Monday, February 14, 2011

Obama the Clueless

It’s refreshing (and astonishing) to see Newsweek and MSNBC allow stinging criticism of President Obama’s feckless performance during the recent Egyptian crisis and point out his general failure to form any coherent foreign policy. A year or two ago both MSM outlets were virtual in-house organs for the Democratic Party and the Obama administration, but times seem to have changed.

The historian Niall Ferguson was featured first in Newsweek, and then on Joe Scarborough’s program on MSNBC. Below are some excerpts from the magazine article:

Wanted: A Grand Strategy for America

“The statesman can only wait and listen until he hears the footsteps of God resounding through events; then he must jump up and grasp the hem of His coat, that is all.” Thus Otto von Bismarck, the great Prussian statesman who united Germany and thereby reshaped Europe’s balance of power nearly a century and a half ago.

Last week, for the second time in his presidency, Barack Obama heard those footsteps, jumped up to grasp a historic opportunity ... and missed it completely.

In Bismarck’s case it was not so much God’s coattails he caught as the revolutionary wave of mid-19th-century German nationalism. And he did more than catch it; he managed to surf it in a direction of his own choosing. The wave Obama just missed — again — is the revolutionary wave of Middle Eastern democracy. It has surged through the region twice since he was elected: once in Iran in the summer of 2009, the second time right across North Africa, from Tunisia all the way down the Red Sea to Yemen. But the swell has been biggest in Egypt, the Middle East’s most populous country.

In each case, the president faced stark alternatives. He could try to catch the wave, Bismarck style, by lending his support to the youthful revolutionaries and trying to ride it in a direction advantageous to American interests. Or he could do nothing and let the forces of reaction prevail. In the case of Iran, he did nothing, and the thugs of the Islamic Republic ruthlessly crushed the demonstrations. This time around, in Egypt, it was worse. He did both — some days exhorting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave, other days drawing back and recommending an “orderly transition.”

The result has been a foreign-policy debacle. The president has alienated everybody: not only Mubarak’s cronies in the military, but also the youthful crowds in the streets of Cairo. Whoever ultimately wins, Obama loses. And the alienation doesn’t end there. America’s two closest friends in the region — Israel and Saudi Arabia — are both disgusted. The Saudis, who dread all manifestations of revolution, are appalled at Washington’s failure to resolutely prop up Mubarak. The Israelis, meanwhile, are dismayed by the administration’s apparent cluelessness.

[…]

This failure was not the result of bad luck. It was the predictable consequence of the Obama administration’s lack of any kind of coherent grand strategy, a deficit about which more than a few veterans of U.S. foreign policy making have long worried. The president himself is not wholly to blame. Although cosmopolitan by both birth and upbringing, Obama was an unusually parochial politician prior to his election, judging by his scant public pronouncements on foreign-policy issues.

There’s much more in the full article, which is recommended reading.

Below is a video of Niall Ferguson’s appearance on MSNBC:


This is refreshing analysis, especially by MSM standards. It’s a pity the public discussion about the Muslim Brotherhood couldn’t have started long ago, before the first hint of trouble in North Africa.

One suspects that certain members of the Obama administration are all too aware of the nature and intentions of the Ikhwan, both in Egypt and the United States. Their function, however, is to make sure that the rest of the government — and the country — remain in the dark.


Hat tips: DF and KGS.

15 comments:

syntec said...

Barack Obama is a Muslim!

In 2008, the dimwit voters of America elected to power, the enemy within. Its 5th column is stealthily doing the rest!!!

What you sow, so shall you reap.

4Symbols said...

In hoc signo vinces

It should be noted that David Cameron's foreign policy pronouncements were as moribund as Obama's. Western foreign policy is in total disarray instead of first rate statesmen they act like quasi-Popes preaching interfaith dialogue, no foreign policy is better than a failed foreign policy a period of isolationism would serve the West well a time to reconstitute and do some nation building at home.

English Pensioner said...

We now also suffer from having an EU foreign minister, but as far as I can find out, she hasn't even got as far as even thinking about formulating a policy towards Egypt - probably she's only just been told about Tunisia!

Anonymous said...

