Her [Hillary's] argument is that the United States should ignore violence and extremism and help build democracies. The problem is that most of the violence and extremism comes from forces that the Obama Administration supports or groups basically allied with those forces.
Barry Rubin writes Preview of the Next Four Years?: Obama Administration Doubles Down on Middle East Policy Errors. He notes the Obama administration's track record so far:
- The White House has supported the antisemitic, anti-American Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria;
- Insisted the Brotherhood is moderate;
- Gave untrained, unreliable Libyans control over the U.S. ambassador’s security leading to his death;
- Denied revolutionary Islamists attacked the U.S. embassy and ambassador in Libya for reasons having nothing to do with a California video;
- Apologized for the video in a way that escalated the crisis elsewhere; wrong claimed al-Qaida is finished; etc.
Here are three examples of from Clinton's speech, with comment from Rubin:
- The U.S. government must not be deterred by "the violent acts of a small number of extremists."
The problem is not a “small number” of extremists—implying al-Qaida--but a large number of them. Extremists now rule in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Tunisia, and—despite camouflage—Turkey. They may soon be running Syria.
...More than a decade after September 11, the Obama Administration is fighting the last war—the battle against al-Qaida—rather than recognizing that a small group committing periodic terrorist acts is less important than a huge organization taking over entire countries.
- "But we have to stand with those who are working every day to strengthen democratic institutions, defend universal rights, and drive inclusive economic growth. That will produce more capable partners and more durable security over the long term."
Yet the Obama Administration has definitely not stood with those people! It has not channeled arms to moderates in Syria but to the Brotherhood and tolerated Saudi weapons’ supplies to Salafists. It has done nothing to protect the rights of women or Christians. Moderates in Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt—as well as Turkey and Iran—know the Obama Administration has not helped them.
- "We have, as always, to be clear-eyed about the threat of violent extremism. A year of democratic transition was never going to drain away reservoirs of radicalism built up through decades of dictatorship."
Drain away? This year has empowered radicals! These aren't drying up pools left over from hatred of the old regime but a tidal wave of confident revolutionaries who believe--with good reason--that the future belongs to them. Statements like Clinton's show that the current U.S. government's leadership has no understanding of what's going on in the region, no matter how accurate are the worried assessments at lower levels of the State and Defense departments.
Obama's lack of foreign policy experience continues to be a major factor, as the policy decisions of his administration fail to take account of its failures over the past 4 years and adapt accordingly.
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