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Rubin Reports

Obama’s Foreign Policy: Manchurian Candidate or Keystone Kop?

October 24th, 2011 - 12:30 am

Virtually since the day President Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, I’ve been reporting in great detail on his disastrous Middle East policy. I believe nobody in the world has written more thoroughly documented words and provided more factually based analysis explaining why this policy is so bad than I have.

And so I am often asked whether I believe this situation is caused by a deliberate, conscious effort to destroy U.S. interests, subvert Israel’s existence, and promote anti-American Islamists on the part of the president and his closest colleagues.

No, I answer, it is the result of ignorance, incompetence, and a ridiculous ideological approach that has nothing to do with reality. But, I add, it certainly says something that the policy is so bad that it makes people think that deliberate treason is a credible explanation.

Recently, an expert I respect who likes my work asked me the following:

At what point do “oblivious,” clueless,” or “misguided” no longer describe what is going on here?

At what point do we say that the top levels of the U.S. government and our national security leadership are wittingly complicit in supporting a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of large parts of the Middle East?  As you lay out these events and facts, there is simply no other conclusion to be drawn: this is deliberate.

When does it become treasonous or at the very least an abrogation of constitutional oaths of office and dereliction of duty?

I believe the first and last paragraphs are wrong but the second one is partly right. They don’t fear the Muslim Brotherhood getting into office, because they think it won’t happen or can be turned into a good thing. This is horrible but not consciously evil.

How can we explain Obama’s behavior on the Middle East? I’m not the least bit surprised or baffled. I do not think the fact that this isn’t “treasonous” is a mitigating circumstance. Beyond a certain point, gross incompetence and systematic stupidity are inexcusable sins in politics even if not crimes. The sentence should be voting them out of office as soon as possible.

The great French diplomatist (and thoroughly evil human being) Charles de Talleyrand put it this way: “This is worse than a crime, it’s a blunder.” You can have some respect for an evil genius cleverly following his plan but none at all for a fool putting his country’s interests and the lives of millions of people at risk, refusing to change course even when his strategy is obviously failing.

You just have to sit at dinner with a State Department guy, for example, who tells you in great detail how the battle went within the bureaucracy over accepting Islamism as something good for the United States or watch how the CIA generated studies fixed to exclude truth in arguing Islamism isn’t a threat. It’s only mysterious if you don’t see it up close.

Here is what we should see:

First, Obama thinks he’s very knowledgeable about Islam, based on very limited personal contacts. Aside from his profound misunderstandings, his experiences come from Indonesia, the place where mainstream Islam was more moderate than in any other Muslim-majority country. And even that predates the infusion of Wahhabi and al-Qaeda radical thinking and theology even in that country.

In my opinion, the worst single blunder of Obama in the Middle East was his Cairo speech telling people in the region that they should perceive their primary identity as Muslim rather than in national terms.  The idea that political Islam could be some asset for the United States — rather than an enemy being held back largely by nationalism — was like putting a big bomb next to a fragile dam. Yet Obama thought it was some act of far-sighted genius on his part because he could tame political Islam.

Second, Obama is a narrow-minded and arrogant man who understands little about international affairs or the profound differences of other cultures. He neither listens to ideas outside his own conception nor heeds proof that he has failed. A clever evil genius adjusts himself to circumstances, determined he will always look good. Obama is merely wrong and incompetent, openly displaying ignorance.

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