Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our foreign policy conundrum…or debacle

From Tunisia to Egypt, now Bahrain and Libya, the question continues to allude many: What’s happening in the Islamic World? Everyone’s guessing what these uprisings are about. Are they unique unto each given country, or do they share a common disdain for their rulers? I believe it to be a little of both. And, despite Western understanding and media intentions, these ‘democratic revolutions’ are far from what we recognize as “democratic” (I’ve read some who question using the term “revolution” as well). In any case, something indeed is going on in this part of the world that has never known Democracy, but has always been surrounded by, and in some cases embraced, authoritarian forms of government, usually of the Islamic variety.

Out of all people to listen to during these uprisings, it would appear that the ideological Ayatollah Khamenei (Leader of the Islamic Revolution) has an ‘answerof sorts: “The recent popular movements are primarily against the dominance of arrogant powers.” Well, I’d say that much he has right, but he should also take a look in the mirror! Then the Ayatollah continues with his usual rhetoric: “He went on to say that the dominant powers' plots against Islamic countries have created discord among Muslim nations, calling on the Muslim nations and governments to become vigilant and stop the “great Satan” [the US] from interfering in their destinies. “If governments become united with their peoples, no power can take control of their nations,” the Leader continued.” Of course, the Ayatollah makes such comments striving for a 21st century Caliphate among these prominently Islamic countries.

Brandon Place, writer for suite101, doesn’t name the Ayatollah or any given leader as the Caliph to lead such a union, but rather gives an informative and analytical look at one possible direction for the region, asking, “Are the Middle East and North Africa on the verge of returning to the Caliphate, an Empire of Islam?” He goes on to explain: "As many of the nations of the Middle East and North Africa go into some form of revolution or social unrest at the start of 2011, what may be happening is not just about one nation or country, but about the region as a whole. The world may be one dynamic leader away from seeing a return to the Empire of Islam in the Middle East and North Africa. The world may be witnessing a return of the Caliphate." Since the beginning of these uprisings, we’ve heard mention of this concerning scenario, mostly discredited by the mainstream media…but then again, look where they’ve gotten us so far!

So, considering this, and simply recognizing that ‘something’ is going on in the Islamic World, where does that leave the Obama administration on its handling of foreign policy in the region? What we’ve seen thus far may be even more indistinguishable than attempting to understand these uprisings! Here’s Obama’s wavering scorecard so far:

Egypt: an allied nation with obvious problems in government, extending in large part to its leadership. So what does the Obama administration do? Instead of solidly encouraging the government to make necessary reforms, Obama himself exacerbates the issue by cheerleading the unrest at the risk of the Muslim Brotherhood gaining power, sometimes wavering back and forth on who to support (protesters or Mubarak), then championing credit for something he had nothing to do with (oh, wait…I bet he thinks that speech supplied the ‘hope and change’), as the MSM continue to distort the administration’s role, the comments on the streets, and the all-encompassing coverage as ‘peaceful’ and ‘democratic’.

Iran: to the common American, an obvious enemy and threat to other parts of Europe and Asia, particularly Israel; to the Obama administration, still holding out for ‘reasoning’ and ‘diplomacy’ apparently. Towards the beginning of Obama’s administration, the world watched as Iranians defied Ahmadinejad, striving for a more democratic form of government. Obama said little then, and now less than a year later, he damn near ignores the plight of the Iranian people, once again leaving them to the devices of that deranged regime. Mr. President, if you want to encourage revolution, this is definitely where the encouragement should be!

Similar comparisons can be made between Bahrain (ally) and Libya (enemy): The administration does seem to approach the Bahrain uprising more cautiously, as the country houses the U.S. Fifth Fleet, but still asks that the government show restraint during protests, expecting its ruling body to contain unrest and restore order. Yet with the Libyan protests, the administration remains somewhat subdued while Gadhafi’s forces kill hundreds. Something’s extremely wrong with your policy when those outside the administration, like Sarah Palin, can speak out for Libya’s freedom, but our President remains near mute, choosing to instead send Sec. Clinton out to the cameras for some civil verbiage. (As I’m writing this, he’s finally responded...Bravo, Barry.)

Apparently, it’s possible to get a pass from our administration as long as you’ve been a longtime enemy of America, but we’re going to show ‘boldness’ by inciting near riots on allied soil, requesting governmental restraint while encouraging ‘peaceful’ revolution, and risk that our allies join our enemies when fundamentalist entities manipulate their ‘reformed’ governmental bodies.

The fact is though, this isn’t surprising anymore. When you invite China’s leader, one of the biggest violators of human rights, to a White House steak dinner (note: the 2009 Nobel Prize winner hosts a dinner for the man who’s imprisoned the 2010 Nobel Prize winner), yet you snub Israel along with the ilk of the UN for daring to build housing for its own people on its own soil, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize that the rest of your foreign policy will be a debacle. Compound that with NO mention from Obama yesterday of the four Americans that were killed by Somali pirates, once again sending Hillary to the media hounds. Allen West isn’t afraid to confront this, and as ALWAYS, conservative clarity towards these terrorist continues to be a single steadfast solution: “crush them like the cockroaches that they are!”

To use a phrase from Obama, “Let me be clear,” the Obama administration is NOT ‘clear’ on any specific policy towards the unrest in the Muslim World, nor how to deal with Somali pirates, nor despots world over. To be fair, the previous few administrations had similar downfalls; however, not of these epic proportions of uncertainty, one after another with inconsistent treatment. The failure to instill a concise foreign policy is not only illustrative of the administration’s chaotic domestic policy (basically, ‘Democrat’ or ‘enemy’, support it; ‘Republican’ or ‘ally’, oppose it), but poses severe risk to our national security and the U.S. leadership role in the world. But as some might say, including myself, what would we expect from the leader of an administration intent on lowering America’s influence in the world?

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