June 23, 2009

The Latest Weapon in the U.S. Arsenal: The O-Bomb

Justin Katz

Just wanted to share this fantastic line from Jonah Goldberg that readers might not have caught because it was in an extended entry:

So, if Obama deserves "credit" for what's happened in Iran, there are several possibilities. The first is that he intended for something like this to happen. He gave his speech in the heart of the Muslin and Arab world, knowing full well the glorious inspirational power of his words.

Or, he didn't intend for his words to specifically inspire the Iranians, but he's glad the shrapnel from his wisdom grenade generated so much collateral hope and change.

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Or he may have persuaded many in the Arab/Muslim world that we no longer have a block headed moron and a psychopath running our country and that we are prepared for serious discussion.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 23, 2009 9:06 PM

Yes, that must have been it. His speech converted former Jihadists to see the error of their ways and seek freedom and peace. Of course that begs the question of why it didn’t affect the Taliban; and then what did he do to really piss off North Korea? And Al-Qaida hasn’t exactly warmed up to him either. How can they be so blind to him?

Back in reality, I believe that the same thing would have happened regardless of who was elected U.S. President. And also it makes more sense that what has happened in Iraq had a greater affect on those Iranians interested in serious discussion than ‘the speech’.

Posted by: msteven at June 24, 2009 10:42 AM

Let's continue the quoted section:

So, if it's option one, if the Cairo speech was intended to spark this protest movement, why was the administration caught so off guard? Why did Obama try to minimize the differences between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad? Why did he spend a week tamping down, rather than encouraging the protestors? I mean, if the Cairo speech was intended to inpsire such a movement, shouldn't have their been some follow-through? Some Plan A or even Plan B?

Obama, himself, provided an answer: "It’s not productive, given the history of the US-Iranian relationship, to be seen as meddling." The operative word here is "seen." Anyone who thinks that the U.S. has not been actively meddling is either lying or in a state of willful ignorance.

One might be tempted to argue that the strategy for regime change implemented under the Bush administration that including funding for propaganda, support for Iranian dissident groups, and backing for anti-regime militants and terrorists has changed under the new administration of President Barack Obama. There is no evidence, many have pointed out, of U.S. meddling in the Iranian election.

But then, neither is there any clear indication that Obama ever revoked the policy strategy implemented under Bush. The most likely scenario is that Obama has put the military option favored by some in the Bush administration on the back burner in favor of other means to carry out a change of regime in Iran.

Whatever the case may be, given the record of U.S. interference in the state affairs of Iran and clear policy of regime change, it certainly seems possible, even likely, that the U.S. had a significant role to play in helping to bring about the recent turmoil in an effort to undermine the government of the Islamic Republic.

But pay no attention to the information in the link above. This is really all about Obama's rhetoric!

Posted by: Russ at June 24, 2009 11:36 AM

Did Obama resign!!!

Posted by: bobc at June 24, 2009 6:52 PM

I say OTL isn't far off the mark. We're talking perception in the Muslim world here.

In 2008, the Pew Global Attitudes Project asked citizens of 24 countries whether they could count on Bush to do the right thing regarding foreign affairs. Majorities in only three (India, Nigeria, and Tanzania) said they had a lot or some confidence.

On the other side of the ledger, majorities in 19 of the 24 countries had little or no confidence in the American president. In the four Western European countries surveyed, majorities without much confidence ranged from 81% in Britain to 88% in Spain. In the Middle East, majorities rose as high as 89% in Turkey and Jordan. Since 2003, confidence in Bush has fallen in eight of the 14 foreign countries where trend data are available. In the remaining six countries confidence has remained relatively low.

Right or wrong, Obama is wildly popular by comparison.

Posted by: Russ at June 24, 2009 7:28 PM


OTL is very far off. Why does perception in the Muslim world matter? Is Al Qaida’s perception in the Muslim world relevant? How about Ahmadinejad? Saddam was popular – until he wasn’t. Britain and Spain were two of the countries that supported the coalition that initially went into Iraq. I suspect that those same people had also lost confidence in their own leaders in 2008 based on what was happening in the global economy and the difficulty of the war. That type of polling is very fluid and overall – meaningless in the big picture, just snapshots of attitudes based on recent events. You are right where you say “right or wrong”, Obama is wildly popular by comparison”. That is undoubtedly true. But if a major event occurred, that popularity could easily change. Which is why perception and popularity are indicative of … little of substance.

Posted by: msteven at June 24, 2009 10:44 PM

"Why does perception in the Muslim world matter?" Seriously? Because we don't want U.S. soldiers and American citizens killed. See Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States:

Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq jihad; (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims all of which jihadists exploit.
Posted by: Russ at June 25, 2009 4:21 PM

I didn’t mean that the opinion of the entire Muslim world does not matter. But the opinion of those that want to destroy us? Seriously? Yours (and many others) point that Al Qaida has recruited members because of going into Iraq. Yes, if only we would have done nothing then Al Qaida would have left us alone. Please. It is true that fighting back often makes the enemy madder. But in no way does that justify allowing the people that want to harm us to do so. We are not at war with Muslims. We are at war with jihadists. It is the opinion of jihadists and anyone that supports them that does not matter.

Final question – Obama has put more troops and effort into fighting the Taliban. I’m sure this offends many Islamic and Muslim people. Do you think he should not be doing this? (In other words, is your criticism based mainly on political affiliation).

Posted by: msteven at June 26, 2009 10:27 AM

"Do you think [Obama] should not be [fighting the Talliban]?"

Yes, of course. I've written many times about Obama's flawed policy in Afganistan.

Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2009 12:39 PM
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