Saturday, January 31, 2009

Talk Is Cheap

Charles Krauthammer reminds President Obama what America's real legacy vis a vis Muslims has been the past "20 or 30" years:

Is it "new" to acknowledge Muslim interests and show respect to the Muslim world? Obama doesn't just think so, he said so again to millions in his al-Arabiya interview, insisting on the need to "restore" the "same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago."

Astonishing. In these most recent 20 years -- the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world -- America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved -- and resulted in -- the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. The two Balkan interventions -- as well as the failed 1992-93 Somalia intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) -- were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or non-Muslim, anywhere on Earth. Why are we apologizing?


Every president has the right to portray himself as ushering in a new era of this or that. Obama wants to pursue new ties with Muslim nations, drawing on his own identity and associations. Good. But when his self-inflation as redeemer of U.S.-Muslim relations leads him to suggest that pre-Obama America was disrespectful or insensitive or uncaring of Muslims, he is engaging not just in fiction but in gratuitous disparagement of the country he is now privileged to lead.

And to further demonstrate what a punk President Obama is, Mr. Drudge directs our attention to this:

US President Barack Obama's offer to talk to Iran shows that America's policy of "domination" has failed, the government spokesman said on Saturday.

"This request means Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed," Gholam Hossein Elham was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency. "Negotiation is secondary, the main issue is that there is no way but for (the United States) to change," he added.

Punk or not, Sydney Brillo Duodenum wants to see President Obama succeed with respect to Iran. Obama is courting bitter failure by continuing with this charade that talking and meeting and backchanneling are going to lead to strategic US success in keeping Iran bottled up. The only thing Iranians understand at present is force, as demonstrated by their backing off in Iraq when we started identifying and assasinating their agents. Now, it may be that President Obama does not believe any of his own crap regarding direct conversations with America's most bitter enemy, but that would require believing that President Obama understands that Iran is our most bitter enemy and has been a central source of anti-American action since 1979. But the evidence strongly suggests that Obama doesn't know what he believes. Or he believes his own rhetoric that only he can go to Tehran, in the way that only Nixon could go to Beijing, forgetting that Nixon actually had some bona fides when it came to dealing with the commies. So, from what position of strength is Obama proceeding in his attempt to have tea with Mahmoud Imabadbondvillian?

President Obama's first foreign policy forays have been: to admit "guilt" in the War on Terror by closing down the prison housing the fruits of battlefield action; to grant his first formal interview as president to Al Arabiya, the so-called moderate Arab television network, wherein he proclaimed that the United States is set to rectify this, that and the other dhimmhi transgression; to launch a trial balloon (exploding worse than the Hindenberg) that the administration will send a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader in an affort to warm things up in Preparation H for some kind of formal sit down; to reaffirm that there are no preconditions for sitting down with Mahmoud Imadinnerjacket; to look cool by implying that Obama's people have been working the backchannel with Iran since before the Inauguration; to state that Iran knows what it has to do before talks can take place, but in no circumstances does that imply any kind of precondition to a meeting; to dickswagger lamely that all options, e.g., military action, remain on the table (oooh, scary); and to state that the administration doesn't know what it's going to do in any event because it still hasn't appointed a special envoy to handle the "Iran portfolio", because apparently Hillary Clinton is too important to muddy her hose on this seconary issue.

So, it all looks like one big clusterfuck as Obama tries obstinately to distinguish himself as a master diplomacist. The kid from Chicago. Like all things Obama, it's all form over substance and a complete waste of time.