EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Columns

September 23, 2012

Column: Obama's Middle East policy is a dangerous failure

The day after the Libyan tragedy, President Barack Obama flew out to Las Vegas to do a political hootchy-kootchy and days earlier refused a future meeting with the prime minister of Israel, who is worried about something not so minor: how madmen edging toward nuclear weaponry in Iran just might immolate 7 million fellow citizens. And what prompted the disdain of numerous news outlets?

Not this travesty substituting for serious leadership. No, what struck many as a more embarrassing story was Mitt Romney’s reaction to a Cairo embassy statement prior to protesters storming the place. He didn’t like it that it focused on a free speech exercise in America, and — as one example of a widespread press reaction — a New Yorker writer said the Romney words could be “the death knell” of his campaign.

That’s possible, I guess, if we continue to have journalistic multitudes that, if Romney ever sneezes, will rush to their keyboards to say he just might be infecting the world with a deadly plague. I myself think lots more should have wondered about the appropriateness of a Nevada political rally a day after another 9-11 murder of Americans. More than that, I think vast numbers of reporters should focus on a whole series of Middle East policies that have just maybe set up the world for a massive calamity.

One of the worst of the Obama miscalculations, in the view of some of us at least, was the betrayal of Iranian dissidents who just might have toppled a dangerous, anti-American, nuke-ambitious dictatorship with the right kind of support in 2009. Instead, we have a president who apparently thought we would win the day through rational, respectful conversation with irrational, America-hating leaders there.

In general, the clearly failed Obama approach to making foreigners love us has been a mix of flattery and apologies for U.S. behavior. But wait a second: Here come the fact-checkers, telling us Obama never used the word “apologize,” as if no one can apologize without using the word.

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