The way I see it, no Muslim country being democratic is good since they will choose stuff that is against our interests. So if I was Obama, I would have talked to Mubarak and arm twist concessions out of him in order for my support of him.

Book Solutions said...

I think it's not ineptitude, but plan. It is hard to get our heads around the fact that the leader and administration of the USA is working for the deconstruction of the current world stability for a new world order. But I think it will become clearer, that this is not a case of incompetence, but one of complicity. Then it makes perfect sense, and then, we see not bumbling so much as winks and nods, if not the puppet strings themselves.

Richard said...

I don't think he is clueless, I think he is working to destroy the US and our allies to punish us for the sins of colonialism. Last summer Bill Ayres and other far left radicals met with the Moslem Brotherhood and others in Cairo for a planning session. The current upraising are what they were planning.

JohnLobenstein said...

Niall Ferguson's wave analogy seems to be an appropriate metaphor.

“In Bismarck’s case it was not so much God’s coattails he caught as the revolutionary wave of mid-19th-century German nationalism. And he did more than catch it; he managed to surf it in a direction of his own choosing. The wave Obama just missed — again — is the revolutionary wave of Middle Eastern democracy. . . . “

Mr. Obama can not surf. Instead he demonstrate an affinity for disastrous tsunamis.

babs said...

I am not as pessimistic as other posters on this site. I have had a long standing relationship with a blogger out of Cairo and I believe him when he says that the Muslim Brotherhood is a minority party in Egypt. I believe him when he says that there is a strong contingent of well educated secular Egytians that want nothing to do with an Islamic gov't and Sharia law.
The whole "they are going to cut off gas delivery to Israel" or, "they are going to close the Suez Canal" really makes no sense.
"They are going to drive Egypt to bancruptcy" would be a more honest appraisal... Which, I don't think any party that wanted to take power would do.
It is now up to my very educated friend and his cohorts to take control of the situation, which they are willing to do.
All the fear mongering is counter productive. Let us give our support to the secular, educated Egyptians that want a free society in Egypt and stop the hand wringing.
Just my 2 cents...

Zenster said...

It’s refreshing (and astonishing) to see Newsweek and MSNBC allow stinging criticism of President Obama’s feckless performance during the recent Egyptian crisis and point out his general failure to form any coherent foreign policy.

Obama's foreign policy only lacks coherence if someone is expecting it to uphold the interests of American national security. If viewed from within the context of Obama being a de facto Muslim, everything crystallizes into perfect focus.

Never before in all of our nation's history has the United States elected a chief executive officer that so virulently hates this country.

The president has alienated everybody: not only Mubarak’s cronies in the military, but also the youthful crowds in the streets of Cairo.

This is, perhaps, Obama's greatest failing with respect to Egypt. The youth of that country is one of the only hopes for any introduction of "Western" values. While some of them are radicalized, many others are most likely infected with notions of real Democracy, elected representation and, maybe even, constitutional law.

A far more grim possibility is that Obama actually wishes for a fundamentalist Islamic regime in Egypt and, therefore, pulled the plug on any support for more youthful factions.

Instead, due to this apparently calculated inaction, the most probable beneficiaries are the Muslim Brotherhood and their efforts to install a Shari'a-based government every bit as repressive as Iran's and equally corrupt.

Although cosmopolitan by both birth and upbringing, Obama was an unusually parochial politician prior to his election, judging by his scant public pronouncements on foreign-policy issues.

An alternative explanation is that Obama knew damn well that his own personal leanings with respect to American foreign policy would be deemed unacceptable by a large portion of the voting public and, wisely or unwisely, kept his trap shut. This notion is supported by Obama's consistent silence in the face of listening to DECADES of Jeremiah Wright's torrid anti-American sermons.

One suspects that certain members of the Obama administration are all too aware of the nature and intentions of the Ikhwan, both in Egypt and the United States. Their function, however, is to make sure that the rest of the government — and the country — remain in the dark.

Which, again, points to Obama being a de facto Muslim. Others, myself included, would suggest instead (or in addition), TRAITOR.

Octopussy said...

@babs, what you're saying is that something is happening in Egypt that will result in an outcome different to almost every historical revolutionary outcome. Know something we don't, other than your friend in Egypt?

