Who Said This About the Middle East?
By Alan Caruba
July 7, 2014
“A greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum”
The speaker had what one might imagine, given his background, a better insight into Islam, Muslims, and the Middle East than others who had preceded him. He said he was seeking “a new beginning” that was “based on mutual interests and mutual respect” because his nation and those in the Middle East shared “common principles—principles of justice and progress, tolerance and dignity of all human beings.”
He cited “civilization’s debt to Islam” and noted that there were more than 1,200 mosques in his country. He declared that his nation would never be “at war with Islam” and he quoted from “the holy Koran” several times during his speech.
At one point he cited his nation’s “strong bonds with Israel” calling them “unbreakable.” Noting the Holocaust in which six million Jews were killed, he said that “Threatening Israel with destruction—or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews is deeply wrong” but that he deemed the situation of Palestinians “intolerable” adding that “Palestinians must abandon violence.” Noting his opposition to Israeli settlements, he managed to be on both sides of the issues that divide Israel and its Palestinian opponents.
Turning his attention to Iran, he noted that “For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country”, citing reasons why Iranians felt justified to feel that way. He also pointed out that Iran “has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence” against U.S troops and civilians.”
“It is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point” and that preventing “a nuclear arms race in the Middle East could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path” adding that “No single nation should pick and choose which nations have nuclear weapons.” Presumably he included his own.
While noting the “controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years” he asserted that “No system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any another.”
Citing religious freedom, he said that “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance” but noted that “Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one’s own faith by the rejection of another’s”…and fault lines must be closed among Muslims as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.”
He concluded by noting that “It is easier to start wars than to end them”, but Barack Obama, speaking in Cairo on June 4, 2009, mere months after having taken office in his first term, said he believed “We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning…”
His new beginning was demonstrated by withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. The result of that action, combined with doing nothing as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) emerged from the Syrian civil war and severed the northern portion of Iraq, adding it to the portion of Syria it controls, has left a Middle East that faces a regional war with a fanatical Islamist entity.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can see how lacking in understanding of Islam, history, and the Middle East Obama was. His Cairo speech became part of what came to be known as his “apology tour” as he spoke in other nations, making it clear that he thought the U.S. was the cause of many problems in the world and that he was endowed with some special capacity to make things right again at home and abroad.
The irony of the speech is that he was spoken by a man for whom no leader in the Middle East has any respect, putting the Prime Minister of Israel and the Supreme Leader of Iran on the same page together. Add to them the leaders of virtually all other nations. Obama thought he could dictate to Israel and could charm the Iranians to make concessions. He was wrong.
He was wrong about the division of Sunni versus Shiite throughout the Middle East and other Muslim nations. He was wrong about the Muslims that have been slaughtering Christians in the Middle East and Africa and he has been largely silent about it.
He was wrong that no nation can impose a system of government on another when the history of Islam has been the effort to impose Sharia law wherever it gained power and the history of Communism was the imposition of that system in Eastern Europe and elsewhere like Cuba until the collapse of the Soviet Union freed its subjugated nations, though Cuba has continued to be subject to the Castro dictatorship.
These days, Iran is still playing Obama for a fool while pursuing its quest to build its own nuclear weapons. The Russian Federation has seized the Crimea from Ukraine. Latin American nations are dumping their children and others into an America that has no real border anymore.
If you read Barack Obama’s Cairo speech from start to finish, you cannot come away with any other impression than that a self-deluded fool gave it.
Alan Caruba is an American public relations counselor and freelance writer who is a frequent critic of environmentalism, Islam and research on global warming. In the late 1970s Caruba founded the PR firm The Caruba Organization, and in 1990, the National Anxiety Center, which identifies itself as "a clearinghouse for information about 'scare campaigns' designed to influence public policy and opinion" on such subjects as global warming, ozone depletion and DDT.