Perhaps we should take a few pointers from Muslims in the Middle East. When they get angry, they let everyone know it. Duplicity in dealing with the West is key and the wildcard is violence. Embarrassment over Pakistan should have been enough for those who craft U.S. foreign policy to reconsider our involvement in the affairs of the Muslim world. Unfortunately, the recent murders of our citizens give us myriad excuses to pump another dose of democratic values and maybe a little more cash into Muslim countries that duped Washington policymakers into believing that the Arab Spring was more than a pause on the way to killing more Americans. Are we going to take the bait, or do the smart thing and let the Muslim world self-destruct on schedule?
Obama foreign policy invites ridicule from Muslim countries.
Obama foreign policy is a passive red flag to the world warning of an American decline. We would have been better off withdrawing from the international scene in 2009 than engaging in our damaging mix of apologies, passivity, and inaction. With confidence in America dwindling as we approach fiscal doomsday and an election that could determine whether our country rises or falls, the world is watching and the Middle East is acting out. Given the perception that we showed Israel our backside and left our friend and ally alone to face Iran, is it any wonder that the population of the Muslim world feels comfortable choosing Americans as targets for the hatred and violence that are endemic in their culture?
Nowhere is the failure of Obama foreign policy as glaring as in Muslim countries, where violent protests ridicule our wayward efforts to foster representative government in a world where the dominant religion preaches intolerance. How do we explain the televised perp walk of the maker of the “Innocence of Muslims,” the film to which our Secretary of State applied the label “disgusting and reprehensible,” when one of the democratic values we try to instill is the right to free speech?
The list of U.S. foreign policy failures gets longer.
In an address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta affirmed that:
As much as we have been able to decimate their [terrorists] leadership and damage their command and control, they still remain a threat whether in Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia; we still have the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and materials; we have the threat from Iran; we have the threat from North Korea; we have continuing turmoil in the Middle East, we have rising powers in Asia, we have a new threat, the threat of cyber intrusions and attacks.¹
Until Washington admits that our position is untenable and that we are not dealing with pockets of extremists but an extremist belief system that makes national boundaries meaningless, we will continue to fight a losing battle and subject ourselves to ridicule and scorn from Muslim countries and two-faced allies like Pakistan.
Panetta’s list is damning. Americans are being killed in the Middle East. Iran’s nuclear program is progressing to an entirely predictable conclusion. North Korea has the bomb. Cyber security is a political football that our government would be incapable of overseeing even if there was agreement as to how to make our information systems more secure (see: Can Big Government Control Save Us From Cyber Terrorism?).
Obama foreign policy has dealt a blow to U.S. relations with our allies and enemies alike. Can Israel afford to disregard our passivity in responding to violence and threats against our people, something they would never tolerate, or do they have to admit that President Obama has precipitated an American decline?
Members of Congress need to wise up about relations with the Muslim world.
We need to rid ourselves of the notion indulged during the Arab Spring that the U.S. has a following in Muslim countries sufficient to bring beneficial change. Pakistan ridiculed America by harboring bin Laden, which should have been enough to convince foreign policymakers that it is time to wash our hands of nation-building and hopes for productive coexistence. The message should also have hit home with the return of the bodies of the Americans killed in Libya and those that will soon return from Afghanistan after today’s insider attack.
Senators McCain and Lieberman backed action in Libya in 2011 to “answer the growing calls of the Libyan people for help …”³ (see: Kerry, McCain, Lieberman Support Nation-Building. Lugar Gets It Right.). Despite all the evidence that this policy was a loser from the start, McCain, Lieberman, and Senator Lindsey Graham are blaming the violence in Benghazi on “small groups of violent extremists who are eager to kill to advance their evil ideology.”³ They persist with the delusion that democracy is a possibility in a world ruled by Islam:
Despite this horrific attack, we cannot give in to the temptation to believe that our support for the democratic aspirations of people in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere in the broader Middle East is naive or mistaken.4
Are we suffering an American decline, or a leader who denies what America stands for?
The president noted that:
But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.5
There is every justification for what happened and will continue to happen in Muslim countries in the Middle East. The violence is not senseless. It is predictable business as usual, a message Israel is sending us over and over and we simply do not want to hear. The president forgets that the world doesn’t care and that when things go wrong the country that steps up to the plate has always been America. How do we present a united front to the world when our own president expresses regret over our past acts and doesn’t seem to understand the consequences of ignoring what we stand for?