Anonymous said...

Yes. Obama is our official American Muslim-in-chief. Easy to see all of the evidence in abundance when you choose to look and listen....

The scuttlebutt is that Obama is livid with Hillary Clinton because her State Department contradicted Obama's Egyptian strategy.

One article that I read said that Obama was quite crystal clear that Mubarak needed to go ASAP (to the benefit of the Muslim Brotherhood) - whereas Clinton, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wanted to hang onto to Mubarak for that so-called orderly transition through democratic elections in the fall (to the benefit of all recognized American interests).

Obama's goal to Islamicize moderate secularized Muslim countries makes sense if you understand that Obama is simply lobbying for his next promotion to be the head of the United Nations.

Why should Obama settle for being elected President of the USA for four more years when Obama can castrate the USA and rule the whole world for an indeterminate period of time via the powerful IOC and their collective oil and demographic power?

After all, Obama himself knows that he is a foreign citizen who fails to possess a valid long form United States' birth certificate.

The best course for the USA would to be to pass a strictly enforced law that absolutely disallows former Presidents from accepting any active paid or nonpaid leadership or advisory roles in the United Nations for a period of ten or more years after leaving office.

As we see here, Obama has a clear conflict of interest between his current role as President and his future goal of being head of the IOC-run United Nations.

syntec said...

A child of a Muslim is a Muslim. In Islam, it's the paternal line that decides.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZu45ybOR0g&feature=related

'Rev' Wright's supposedly Christian Trinity United Church of Christ has links with the Nation of Islam.

Wright himself is a Muslim according to his own biography.

syntec said...

Robert Spencer:
"".......... Certainly we know that in his earliest childhood he was known as a Muslim. He was registered as a Muslim in school, in primary school in Indonesia. The school records are extant. And he, by his own account, attended Qur'an classes which were only open to Muslims, and so Barack Obama was a Muslim as a child. He has never explained when or whether he left Islam at all. He identifies himself as a Christian now, but it is, I think perhaps salient to note that a Muslim can identify himself as a Christian because Jesus Christ is a Muslim Prophet in the Qur'an and the Muslims consider themselves to be the true Christians as well as the true Jews who are following the true teachings of Jesus and of Moses. And so, it's not out of the realm of possibility that some individual or possibly Barack Obama could be a Muslim and identifying himself as a Christian without even meaning to say that he is a member of the classic Christian tradition at all. Now, of course he's never been questioned about this. He's never been challenged about this, so ultimately, only he knows the answer as to what he really believes. But certainly, his public policies and his behavior are consistent with his being a committed and convinced Muslim."

(The bold emphasis is mine.)

syntec said...

Nor has President Obama clarified his intentions towards America in relation to the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood organization on American territory.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2011/02/09/major-media-miss-muslim-brotherhoods-stated-goal-has-long-been-seize-us#ixzz1DZSsp99S

Hesperado said...

"It’s refreshing (and astonishing) to see Newsweek and MSNBC allow stinging criticism of President Obama’s feckless performance during the recent Egyptian crisis..."

I don't see what's refreshing about the Newsweek analysis, whose writer assumes that masses of Muslims are actually millions of Little Jeffersons agitating for nascent democracy. For the pause that refreshes, one must pause to consider whether the criticism of Obama presupposes principles we support. Perhaps Baron supports the Newsweek analyst's view that the events we have seen in the Middle East reflect "the revolutionary wave of Middle Eastern democracy" which has "surged through the region ...once in Iran in the summer of 2009, the second time right across North Africa, from Tunisia all the way down the Red Sea to Yemen...biggest in Egypt, the Middle East’s most populous country..." and which represents a a "wave" that our President should "catch" like some kind of Super PCMC Surfer, so that by "lending his support to the youthful revolutionaries" he can try "to ride it in a direction advantageous to American interests."

This kind of analysis and the positions it assumes represents a kind of benighted Kissinger Doctrine on acid, a kind of Surrealpolitik, aggrievingly ignorant of Islamic psychology, sociology and ideology.

I'd rather drink battery acid than find "refreshment" in that.