Sunday, June 08, 2008

Al Naqba-lite

Arab leaders and commentators reacted with anger and disbelief at Obama's speech -- the worst thing to happen to us since the 1967 Six-Day War (in which they lost the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel), said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator. Arnaud de Borchgrave - UPI
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The coming years ahead are going to be fraught with danger.

The possibility of an economic crisis rivaling the 1930s and wars of every type, in every clime loom before us.

Whatever the American dream is or ever was, in the near future it will have to "split the difference" with the "Chinese Dream"... whatever that might be.

Steadiness and predictability become cardinal virtues in the midst of such poisonous complexity.

I think the last thing that America and the world need at this moment is a content-free, US president-lite, bereft of principals or experience.

That he might also be "charismatic" would make it even worse: in fact much, much, worse...

Can you imagine how much worse it would have been if George Bush, besides being incompetent, had also been "charismatic"?

Many people in America and around the world are projecting their hopes and dreams on Barack Obama... his AIPAC performance proves that those hopes and dreams are misplaced. DS

Sandy Tolan: "Undivided" Allegiance: The Meaning of Obama's AIPAC Moment - Huffington Post Abstract: Obama's AIPAC speech sent shock waves throughout much of the Arab World, where the prospect of an African-American president with a rich international background seemed, to them, to promise a more balanced U.S. policy in the Middle East. "A slap in the face," said the Kuwaiti paper al-Watan. "An oath of allegiance by the U.S. presidency to AIPAC," declared the Lebanese opposition paper, Al-Safir. Others downplayed the remark, believing that any Democratic administration will be an improvement over eight years of Bush policy. Former Palestinian labor secretary Ghassan Khatib said Obama's speech "stressed more that anything else his intention to engage, which is the most important need." And Obama, a day after the speech, attempted to soften his remarks, saying, "Obviously it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations." Yet he added that Israel has a "legitimate claim" to all of Jerusalem, a comment which will do little to tamp down Arab anxieties. Why, then, would Obama, with all the expectation of a more even-handed presidency, and the promise to help repair the U.S.'s shredded image in the Arab and Muslim worlds, seek, in the words of Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, to be "more Israeli than the Israelis"? Part of the answer may boil down to crude electoral politics, especially in Florida, where Obama's strategists seem to be calculating that the five percent of Jewish voters there could swing the entire election for the Democrats. But in deeper ways, Obama seems to be running as fast as he can from the friendships and affinities he has developed and expressed for Arabs in the past, including his statement in Iowa early in the campaign that "no one is suffering more than the Palestinians." The senator's AIPAC "corrective" is an effort -- stay tuned for more -- to be less like the "other," and more like "us." But are "we" truly so narrow-minded as to reject the aspirations of all such "others", or to ever consider their hopes and dreams? Apparently, Obama, tacking right, thinks the answer is yes. READ IT ALL


Mike Doyle said...

Whatever America is, the lone superpower it ain't - not in the sense of political power. The likely next President feels compelled to go visit a political lobbying group, grovel, and pledge allegiance to a foreign power!

But maybe there's hope. The Daily Show (June 5th) ridicules the AIPAC proceedings.Even regarding Obama's possible purpose - to win Florida!
"Indecision 5768" at

Richard said...

Here's another part of the world where Obama has shoved his foot in his mouth:

"Not Obama, however. He essentially endorsed the Bush administration's drive to transform Colombia's relations with its Andean neighbors into the one Israel has with most of the Middle East. In his Miami speech, he swore that he would "support Colombia's right to strike terrorists who seek safe-havens across its borders."

Equally troublesome has been Obama's endorsement of the controversial Merida Initiative, which human rights groups like Amnesty International have condemned as an application of the "Colombian solution" to Mexico and Central America, providing their militaries and police with a massive infusion of money to combat drugs and gangs. Crime is indeed a serious problem in these countries, and deserves considered attention. It's chilling, however, to have Colombia -- where death-squads now have infiltrated every level of government, and where union and other political activists are executed on a regular basis -- held up as a model for other parts of Latin America.

Obama, however, not only supports the initiative, but wants to expand it beyond Mexico and Central America. "We must press further south as well," he said in Miami.

It seems that once again that, as in the 1970s, reports of the death of the Monroe Doctrine are greatly exaggerated.

I'm beginning to agree with you.