anti-American one. And we got a government that kills its own people if they dare to  protest, a government that holds American citizens as hostages, a government that  makes possible the existence of Hezbollah and Hamas through training, money, and arms,  a government that frantically seeks to build nuclear weapons, claiming that it will destroy another neighboring country.
Only the naïve  think it possible to accurately predict how things will turn out. Egypt represents the clearest example of this. The leading contenders for President are persons who are anti-American and anti-Israel. And we still do not know if Egypt will transition toward a real democracy. Will the press be insulated from government influence? How about the courts? And will there be a peaceful acceptance at regular intervals of a fair and free election?  Will the military run the government, or will it be subservient to  democratically elected leaders? Will it recognize the peace treaty with Israel? Will it continue to sell natural gas to Israel? Will it keep the Suez open to all nations? Whatever the new government looks like, it is unlikely  to be a model of democracy, or one that is at peace with the US and Israel.
So it’s time to get away from deluded thinking.  It is time for our intelligence agencies to tell it as it is, without the need to say what they think President Obama wants to hear. The stakes are high; we need a realistic and mature adult in the White House.
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  1. Liked reading your perspective, thanks for sharing, here's another piece I came across which says the same thing from a liberal view point.

  2. he's inept and needs to be retired at his very young age.