By Richard Larsen, published – Idaho State Journal, 09/16/12
While we enjoy relative tranquility here at home, the Muslim world is erupting in a conflagration of Islamic fundamentalist protests, destruction, and murder. What started as timed terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya on the eleventh anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, has turned into full-scale demonstrations of destruction fueled by an amateur video purportedly critical of their prophet Mohammed.
What started with the Arab Spring nearly two years ago, a democratic movement which led to the ousting of strong-arm leaders Khadafy in Libya and Mubarak in Egypt, has evolved into an Arab Fall, and likely an Arab Winter of icy relations with the Muslim world. Perhaps it is nothing more than the morphing of “hope and change” to despair and violence, induced by the Islamic extremist realities of the region.
Four embassy personnel were mercilessly murdered at the consulate in Libya, including our ambassador and two former Navy Seals, who we’ve learned remarkably, were forbidden by the State Department from being issued live ammunition to protect the embassy staff. The Washington Times reports that Ambassador Chris Stevens was raped before he was murdered.
This week U.S. embassies have been under siege in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Iraq, and Yemen, and U.S. companies and interests targeted in Iran and London. And with all of this occurring, the president chose to skip his intelligence update to make a campaign trip to Las Vegas. In a taped message to campaign workers in Nevada, he imprudently compared them to those demonstrating in the Muslim world striving for a better world.
Some of the visual references this week remind us just how the radical elements of Islam challenge the notion that it’s a “religion of peace.” Graffiti written on the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, “Take care America. We have one and a half billion bin Ladins,” as well as banners outside the U.S. embassy in London, which read, “Muslims will eventually conquer America,” do nothing to assuage our concerns of the intolerance of Islamic extremism.
There are also the aural reminders that the Muslim world has not taken kindly to the killing of Osama bin Ladin. Raw video captured by Middle East Media Research Institute shows the mob that attacked the Egyptian embassy was chanting, “Obama, Obama, we’re all Osama.” Perhaps it has been ill-advised to trumpet the killing of Osama. And all of this animus is targeted at the U.S. in spite of billions of dollars we give in foreign aid to Muslim countries, and surprisingly, one week after the administration “forgave” a $1 billion dollar, taxpayer funded loan to Egypt.
The Independent, a UK based news outlet reported that according to senior diplomatic sources, the State Department “had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted.” Yet no warnings were issued to consulates or embassies in affected areas, and the administration has denied the existence of such intelligence.
While there is no codex identifying specific tenets of the Obama Doctrine, foreign policy experts classify the Obama foreign policy of outreach and deference shown to Islam as its basis. The Obama Doctrine was aptly characterized by what critics called his “Apology Tour” at the beginning of his presidency, denouncing and apologizing for what he deemed to be American arrogance, dismissiveness, and derision shown to the Muslim states. Exemplary of the doctrine is the redefinition of one of NASA’s primary objectives to be an “outreach” to Muslims. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, has described the Obama Doctrine as “overly idealistic and naïve, promoting appeasement” to those who seek our destruction.
Perhaps what we are witnessing across the globe today is the collapse of the Obama Doctrine, and as Obama’s former preacher might say, his “chickens are coming home to roost.”
Some have compared the failed policies of Jimmy Carter to the collapse of the Obama Doctrine. There certainly are similarities as both administrations allowed U.S. allied regimes to be toppled, leading to states founded in Islamic fundamentalism, solidified by anti-American hatred. For Carter, it was Iran, and for Obama, it’s Egypt and Libya.
Showing that he himself “shoots first and aims later,” the president said on Thursday that the U.S. would not consider Egypt an ally, “but we don’t consider them an enemy.”
On 9/11, the day our Cairo embassy was attacked, the embassy released a statement saying, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” Rather than condemning those who perpetrate violence in the name of Allah, the statement targeted the producer of the obscure film that was critical of Muhammad.
Problematic throughout the Obama Doctrine era has been the cozy relationship between administration officials and the Muslim Brotherhood, a militaristic political entity that that spawned al-Qaida and Hamas and was instrumental in toppling the Libyan and Egyptian regimes. In April, a delegation of the Muslim Brotherhood made an official visit to the White House. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin has been confirmed to have formerly been involved with the group. David Horowitz has produced an ebook documenting associations between the Muslim Brotherhood and the administration, titled “The Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama Administration.”
The President has requested an audience this month with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who won Egypt’s presidential election, while spurning a request by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to meet this month as well. It’s difficult to explain how a sitting U.S. president can spurn a request for a visit from one of our “closest allies” while requesting an audience with a Muslim Brotherhood president of a nation that Obama doesn’t think is our ally, nor think they’re our enemy, either. The president also confirmed this week that he’ll appear with David Letterman on his show next week, adding insult to injury with Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz this week indicated that Obama’s cozy relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood is troubling. And that due to the Obama Doctrine, regimes and Muslim country leaders can’t trust America to do the right thing, as evidenced by leaving Iraq after deposing a dictator, and Afghanistan after toppling a totalitarian Taliban regime. The administration actively supported the toppling of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, praising the democratic Arab Spring uprising, and militarily attacked Khadafy’s Libya to oust him.
The violence is spreading outside of the Muslim nations. Attacks on the U.S. embassy in London, as well as bomb threats at North Dakota State and the University of Texas in Austin validate concerns that anti-American violence can spread quickly, jumping oceans and geographic barriers to threaten Americans and U.S. interests everywhere. The caller of the bomb threat to the University of Texas claimed to represent al-Qaida.
Whatever the motivation, the threats and violence of terrorism are evil. The cozier our relationship with perpetrators of such vile acts as we’ve witnessed this past week is, the more compromised and susceptible we are to manipulation by those very elements. With the collapse of the Obama Doctrine of foreign policy, it’s clear that a new foreign policy is needed, based in reality, not on something as obviously tenuous as “Muslim Outreach.”
AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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