Syria spies here, Obama offers tanks to Egypt....
Elliott Abrams writes of surveillance of anti-Syria protesters in the US that the US should demand that Syria stop doing so. We should he adds, expel their Ambassador if Syria does not comply, even if Syria will retaliate by expelling US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford; Abrams notes that Ford's recent activities monitoring Syrian suppression of dissent could well induce Syria to expel Ford anyway. Up to one million turned out a few days ago to protest the regime's brutality. Barry Rubin sums up Team Obama's confusion, noting that it harmed our itnerests versus not only Syria, but also Libya & Turkey: incredibly, Team Obama still holds out hope of reform from Bashar Assad.
Jackson Diehl at the Washington Post asks why Obama is "so tough on Israel and timid on Syria?" Indeed. In Syria some men are offering to marry women raped by the security forces as part of repressing protests. Imagine for a moment that Israeli forces were using rape as a weapon, what the world reaction would be.... (It would, of course, cause an even greater outcry inside Israel.) US officials now believe that Syria's regime is more vulnerable than ever, but take only baby steps to encourage protesters, who are growing bolder in confronting security forces. The latest provocation from Syria: sending a mob to vandalize our embassy in Damascus--which, Jen Rubin reminds us, is US sovereign territory, the violation of which should call for more than the "displeasure" expressed by this administration. Barry Rubin sees good & bad news in rising White House displeasure with the Syrian regime: the bad news is that Team Obama wants Islamist Turkey to lead policy. BR writes that Obama promotes Islam over Arabism, with the latter in reality being far less of a problem for the West.
Ex-CIAer Reuel Marc Gerecht calls Obama's laxity re Syria "the greatest missed opportunity of [his] presidency." Specifically, Gerecht sees a chance to neutralize Hezbollah inside Lebanon, and to wean Turkey away from its Islamist tilt, back towards the West. Obama, fumes Gerecht, will likely miss this. AEI's Danielle Pletka sees a glimmer of hope in Obama's turn against Bashar Assad. The Syrian uprising was sparked in part by social media, organized originally from outside the country.
A Washington Post editorial excoriates Obama's "empty" pledge to support Arab democracy. A later WP editorial says that Obama's declaring the Syrian regime no longer legitimate does not go far enough; strong measures must follow. Yet Egyptian democracy's latest fruits, a top secularist leader calling the Holocaust and 9/11 attacks lies, and Anne Frank's memoir a fake, and the Muslim Brotherhood elders expelling five liberal youth members, are most unlovely. So what does Team Obama propose: selling 125 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Egypt, as unrest there threatens to usher in the Muslim Brotherhood as part of a coalition government.
Fouad Ajami offers historical perspective, writing that prospects for economic liberalization were upended in the 1950s by political-military rulers. Barry Rubin sees a US Mideast policy exactly opposite of what is in America's national security interest; his latest entry in his superb "Rubin Reports" perfectly captures Obama's incoherence re Palestinians & Israel:
"The Palestinians blame the Obama Administration; the Obama Administration blames Israel and protects the Palestinians from criticism."
Rubin sees Americans misled by political correctness in the media coverage of Mideast issues; media types deny the radicalism of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is gaining ground in Egypt as liberal reformers lag and now has won recognition from Team Obama.
Barry Rubin sees Obama's worldview obscuring significant cultural and intellectual differences between the West and its adversaries:
He has no idea at all why apologies, unilateral concessions, undermining friends, and rewarding enemies doesn’t work. A lot of the problem is the absolute refusal of politically correct (but factually incorrect) politicians and intellectuals to understand that other people in certain parts of the world think differently from them. Indeed, this has been defined as “racist” thinking.
If Obama were to offer an “outstretched hand” to Canada, for example, of course it wouldn’t be “interpreted as weakness.” The two countries have a relatively similar history, system, and worldview. Both sides accept the other’s good intentions and desire for friendship. Neither seeks to conquer the other or institute a system that would dominate the region or even world.
That commonality doesn’t apply across certain cultural-intellectual-historical lines. Yet the previous sentence in this paragraph is not (or only barely) permissible. By being deprived of any understanding of these fundamental differences, students and the public simply cannot understand most of what’s going on in the Middle East.
Of course, a lot of the public has enough life experience to see what’s obvious. But the more “education” (consider “conflict resolution” training) one has under the current indoctrination, the harder for them to comprehend reality of this sort.
Rubin may be understating the problem. Even if Obama saw clearly, his anti-Western multicultural orientation dictates that America do penance for its past sins, real and imagined.
Illustrative of Obama's worldview is an apparent move to cozy up to Hezbollah. Commentary Blog's Omri Ceren reminds us what Hezbollah did to US captives in the 1980s; it is gruesome reading but necessary for anyone who thinks we might make peace with the group.
Leave it to the UN to waffle on Syria's clandestine nuclear program as the regime faces a growing crisis.
Bottom Line. It is bad enough for Syria to violate the rights of its own citizens. Now it is violating the rights of ours. President Obama may not care about the former, but he is supposed to care about the latter.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC< National Security, Foreign Policy, Conservative Politics