Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Consequences of Obama's Cairo Speech

Muammar Qaddafi, who had become gratifyingly less belligerent since the Reagan administration's 1986 airstrikes, subsequent economic sanctions, and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, came out of his box during a visit to Italy on June 11. "What's the difference," he asked in an address to Italian legislators, "between the U.S. airstrikes on our homes and bin Laden's actions?"

The difference is that the U.S. airstrikes of the 1980s were aimed primarily at military and government targets after Libyan planes fired missiles at U.S. carrier-based aircraft in international waters. The U.S. strike was also intended to punish Libya's complicity in the bombing of a discotheque in West Berlin frequented by off-duty American military personnel. Bin-Laden's attack on the World Trade Center was aimed at, and succeeded in, killing thousands of innocents as a means of expressing general hatred for the West and the U.S. in particular.

Qaddafi's equation of U.S. military responses to provocations of his own making--which followed Washington's extensive public and private warnings about American insistence on maintaining freedom of navigation in international waters--with bin Laden's surprise attack against civilians was offered up less than a week after President Obama's Cairo speech.

In this speech Obama called the 9/11 attacks "an enormous trauma to our country . . . that led us to act contrary to our ideals." Specifically, Guantanamo. The president reduced the evil of destroying several thousand innocents to a psychological episode that produced aberrant American behavior. Other parts of the same speech are equally unbalanced. "Israel must live up to its obligations" to allow Palestinians to lead decent lives. However, no such "obligation" exists for Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist.

No one should be surprised that Qaddafi's remarks followed Obama's so quickly. If the American president sees his international role as a great exhorter with a lot of explaining to do, why shouldn't the leaders of other countries, especially those who share serious misgivings about the role of the United States in the world join the chorus? If the "fight against negative stereotypes," as Obama put it, is what really stiffens the sinews and summons up the blood of the U.S. president, call in the speechwriters, act the role of the victim convincingly, and consider the attractive possibility that words may matter more than deeds in dealing with the United States--at least for a while.


Red June 16, 2009 at 2:53 PM  

What shut Qaddafi up is Reagan having a pair. What encourages him to speak now is our apologist FAUXTUS aka he who speaks from both sides of his mouth. Barry wants to come across as the great unifier and tell us that he will abstain from meddling in Iran's affairs even though they want to bomb the sense out of us and Israel, at the same time he exercises no qualms in telling Israel how to operate their own country. He sends GITMO terrorists on a one way permanent vacation to Bermuda on our dime and at the ignorance of Great Britain, one of our oldest allies. This guy is a sorry excuse for a president and we need to get him out of office before he does more damage. Treasonous apologist rhetoric should be grounds enough to oust!! Show me the birth certificate.

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