In a rather stunning interview aired on 60 Minutes, President Obama equated the sacking of our Cairo embassy, the pillaging of our Benghazi consulate, the killing our our ambassador to Libya and other attacks on US interests in the Arab world as “bumps in the road.”
The question presumes that somehow we could have stopped this wave of change. I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights– a notion that– people have- to be able to– participate– in– their own governance. But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because– you know, in a lot of these places– the one organizing principle– has been Islam. The one part of society that hasn’t been controlled completely by the government. There are strains of extremism, and anti-Americanism, and anti-Western sentiment. And you know can be tapped into by demagogues. There will probably be some times where we bump up against some of these countries and have strong disagreements, but I do think that over the long term, we are more likely to get a Middle East and North Africa that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more aligned with our interests.
Beyond the callous equating of the deaths of US diplomatic personnel with “bumps in the road”, Obama also manages to completely misrepresent his own policy.
The fact is there was no wave of change in the region. In Egypt we push a tottering dictator over knowing that the only viable opposition movement was the terrorist organization the Muslim Brotherhood… whose representatives were frequent White House guests. In Libya we engineered a civil war that cause several thousand deaths and set off a wave of ethnic cleansing of black Africans from the country. Again, the only organized opposition forces were affiliated with al-Qaeda. What we are seeing is the logical outcome of a policy built around serendipitous events. Events that the administration sought to gain credit for but without there being rhyme or reason in their activity beyond gaining credit.
As Syria continues to smolder and Iran become emboldened we can look forward to many more “bumps in the road.” We can only hope there won’t be 3,000 of them in downtown Manhattan some morning.