For four years now–yes, I started before he was actually inaugurated–I have been chronicling the disastrous policies of President Barack Obama on the Middle East. I may have written as many as 1000 articles that deal with aspects of this issue. In the tradition of Scheherazade, perhaps the greatest of Middle Eastern story-tellers, that makes this my 1001th story.
And now the day has come when it will be decided if he will have the same period of time once again to do more damage, to help destroy more lives, create tens of thousands of refugees, and lay the basis for new wars.
I have written about how this administration has supported the bad guys–with guns and diplomatic help–in Syria, those who want to turn the country into an anti-American Islamic republic. Of how the nation’s leaders believe that helping just about every Islamist group except al-Qaida is a great idea because they will be moderate and good friends of America.
Then there’s the disgraceful Benghazi incident where, whatever the precise details, the White House stood by as Americans were murdered and then rationalized the motive of the terrorists by blaming the United States. Benghazi is the perfect symbol for Obama Middle East policy.
I’ve explained why apology, appeasement, flattery, and empathy won’t work in turning radicals and terrorists into moderates. I wrote of how the claim that Obama didn’t play a significant role in the empowerment of revolutionary Islamists is bogus. And of how by the standards Obama explicitly set down at the start of his term his policy has totally failed.
Perhaps most importantly of all I’ve explained why there is every reason to believe that another four years of Obama will be just as bad or worse, that the president has learned few lessons likely to change his approach to the region.
And all of the above–and more–was just in the month of October 2012.
None of this was done due to ideology–I’m not a conservative–or partisanship–I’m not a Republican–but out of a deep-seated belief that his policy in the Middle East is terribly dangerous because it nurtures the worst forces that want to seize power, create dictatorships, oppress women, terrorize Christians, commit genocide against Jews, set their countries for decades on a course of war and repression, and do everything they can to destroy U.S. interests.
Imagine a U.S. president in the 1930s or early 1940s helping fascists get into power and whitewashing their ideology and behavior. Imagine a U.S. president who in the 1950s or 1960s did the same for Communists. How would you feel about such a person and his effect on the world? Recently several readers have written me that they will be voting for Obama because they believe that he has learned his lesson, is a true friend of Israel, hasn’t done harm because he had no control over events. I can understand how people might say such things but not after they’ve read what I’ve written about these matters.
And now the day has come to make a choice.
There are many reasons why I’m thoroughly disgusted with all the phony Obama-loves-Israel or Obama has done a good job on foreign policy nonsense and the foolish things many American Jews and many Americans say about him on this topic. But let me reduce all of these points to one central–and indisputable by anyone who is honest–issue:
Obama has helped put into power in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s leading anti-American, antisemitic movement; has backed its coming to power in Syria (though he backed the equally anti-American, antisemitic, anti-Israel Bashar al-Asad dictatorship before the revolt); and helped maintain in power another Brotherhood branch, by pressing Israel to reduce sanctions and opposing Israel’s self-defense against it,, in the Gaza Strip. This group openly embraces genocide against Israel and Jews generally.
He has also backed a Turkish regime that loathes Israel, employs antisemitism, supports Hamas and Hizballah, and wants to kick U.S. influence out of the region. The leader of that regime is, according to Obama, his hero. The Obama Administration has not lifted a finger to press Turkey toward rebuilding relations with Israel. On the contrary, it has rewarded a Turkish regime that is doing the opposite. Only on the issue of continued aid and intelligence cooperation with Israel has Obama kept up the traditional relationship.
He has fought al-Qaida but helped or at least not done anything against other revolutionary Islamist movements. As a result of Obama’s policies, too, even more extremist Salafist movements have been unleashed in several countries. The Muslim Brotherhood is quite tolerant of these terrorist forces and uses them as part of its overall strategy.
As a result of Obama’s policies, too, even more extremist Salafist movements have been unleashed. The Muslim Brotherhood is quite tolerant of these terrorist forces and uses them as part of its overall strategy.
How can one lionize an American president who has given major backing and been an apologist for such a movement?
One can talk about Iran, the Jerusalem issue, and lots of other things. But whitewashing and helping five regimes or movements that openly and daily call for wiping Israel off the map, slanders Jews, and calls for their mass murder qualifies as sufficient in my book to laugh at any assertion that such a president is “good” for Israel. And whitewashing and helping five regimes or movements that call for hating America, murdering its citizens, destroying its interests, and even–albeit more fancifully–destroying the United States qualifies as sufficient in my book to laugh at any assertion that such a president is “good” for America.
Obama’s policies have placed the lives of Americans and Israelis in jeopardy, as well as the citizens of many other countries, and made war more likely. For the first time in many decades, Israel cannot depend on the U.S. government. Neither can a dozen Arabic-speaking states that have relied on U.S. support. Neither can Middle Eastern pro-democracy advocates, moderates, secularists, women, and Christians. Neither can Americans.
Something should be done about that. And today is the day to do it.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist for PajamasMedia. He is the author of The Israel-Arab Reader, among other books.