President Obama, in his long-promised address to the Muslims given Thursday in Egypt, embraced Islam, gave a green light to Iran’s nuclear program and said that the “trauma” of 9-11 led America to act contrary to its ideals.
In 6000 words, the president managed to prove that everything conservatives worried about — his naivete, inexperience, and belief in moral equivalency — was correct and perhaps understated.
The Commander-in-Chief described his view of America’s relationship to Islam and his own responsibility:
“I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear,” Obama said. He continued, “So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations – to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share.”
But do we really share these things? Perhaps we do, in the mind of a president who thinks of 9-11 as a trauma that caused America to react in fear and in anger.
There were plenty of both after 9-11, but the fact that he believes we sacrificed principle to fear is shocking, but not to those of us who believed he would take this tack and said so during last year’s campaign.
The President of the United States has the responsibility to defend Americans, who can practice any religion protected under the First Amendment. He does not have authority as president to make himself the defender of a particular religion. That’s a very different kind of government. Personally, he may feel it is his mission to negate these stereotypes, and he has a powerful platform to do so. But that platform itself — the executive office of our nation — has a duty not to fight against stereotypes of anyone except of Americans, and to defend American values. In this, Mr. Obama willfully failed today.
Obama quoted the Koran, the Holy Bible, and the Talmund in his speech. The only religion Obama truly professed was internationalism: “Human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail.”
There again, he proposed no defense of America or American values: multiculturalism and multilateralism are, apparently, more important to him.
Most importantly — and most radically — Obama said, in the context of our “tension” with Iran, that no nation should be able to decide whether another can or cannot have nuclear technology. Be believes Iran should be able to access “peaceful nuclear power,” as long “it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.” This is the same country that blocked Obama’s speech by jamming satellite signals (according to the Politico).
Every American administration since 1981 — when Iran’s nuclear weapons program first became obvious, and only two years after the ayatollahs took power — has said that Iran must be denied nuclear weapons. Before Thursday, even Obama said that. But now, that too is apparently overboard. Or under the bus, with our ally Israel.
Obama said the people of Israel deserve peace, but he also said, “America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”
In other words, whether they give up terrorism or not, Palestinians will get their own state. Unlike Reagan at the Berlin Wall, Obama didn’t call out the real problem: Hamas. Israel and Palestine takes turns not wanting two states, depending on how vocal Hamas is. And of the two countries, Obama chose to throw under the bus the only reliable ally — Israel.
Ironic, since Obama said in the same speech America would never alter our principles, which one would assume meant loyalty to allies who have given no reason to break that alliance: “And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles.” He uses this as a launch pad for the “close Gitmo” plug, “We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.”
He also did not give a very resounding defense of women. Some of what he said on the issue was good (women should have an equal opportunity to education), but it was more about what he didn’t say: it is wrong to oppress women. The closest he came was, “I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice.” This is when specifics, such as honor killings are wrong, would help. Perhaps that answer is above his pay grade as well.
For someone so intent on making everyone like him, Obama should realize that choosing to court one often means spurning another.
And when you try to be all things to all people, you end up being nothing to anyone except a danger to those you have a duty to defend.