The response from this administration from the widespread protests through out the Muslim world is more than worrisome. It is, in some ways, a vision of a world that doesn't exist other than in the movies and in Obama's press releases. It is a completely failure to grasp reality; in short, they are deluding themselves into believing their own press releases.
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney actually made the argument that the protests had nothing to do with American Foreign Policy, but were completely and wholly about the Youtube video insulting Mohammed.
“This is a fairly volatile situation, and it is in response not to United States policy, obviously not to the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video, a film, that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting — that in no way justifies any violent reaction to it.”
On the Sunday morning news shows, UN Ambassador Susan Rice reiterated the view:
“We’re not impotent,were not even less popular to challenge that assessment” said Rice. ” What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi and many other parts of the region was a result, a direct result, of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting.”
This is a skewed view of the Muslim world that holds no basis in reality whatsoever.
Let us stipulate a few things that everyone should basically agree with. The Muslim World's hate for the west has existed for decades at least, if not longer, and predates Barack Obama. Second, their anger at us primarily results from our support of Israel, though it has dramatically expanded since 9/11 and George W. Bush's foreign policy. Third, extremists jihadists in the form of Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and others are alive and well through out the Middle East, and if anything, are growing in power in countries that have unstable governments.
Understanding the above, to believe that this video, which likely has been seen by less than 1/100th of 1% of the Muslim world, is the cause of this uproar belies logic and sanity. There is a basic premise here: there are Islamists through out the Middle East that hate America and the west, and what we stand for. And the Obama Administration view of events on the ground simply dismisses this reality. The video is, quite simply, not the reason for this hate at all. It is an excuse to focus their hate and anger on the west.
Furthermore, Obama may be reading too much of his own press. He believes he is the Barack Obama of 2009, who gave speeches in Mexico City and Cairo to great applause, talking about building relationships out of respect. This is not reality. Reality is that we now have President Barack Obama of 2012. That man is a man that is less respected and liked in the Middle East than George W. Bush. This has been shown in several polls over the last few years. I know liberals believe that this is not the case even though it is true, but would you not expect better from professionals in the White House? I guess not.
This happens historically. The Bush Administration, for one, kept fooling itself that things in Iraq were going to get better between 2005-2006. They were deluding themselves, in a manner that was detrimental to U.S. interests. Not until the deluge at the 2006 midterms did President Bush wake up, and change course with the surge, which likely saved the entire endeavor.
The bubble of the Oval Office sometimes prevents reality from seeping in and effecting policy, and more and more that appears to be the case with this White House. They somehow believe that repeating the case that this video, largely by itself, started us on the road to the killing of our diplomats and the current uproar in the Middle East will make their case true. They believe they can try to convince the world that these were spontaneous attacks, when Libyan and Egyptian government officials, from the Prime Minister on down, disagree; and while intelligence services in Israel, Libya, Egypt, and through out Europe say otherwise.
In the entire world, the only government that believes this was spontaneous and unplanned is the United States of America.
This self delusion would not matter so much, except it goes to the heart of what is the matter with the entire Obama foreign policy. Obama is under delusions of gradeur. He believe his own greatness, his own ability to persuade and convince others, can change the world. This is a fool's view of reality. The reality is Obama is applauded when he placates the Muslim World, but when he speaks truths he is roundly castigated. This is no different than every Western leader of my lifetime.
Moreover, let us look at results on the ground. Where in the Middle East have American interests improved over the past four years? I would be hard pressed to pick any nation where that is the case. Possibly Libya, and we see how much progress that has truly created with the events of the last week.
Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney must speak clearly on their position in regards to the Middle East. The American people deserve a robust dialogue of their world vision, and how that pertains to our interests in that troubled region. Any honest observer would be hard pressed to explain either man's policy in the region. And that, more than anything, tells us why America is failing to win over the hearts and minds of the world.
This was cross posted on Neoavatara.