A consistent stance toward issues with Muslim societies is gradually emerging from the Obama Administration – emerging out of the optimistic fog of early rhetoric. The stance is simple: the
The overwhelming emphasis Obama put on military force in yesterday’s Afghan policy speech is the cornerstone of this unfortunately shortsighted new policy. Surrender to Netanyahu’s right wing leaders of
Of course, the policy is only “new” in the sense that it contradicts Obama’s early rhetoric of sympathetic compromise. All that is now long gone. The ugly neo-con “principles” of wars of choice, preventive war, arrogant dismissal of international law, cynical “collateral damage” (i.e., the murder of innocent civilians caught in the path of the American military machine) are back to haunt us.
Whatever the mistakes of the past, at this moment, an army of sorts is indeed gunning for
- Obama could have chosen the moral high ground and declared war on Afghan narcotics with a massive economic aid program for farmers and a retargeting of Predators away from the homes of insurgents to the Afghan (Taliban and regime) heroin labs that truly do pose a threat to the world.
- Obama could also have used the power of his office and his remaining charisma to call for the Islamic world to rise up and help their Afghan brothers so as to enable American troops to depart. Thanking Erdogan for his recent efforts to find a compromise way forward in the Mideast and inviting him to lead a similar effort on Afghanistan would have constituted one big step in that direction.
- He could also have put teeth in his Afghan security policy by announcing a program to provide the new Afghan security forces he is training with salaries sufficient to support a family so those recruits could survive without accepting bribes from drug dealers or insurgents.
Sadly, he seems determined to box himself in as a war leader, and those options were ignored. Both Afghan hopes and Obama’s reputation now teeter on a precipice.
In sum, we are back where we have been for a decade: assuming blindly (without questioning) that the appropriate, indeed, the essential response by
Is this an overstatement? Look at the evidence:
- Recall the experience of
: Hamas won a democratic election in 2006, after making the historic decision to move from military resistance to participation in the political process only to be robbed of its victory by an Israeli-American plot to provoke Palestinian civil war. Trying once again in 2008, Hamas signed a truce with Gaza and, indeed, did a rather good job of living up to its end of the bargain by ending rocket attacks. Israel did not live up to its end, however, because what Israel opposes is not Hamas rockets but the very existence of a Hamas regime and, in particular, the existence of a Hamas regime that is peaceful, integrated in the political process, and successful. I have not noticed any sincere-sounding protests coming out of Israel about Washington ’s repressive behavior toward Israel . Gaza ’s refusal to compromise with Washington to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough that seemed finally within its grasp is the second major piece of evidence that we are back where we were under Bush. Instead of accepting the Iranian foreign minister’s idea of trading Iranian for European uranium on Iranian soil as the essence of victory, Iran rushed to reject the breakthrough. International agents on the ground in Washington conducting uranium transfers would have constituted a great step in the direction of permanent international oversight. Iran
These details do not portray
Is the military hammer effective?
One hint might be the continuing carnage in
Once there was a superpower that called radical political opponents “terrorists.” A bitter war was fought. Nevertheless, within one generation, the victorious terrorists and the defeated superpower had already begun to team up and remain the best of friends to this day. The superpower was of course
So I am not convinced that all Islamic radical political activists must automatically be labeled as enemies of the